100 Ways of Fitness Day 48

Laissez les Bon temps rouler

Today has many names and it’s one of my favorite and least favorite days of the year.

  • Fat Tuesday
  • Mardi Gras (that means fat Tuesday)
  • Pancake Tuesday
  • Shrove Tuesday

Tomorrow starts the Lenten season for certain Christians. I grew up in a catholic family, so I am no stranger to the traditions surrounding Mardi Gras, lent, and Easter. I also lived in New Orleans for a year so I am no stranger to the stranger ideas surrounding Mardi Gras.

I understand the idea behind today. I get it. One last hurrah before you give up your vices and treats for 40 days. But we as a culture typically overindulge as it is, so I find this particular day/excuse to be over redundant for us as society.

If you want something that desperately, just do it. But do it in moderation, and consciously. If you know you’re going to indulge (at a party, or dinner with friends, or you’re going overseas to network and try to impress some British zoos), make a plan- moderation, eat only a little, make sure you drink water, have your workout, etc.

Today is what the Brits celebrate as Pancake Tuesday. I was fortunate enough to celebrate this with some new friends in England last year, so tonight in the sprit of me being a Brit at heart, Chris and I had chicken and waffles for dinner. And I had my fill of waffles. Do I feel bad? No. I allow myself to enjoy things and I take care of myself. Would I feel bad if I ate waffles everyday? Yeeeeeaaaahhhh. I should feel bad. My stomach would too.

But I guess that’s why I don’t appreciate Mardi Gras the way a true New Orleanian might. I don’t see the point or the good in having one day dedicated to being bad. Do what your body tells you is good for you. Iff it happens once a year or once a month, it shouldn’t matter.

We indulge. We cave to temptation. We fall off our wagon. We get lazy. Things happen. It’s not something to beat yourself up over or give up completely. Sometimes it’s about giving your mind a bit of a break and just doing something that feels good. Then get back on that horse, brush yourself off, and go kick some ass! And let the good times roll!

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100 Ways of Fitness Day 47

Recycle, Reuse, Reduce your Waste/waist

I was off work today but just “had” to come in for SMF Bootcamp for our President’s Day workout! I guess I should reiterate how much ridiculous amounts of fun I have creating themed workouts.
But it wasn’t just the workout. I brought my supplies tonight and together we made med balls and kettlebells. That’s right. I MADE kettlebells. They are super light, only 17 lbs, and I don’t trust them that well to do american kb swings, but they are PERFECT for Russian swings, single leg deadlifts, single arm kb swings, and probably a whole slew of other fun activities I’ll dream up! They aren’t pretty like my med balls, but they are functional and that’s what matters! Especially when doing Kennedy Kettlebell Swings.
I love that I’m reusing items that would normally just get tossed out and giving them another life. I made some makeshift weights out of kitty litter containers. I’ve got some boat fenders that we aren’t using anymore to make some sand bags that we can clean or hoist to our shoulder, or carry on our backs for squats and military sprints.

And I’m constantly on the lookout for other ways to create exercises I love to hate while on a budget and reducing waste. If you have any ideas, shoot them my way. Especially ideas for pull-ups and pull-up resistance bands.

Ah, creative fitness!

SO MUCH FUN!!!!

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100 Ways of Fitness Day 46

Hell is Hot Yoga

Since I wasn’t my ultimate best today workout or eating wise, I’m going to use my post tonight to talk about something I did last week. Hot yoga.

I know trying new things is good for me. I know that trying new things doesn’t guarantee I’ll like them. Or even that it was a great idea to try them in the first place.

Take me and yoga. Yup, I hate it. Yes I am giving it a solid try for a full month. All I can say is thank goodness I picked the shortest month of the year to try it.

Was I upset that I got sick for 5 days and couldn’t do yoga for that time? No, not at all! But I was starting to feel fat and lazy and I was itching to get out, even if that meant doing a yoga class.

As much as I hate yoga, there’s something I hate even more than that. It’s being hot. I don’t mean the sun is out and it’s warm. I mean, can’t breathe because the fracking parking lot isn’t covered and you just got in your car after a 10 hour shift and the ac won’t kick on fast enough (I’m referring to my time in Florida and Louisiana for those not in the loop). Which I discovered is basically what hot yoga is. Who on God’s green earth thought contorting your body into weird positions in the heat and humidity for a full hour was a brilliant idea?

Let me paint you a beautiful vivid picture of my experience with hot yoga!

Five minutes in and I’m DRIPPING sweat. Not dabbing off my brow. Not even “wow, that was a fantastic workout” swear. I mean my clothes were DRIPPING wet! Within five minutes. So I’m actually thinking I’m pretty smart for getting the spot by the door. (Turns out this WAS prime real estate but not for what I was hoping)- if it gets too much I’ll just bow out quietly and no one will even notice. That was an adorable idea. The instructor placed herself by the back door for most of class. Why? You ask?

