Thursday, February 28, 2013

Strong Body & Mind or Month-End Review, February

Started a new boxing session on Monday and had a new sparring partner -- Katie. At one point, Dawn told Katie -- Don't slap, hit. She's strong -- she can take it. The next day I went swimming and, as Chatty Kathleen and I paused at the end of the lane, she told me that I had "beaten" her by 20 feet. You're strong she said. I was a bit surprised to hear that Kathleen had been secretly racing me. Also a bit surprised that people can see proof of my strength.

Attaining upper body strength was such an important goal for me. What I didn't know was that I'd also acquire a stronger mind along the way. I have my moments but most days I feel incredibly grounded -- excepted when I climbing, of course. Speaking of being grounded, I had a very nice yoga practice this evening. I could have stayed in fetal position for an indefinite amount of time and, after singing om, I could have stayed there in the dark by candlelight in easy pose all night long.

Month-End Review:

Bob Harper: Inside Out Method

  • Workout I, Strength Training, 1 x

  • Workout II, Strength Training, 1 x

  • Boxing, 4 x's

    Kettlebell, 4 x's

    Latin Cardio Party

  • Cumbia, 1 x

  • Samba, 2 x's

  • Found More Confidence in My Moves Post-Zumba

    Swimming, 6 x's

    Walking, 1 x

    Yoga, 7 x's

    Zumba, 4 x's

    Anyone secretly race you this month?

    Wednesday, February 27, 2013

    Tiffany's Response

    Before kettlebell practice, I tried to brace myself -- the way one braces the lats in the kettlebell waiter hold. I remind myself that I will be pushed out of my comfort zone. Guess Marisa heard me. She started us off with body weight exercises. Well, first, she started us off with the usual Molotov cocktail of butt kickers, high knees, mountain climbers and jumping jacks then we moved on to the body weight portion of the program.

    Bomb Divers anyone? How about crab planks (a kind of reverse table top push-up)?

    We did hand-to-hand swings; hand-to-hand cleans; clean and presses; squat, curl and biceps extensions; around the body with a catch and lunge. Some kangaroo situation where you do a backward lunge then hop up. I felt instant feedback in my glutes on that one.

    We did 30 triceps dips. Thirty two-hand swings. Push-ups. Planks with a T-up and then a reach. Regular planks and ab work to end class. We actually begged for the ab work as opposed to more kettlebell maneuvers.

    At one point, I asked Princess Tiffany  if she was even sweating. A little, she responded...

    Tuesday, February 26, 2013


    After revealing fitness plans, Patti told me that swimming didn't seem right on a night like this one. From her perspective, hot chocolate was more appropriate.

    Near Kansas City

    After I shared pictures from my brother, Patti responded Brrr...but beautiful -- which is how I usually feel about swimming...

    One of My Brother's Rotts Romping It Up

    Sunday, February 24, 2013

    What I Heard

    Temp Tattoos, A Fave of the Inner Child
    Treat. Pleasure. I keep trying to come up with a more accurate word to describe the experience of attending yoga practice with Gloria at the helm.

    Even though her Sunday class has been split in two, the 11:00 o'clock session continues to grow and there were, easily, 45 yogis if not more.

    Gloria settled us down by having us draw circles with our face then we interlaced our fingers, cupped our head then dipped one shoulder left and the other right which was incredibly relaxing.

    After that sequence, Gloria read a poem and the phrase that caught my attention was You are not broken and the phrase that I repeated countless times was Oh my God as I tried to find comfort in pyramid pose (parsvottonasana) and turtle shell/tortoise pose (kurmasana). I had to remind myself to breathe but when Gloria said we'll be here for five breaths in pyramid, I kept thinking that I was good at breath two.

    When Gloria said that there should be a channel between the hips during high lunge, it resonated with me. Likewise, when she said that the pelvis should be like a bowl during mountain pose (tadasana), I also got it re: how your positioning should be since you don't want your "soup" to spill out...

    After savasana, Gloria said a pre-Namaste mantra. What I heard: each breath a yes and a letting go...

    Saturday, February 23, 2013

    Someone Else Inspires

    The last time that I went to Zumba this woman said shoe twins and, indeed, we were shoes twins -- sporting the same pair of visually appealing Nike.

