Saturday, August 29, 2009

Furry Alarms, A Nutrition throwdown and Full Contact Yoga


Ok, the title pretty much sums up my morning... and it's only 9:30!

And that was me this morning, starting around 5:30 am. Apparently the kittens are entirely too used to me getting up around that time, getting ready for the gym and feeding them because no matter how much I tried to force snuggle them into sleepy submission it didn't work. SO around 6:30 I gave in and got up to a chorus of ::mewmewmewmew feed me monkey mewmewmewmew::

It's days like this that I'm grateful for whomever brought coffee to the new world. And for the invention of naps which I foresee in my future.

Since I was up, I figured I'd get my brain going as well. While having my morning snackie (kept it light for Obstacle Yoga... more on that in a minute) I decided to continue reading the Zone book, figuring I need to get a good handle on the basics and really focus on my food this week (and I know... talking a lot about it... feel free to skip ahead or move along... really, this is my random ramblings). Now, I've mentioned that the thing I like about the foundation of this plan is that it's focused on real food, all things in moderation, and the principle that if you have one meal that's out of whack, it's no big.

The thing that bugs me is that, like the Atkins plan and a lot of other proposed eating plans, it plays the blame game and jumps on the Insulin is Evil bandwagon. Now, it's easy to see why Insulin and it's balance is considered the pinnicle of good health, weight loss, and overall world peace, because when the levels are steady, life is good. Just ask my hubby what happens 5 minutes after I've announced, "I'm HUNGRY!" It's a matter of cake or death*. But really, insulin isn't the only hormone in the body, but it's the easiest target, after the thyroid, for weight issues. I just find it very amusing that so many eating plans are build on the shaky campaign of "Save the insulin levels, save the world" especially after having read/listened to my BFF Tom Venuto - and he addresses it in his book "The Body Fat Solution" as Myth #8.

Essentially, insulin balance helps with a whole slew of things, but weight loss is simply a happy side effect, not THE effect. When you're eating in a way for your body's blood sugar levels to stay stable, you're not constantly in the feast/famine mode, you're more... snackish. As one who continually struggled with hypoglycemic issues, feeling hunger creep in was an emergency situtation for my system and those around me at risk for getting their heads ripped off. Now, not so much.

That all being said, the Zone and Tom Venuto's BFFM/Body Fat Solution plan, pretty darn close to each other - moderate amount of lean protein, lots of nutrient dense/calorie sparse veggies & fruit, healthy fat, and reduced grains eaten through out the day. Works for me. But I'd still like to see Barry Sears & Tom Venuto in a throwdown... though my bets are on Tom, just cuz. :)

After being tired of reading the evils of insulin, decided it was time for my weekly yoga bit.

I've mentioned before how my Muggins kitten likes to... with some of the poses. Well today was no different and if I could have caught it on camera I would have. I opted for a particularly vigerous routine turned full contact sport this morning, with Muggins wandering or laying all over the mat, usually EXACTLY where I needed to put my foot. Or hand. Or body. Or head. Until the very end, of course, with 'corpse' pose - just laying there at his mercy if he desired. But he's a cat, so what's the fun of demanding attention when his human is /ready/ for it?!

And on that happy note, I shall leave you (mainly Ramona, because I know she'll appreciate it...) with this thought from Stan Rogers since iTunes has graced me with many of his tunes while writing this:

"And you, to whom adversity has dealt the final blow
With smiling b*stards lying to you everywhere you go
Turn to, and put out all your strength of arm and heart and brain
And like the Mary Ellen Carter, rise again.

Rise again, rise again - though your heart it be broken
And life about to end
No matter what you've lost, be it a home, a love, a friend.
like the Mary Ellen Carter, rise again."

* If you haven't seen Dressed to Kill by Eddie Izzard, I HIGHLY recommend it... once you get past the 6'3" british guy in heels and lipstick, he's bloody hilarious and intelligent!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Follow-Up Friday

Wow! Friday seemed to take it's own sweet time getting here this week, yet, the week blew past! Granted travel and a silly busy work week will do that. LOL!

Anywho, it occurred to me that I'd touched on a few things over the last week or so that I've been wanting to follow-up on so figured today was as good of time as any. :)


You had me at ATP...

