Monday, November 30, 2009

On the Naughty List

Last night, my family and I went to Bella Terra in Huntington Beach to take our annual Christmas photos. I'll say it right now... I am not a perfectionist. Nor do I care if my Christmas card photo looks like a professional took it. That's why every year we get together with our good friends and trade taking each others Christmas photos.

I am not a perfectionist but I do have standards. Hair can be blowing, shoes might not match dresses, muffin tops and double chins might even make the cut. My only real wish for our Christmas photo is to have one (ONE!) photo with four faces smiling, preferably showing teeth but I'll even settle for half smile with no teeth.

On this one occasion, I try to capture my kids personalities so I can share them with friends and family in the form of one beautiful, shiny Christmas card, courtesy of Costco online.

Maybe that's my problem. I want to capture the happy, playful side of my kids. But they each have depth to their personality, that goes beyond a glint in the eye and a smile. And, being human as they are, they get grumpy sometimes. It could be brought on by a beautiful dress that's more snug than my lovely broad shouldered 3 yr old is used to wearing. Or the fact that there are kids nearby ready and willing to play with a 5 yr old that is being forced to stand still for a photo. Or maybe it's brought on by hunger... with so much to plan, I totally forgot to account for the fact that my hypoglycemic daughter hadn't had a snack in a couple hours and might melt down. Duh.

As I looked through the less than perfect photos last night, my own mood changed a few times in a matter of minutes. First, I was angry - why couldn't I just get one measly half way decent photo??? Then I was sad - poor me. Then, I must admit, I got a chuckle out of it and a creative idea for a Christmas card. I think the photo I will end up using is the one where my 3 yr old looks her grumpiest. The tag line on the card will read something like, "Don't be an angry elf this Christmas". Or maybe, "have you been naughty or nice this year?".

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Turkey Trot

Happy Thanksgiving!

I ran in the Turkey Trot today. 10k - which is just over 6 miles. It has been a few months since I ran a race and I had forgotten how much I love running. I went there to support my step mom, who was running her first ever race. But I left there enthusiastic about my new/old love of running. I'm serious when I say I had forgotten. My memory flushed over me as I took my first step. Chills. A smile that came so naturally, I couldn't hide it.

I don't look like a runner. I don't run fast and my knees are bad. And I'm not as lean as runners are. But I am a runner.

When I started running years ago, I would give myself little silent motivational mantras while I ran. "Put one foot in front of the other". "Just do it". Or my favorite: "I am a runner. It's what I do. I run". I believe that if you can convince yourself you are capable of something, you open yourself up to the possibility of doing something you never would have thought possible. My mantra "I am a runner. It's what I do. I run". Got me thru one marathon, two half marathons, and a ton of smaller races throughout the years.

After a few minutes of running today, I heard a silent voice in my head saying "you are a runner! It's what you do! You run!". I love it.

I stayed with my step mom thru the whole race, despite the urge to break out and just RUN as fast as I could. At one point, I said to step mom, "when we get to the finish line, let's really start to run". To which she replied, "I AM RUNNING". Oh. oops. I thought this was a cool jog.

Today I am thankful for many things. My healthy family, our lovely house, food on the table, our wonderful country. But I'm also thankful for my legs, that helped me run 6 miles this morning. And my heart, that pushed blood thru my body. My lungs, that pulled breath in.

Oh, I should probably mention the changes I made. I'm still doing the 100 day challenge. I've just opened my blog up to write about other things too.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Day 18: - Tae Bo Super Charged 8 minute workout

Yes, my workout was only 8 minutes this morning. The kids were both up and it just wasn’t working today. But I got a really quality 8 minutes in! Maybe I’ll throw on my running clothes when I take the kids to the park later and sprint around the playground.

I can’t believe its only day 18. 100 days is a long time! Seriously. I’m happy that I started the habit of exercising in the morning. And I’m enjoying writing my thoughts in a blog. What I’ve lost interest in is consistently writing about exercise in the blog. I wish my blog was more about random thoughts and passing frustrations, rather than pigeonholed into a workout blog. Which is probably why I keep getting off the subject?

