Sunday, January 31, 2010

Strong Enough: Month-End Review, January

Yesterday I got an e-mail with the subject: climbing. early. sunday.

Patti: Meet at the gym at 10:00 tomorrow, ok?

Me: Roger that.
Upper Limits is having their annual membership sale so the joint was jumping.

Now, I have two memberships. One at Upper Limits and one at a regular fitness club which doesn't have a pool.

I warmed up on Truxton or Bust, a 5.6 route then Patti suggested I try to tackle my #1 nemesis, And You're Ready Now?, a 5.8b since it's best to hit the hardest routes early in the game.

Patti actually had a grout-induced blister in the middle of her hand so her husband, Mike, was my belay partner. Patti did do a 5.9 that didn't require too much gripping. Ha, I wasn't injured and could not have done it.

So, Patti and Mike are coaching me then a couple, Bruce and Megan, came along. Bruce said that And You're Ready Now? has been very friendly to him. Bruce was giving me excellent pointers and even climbed over the arête several times to show me a way to do it. Bruce talked about balance, technique and was kind enough to tell me that he knew that I was strong enough to do it by the way I was holding onto the butterfly hold with my arms. He also stuck around for quite awhile suggesting different holds for my feet and/or hands and Patti told me that half of the game is psychological...

Later on, I moved to Face Plant (5.8). It's not a route that I do smoothly but I remember a time when I couldn't make it over that arête at all. Mike told me that there's not that much difference between Face Plant and And You're Ready Now? So, hopefully, I'll make it over the hump one day.

I love it how everyone is looking up -- except for me since I was tying in and, sometimes, I get amnesia about how to tie a figure eight knot.

I continued to take the quote variety is the spice of life to heart this month:

10 Minute Solution: Fitness Ball Workouts

  • Firm Flat Abs, 2 x's

  • Total Body Fat Burner, 2 x's

  • Ultra Stretch, 2 x's

  • 10 Minute Solution: Kickbox Bootcamp

  • Basic Training, 1 x

  • Fat Burning Blast, 3 x's

  • 10 Minute Solution: Tone Trouble Zones!

  • Stretching, 7 x's

  • Arc Trainer, 1 x

    Boot Camp Class, 1 x

    Cardio and Muscle Class, 3 x's

    Elliptical Trainer, 1 x

    Rock Climbing, 6 x's

    StairMaster, 4 x's

    Step Class, 4 x's

    Swimming, 2 x's

    Treadmill, 11 x's

    Walking Pilates, 1 x
    And I'm hoping to keep rockin' steady in February...

    Saturday, January 30, 2010

    You Are In Control Of Your Body

    I went to a Step class again. I normally go rock climbing on Saturday but I'll climb the walls tomorrow.

    Today's Step class was a great experience especially after Thursday's debacle. Catherine asked if there was anyone new then proceeded to let everyone know what to expect.

    Follow my cues, Catherine said as in -- I'll lead you in the right direction.

    Catherine was encouraging and upbeat the whole time. Even though I couldn't quite catch on to the Broadway, drunken pig (hunh?), revolving door and pivot moves, I never felt out of place since it was a very welcoming environment. Plus, I found comfort in those old stand-bys: hamstring curls, the grapevine, traveling knees and the V-step. ;)

    Once we pulled out the weights, Catherine took a survey of the room and walked around. She talked a significant amount of time about keeping your body in alignment, especially the knees.

    You are in control of your body. Then, keep your mind on your muscles -- as we were doing tricep dips.
    As class was winding down, Catherine gave a short promo about other classes that she teaches. Without stuttering, pausing or arrogance, she said I'm very good. And she is good but I don't know if she's good enough for me to get up for a 6:00 a.m. Step class. Know what I mean?

    My bad experience with Thursday's Step class got me to thinking about Tracy otherwise fondly known as Crazy Tracy. I've been intending to write a letter to the YMCA since Jan. 1st because I think that Tracy is such a great ambassador for them.

    There have been many times when I have written a letter regarding dissatisfactory service but I wanted to do the opposite and pay homage to satisfaction. The letter, in part:

    I attended the Grand Opening of the Rec Plex and attended several of Tracy’s classes, including Boot Camp, Step, and Turbo Kick. I’m sure that someone has mentioned this before but Tracy is a superb instructor. I don’t think that I’ve ever enjoyed getting fit so much. Tracy just struck all the right chords.

    As I continue to figure out what is the best facility for my regimen and budget, I just have to say that Tracy, almost single-handedly, makes me want to join the Y.

    Ha, not the Broadway that we did today.

    Thursday, January 28, 2010


    I decided to go to Step class at Bally which has a huge exercise studio. I was surprised that there were only about ten people in attendance but I should not have been since the guy that was teaching the class was dispassionate, detached and barely involved. Honestly, I had to look at other participants to try and mimic the steps. As an added bonus, the routine was way out of my league.

