Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Don't Let Your Mind Write Stories That You Can't Handle or Month-End Review, February

Got an email from Patti to say that she missed me even though we were in the climbing gym at the same time last night. There were six of us and even though we played musical partners, Patti and I never partnered up...

Later on, I got an email from Crystal asking Patti and me if we were going to Hot Yoga. We can't talk in class but it was nice to know that at least one of buddies would be in the room.

Jeremy, one of my Hot Yoga instructors, had the line of the night when he expanded on a Cindyism and told us not to let our mind write stories that we couldn't handle. As we did a version of seated forward bend, Jeremy told us to give 110%. That's what you came to class for -- to give a 110% not to lalalala around.

Hope that you gave 110% during some of your February workouts...

10 Minute Solution: 5 Day Get Fit Mix

  • Cardio Kickboxing, 4 x's

  • Give Me 10!

  • Bonus Kettlebell ToneUp, 3 x's

  • Yoga Stretch & Flex, 2 x's

  • Kettlebell 101, 4 x's

    Kickboxing Class, 1 x

    Rock Climbing, 3 x's

    StairMaster, 1 x

    , 6 x's

    Walking, 6 x's

    Wii, 4 x's

    Yoga, 10 x's

    Monday, February 27, 2012

    The Push Back Kick

    Went to a new kickboxing class courtesy of a Groupon deal. Not sure that the nerves are worth the deal but, really, I've yet to run into an unfriendly bunch at a fitness center -- think it has something to do with endorphins.

    The instructor, Lee, said that it's better to be in your bare feet although some people don't like to take off their shoes. I quickly took off my Nike and socks because I do like to exercise sans shoes.

    To warm up, we did shadow boxing and I felt a little self-conscious. Next, we paired up with a partner. One person holds training mitts while the other executes a combination that Lee calls out. Oh wow, my wrists took a bit of a beating at first. It feels more real having someone swing at you even if they're swinging at your mitts.

    Lee told me to hit harder and then he had me look at a woman in class who was making thunderous sounds as she connected with the training mitts. I felt like I was going to hurt my partner and couldn't really let go. Same thing with the push back kick. I felt so unbelievably rude kicking at someone and pushing them back and, yet, it also felt good.

    At the end of class, Lee had us get down on the floor. Our mission? To hold a plank to failure. I felt pretty good about my plank tonight. I have Hot Yoga to thank for plank preparedness. Our other mission, should our plank fail, was to do crunches until Lee told us to stop. My poor abs are still tender.

    Sunday, February 26, 2012

    A Better Clean

    Got to kettlebell class seconds before it was slated to start. Mike wanted us to retrieve chairs and, as I'm retrieving my chair, he explains that he's going to have two classes -- a beginner's class and an intermediate one. For the latter, you have to know the clean, snatch and something else to get in.

    He said that the class is growing and even if there's one beginner, he needs to do teaching with the beginner which leaves the rest of us off to the side and even if we really know what we're doing, it's unfair; yadda yadda yadda.

    It was a relatively small class today but there was one beginner so Mike left us with our first circuit, a 10 minute one, and he assigned everyone something to remember. Kelly, who's usually in charge, was the two-hand swing woman, I was the squat, curl and press person. Girlfriend next to me was the right side lunge woman.

    During one circuit we used the chairs to do Russian Step-Ups (with kettlebells of course), push-ups and tricep dips.

    (Minimal Equipment Needed to Whip Yourself Into Shape)

    After being assigned various circuits, we were left with about 10 minutes. Kelly decided she wanted to show us some spine strengthening moves. I did a few but then opted out when she got to bow pose and executed it perfectly. Yeah, I had already struggled with that one yesterday during Hot Yoga. I had had enough.

    Did I mention that as soon as I stepped foot in the kettlebell studio my mood turned sour? I'm surprised that I didn't start shedding tears. Maybe I'm just tired; I don't have a day that I sleep in now. Maybe it's because I'm not doing very well with meal planning. I think that I've made Black Bean Vegetarian soup all winter. I can usually eat the same thing over and over but...

    As we left class, Chip said that he'll never get out of the beginner's class because he is not coordinated enough to do the Turkish Get-Up but he also said that he just takes these classes to have fun and stay active after taking so many relatives to the doctor that have to use walkers etc.

    That's definitely an excellent point and something that I struggle to remember when I get frustrated by what I perceive to feel as my body not cooperating with weight loss but, of course, it cooperates in the most wonderful way of all by lunging, swinging, jumping and, in general, not letting me down.