This got me thinking about being consistent. I would REALLY love to be consistent. Sadly though, I’m inconsistent to the core. In fact, the only things that are consistent from day to day are 1) I drink tea every morning of my life and 2) I am inconsistent every day of my life. Well I guess you could say I have consistently had the same husband and kids too, but I haven’t treated them consistently so that doesn’t really count here, does it? I KNOW I would be more content with more consistency in my life. And I KNOW my kids would do better if I could be more consistent. But I just can’t seem to pull it together from day to day. There are too many distractions and outside variables (whining kids, last minute invitations, etc). I have worked hard to make schedules and routines (lots) and they look really impressive! I post the schedule at night, filled with intention and hope for an organized and consistent household and then it becomes a part of the wall, unlooked at for weeks until I take it down because it looks shabby. So the question is, how do I become more consistent in my life?

As I lay in bed last night, I started listing in my head all the ways I’m inconsistent. Not a good idea when you are trying to sleep. Here’s what I came up with. The list could truthfully go on and on. I stopped it here for the sake of boredom (on your part and mine).

Disciplining kids
My Eating
M workout
Helping my kid with her homework
My time
My mood
My patience level
Going to church
Reading the bible

My Workout: Tae Bo Turbo Charged 8 Minute Workout

What I liked:
1. It was only 8 minutes, which is about all I could muster with the kids in my space
2. I love tae bo, especially the boxing moves
3. Fast paced and charged

What I didn’t like:
1. Umm, tight spandex and leg warmers, again.

Pay attention to the flow in your life - Dr Wayne Dyer

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Day 17: - Biggest Loser Cardio Max – Maximum Results Option

I was excited about working out this morning. And I even got a little extra motivation when my daughter said, “mommy, those girls are as skinny as you”. The girls she was referring to were the biggest loser contestants doing the exercises with the trainers. Granted, they had lost amazing amounts of weight when this was filmed, and they had been working out with trainers for 4 months straight, showing definite muscle definition. But I can’t say I was thrilled to be told I was the same size as these ladies, who still had a bit of weight to lose to be at their goal (all managed to lose it by the finale). But I resisted the urge to make an issue of it to my daughter and just said, “thanks, they look strong.” I don’t want her to have body image issues. Then I pushed myself a little harder.

P.S. Loving my kids yesterday made all the difference. I was "present" with them and they naturally showed me all the reasons why I'm blessed to be their mommy.

My Workout: Biggest Loser Cardio Max – Maximum Results Option

What I liked:
1. 3 different trainers, one for each level, kept it interesting and made each segment seem faster
2. It had all sorts of exercises mixed up together (yoga, boxing, and old school cardio)
3. Gotta love Bob Harper

What I didn’t like:
1. Jillians burpies

"First, you plug the leaks: learn to recognize what drains your energy - life situations, toxic people, or habits such as worry, indecision or guilt. Second, you identify what fills your tank - pleasure, prayer, anticipation, or fun - and give yourself more." - Mira Kirshenbaum

Monday, November 23, 2009

Day 16: Wii fit - Yoga (and off topic note about love)

It’s Monday! I’m going to have a great week!

This week I’m shifting the focus with my kids, to try to find some peace in the house. I realize this has nothing to do with my exercise challenge, but it’s what is going on in my life and what I feel like writing about!

I’ve been driving myself (and everyone in the house) crazy the past few weeks, trying to get my kids to behave better. I’ve been obsessively noticing every infraction and internalizing each minor disagreement as my kids not respecting me. Consequently, I have felt like a failure as a parent. I’ve tried all sorts of discipline ideas but I can’t seem to get them right. To live up to my own expectations, I’d have to be Super Nanny and Dr Phil morphed into one busy mom. Needless to say, I’m constantly letting myself down, thinking I am just not good at this parenting stuff. And the sad thing is, in my effort to get some order in the house, my nurturing, loving self has apparently left the building (I don’t blame her, I wouldn’t want to stick it out either).

After crying to my husband about my frustrations, I picked up the bible for the first time in many, many months. Maybe it was a coincidence. After all, I hadn’t even read anything before the feeling of warmth and knowing came over me. Whatever it was, within minutes I had an answer. Love. Love is what is missing in my house. Not control or respect, but love.

You see, if I were to discipline my kids so well that they behaved perfectly in every situation; but I wasn’t able to show them love at the same time, I would still be failing as a mom. If I could only do ONE thing successfully as a mom, wouldn’t showing my kids love be the best? The Bible says that loving God and loving your neighbor are the greatest of all the commandments. Finally, something I know with all my heart I can do right! What a relief!

So today, I am working on just plain loving my kids. Showing them that I like to be with them, that I’m there when they are sad and that someone loves them unconditionally. I have a sneaky suspicion behavior will improve too, but even if it doesn’t, I will still feel like a good mom in the end.