    I tried to hang in there because I don't like quitting but the grapevine and marching were the only steps that I could pick up. By the time he called for the corkscrew, I knew that I was done. I was in the opposite direction of the class so many times that it was beyond awkward. I've never even walked out of a boot camp class, but I walked out tonight.

    Dude did say that it was an advanced class and that it would be hard to catch on the first time. He was talking to me because everyone else had obviously been to practice. I felt like I was on Dancing With The Stars but no one had paired me with a professional. On the group exercise schedule it said nothing about the class being advanced. The code simply said CWL (Cardiovascular/Weight Loss).

    I got on a StairMaster, turned on my MP3 player, hit manual, entered level four then put in 40 minutes. Once I had attained my goal, I just decided to stay on the StairMaster and get the rest of my frustration out. I ended up doing 60 minutes and 157 floors and I can feel it all in my abs.

    Wednesday, January 27, 2010

    What Came First, The NSV's Or The Pound?

    When the scale moves, I usually wait a day or two to make sure it's not giving me a head fake.

    I lost a pound. I'll probably be able to say that I lost two soon since I usually drop weight in pairs.

    I weigh 171 pounds now -- standing at 5'3 and 1/2 -- the 1/2 being as important to me as it is to a kid.

    According to the BMI calculator I'm still obese but that's okay, little calculator, I still have my NSV's (Non-Scale Victories).

    I ate dinner: vegetarian chili with Trader Joe's Roasted Gorgonzola crackers then I traveled 30 minutes away to go to Bally Total Fitness.

    I took advantage of the National Body Challenge and got a 14 day pass to Bally in order to have access to a pool and different scenery.

    The pool was not crowded either. I got in 20 laps and called it a night. While I was swimming, I remembered what this instructor said to some kids on Tuesday:
    Do you like music? Do you like rock and roll? Well, that's what we're going to do when we do the back crawl -- rock and roll -- but we're only going to rock and roll with our shoulders.
    Capitalism amuses me at times. Got this ad from The Swim Outlet and The SO is ready for Valentine's Day.

    So, what's a girl to do now that the scale has moved? She's going to keep rockin' the regimen. She's going to rock steady baby!

    Tuesday, January 26, 2010

    Exploding Was Kind Of Cool

    Kate promised us that it would be a whole new class each time we meet. So far, so good -- not that I need new all the time.

    Kate also told us that if we held our abs in for the entire hour, well, that's like a bonus hour-long ab workout.

    I hold my abs in for, like, two minutes before I get all preoccupied with the tasks at hand.

    It's warm up time, and I can dig the marching. Ditto for the knee lifts, hamstring curls and grapevine but...

    I hate ab work (10 minute special for today's session).

    I hate high knees.

    I hate lunges.

    I hate lunges with weights even more.

    I hate planks.

    I hate being in a holding pattern on a squat. I hate pulsing on a squat.

    I hate squatting, hitting the floor then going around the world with it.

    What am I -- a frog?

    We did fast feet around the room. We did fast feet then touched the floor on the six count.

    Kate instructed us to do fast feet then explode (by jumping in the air).

    Fast Feet
    Kate: explode!
    Fast Feet

    Kate: explode!


    Kate: explode!


    Kate: explode!
    I hate exploding.

    Okay, exploding was kind of cool. And, for some reason, I also dig jumping jacks and the shuffle situation.

    Monday, January 25, 2010

    The Imposter Rut

    Diane, over at Fit to the Finish, had a recent post called My Lame Excuse List and posed the question What’s been your favorite “I can’t get started” excuse?

    My response? I never made excuses because I thought I was sexy as all get out. In fact, in high school, my nickname was Sexy Wren. Don’t ask what high school I went to…

    Recently, I have been feeling unsexy. How weird is that? I lose 60 pounds and my body image takes a dive. I won’t even delve into the psychological ramifications of this inversion. Denial? Coping? Who knows?

    My scale has not moved since early November 2009 and being in a two month rut makes the imagination run wild. You start to wonder what you are doing wrong, if you’re eating enough or too much. Maybe you’re eating too many fat calories or not the right combination of carbs, proteins and fats.

    Lately, though, I’ve been seeing quite a few posts about non scale victories and I was really moved by this post at *Bitch Cakes* who talks about reframing and focusing on what you’re doing right.

    Also, Mish’s collective post, Getting Fit, Not Thin, stuck with me.

    *Bitch Cakes* brought it home in another post in which she said that this fitness journey is not a race .

    Likewise, it was helpful to be reminded on MizFit that the calorie is king.

