Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Magic Happens or Year-End Review, 2013

This year-end tally is a lot like using a lap counter at the pool -- you still wonder if you pushed the button. Was it really 22 laps or 23? I feel like I did the cardio kickboxing segment of 5 Day Get Fit Mix more than four times. Or, was that last year? And, surely, I took Rapid Results off the shelf more than once. I'm pretty sure that I did the willpower & Grace routine as well. No matter, I did "it."

The 'Fugee says that she should not read my blog at the end of the month. Look away 'Fugee. Look away... or join me sometime.

A woman recently asked me how I stay motivated to exercise. I told her that I use exercise to decompress and that, even when I don't feel like exercising, I do 10 minutes and magic happens.

Happy New Year...

10 Minutes Solution: 5 Day Get Fit Mix
  • Cardio Kickboxing, 4 x's

  • Fat Blasting Interval, 1 x

  • Power Yoga, 1 x

  • 10 Minute Solution: Fitness Ball Workout
    Total Body Fat Burner, 2 x's
    Upper Body, 2 x's

    10 Minute Solution: High Intensity Interval Training
  • Ab HITT, 1 x

  • HITT 101, 1 x

  • HITT Explosion, 4 x's

  • Rock Bottom HITT, 3 x's

  • Upper Body HITT, 3 x's

  • 10 Minute Solution: KnockOut BODY!
  • Knockout Body Blast, 19 x's

  • 10 Minute Solution: Rapid Results fat burner
  • Power Sports Drills, 1 x

  • 10 Minute Solution: Tone Trouble Zones!
  • Stretch, 3 x's

  • Bicycling, 22 x's

    Bob Harper: Inside Out Method
  • Workout I, Strength Training, 1 x

  • Workout II, Strength Training, 3 x's

  • Boxing, 30 x's

    Ellen Barret Live: fusion floor workout, 1 x

    Ellen Barrett Live: Sleek Sculpt Express, 11 x's

    Gilad: Workout for Men
  • Warm-up + Cardio Circuit, 1 x

  • Give Me 10!
  • Fat Blasting Cardio, 5 x's

  • Just Walk: 5 Mega Miles
  • Mile 1: Classic Low Impact, 26 x's

  • Mile 2: Walk & Tone, 9 x's

  • Mile 3: Speed Intervals, 2 x's

  • Mile 4: Strength Intervals, 1 x

  • Mile 5: Ab Walk, 15 x's

  • Just Walk: Walk to the Hits, 1 x

    Kettlebell, 50 x's

    Latin Cardio Party
  • Cumbia, 1 x

  • Samba, 4 x's

  • Personal Training with Jackie
  • Upper Body Circuit, 2 x's

  • Pilates, 1 x

    Prevention's Walk Your Way Slim, 1 x

    Rock Climbing, 24 x's

    Stretch Max, 8 x's

    Supreme Day 90, 2 x's

    Swimming, 63 x's

    Tai Chi, 1 x

    Treadmill, 1 x

    Walking, 89 x's

    Weight Watchers' Boot Camp Series*
  • 15-Minute Cardio

  • Yoga, 113 x's

    Zumba, 9 x's

    **Disclosure: I received this video without charge.

    Sunday, December 29, 2013

    No-Brainer Dream

    Had a dream that I overslept and didn't make it to yoga class and couldn't alert Alison (that I was going to keep our exercise date) because she was in class and, of course, would not have her phone on -- in yoga class.

    That was a no-brainer dream. Yesterday, I planned to go to a yoga class and putzed around so much that I ended up not going. Hurried, when avoidable, is no way to present yourself for yoga.

    Rolled out this morning and cut myself a pre-yoga apple then made a smoothie so that I could go on a walk with Alison afterward. We went to Laumeier Sculpture which I've only been to once. Tsk...tsk.

    Laumeier is a great spot for a playground workout. It has hills, stairs and structures to climb. Alison had her Fitbit on and said we walked about 5,000 steps. Sweet...

    I liked the eyeball the most.

    Reminds me of Cahokia Mounds.