Today's Workout: Wii fit - Yoga

What I liked:
1. Today was the first day in a while that I really enjoyed the workout. The Wii is just plain fun!
2. I liked that I could choose which pose I wanted and redo it as many times as I’d like
3. The Wii checks your balance when you stand on the balance board, so I was able to tell if I was putting equal weight on each foot and correct my posture while I did the exercise.

What I didn’t like:
1. The computer animation is still a bit basic so the trainer just looks weird. I’ll bet it won’t take long before Wii fit is more high tech.

Matthew 22:30: "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

Friday, November 20, 2009

Day 15: - Tae Bo Turbo Charged Fat Burner

I am having a little problem with my new exercise plan (aka 100 Day Challenge). The idea of getting my exercise done early in the morning seems like a perfect plan. But what I didn’t account for was the fact that my best workouts are typically charged by stress or excess energy, neither of which I have early in the morning. My low energy is resulting in a half-assed morning workout. Then later in the day, when my energy is high and my stress is even higher, I could really use the release from exercise.

When I started this challenge, I told myself that instead of giving up when it got hard, I would tweak things here and there to make it work. I said that if I want it bad enough, I need to be willing to try what it takes. So I made a little tweak. Yesterday at 4pm, when my kids were driving me crazy with whining and fighting, I fought back the urge to scream and yell and instead popped in my Tae Bo DVD. Yes, I did this workout both yesterday and today. I’m happy to report that the workout did exactly what I had hoped. I was FULL of energy and worked out as hard as I possibly could. Afterwards, I felt FANTASTIC. My stress was relieved and I was once again a nice mommy.

This was promising to me. Lately I’ve been a different person. Whereas I thought I’d be all sweet and happy because I was accomplishing something with my workout challenge, I have felt on the verge of a breakdown. What I realize is that I am a bit addicted to the exercise high I feel after a really good, sweaty workout. I am having withdrawals. Maybe it’s not good to be addicted to exercise. But it beats some other things and if it makes me a better mom, I’ll take it.

So going forward, I’m going to listen to my body. If I’m feeling mellow in the morning, I’ll keep my workout mellow – doing yoga, Pilates or something similar. And if I’m feeling stressed out and pumped up with emotion, I’ll do an intense, sweat inducing workout video later in the day. I’ll still keep my standing 6am date with my DVD player, but I am not limiting myself to the one block of time. And it might mean repeating some of my workouts, since there are only so many workouts to choose from.

I’ve also got a fresh 12 week Weight Watchers journal and am excited about following the plan again. Stay tuned for weekly results!

My Workout: Tae Bo Turbo Charged Fat Burner

What I liked:
1. The Billy Bo workouts are by far my favorites. After this challenge is up, I’ll likely stick to Tae Bo most days.
2. He’s so energetic and positive. He’s constantly shouting out words of praise.
3. The workout is intense and manages to get my heart rate up without hurting my knees.

What I didn’t like:
1. He used a bar that he called an amplifier. I did it without one and it worked fine. But he mentioned that it’s the “key” to a killer workout. I might have to go get one. Once I have it, it will switch from a negative to a positive. 

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work” -Thomas Edison

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Day 14 – Shimmy (belly dancing)

A couple years ago, I paid careful attention to my life and tried to get in a place of “thriving”, instead of just surviving. I started collecting quotes and bible verses and I started journaling and listing big “aha” moments in my “life lessons” list. After a few years of truly thriving, I’m back at that boring place of surviving; eager to find my way back to thriving. So I went thru my old list today and though they were all still very relevant to my livelihood, I found one that spoke to me more than others. Below is #33 from my old life lessons list.

Life lesson #33: I have learned that tracking my points, or staying within reasonable eating parameters, isn’t just to be thin. The benefits far exceed the vanity of looking good. When I’m on track with my diet, I feel in control of something, which helps me gain control in other areas of my life. Also, eating healthy makes me feel great. My body needs the nutrients and it’s getting them. Sometimes I allow myself to get off track of my eating, for a few days. At the time, I think, “I don’t really care about being thin. I just want to be a good person". At those times, I feel like I’m giving myself a little gift that I deserve. Or like I’m all deep because I don’t value myself on my weight. But the truth is, it’s not a gift at all (unless I call it a gift of complacency). It’s really just giving me disorganization, discomfort and poor self esteem. That’s not much of a gift! The truth is, staying on track makes me a better person more than binging does. I’m nicer to others when I take care of myself. I also feel less like I have ADD when I’m within boundaries.