No not to stop folks like me from escaping. Although I did end up staying bc of her. No, she strategically placed herself at the door in order to fan the room. Because it was so hot.

Now I have to hand it to the regulars at the class. These were the special idiots that held all the poses for the entire class. They had their 16 oz water bottles next to them and they calmly sipped on them when the teacher gave us a second. Me? I had my 33 oz bottle and that sucker was GONE the first 30 minutes.¬†And forget holding all the poses for the entire class. It’s sad when even child’s pose gives you no solace or relief because putting your head between your arms makes you just as dizzy as standing. I found the floor was a great place to lay my face. It was the only place in that horrid room that wasn’t hot to the touch.

So while I’m trying to relax and catch my breath, I feel my head starting to freak out a little. I can’t breathe. It’s too hot. I don’t care that the teacher is right at the door, I’ve gotta get the hell out of here! And then the teacher says out loud “if you feel like you’re panicking, don’t worry, that’s perfectly normal.”

Lady- no. No it is NOT normal! If you are panicking it is because your body is experiencing extreme ABNORMAL conditions!!!!

She also said later that it was completely normal to feel light headed and dizzy. I wanted to punch her in the face. Easy for her to say! All she was doing was standing by the door fanning the class off once every few minutes!

So I made it through the class. Thanks to my strategic placing right by the door. I didn’t bring a change of clothes so I walked out of the studio and into the cold. All the while swearing I’ll never do that to my precious body ever again for as long as I live. I have 8 more classes on my punch card though. Would any of you like to take a hot yoga class with me?

Fun times!

100 Ways of Fitness Day 45

Roses are red, you’re who I like. It’s a beautiful day, let’s take a hike!

Hiking in Washington has its pros and cons. Because everyone in the state enjoys it so much, there are literally hundreds of easy to find and get to hikes, most within an hour from Seattle. Chris and I could easily hike a different trail every week in a year and not even scratched the surface of all the possibilities. The problem is with hiking being a year round popular activity is thinking Valentine’s Day would prohibit folks from going hiking. That would be totally incorrect. Hiking on Valentine’s Day is ALMOST as popular as hiking the day before the Big Game when your team is playing (there were so many folks wearing their 12th Man shirts and even dressing their dogs in Seahawks bandanas or shirts. There was even a huge crowd of people at the summit with a 12th Man flag). So people here in Washington LOVE to be outside in nature. So if you go hiking on a weekend, there are going to be a TON of people, no matter what.

Today we went up to Bellingham area, to the Chuckanut mountains near the Puget Sound and hiked Fragrance Lake. It was a very enjoyable hike. Yeah, there were a few people around, more than I’d like to see. But it’s great to know I live in an area that has so many folks interested in connecting to nature.
I found one nerdy correlation in the wildlife we saw on our way up north while going through Skagit county. There were dozens of flocks of trumpeter swans in the fields. I know in some places these swans are threatened and they are protected in most areas, and I’ve heard that local farmers try to do their part to conserve the species, but on this annoyingly romantic day, I found it ironic that we were seeing them everywhere, and they are typically monogamous birds that mate for life. Say it with me “aaaaaawwweeee!” Actually, I’ve never heard a trumpeter swan before, but I’m pretty sure they go “hooooonnk”

I find it interesting that I love hiking, but the thought of getting out of bed, packing the backpack with snacks and driving “so far” is so unmotivating that I almost cancel nearly every time I plan a hike. Except once I’m there, it’s energizing, I feel connected, natural, and even tranquil (it’s odd that one of the more relaxing things I do is sweating and makings heart beat fast- I imagine most people would find that difficult to believe). I mean, it’s not meditation, but I am usually very much at peace in the woods.
This feeling is also connected to biking, morning workouts, swimming, and lunch time or bed time routine workouts (I try to work my glutes at lunch and foam roll/pilates in the evening). I don’t wanna! I don’t wanna! Don’t make me! I don’t wanna! Oh, this is fun. Why didn’t I want to do this? And I usually have a significantly great time. I mean, usually I see something that I find significant for me. Like the trumpeter swans today.

And hiking with Chris is great too. We were debating for a while on whether hiking is a great “new relationship” date, because I felt it was a more “long term relationship” date, but I think that has to do more with myself being deeply connected to nature, it being such a personal and almost sacred and spiritual thing for me, that I wouldn’t share it with someone unless I really enjoyed their company. But I have to concede that Chris was probably right, and as long as both parties are somewhat active, a hike is probably a perfect date (just no sex in the woods- don’t make me commentate on that).

So, how was everyone’s V-Day? Did you all do something that your heart will thank you for? Did you have a sweetie to do something with? Or did you simply take very good care of yourself, because you love yourself?

