Thursday, April 25, 2013

dancin' shoes

Braved my dance class last night despite the bad knee. It went well. Talked to another girl who said her joints were in pain until she got new shoes. Lightbulb! Zumba shoes! I am SOOOO getting some!

 I went to Scheels yesterday and found a super cute pair but they didn't have my size. And after trying on about 8 others, I gave up. Think I'll order online. But it was a brilliant discovery. The right shoes are very important. I learned this lesson after wearing running shoes to play basketball in the driveway. NOT a good idea. Messed up my ankle really bad doing that.

So yeah, gonna get me some dancin' shoes! I have been wanting a new pair of shoes anyway. I just have a problem committing. I like so many styles, it's hard to choose. And because I do so many different types of workouts, I really need about 4 different pairs. But that's not economically wise.

My runners are OLD and have a hole in the toe. I know you are supposed to get new ones after 6 months or so, but I don't do all that much running so I figured I could get by waiting longer. It's been quite a few years now. My weight lifting shoes are by far my favs, love the color and feel, but my dog seems to have chewed a couple of holes in the side. It's not very visible unless you are looking really close for them, so no biggie. The only bugger about these is they are low profile shoes and if I want to do some HIIT or walking after weights, I have to change shoes. Otherwise I really feel it in my calves the next day. I need more support. And now that I'm dancing 5 nights a week, I'd like some proper dance shoes to combat this knee problem. Out of those 3 choices, I'll probably go with the dance shoes since I do that more than I do HIIT.

I'm kinda diggin' these:

Just FYI - I went with the bottom pair! Yay!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The knee

Knee is bad again today. I actually skipped out on dance class last night because of it. :( I've been really super tired the last couple of days too, so it was good that I took a night off.

Today at work, it felt swollen. It's on the under side of the knee, towards the center. Weird spot. But it felt like it was bulging out a bit. So I happened to talk to this avid gym goer when he stopped by to get his daily smoothie, and he thought that since it was a gradual thing it sounded like an overuse injury. He said, maybe I should do some curls today, and leave my lower body alone. Yeah, that's a smart idea. Did I listen?

Of course not. I'm so stupid.

I only had lightly weighted squats and lunges on the agenda for today though so I figured it would be ok. But then again, I also had jump squats, mountain climbers, butt kicks and things of that nature - which probably aggravates it more so than a static move like squats. I don't know. I'm no doctor.

Why is it so hard to rest sometimes? Even if you KNOW you need it. Even when your body is giving you signs, it's just hard to face injury. I think of that poor basket ball player with the horrific compound fracture a few weeks back. He'll be out for at least a year (I heard). Imagine what that has to be like for an athlete of his caliber? I'm just a fitness "hobbiest" and it's hard!

I'm going to head out and see if I can't find a good supportive brace somewhere and see if that helps any. Also some icing and foam rolling might help. I've been sort of symptom checking online and the good news is that according to what I'm feeling and where, it doesn't sound like it's anything serious. Although one site had mentioned osteoarthritis, which is one big scary word to me!

I bet 9 out of 10 people probably believe that if you have arthritis pain, the worst thing you can do is pick up some dumbbells, but think again. The arthritis foundations says weight lifting can even help people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) function better and reduce soreness, stiffness and pain. So even if I was on the verge of arthritis, it wouldn't stop me from lifting!

In fact, there is really a plethora of conditions that weight lifting has shown to improve. It doesn't just sculpt yummy muscle - it actually improves quality of life. I'm fairly certain the knee pain goes hand in hand with my sudden addiction to ......shhhhh.....cardio. I know, I know. But I can't help it, that dang dance fit class is just so much fun!!

I've had clicking and cracking in my knees ever since I was a little kid. I always thought it was funny that when I squatted down and my knees cracked, every adult in the room would wince and tell me about how much trouble I was going to have with my knees when I got older. In fact, I got a lot of negative comments about how things would be "when I got older", which is probably why I've been trying to turn back the clock with nutrition and exercise. Outside influences definitely shape who you become when you are just an impressionable child. You absorb everything like a sponge. But, I look at it this way: if I didn't hear these comments, I might not have the passion for health that I do today. It's a blessing in disguise, really. Because it certainly is keeping me young!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Ok, I have 20 minutes before I go back into work so I'm going to throw down a quick post.