Thriving, to me, means being conscious and honest in your life for the benefit of God, other people and your whole self (body, mind, spirit).

My Workout: Shimmy - FitTV

What I liked:
1. Belly dancing is a neat way of exercising
2. I was excited to try something different
3. Belly dancing seems like the kind of thing that can loosen me up, emotionally and physically

What I didn’t like:
1. It really wasn’t a workout.

“We are not born all at once, but by bits. The body first, and the spirit later” -Mary Antin

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Day 13: - Namaste Yoga

I don’t have very much to say today. Other than I feel I haven’t been working out nearly as hard as I could or should. I think at home there is a little too much freedom to slack off. Some people probably still push themselves despite not having a room full of people and an instructor pushing them. I’m not that person. I need to find a way to really push myself. I’m not burning enough calories and I’m not getting any endorphins. But, on the bright side, I am probably getting enough to get health benefits. That’s something.

I'm in a funk and it's dissapointing. I didn't expect to be here at day 13 of this journey. I expected it to happen at about day 90 or so. Urgh.

My Workout: Namaste Yoga, FitTV

What I liked:
1. Definitely peaceful. I could see doing this at night to wind down. I liked the breathing in and out. I forget to do that. 
2. It feels great to stretch in the morning!
3. Simple, effective moves

What I didn’t like:
1. I don’t do yoga often (ever) so I don’t know the poses. The instructor didn’t go into directions on how to get into positions. I figured them out easily by looking at the tv screen, but that meant I had to crane my neck funny to see it. Not really a big deal. I could see how it would only take a few times doing it to have the moves down without looking.

"I am more and more convinced that our happiness or unhappiness depends far more on the way we meet the events of life, than on the nature of those events themselves." - Wilhelm von Humboldt

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Day 12 - In Shape with Sharon Mann - Pilates

I miss running. Actually, I don’t miss the activity of running but I miss the stress relief and endorphin rush always feel when I run. Exercising with these videos doesn’t give me that. Even when I do it for an hour and sweat the whole time, I still don’t feel that surge of good feelings . My husband says if (when!) I get an A in my Anatomy class, I can buy an elliptical machine. I’m thinking about asking to switch it to a treadmill. I like the variety and flexibility of working out with my DVD’s, but I’d like to supplement it at some point with more cardio. Boy, 100 days is feeling like a long time!!!

I REALLY didn’t like the workout show this morning. Usually I try to list 3 goods and 1 bad, but today I’ve reversed it. I just couldn’t think of 3 things I liked about it!!!

My Workout: In Shape with Sharon Mann

What I liked:
1. Some running move she did while laying on the back. It seemed to really work the abs good

What I didn’t like:
1. The loud, crazy music. This was supposed to be pilates. When I think of pilates, I think of calming things, as well as a hard workout. This music was plain awful! It was loud and fast beat. It totally didn’t fit with the workout.
2. The lady didn’t give modifications very often. At one point, she said, “just grab your big toe and swing your leg out like this”. Holy crap. Big toe? I could barely reach my thigh! In fact, she was the only one in her room that could reach her toe.
3. The camera moved too much. Again, I wanted to concentrate on “connecting the mind to the body and soul” like the instructor said. Though she didn’t seem like she was connecting anything except pilates with head banger aerobics.

"The feeling of not wanting to do something is actually an opportunity to exercise your inner strength" - Bill Phillips

Monday, November 16, 2009

Day 11: - Billy Blanks Tae Bo (1998)... and binge rant

There are 720 calories in a sleeve of nutter butter cookies. Any guesses as to why I know this? I had a little slip up yesterday that resulted in an epiphany that will (hopefully) prevent such slip ups in the future.