    Even though the scale hasn’t moved, I do have more room in my clothes. My rings no longer fit on my ring finger. I wear an L in most clothes instead of clothes with tags that look like a Super Bowl championship number.

    My once snug glasses are loose.

    I'm also having to adjust my climbing harness more than I did before.

    And the biggest bonus? I am fit. Very. I hit the gym six days out of seven.

    I eat up – trading white rice for brown.

    I no longer drink soda.

    I don’t eat food with high fructose corn syrup.

    While I can and should eat better, I’m still doing a lot of things right.

    I’ve shrunk out of five swimming suits…

    Speaking of swimming, I went tonight after a three week hiatus because of a cold and the cold.

    After swimming 18 laps, I got in the hot tub. I know why the lifeguards walk around the edge of it; I’m sure someone has fallen asleep and almost drowned.

    Sunday, January 24, 2010

    Feeling Like Jimmy Swaggart

    I was feeling Jimmy Swaggart-ish yesterday in a I have sinned... way.

    One of my good friends is Bosnian and if you're Bosnian and it's your birthday, you pay for family and friends at the birthday dinner, a tradition that I should be able to go along with. Only, I have come to dread dining out and I hardly ever do it anymore but there are just certain occasions that one needs to show up for.

    I knew that we were going to Laganini's -- a brave new restaurant that just opened up next to another Bosnian restaurant, Bosna Gold.

    My friend told me ahead of time where we would be dining because she knew that I would want to do reconnaissance. I thought about getting fish or a salad with grilled chicken.

    Tilapia... in pepper lemon sauce served with German potato salad
    Chicken Salad... grilled or breaded
    I even checked out the dressings.
    Dressings...your choice - ranch, italian, french, thousand islands

    Menu in hand, I saw that they didn't have the salad with grilled chicken available and I wasn't really feeling the fish. So, I ended up getting a gourmet pizza.

    Margherita... fresh mozzarella, fresh tomato & basil
    I also considered the Laganini Mediterranean Pizza with caramelized onion, crushed garlic, goat cheese, roasted red peppers, calamata olives and oregano.

    Internally, I was freaking out as I was estimating how much four slices were going to set me back. Twelve hundred calories? The whole time I'm thinking: I can work this off; plus, the scale is not moving anyway; c'est la vie.

    I need to learn how to eat out because, eventually, I'll be away from home for an extended period of time and may or may not have access to a kitchen.

    I have nothing against pizza but, of course, I like to make it myself. The cheese seemed so thick and abundant on Laganini's margherita and my imagination continued to run amuck. At least I had a salad beforehand. Right?

    Saturday, January 23, 2010

    To Kill A Two-Headed Muscle

    Patti and I decided to go rock climbing at 1 today since last Saturday it was crowded in the a.m. then thinned out around lunch time. It was still super crowded. Plus, there were some classes going on and, once again, my comfort routes were roped off or otherwise occupied.

    I climbed the following routes:

    5.6, Truxton or Bust
    5.6, 5x
    5.7, Sol (twice)
    5.8, Bright Idea
    5.8, JW
    5.8, Face Plant
    5.8b, And You're Ready Now? (About five attempts but no cigar)

    I should rename And You're Ready Now? the biceps killer because it had the biceps in my right arm smarting for three days and there's new throbbing going on now. As I approached the route, I had butterflies similar to the ones that appeared when I was taking swimming lessons and my teacher wanted me to swim the length of the pool doing the front crawl. It's so frustrating because I know I have plenty of power in my legs but I just couldn't get my feet on these two holds that I needed to get over the arête.

    When I approached my longtime nemesis Face Plant, Patti told me to just keep climbing, to not slow down and to have fun. I surprised myself by marching up Face Plant. I don't know how much fun I had though.

    When I was headed up JW, I was waiting until a kid who was using the auto-belay got up to a certain point.

    Patti: I think you'll be okay.

    Me: Have you seen the way I climb all over (i.e. rainbow climbing) this route?

    Patti: Yes, I belay for you. I've seen how you climb all over the route.
    Ha, ha...

    I headed up and managed not to collide with the kid.

    As we were waiting for a 5.9 to clear for Patti, she said that she wished she had started climbing as a kid.

    Me: I wish that I had learned to swim as a kid.

    Me: I wish that I had taken Spanish classes more seriously...
    As we were leaving, this pre-teen told me: I saw you rock climbing, you're good. That was so sweet of her to tell me.

    Sometimes I forget about the kids up in the balcony area until I smell pizza or see balloons. I hope that the pre-teen will climb for many years to come at Upper Limits or at some other rock climbing joint.

    Here's a father teaching his kid how to do a drop knee maneuver. If lil' shorty can do a drop knee, I should be able to do one too. Shouldn't I?

