Browse Category by Fitness
Fitness

I Completed a Triathlon!

Remember when I posted about training for triathlon? And I talked about how much I really hated it? Wellll I did it! I have now completed that triathlon (instead of Nadine, I would now like to be referred to as Triathlete) and I feel so accomplished. You know that feeling you get when you set your mind to something and then you complete it? I had a similar feeling when I graduated college. I’m kind of a quitter at most things, so I don’t get this feeling all that often. Okay, I’m not so much a quitter, as I am a not-start-it-in-the-first-placer.

The triathlon is example number one. I had thought about doing it for the last five years, and this was the first year I signed up. And I didn’t quit, I completed it, in 2 hours and 17 minutes. Which may sound like a huge accomplishment, but it’s actually kind of slow in comparison to others. But I hate comparing myself to others, and I’m not competitive, so I am going to bask in the glory of completing a triathlon, and not worry about anything else.

So now let’s just do a quick rundown of the the 24 hours that was the triathlon:

Saturday Night:

9:00pm- Already laying in bed since I set my alarm for 5:00am to get to the race by 5:30. P.S. How did I not know that races required such an early check-in time? We had to get all situated from 5:30am-7:30am, race started at 8am, but they highly suggested being ther by 5:30am to avoid long lines.

11:00pm-Still wide awake. Tossing and turning, and thinking, if I fall asleep now, I will get 6 hours of sleep.

12:00am- Gave up on trying to sleep, flip on netflix and hope for the best.

12:58am- The last time I glanced at my clock, so I’m thinking I fell asleep around 1.

5:00am- alarm goes off, silently, and does not wake me up.

5:38am- I roll over in bed, wondering how much longer I can sleep–OH SHIT, I was already suppose to be at the race! I spring out of bed, and got ready at lightning speed, luckily I packed the night before. Talk about fucking adrenaline. I can’t tell you the last time I overslept.

6:00am- I wrestled my bike into the car, and off I went.

6:20am- I find a parking spot, and saunter my way through the park, and over to the race. I walk with another girl who felt exactly the way I did- I don’t care about my race time, I just want to finish.

6:40am- I drop off my bike in the transition area, and get in line to be painted on. They use a permanent marker to mark you with your race number, as well as your age, and wave number.

7:00am- Eat a Clif bar, and finish setting up my things in the transition  area. After you get out of the water, you run back to your transition area, and try to get dressed and on your bike as fast as possible. The very serious racers set up their socks in their tennis shoes so it makes for a shorter transition time.transition

7:45am- The national anthem is sung, and they give a brief welcome announcement.

8:00am- The horn is fired and the elite athletes begin! I was in wave 6 or 8 (I can’t remember anymore), which I am really thankful for because I had so many nerves, I wouldn’t have had the patience to wait any longer to get in the water!

8:12am- Run into the water, and begin to swim along with the crowd.

8:13am- Already feeling so overwhelmed, not because of the physical act of swimming but becasue of how many people are swimming around me. People warned me that swimming with others was challenging but I was not prepared. I didn’t even feel like I could properly swim because so many people were around me. I got kicked, grabbed, and splashed so many times. I swam with my head above water, so I got water splashed in my nose and mouth the whole time. It felt like we were filming a scene in the Titanic! The hardest part of the swimming was calming myself down so that I didn’t have a panic attack.

8:28am- My feet hit sand and I make my way out of the water. When you exit the water there are a ton of people standing there cheering for you. Most people run from the water to the transition area, so the cheering helps amp you up. I walked instead, because I was just trying to calm myself down!

8:29am- I reach my transition area, I take off my swim suit top (I wore my sports bra in the water, underneath my swim suit top), and throw on my gym shirt. Then I try to dry off my legs as much as possible so that I can get my long, stretchy gym pants on. I put them on over my swim suit bottoms, then I untied my bottoms and tried to slip them off. This was not easy, and I looked ridiculous, but I knew I didn’t want to ride and run with wet swim suit bottoms.

8:38am- I grab a handful of gummy bears (for energy), strap on my helmet, and set out out for the bike ride. This was the part of the race I was most looking forward to. I really enjoy biking, however I found out that biking for pleasure and biking in a race are two different things.

bike

8:58am- I am already sick of being on my bike. There were more hills than I thought there would be, and I was getting passed left and right! My bike is not a road bike, it has big tires, so to build up any kind of speed I really had to work my legs. The only good part of getting passed was how many people cheer you on! A lot of people would pass me and give such sweet words of encouragement. “You’re doing so awesome, keep going!”