I have been trying to pay attention to my blood sugar lately, because I have noticed I get weird when I’ve gone without food for a while. Though I’m not a diabetic (at least I don’t think I am), if I haven’t eaten in a few hours, I start to feel dizzy, hot, shaky and just not really “there” mentally. Because of this, I try to eat something with protein every 2-3 hrs, hungry or not, and I try to carry emergency snacks with me. But every once in a while I get caught in a situation where I am starting to feel icky and I don’t have a healthy snack to bring me back to normal. This happened yesterday at the library, where I was studying with my Anatomy study group. I started to feel the familiar clues that something isn’t right. First I couldn’t concentrate, then I got hot and dizzy, then I felt shaky and panicked. I excused myself from the group so I could get a snack and meet them again to finish up. Then I drove to CVS to find something that would make me feel better, without ruining my appetite for dinner and without sabotaging my weight loss efforts. Peanuts were the best choice, and I had them in my hand at one point. But in my panicked state, I felt I needed carbs NOW. It’s hard to describe but it really felt like a survival thing. Now the next day, I can understand I would have certainly survived without anything at all, but at that moment, I felt like I needed carbs to exist. So I did what any confused, hungry person would do and I grabbed a bag of nutter butter cookies (they have peanut butter, after all!). In the car, I quickly opened the bag and like a prospective contestant on the Biggest Loser I ate them frantically. When the feeling didn’t go away, I popped another and another and another into my mouth. I was conscious of my decision to eat the cookies – every one of them. In fact, at one point I told myself to stop, that I was eating way more than I need to feel normal again. But because the feeling was still there, I kept going. Until they were gone. Pulling into the parking lot, I felt defeated. The low blood sugar feeling was gone, though I don’t even remember it leaving. It was just me, coherent and full, staring at an empty package of nutter butters and wondering what the heck I just did. I quickly calculated the calories and sighed when I realized I had just crammed 720 calories down my throat in 5 minutes. 720 calories. Not to mention the fat! I went back to my study group and tried to finish up studying nerves, which ironically are all about cause and effect.

Lesson learned here: when my blood sugar is low, I don’t think clearly. If I’m not thinking clearly, I can not expect myself to make good decisions. In order to make good decisions about eating, I need to make sure I keep my mind sharp by eating a healthy snack every 2-3 hrs.

Today is Monday. A new week. I am up and have worked out, so I am back “on track”. I am going to try to be good to my body today and make decisions that will help me. And hopefully in a few weeks my jeans won’t be too tight. I seriously have two pair of pants that I can wear, besides workout clothes. Incidentally, its two weeks into this workout challenge and I had hoped that I would be a few pounds down. For obvious reasons (above), I am not going near the scale.

My Workout: Billy Blanks Tae Bo (1998)

What I liked:
1. It is everything that it promises to be, “Energizing! Explosive! Powerful! Uplifting!”
2. Super high energy workout that got me sweating. If I did this every day, I could reach my fitness goals
3. I like that he starts each move slow and then speeds it up to double time. It gives me a chance to get coordinated before going fast.

What I didn’t like:
1. It was hard to get past the bright blue, skin tight leotard that he wore. Not to mention the leg warmers. It was a little older (1998), in his defense. Anyway, I’m sure it was hip back then. But then again, was it really ever hip to display your package while you worked out??

“Your success or failure in life will not be decided by the number of setbacks you encounter, but rather how you react to them” - Mac Anderson

Friday, November 13, 2009

Day 10 - 10 Minute Solution: Kickbox Bootcamp: Ultimate Buns &Thighs, Shoulder Sculptor & Washboard Abs

Today was easy to get up, thanks to my 3 yr old asking for water and then throwing a fit because I wouldn’t sing to her. Seriously. She didn’t win the battle, but she did manage to wake the whole house up before 6am. Which means I had company for my workout. Lots of company. And lots of noise. I don’t know what time I would have to wake up to get to exercise in peace but I’m thinking I might try earlier. Anyway, I did it and I feel better for it. I suppose that’s enough to put me in a good mood.

My Workout: 10 Minute Solution: Kickbox Bootcamp: Ultimate Buns &Thighs, Shoulder Sculptor & Washboard Abs (3 workouts = 30 minutes)

What I liked:
1. Same DVD as yesterday, but I chose different options. Love customizing my workout.
2. The lady was super fit
3. Liked the shoulder workout. I think I like boxing.

What I didn’t like:
1. As usual, squats. I don’t know what I expect from a workout video that has promised to get me fit in an area the size of a small rug. I guess they all need to do some squats. I just do different things (marching in place, stepping side to side) when the workout hurts my knees. I’m not sure why running doesn’t hurt my knees but side to side, squats or jumps do.

The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor. - Vince Lombardi

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Day 9 – 10 Minute Solution: Kickbox bootcamp: Basic Training, Fat-Burning Blast & Washboard Abs

I hit snooze this morning. I’m not proud of it, but I did it so I must own up. The thing is though; I couldn’t relax after I pressed it. I just lay there thinking about how comfortable my bed is, and what a bummer it is that the alarm is going to go off again really soon. But when? Now? Now? Now? So I never relaxed. I finally just turned off the alarm and got up. I wasn’t excited about working out. An hour later, I’m glad I did.