    Wednesday, January 20, 2010

    And You're Ready Now?

    It's amazing what a crowded Upper Limits will force me to do. I had already climbed Truxton or Bust (5.6), A Bright Idea (5.8), An Early Winter's Frost (5.7), Face Plant (5.8), Sol (5.7) and a 5.8 with simply JW on it.

    Patti: Where to?

    Me: I can't believe that I'm saying this but the red route i.e. the And You're Ready Now?, a 5.8b route
    I knew that I was facing an uphill battle but there was, literally, nowhere else to go.

    I made one attempt. Went back down to get some tips from Patti who suggested that I do a drop knee, a concept that I don't quite get yet. Patti asked Jamie, an Upper Limits staff member, if he would explain the concept. Jamie was demure -- said that he wasn't a good explainer but he did give me some good tips. He said that he tells people to turn their hip. He also told me that I needed to get my hip into the wall. Yeah, I have a problem with my butt being pushed out when I do planks too.

    Furthermore, Jamie advised me to kind of squat with my legs and have straight arms when I was, well, not climbing or at a pausing point. And I'm thinking I can squat; I've been doing that a lot in Cardio and Muscle class.

    Jamie also said that it's counterintuitive but you should not be climbing energetically. And that's me -- in a nutshell. I tend to attack things when I take on something (like an elephant in a china shop).

    I attempted And You're Ready Now? about five times but, apparently, I wasn't ready. LOL.

    I was thinking about buying a chalk bag on Etsy but I was worried about the size. Earlier, I asked Patti if she remembered how tall her bag was and she said that I could check it out when we went climbing today. Surprise, surprise. Patti handed me a chalk bag and chalk ball from Jessica -- what a nice surprise.

    Now, I just need to get a harness and I'll be an official rock climber.

    In addition to calluses, I got another rock climbing memento from a drop knee of a different sort. I do need to be a little less energetic...

    Check out this chica dropping knees all over the place.

    Tuesday, January 19, 2010

    Six And Down

    No, Six and Down is not some complicated football play; it's a move that we did in Cardio and Muscle. We did fast feet and on the six count, we went down and hit the floor with our hand. I liked it. Liked the sound of collective feet and hands.

    I was discussing fitness with one of my work next door neighbors and Renee said that she would have to start with flip flop or sandal camp; she was in no way prepared to start with a boot camp-like class. Kate chimed in and said you like those kinds of classes and I was, honestly, taken aback.

    Like? Do I honestly like boot camp class?

    I finally figured out my attraction to calisthenics. It's a gut check for me. It's a way to check my stamina and my overall fitness level. I also like the feeling of having to keep up and the synchronization of a group who has not practiced a routine. I also enjoy seeing the various generations who participate in Cardio and Muscle and, in general, I like being pushed to and past my limits.

    I like the feeling of being so tired that I want to splay out on the floor -- only it's 20 minutes into a 60 minute class. So, Kate, I guess I do like those kinds of classes. I like the brink and the precipice.

    Monday, January 18, 2010

    Up And Ovah

    The thought of getting on a machine today was pretty unappealing. I guess that I'm getting a little tired of the machines.

    I'm also inspired by an older woman that I met. She exclusively takes classes -- doesn't like to wait for the machines, she says. The class-taker looks good, I know that much.

    I pulled out the schedules that I have for three branches of my fitness club and decided to go to the one that's actually the closest to me -- something that I wouldn't dream of on a regular day. It's the closest and it's the smallest and the machines and classes fill up fast.

    There were only 10 people in Step. Unlike the other step classes, Stacey relied almost exclusively on a step routine. We did use light weights and did some crunches in the end but those exercises only comprised about 10% of the class.

    Stacey kept it simple and, because of that, I had very little trouble with the choreography.

    I also liked the terminology that she used. When she said Rockette, I anticipated what we would be doing. We also shot the hoop at one point, did the mambo, rocking horse and V-step. And, for some reason, I love hopping up, doing a jumping jack on the step then jumping down on the floor and doing a jumping jack.

    I completely enjoyed the up and over move when you go up and do what another step instructor calls a sunburst then come back down on the other side of the step. Up and over… And I loved the way that Stacey said over. Ovah. Up and Ovah. Ovah.

    I would be so lost on this knee around the world move (3:07).

    I was so hyper after class that I got on the treadmill to do a bit of jogging. It's something about step class that gets the endorphins all revved up.

    Cool Beans

    I have two aunts who are big Sunday cookers and I'm always welcome to partake of Sunday dinner but, for the last two years, it's been a hit or miss proposition since I've eliminated certain things, like fried food, from my diet.

    I received a special invitation from my aunt Girt to come to dinner on Sunday. I'm marinating chicken wings, she said and I'm making a green bean salad that's only 60 calories; you can eat that.

