Sunday, February 12, 2012
This past week was my Sparkversary--for three years now I have been using this site, and here I still am. No huge achievements in the weight loss department, though stopping the yo-yo and having lost a few pounds and kept them off is a minor achievement for me, given what I was like pre-spark.
But the big shiny accomplishment worth standing on a chair and shouting about is my 3-year streak of at least 90 minutes of exercise per week. 157 weeks! (I missed one single week somewhere along the line.) I still can't believe it.
For the next year, I'm going to try to be as persistent with portion control and healthy eating as I have been with the exercise, because consistency, as we all know, pays off!
Sunday, February 05, 2012
Perhaps you've heard of the Iditarod Sled Dog Race , www.iditarod.com/ the 1049-mile race across Alaska that takes place every March. I've recently discovered a way for you and I to participate, have fun, exercise, and never have to leave our hometowns.
The Idita-walk www.idita-walk.com/idw/Index.asp is 1049 minutes of walking wherever you live. You log your time online (sound familiar?) and if you complete the total by March 31, you get a pin (other logo merch available, too). You can even sign up your dog with you, whether it's a great dane or a yorkie. Imagine the bragging rights at the dog park! The proceeds go to benefit a kids' camp in Nome, Alaska.
But I'd like to make a special invitation to my fellow water exercisers to join the Idita-splash. www.idita-splash.com/ids/index.asp
You log 1049 minutes of water exercise--any kind--water aerobics, water jogging, swimming, playing with the kids in the pool, and you get a finisher t-shirt. Proceeds of the Idita-splash go to support two youth swim teams in Nome. Think about how great it is for these kids to participate. Not just the exercise, but the team spirit, the goalsetting, the pride. They're off the road system, remember, so to attend a meet they have to FLY!
I've logged the Idita-splash for less than a month and have already racked up more than 1049 minutes. I'm going to keep going to see how many I can do.
Sparkmail me if you have questions. On to Nome! Mush, you Sparkers!
Saturday, December 03, 2011
For the past few months I have been enjoying the new Aqua Zumba class at my health club and even beginning to venture into land Zumba via Zumba Gold. But the past few weeks I have been away from home visiting family, and was able to attend an AqZ class there. The contrast couldn't have been bigger. We'll call the two classes Home and Away.
At Home, the instructor is a bitty little blonde bundle of energy who has been a dancer all her life and a dance teacher for most of the adult part of it. She teaches all kinds of Zumba, but is gravitating toward the lower impact forms of Aqua and Gold. Her dances are very Latin, with lots of swivelly hips and shimmying shoulders.
The Away instructor is a 6-foot tall guy, a Federal cop who does his class on the way to his night shift at work. His dances are based mainly on hip hop and calisthenics, angular and precise, with a little bhangra thrown in. Just about 180 degrees different from Home.
The great thing is that I love both workouts! Both are really suited to the music played, and the contrast is a great illustration of the creative leeway that Zumba allows its instructors. And it's also incentive to try different instructors when I can; each one gives a different fun experience.
Friday, September 23, 2011
Several people at one of the private health clubs I visited said I simply MUST come to one of Countin' Bob's classes. Not so easy to do, as he only substitutes; he doesn't have his own regular class. I consulted the club's schedule and eventually found a class he was going to teach.
Countin' Bob is so called because he intentionally doesn't use any music. Instead, he gives a move to do and counts out the repeats: 8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1. I was skeptical that one could keep up the motion for an hour and a half (it's for some reason an extra long class) without a motivating beat, but the guy was so highly recommended I was curious to give it a try.
Once in the water I discovered that Countin' Bob had become Timing Bob. He now demonstrates a move to do and then gives an interval of time to do it. As I suspected, when I talked to him afterwards I found that he had made the change to allow people to move at their own rate of speed rather than dictate a pace that would not be comfortable for everyone. If you want to go fast, it's up to you to push yourself. If you need to take it down a notch or two, you can.
This also aids in another part of his approach, which is that everything should be done in the best form possible--great posture, appropriate direction, coordinated. You should only work at the speed at which you can maintain form. Otherwise, why do the exercise at all? You will lose its benefit. You can tell that he was trained and certified by one of my favorite H2O gurus, Pauline Ivens: www.aquaaerobics.com/ She's famous for her insistence that you should have a specific purpose for every exercise, and not just flap about wildly in the water, hoping you have used all your muscles by the time you're done.
Bob's workout is unique, geometric, and precise. The verdict: I loved it, and I'd go back to his class in a hot minute. I didn't even miss the music because my mind was totally preoccupied with getting the moves right. Could I duplicate what he does in my classes? No way. I can't explain it, but my mind just works differently when I'm in front of a class and I get better results when I have music that leads me and allows me to go off on riffs around my basic plan. That's why it's great to have different class teachers--cross training is better for you!
Thursday, September 22, 2011
My pool's finally fixed up and open again. Hurray! The water was 75 degrees the first day, and I had no takers for a polar bear class, but we were at 82 this morning and back to normal.
But I still need to update you on the rest of my local water aerobics tour. I experienced 4 different classes at a nonprofit organization's pool, and they were quite a mixed bag. It was the type of pool with two shallow ends and a slightly deeper middle, which led to a curious arrangement that I had never seen before. The music was playing in the middle, while at one end the cardio fans were going at it hot and heavy. At the other end were the slower folks, some in a rehab mode, and some who seem to have come mainly for a chat with their pals. Sometimes there were two instructors, one for each end; a single instructor would stick to the cardio end and leave the others to get on by themselves.
There was a lot not to like--one instructor with an unbelievably loud (unamplified) voice, a lot of buoy barbells either down in the water for the full hour or waved around in the air half the time. There was one instructor at this facility that I really liked, that gave a balanced workout with none of the injury-risking positions and activities that are so common. To my surprise, she is not certified, but has trained herself with input from other instructors, physical therapists and orthopedists. Just goes to show that even without certification you can still do well if you pay attention to the wealth of information that's available.
There's one more instructor on the Tour. Next post I'll tell you about Countin' Bob.
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