I have been having a LOT of knee issues lately and since becoming addicted to Dance Fit, it certainly hasn't been getting any better. I am planning on going in to the doctor next month to have it checked out. I'm really nervous though, because I don't want anything to be seriously wrong.

It seems to have started when I decided to kick my cardio love up a notch (x1000). I stopped running but I do Dance Fit 5 times a week and I'm just wondering if that isn't what is aggravating it. Funny thing is, it doesn't bother me at all while I'm working out. Whether I'm lifting or dancing, I feel nothing during. But's really tight. Going down the stairs is awful. Standing up from a crouched or bent down position is weird, it feels like I can't straighten it all the way out. And at times, it feels as though my knee is twice the size it normally is, even though it doesn't look swollen. I don't worries me.

I've always been scared to inherit my mother's bad knees (and feet, and back, and shoulder, and wrist.......) so this has me just beside myself. I'm not the kind of person to just say, well, I've got pain, I better quit exercising. I'm more on the other side, the stupid side, which says, I'm not going to stop until I literally can't move anymore.

I'm thinking that if I just get a good supportive brace that I can wear during exercise that involves a lot of jumping around, it will probably improve. At least that is my hopeful thinking. I am SO EXCITED for Hard Charge this June and there is NO WAY I'm going to let this come between me and a big dream of mine. I've always wanted to do a mud run. Always. Obstacle course....yes please! And I will do it - no matter what.

So that is that. Besides my stupid knee, which has me limping around like an old lady most of the time, things are going well. I'm burning an insane amount of calories everyday and just as quickly putting them back in :) Isn't it funny how the more we burn, the hungrier we seem to be? Like last night, I came home from my dance class and was just ravenous! I worked really hard, my hair was so wet, I looked like I had just come in from the rain! When I got home, I showered, sat on the couch to watch Top Gear and thought to myself - you're not hungry, you're not hungry....but then I just couldn't stand it anymore. I ate some cereal, half an avocado, half a grilled cheese and a couple of spoonfuls of Nutella. Just crazy! But I'd rather exercise a little more and still get to eat what I crave without it sticking to my body.

I'm not anywhere near wanting to "diet". And for me, when I say diet, I mean, strict protein/carb/fat ratios and only the healthiest foods, not calorie restriction. Right now, it doesn't interest me to eat perfectly. I'm enjoying being a little lenient. And when you burn upwards of 900 - 1000 calories a day, there's plenty of room for leniency!!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

My thoughts today

Unless you live in a hole in the ground, you've probably heard of the Boston marathon bombing that sent shock waves through the running community and the country. The evil in this world is just unimaginable. Who could take the lives of innocent people like that? Just despicable.

The Today show is always on at work so I have seen replays of the bombs exploding again and again. And every time I watch it, my heart breaks for those injured and the families of those killed. I wonder how they are coping. I even wondered how the runners were coping. After all, they train long and hard for that race. It's a big moment in their lives to cross that finish line. What about those who hadn't yet finished? A coworker of mine had said that should be the farthest thing from their minds. People died. If they are thinking about not getting to finish the race, they don't have their priorities straight.

A friend had posted something on Facebook the other day:

"If you are trying to defeat the human spirit, marathoners are the wrong group to target"

I couldn't agree more. People who run marathons are some hard core, dedicated, unbelievably driven people. You can't help but admire them. Whether you think it's pure love and devotion for the sport or sheer craziness, it matters nothing to them. They have a passion for something that endures through endless training hours, pain, and fatigue. That's a spirit that cannot be broken. And it's such a wonderful thing. If only everyone possessed that gift. Imagine the world we would live in!

I don't think that this tragedy is going to stop them from signing up for marathons. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if more people signed up, just to show support. Just to show that we, as Americans, will not cower in fear of this evil that plots to hurt innocent people. That's what I love about this country, we pull together and support each other in times like these. We need to show support for Boston. We need to show support for everyone affected. We need to unite, and stand strong for the good in humanity.

Runners, you are already united by a strong bond, a camaraderie and love for the sport. I know this terror attack won't destroy your passion. Like the quote says, it's the wrong group of people to target. But I think Americans in general are the wrong group. This will not stop us from doing what we love and living our lives. We won't hide in our homes, too afraid to go anywhere. No way! That's just not who we are!