9:40am- My bike ride is over, and I’ve never been so happy to get off my damn bike! I station my bike back in the transition area, grab more gummy bears and set out for the run.

9:41am- Holy moly do my legs feel heavy. Leading up to the triathlon I had done a ton of practice transitioning between biking and running, but during the actual race my legs felt so heavy, and sore. I walked for most of the first mile. And I didn’t feel any sort of shame or embarrassment. Lots of the women were taking walk breaks! The rest of the time I did a mix of walking and running.

10:18am- I can see and hear the finish line, but it was still a ways out. I was walking, and a lady looked at me from the sidelines and said “you can do this, you can run to that finish line!” And that’s exactly what I did. I sprinted to the finish line with joy!

10:21am- I cross the finish line and a huge wave of accomplishment washes over me! The announcer says: “Congratulations Nadine, now you never have to run again–wait a minute, that’s not right, you should want to run again!” When you register for the race they ask what you want them to say at the finish line, and I listed ‘you never have to run again,’ and I really meant it.

10:22am- I find my friend, who finished long before I did. We make our way to the food stations, and then just sit in the grass, basking in the glory of finishing a race.

10:30am- I grab all my stuff and head home. This photo looks terrible; bad lighting, bad exposure, I look disheveled, but I don’t care, because I earned this picture!

looking-terrible

11:00am- I get home and have no idea what to do with myself. I want to shower, but I also just want to sit down. I also want to celebrate, but know that I should stretch and foam roll so that I’m not deathly sore.

11:30am- I’ve showered, I’ve sat, and now I’m ready to meet my friends for brunch.  But how do I get there? I don’t want to drive since I know that I will be having a drink with breakfast, so I could uber, but I’m kinda cheap and would rather spend that money on a drink! But do I really want to bike, my legs are already sore? Well the thrifty side of me won out, and I decided to bike. It actually wasn’t bad. I live less than a mile from the place, and I just rode super slow. Since my race numbers were written on with permanent marker, I couldn’t fully scrub the off, so I spent the rest of the day looking like a weirdo with big black numbers on me!

12:30pm- Eating from a brunch buffet, washing it down with bottomless mimosas at Coup d’Etat in Uptown Minneapolis.

3:00pm- Lost count of how many mimosas I’ve had, but so blissfully happy and truly just enjoying the day. I’m not one to partake in Sunday funday, but just getting to hang out with friends, drink, and enjoy the sunlight without any sort of schedule felt so incredible.

3:30pm- Moved the Sunday funday to Muddy Waters and enjoyed more food, drink and company!

9:00pm- I finally biked home, and I am tucked into bed. I am exhausted, but so fulfilled.

And there you have it! My experience with a triathlon, probably more boozing than most people!

A lot of people ask me if I would do it again, and I really don’t know. Maybe? Training was awful, I just hate running. And I only half-assed trained, so I can’t imagine how much I would hate real training.

But I loved race day. The energy, the encouragement, the accomplishment. So at this time, I am not sold on signing up, although it’s nice to know I can complete the race with only minimal training. But if I lost more weight, I think it’d be interesting to see if I had any time differences, kinda compete against myself. Or if a friend wanted to sign up, then maybe I would. Who knows, maybe this time next year I will be writing a post on completing my second triathlon, or maybe I will be writing a post on how to train to complete a successful Sunday funday! Because that’s the training I’d like to do!

artsy

 

Fitness

Participating in a Triathlon

I did something really stupid. I signed up for a triathlon.

My gym, the YWCA Minneapolis puts on a triathlon every year, and every year I think to myself– this year is the year that I am going to participate! I even wrote about it in this post about goals from 2012 (#3).  Well 4 years later, and I have yet to participate. One year my excuse was that I didn’t have the money to do it. Another year my excuse was that I didn’t have a bike. Well this year I have a bike, and a bit more money, the only thing I was lacking was a training partner. It’s an all women’s tri so I needed a lady pal that was willing to sign up. And a few months ago I found the perfect person.