SO... last week, I made this sweeping announcement about exploring life in "The Zone" and I really felt conflicted about it. In the midst of the trauma of losing my friend, and the self-reflection that followed, I was basically doubting my own abilities to make proper choices to get me physically and health wise to where I wanted to go. I also knew that it was time to focus my efforts even more. Basically, it came down to deciding if I was ok with my general results achieved through my general approach, or if I was willing to be more specific about both.

I decided it is time to be more specific with my nutrition to achieve a specific goal. After reading Jess' blog about starting the Atkins induction phase as part of her pre-comp diet plan, it really drove home that point.

But in reality, it's all about the ATP, baby.

I know, you're scratching your head at that one... I've brought up ATP before, and I think eyes glazed over. ATP is the molecule that stores energy in a form that can be used for muscle contractions, and is the energy source for all muscular movement. There's a series of chemical reactions that happens that I won't bore you with. The important thing to know is, it's the happy stuff that is released to allow you to lift heavy things, but when it's gone, fuggitaboudit. You couldn't squeak out another rep if someone held a gun to your head. It's amazing stuff and it does replenish sort of quickly which is why, after you rest for a minute or two, you CAN squeak out another set without your limbs locking up.

How the two things (ATP & Zone) connect is the theory that the zone way of eating helps the body replenish the ATP supply quicker. Quicker replenishment leads to being able to handle more weight loads and higher reps.

Sign. me. up!

Yeah, I know. Total geek

Now that I'm mostly readjusted back to my routine, I've been doing more reading and implementing the requisite tweakage to my eating plan to make it more in line with the Zone principles. What I'm learning is that I was already on the right track - like the universe is reassuring me that I can, indeed, trust myself. I am just being even more mindful of portion sizes, and what sort of starchy carbs vs. veggie carbs I'm consuming.

And looking to reap the ATP rewards, baby! LOL!


Let them eat LUNCH!

Lunch at Claim Jumper on Wednesday was an interesting adventure - it was my actual bossman, B, (I work for 3 people, but he's the person I actually report to), the birthday girl, D, and our co-worker, S that went.

It was fun - and wished that my spark friends could have been there with me!

The interesting part is that B & D got burgers, and S & I both got salads. I opted for the Chinese Chicken Salad - Num-O! But OMG messy to eat. I think I amused everyone at the table trying to get the 'slivers' of lettuce in my mouth, not on my lap. S, on the other hand had the soup & salad, and then proceeded to make several comments about how it was more than she's used to eating and how she's not going to need dinner, etc. I interjected with the occasional "really?!" and "seriously?!" after making a mental comparison that I had at least 2x the volume of food she had on my plate.

The best part was when they brought out the dessert - the red velvet cupcake (WOW NUM! and actually reasonably sized; There was /just/ enough for each of us to have a couple of bites.) S would have none of it, and made little jabs designed to make us feel bad about eating it, and also interjecting the occasional "really?!" and "seriously?!" . We ignored her and dug in.

I didn't realize that it was going to be the trend of the week - people blatantly being judgemental about what other people are eating. But I am proud of the fact that I didn't go on a tirade or prattle off key nutritional information. Wasn't the place or time, and definitely wasn't the audience.


Cakey goodness & more thoughts on therapy

Since I was asked, I got the recipe for the Chocolate Blackout Cake from, where else? King Arthur Flour

It turned out fantastic - yummy and slightly rich/sweet, but not overpowering.

Here's my confessions:

1) I didn't have a piece. This isn't a "I'm better than everyone" statement, just wasn't in the mood for it. When I made it, I did sample a bit that I sliced off for the topping for quality control purposes (a very important part of the process!) and that was enough.

2) I used canned frosting. ::blush:: I know! Mainly because I didn't have time to order it, and I had some after my mom's brownie baking extravaganza a few months back... either way, the cake was a hit, my bosslady loved it and hopefully her family did to.

As for the sweat therapy... I'm sure my co-workers are happy that I got my gym time in this morning - it was an 'easy' day (aka more weights, less cardio) but was nice to get up and move heavy things around.