    It sounded innocent enough. I made sure that I did what I needed to do in order to be in Illinois at dinner time.

    I don't know what the marinade consisted of but the baked chicken wings were a little greasy but I didn't inquire about the marinade. Brownie point for me. The green bean salad was good and I found out that my aunt had gotten the recipe from a little pamphlet called 43 Healthy Soul Food Recipes, a publication of The American Heart and Stroke Associations.

    What absolutely made my day was the brown rice that my aunt made. She also cooked a pot of white rice for everyone else. Of course, she promptly sent the remainder of the brown rice home with me.

    Saturday, January 16, 2010

    The Climber's Situation

    Me: (((Yawn)))

    Patti: Am I keeping you up?

    Me: I'm up.

    Patti: No, you need to keep me up.

    Yes, dear. I know my job description:

    Belayer responsibilities

    As the climber moves on the climb, the belayer must remove the slack from the rope by paying out or pulling in excess rope. If the climber falls, then they will free-fall the distance of the slack or unprotected rope before friction applied by the belayer will start to slow their descent. It is extremely important for the belayer to concentrate on the climber's situation, as their role is crucial for the climber's safety... from Wikipedia
    The first route (turquoise one) almost wore me out today. It's bad when you tussle with the first route because you feel all tuckered out but I was able to make it up several more routes including three 5.8's; the 5.8's are never done prettily but I'll take it:

    Bright Idea, 5.8 (complete with holds that had faux red light bulbs)
    Face Plant, 5.8
    Sol, 5.7
    Truxton or Bust, 5.6

    I wonder what goes through the route setter's head when he or she is naming the route.

    I know what should be going through my head: climb with your legs and, as REI Anna points out (1:32), position your arms so that you are putting the weight on your skeleton and not your arms.

    I was doing way too much gripping today. My hands were so tender by the time I warmed down on Truxton or Bust that it was almost a bust.

    Callus Watch:

    Thursday, January 14, 2010

    Take The Time To Squeeze It

    On tap for today's cardio portion of the program was a 7:00 p.m. selection of Step Interval.

    Hmmmm, I don't think evening exercise is for me. First, I watched the news dominated, of course, by events in Haiti, ate and threw a load of clothes in the laundry. I was ultra-relaxed and having second thoughts about Step Interval which is why I normally head straight to the gym after work. Nevertheless, I took my less sore glutei (wording especially for Yum Yucky and purple_moonflower123) and worked them out some more.

    The woman who taught the class was named The Squat Mistress Toni. Good God! She believed in squats and reminded us to take the the time to squeeze it i.e. our butts when we came up. I was also introduced to the chair. Hold it. Hold it.

    We held the chair long enough for me to get vocal and amuse the woman next to me. Toni actually used peer pressure to keep us in the chair pose -- saying that we would not finish until everyone crouched down and went into a holding pattern.

    Tammy (another instructor) jumped into the class while it was in session. I took Tammy's Drills To Make You Sweat Class. Tammy has the oddest most business-like expression on her face and she actually unnerves me a bit. She certainly kicked my butt when I took her class. I think I'm going to start referring to Tammy as Léon: The Professional...

    Has anyone ever done the bridge before? Well, I hadn't. Toni was like place your mat at the edge of your step, put your butt as close to the step as you can get it then place your feet on the step. We also had weights to play with while we were doing the bridge. I was hurtin' for certain. For the record, I would not attempt a bridge on a fitness ball because London Bridge would definitely fall down.

    While we were doing some routine on the step, I could not get the choreography down. I was so embarrassed but I got over it.

    Wednesday, January 13, 2010

    Sock Shortage

    As I was packing my gym bag, I noticed a sock shortage. I finally put together a pair but couldn't believe that I was down to the undesirables i.e. the mismatched along with the ones that need to be darned.

    I have about 30 pairs of socks but most of them are currently residing in the hamper. You know what that means? Yes, I need to buy more socks. Of course not. I have enough irregular Nike socks with the swoop in the front and/or back and my real gems -- comfortable Champion socks that I found at Big Lots.

    I thought about taking back-to-back classes even though my glutei are quite sore. I didn't nix the idea completely until I saw that the class, Drills to Make You Sweat, was packed. The step platforms made the space even more compact so it wasn't as bearable as the crowded Cardio and Muscle that I took yesterday.

    Despite the sore glutei and tender hamstrings, I hopped on a StairMaster and went for 47 minutes (six for cooling down). I climbed 141 floors with an average level of five.

    My goal is to, eventually, stay on the StairMaster without stopping for 60 minutes.

    When I got home, I did the stretch portion of 10 Minute Solution: Tone Trouble Zones! As always, stretching felt very good and I already feel less sore.