Back in April this triathlon seemed like such a good idea. It’s a 500 yard swim, 15.5 mile bike ride, and a 5k run, I kept telling myself how easy it was going to be to complete. The race is August 14th, I felt like I would have so much time to train. And I had visions of myself becoming a great runner, and really loving the training process. I almost laugh as I type this. I am now a month out from the race, and I have barely trained. And when I do train, I hate every single second. I miss doing workouts that I like to do. If I attend a cardio class instead of go for a run, I feel so guilty. I find myself counting down the days until training is over.

runningI hate running. I have always hated running. I can recall two times in the entirety of my life when I would say that I enjoyed running. So if I hate running so much, why in the heck did I sign up for a triathlon? I don’t know, I guess I thought that I should challenge myself or some crap like that. I kept listening to all those people who say ‘take your weakness and make it your strength.’ Those people are dumb. I think it’s okay to have weaknesses, and mine is running. I think I was trying to be optimistic. Thinking that if I devoted enough time to properly running that maybe, just maybe I could work myself up to a 5k.

I really didn’t want to spend a ton of money on this race, but the one thing all runners preach about is buying the right shoe. So after weeks of having shin splits, I finally gave in. I went to a small business running store by my house and got properly fitted. He did all sorts of tests– figuring out my pronation, my arch height, etc. I walked out feeling really, really good about these shoes. Well my shin splints have gone away but I have so much pain in my foot that I can barely stand to run. I thought maybe they just needed to be worn in better so I wore them to step class last week, they hurt so bad that I walked out with numb feet. Side note: I will never understand why I can complete a 45 minute aerobic step class (with foot pain) but running for 5 minutes makes me feel like I am about to die.

newshoesI started out using the C25K app, but had a hard time sticking with it. Summer vacations and moving into a new apartment have gotten in the way of training. I will work up to longer running stints, and then lose it if I don’t run within a few days. You logical people are probably thinking “why isn’t she running on vacation?” Who wants to ruin vacation with a run? I mean really. So lesson learned, don’t sign up for an event that has me training over the summer.

And I was so worried about running that I didn’t even think about my swimming ability. I grew up swimming, so I felt I was a pretty strong swimmer. Wrongo. I mean, I’m not bad, I’m just not fast. And I haven’t mastered the whole keeping-my-face-in-the-water-coming-up-for-side-breaths-thing. But you can swim the race however you want to so I will be keeping my face above the water, even though it’s going to greatly tire me out. I think this will actually be okay since I will have hoards of people swimming next to me, I think I will want to be able to see what’s going on around me. Plus I am not that concerned with my finishing time.

So what do I think will be fun about the race? Biking. I love biking, and it comes after the swimming portion so I think it will be a nice way to catch my breath, and recharge. I’m also looking forward to the meal before and after the race! Carb loading the night before, and then a victory meal. Of course I’m in it for the food.

bikeSo please wish me luck! And if you have any running tips, throw them my way! I could use all the help I can get.

Fitness

4 Years

In a lot of ways I am a quitter. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, I’m not being self-loathing, I’m actually being very real and accepting of who I am. I think life is far too short to spend time and energy on something I don’t feel passionate about. I’ve quit jobs, I’ve quit toxic people, I’ve quit bad habits, and I’ve left unhealthy situations. This is not to say that I quit everything I do. I stick with the things that are worth my time.

I have been a member of the YWCA for 4 whole years! In the last 4 years I have been fat, I have been less fat, I have felt defeated, I have cried, I have worked hard, I have grown, I have learned, I have felt misguided, and I have devoted so much time to learning about myself, and my health. I have done a lot of things in the last 4 years but I have never given up. I have never quit my quest to be healthy.

It took me 4 years to get my bachelor’s degree, and I would dare say getting through college was easier than trying to lose weight. Working hard to lose weight and seeing no results is one of the most emotionally taxing things I have ever been through. And continue to go through.

Every single day I want to give up. Every single day I wonder if going to the gym is even worth my time. Why bother going when I am still going to be fat? I wish that I didn’t care about obesity. I wish that I could just accept being lazy. But I can’t. I can’t quit the gym. I don’t want to quit the gym.

And if you’re a Friends nerd, like myself:

quitthegymI could go on, and on about this being a never ending journey, and that health is defined by more than being skinny, but I would just be a broken record. I’ve had many, many aha moments about health, workouts, and nutrition. I’ve fallen in and out of love with fitness many times. I have wanted to throw in the towel a million times, but I haven’t. I have never stopped trying to better myself.