    My shoe twin and I took up the same positions on the floor. What I didn't notice last week was Shoe Twin's maximum effort. That girl clowns on the studio floor. Her effort is symbolic of what I like most about group classes. When you're dragging and trying to find that mind over matter zone, someone else inspires. But, really, Shoe Twin was bouncing around like Tigger or as if she'd had an energy drink.

    The lower half of my body screamed about 20 minutes into Zumba. I should have said thanks to Shoe Twin because she definitely helped me dig deeper...

    Attempted to get a haircut but the house was full then went home and decided to go swimming. On Friday, I stopped by the pool and the ominous closed until further notice sign had been removed. A power line had fallen, causing a minor fire (in another building) and loss of electricity which made the water in the pool drain. Luckily for me, the pool is filled again.

    There is something cool about swimming while there's snow on the ground. Bad pun, I know...

    No Special Effects Needed

    Got in 13 laps and headed back to my barber who still had a full house. I waited for almost two hours while thinking about the many things that I could be doing. At some point, I settled down in an easy chair and read articles hoping that my less than 20% battery would hold out.

    Went by the store after the precious haircut and picked up a Boboli crust and vegetables off the salad bar for a quick dinner. Passed by the library as it was closing and wished that I had thought to stop by earlier as I'm out of magazines to read for bubble baths because, as Gingerzingi pointed out, dropping a Kindle in the bathtub is a fatal error.

    Got home, turned on the oven and realized that I still had Senegalese Peanut Stew. Felt warmth from the oven as I headed in the direction of the Mr. Coffee. Forgot that oven was on and also realized that I forgot to get bananas. There's always tomorrow, right?

    The Loneliest Number

    Song that I'm digging from Zumba lineup...V.I.C.'s Wobble.

    Friday, February 22, 2013

    If I Had More Money or Stuff People Say to Me

  • Me: I feel like I'm getting in the  way of you staring down the wall

  • Boulderer: That's okay -- we'll just stare at you awkwardly.

  • I couldn't read you today. Where you relaxed?

  • Massage Therapist

  • I've been giving the plant Reiki.

  •  Kim re: her big plant

  • Are you talking to your organs yet

  • I expressed doubt when an acquaintance mentioned that she talked to her organs but Hazira thinks that I've now reached the point where I may very well talk to mine.

  • Sounds like you're hallucinating

  • Hazira re: my ability to see yoga everywhere.

  • I like to get there early and do savasana before class starts...

  • Colleen to me re: the time commitment it takes to practice Bikram yoga.

  • If I had more money, I’d have a lot more cheese at home...

  • Sarah

  • Who told you to stop? 

  • Dawn to the class as we warmed up our abs prior to boxing.

  • She broke it, like, three times... 

  • Ademir to me re: his girlfriend's Chinglish

  • Me: As you see, I never take my mats out of the car.

  • Cindy: When you get a more expensive one, you will.

    Wednesday, February 20, 2013

    Plan KB

    Went to swim last night and did not see a single car near the pool house. The sign on the door said Closed until further notice. I was bummed and without a Plan B. Fast forward to today -- Plan KB or kettlebell.

    Tiffany and I had Marisa's undivided attention and she started us off with rounds of double kettlebell squat thrusters, burpees, two-hand swings with a sizable kettlebell then pull-ups (assisted and on TRX).

    After my second set of squat thrusters, I could not deal with burpees and Marisa saw it in my face so she told me to do push-ups and squat jumps. By the time I got to my third set of squat thrusters, the thrill was gone.

    It was a lower body intensive workout with so many squats and lunges that I lost count. Can't remember the last time that my quadriceps were so sore. I'm hoping that the Epsom salt and eucalyptus will suss the soreness out.

    Monday, February 18, 2013

    Your Legs Are Longer Than Your Arms

    For the final class in this boxing session, I really didn't know if I was going to spar or not which is what I told Dawn when she asked me.

    The doorbell rang to the "historic" building that houses the Y's martial arts program and I offered to open the door but Dawn sent someone else because she wanted to suit me up.

    Did I say yes? I asked one of my classmates.
    You said maybe and that means Dawn is suiting you up.

    As we stood around looking like Michelin Men, Lori asked the question that was on my mind -- What is the goal?

