Guest post: a fitness bonding evolution

So, ya’ll know by now that one of my sisters and I really bond over our workouts.  This barre n9ne challenge came at just the right time for both of us – both physically/mentally but also in terms of our relationship. Now that we don’t work together anymore (and commute together), we have far less time together. This challenge has become “our” time and we’ve been having a blast together – which resulted in quite the giggle fit during the stretch/cool-down in class the other night (whoops, hope nobody heard us).  It’s also resulted in a pretty cool realization – something my sister so eloquently shares in her guest post for me below – on our fitness bonding evolution.

For the last few years, my sister Jess and I have embarked on fitness ‘challenge’ after challenge together because we love to try new things and push ourselves (as you probably already know!) and because doing it together makes it that much more fun. Whether it’s Cathe Friedrich’s STS series (or her Road Trips, which we’ve loved and are sad to miss this year!), training to run our first-ever half marathon together, training for (and PASSING) Group Kick certification, the ‘homegrown’ Core Fusion 30 day challenge we did recently, and now, the Barre N9ne 60 day transformation. (Phew, guess we’ve done a lot, huh?) I’m proud to say I wouldn’t have wanted to have it any other way…experiencing all of this together has been the best part of it all!)

So, this Monday, as we kick-started our first full Barre N9ne week of classes, when I heard “Start me Up” by Kingston come over the speakers, I instantly flashed back…to Group Kick. We were training. And practicing. And practicing some more. And rehearsing for our second-ever launch (every three months there is a ‘launch’ of a new program and as part of that, our group of instructors would get together, assign tracks to learn and teach it to each other). If I recall, Jess had this song (the warm-up track) and I remember watching her teach it to us and she did it so effortlessly (and of course, for some reason, that track was tricky for me to learn that time around!) and she had a huge grin on her face. We had fun learning to cue tracks, show energy, and get through an entire cardio-intense class together.

But most importantly, we did it together.

Fast forward back to class on Monday. The song was slower than in Group Kick (it was a remix then) and we were sitting on mats on the floor next to each other. Focusing hard. On form, On lengthening. On proper form for the ab moves we were doing. And I looked over and just smiled. She knew exactly what I was thinking (and I, what she was thinking) and smiled back. And it came to me…this is what we bond over. This is what we love to do together. This is something nobody can ever take away from us, because it’s made us who we are, we’ve learned so much from these challenges and they bring us closer than ever.

So, thank you sis, for being part of this journey together. It’s always a fun ride and we always learn so much. Here’s to another fitness challenge together. Rock on. We got this.

On workout “cycles…”

So last night I hit up Group Kick – a class I not only love, love, love, but am also certified to teach, as you know. My sis and I reacted the exact same way to the class last night. Which totally inspired this very blog post.

Our reaction? 

In a word: “Meh.”

It was just ok. And at first I wasn’t sure why.
I thought well – maybe I was tired (truth). Or, I don’t love the new release as much as previous releases (truth). Or, maybe it was simply just an “off” workout for me (maybe?). They aren’t all going to be rockstar, right?

As soon as I mentioned it to my sis, she agreed, 100%. <—shocking, right? 

SO, in talking about all the reasons why we felt so “meh” afterwards, we came to an interesting conclusion. My sis mentioned the whole concept of workout “cycles.”

YES! That’s it exactly: whether we know it or not, we all go through workout “cycles.” Cycles where we love a particular workout, cannot get enough of it. And months later – we’ve moved onto something else.

For me, this has happened much more often for me than I realized (until I started writing this post, even)

…it’s happened with weight training. (and came flooding back, as you’ve seen here)

…it’s happened a million times with core work. (thank you Core Fusion, and now, Barre N9NE!)

…it’s happened with cardio, even. (until a particularly killer Ride class lures me back in).

…it’s happened with running.(thank you running mojo for slowly coming back!)

But one workout that never seemed to be impacted was Kick.
Until now.

I mean, sure – after the high of getting certified kind of “wore off,” I was maybe slightly less kick-crazy, but I still loved it. I still love it even though I don’t teach anymore. And until last night, I still loved getting to class at least once per week for a nice ass-kicking workout.

But apparently, it’s time for me to push Kick aside for a bit. A little time away may do me some good – and let’s be honest, timing couldn’t be more perfect. With the Barre N9NE challenge starting next week, I surely will not have time for a workout I’m not even digging all that much lately. So, I’m ready to say “goodbye” (for now) to Kick, in favor of new challenges. I’m pretty sure Kick will be back in my life in some shape or form soon, but for now, I’m at peace with it.