    For Dinner? Leftover Senegalese Peanut Stew that I made on Sunday. There was a whole lot of chopping going on but it was totally worth it. A clichéd symphony (cayenne, cloves, garlic & ginger) of flavors, I tell you.

    Tuesday, January 12, 2010

    Can You Feel It?

    Got to the gym earlier today, spent about 10 minutes on the treadmill then trotted off to class where things looked different since there were blue mats all over the floor. The teacher looked different too. As it turned out, the newbie didn't know that Jackie was substituting for Kate and that's how Step and Muscle class turned into Cardio and Muscle.

    I missed the step, missed Jackie and Jackie's awesome aerobic workout remix CD. It's amazing how fast you get used to a person.

    Wanna know what's more interesting than a jumping jack? A jump squat that segues into a jumping jack. And who knew that a jumping jack, challenging in and of itself, was a modification for mountain climbers which I dislike almost as much as I dislike burpees.

    Fast feet or the football jog just about did me in tonight too as did the basketball defense-like back and forth shuffling with a jump somewhere in between.

    I was quite verbal tonight with my oohs and aahs since it was a way to absorb the rigorous workout and carry on with the task at hand.

    Can you feel it, Kate asked?

    I don't know about it but I felt used and abused after the burpees, planks, push-ups, squats et al.

    It was cool, though, when many of us wiped out women convened in the locker room to talk about the beat down that we had endured. There was this camaraderie among, mostly, strangers.

    Monday, January 11, 2010

    Dust Yourself Off And Try Again

    I went out of my way to go to a bigger branch of my fitness club, negotiated my way through the locker room maze, searched locker after locker until I found an empty one, changed clothes and went into the main room and not a single machine was available. Not one AMT, EFX, ARC Trainer, Treadmill, StairMaster, elliptical trainer, stationary bike etc. Sigh.

    I headed back into the locker room and decided on a new plan. If I get off at 5, don't even bother going directly to the gym. Go home or go do something else but go to the gym later. Only, I didn't feel like trekking to the gym again. Not this day.

    As I pulled out my DVDs, Aaliyah popped into my mind.

    And if at first you don’t succeed
    Then dust yourself off and try again
    You can dust it off and try again, try again
    Cause if at first you don’t succeed
    You can dust it off and try again
    Dust yourself off and try again, try again (and again)
    I selected four 10 Minute Solution segments. If I had been in the gym, I would have exercised longer but, you know, vive la différence and dust yourself off.

    Saturday, January 9, 2010

    The Forgotten Joy of Props

    I had a notion to go to the gym but it's so cold that the thought of bundling up and exposing myself to single digit temperatures was just so unappealing. Today is rock climbing day and I usually pair rock climbing with a stint on the treadmill. Since rock climbing was slated for 4:30 p.m., I decided to do some 10 Minute Solution stuff in the morning.

    I chose to do three 10 Minute Solution segments, including the Ultra Stretch on the fitness ball. I had forgotten how good props feel. I love doing cardio with a fitness ball and stretching? Oh my. I love when you're practically doing a backhand stand with your back curved around the ball. Nirvana, I tell you.

    Check out what I mean by nirvana at 0:36:

    Although I had pre-rocking climbing jitters, I had a good outing. I don't know why I still get jitters seeing that I've been many times now; plus, I enjoy it.

    It's so frigid in The Lou that the water in the fountain at Upper Limits
    was frozen. It was almost unbearable climbing without the good stuff. I had water in my car but I didn't feel like getting dressed again and exchanging one pair of shoes for another so I just sucked it up and climbed while parched.

    I tried a new 5.8 red route today with not much success. I wanted to see if I could make it over the arête, at least. I tried about four times. Patti was giving me tips: hip into the wall, reach with the left hand, foot over here which made me flash back to swimming: blow out all of your air, chest down, oxygen deficit, one goggle out of the water...Ironically, Saturday used to be swimming day.

    I asked Patti what was the most routes she had done in one day. She didn't give me a number but did say that one time they had spent four hours at the gym and that you do get your second wind which reminded me of Run Fatboy Run where Dennis hits the wall but breaks through it.

    Thursday, January 7, 2010

    Fitness Rx for Frigid Weather

    I was jonesing to go to the pool yesterday and I even took a survey of some folks at work and asked if they had been to the pool and, if so, how was the water. They were, like, well I didn't get in the pool but people were swimming.

    Alas, I didn't go swimming because it was just so freaking cold outside and if the water was going to be even a little chilly, it just wasn't going to work. I can't exchange cold for cold right now.

    I felt the same today. Since I had a day off from work, I had absolutely no incentive to trek to the gym. I pulled out my workout DVDs and decided to do Walk Your Way Slim; only, I put in another DVD by mistake and I ended up doing Walking Pilates (Calorie Burning Workout).