It's odd that I do fine on planned rest days, but if I have a planned workout and it doesn't happen, I'm all out of sorts. Yes there's a slightly addictive property to it, but not to the level of it having to be an all the time/long hours type of thing, but more of it being part of the routine - like taking a shower, brushing my teeth, feeding the cats - and when I miss one part of the routine, it throws everything off. There IS the physical benefit from a short burst of exertion - an endorphin rush that helps get my brain in the right place but considering the thought of an hour workout makes me want to hide under my bed (hence why I'm dragging my feet, so to speak, about making the commitment to an 8K in October) AND exhausts me - her, being hypothyroid is almost like having a built in 'off' switch sometimes - I don't think I'm at risk of being an over exerciser.

Oh! And my tweaky knee - it's doing better today, even after last night's run fest on the treadmill. As long as I consistently do my stretchies every night, and do a few other things, it's fine. Since I slacked in that area over the weekend and while traveling, it's been acting up. For the time being, I'm good with what I'm doing, but sooner, rather than later, I will most likely look into physical therapy and/or acupuncture to keep things in top condition.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sweat Therapy and the Great Cake Incident

In college, I had a roommate that couldn't function before she had her diet coke. She pretty much wasn't fit for human consumption until she had her requisite 1-2 cans in the morning - I learned that the hard way when I tried to ask her something early on in our roommate career and she about ripped my head off. After that I learned to keep my distance or at least make an offering if I needed to talk to her before the caffeine and fake sugar worked it's magic.

Turns out I'm not too different from her. I have been super duper cranky all day today and couldn't quite figure out why. Everything and everyone was bugging the begeebers out of me but there didn't seem to be a reason behind it.

Then I figured it out: I didn't get my sweat on this morning.

I mean, I did get up and go for a walk, but about 10 minutes in, my knee started getting tweaky. I headed back home to ice & tape my knee and made plans to get to the gym after work. No big, right?

Riiight. Yeah, by 9:00 *I* couldn't stand to be around me, let alone anyone else... and I'm surprised the hubby didn't hang up on me!

Apparently I wasn't too far off when I call it sweat therapy...

Luckily my knee cooperated with me this afternoon and was able to work up a serious sweat and feeling muuuuccchhh better... and there's much rejoicing. :)

But not before I almost started a fight.

See, it's my bosslady's birthday tomorrow and being the awesome type person that she is... I decided to make her a cake. Being the chocolate fiend that she is, I made her a Chocolate Blackout cake. OMG num! She loved it, which was about the brightest spot in my day. She decided to share half the cake with co-workers so I put it out on my desk for folks to help themselves.

After people got over the shock of the fact that I not only cook but can bake, too, the line formed to the left. LOL!

Then it happened... One of the co-workers made a comment about it, "YOU have cake?! Oh, wait, it's sugar free, right?"

::blink:: Uh... no, I only use real ingredients.

"Oh, but still, YOU don't eat cake, /do you/?"

Ummm... yeah, I do. Why wouldn't I?

"You've lost all this weight! You stop eating sugar, right?"

You mean like the stuff I have in my coffee each morning? Apparently I didn't stop, I just got more selective.

Then the other co-worker chimed in, "That's cuz she spends a lot of time exercising."

Really? I do? I thought I only worked out a few times a week for 20-30 minutes. Wow... I work a lot harder than I thought.

I knew it could go down hill fast but luckily they were more involved in digging into the cake than continuing the conversation. *whew*

I took out the frustration on the treadmill after that. :)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ignorance was bliss

I'm going out to lunch today to celebrate my co-worker friend's birthday, and she picked Claim Jumper.

I have a love/fear relationship with Claim Jumper. I mean, the food is great, and it's an occasional treat so no worries in the grand scheme of things... thing is they have super huge portions! Even the 'small' is freakin' HUGE!

And Claim Jumper was one of the last hold outs for releasing their nutritional information... until now.

We, as humans, have an infinite capacity to delude ourselves. When presented with a HUGE plate of food, the mind games start - if it's on the plate, it must be 1 serving... It can't be /that/ bad nutritionally, I mean, they use fresh ingredients and there's lettuce in there some where... Then there's the don't ask/don't tell/you really don't want to know anyway factor.

Well, I had to look.