I may not be skinny, but I know so much more than I did 4 years ago. I know more about nutrition than I ever knew was possible to learn. It sometimes baffles me at how far I’ve come in the last 4 years. I may quit a lot of things, but I stick with the stuff that’s worth my time. I put my time and energy into the stuff I am passionate about.

So YWCA, thank you for the last 4 years!

Here is a look at what I’ve learned, where I’ve been, and how far I’ve come.

Year one

Year two

Year three

Fitness

Burn Out

I started a new job in the middle of October, and with doing so I decided it was the perfect time to adopt a new routine at the gym. This was a great plan because for two and a half months I went to the gym 6 days a week. Six effing days — never missing a beat. Staying there for at least 90 minutes each time.

And in that time I was counting calories. Actually measuring out my food, and recording my calories on MFP, which is not something I like to do. Ohhhhhh and in that time I wasn’t drinking. I was staying in on the weekends, and starring at the wall. Not really but not drinking can be pretty boring sometimes.

And if at this point in the story you are thinking ‘wowwwww I really need to get my act together and start working out so I can be as awesome as Nadine and start losing weight too’– don’t think that way, because you would be wrong. I lost zero pounds. Zero! None! Nothing! Notta! And it’s not like I am skin and bones, I have weight to lose. I have weighed less than I do now!

walk awayYes, it’s so awesome that I didn’t gain weight. I made it through Christmas, eating cookies, and I didn’t gain weight. I maintained. Cool. But that’s not what I wanted. When you are putting in that much effort, you want something. You deserve something. I am being healthy. I don’t starve myself. I don’t use diet pills. I drink all the water. I am active. Like why? Whyyyyy doesn’t my body do anything? I don’t even try to understand anymore.

And the worst part is that I burned out. Committing to the gym for so long has made me burn out. In the last two weeks I have barely wanted to go. Last week I went once! I mean I was sick, but still. I am just done killing myself. During that two and a half months I felt chained to the gym. And I wasn’t enjoying the food I ate. I felt so defeated. There is no worse feeling than working really effing hard and seeing no results.

Now I know I preach all about working out for other reasons than just weight loss. And I do believe that. I do believe in being active for your health. And this week I am getting myself back to the gym. Doing things I enjoy.

At this point in my life I need to work on self-acceptance. Self-love. Because even after 3 years on this healthy journey I still get wrapped up with the number on the scale. I get caught up in hating my body. Comparing myself to others. Thinking that guys won’t like me. If only I were skinnier, maybe I wouldn’t still be single. It’s ridiculous. It’s ugly. It’s hard. It’s emotionally draining. And it makes your mind go to dark, dark places.

I wish I had a great way to wrap up this bitter rant, but I don’t. Weight loss is not all sunshine and rainbows. It’s hard not to completely hate those people who make it look easy.

I guess all I really want to say is that you are not alone. If you considered skipping dinner last night because you are so fed up with tight pants, you are not alone. If you want to cry because you feel you have no options left, I will hand you a tissue. And if you want to punch allllll the people who don’t struggle with weight loss, well I would be there to back you up!

Fitness

Has it really been 3 years?!

Three years ago today I got my gym membership. Three years ago I decided to grow up, stop making excuses, and take control of my life. I was 22 years old, five months out of college, and very overweight. I was lazy, and unhealthy, but I was ready to change. And it was the best decision I have ever made.

I was reeeeallllllly hoping that I would have gotten the hang of self-hosted blogging by now, because this would have been a perfect first post on my new blog. But I am so clueless when it comes to computer coding and the internet. It’s taking me some time to learn how to set up, and design a blog. I have bought my domain name, and found a place to self-host. Now I am focusing on the design. I may eventually seek out some help and pay a blog designer, but for right now I am trying to learn it all myself. I think it will be useful for me in the long run. Any resources would be much appreciated!

The first year that I wrote about my gymiversary, it was solely based on weight loss. I still had a lot to learn, and a long way to go. The second year I focused on loving myself, loving my body, and loving fitness. I still love all of these things, so what will I focus on this year? No clue. I don’t actively obsess about losing weight anymore, and I still love fitness. So what the heck do I write about? What have I learned in the last 3 years? So much, but so little. Let’s break it down:

1) Find your perfect gym. I love my gym. I go to the YWCA in Uptown Minneapolis, and I truly think all of my success belongs to this place. I walk in and instantly I feel at home. I love the facility, the classes, the staff, the teachers, the trainers, and the other gym goers. Sometimes I can’t believe I have been a member for 3 whole years. And others times I can’t believe it took me 22 years to find my place.

