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Yesterday, my husband’s hour with our personal trainer, Bill, fell right before my hour, so we overlapped (I was a bit early, they were running a bit late) for about 5 minutes.

While I waited, I started warming up on the rowing machine.

Bill and my husband decided it would be fun if we (the hubs and I) did interval training on the rowing machines together.

Let’s just put it this way:

I killed it.

My husband was surprised at my fervor and speed.

“This is how she is every week,” Bill said. (It’s true).

To be fair, my husband had just finished an hour-long workout whereas I had spent the previous hour sitting on our couch revising my novel. But still, he had a hard time keeping up with me.

After 15 minutes of interval training on the rowing machine, the hubs headed to the showers and Bill and I started my workout. I’ll put it this way:

I was so fatigued I could not benchpress two 25-LB weights. Bill had to physically lift my arms for me.

Later, at home, we talked about what we’re going to do after Bill moves away in about a month. We don’t want to lose what we’ve gained by working with him.

“We could work out together,” I ventured. Sounds fun, doesn’t it?

Just came across this article–“What’s the Best Exercise?”–in the New York Times.

According to the article, it’s not:

  • The butterfly stroke

It might be:

  • Brisk walking (good!)
  • Squats (yuck!)
  • High-intensity interval training (I do it but I don’t love it)

Can I add yoga to this list?

What do you think?

I am still trying to get back into the swing of things (meaning working out and watching what I eat. I repeat, it was a long winter, and spring is late in coming and getting back into the swing of things is not as easy as it may sound…)

Monday night, I went to my usual yoga class. I have been feeling fairly good about yoga lately. I have been able to maintain some difficult moves and sometimes push myself to “go deeper” though I am no where near ready to move up to the advanced classes.

But this past Monday, yoga was a disaster for me.

image courtesy of Ritual Goddess .com

I don’t know what the problem was, but I could not stay in a pose. Even easy ones. I fell out of Tree.

I shook during Twisted Side Angle. I came out of Warrior II (and then went back in).

courtesy of savvy-diets.com

It was definitely a mind thing–I was not focused, and I could not seem to get focused, no matter what I tried. It was a relief when class was over and I could walk out into the disgustingly cool spring air and think about something easy, like what to eat for dinner: leftover potatoes with peanut sauce, sweet corn, and salad.

Yesterday after work, I had my personal training session. It must be going well, because this morning I stepped on the scale for my weekly weigh-in and was happy to see I have lost another 1.4 pounds. I am down to the weight I usually maintain, which is approximately 5 pounds less than I was this winter. (Again, it was a long winter!). If I manage to lose another 4-6 pounds, I will be at my thinnest weight, which I have not really been since 2005 or 2006. But if I don’t lose those additional pounds, I will also be happy.

Tonight, my plan is to use the treadmill at home after work and then think about something easy like what to have for dinner: beets with arugala and couscous. Can’t wait….

One Life To Live

I read in this morning’s newspaper (yes, I still read the newspaper) that ABC is cancelling two soap operas, including “One Life to Live.”

A sign of the times, I’m sure, so I shouldn’t be surprised, but I kind of was. Because “One Life to Live” was a staple of my childhood. I vividly remember watching that soap with my mother when I was growing up. It was her one rest spot during the day–though she didn’t much rest. My memories also include her watching it while ironing.

The character names are still in my head: Viki Lord (remember her twin sister) and Dorian Lord not to mention the Buchanan brothers, Bo and Clint, and their father Asa.

I think it was from watching “One Life to Live” that I also picked up my first swear word, which I also vividly remember saying in front of my mother. “Hell.”

I was mortified. I could not believe I said a swear word out loud in front of my mother. I must have been around 7 or 8. I apologized all over the place. She really took it in stride. I was hardly reprimanded.

Also in this morning’s paper was a blurb about the death of the world’s oldest man, Walter Breuning, who died in Montana at age 114. I loved his words of wisdom, especially:

  • Embrace change, even when the change slaps you in the face, and
  • “Never be afraid to die. Because you’re born to die.”

In other news:

I had my personal training workout last night. It was very rigorous. I felt like a limp noodle walking to my car afterwards. I have lost three pounds since January. SLOW! It used to take me a week to lose a pound. Now it’s one month to lose a pound. But since I’m already at a stable, good weight, that’s to be expected.

The only problem is….after getting home from a great workout, I ate potato chips, chocolate, and pizza.

What I did in Chicago for 26 hours:
* nine of them sleeping (yes, I slept really well).
* two meetings lasting together about five hours
* at least two hours in mass transit getting to and from the airport
* around three hours reading “Union Atlantic” by Adam Haslett, which is actually a very good book. I woke up super early because of the time change and wanted to relax in the hotel’s king- size bed

The rest of the time, I walked around.

It was beautiful weather. Sunny and warm. Blue sky and hardly a breeze.

The problem was, trying to be economical in my packing, I had brought only one pair of shoes with me, and they were shoes appropriate for my meetings…not walking around sight-seeing in Chicago.

After a while, high heels are a huge impediment.

Actually, it doesn’t even take a while. They are usually an impediment and if I’d had any foresight whatsoever, I would have brought a pair of flats. Even flip-flops.

Well, I still think walking around burned a few calories. And I ate healthily at some good restaurants. All in all, a good 26 hours.

A chapter of a national writing group held a poetry contest here. I am not a poet–I’ve written half a dozen or so in the last 18 months and I really don’t know what I’m doing with them. But I entered one into the contest and….won! I won first place! There was a little awards ceremony yesterday and the poems was published in today’s newspaper. Here it is:

Blood Oranges

Bluegrass workout

A brief summary of the last 10 months:

rowing machine, courtesy of CoolClips

I stopped running. Instead, I continued with my personal trainer and with replicating the workouts with him on my own in the gym. He turned me on to the rowing machine. For a while, that worked well for me. I was taking a lot of aggression out on the rowing machine and then I was lifting weights afterwards. All good.

Then I switched jobs. I took a job at a different organization (with a 10 percent pay increase–not bad!) and didn’t have easy access to the gym anymore. I started working out in the mornings at home. We have a treadmill and I bought some weights and for a few weeks, that was OK. But gradually I began to notice that because my new job was and is so much less stressful than my old job, I am not as interested anymore in working out.

It’s like I used to go to the gym to prove something.

Now that the stress is gone, there’s a heck of a lot less to prove. It’s hard to take aggression out at the gym when you really don’t have much aggression.

I also took about four weeks off from working out around the holidays. And we had an absurd winter–180 inches of snow, which limited going out of the house to work out, and frankly, all that snow made working out inside the house somewhat uninspiring.

But now I’m back. My personal trainer is moving away in mid-May, so I have invested in two days a week with him from now until then.  I replicate that workout on my own once a week. I do my yoga classes (still a devotee of ‘Chelle) twice a week. Now that warm weather has finally started to arrive, I’ll also start to walk/run/bike outside again.

Alison Krauss

I have some new music to listen to when working out–I’m a late arrival to the Alison Krauss fan club. She is awesome! And I’ve downloaded a ton of bluegrass music. It reminds me of the place where I grew up. I love the fiddle and banjo. It reminds me of rolling green hills and the way the air felt on a spring morning. The smell of honeysuckle and lilacs. Soft southern light. Soft southern breezes.

I don’t know what I will do when my personal trainer moves away. Until then, I have nice definition in my arms and abs. I can feel the glutes started to firm up.If only I didn’t love food so very very much I would be in stunning shape…