It's like a train wreck - you can't look away!

Ok, so they have the uncanny ability to make a salad have over 2,000 calories (which, ironically, is more calories than the 'widow maker' burger that I have a special place in my heart for when I'm feinding for protein.) and can cram more sodium into an appetizer than a salt lick. Is it really any surprise? I mean, most of the plates are bigger than my head, so of course it's going to rack up the numbers.

The thing I find amusing is that they include the calories, sodium, carb/protein/fiber counts and amount of _saturated_ fat... but they leave out the ACTUAL amount of fat. But I'm sneaky and can figure it out... silly people, hiding behind technicalities.

Thing is, I really don't care. I mean, if I'm out for a celebration, yes I may have a bit of a catch in my throat when I order something that is equiv. of my recommended daily calorie/nutrient ratio for one. single. meal. But if it's a special time, then I'm going to enjoy the heck out of it! (By the way, don't even think about looking up the Chocolate Motherloade Cake... seriously. Don't do it! Aw, you did, didn't you? Sorry... but it's meant to be shared! Besides it's cake! Not carrots! Get over it.)

Today, however, is about enjoying time with my friend, not about the food. I'll be making a more moderate choice now, so I can indulge at a different time.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Fried but Fired Up!

See that sort of dazed expression on my hubby and my face?

Yeah, that's what an intensive 2 day motivational/business meeting held deep in the heart ::clap clap:: of Texas will do to you.

My brain is still whirring away with all the info I gathered over the weekend, but my body and mind are pooped. In some ways, I'm feeling more overwhelmed than I did before I left. In others, I feel like my path is clearer than it ever was before.

I realized that the last 2 weeks I was in a fog - losing my friend, feeling insecure about, well, a lot, allowing doubt to creep into my life, influenced by the limited self belief of others.

Yeah, the Princess' and I weren't happy campers.

But quality time with the hubby and amazing people helped recharge my internal battery. The workshop was lead by my hubby's strategic business coach & mentor John Di Lemme and I always learn a LOT at his workshops.

Need one more nights rest, then it's time to get back to work!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

My personal silliness for today

Here's my workout of the day:

"Tabata Something Else"

Complete 32 intervals of 20 seconds of work followed by ten seconds of rest where the first 8 intervals are pull-ups, the second 8 are push-ups, the third 8 intervals are sit-ups, and finally, the last 8 intervals are squats. There is no rest between exercises.

HOLY MACARONI! Tabata's suck! In that happy sweaty good way, but still...

How the heck do you keep track of your reps when you barely get the chance to catch your breath!?

But I was proud of me - I not only did all 32 intervals, I did no knee pushups! I used the smith machine for the beginner pull ups (Feet on the ground) and put the bar at the the 3rd notch from the bottom for pushups.

Lets just say that, even though the pull ups were a struggle, and the pushups were, well, pushups, I did enough of each to question why I thought it was a good idea to wash my hair today - could barely keep my arms up to shampoo let alone style it! LOL!

Monday, August 17, 2009

My kind of crazy

This morning it was confirmed: I'm crazy.

Ok, I know most of you already knew that, so it's no big shocker. LOL!

Someone posted this comment on one of my groups: "That's not sweat! It's my body crying!" And I laughed my bum off!

Cuz that's how I felt this morning after my workout. You see, today's Workout Of the Day was: "Fight Gone Bad!" I saw it in my book and went YAY!!!

Here's what it consists of:

"Three rounds of:
Wall-ball, 20 pound ball, 10 ft target (Reps) [or you can do 'thrusters' basically a squat with a dumbbell shoulder press, which is what I did... Bally's doesn't look kindly on you throwing a 15-20# ball against their wall.]
Sumo deadlift high-pull, 75 pounds (Reps)
Box Jump, 20" box (Reps)
Push-press, 75 pounds (Reps)
Row (Calories)

In this workout you move from each of five stations after a minute. The clock does not reset or stop between exercises. This is a five-minute round from which a one-minute break is allowed before repeating. On call of "rotate", the athletes must move to next station immediately for best score. One point is given for each rep, except on the rower where each calorie is one point."

You know you're chomping at the bit to try it!!

