Thursday, January 31, 2013

In Like or Month-End Review, January

Went to my third Zumba Gold class. While I'm not in love with Zumba, I'm definitely in like. It certainly helps that Jenn, the instructor, is all into it too. She had me laughing when she said Welcome to yoga to the group of about 40. Then You're in a two hour Zumba class. I totally wouldn't mind participating in a Zumbathon. And to think, I almost let the northwest flow and below average temperature keep me from heading out the door...

Earlier today, I saw someone that I hadn't seen in about five years and the first thing she said to me was that I had lost weight which made me feel good. It lets me know that even though I've gained weight, I haven't put it all back on.

It's, amazingly, the end of another month. Here's how I stayed active:


10 Minute Solution: 5 Day Get Fit Mix
  • Fat Blasting Interval, 1 x

  • 10 Minute Solution: KnockOut BODY!
  • Knockout Body Blast, 1 x

  • 10 Minute Solution: Tone Trouble Zones
  • 10 Minute Stretch, 2 x's

  • Boxing, 4 x's

    Kettlebell, 5 x's

    Rock Climbing, 5 x's

    Supreme Day 90, 2 x's

    Swimming, 3 x's

    Walking, 5 x's

    Yoga, 12 x's

    Zumba Gold, 3 x's


    Tried any new activities?



    Wednesday, January 30, 2013

    Putting My Back Into It

    Want One
    This week, I'm keenly aware of my back.

    I feel every downward facing dog, every punch that I've thrown, every route that I've climbed, and every kettlebell clean and press that I've executed. There's no pain but a feeling of expansion.

    Kettlebell practice was mostly about the upper body. I enjoyed working on the TRX and it did cross my mind that maybe I should get one -- along with a boxing bag but only if I unclutter more.

    For my fellow kettlebeller, Tiffany, I have several nicknames -- Little Ms. Turkish Get-Up and Princess Tiffany (for the sparkly headbands that she wears at times). Tonight, she was Cirque du Soleil for doing a plank, arms-extended, from a medicine ball.

    As for me, I had to ditch the medicine ball and modify since it's always a risky situation when I try to perch on a ball.

    Sunday, January 27, 2013

    We Did The Wild Thing

    10 Mins Before Class
    I've been thinking about giving up a few classes until the New Year's craze settles down. Even so, I didn't consider that option for Gloria's class.

    To alleviate the real estate issue, Gloria offered to teach two classes on Sunday but the gym wasn't receptive to the idea but, when I looked online last night, I was surprised to see two Gloria classes scheduled for Sunday. A note on the door said that the additional class is a seasonal adjustment which is funny because the attendance in Gloria's class is not a seasonal thing.

    After I put my mat down, I headed out of the room and this newbie wanted to know if the class was starting or ending. I told her that it was starting and that she should enter immediately.

    As sweat started rolling down my face after a couple of sun salutations, I thought about how peaceful Gloria's class is even though it's packed to the rafters...

    Gloria mentioned that practicing yoga is a chance to recharge your Prana which I was sorely in need of as I have been feeling out of sorts and blueish for days.

    We did wild thing pose and it was the perfect asana for me this morning. I found it challenging but fun and very liberating.



    Friday, January 25, 2013

    The Put Down Factor

    Saw Swimming Studies on someone's must-read list. It's an interesting book by Leanne Shapton, an almost Olympian. What I enjoyed about the story is Shapton's devotion to swimming -- all the way up to her fascination with the Titanic disaster from the perspective of a swimmer.