Have a great weekend, my friends!

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100 Ways of Fitness Day 44

Get by with the help of my friends

I didn’t do much today. I’m in a funk and I’m seriously contemplating counseling but who has time or money for that?

But talking to friends today definitely helped. I had a mental wellbeing lunch with a friend I really don’t see as often as I’d like.

I talked a little about my frustrations in fitness and life in general and she listened and let me rant. And then I listened to her talk about what’s going on with her and her life. I found that active listening really helped me get out of my head. Not that my friend has bigger or worse problems than me, but not focusing on my issues and talking to someone else definitely helps. We started exchanging great healthy recipes by the end of lunch and I really do want to try some of her pancake breakfasts!

Last night I spent close to an hour on the phone with one of my bestest and closest friends. We ended up talking about who has a cuter kitty (it’s not really all that fair that she has a kitten and we have a full grown cat- and Winnie doesn’t even count bc she’s such an evil counterpart to the Kid anyways) and Chopsticks for Salamanders. I’m thrilled that something the two of us started incorporating in our lunches and dinners out together has also picked up at her new job. They are discussing having reusable chopsticks as giveaways for a conference they hold for 200+ attendees! So that was great to get out of my head for a while talking about things I’m passionate about also.

I really do rely on my friends when I’m having a tough time. I know I have Chris with me any time I need a true shoulder to cry on and for support no matter what, but for me, I also need my “girl” friends (I say “girl” bc well, frankly, they don’t have to be a girl, it just so happens that most of my good buddies are female).

I’m glad I made plans to meet up with Jenny next week too and Stephanie and I made a promise to call and catch up next week as well. While neither conversation actually inspired me to be healthy or workout or eat better (eh, I’ll argue the lunch convo was very food oriented), it definitely helped clear my head and lately I’ve found that my weekends are all about mental wellbeing. This is a pattern, but I’m glad I’m finding coping mechanisms to get me through the workweek.

100 Ways of Fitness Day 43

One great idea and one not so great idea

I had so much success with eating great yesterday only locally produced foods and resisting temptation at work that I tried something for Thursday. It was the lamest name but I thought the idea itself was sound. I was calling it Thirsty Thursday and it would entail consuming only drinkable meals (protein shakes, juices, and water). I made three different protein shakes for my meals- banana and yogurt and whey in each of them. They tasted GREAT! And I was fine throughout the day (well sorta, at least as far as hunger and nourishment went), until around 6:00. I realized the error of my ways and knew it was too late to remedy the situation with solid food. So today was the first and last Thirsty Thursday. I need to EAT!!!! Protein shakes are great, especially before and after a workout. For every meal? No. Don’t do it. Trust me.

But I do want to focus on the positive here. I went to yoga tonight at Richmond Beach Yoga….. And I LOVED it! I actually had a great time and a lot of fun. The teacher was incredibly engaging and helpful. We did several poses that in previous classes I’ve hated, but with his instruction they were a lot more bearable. And we ended with “Plow” pose which was incredibly invigorating. If my first yoga experiences had been like this I know I would have had a MUCH different opinion of yoga. He does a morning class in Tuesday and Thursday and I’m actually excited and looking forward to attending them next week.

After yoga I decided to attend the philosophy class. You would think discussing philosophy of yoga would be boring, but again, the instructor was super engaging and I opened up and shared some thoughts and had a great time.

Considering how my day at work had gone and the horrible mindset I was in going into class, plus my lack of proper nourishment, I am very impressed with Richmond Beach Yoga for helping me forget my troubles and just BE.

Finally! NAMASTE!!!!

About time!

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100 Ways of Fitness Day 42

Washington Wednesday

Here’s a gem- pick a day of the week and eat only local foods for that day each week. I came up with Wednesday for mine. I was trying to figure out how to fit “local” with a day of the week and the closest I could come was wacky Wednesday (local-loco- wacky). But it was a huge stretch. I honestly don’t know how I came up with Washington Wednesday but whether you like it or eye roll, I think it’s going to stick.
Several things inspired Washington Wednesday. Barbara Kingsolver’s book “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” had its influence. Meatless Monday definitely helped with the idea. I guess I’ve been wanting to dedicate a day to eating clean and green.

And while I forgot to take pictures of our food tonight, I can assure you we ate very well! Salmon with farro and onions for dinner. I had chicken and potatoes for lunch, apples and yogurt with honey for snacks, and oatmeal topped with egg for breakfast. Not too shabby for winter in Seattle. As the months grow warmer, our choices will grow exponentially- and I’m going to try to grow some of our own herbs and vegetables this summer. Simple things like zucchini, tomatoes, and mint.