I have to admit, when I first found out about CrossFit, workouts like this scared the begeebers out of me. I mean, seriously! Who things this stuff is fun?!

Apparently, a lot of people... and I'm now one of them.

Excuse me?! I mean, these workouts bring MARINES to tears! (Interesting Side Note: CrossFit has started an amazing program called "Operation Phoenix" that donates fitness equipment to the Marine Corps. They started with Camp Pendleton, where my hubby did his basic. So go... support your troops so they can kick some serious a$$!)

Anyway, at some point I made the transition from, "Not just no, but heck no!" to, "Whoo hoo! Bring it!" Workouts like this morning, even though I didn't feel like it was my best effort, I was able to see a lot of improvement over last month when I did the same workout. Using the 45# bar instead of a 30# bar, increasing the height of the 'box' from an aerobic step on the floor to using 2 risers, using 15# dumbbells instead of 8#...

And getting my 'stations' set up was like setting up my own personal playground. Despite how intimidating or scary CrossFit looks on the surface, it's really all about putting the FUN into functional fitness. It helps turn the whole world into your playground... of pain! LOL!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Seeing the light

I'm completely pooped. The trip up and back to Phoenix last night wiped me out on so many levels. Physically because it was all highway travel (which always stresses me out) and I didn't get home until Midnight.

Emotionally it was a roller coaster and it's effects are still lingering.

The service was amazing - lead by a phenomenal woman who was a loooong time friend of Yehuda and had several other significant people in his life say a few words. Typical of how he lead his life, things just couldn't stay too serious for too long. Laughter erupted from the throng in attendance as easily as the tears. (Seriously! A throng! We're talking standing room only that spilled into the court yard! Well done, 'huda, well done.)

For all the great acts and deeds this man performed in is too short life, his single greatest accomplishment was this: Living his life simply as himself.

Nothing like being wrapped up in the warm blanket of love and compassion inspired by one man to make me evaluate my life, and find ways to align my internal, "moral compass" to _my_ true north and be the best me I can be.

On that note, I shall leave you with this gem that my dad - who is made of all things awesome - sent me. It was in response to this entry.

Gotta love the Boss!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Saying goodbye...

Saying goodbye is never easy. Even under the best of circumstances it stinks... One of life's great injustices is occasionally having to say goodbye to someone who leaves this world too early.

In a few hours I'll be leaving to attend a memorial for one such person.

Unfortunately, this will be the second time in a few years that I will be attending this type of service, and not surprisingly, both people, even though their paths never crossed, were very similar.

They both were amazing people.

This is isn't me waxing nostalgic about the departed... They were truly genuine, living their lives in a way that was authentic to them. They touched the lives of the people around them so deeply that you were inspired to be a better person for that connection.

They both had laughs that were infectious, and weren't afraid to let it out.

They also had tempers that would roar like an angry ocean, but there was usually a good reason for it.

They had hearts as big as the universe that they opened to multitudes of people.

It was that very organ that failed them in the end.

They were people who lived a full life. What it now lacks in length, they made up for in depth. Perhaps that's why they were called from this world so soon: They discovered their gifts early on, and used them freely to improve the lives of those around them.

Perhaps they also spent more time improving the lives of others, the sacrificed their own health in the process.

For all the abundance of spirit the fine gentles had, they also had an abundance of excess weight and were experiencing health issues as a result of their weight. Sleep apnea, hypertension, joint problems, etc.

Would they still be with us today if they had done more for themselves? Perhaps. Perhaps not. That isn't for us to know.

What they have left behind is a legacy of love and caring. An inspiration to others to be authentic and true to yourself. By knowing them, I am a better person. Their lives have strengthened my conviction to not only improve my life inside and out, but to share my gifts to help others so they may live full AND long lives.

Coach Dean ROCKS my world!

'Nuf Said...

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Strength through stillness

I've been doing yoga on and off for about 8 years, starting with Hatha Yoga - it's the calmer, more serene variety that most people associate with yoga, though there's many, many different versions. And for me, it's my happy, comfy place to always come back to.

I recently came across that is also available as iTunes podcasts, complete with slide shows and/or a pose guide - the narrators have soothing, encouraging voices and makes for a very happy, short session (I'm all about the efficient, 30 min or less workout!).