    Being a newer swimmer, I haven't spent time considering swimming-related injuries so I found the tidbit below interesting:
    Freestylers, backstrokers, and butterflyers usually have shoulder problems, but most breaststrokers have knee problems...After workouts and races, I would sit in the bleachers with a styrofoam cup of frozen water, rolling the flat ice against the insides of my knees until they turned bright pink and lost all feeling... (4)
    Shapton has illustrations of swimmers and a Smithsonian-like catalog of swimming suits that she once owned along with notes of where she bought them from and where she swam in them (Canadian Olympic trials, Switzerland). I like Shapton's portraits of what it requires to compete then later of her non-competitive tendencies:
    The last ten or fifteen meters are tho most painful, physically and mentally. Muscles flood with lactic acid. Strokes shorten, weaken, churn, and find no purchase. It's a terrible, desperate feeling, where the results of training are determined. Not enough cardio and your entire body fails, not enough drills and your stroke slips, not enough strength training and muscles burn like paper curling in flames. (33-34)
    * * *
    I'm a poorly drawn jock. I suspect, these days, I am more suited to bathing...(288)
    Swimming Studies is a bit eccentric but I was drawn in from the beginning and couldn't put it down. I totally related to Shapton when she forgets to pack her swimming suit and is at a hotel with a famous swimming pool. Been there -- not at a famous pool but leaving my swimming suit or workout gear at home because I didn't think I'd have a window of opportunity then debating about whether I should buy something new...

    Wednesday, January 23, 2013

    No Rep Left Behind

    If Marisa says that we're doing a Tabata with six sets of triceps dips then we're going to do them but not because Marisa realizes that she stopped at five but because of Tiffany who will remind her.

    It doesn't matter if I call Tiffany Little Miss Turkish Get-Up or I tell her that I'll see her on the parking lot afterwards, she never lets us forget a rep or circuit but, as Marisa likes to say, you're only cheating yourself when you don't push...

    Tiffany tells me I'm a scientist and a Type A Personality... Ugh, she can't help herself. I ask Tiffany how often she works out. She tells me five days a week then I wouldn't be able to make it through work if I didn't. I assured Tiffany that she was not the only one who wouldn't be able to make it.

    At one point, we get up after doing some situation on the floor and Marisa wants us to do jumping jacks but I cannot get the signal from my brain to my legs and arms so I take a break...Marisa definitely came prepared with one of her wreck you routines...

    My massage therapist gave me Epsom salt the last time that I saw her. Go ahead and use the whole thing...and it will be fragrant because it has essential oils in it, she said.

    Post-Kettlebell Rx
    As I read in the bath, I thought about Hazira who thinks about the financial situation of friends in the former Yugoslavia. Hazira asked me how much my ings (climbing, swimming etc.) cost per month and how much for massage. I know it's a luxury but not...

    Current Reading Material

    Monday, January 21, 2013

    The Yoga Ambassador

    Got quizzed by a few regulars in a yoga class including one who said I don't think I've seen you before.

    They like to introduce themselves, Sharon said as she walked by me. I totally didn't mind. I love decorum and I hope that I'm still practicing yoga as a senior; I will walk around and be an ambassador as well.

    Sharon told us that it was a gentle yoga class and we wouldn't be doing the likes of downward facing dog. No problem, Sharon, I knew what I was getting myself into and I definitely was not going to bemoan the absence of down...dog.

    Sharon wasn't totally honest, though, because we did wall dog -- a modification of downward facing dog using the yoga wall and a bar. A dog is a dog is a dog.

    Haven't taken Sharon's class in ages but I still love it when she says And breathe...don't hold your breath because when she's says it, I'm usually holding said breath.

    At some point during savasana, the teacher wants you to wiggle your toes or make circles with your wrists and to bring your awareness back to the present and there's always part of me that's screaming and shaking my head on the inside. No, no, no -- I don't want to come back to the present.

    As I rested on my side, I started thinking about the problem with yoga and massage -- I never want to leave those rooms.

    As yogis put on coats, a woman said I could go for a massage right now.

    Stop it!, I said. Just stop it....


    Sunday, January 20, 2013

    Belly Breaths and Such

    Anantasana or Lord Vishnu Pose
    Enjoyed yoga practice. Gloria made me chuckle when she said Free the belly as we went into child's pose. We got back in touch with the belly before savasana when Gloria asked us to put our hands on our stomachs and take deep belly breaths.

    Enjoyed the preparation for Lord Vishnu and enjoyed the pose as well.