Does this whole concept of workout “cycles” make sense and/or resonate with you? Or am I one of few that tends to cycle through workout loves now and then? I sure hope I’m not in the minority on this one – especially since I firmly believe that switching it up is the best way to continually see results, and to stick to workouts consistently. But I’m anxious to hear what you think? Discuss, please. :)

Something new

As I alluded to in my post on letting it go, I’ve been thinking long and hard about my workouts lately. About what they mean for me. About my motivation. About my new focus and mindset that is far less about the numbers and structure, and far more about getting back to basics.

As part of all this thinking and mulling, I’ve decided it’s time for something new.
Call it another case of antsy pants.
Call it an insatiable desire to challenge and shock the system with new approaches to working out.
Call it me being me. ;-)

This “something new” entails a new approach to weight training. You see – for nearly as long as I’ve been seriously lifting weights, I”ve either always taken a group fitness class, worked with my husband on a weight workout at the gym (rarely), or followed a structured weight lifting program like STS, done at home with the always awesome Cathe Friedrich by my side.  But I’ve never created my own lifting program.

And I have no idea why.

I have all the tools at my fingertips in my home gym. And, I know plenty about weight lifting after all these years to create a program of my own. So why haven’t I ever gone this route before?

I talked it over with Scott on a long walk today – and mentioned this concept to him.  And,  by the end of our walk (and talk), a new 4-week workout was born. I may not be a personal trainer by any stretch, but dammit – I know enough to be dangerous and I might as well start appreciating that fact, right??

So here goes.  The next four weeks will look something like this – with running, spinning or kickboxing for cardio and Core Fusion for core/flexibility training for a good, well-rounded cross-training routine.

Monday - Back/Chest: four exercises per body part, with 30 second rests between each set of 15-20 reps (I’ll go into the types of exercises I’ll do throughout the week in future blog posts, don’t worry); and Core Fusion Yoga or Pilates Abs
Tuesday - Biceps/Triceps (same format as above)
Wednesday - Ride
Thursday - Core Fusion Yoga or Pilates Abs; Kick
Friday -  Legs/shoulders (same format as above) and just the abs section from Core Fusion Body Sculpt (10 mins)
Saturday - Run

So you’ll see – I’m trying to balance the weight work without forgetting to work abs (something I ALWAYS did pre-Core Fusion) and including some sort of flexibility work in the mix, another area I’ve always pushed aside in the past. I’m thinking of doing this for the next four weeks, upping the weights each week, letting my body tell me when to go heavier.

I’m not sure how I”ll approach each week, yet. I figure I’ll go with the flow a little bit in terms of the format – it could involve trisets (my fave), or supersets. But, it’ll mainly be endurance based, to build up my endurance (duh) but also build lean and toned muscles, something I’ve been favoring more and more lately. I credit Core Fusion with that in large part, because it has lengthened and toned my muscles, leaning them out a little bit which I’m digging, interestingly enough.

Surprisingly, I’m really excited about this – it might seem simple to some of you fitness friends to build your own workout program vs. relying on a workout class or DVD to get you through, but this is kind of new for me. To train myself, trusting myself to lead the way. And I’m really looking forward to seeing how it goes. See? I am a personal trainer afterall – a personal trainer of ME! ;-)

“You showed up on your mat, it’s all good!” and other randoms…

“You showed up on your mat, it’s all good!”

Very true words, spoken by Elisabeth Halfpapp during my return to Core Fusion Yoga Energy Flow DVD this morning.

I really, really enjoyed yoga today. It was just what my sore, very sore, muscles needed after a pretty killer workout week, if I do say so myself. And it was exactly what I needed to center myself before a really busy Friday ahead, as we are thisclose to SXSW kick-off and all.

And quite honestly, it’s really *all* I could  muster after yesterday’s early morning Core Fusion class at Exhale Spa Battery Wharf followed by Group Kick last night at my gym. Um, probably wasn’t the smartest decisions I’ve made, of late. Even though I LOVED both classes, combining the two classes in one day took a LOT out of me. That coupled with a “weird” eating day and I definitely didn’t feel as well-fueled as I probably should have been given that workout line-up.

Duh. And I KNOW better than to do that, yet it still happened. Call that my “confessions of a fitblogger” thought for this Friday.