I've made it habit over the last couple of months to do one session over the weekend and today's "class" was the gentle hatha flow #2.

It never ceases to amaze me how my body reacts and responds to certain poses. There are some that are freeing and make me feel strong, energized, or centered. Others make me feel confined, trapped, or insecure. Sometimes the same pose that brought me strength can bring conflict the next time.

On more than one occasion a tear has escaped for no apparent reason (and not from pain. LOL!) only for the moment to pass just as quickly.

Today was one of those days. I started into a pretty benign pose - the camel - and suddenly my heart started to race, my limbs were shaking and then the narrator - it was Jackie for today's class - calmly instructed, "when you encounter resistance, breathe, back out a bit and then ease back into it."

How did she know?!

I did and felt better. (And the irony of experiencing resistance in a pose all about opening up my heart wasn't lost on me... but that's another story for an other time.)

A bit later, Jackie shared, "as new feelings, new sensations, new thoughts come up, let them wash over you leaving an imprint and let them move on. Don't judge, don't dwell, just acknowledge them and move back to the stillness of your breath."

Near the end, my Mugginskitten decided to help out with the relaxing and focusing by allowing me to pet him as my meditation (he's a very helpful kitten). I was still dwelling on the two statements above and how it really applies to so many aspects of our life, especially when we're in the midst of any change: "when you encounter resistance"... there was no "if" in that statement, resistance is a given as anyone trying to change a longtime habit can attest. How you react to that resistance makes all the difference.

I loved the matter of fact yet calm way Jackie addressed it - breathe, step back, then ease back into it.

How many times have you tried something new and found it to be unbearably difficult that first time? Yet, if you managed to try it a 2nd or 3rd time, it got easier each time? Same principle - the resistance is less each time you step back and ease back into it.

The second statement again acknowledges that random thoughts and sensations will come up - fear, doubt, encouragement, distraction, etc. Instead of resisting them, let them come but step back and let them move past you. Let it happen as if it were happening to someone else so you can "see" the thoughts and feelings objectively.

And above all else: Breathe.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Munchies & motivation...

I figured I'd jump on the 'tried it' bandwagon...

I tried the Oikos yogurt this morning...

yeah. Told ya it was a bandwagon, since all the other cool kids are doin' going Greek of late. (I tried the Vanilla one - should have tried the plain, and you'll see why later)

My reaction: Yeah... I'll get to that.

Let me preface this with 2 caveats:

1) I loooove Stonyfield farms yogurts - most of them are organic (and OMG the Chocolate Underground is to DIE for! Seriously! You almost don't need chocolate ice cream with that bad boy! I said almost. ;) and don't have any scary frankenfood additives.

1a) If you've seen the movie Food, Inc., they are one of the 'good guys' in terms of sustainable and responsible food production.

2) I had a coupon (you, too, can get your very own coupon here)

What rocked:
-We'll, it's organic so yay!
-It has a bit more protein than carbs... but I still added some extra protein powder.
-Taste was yummy (I added frozen fruit as well... see... should have gotten the plain since I basically made my own flavor anyway!)
-It was at least a full 1/2 cup worth... considering people like Yoplait are charging the same for the lower weight 'whipped' yogurt as the regular/fruit on the bottom, and reducing the amount in the containers overall, I like the fact that this had a decent amount of product.
-With all the extra stuff added to it, it held me for at least 90 minutes... normally a regular yogurt would hold me 30.
-It was on sale at the store AND I had a coupon.

What was so-so:
-Texture. I say so-so because I personally didn't think it was any thicker than regular yogurt.
-Sweetness... this is, again, a personal thing. And another reason I shoulda gotten the plain. I thought it was a little sweet, but for some that's a great thing.

What stunk:
-The price.
-How much it cost.
-What they charge for it.

Did I mention that it's expensive?!?! Safeway has it for about $2.29 EACH container... and it was marked down to $1.99 EACH... I had a $.50 coupon so that meant yes, I paid $1.50 for _1_ container of YOGURT!

But I did it for all of you... in the name of science and experimentation and figuring out what the heck the big deal is with this Greek stuff!