    As we put away our chairs, Kelly told me that my clean is getting better. She said that it took her forever to get it down. Who knows -- maybe the instructor for newbies will be able to zero in on something that I keep missing.

    Friday, February 24, 2012

    Stuff That Moves Me

    Me: By the way, I hope those were circus mirrors at UL (climbing gym)... Otherwise, I need to up my water intake and reduce my calories to about 1,000 per day. Haha...

    Patti: What mirrors? I don't look in mirrors... And you look great!...

    Leah (on left) belaying for me and Patti wondering what I'm doing while I take a pause for the photo cause.

    Wednesday, February 22, 2012

    Like Our Broke Yoga Teacher...

    Walked into the studio and was surprised to see Crystal and Patti since I didn't spot their cars. I keep forgetting that Patti's in a rental since she had an encounter with a deer and Crystal had her car parked off to the side.

    People were situated oddly in the room and to be by Crystal and Patti, I would have had to position myself front and center which I didn't want to do. So, I walked to the back of the room and the next thing that I heard was chicken sounds and when I turned around this woman (whose name I still don't know) was flapping her arms. She so caught me off-guard but I thought it was funny as hell.

    Patti and Crystal were nice enough to shift their mats which placed Crystal front and center which is a good place for her to be because she really looks like a soaring bird when she does eagle pose.

    I flashed my towel at P & C -- not sure what made me do that.

    Made them laugh plus chicken woman and I had to leave the room while trying to control waves of laughter especially when chicken woman asked me if I had the south butt towel too.

    Cindy, our instructor, didn't help either. She was on roll. While we were doing half tortoise, she told us to hold our hands together as if we had a dollar bill between them and like our broke yoga teacher wanted to take it.

    Hot Yoga was hard but the camaraderie, laughter and good instruction sustained me.

    Tuesday, February 21, 2012

    Without the Dishonor of Aerobics

    Thanks to Mich for suggesting this book to me. I ordered it from the library then had to return it because it was on hold for someone else and forgot about it until one of my climbing partners mentioned it.

    This book had me cracking up:

    The kettlebell delivers extreme all-around fitness. All-purpose strength. Staying power. Flexibility. Fat loss without the dishonor of aerobics. (1)

    My kettlebell clean seems to be a bit better since I've been reading the book. Passages that helped with the kettlebell clean:

    It is important to keep some tension in your glutes -- pinch a coin -- to protect your back. Also keep some braced tension in your abs. (92)

    Your arm should completely -- and loosely!-- straighten out at the time the kettlebell is behind you. Now you should look like a witch riding a broomstick...(95)

    Senior RKC Mike Mahler compares the final stage of the clean to an uppercut: "Focus on getting your hand around the bell rather than letting the bell flip over and smack you. As the bell passes waist level, imagine that you are doing an uppercut and get your hand around the bell. Make a fist at the top to get the bell in line with you." (98)
    Now, who wants to loan me their Enter the Kettlebell DVD? I promise that I'll take good care of it and return it quickly. Please...

    Sunday, February 19, 2012


    Thought about not going to kettlebell class because it almost feels like it’s not worth it to drag myself out of bed but, luckily, I tell other people what I’m doing so I felt a certain amount of accountability.

    I barely had enough time to heat up instant oatmeal (with a tablespoon of almond butter) before I had to head out the door.

    I kept thinking mindOVERbody mindOVERbody mindOVERbody which almost worked. I was able to swing for the majority of the time during circuits. I did have to pause for the cause but my classmates are beasts. Obviously, there are points when you can rest but when we're doing the two hand, hand-to-hand swings etc., I get so worn out and they are just banging out the reps which is why it's good to look at them and get inspiration.

    Today’s oddity (a phrase that I’m borrowing from Crystal who told me about an oddity in her Hot Yoga class) was a relatively new classmate’s positioning. We usually do kettlebell circuits in a circle but the student had her back to us.

    At one point Mike, who was over with two newbies, ran over and asked if she was in time-out. I laughed because I had been on the verge of laughing when she assumed the position. The student said that she had to see herself in the mirror in order to achieve the correct form...

    After class, I stopped by Trader Joe’s where I picked up way more than I had intended. What I did notice after piling in almond milk, almond butter, apples, coffee etc., was the weight in my basket didn’t overwhelm me. After swinging a kettlebell around for the better part of an hour, toting my full basket was a piece of cake…

    Saturday, February 18, 2012

    Watch the Breath Go In...Watch the Breath Go Out...

    Things that I thought about before Hot Yoga:

    Whatever you’re feeling in your head, your body is going to follow.