I was super tired yesterday afternoon. The kind of tired that make me wonder if I have a brain tumor or something. It doesn’t seem normal to have a fuzzy head that’s more dizzy than painful. I’m starting to wonder if it’s my blood sugar that’s causing it. Truthfully, I’ve wondered this about a hundred times. I seem to feel that way after eating more carbs than protein (like my munchie yesterday of veggie straws, which contrary to the healthy sounding name, are really just glorified French fries in a bag). Today I’m going to watch my meals and snacks and make sure they are balanced. I’m also going to take the “B” vitamins, which seem to help, if even only in my head.

Okay, on to the workout. I got this DVD thru Netflix – they have tons of workout DVD’s! Figures that the ONE that I have rented is the one I wish I would have bought. Oh well, now I know. I am going to use the same DVD tomorrow, choosing different options, since I have to return the DVD soon.

My workout:
10 Minute Solution w/Keli Roberts(3 total): Kickbox Bootcamp – Basic Training, Fat Burning Blast & Ultimate Abs

What I liked:
1. I really liked the basic training section. She (Keli Roberts) gave instruction on real boxing moves, which reminded me of the classes I used to take at LA Boxing.
2. I loved the idea that there are 5 - 10 minute workouts that you can mix and match, giving yourself a quick 10 minute workout or doing a whole 50 minute workout. If you choose the later, you would get a full body workout. I chose 3 of the 5 today.
3. I liked the ab section

What I didn’t like:
1. I could pass on the “Fat Burning Blast” section. She did lots of burpies (sp?), which I think are what started hurting my back a few days ago.

"We can let circumstances rule us, or we can take charge and rule our lives from within." — Earl Nightingale:

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Day 8 – Men’s Back Health through Yoga

No, I’m not a man. I’m just a woman with a sore back. So today I decided to use my husband’s only workout DVD – Men’s Back Health through Yoga, which he bought a couple of years ago when he took a class with the same name. My husband’s back has been made stronger by using this DVD, in addition to swimming regularly with the Masters Swimming program. I figured if it helps him, maybe it will help me (Yoga, not swimming. Can’t swim in the family room).

Getting up was hard today. I went to bed too late, after a fun night of scrapbooking with my friends. And I ate too much for dinner last night, so I feel like the Michelin man this morning (oh no, I notice a pattern here – men’s back health yoga, Michelin man references… eeeek!).

The great thing about exercising every morning is that when I feel I’ve blown it with eating, I get a clean slate at 6am the next day. If I didn’t get up to exercise this morning, I would have beaten myself up all day for last night’s big burrito dinner. But it is 7:00am now, just a mere 13 hours after said pig out and guess what? I feel on track again! 

My workout: Men’s Back Health Through Yoga (Loredana Yoga)

What I liked:
1. It worked! I started the morning with a sore back and it feels better.
2. The moves were simple but effective; I didn’t feel like a human pretzel
3. She said “foot crotch” a couple times. Who wouldn’t like that?!

What I didn’t like:
1. I’m really not good at critiquing. The only thing I can say is that it’s hard for me to think of yoga as a “workout”. It’s a great stretch, for sure. But I’m used to thinking a workout means breaking a sweat and burning lots of calories. But, I am really trying to approach fitness differently and recognize that flexibility and inner strength is equally as important as the ability to run 12 miles.

"You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight." Jim Rohn

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Day 7 – Jillian Michaels: Banish Fat Boost Metabolism

My alarm went off at 6am and I struggled to pull myself out of a deep sleep and a good dream. I wanted so bad to hit the snooze but somehow I found the motivation to put my feet on the ground and stand. Once there, the rest was easier.

My daughter got up at 6:15, blessing me with constructive criticism about my form. This actually proved to be a benefit when she pointed out I was doing the same side twice… oops. It occurred to me this morning that, like Stroller Strides, it’s great that my daughter(s) get to see me exercising. If I were to hit the gym when they were at school, they wouldn’t understand firsthand what I go through to take care of myself. I watched my mom exercise my whole childhood, and I think it is one of the reasons I value health and fitness. My mom still exercises all the time and, since retiring, has taken up tennis and started playing on a competitive tennis team!