So, would I try it again? Not so much... I don't eat yogurt much any more to begin with, and if I have a hankerin', I'll get a container of their regular stuff and strain off the whey - viola, more protein for my buck and all the probioticy goodness.

I'm glad I tried it, and if the Stonyfield peeps want to send me a case of this stuff for free... ::wink wink:: to change my tune, I'd be happy to do so. Otherwise, my recommendation is this:

If you have tons of extra cash on hand for groceries, it's a fantastic way to go to feed your need for yogurt.

If you don't have that mattress stuffed with moo-lah (get it?! I made a punny: moo. Dairy. Eh, never mind, you're still hung up on the fact that I spent $1.50 on a container of yogurt, aren't you?) I'd pass the Oikos over for Stonyfield regular yogurt any day... especially that chocolate underground. Did I mention it was darn tasty?!

Oh, and I mentioned motivation in the title, didn't I?

Just a random realization of the 2 movies I got from Netflix for my viewing pleasure this weekend: Rocky (the original, which I have NEVER seen! I! know!) and We Are Marshall.

Can you say: Underdog motivation madness?! I'll be PUMPED after watching those!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

(Mostly) Wordless Wednesday

Heather, I totally stole this theme from your blog(Swing by and say hi at her page.) I just may make it a staple for those times when words fall short.

For a better view of this and others...

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Watch it wiggle...

Back when I had the honor of having a personal trainer at my disposal, I walked into the gym feeling rather annoyed.

See, I'd been working my tail off but was feeling like, the harder I worked, the jigglier I got. I mean, I could start to see definition under the jiggle, but it was... well... more jiggly than usual. So I asked the Wise and All Knowing Steve about it... (I think it went something like "What the heck!?!?")

He asked a couple of question like what exactly I was doing and making sure I wasn't engaging in a lot of jiggle inducing activities (like eating a whole cake and downing a 6-pack of beer... every day... then wondering why I put on an extra bit of jiggle).

Satisfied that I was on the right track, he gave me a detailed explanation of what was going on inside... seeing my eyes glaze, over he summed it up: Basically with the combo of good eating and strength/cardio I was doing, the intramuscular fat was being pushed out to join the ranks of the adipose fat that lives under the skin, before it's kicked out forever. Hence the extra 'jiggle' on top of the developing muscles.

The fact that the definition was becoming more pronounced was further proof that I was, indeed, on the right track.

Why do I bring this up? Because after about 6 weeks of being back on the consistent, hard core workout routine... the jiggle is back!

Whoo hoo!

As my body does, I'm tightening up from the outside in - my arms and legs are TIGHT, the belly, hips and upper thighs... not so much.

But after this morning's workout, the jiggle can just move on... I did the "super weenie" (at least in a CrossFit definition of super weenie. LOL!) set of pull ups and dips on the assisted machine. I managed 60 (4 sets of 15) before my muscles said (a la the Soup Nazi), "No more ATP for you!"

LOL! I'm such a geek...

Monday, August 3, 2009

Who does that?!

Yesterday I was blessed to spend a lovely afternoon with several friends. We went to a movie and then had dinner at Sweet Tomatoes (That rocked since I was in a total veggie mood this weekend!).

As things do around me, the conversation turned to health/fitness/weight loss... one friend asked me how my certification was going and what my plan was. After a while we were talking about general eating habits and one friend chimed in, "Does anyone /actually/ follow those silly guidelines like 'drink 8-8 oz glasses of water' and 'eat 5-8 servings of fruits/veggies a day'?"

Silence... you could almost hear crickets chirping... till I blurted out, "Ummm... I do. Every day."

"Really?! That's got to be like a full time job!"

"Not really. It's all in the planning and habit building. I don't even think about it any more."

It took me back to this entry by Kim - SparkPerson, figure competitor, and fellow ISSA Trainer - about what's "normal".

Tied together, it touches on what's at the heart of the struggle most "normal" people face when implementing, well, any change in their life.

It starts with discomfort from whatever the current situation - let's say their current weight is a lot higher than what they want.

Then all the Things You Know You Should Do come into play... this is where it gets sticky. There's a perception that all those Things You Know You Should Do have to come into play RIGHT NOW... as a "normal" person who's used to doing things on auto pilot - doing whatever, whenever - it takes a LOT of energy to make a massive course correction.