    Wednesday, December 25, 2013

    And To All A Good Tree

    Got this idea from Ann Pizer who writes about yoga at about.com.

    So, here's my semi-selfie that makes me smile...

     P.S. Garland is kind of hard to keep on a human.

    Monday, December 23, 2013

    Check Your Neck Before You Wreck Yourself

    Totally dug this article, Seven Tricks To Boost Your Energy -- my morning reading material courtesy of Consumer Reports (Sept. 2013).
    Stand up and move. Your brain equates being seated to being stuck and responds by restricting energy...
    Bring green into your space. A Taiwanese study found that office workers reported feeling less nervous or anxious when a plant was visible nearby. That's an important benefit because anxiety can burn up a lot of your energy...
    Check your neck. If you need another reason to sit up straight, consider this: For every inch your head tilts forward, the amount of weight your neck  has to support doubles, a chore that could affect your daily level of fatigue.
    Very cool article. There was also a tip about shocking your body with cold water -- the shock producing the equivalent of 15 minutes worth of extra energy...

    Had kettlebell practice today and I had energy.

    10 x 10

    10...Jumping Jacks
    10...Two-Hand Swings
    10...Kb Cleans (5/5)
    10...Presses (5/5)
    10...Rows (5/5)
    10...Knee Sit-ups
    10...Goblet Squats
    10...Around the Body with a Catch and Lunge

    As Marisa pointed out, you're doing 100 push-ups but it seems easier. Well, I didn't do 100 push-ups. Julia and I made it through seven rounds and Jessica a.k.a. Crazy Lats made it to nine, I believe.

    I really liked this workout. It was taxing but so doable.

    Saturday, December 21, 2013

    Will Climb For Pride

    Went to visit the 'Fugee last night and, after we ate dinner, she jokingly did drive-by energy work. No, no, no, I said. Finish what you started.

    The 'Fugee is a gifted energy worker and I received an unexpected and very nice Friday night gift. If I didn't say it, 'Fugee, thank you.

    The 'Fugee and I watched 42 which I was not in a hurry to watch. I don't really like going down segregated memory lane but, within those stories, are also ones of triumph. Still don't know if that's enough to make me pick up The Help again and I'm not sure why I'm reading this situation...

    I loved it when Branch Rickey told Jackie Robinson why he selected him to play for the Brooklyn Dodgers and then said You made me love baseball again. Thanks...

    Went climbing. It's been so long since I've seen Patti that she's gone Paleo but nothing has changed about her climbing; she's still a beast.  

    Like a football team that's behind by 28 points, I climbed a lot for pride. There's nothing like the feeling, though, when you're on a route, it's kicking your ass, sweating is pouring and you (meaning I) want to stop but you keep contorting your body, grabbing, repositioning and exclaiming until you make your way to the top.

    Wednesday, December 18, 2013

    The Unbearable Lightness of My KB

    Swimming and yoga are the only things that I don't feel ambivalent about right now.

    In general, I feel so right in the water. I don't know if it's a sweeter experience because I don't go as much as I used to or if it feels sweeter because I've found the sweet spot.

    Went swimming last night and rode home with the windows down. It's cold for the first few minutes and then the body adjusts as bodies will do. I usually know by the time I get home if my ventilation trick will work. When I realized that my breathing was unrestricted, I felt relieved and happy.

    I slept deeply despite waking up at five and I hardly ever wake up two hours before I'm scheduled to but I still felt rested. I found my iPod, put on relaxation music (Deuter) then went back to sleep...

    Kettlebell was brutal today. I did notice, though, that after swinging around 25 pounds last week -- double that at times -- my 10 kg felt light. I guess it should have. Maybe it's time to get another kettlebell. I can always rely on my 22 pounder for moves, like the snatch, that I'm still working on.

    For the first round and for one minute, we did:

    Two Hand Swings
    Racked Squat Press
    Right Hand Swing
    Racked Squat
    Left Hand Swing
    Kb Clean, R & L
    Hand to Hand Swing
    Around the Body with a Catch and Lunge
    Hand to Hand Clean
    Clean with a Lunge or Clean While You Lunge

    There was also some semi burpee with a clean move that I couldn't even conceptualize so I did cleans instead.