    Dawn said that the goal for one person might be to get in a crescent kick and for someone else it might be to use their left leg instead of right.

    Mike told us first-timers that if someone is kicking you, some part of their body is exposed and he also reminded us that our legs are longer than our arms which is cool with me because I love kicking. As I sparred, Dawn told me not to stop at just one kick but it's hard to remember when someone is coming at you...

    Overall, controlled fighting was a good experience. I'm glad that I stepped out of my comfort zone to participate and thanks to Dawn for ignoring my maybe.

    Sunday, February 17, 2013

    Hang Tight

    Don't remember half of the cool stuff that Gloria said in class but I do remember her saying that yoga helps with flexibility of the body and flexibility of the mind. Yoga has definitely helped me with the latter.

    Gloria sometimes practices yoga to random videos online and recently practiced to a Dagmar video that she liked. The video begins with Hang music which Gloria shared with us.

    I thoroughly enjoyed the music -- found it incredibly beautiful and relaxing and it's now on my music to quiet the mind playlist.

    You can go to for a complimentary download. Thanks Gloria for sharing the music and so much more...

    P.S. I had a clear view of myself and totally liked the way I looked in Warrior II this day.

    Saturday, February 16, 2013

    The Joy of Being Weird With People

    Found myself looking forward to Zumba...Experienced my third instructor; all of them have been super enthusiastic and cool. Laura's routines seemed more complicated but as she said at the beginning of class, You're not at the Muny. No one's paying to watch you dance...The only rule of Zumba have fun.

    Even though my hips and right IT band promised revenge, I stayed in class. Didn't really dig the Thrift Store routine but one weird routine out of 10+ is not a bad ratio at all...

    I thoroughly enjoyed dancing to Big and Chunky. Moves that I liked -- the bootie rubber or the shake and bake. Speaking of booties, I got mine completely kicked today.

    Laura wanted us to make a sound at a particular point in a song. Don't make me do it by myself and look weird she said. Reminds me of a poster that I saw recently: I love people I can be weird with.


    Wednesday, February 13, 2013

    Be Like Tiffany

    Did not exercise yesterday and felt totally weird. It was my mother's birthday and she wanted to go to Red Lobster. I got the wood-grilled tilapia (half order) with roasted vegetables and was silently grateful that I don't eat out often and that I don't even like to eat out anymore.

    Wednesday is reserved for swinging and what a way to get back on track.

    Marisa reminded me to get my butt lower to the ground as I did jump squats. Later on, she told me to embrace burpees as I protested. I'm fairly coordinated but I have such a hard time with agility when it comes to burpees. Plus, the burpees came at the end of class when we had four stations and one minute at each station:

  • Burpees

  • Around The Body with a Catch and Lunge

  • Battle Ropes

  • Two-Hand Kettlebell Swing

  • Tiffany's Extra Credit Assisted Pull-Ups

    Tiffany wanted to know if we should go straight into the next station and that is such a Tiffany question. And, for the record, if the Gymboss goes off and Tiffany hasn't finished her reps, you better believe that she's going to do them anyway; she doesn't stop because the buzzer has gone off.

    Sunday, February 10, 2013

    Before She Lit Us Up

    Thought about attending Gloria's 9 a.m. class but the rain lulled me back to sleep. I managed to let go of the bed and get myself together for the 11 a.m. class though.

    Gloria read this Elizabeth Kubler-Ross quote to start things off:
    People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is light from within.
    I hope that yoga helps you find the light, Gloria said before she lit us up.

    Plank...Chinese Fire Drill...Plank...Crocodile...Plank...Plank

    I should have known that things were going to get heated when, inspired by a Rodney Yee video, Gloria had us jog to warm-up. Then, we did a breathing exercise that Gloria calls java breath -- it will wake you up, she said. It's a pretty cool sequence where you move your arms up, out and down rapidly and breathe audibly on the last arm movement. We did this about 10 times and it looked like there was a classroom full of symphony conductors. Stay down, Gloria told us on the final one and we let it all hang for a moment.

    After java breath, it totally felt like I was in a hot yoga class. At one point we did a situation that Gloria said is sometimes referred to as the ax splitter to which one of my classmates said Are you sure they said ax?

    On another note, I continue to live under a partial rock. I don't remember hearing about a Chinese Fire Drill and only found one yoga-related mention of it...