In other random thoughts, I was tagged by the wicked awesome Alison over at Physically Philosophical. I’m sure you’ve all seen this “7 randoms” list swirling around the blogosphere, but I thought it rather fitting for a Friday post!

1 – In a throwback to childhood, I”m discovered a very tasty (and all-natural!) turkey bologna at Trader Joe’s. Yes, I’m eating bologna. BUT, it’s all-natural and literally made from turkey, just spiced to taste more like bologna from childhood. Sorry, no Oscar Meyer “mystery meat” for me. Seriously, been eating it for lunch this week on Ezekial bread. It’s amazing! I feel like I’m 5 all over again!

2 – I’m secretly (ok, now it’s not a secret) really nervous for Fitbloggin’ in May. I don’t know why, but I am. I think I have this insane fear that nobody will talk to me or will like me “IRL” or something. I know, so silly. Wow, this “7 randoms” is slowly turning into a “7 confessions” post. Sheesh!

3 – I was a cashier at a grocery store in our area throughout middle school/high school and part of college. And I secretly loved being a cashier – and a fast one at that (I even won a “cashier of the year” award!). I remember being a child and always thinking how cool it would be to run a cash register. I used to play “store” or “office” on our couches with my sisters growing up and everything!

4 – I love to clean. Like REALLY love to clean. One of my sisters even teased me once for saying I didn’t want to “rush” the cleaning job one day for fear of “phoning it in” and doing a poor job of it. So yes, I don’t like to “phone in” a cleaning routine OR a workout. Can you blame me?? Ok, maybe you can on the cleaning thing anyway…

5 – I’ve never broken a bone, or stayed in the hospital overnight, or really had any “serious” health conditions growing up. (yes, I am very lucky) The closest I ever came was having surgery to fix a lazy eye when I was in high school.  And now that I’ve said that, I’ve probably totally jinxed myself. Eeep.

6 – When I left my last job, I hardly had anything to physically take with me. Especially not any files. I hate printing stuff out, at least to store long-term. I NEVER look at it once I print stuff so why let it gather dust in a file cabinet? Speaking of which, I never understood file cabinets, btw.

7 – I love to read. Yet I rarely if EVER read anytime of the year aside from summer. Then, I plow through books like it’s nobody’s business. In Maine by the lake, at the beach, on the deck. Notice a theme here?? Has to be outside in the sun. No idea why, but that’s just how it is. Sun + relaxation = book reading for me. Which reminds me, must stock on lots of books for Jamiaca. Which, if you’re wondering is, t-minus 15 days from now! <—if you have book recommendations, send them my way!

Ok, your turn. I want to hear your random thoughts/ruminations/weird facts! I won’t tag: you, forcing you to post on my behalf. But, just know that it’s actually a really fun Friday activity. Just sayin’.

Workin’ it out with passion

I heart the fitblog community.

SO  much.

I am floored by the response to my last post. I guess I really DID lay it all out there in that post, huh? I sort of feel like it was a diary entry that somehow became a public blog entry for all to see. As if I were baring my soul, showing my truest of colors.

And not gonna lie, it felt really good to write with such passion in my words. My fingers flew across that keyboard last night. Probably the fastest post I’ve ever written.

And better yet? It felt incredible to feel so inspired again. Like I’ve said a million times on this blog, I’m always itching for a new challenge, some goal to work towards, whatever. It fuels me. It drives me.

And somehow, if I look back at previous “challenges” – they always started with a definitive beginning/middle/end but somehow, these challenges never really end for me. Once they’re “in” me, there ain’t no pulling them back out.

I’m a runner. A half marathoner at that. One with a real race schedule like you other “real” runners out there. I even like to do intervals now. Like fast ones. Who, me??

I’m kickboxing obsessed. Sure, I’m Group Kick certified, but just because I’m not currently teaching (though trust me, I’d LOVE to), doesn’t mean that kickboxing is ever far from my mind. It’s my regular Thursday night retreat. I love that sweaty hour of fire!

And now, I’m a Core Fusion Addict. This one I never saw coming. Not for a second. But here I am, digging through Exhale Spa class schedules to see if I can figure out a good CF schedule to commit to when I get back from work travels next week and Jamaica in 18 days (but whose counting).  And for the record, I’d kill to go to the Core Fusion Boot Camp retreat in Boston this spring. Anyone care to sponsor me?? ;-)

This, my friends, is my passion. It fills me with glee. It’s who I am. I don’t know why, but it took last night’s Core Fusion class to remember that. Workouts are not about numbers anymore for me. I don’t even regularly update my workout manager stats over at Cathe.com anymore. I was RELIGIOUS about that before. I hated to see rest days on there or too few “calories burned’ for the week. But somehow, I’ve slowly moved away from all of that and truly without even realizing it or trying to do so.