    For the next round, we did the same series for 30 seconds which was much more humane.

    Sunday, December 15, 2013

    Don't Say No

    During a kettlebell session, Marisa asked Jessica a.k.a. Crazy Lats to do something. Marisa prefaced her request by saying Don't say no.

    Princess Tiffany piped in to tell Crazy Lats that You do say I can't a lot...

    Gloria showed us how to do a headstand this morning.

    I didn't even try. I immediately thought there's too much of me to get up there.

    On the way home, saw a personalized plate that said Do Yoga. Done, I thought to myself.

    Got home, played slug and started thinking about headstand. My core is strong. Why can't I do a headstand?

    I looked on YouTube and got on my mat. My feet smarted after a couple of attempts and, then, surprise -- I flipped over -- foot hit a corner of a sewing table and a picture fell down. Never saw it coming and didn't get hurt. Good thing that I was relaxed.

    It never occurred to me that I might flip over; otherwise, I would not have been so close to the sewing table.

    I felt completely lethargic before I flipped over and totally energetic afterward.

    Obviously, I had too much momentum during my attempt and not enough control but I'm looking forward to working on headstand.

    Wednesday, December 11, 2013

    Don't Make It Ugly

    Marisa wrote our workout on her small whiteboard:


    2 kb cleans (a.k.a. having a kettlebell bell in each hand and swinging them at the same time)
    2 kb presses
    2 kb front squats
    2 kb cleans
    2 kb presses
    2 kb front squats

    I used 25 pounds for three sets because we ran out of 22 pounders. For the 22 sets, I gladly traded stations with Julia.

    I usually find swinging two kettlebells very difficult and tonight was no different. During my fifth set, I put down one of the kettlebells during the front squats and modified with a goblet squat.

    After the double kb series, things didn't get easier. Next up: 100 kettlebell snatches.

    Marisa told a new swinger, Meg, Don't make it ugly then advised her to take a break because she couldn't maintain her form.

    I'm not sure how I maintained my form or finished the snatches. Peer pressure might have had something to do with it but there was not enough pressure to make me finish the 100 push-ups. My triceps were pumped like Ball Park Franks.

    We (and I use that pronoun loosely) finished up the night with pull-ups, kb rows and planks. I had so much heat in my body after class that it didn't feel like 17 degrees at all.

    Tuesday, December 10, 2013


    There are days when I feel like I'm devolving. Thin patience et al.

    Last night as I walked toward the exercise room, I didn't see Donna but I saw the sub.

    Last time I saw the sub, I retreated but this time I held my ground. I knew from Donna that she had gone to, at least, one workshop. I had also seen her outside of a yoga studio as I experimented and found my way via back streets to Trader Joe's.

    Had I not heard about the workshop, I still would have stayed. People change. Something that I realize a lot lately...

    The sub's class was well put together and I found it extremely refreshing.

    Liked this asana called sunbird...taking a drink of water which was really a push-up in disguise.

    At the end of class, she told me that my practice had gotten better and specifically mentioned how well I did with planks. She also mentioned that she hadn't seen me in a while. I smiled because compliments have that effect and because there was a part of me that wanted to say that her practice had gotten better.

    *Photo credit: Lori T. Purk

    Sunday, December 8, 2013

    When I Was A Yoga Newbie

    It might be cold outside but Gloria provided the heat this morning. I should have known. When I was a yoga newbie, I didn't know what Surya Namaskar meant. Now, I know.  Sun Salutation or Salute to the Sun. If you're saluting the sun, it makes sense that the heat will come.

    Do this. Do that. Gloria said. I'm totally paraphrasing. Gloria never says Do this...

    This {asana} is called broken triangle. It was more like broken 'Drea at that point after all of the planks and downward facing dogs. I was in a solo huddle a.k.a. child's pose and not broken triangle at that point.

    Gloria was on a roll this morning talking about spiritual amnesia etc. and she also quoted Nelson Mandela -- Who are we not to shine?