    Bob Harper told one of his trainees that on The Biggest Loser and, of course, this Cindyism also popped into my head:

    Don't let your mind write stories.
    This newbie with asthma wanted to dip her toes into the sweat drenched studio that is Hot Yoga but was concerned so I got one more thing to think about when Dr. B told her, among other things:

    Don't anticipate anything bad.
    I still got my butt kicked.

    I saw this tweet earlier by Bikram Yoga North Texas:

    Have you had your 90 minute moving meditation today? Come sweat with us.

    I like the concept of moving meditation...

    At one point during class, Jeremy said: Watch the breath go in. Watch the breath go out.

    Why, oh why, did that remind me of Otis Redding's Sitting on The Dock of the Bay?

    Jeremy also said something very simple but helpful during bow pose. He said to push your feet into your hands. Prior to that, I've felt like my thighs were stuck in quicksand. That's not to say that they were all that elevated after his comment but I was definitely able to lift them...a little.

    Thursday, February 16, 2012

    I Chalked You or Stuff People Say To Me

  • Lifeguard: Your body is like mine. I have swimmer's legs.

    I've got news for the lifeguard. I've been swimming for only three and a half years; the legs have always been thick...

  • I'm probably going to dream about planks.

    After student yoga teacher killed us with planks and downward facing dog.

  • I think that I chalked you.

    Lisa after giving me a hug when I entered the climbing gym.

  • Don't forget that there are stairs.

    Massage therapist to me after an 80 minute massage

  • Me: I thought you had given up this gym.

    Jeremy: No, I do like the other gym better but I'll climb wherever I have someone to climb with...

  • I finally got the feel of the living room.

    A coworker who decided to have a staycation and said that he normally is so tired by the time that he gets home, he usually goes straight to the bedroom.

  • I'm a fanatic about everything that I do.

    My S-I-L after we discussed her extension of the pantry

  • What? It's healthy...

    My brother after I started preparing oatmeal as he took his breakfast casserole, which consisted of two dozen eggs, sausage, cheese, potatoes etc., out of the oven.

  • There's something going on with your body. I thought I felt it last time. Now, I'm for sure. There's movement in your body. There's always been a denseness there but this is new. I don't like to ask people if they've lost weight but...muscle weighs more than...

    Massage therapist

  • MT: Your neck was tight.

    Me: It didn't feel tight.

    MT: (Chuckling) That's because you're used to it being that way.

    Same MT
  • Tuesday, February 14, 2012

    Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

    Couldn't decide what exercise I wanted to engage in. Initially, I had my mind set on swimming and Hot Yoga tomorrow. Patti, who is usually unavailable on Wednesday, is available which means that I cannot do Hot Yoga and climb on Wednesday but if I shifted Hot Yoga to today then no swimming opportunity until the weekend.

    When I arrived home from work, I felt so cold -- perfect circumstances for Hot Yoga but I also felt lethargic. Did I have the stamina to make it through 26 yoga poses done twice in a room that would be around 100 degrees? I looked at the poses and just looking at them wore me out.

    Patti actually helped me out and made me laugh by sharing her schedule:

    Monday is good for climbing OR HY.
    Tuesday is good for climbing OR HY.
    Wednesday is good for babysitting
    Thursday is good for climbing OR HY.
    Friday is good for climbing.
    Saturday is good for climbing OR HY.
    Sunday is good for climbing OR HY.
    After I ate, I felt less sluggish and I started singing -- a true indicator that I'm feeling better. I just can't figure out why I sing sad Aretha songs even when I feel well.

    I went swimming and I'm glad that I did. Now, if I can just figure out what I'm going to do tomorrow...

    And can't get this song out of my head...

    Sunday, February 12, 2012

    Think Punch and Crunch It

    As we stood around waiting for Kettlebell 101 to start, the woman next to me said I hate it when we have to jog and, two seconds later, Mikes sends us running around the room imploring us to use every inch of real estate. My calf protests and tightens up but the only thing that holds me back is my stamina. There were 13 of us in attendance and we each got to count off five jumping jacks at one point.

    While my calf keeps having little relapses, I can tell that it's on its way back to normal because it survived the jacks and lunges.

    After the warm-up, Mike hands out his core workout with variations. And by core workout, I mean that he went for the jugular as usual.

    When we got to the Turkish Get-Up, we broke off into groups and Mike worked with the newer folks. I was pretty confident that I had the TGU down because when Mike first introduced it, I practiced at home. But the left side? My brain took a while to compute the steps.