I feel great!!!

My workout: Jillian Michaels - Banish Fat Boost Metabolism (57 mins)

What I liked:
1. it was a whole body workout that got my heart rate up. She alternated between upper body and lower body moves, which Jillian claims burns more fat, since the blood is forced to move from one part of the body to the other.
2. I liked the boxing and standing oblique work
3. Each circuit was only 6 minutes long so it made the hour go by fairly fast

What I didn’t like:
1. Hopping and jumping. It’s effective, for sure. But it gives me popcorn knees. Also, note to self: wear a better exercise bra next time (good thing I was in my house!)

People often tell me that motivation doesn’t last and I tell them bathing doesn't either. That's why I recommend it daily. -Zig Ziglar

Monday, November 9, 2009

Day 6 – Total Body Sculpt with Gilad - Thighs Buttocks and Back

Coming off of a weekend with too many restaurant meals, I was eager to get back to my exercise regime. I woke up at 5:45 feeling awake and excited to workout. It’s surprising to me that I have been awake before my alarm most days so far. Years ago, when I’d have to get up for work, I can remember hitting the snooze button so many times, it was like I was playing a video game in my sleep (buzz, bonk, buzz, bonk). I should thank my kids for giving me the gift of morning coherency.

But today I was up and ready to go before 6. I opted for an exercise program that I recorded on Tivo (is that cheating?). If I’m going to try to do 100 different variations of exercise programs, I’m going to need to get creative about where I find my workouts.

My workout: Total Body Sculpt with Gilad – Thighs, Buttocks and Back
What I liked:
1.They were on the beach in Hawaii, so the scenery couldn’t have been better
2.Gilad was great at cueing the exercises and he checked form a lot. I’m not sure how he did it, but he managed to make me feel like he was actually correcting MY form at home.
3.I liked that it incorporated weights and a workout ball (optional)

What I didn’t like:
1.Because I watched it on Tivo, there were commercials. This was my first time using an exercise show from TV, and I was like, “what the what?!”. I felt cheated because I thought it was a half hour class, but it probably ended up as 25 minutes. I supplemented with a dance show, which was humbling to say the least.

“Invest your time, don’t just spend it” -
Bill Phillips

Friday, November 6, 2009

Day 5 - Winsor Pilates

Today is day 5 and I have to say it was the easiest day yet. I woke up a minute before my alarm, ready and willing to get up and workout. My kids stayed asleep until 6:15, which felt like a HUGE blessing!

Although I felt awesome yesterday morning, I was SO tired and sluggish in the afternoon. There are few things I dislike more than the feeling of being tired. I am a total wimp when it comes to this, which is why I haven't made exercising first thing in the morning a habit in the past. I guard my sleep so much that it's sort of a joke amongst my friends. The payoff of more time usually isn't worth the cost of being tired all day. But is that really true? Or are there just growing pains involved with adopting this behavior, and my body will adjust?

If you really want something, you need to be willing to try everything in your power to make it work. For me, that means getting my butt out of bed every day even if I'm tired later - and tweaking little things here and there until it's comfortable.

I did this when I started running years ago and it got me thru a marathon. If something bugged me while running, instead of quitting, I challenged myself to fix the complaint on my next run, until I had nothing left to complain about. For instance, I'd run and get sweat in my eyes so the next run I brought a wet paper towel with me. If my bra rubbed, I'd buy a new one. If my sunblock bugged me, I'd switch it, etc. After a few runs, I realized I couldn't think of anything to change.

I believe in pushing yourself to grow as a person.

With regards to this new challenge, tweak #1 was going to bed earlier. Tweak #2 is to try taking B vitamins in the afternoon.

I have also decided to set some detailed expectations for myself, with regard to this home workout challenge. Here is my new plan:

* I will use home exercise videos as my main source of exercise, M-F at 6am - until I reach 100 workouts, without skipping any weekdays. The duration of the workout doesn't matter. Some workouts are 20 minutes, others are 90. I don't want to limit myself by saying it has to be X number of minutes. And my real challenge is getting up and workout out, so as long as I do that, I've been successful!

Todays workout:
Winsor Pilates: 20 minute workout

What I liked:
1. The instructor (Mari Winsor) taught the class while walking around, instead of actually doing the exercises. This allowed her to focus on cueing and checking everyone's form. I found her instructions very clear and I loved that she offered modifications for different things like a sore neck or a bad back.
2. The moves were clean and simple
3. I chose this workout because my back was sore when I woke up. After doing this workout, my back feels 100% again and my whole body feels stretched and ready for the day.