I would love to see this idea take off. I know in August, September, and October many places hold a month long eating local challenge. I’m going to try to do that, especially later in the summer or early fall. A whole month of salmon and Dungeness crab? What could be wrong with that?

But I had a moment of gratitude for a day challenge like this when there were goodies in the office at work (I know, I finally got off my lazy arse and came in to work- enough practice sleeping and drinking tea!). I was tempted so bad, but trying to keep the spirit of then challenge of eating only local foods kept me from caving. And while I could have had a lot more to eat at work, I wanted to succeed, so I didn’t snack on extra food or sneak a little treat. It was a Washington Wednesday miracle!!

I think I found my trick to eating healthy everyday- weekday food challenges! If I can come up with a challenge for each day of the week, then I won’t be tempted to eat junk food!

Simplify Sunday (my Monday): everything you eat can only be wit pure ingredients. Nothing more than one to two items in each ingredient. So, bbq sauce- out. But making my own vinegarette with olive oil lemon and spices is okay.

Okay, that’s all I could think of. Well I have an idea for Thursday but it’s pretty lame.

Back to locavore days. I know you all don’t live I washington so Wednesday’s may not work for you..

South Carolina saturdays
Florida Friday’s
Michigan Monday’s
Texas Tuesday

Are you up for this challenge?

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100 Ways of Fitness Day 41

Sleeping Beauty

I don’t know about all of you guys, but I for one am sick of being sick.

Mostly because I haven’t worked out in a week. Not that yoga is much of a workout. Maybe this was kismet that I should get sick on the month I am supposed to do nothing but my absolute least favorite exercise.

Instead I have gotten some much needed practice in the art of rest. I admit, I am horrible at sleeping. I swear, my body actually gets BORED sleeping a full 8 hours. But rest is what my body needs most, so I take my lessons where I can get them.

I have most definitely received at least 8 hours of sleep the last 4 days. I’ve not only gone to bed early and not gotten up early to workout, but I’ve been napping throughout the day too. I love naps. I mean, I don’t utilize them as often as I’d like, and I probably don’t do them right for optimum benefits anyways, but I really do love naps. Allowing me to go to sleep without disturbing me for about an hour would be the most amazing positive reinforcement EVER!!!! Yeah, that’s right. I would do just about anything for a good nap!

Sleep should occur long enough to heal and rest muscles, and energize your day. If you are having issues losing weight, and you are following your meal plans and exercising enough, the first place you should look are your sleeping habits. Without enough quality sleep, your body can’t function the way it should, and your health and well being will suffer.

So hurrah for me getting to practice my sleep. MUCH more enjoyable than yoga!

Gotta go catch some more. – feeling sleepy.

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100 Ways of Fitness Day 40

Tea Time

I’m not a coffee drinker. Hate the stuff! What I do like is a nice cuppa tea. And I like it the British way, too with cream and biscuits. But cream and biscuits aren’t that fantastic for you so I usually do without.

I’ve been drinking a buttload of tea the last few days as I’ve been under the weather. Chamomile has done a better job of putting me to slumber than even NyQuil (apparently NyQuil is only good for making me post silly messages). Chai and earl grey are great in the morning for me. Yes, I love English Breakfast teas.

I don’t even have a favorite brand but I could talk about all the stores and companies that I drink tea from- adagio (I still think it’s unfair that cousin Rebecca has an adagio store in her town) (I love love love their fandom teas and got a Doctor Who, Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter set when I visited Naperville)and teavana have always been personal favorites. Twinings because you know, England and stuff, celestial seasons, tazo (local) and stash (also local) are among my favorites.

I have stopped putting sugar in my tea and only sweeten it with honey nowadays.

I really really don’t need any suggestions for teas to try, but now that I’m thinking about it, what do you guys like?

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100 Ways of Fitness Day 39

NyQuil NyQuil NyQuil! We love you, you giant effing Q!

I thought the body aches I was experiencing was from tightness and knots….they aren’t. I have a touch of the flu. So, sorry to everyone I’ve come in contact with the last 3-4 days. That includes everyone at LA Fitness and Core Power Yoga, even though I don’t know anyone there so I don’t really care.

So sleeping is what I need, and NyQuil has become my BFF! My head isn’t bothering me quite so much (bc I’m jacked up on NyQuil) but my body is just aching from head to toe.

In fitness and in health, we will deal with illness and injuries. No matter how badass you are, no matter how clean you eat. Those microscopic germs will get you and when they do, you must remember that while your body can endure a lot of things, taking care of yourself and allowing your body to heal by resting, eating foods that heal (even if that means you end up eating chicken on Meatless Monday), drinking plenty of water (and hot tea), and reading dumb irrelevant books. And Kiddy. And sheep socks.

Okay, NyQuil is kicking in again. Time for bed.

I’ll kick tomorrow’s ass! Or something.