    For the first step, Mike told us to think punch it and crunch it. He also told us that our biceps should be by our ear -- something that I get all of the time in Hot Yoga when we're doing chair or tree pose.

    We broke off in groups of two to practice the TGU and Mike told us, again, about the point of spotting. He said it's not to interfere but to rescue -- if necessary.

    I've been watching the early seasons of The Biggest Loser which I hadn't seen. I like what trainer Kim Lyons told Brian during a last chance workout:

    Remember, it's not supposed to be easy.
    Had to keep this in mind when Mike had us do UFCs, an exercise that I was introduced to via a Jackie Warner video. UFCs are intense enough without adding a kettlebell to the mix.

    Saturday, February 11, 2012

    You Know What They Say About Hip Openers

    It was a Jeremy-free yoga session and Cindy was the captain of the ship. Actually, she reminded me of a flight attendant:

    Legs in the upright position. Feet as if they're walking on the ceiling. Arms parallel to feet and we're here for five, four, three, two, one...Halfway down for five, four, three, two, one...two inches above the floor for five, four, three, two, one...exhale and bring your knees to your chest. Inhale...arms above head. Exhale with two breaths, touch your toes and spin back around.

    Cindy was her usual on point self urging us to clear our minds. She made me laugh during cobra when she told us everything off the ground except for hips unless we were good at levitating.

    Despite the good advice, I felt like I was going through the motions in class and never got in touch with Ujjayi breathing. And, yes, I write stuff like that now. After 90 minutes of yoga, my mood turned pissy. Maybe it's hormones, the hip openers or both.

    Before savasana started, Cindy told us to take a moment and appreciate what our bodies had done. Maybe I was too tired to move or too tired to notice but there were only two people in the room when I finally emerged from savasana. Perhaps another round of savasana is in order...

    Thursday, February 9, 2012

    The Yoga Part of the Book

    I thought this book was fun -- not heavy and not too light and it's the kind of book that I like to take on vacation. Guess that I had a little vacation ambience for the 15 minutes that I like to read before work in the morning.

    A part of the book that made me smile is not related to yoga because I'm totally not immersed in yoga right now. Nope. Definitely not...

    I am deep in this thought when our yoga instructor, Conrad, makes the mistake of trying to adjust my triangle pose...Conrad simply lays his slim, pale hand on the small of my back, attempting to shift my weight a slight bit forward. And without thinking, in one swift move, I grab his arm and pull his entire body up and through the air. The next move in this series would have my knee on his throat and my gun to his head...(pg 121)
    Can't wait to read the next Sally Sin installment and can't wait to get my hands on another book...

    Tuesday, February 7, 2012

    It's A Dude's World

    Did I mention that I finally got an iPod Touch? I caved and got a refurbished one off of I've bought other refurbished items including a GPS that is almost four years and that I sometimes wish would malfunction so that I can justify getting a newer model with lifetime updates but I digressed...

    I've been enjoying the iPod and now I understand why that woman fell into a water fountain while texting.

    I've purchased two books so far. The first one was Stretch. I made sure that it wasn't at the library before I purchased it for the steep price of $.99 cents. Let's just say that I can be frugal at times or that I don't want to fall into the habit of buying things impulsively just because it's convenient.

    I read Stretch little by little. I read it a lot and, fittingly, while I waited for yoga classes to start. I enjoyed just about every moment of this book and it was definitely laugh out loud funny.

    Dude, needless to say and as suggested by the title, becomes completely immersed in yoga but is apprehensive when he starts off and especially when he's the only guy in the class that he attends.

    As I sat there in my coffee-stained white T-shirt and my paint-spattered cotton shorts with the "native" Guatemalan pattern embroidered across the hem, I felt self-conscious, hairy, and overly large, an ogre invited to a debutante ball. (pg 55 of 914)
    I so related to the feeling of being consumed by an activity.

    Yoga had steamrolled my family life, and infiltrated my reading list. I sometimes watched yoga DVDs, instead of movies at night. Sometimes, it felt as though I had space for little else in my brain. Now it was about to take over my professional life as well. (pg 412-13)
    Even though Pollack's wife refers to herself as a "yoga widow," she benefits from her husband's practice:

    Regina started calling me a "stinky yoga hippie," and I couldn't really argue, especially because she meant it as a compliment. I was nicer and calmer and more supportive than I'd been since she'd known me. Yoga made me feel better, and if I felt better, the family was happier. (162)
    Pollack does a twenty four yogathon, goes to Thailand to study with a teacher, does seva at a studio in order to attend free classes, goes to a festival and ends up writing articles for Yoga Journal.