So, to you crazy, wonderful, marathoners - KEEP RUNNING! You have my love and support, as a fellow fitness fanatic, and as a decent human being who wants this senseless violence to end. Get out there and run for Boston! Wear their colors. Show no fear.

And to everyone else, pray for those families. Pray for the city. Pray for our country.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Parents: a must read

A friend of mine shared this on Facebook today. I bawled. I mean, wet snotty bawling. It hit me hard. And I'm glad it did. If you are a parent, please read this:
"Dear Mom On the iPhone,

I see you over there on the bench, messing on your iPhone. It feels good to relax a little while your kids have fun in the sunshine, doesn’t it? You are doing a great job with your kids, you work hard, you teach them manners, have them do their chores.

But Momma, let me tell you what you don’t see right now…..

Your little girl is spinning round and round, making her dress twirl. She is such a little beauty queen already, the sun shining behind her long hair. She keeps glancing your way to see if you are watching her.

You aren’t.

Your little boy keeps shouting, “Mom, MOM watch this!” I see you acknowledge him, barely glancing his way.

He sees that too. His shoulders slump, but only for a moment, as he finds the next cool thing to do.

Now you are pushing your baby in the swing. She loves it! Cooing and smiling with every push. You don’t see her though, do you? Your head is bent, your eyes on your phone as you absently push her swing.

Talk to her. Tell her about the clouds, Mommy. The Creator who made them. Tickle her tummy when she comes near you and enjoy that baby belly laugh that leaves far too quickly.

Put your eyes back on your prize…Your kids.

Show them that they are the priority. Wherever you are, be ALL there. I am not saying it’s not ok to check in on your phone, but it’s a time-sucker: User Beware!

Play time at the park will be over before you know it.

The childhood of your children will be gone before you know it.

They won’t always want to come to the park with you, Mommy. They won’t always spin and twirl to make their new dress swish, they won’t always call out, “WATCH ME!”

There will come a point when they stop trying, stop calling your name, stop bothering to interrupt your phone time.

Because they know…

You’ve shown them, all these moments, that the phone is more important than they are. They see you looking at it at while waiting to pick up brother from school, during playtime, at the dinner table, at bedtime…..

I know that’s not true, Mommy.

I know your heart says differently.

But your kids can’t hear your words, Mommy. Your actions are screaming way too loudly.

May our eyes rest upon those we love, first and foremost, and may everything else fall away in the wonderful, noisy, sticky-fingered glory of it all."
          -------             --------          --------         --------           --------
Quite the eye opener, isn't it? I'm usually not that into my phone, more often it's my computer that has all my attention. Quite often I will hear one of my children say to the other, "don't bug mom now, she's working" and right now it breaks my heart. Oh and there are plenty of other situations where I know I've made my kids feel like they aren't my priority, and for that I am deeply shameful.
They are growing so dang fast. I don't want to miss out on their precious childhood because it's already nearly gone! I get so irritated when I hear other mothers say how they can't wait until their kids are "just a little older" so they can take them here or go there. It's such a hassle taking them anywhere. Can't go out to eat. Can't take vacations? Really? Why have kids at all? Sure, it can be more inconvenient when you have to be responsible for someone other than yourself. But seriously? Wishing away your baby's childhood? Nice. Usually I just smile and agree. I'm sure I have said it too at one point in time. Just seems more blaringly obvious when it comes from someone else's mouth, I suppose.
Anyway, I didn't want to go on a rant today. I just wanted to share some very powerful words. They certainly made me think long and hard about my own actions. And I hope to change some of them...TODAY.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Mama's got her groove back!

I posted this picture on Facebook last night. It is two pictures of me holding my heart rate monitor after two different workouts.

The left side is after a metabolic circuit training workout. High intensity, little rest, about 30 minutes. Then 30 minutes of a brisk walk at an incline on the treadmill. Together with warm up and cool down, I burned 457.