And that, for real, is SUCH a freeing feeling, I can’t even begin to describe.

<editor’s note-to-self: please refer to this next time you beat yourself up over taking a rest day or skipping a “planned” workout in favor of something else. Mmk?>

Workouts as “detoxifying”

“Detoxifying”

This is a word I hear a lot from Fred DeVito during some of the Core Fusion workouts I”ve been doing at home. Usually it’s in reference to a hip opening move or spinal stretch or other stretching techniques.

But when I really paused to think about it, I totally view an entire workout as a detoxifying process.

Not just physically (though that’s a huge part of it) but also mentally.

And I think that’s a big reason I return to my workouts faithfully each and every day (‘cept for that rest day, of course).

It detoxifies me.

Centers me.

Makes me feel alive.  Energized.

Toxin-free.

Finally! I have an answer to the question I get all the time: “how do you stay so committed to your workouts?”

Working out is detoxifying.

At least it is for me.

This as I sit here working from home today and noticing that I’m increasingly feeling the effects of Kick last night followed by Core Fusion Body Sculpt this morning. Can you say DOMS city?? Ahhh, just how I like it. Nice and warm and toasty up in my back, my shoulders, my core, my glutes (ok, my ass).

Not a bad way to kick off the weekend if you ask me. Yes, pun intended. Because that’s this workout nerd rolls. Take me or leave me. ;-) 

 

Well, that was eye-opening

I returned to Kick tonight.

For the first time in ohhhh, about four weeks or so.

….does four weeks ring a bell to you?

That’s just about how long I’ve been in this Core Fusion Challenge with my sis.

And wow, was tonight’s class eye-opening.

Usually I find Kick to be EXTRA challenging when in the class versus doing it at home (which is a given since there’s that competitive edge that comes out when in a class setting, afterall). And even harder if I’m teaching it (note to self: I miss teaching!!).

Well tonight’s class felt so different.

Not “easy” by any stretch. Still an ass kicker for sure. But tonight’s class? I felt stronger. Powerful. In control of my moves – especially those side kicks, roundhouse kicks and front kicks.

I totally credit two things to why Kick felt so good tonight:

1 – intervals. All those intervals I love to hate? They are amping up my endurance! High five to me!

2 – Core Fusion! A strong core? Well damn, it transformed my Kick technique incredibly. And I’m not ashamed to admit that I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror a couple times and dare I say, I looked pretty fierce. ;-)

Moral of this story? I heart Group Kick…and I *really* heart Core Fusion. It’s opened up my eyes to a whole new side of fitness I’ve been avoiding for far too long.

Do I regret that? Nah. I wasn’t ready to embrace it. But I am now. Like whoa. ;-)

Ah, endorphins

First of all – I have to thank you all for such great comments on my post yesterday about balance and my struggles with it, lately. I can’t get over how honest, supportive, and helpful they all were! And from some new faces, too – love it!

So clearly I’m feeling a lot more “me” and less in a battle with myself which is obviously a much better alternative than how I felt yesterday.

What I realized in spite of myself was something I’ve touched on before but made a big impact on me yesterday – endorphins.

Or lack thereof.

As of the posting of yesterday’s blog, I hadn’t gotten my workout groove on. Which isn’t a bad thing at all – I sure got my butt kicked last night instead- but it DEFinitely had a big impact on my mood all day.

I was in big-time overthinking mode, scrutinizing everything about myself as you witnessed in my post, and just wasn’t feeling very happy, energized or…me.

But after last night’s workout (a doozy – Kick followed by the second to last in my STS mesocycle 2 workouts), I suddenly had new perspective.

I felt strong again.

I felt confident again.

I felt happy.

And, healthy.

Now why it took a good workout to get that groove back, I’m not questioning – I know the answer.

Endorphins!

I’m not saying that the key to all happiness is a good sweat, but…it certainly doesn’t hurt things either. ;-)

Just sayin’.

Aside from that – what did I learn from yesterday’s little “balance” rant of mine? That everyone’s definition of balance is very different and very personal. And that’s ok. I think this sort of goes back to my previous post on the one downfall of blogging – the fact that we all inadvertently compare ourselves to eachother. Sometimes doing the comparison thing is good for perspective, but other times it just makes things more complicated, making us over-scrutinize our own choices versus just being confident with our decisions and approach at living a healthy, balanced and happy life.