    I struggle with doing workouts at home because I feel like I'm not doing enough if I can't ramp up an incline or level but I need to remember that some movement is better than none at all. Plus, I needed a lighter workout today because my abs, arms and thighs are still tender from Tuesday's Boot Camp class. It's times like today when I tell myself to chill out and breathe. Relax, 'Drea. Breathe.

    On The Calorie Lab website, I saw that there's a new show on TLC called One Big Happy Family. I went to check out a preview and was surprised when the mother, who weighs 380 pounds, thought she was going to work off a generous portion of pancakes and butter in addition to some funnel cake by frolicking at a water park. With the number one resolution being weight loss, I should not be surprised.

    Tameka Coles should check out this feature in Fitness magazine, an eye opener regarding what it takes to work off indulgences. I'm assuming that this family will get educational support à la The Biggest Loser contestants.

    Hopefully, I can catch One Big... at the gym where my cable subscription resides. ;)

    This blip in TV Guide still inspires me.

    Over at My Good Cents, I saw that you can get a Biggest Loser and Subway Workout Mix for free.

    The Biggest Loser and SUBWAY® Workout Mix

  • Bleeding Love, Leona Lewis

  • American Boy, Estelle

  • Umbrella, Rihanna

  • Stronger, Kanye West

  • 4 Minutes, Madonna

  • Love Story, Taylor Swift

  • No Surprise, Daughtry

  • Sugar, Flo Rida

  • Paparazzi, Lady GaGa

  • When I Grow Up, The Pussycat Dolls

  • Second Chance, Shinedown

  • Damaged, Danity Kane

  • Tuesday, January 5, 2010

    Vive La Différence

    I got quite the Groupon deal about a week ago so I was looking through The Heights' brochure to see what time I could lap swim when I saw that The Heights was also offering free fitness classes this week.

    Free Fitness Week
    So many fitness classes, but which ones are
    right for you? This is your opportunity to try some
    classes with no strings attached. January 4-10,
    all land-based and water-based fitness classes
    are FREE! You don’t need to register, but come
    early; classes can fill quickly. All classes during
    the free week meet on their regularly scheduled
    day and time.
    On tap at The Heights at 6:00 p.m. was Boot Camp class or I could go to my regular Tuesday class, Step and Muscle.

    Did I have the stamina for Boot Camp class? See, with other classes, you might not know exactly what you're in for but with boot camp, you know that you're going to get your butt kicked.

    I decided that I can always go to my gym for a class but The Heights would only have free classes this week. So, Boot Camp it was...Plus, I could go to REI and Whole Foods afterwards. How's that for incentive?

    It's a little daunting to go to a class when you don't know anyone and you don't know what to expect because every instructor conducts class differently. I was standing a little bit off to the side when the instructor, Joy, beckoned. She explained to everyone what was going on. She had about 30 or 35 stations set up with an orange card that designated an exercise to be done for one minute but, first, we warmed up -- stretching while walking then we took a couple of jogging laps around half of the gymnasium. I was already feeling it.

    When we finished warming up, Joy played like a preacher at church who tries to get people to move to the front rows. Initially, I was at the step station then the wall squat then the Superman and, as we filled in the gaps, I ended up being at a front raise station with eight pound weights. Other stations included:

    Burpees (new nemesis)
    Calf Raises with Side Lifts (with weights, eight pounds)
    Chest Fly (on fitness ball)
    Dead Lift (with weights)
    Fast Feet (on/off straddling of the step)
    Ham Curls with Fitness Ball
    High Knees (higher, higher)
    Jump Squats
    Jumping Jacks
    Jumping Over The Line
    Plank (on hands -- butt too high at first)
    Plank (on forearms)
    Scissor Legs
    Side Plank (right, alignment issue initially)
    Side Plank (left)
    Ski Hop Move (my wording)
    Step (heel touches, four risers)
    Step (right, four risers)
    Step (left, four risers)
    Triceps Dips
    Waddle-like move with resistance band
    Walking Plank with Step Platform
    I'm not going to lie. I took a time-out at, at least, two stations. There's no ifs ands or buts about it, I got worked out in an old-fashion manner and girlfriend said that she is always mixing things up. I hope to see you all on Thursday, said the Boot Camp instructor. Vive la différence, I guess.

    Sunday, January 3, 2010

    Hitting The Bunny Trail

    I made sure that I hit the bunny trail and the gym was quite interesting. There was this guy who was doing a drawn-out version of crouching tiger hidden dragon and he was also playing an invisible guitar. When I was leaving, this woman dropped a pink stone on the floor then threw it in my gym bag. I think it wants to go home with you. It's a sunstone and will give you energy, she said.
    After the gym, I hit the grocery store as I dreamed about a personal chef but not Chris Paul's chef, mind you, because I don't need anyone who has a recipe for Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding.