On the right is my calorie burn after a Dance Fit class. I was stunned! 469 calories! And it wasn't even tracking me a full hour! I think we had started a bit late so we didn't get in an entire hour. Just 51 minutes. That's insane! I say that because it just doesn't feel like a workout. I shouldn't say that - it DOES feel like a workout because I'm always literally dripping with sweat afterwards. Sweat rolls down my nose and in my eyes when I'm dancing, it's very physical! But it doesn't feel like a workout in the sense that sometimes people tend to associate exercise with pain, and boredom, and torture, etc. This, however, is an absolute blast. I always look forward to this part of my day. In fact, I have started to move around our dinner schedule during the week to accommodate me making it to class! The times vary, depending on the day. And I can get in 5 classes each week. If I didn't have to work in the mornings, I would probably hit the morning classes too! Love, love, love it! Love all the instructors too.

Now, that doesn't mean that I have forgotten about my first love: weight training. Because I still do that too. Lately, it has been in the form of circuit training. I like these metabolic types of workouts because you have a chance to get your heart rate really high for short periods of time. A lot of dynamic and even explosive movements. I usually do 30 seconds of some weighted compound movement followed by 30 seconds of a cardio burst, repeat that circuit 3 times before moving on to the next one. I do six different circuits (each, 3 times) so I am actually doing a total of 18 circuits. It's intense, but I can usually finish up in less than 30 minutes. This type of exercise is the BOMB when it comes to firing up your metabolism and getting the right hormonal response for fat loss and muscle growth. I would never just do Dance Fit as my only workout, because that's mostly just cardio. I also take walks on the treadmill at an incline.

So I'm burning anywhere from 450 to over 900 calories a day, depending on if it's a dance day or not. Now, I've just started Dance Fit, maybe two weeks ago. And I've also been eating a TON of crap food - pizza, chocolate, etc. So I haven't seen any improvements to my physique. I know, stupid, right? My girls have asked me why I care about how many calories I've burned when I don't need to be burning anything. Well, I think that's sweet of them to say, but everyone needs to be burning a little something. And that is what I told them. As we age, our metabolisms slow and we lose muscle, unless we workout properly. I track my calories because it's interesting to see what type of workout burns the greatest amount of calories. And for me, lucky enough, the workout that burns the most also happens to be the most enjoyable!! Also, I want to burn a lot of calories so that I CAN enjoy chocolate and pizza when I want to. Although I really do want to only allow myself to eat it as a treat maybe once a week. I hate getting into a pattern of consistently eating junk. Mainly because it makes me feel shitty.

Salads are quickly becoming a favorite food. For me, eating a salad was my least favorite thing. But I've started making my own healthy dressings which aren't loaded with sugar and fat. And I'm finding I really look forward to eating them every day. All kinds of things surprising me lately! I feel great, my mood is better, my energy is better, everything is just SO MUCH BETTER when you take care of yourself! Mama's got her groove back!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

quick note before heading back to work...

I saw this picture on Facebook today:

I am not offended by it. Not offended that she is a woman and naked. Not offended by the "f" word. None of it. I think she's gorgeous. Here was one woman's perception of this image:

"Funny how women's fitness needs to be sold through sex and nudity and women not wearing much at all. Its not really health and fitness focused...."

While it may seem like fitness is being sold through sex here, I'm not offended by the nudity. And I'm not offended by the fact that the only thing this image is trying to prove is that if you workout, YOU TOO, can look good naked. And you don't have to be "large" to have curves.

And here was another comment from a different woman:

"It's sad that society thinks curves are jelly rolls...kind of like chicks that are 300lbs and proud to have big tits that are "real". Yeah maybe real fat. I hate the human race....where fit is looked at as a sick obsession and being "thick" aka overweight and proud is acceptable." 

I agree with this comment more. Especially the part about people thinking that just because you like to workout, are fit and it shows, you have a "sick obsession". I agree because I've had to deal with people who think that very thing. I'm tired of defending my "obsession" to live a long healthy life.

I don't believe beauty is just fat or thin. It just doesn't work that way. I bet there are some incredibly gorgeous bodies out there with ugly personalities. Your beauty is not just outer beauty, it also comes from within. Be confident in yourself, no matter what your size. Be positive. Smile. Be kind. Be fun. be spunky. If you can do that, than you have perfect beauty!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Crazy Busy!

My schedule these I used to think I was busy before. I have become an absolute master at stretching my day as far as it will go.

The hardest part of everything seems to be finding openings in my day to squeeze everything in. It's really hard to plan ANYTHING ahead. But so far I have been handling it without cracking. I'm sleeping like a baby at night, so that helps immensely too.