I think it took around two months to muster up the courage to walk to the gym, and join. Everyday I thought about how different my life would be if I could just lose some weight. I have no idea what finally clicked, but I am so glad it finally did. I don’t know if I have shared this on here before, but this commercial would get stuck in my head a lot.

2) Love yourself healthy. I struggle everyday with hating my body. My body doesn’t like losing weight, and my metabolism is sooooo slowwwwww. I can maintain and gain very easily, but my body get’s so comfortable hovering at the same weight. This is great when I am at a weight I like, but this really drives me insane when I am actively trying to lose weight. I think it’s safe to say I can maybe, just maybe lose a pound a month, even when trying. This makes me want to give up. This makes me hate my body.

But then I realize how incredibly lucky I am. I have all of my limbs, and they work correctly. I’m not sick, no cancer, no bed rest, I don’t have chronic pain. I can walk, run, hop, jump, bike, stand, etc. Some people have to face obstacles such as only having one arm, or daily body aches, and yet I am throwing myself a pity party for my slow metabolism? Jeeze, I really needed to gain some perspective.

I have one body, and one life. Why spend so much of my energy hating my body? Feeding it all the wrong things? I can move anytime I want to, why was I taking that for granted? I am so fortunate to wake up everyday and be in good health. Now, I eat healthy, and I work out because I appreciate my health, and my body. I am trying to love myself healthy!

3) With health and fitness, there is never an end point. Three years ago I always imagined this magical end spot. A point in my life when I could be done dieting, and working out. I kept thinking that once I reach such and such weight, I will be able to eat whatever I want. This was such a silly notion. With food and fitness you are never done. You can always, always grow. You can become stronger, and better. You can explore different areas of fitness. You can set new goals for yourself. Same with nutrition, you can always try different foods, recipes, diet plans.

I love the journey. I have fully accepted that fitness will always be a part of my life. Gaining weight will always be a part of my life. And fighting to lose weight is just a part of who I am. A very wise girl once told me that if you’re not fighting a muffin top, you’re not living. And I couldn’t agree more!

Fitness

Running.

As you may have figured out by now, I have decided to do a series of posts dedicated to critiquing various exercises. I am not a personal trainer, so all of these posts will be my own opinions, and personal findings.
So far I have outlined:
Cycling
Row Machine
R.I.P.P.E.D. 
Yoga

Today is all about running.
Description: I am thinking I probably don’t need to give a definition of running, but I found this video to be really helpful.

Duration: My personal best was 2 miles in twenty minutes. However you can run for as long or as short as your little heart desires!

Level of like (10) or dislike (0):  Probably like a 2. And that is being kind. I hate running. A lot. I have tried, and tried, and tried to like running. Not even just like running, but just tolerate running. I just can’t seem to find my stride.

running

 

Sometimes it upsets me because I am so envious of people who can effortlessly run. I used to feel weak because I just couldn’t enjoy running. But now I have stopped making myself do something that I don’t enjoy. Plus I have found running to be really bad for my lower back, and knees. I still get in my cardio each week, and I work hard. Really hard. So now instead of hating every run, I enjoy my gym time so much more, which to me is really important for success.

Benefits: 
-It makes fat melt right off! Running provides more of a calorie burn than most cardio activities.
-It can be done anywhere. You don’t need a gym, or a treadmill.
-There are tons of charity sponsored running events. Very rarely will you hear about a stepathon with all the money going to cancer research. But if there were a stepathon, I would totally do it!
-It helps with stress. Runners are always talking about using running as a way to clear the mind.

Advice for first timers: 
-Learn proper running technique.
-Find the right shoes. I used to run with tennis shoes not meant for running, and I got shin splints every time. Once I found a proper running shoe, it made it easier.
-Don’t give up right away. It took me almost 2 years of trying before I finally decided that running was not my thing. However some people may find that running is for them. You just gotta try, and try.
-Constantly change your playlist. The only thing that kept me running was switching up my music. I use party music because it reminds me of partying, and wanting to look hot while partying. Pathetic? Yes. Motivating? Yes.