    While this book did make me laugh a lot, this more serious passage is one of my favorites:

    I felt hints of something big in the universe that I couldn't quite grasp; the edges of my personality were beginning to soften and ease into calm and humility...(192)
    Speaking of serious, saw this video about people in China who work on Apple products. :(

    Sunday, February 5, 2012

    Things to Think About Before a Beat Down

    As I headed to Kettlebell 101, I thought about something that yoga instructor Cindy likes to say: your body will give up before your mind will. It's interesting the things that pop into your head before a beat down.

    After class I thought about Benjamin Mays:
    I have only just a minute, only 60 seconds in it,

    Forced upon me, can't refuse it.

    Didn't seek it, didn't choose it,

    But it's up to me to use it.

    I must suffer if I lose it,

    Give account if I abuse it,

    Just a tiny little minute,

    But eternity is in it,.

    What are you going to do with your minute?
    Don't ask Mike that because that leaves him with 3,600 seconds.

    Last week there were about 30 people in class. Today about 15...

    After we finished with swings, push-ups, lunges, squats and the hot potato which is less dangerous (kind of) than if you're actually tossing it to someone, Mike announces that we're going to do a ring of fire. That did not sound good and I was already worn out.

    We walked around the room with our kettlebells at our chest. Then we did walking lunges. We also pressed the kettlebell and walked around the room with our right then left arm skyward. Mike had us stop in our tracks then we'd swing. In addition, we got our squat on while doing figure eights. We also got airborne while holding our kettlebells. We also got in some ab work. Oh my God. When we did our initial circuits, I struggled and I looked at this petite woman across from me and she was methodically swinging 25 pounds. She kept swinging so I did too...

    What crosses your mind before an intense workout?

    Saturday, February 4, 2012

    What I Wished For

    I was in the coatroom when this woman came flying in. Good, I'm not the only one who got to class a minute before it started. I was like Au contraire. I had gotten there early but my method of operation is to set up my mat, put my towels out and go back into the coatroom. I keep my eye on the teacher and dip into class right before it starts...

    Yesterday, I wrote to Crystal and Patti that I wished that someone would sub for Jeremy who usually teaches Hot Yoga on Saturday.

    You know what they say: be careful what you ask for.

    I saw no sign of Jeremy when I got to the studio. Instead, Val would be teaching and she was out of sorts because she normally teaches at night. When we were supposed to turn left, she would tell us to turn right. I would like to think that's why she held us in chair pose so long -- trying to think of the next direction but, no, Val is an advocate of getting achy and uncomfortable; she thinks it's good for you. We had a lot of goodness today, I tell ya.

    Class was so intense that I wondered why I ever exercise at all. As we had our knees to the left and our gaze to the right, I saw that the woman next to me had a tattoo on her foot that said No Regrets. If I got a tattoo on my foot, I don't think it would be words but her tattoo definitely provided some inspiration when I needed it...

    Can't believe how expensive yoga clothes are. I've been looking for something to wear to Hot Yoga within my comfort range -- exposure and price wise. I finally found some duo dry Champion shorts at Target. I even think $19.99 is a bit much to pay for shorts but it's definitely better than $60 plus.

    Wednesday, February 1, 2012

    We're Not Camping

    In the coatroom, several people mentioned that they might go horizontal at some point during Hot Yoga but we all stayed in the upright position until we moved into a position that called for being horizontal.

    Cindy reminded us that we had set the time aside to take care of ourselves and that we all lead chaotic lives. With that in mind, she wanted us to clear our minds.

    If you have control of your breath, you have control of your lives which she also wanted us to remember when we got outside of the classroom.

    You can do anything for 60 seconds according to Cindy when we got to everyone's favorite portion of the program, the plank.

    No tenting of the bootie; we're not camping. Haha, Cindy....We were also not hammocks either, apparently.

    Your body will give up before your mind.

    My body sure did because I was in total disbelief when she said that we were halfway through holding the plank. How does 30 seconds feel so long?

    For the first time in my Hot Yoga experience, people did not jump out of savasana which made for a much nicer experience and allowed me, as another teacher likes to say, to feel the benefits of the practice...

    So, Hazira comes to see me and she holds out this calendar.

    It takes my mind a minute to make the connection between the life size version she's holding and the one that I've been looking at on Amazon. I was so happy. And guess where she found it at? The thrift store, one of her favorite stores.

    Hazira also gave me this purse

    that she found a thrift store. She scored it for like $12 dollars. The woman's got skills. Thanks Hazira...