At the end of the day, that’s what matters most.

That we’re happy.

We’re healthy.

And, we’ve found balance (in our own very unique way).

**********’

BTW – for all of you who have heard me talk up a storm about how great the Exhale Spa Core Fusion DVDs are, mosey on over to Dori’s blog to enter her giveaway. It’s for their newest DVD – Core Fusion Boot Camp. How fun! I promise you – once you try Core Fusion you’ll wonder where it’s been all your life. Ok, maybe that’s just me, but you get the picture ;-)

Motivation mojo – where are you hiding?

Let’s call this a mini “Confessions of a Fitness blogger” post, shall we?

I’m not always motivated to workout.

*GASP*

I know, I know. Despite what you all may think – I do have moments where I fight with myself to get ‘er done.

Case in point – here’s what’s been running through my head the past hour or so…

God, what a day. I really need to get my workout in tonight.<editor’s note – was supposed to hit Ride this AM, but the rain, coupled with a slight scratchy throat and I nixed it for fear of coming down with a cold which would be bad, bad, bad>

<sigh> But I’m hungry. And tired. And grumpy. And I miss my couch.

Buuuut Sunday was my rest day and today was supposed to be a cardio day sooooo…

And that’s where I stopped and thought to myself:

SELF! What is your motivation today???

Well – my friends, my only motivation for working out tonight is to SHAKE OFF this mood I’m in. As I’ve said a million times before, nobody ever regrets going to the gym when all is said and done.

And so, that’s that. I WILL get my cardio groove on tonight, probably in the form of a Kick workout in front of my TV. It always does the “shake-it-off” trick, that’s for sure.

AND since this blog is oh-so-good for that thing called accountability? You bet your ass I”ll be back tomorrow to report back on how that workout went. ;-)

**********

#TheLittleThings for today – I’m thankful for this blog for letting me be me. For letting my voice shine through, even when in the form of a “confession” like tonight’s post turned out to be. AND a huge thank you to all of you for helping me to surpass the 20k hits to my blog which I happened to notice last night. How cool! Here’s to 20k more hits and then some. :)

 

Confessions of a fitness blogger

I confess.

Not only do I not know how to swim, but…

I hate working my abs.

I hate stretching or anything to do with yoga-like moves.

I get bored and have no patience (which probably has a lot do with my go, go, go mentality and my severe lack of flexibility, ha!).

But – one of my goals this year was to build a stronger core.

So far, I’m doing ok, but not great at meeting that goal.

Plus – I just finished the first mesocycle of STS and the program calls for an “active recovery” week which means no weight training, mainly stretching, cardio, and, well – rest. (let’s not even get me going on how much I hate to take rest days *gasp*).

So what’s a girl to do, when:

  • Cardio options are limited given bum knee issues
  • I can’t weight train this week (or shouldn’t for maximium results with the next phase of STS which is all about building muscle definition – hypertrophy)
  • And, I need to focus on my core, desperately.

Well, it’s time for a self-imposed Core Fusion challenge. This week coming up I am going to do mostly just Core Fusion workouts at home mixed with a couple of Ride classes and a Kick class.

And that’s it.

I envision my schedule looking something like this:

Sunday - likely a rest day or Core Fusion

Monday - Core Fusion (Body Sculpt)

Tuesday - Core Fusion (Pilates Abs)

Wednesday - Ride

Thursday - Core Fusion (Body Sculpt) and Kick after work

Friday - Core Fusion (Pilates Abs)

Saturday - cardio TBD (seriously hoping I can run by then)

Sounds pretty good, right? I’m trying to tell myself that it’ll be fantastic but I know (based on this morning’s Core Fusion workout) that I will have bouts of frustration because I can’t hold the ab curl moves long enough or because I seriously miss runner’s high (and STS for that matter). But, I’m sticking to my guns and seeing how this pans out.

Who knows? Maybe next week I’ll confess that I now love to work my abs.

Hey, it could happen. ;)

**********

#TheLittleThings – today, I am thrilled to see the sun shining and to hear that the weather forecast for this weekend includes milder weather. We’ve had a bout of dreary, dark, cold weather this past week so the sheer thought of sunshine on my face makes me smile. Truly a little thing, but makes a world of a difference on my mood. (remind me again why I live in New England??)