    When I googled it, it said that the quote is falsely attributed to Mandela but thanks to whoever said it. It resonates...

    Friday, December 6, 2013


    As I carefully made my way to work, I saw this woman in full stride. Cap, shorts, leggings.

    There's part of me that wanted to roll down the window and yell encouragement. I love it when people get their workouts in despite the weather but there's also the part of me that thought I would never run in the snow because I would fear slipping and putting myself out of commission.

    When I first started to swim, I went across town to find out that the pool heater was broken. Cold water plus a lifeguard? I got in the water. I sometimes remember that incident when I complain about the cold water at the pool that I currently go to.

    I've also driven for a total of one hour to take a 90 minute hot yoga class and I've driven like a bat out of hell (through the city and back on the highway) after encountering a traffic jam to make it to a regular yoga class.

    Fifteen minutes to make it to class and I'm twelve minutes away? I can do it. Never mind that I have to park, check in and whatnot. I can do it. Totally understand the runners that I saw today.

    Wednesday, December 4, 2013

    After The Mountain Climbers

    Went to the pool last night. Chatty Kathleen, well, chatted me up as soon as I descended the stairs. She is totally fascinated by Moms Mabley. Apparently, there's a documentary about Mabley on HBO right now.

    Felt good in the water until diving mom perched at my lane. I felt self-conscious and thought about the episode of Malcolm in the Middle when Lois thinks she can dance.

    My post-swimming trick of rolling down the windows didn't work. Congestion hit before I hit the bed. I heated up a cup of water and inhaled the steam which gave me relief but I had a sleepless night as I struggled with congestion...

    Up tonight, kettlebell.

    Glanced at the whiteboard and didn't even cringe when I saw burpees. Whatever. I know that it's a good exercise for the body and I know that I'm going to modify.

    The workout on the whiteboard:

  • 50 Two-hand Swings (16 kb*)
  • 25 Burpees
  • 50 Swings
  • 50 Push-ups
  • 50 Swings
  • Mountain Climbers, 50/50
  • 50 Swings

  • I want a brownie point for getting back up to do that last set of 50 after the mountain climbers. I was the last one to finish but the others kindly waited even though I waved them off. We moved on to stations -- pyramid-style.

  • Squats, 10...9...8...7...6...5
  • Push-Ups, 10...9...8...7...6...5
  • Jump Squats...
  • Alternating V Sit-ups
  • Pull-Ups (Bar or TRX)

  • Next up:

    Goblet squat, 10
    Kb Press, 10/10
    Goblet Reverse Lunge, 10
    Jump Squats, 10

    We finished up with a one minute forearm plank then a 30 second straight arm plank. Before the planks, I assumed reverse corpse pose. Next time, I'll reverse the order.

    *I don't normally swing with a 16 kb but Marisa assigned us heavier kettlebells for tonight's action.

    Monday, December 2, 2013

    Yoga After Thanksgiving

    A four day weekend -- that's how it should be all the time. Of course, it's all fun and games until you get back to work and the phone starts ringing from the time you arrive until you leave.

    Got home and headed straight for the kitchen. Wish that I had figured out what to cook on Sunday.

    Worked out while the quiche was in the oven. Ate. Washed the dishes.  Got science experiments out of the refrigerator. Headed to yoga.

    As I pulled up to the fitness club, could see that the cardio class had already let out and many mats were already in place.

    I held open the door for another yogini and she said Either they're early or we're late. There were still two prime pieces of real estate but people kept coming through the door. I have never seen Donna's class so full.

    I told the woman next to me that maybe people needed yoga after Thanksgiving. I think they're going to need to do more than yoga. I told her that maybe people needed to calm their minds after Thanksgiving.

    It was hard not to become a spectator with so many people in class. During savasana, though, I zoned out and was disappointed when Donna rang the harmony bell. Kind of funny, hunh?

    Earlier in the day, this Syrian woman told me that her sister had made it to the States. I asked her how she liked St. Louis. Anywhere is better than Syria, she said then told me how happy her sister was on a recent trip to the grocery store.