    I checked out LV and now know why I liked the pose so much:
    The peace-loving deity of the Hindu Trinity, Vishnu is the Preserver or Sustainer of life with his steadfast principles of order, righteousness and truth. When these values are under threat, Vishnu emerges out of his transcendence to restore peace and order on earth...
    What did you enjoy today?

    Friday, January 18, 2013

    Nothing Common About It

    Went swimming last Saturday and experienced congestion. No biggie. Post-swimming congestion happens. I was so sure that my congestion was swimming-related that I confidently told my massage therapist that I was not battling anything when she inquired.

    Famous last words and hope springs eternal because I've heard a plethora of people coughing and whatnot in the gym and at work.

    I have been fighting the good fight with Emergen-C, Cold-eeze plus green with sgs, ginger + lemon and rose hip teas. If nothing else, this cold should have drowned by now.

    Whatever It Takes...
    One of colleagues told me, by the way, that they used to throw rose hips and rub them into each other's backs as kids which reminds me of yet another colleague who's from California; they used to throw pomegranates at one another.

    When I took a bath, I decided to throw my Reiki-blessed salts into the bathwater. This cold is going down!

    In all seriousness, I have a fresh appreciation for wellness...

    Infused with Reiki Blessings...

    Wednesday, January 16, 2013

    The Marisa School Bus

    Yeah, I pretty much got schooled by Marisa but what's new? She schools me every Wednesday.

    When I first started practicing kettlebell, I found myself standing next to Barbara but when that place closed, most of the kettlebellers went separate ways.

    Barbara's been ready to swing again so I, jokingly, suggested to Marisa to avoid the jugular right away and Marisa told me I always go hard. She also reminded me to go at my own pace and to modify when necessary but followed it up by saying that Working out is not always comfortable. Touch√© Marisa.

    Marisa & Tiffany Demoing Partner Sit-Ups
    And Barbara? It was as if she hadn't missed a beat. She was all over those burpees and pretty much rocked the whole workout and it was good to stand and swing next to her again.

    I noticed that Tiffany was silent as a monk. She said that it had been a rough day and we all agreed that we were pretty much over the work week. I have mad props for Tiffany for practicing despite being in a mood...

    Tuesday, January 15, 2013

    Can-Climb

    One Climber Did Not Walk Out
    As I got into my harness, I looked into the mirror and I had one thought: Please God let these be circus mirrors, ugh.

    How goofy, plump and odd my body looks at times. Just as quickly, I gave myself a pep talk. Okay, you might have an odd figure but you can climb and, so, I did not bury my head in the locker room, I headed out to find Mike and Patti.

    After I ascended my fourth route, I noticed a climber being assisted to a crash pad. He looked semi-conscious and was not moving his left side at all. Mike seemed to think it was his clavicle. Whatever it was, he will not be climbing for a while.

    Police officers and paramedics came and people continued to climb. One officer looked around at the people in the air and I wondered what he thought.

    Needless to say, my thoughts go out to that climber and I hope that his recovery is quick.

    Sunday, January 13, 2013

    The Architecture of the Body

    Reenactment of Side Plank Variation
    There was pre-practice talk between Gloria and another fitness instructor who recently tried hot yoga and said that, for her, yoga was about gentleness and stretching. Don't know if girlfriend planted a seed in Gloria's head or if Gloria already wanted to give us the gift of heat since it's so cold but...

    Gloria talked about using the architecture of the body during downward facing dog. She wanted to make sure that we were using the arches of our palms and not just putting all the pressure on our pinkies and thumbs.

    After doing prayer frog (deep squat with Namaste hands) with a twist and downward facing dog with a twist, things got heated and this guy in my vicinity basically grunted the equivalent of Oh my God! My equivalent = Holy Crap! I started laughing and so did others including Gloria who told us to go into frontal corpse and, while we were at it, to make our breathing smooth and even. My breaths were definitely rapid and out of control at that point.

    We also did a side plank with a variation which made me quiver.  We are building concentration, poise and strength in this pose, Gloria said. No doubt...