    Saturday, February 9, 2013

    Total Endorphin Rush

    Walked into my first Zumba class minus the gold. Zumba Gold classes are 15 minutes shorter and  low impact. I totally felt the additional 15 minutes and the added bouncing around and whatnot.

    I worried that the new teacher wouldn't be as cool as Jenn, the Zumba Gold teach, but Relanda was everything that I hoped for and more.

    I have a new workout playlist and most of the tunes come from kettlebell and  Zumba classes.

    So far, my favorite Zumba routine is from Relanda's class. She had the Turners' (Ike and Tina) Proud Mary in the rotation. So much fun. I turned around so fast on one part that I got completely dizzy.

    I had endorphins to spare after class so I took it the pool after refueling. I chugged along, got into the zone around lap 15 and totally crashed at lap 20.

    Thursday, February 7, 2013

    We Should Dance

    Must have really gotten my bell rung in kettlebell practice because I left my yoga mat behind which I use for planks and whatnot during class.

    Also not sure what I did with insulated tumbler number five. I went to give fellow kettlebeller, Princess Tiffany, something and I think that I left the tumbler on the car even though I didn't hear anything crash to the ground. Also pulled over because I thought that I had left my iPod behind...Where's my mind?

    Saw this quote posted on Twitter:
    Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we’re here we should dance. -Anonymous
    And, so, I went to Zumba and danced away a week that's felt really long. I love music -- almost as much as this baby.

    Tuesday, February 5, 2013


    Boxing class has been enjoyable and frustrating -- especially when holding the mitts and trying to figure out where to place them for the boxer.

    But even when I'm the boxer, trying to remember which leg to lead with etc. gets confusing. Like you would think a jab, cross, low hook, high hook and jab are simple to remember but... If you're lucky enough, you eventually get on the same page with your sparring partner.

    I like the way Mike explains combinations. We were working on kicks -- a front, side, back and crescent. Think of it as right, left, right, left which made it all fall into place for me so that by the time I got to the crescent kick, I was squared away with my sparring partner as I should have been.

    Mike also reminds me to keep my hands up. Duh! He lets me know how much better one's balance is when the hands are up while kicking and it is so much better.

    Dawn, the main teacher, tells us that for our final class in the session, we will spar. She warns us that it will be intense and that if we can't kick high, we won't be allowed to kick since there will be no padding high up on the jackets we'll be wearing. She also encourages us not to skip class because of the sparring.

    I will approach "the final exam" as I do most things these days. I'll feel the fear and, well, you know the rest...

    Sunday, February 3, 2013

    The Yoga Date and The Reset Button

    Overflow Seating
    Last week turned out to be a sustainable  one. Instead of boxing and yoga, I went to boxing. Instead of climbing and swimming, I went climbing and instead of Zumba and yoga, I went to Zumba. As a result, I only practiced yoga once so I was more than ready to get back on my mat.

    And the cherry on top of practicing yoga again: Cindy accompanied me to Gloria's class.

    Gloria started off by reading a poem. Don't remember the name of the book but a line that I do remember and like is that yoga is not a command performance.

    Certain things make me chuckle in yoga class -- like Gloria saying chin to shin in an asana or that downward facing dog is a resting position. I almost guffawed on that one and I'm pretty sure that I snorted. Next thing I heard was Gloria saying that some people call it damn dog. Hello! Although, I did enjoy shaking my leg as if water were on it while in one-legged downward facing dog...

    As we took a breath, raised our arms, placed our hands together and came down the center line until our hands rested at our hearts, Gloria said that it was like hitting a reset button in between the sun salutations. For me, yoga is one big reset button.

    During savasana, which Gloria likes to super-size, she encouraged us to commit to being still and we did.

    After yoga, Cindy and I went to a coffee shop to eat a well-earned lunch since Gloria, in the words of that Roberta Flack song, kills you softly.

    Saturday, February 2, 2013


    To-Do: Get Back-Up Goggles
    In between getting a haircut and getting a puncture taken care of in tire one and tire two, I managed to squeeze in a swimming session.

    Haven't been swimming since Jan. 12th which felt like forever. I was beginning to think that I wouldn't remember how to swim but, apparently, swimming is like riding a bike.

    And the water? It still hasn't lost its magic...