I am up early for work every day, luckily my body has acclimated well. The only downfall is that on weekends, when I want to sleep in, I can't. Not that I ever really could. At least not after having kids. I'm always in bed by 8:30 because I NEED my 8 hours of sleep. And I don't feel bad about that because sleep is important for a healthy body and happy mind.

This week, I am working longer hours at the gym because a coworker is out of town. I'm also keeping busy in my "off" hours at home designing digital goodies for my online shop and filling any custom orders that come in. My girls are in tennis and swimming a few nights a week, I am in fitness classes a few times a week plus I'm trying to get my regular workouts in after my shift. I'm still trying to delegate the housework among everyone who lives here although I find that in the end, I'm doing most of it anyway. I know it probably sounds like I'm whining a bit, but really I'm just amazed that I have been able to make it all work, and pretty smoothly at that!

I have to admit it, I am becoming addicted to group fitness classes. They are SO MUCH FUN! And that hour goes by unbelievably fast. Last night, a friend and I did Dance Fit (my favorite class so far) and when the instructor said it was time to cool down I thought, "what??!! it can't be an hour already" ...but it was! Such a blast! It isn't hard but you really get your sweat on. The hardest part is learning the moves in the beginning. I'm still learning but I'm far more comfortable with them now, so I can really focus on bringing my intensity up.

Aside from that, I hit the weight room after work. I'm not lifting heavy anymore, I'm focusing mostly on metabolic circuit training. Getting my heart rate way up, working out hard and fast. I'm trying to work on upper body strength also, to prepare for Hard Charge. Some days I take it slower and just glide on the elliptical. I'm not running anymore. Last month, for whatever reason, I decided I wanted to run more. I guess I figured I better make sure I still could since I had some runs coming up in June. I was on the treadmill anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour each day. And I was starting to dread it. I really just don't enjoy it. Outside, it's different. It's enjoyable. But that treadmill........yikes! I'd rather be doing ANYTHING else.

So I would hear these women talking at the gym about how they hated running, it's so boring, it's so tedious, yadda yadda (my ears perked up with interest) - so they tried Dance Fit. And BAM, they are dropping fat like crazy! Do you know why that is? Because it's FUN! And when you like something, you are going to want to keep coming back for more. Plus, it's a really great workout. A lot of hip movements which is engaging your core the entire time. And you get to wear a cute little jingly skirt ;)

Anyway, that's what's been going on. Oh! And the 5k last Saturday was great! It was rainy and cold, but a good time. Our feet were SOAKED from having to run through puddles. I finished in 27 minutes. I don't know if that's good or bad. But it wasn't about running a fast time, it was about being there for a cause. I saw that you can run for a charity at the Fargo Marathon too and I was thinking about doing that too. When there is a reason for the run, they are so much more meaningful. And the small runs, like the 5k and 10k are perfect because they are manageable without weeks of training.

Hope you all are keeping up with your fitness endeavors and that this is the year you reach your goals!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

saturday's run

I'm waiting for my brother to pick me up and have a half hour to kill, so I figured I'd journal.

This morning, (my day off) I was up at 5am. My body is so used to getting up at that time for work now that I have trouble sleeping in. I suppose that is a good thing though.

Jeff had invited me to join the Run4Change 5k/10k this morning. I was ecstatic that he was going to do it. So I decided to sign up as well. I only signed up for the 5k though because I still want to get my dance fit class in today at 10am :) So addicted to that class! It's fun fun fun! Letting loose and shaking it like no one's looking for an hour and coming out of that aerobics room drenched with sweat is the BEST feeling! Dare I say, even better than weight lifting! Yes, I think so. Definitely better than being on a treadmill for an hour. I burn more calories too.

It was raining at 5am and it still pretty cold for April, but I'm layered and ready for it. Its for a great cause. Here is the description:
This event was created by friends and family of Aaron, Allison and Brielle Deutscher who were victims of a drunk driving crash on 7/6/2012. We memorialize not only Aaron, Allison, Brielle and their unborn baby, but all of those lost to drinking and driving. This is an event for all ages. Lets get together to Run4Change and change society's attitude about drinking and driving!
Better go brush my teeth and get ready to run! Have a good one y'all!