    Friday, January 11, 2013

    So Fresh, So Calm

    I told Patti that I had planned on going to Zumba followed by yoga but I had run out of steam. Instead, I took a really warm, salt bath then headed to yoga.

    Your evening sounds wonderful Patti wrote.

    It was wonderful I wrote back. I sometimes forget to ruminate on the roses.

    Madonna was in a saucy mood -- asking us to do a wicked boat pose from the wall. She would, though, turn around and give us a luxurious counter stretch.

    I absolutely adore downward facing dog from the wall. As Madonna said, the wall makes you feel DFD in a whole different way.

    At the end of class, I was touched by Gail who made sure that another yogi was comfortable during savasana. Do you need a bolster. Do you need a blanket? Do you need...? 

    As I sat at my desk today, I noticed my posture and there was marked improvement. There must have also been marked improvement in my mood because one of my coworkers told me that I am always so calm...



    Wednesday, January 9, 2013

    There's Something...About Marisa

    Waiting to Be Unfurled
    For someone who has an excellent sense of decorum, there's something impertinent about the way that Marisa works you out. She told us to grab two kettlebells which we temporarily set aside during the warm-up.

    After the warm-up, it was time to completely set the body on fire with double kettlebell squats and lunges. I struggled during that first circuit and my efforts didn't improve during knees-to-feet -- also doubled; gravity called my name and pulled me to the floor and I barely mustered the energy to get off my knees three times let alone 10. At some point, I put down the kettlebells and just did knees-to-feet.

    Marisa wanted undulation ropes for Christmas and I think she chose the Federal Express option for shipping. Although the ropes weren't easy, it was nice to do something different. At one point, Marisa's son came into the room and he was totally fascinated by the ropes or, possibly, all of the commotion that I made as I tried to keep them going for a minute and thirty seconds at the end of class.


    P.S. I totally swung a 16 kg (35 lb) kettlebell around for a while...

    Sunday, January 6, 2013

    The Space of Your Aura

    Gloria's class is usually well attended but add in the January phenomenon and there are, easily, 50 yogis in the room.

    We're going to make space for everyone today...somehow...Gloria said. This woman in front of me whispered to her friend -- I need to start getting here earlier. Friend -- I already learned my lesson.

    Gloria joked about this couple that's always early -- I think they might even sleep here. She went on to further ease our minds by telling us that we had the space of our auras. I wanted to joke that I hope we all enjoyed our auras because that was the only real estate that we had but it's really not a joke because if you don't enjoy your aura, no one else will.

    Pray That You Get to Class Early
    I had an exasperated breather next to me but I just figured that she really needed to be in class or back off of poses. Really, her breaths sounded so tense and annoyed...

    A couple of things that Gloria said stuck with me. Before savasana, we had our feet together and our hands over our bellies when she said It's a very relaxing, restorative pose; you just have to let it happen.

    And, as we were in tree pose, Gloria said that balance poses can be very relaxing. I do like tree but I find myself gripping the mat with my toes and otherwise being frustrated in other balance postures. Looks like I need to let other things happen as well.

    How about it yogis. Do you find balance poses relaxing?

    Saturday, January 5, 2013

    Day Five

    Sweet Emptiness
    My regular pool is open again. Yayyyyyyy! When I got there, the lifeguard said We saved a lane for you. I looked. Not a body or ripple in the water.

    I ordered a new swimming suit because I've darned my go-to TYR to the best of my ability and it's starting to come apart everywhere. I had to return the new suit and I'm waiting for them to process the return so that I can order another one. Unfortunately, it's taking forever because of the holidays.

    In the meantime, one of my colleagues suggested that I wear two suits. She told me that lots of swimmers double up on suits to create drag but it's also effective when you have two suits in various states of disrepair.

    The Speedo and The TYR
    I thought having on two suits would feel funny but it didn't and it was also nice to be worry-free regarding wardrobe malfunctions...