What I didn't like:
1. Ummm. Not much really. My only complaint is really entirely my fault, and that is that I didn't get any cardio in this morning.

"Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do." -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (german writer and polymath)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Day 4 - Biggest Loser Cardio DVD

It's day 4! I woke up before my alarm went off, thanks to my youngests bed wetting accident. I started my workout at 5:40, a little excited to have a quiet house. Much to my disliking, both kids were up 10 minutes later and my audience was making itself heard. Although it's nice to hear an occassional, "go, mommy, go", it's a tad frustrating to have my 3 yr old throwing a minor fit in between my legs while I'm trying to move around (with weights). But alas, I did it! And I feel great for it!

My workout: Biggest Loser Cardio DVD

What I liked:
1. Biggest Loser is one of my favorite TV shows, so it was fun to workout with people who seemed familiar to me.
2. I liked that it incorporated weights and decent cardio. I worked up a sweat.
3. You can customize your workout. I chose to do cardio 1 and cardio 2 today, plus warm up and cool down.

What I didn't like:
1. lots of squats and a few jumps, which isn't good on the knees. I have bad knees and at one point I wondered if my noisy knees are what woke up the kids (I listen to the video nearly on mute).


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Tired and frustrated

12:50pm - I'm frustrated. The whole reason for getting up early to exercise is to give me more time during the day; to be more efficient with my time. But I'm so tired that I feel like I'm only half as efficient as I usually am! I'm supposed to be studying for my Anatomy lab exam but I'm not thinking clearly and I feel like I need to curl up in a ball and take a nap. Urgh.

I'm not giving up though! I will get used to getting up earlier, right? Perhaps I will go to bed earlier tonight.

Day 3 - The Firm Express Workout

Today is day 3 of my "challenge". I really didn't want to get out of bed today. My alarm went off for the third time in 5 years (kids are usually my alarm) and I felt the dread. I guess my blog commitment works, because it's what I thought of when I made the decision to get up and workout. An hour later - I'm so glad I did!!!

My workout: The Firm Express Workout (yes, I sorta cheated, it wasn't 45 mins)

What I liked:
It uses hand weights, so I get a bit of toning
The abs/stretching segment was simple but perfect for the AM
The instructor was super cut, which was inspiring

What I didn't like:
It was sort of low energy, light music and no one else said a peep. Great for the evening when I want to slow down, but not much of a pick-me-up in the morning. I didn't break a sweat.

I'm so glad to have my workout done for the day!!!!!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Can home exercise videos melt my muffin top?

Can home exercise videos melt my muffin top?

In an effort to save time, my sanity, and my quickly growing waste-line, I have committed to waking up at 6am M-F and exercising for at least 45 minutes. I am blogging my little journey to a less rushed, fitter self in hopes it will keep me from giving up on day 3, like I usually do.

The commitment to exercise doesn't scare me. I like exercise and know the benefits first hand. Up until recently, I have easily fit it into my life through Stroller Strides, which was my exercise, social circle, and time with my two little girls; all at once. But my kids are in school most mornings now, and I don't want to use those precious hours for exercising. It's the never ending problem, isn't it? There are only so many hours in the day, and it's an art form to using your time wisely.

So after devoting way too much mental energy to the subject, I've found my solution. If I can get my butt out of bed before the kids get up, I can workout at home using workout DVD's – and not miss anything else during the day! It's like a gift of an extra hour, right? And I won't have to spend any more mental energy on: 1) thinking about where I can squeeze in a workout 2) thinking up excuses as to why I can't do said workout, 3) feeling guilty for slacking off and 4) trying on five articles of clothing before settling on something (black) that doesn't show my muffin top.

Is this blog too long? I feel so boring.

Today is day two of my new commitment. The first morning was easy to wake up, thanks to daylight savings change. Today was slightly harder to get up but I did it. I tried a new Billy Blanks Tae Boe Ultimate Challenge DVD. I completed 45 minutes before realizing it was a 90 minute workout but decided to stop anyway. Tomorrow I might try “The Firm” DVD.

By the way, because of the time change, one of my daughters has been awake for each of the workouts. I have a peanut gallery on the couch saying things like “you look funny mommy” and “why don't you do it as fast as they do mommy”. :)

Here's to losing my muffin top, one cheesy workout DVD at a time!