You have to LEARN your current patterns and motivations, you have to PAY ATTENTION to what you're doing, you have UNLEARN some habits, and BUILD new habits that are in line with what you want.

For the "normal" person, that's a really daunting task. When you look at someone who's already DOING all that, it can be overwhelming to think that YOU could do the same thing.

Here's the thing: If you're seeing someone who is where you want to be, take the time to find out how they got there. Chances are that they spent a good deal of time (as in 1-3 years) building a strong foundation, breaking down their goal into achievable baby steps, making the mistakes and learning from them, doing all the background work that allows them to do the focused, dedicated, daily action steps that makes it look effortless to the casual observer.

In essence, it's the 2-5 year process that creates an "overnight success"

_That_ is the kind of person who "does that."

With that, I leave you with this happy little video: What is success?

Saturday, August 1, 2009

YAY I'm certifiable...

oh wait, that's 'certified. ;)

I just finished up my CPR/AED/First Aid class with the Red Cross and passed.

Just one last thing standing between me an my CFT certification... me! That is, me getting the blasted test done and submitted. But that's coming... honest!

I have to say this class was a bit more educational than the ISSA seminar I went to last week - or at least it was a bit more fun. I was a bit worried about the skills part, but it was good all around. The best part is that I ended up sitting with a lady who's an ACE certified trainer so we talked a bit about that - very neat lady and hope to talk with her again.

Last weekend's class was... interesting. It was taught by John Schaeffer who did a great job in some aspects, but honestly it wasn't what I expected from the certification seminar.

What I was expecting was an expansion on the material in the book - you know, an actual class. Didn't get that. After I figured that out, and his style, I was ok with it. I did get enough of 'real world' info that it helped with concepts I was struggling with (like that whole darn ATP/CP/Glycogen/etc. conversion thingy... boggled the brain!)

The first day was all lecture, the 2nd day was the skills training and at the time I felt like I got more out of the skills part than anything. Good form is key to prevent injury and to get maximum benefits from the movements, and turns out I have decent form for my squats and lateral raises (whoo hoo!) and got to learn a few new ways to do some exercises.

I have to say, the man is amazing - he walks the walk. At age 60-something has twice the muscle I do, and still in single digit body fat% (or close to it). He's also got a phenomenal track record, both for himself and the athletes he trains.

Basically this guy knows his stuff, and has had a lot of success as a trainer for the full range of clients he's worked with... and I heard a LOT about it - his power lifting records, his martial arts/fighting titles, who he was training, etc.

Actually, I learned a LOT about the way he trains, his take on nutrition (got some good tips on supplements that I actually got to share with the supplement guy at Sunflower today. Go me! :), etc., yet found it ironic that he would say, "There's no one right way to do it," and would quickly poo-poo other ways of doing things... Basically it gave the overall impression that his was /more/ right than any other way.

To be honest, I left feeling less than confident (though talking with the gym manager was awesome!), and wondering if the workshop was really worth it (didn't help that I was hungry! hello! It's a workshop for people who understand the importance of/"prescribe" eating at regular intervals... so don't go 5 hours straight w/no break! Gah! ::breathing::)

All last week I felt like what he was telling us was really the /only/ way, so I'd better suck it up and learn his way. I mean, he has a proven track record, no?

But I didn't like or totally agree with his way... so I was conflicted.

I've had some distance (and food! LOL!) I can see that I really learned a lot. What it showed me is that he's done the background work, he's gone through the process to lay the foundation that supports his current success.

I'm guessing that what he's doing now took a lot of trial and error to get down, and it's working for him. He's confident that, if someone follows what he says nutritionally and physically, they'll get awesome results.

Thing is, you can find another trainer who will have a similar record with the athletes they train, or themselves, and they will have an entirely different approach.

This is what makes this field so confusing and wonderful at the same time! By working with people, experimenting with eating this, timing that suppliment, doing this set of exercises over that, *I* will find something that works for ME and MY clients.

I have the advantage now of glimpsing into someone elses bag of tricks, standing on the shoulders of giants in the industry, to see the mistakes they made and learn from them so I can create my /own/ bag of tricks.