    I swam 18 laps, made a pit stop then met Patti for climbing. As I headed toward the locker room, I saw a familiar face -- don't remember his name. When I asked him how he felt, he said heavy and the scale backed up his feeling of heaviness.

    I totally relate to the feeling but, like my fellow climber, I still had a good day on the wall and I'm totally grateful that I'm able to ascend a 40 foot wall..

    Weight Management -- As Alien As Climbing

    Thursday, January 3, 2013

    The Only Rule

    I finally got the courage and signed up for a Zumba class -- Zumba Gold, really, which is geared towards older people, beginners or anyone needing modifications.

    Who's new? the instructor, Jenn, asked.

    I didn't want to raise my hand but it was obvious that I was new. I'll just look at the people that look new, she joked.

    I was close to the wall and Jenn said Those corners will eat you up. I saw space on the other side of the room and asked this woman if she would switch positions with me because I wanted to be on the back row. As the music started, this woman skidded into class and next to me.

    Jenn is a great and enthusiastic teacher. Bonus -- this woman on the front row smiled almost the entire time. There were moments when I faced the opposite direction of everyone else but I didn't feel embarrassed. Also loved that it was an inter-generational class. The vibe in the room was great and I can see why so many are addicted to Zumba.

    The woman next to me, the skidder, was totally into it and she made me want to put more effort into my moves. She also made me sing during this one song because she would sing then turn to me, repeatedly, mouthing the words.

    Jenn said that the only rule of Zumba is to have fun and I did. As I gathered my things in the hallway, the skidder said Are you going to take my Zumba Tone class now? That totally explained the enthusiasm and, while I didn't take her class today, I would like to return to take it.

    Wednesday, January 2, 2013

    Instead of...Burpees

    Marisa has the distinction of being the first person to wish me happy new year with a text that arrived three minutes after midnight. It was kind of reassuring (as it was on Christmas) because even though I had eaten sweet potato pie and my aunt's extra squishy macaroni and cheese, I knew that regularly scheduled programming would resume. What better way to get back on track than swinging with Marisa?

    On New Year's Day, I rolled out of bed and took my first yoga class; it was a great way to begin 2013 even if Gloria had us do tons of twists. Twists, she said, are cleansing. I don't know what you all did last night...or if you're praying for forgiveness right now...Haha, I hadn't done anything; my New Year's Eve swim left me satisfied but spent. Plus, I wanted to make sure that I could be present on my mat at 9. Thrilling life I lead, I know...

    While in a forward fold, Gloria encouraged us to hang and surrender. She later told us that yoga is a way to ground yourself and that grounding brings clarity. I couldn't agree more. I feel fortified after practicing yoga plus there's something refreshing about surrendering.

    Later in the day, I thought about going to the YMCA's open house but really didn't feel like venturing out in the cold so I took a page out of Dietgirl's book and dusted off DVDs. At first, I was going to do cardio kickboxing then nixed that. Next, I thought about Supreme 90 Day's tabata inferno and finally settled on cardio challenge from that set. I looked at Supreme 90 Day a long time ago and got stalled out on ultimate ball. Wish that I hadn't gotten distracted by attempts to balance on a stability ball because I really enjoyed cardio challenge.

    Loved the 30 seconds of work and 30 seconds of rest. The plank rotations, burpees and mountain climbers all felt doable because of the time frame.


    I also like the stretching portion which has some of the same moves that we do in yoga: runner's lunge, pigeon and child's pose.

    I jotted down the stretching sequence because my right hip has been talking to me lately. When I told Patti about needing to stretch, she responded back with:
    Stretching, isn't that part of yoga?  You should be all stretched out and a couple of inches taller.
    But what I haven't been doing all the time is stretching immediately after exercise.

    Regarding Marisa's class, I questioned my sanity and wondered, while on the floor instead of doing burpees, why I even pay for kettlebell instruction. Rounds of squat presses with double kettlebells, burpees, jumping jacks and push-ups left me totally weepy. I had such can-do energy after the cardio challenge. Not sure where it went...