    I was doing some internal whining about cooking but, really, it didn't take that long, the dishes are washed and, now, I can hit the ground running tomorrow without having to look for faster food or worry about cooking post-workout because post-workout is not the time to cook since I'm usually starving by then.

    I made this veggie quiche which I've made several times.

    I have a few more recipes in rotation

    Cajun Turkey Quarter-Pounder

    Farmer's Market Vegetarian Quesadillas

    Skillet Lasagna

    Seared Scallops with Warm Tuscan Beans

    Senegalese Peanut Stew

    Vegetarian Chili

    but I definitely need to find more. Any suggestions?

    Saturday, January 2, 2010

    Calluses Rising

    I felt like it would be a good day for rock climbing and my instinct was right. I was more relaxed plus I had watched some videos and read some tips.

    I found this info in Indoor Rock Climbing Information and Tips! particularly helpful.

    8. Climb in an X shape with your hips being the middle of the X. Hang with your arm straight. Your skeleton can take much more of a load than your muscles can. If the heel of your foot is hanging too far down you may notice your leg start to shake like a “sewing machine”. This is very common occurrence, simply apply more weight to your toes so your calf muscle spasm can stop.
    I made it up my nemesis, the 5.8 Face Plant route and I also made it up another 5.8. I had some false starts, takes and marching orders from Patti who, I believe, said finish the freakin' route (newest and scarier 5.8 nemesis). I was about two holds away from the top when I thought I couldn't make it. Jessica said that her mom does not use freakin' very often. Patti was a firecracker all morning and I did finish the route. LOL.

    I was surprised, though, when Patti told me that she didn't feel like an athlete. Okay, the woman is a great rock climber and that, alone, qualifies her for athlete status.

    Here's the Dynamic Duo (i.e. my main rock climbing partners in crime) waiting for a route to clear.

    And here are my budding calluses:

    Corns and calluses are caused by pressure or friction on skin. A corn is thickened skin on the top or side of a toe, usually from shoes that do not fit properly. A callus is thickened skin on your hands or the soles of your feet.

    The thickening of the skin is a protective reaction. For example, farmers and rowers get callused hands that prevent them from getting painful blisters. People with bunions often develop a callus over the bunion because it rubs against the shoe.

    Neither corns nor calluses are serious conditions.

    I've been finding some short but helpful videos about rock climbing. This guy says it helps if you climb with someone who climbs at or above your level and the Dynamic Duo definitely fit the bill in the above category, I might add.

    Friday, January 1, 2010

    The Sins of The Fitness Instructor

    To attend the YMCA'S Open House or not?

    Even though I woke up early, I still had a hard time getting in gear. Plus, there was the possibility of rock climbing later in the day. A class and rock climbing? Hmmm...

    Even though my own gym is open and has a few classes scheduled for today, I have some sentimental feelings toward the Y.

    I checked the schedule and decided on Y-Step.

    Free Adult Fitness Classes include:
    Y - Step I at 10:00 a.m.
    Turbo Kickbox at 11:00 a.m.
    Family Variety at Noon
    Family Zumba at 1:00 p.m.

    Come join us for the fun. Let us help you find the solution to your New Year's resolution!
    The open house is FREE and open to the public, so bring a friend. Non-members are encouraged to bring a photo I.D.
    Y-Step started at 10 -- the same time the Y was slated to open. There were so many people at the door that it looked like a starting line.

    When I stepped into the class, I was thrilled to see Crazy Tracy and I knew that I had made the right choice.

    Tracy, single-handedly, makes me want to join the YMCA.

    Also, I like the YMCA's Y-Step. My gym has step classes but the step is not relied on a great deal. The Y's step classes tend to be all step all the time.

    Tracy went to the Cheesecake Factory last night and we paid for it. There was even one point when she told us that she was going to take us into oblivion and I had the sweat to prove it.

    Tracy is also a proponent of the plank and we, of course, got a chance to do some. We also did some rowing moves for our abs. Tracy told us to move as if we were between two planes of glass, an image that worked for me. When the class ended, Tracy went around and hi-fived everyone. Y-Step was truly a great way to christen New Year's Day and Tracy is a great instructor -- greeting people, checking people's equipment, form and reminding us to take it at our own pace. It's your workout, she blared.

    And my goal for 2010? It's to lose more weight by eating sensibly, exercise as much as possible and remember that I didn't gain weight overnight.

    Today's also my blogiversary. When I started this blog, I had lost 44 pounds and I'm now down 16 more. My weight loss percentage is at 26% now. I'll be more than happy if I can say that I've lost more weight in a year's time.