Fitness

Adventures in Yoga: Some People

Let me tell you a little story about my yoga class yesterday. As of lately I have been attending a Vinyasa yoga class. Vinyasa is a broad term used to describe the act of flowing through poses, while connecting breath with the movements. It’s a step above Hatha yoga, which is the beginning class that my gym offers, and it focuses more on the basic poses, and less on flowing between each pose.

Anyway, yesterday I went to class and everything started out just fine. Then 10 minutes after the class started some guy came in late. Now, I don’t mind people coming to class a little late. 5-10 minutes, whatever, as long as you don’t disrupt others. This is especially true if it is a yoga class, where the environment is quiet, and people are focusing on their breathing.

This guy however must have a very different idea of coming in late to class. He wore flip flops, and flopped his way across the class to get a mat. A mat that he then proceeded to drop down and allow to slap the floor.

Fine, I thought this would be the end of class disruptions. Nope, no such luck. 25 minutes after the class has started (the class is only 55 minutes long) a lady decides to come in. And again, this lady must have had a very different idea of coming to class late. She was wearing wind pants. Wind pants! Who the heck still wears wind pants?

So as I am in downward dog all I can hear is swish swish swish swish swish as she walks to get her mat. Then instead of actually participating in class she just sits on her mat, doing her own stretches and breathing so heavy that it almost sounds like she is snoring.

And of course the story does not end here. The instructor had us move into double pigeon pose, which requires the stacking of legs. It looks like this:

double pigeon
double pigeon

So as the instructor was explaining this pose, she compared the stacking of the legs to the stacking of lincoln logs. Then she said “well, if you all even know what lincoln logs are.” The guy who came in late shouted (shouted!)  “I DO!!” and raised his hand. Dude, no shouting in a yoga class.

Finally we are approaching our last pose before the relaxation period, and a phone starts ringing. And whose phone do you suppose it was? The lady who came in 25 minutes late. But she doesn’t realize it’s her phone right away, so it rings and rings before wind pants finally swishes her way across the room to turn it off.
So with all of the disruption I was looking forward to the relaxation portion of the class. I lay on my mat, close my eyes and try to focus on relaxing my body. When suddenly the lady in front of me has a coughing attack. She didn’t cough throughout the entire class, but laying down must have triggered it. Her cough startled me, which then sent adrenaline running through my system. It felt like little needles poking my skin. Although I shouldn’t be surprised anymore because the lady has coughed during relaxation for the last 3 class periods.
Needless to say it was not a calming class. I did not feel refreshed. I don’t blame the coughing lady, because you can’t exactly control that. And to the guy yelling in class, I am thinking he just had too much energy and should attend a kick boxing class or something. But to the lady that came in outrageously late, wearing wind pants, with a loud cell phone: you’re on my list!
Fitness

Yoga.

As you may have figured out by now, I have decided to do a series of posts dedicated to critiquing various exercises. I am not a personal trainer, so all of these posts will be my own opinions, and personal findings.
So far I have outlined:
Cycling
Row Machine
R.I.P.P.E.D. 

Today I will be focusing on yoga.
Description: Yoga is not an aerobic based class, it is focused on stretching, posture, breathing, relaxation, and meditation. In ancient Sanskrit yoga means union. This makes sense because practicing yoga is based on your mind and body coming together.

Duration: Typically 55-90 minutes.

Level of like (10) or dislike (0): About a 7, but I really wish it was a 10. Yoga is something that I want to love, that I want to crave, but I don’t. For the most part yoga is too slow for me. I like intense cardio classes, or lifting heavy weights. I have a problem with turning off my thoughts, and I find that I zone out more with a cardio class than with yoga.

I make it about 20 minutes into a yoga class and then I start thinking about dinner, or applying for jobs, or what my weekend plans will be, or what I should be for halloween. And then I have stopped focusing on my breathing, and it’s hard for me to reconnect with my body. But I know this is a reason that I should keep practicing yoga. I need to improve on my mind/body connection, and with that said, I have now been attending more yoga based classes. I still keep my cardio routine, but I have just added in yoga, it makes for a long week at the gym, but I love it!

crowpose

source

Benefits:
There are sooo many benefits to yoga that I could never list them all. So please do further research. I figured that I would share the benefits that I am hoping to achieve when practicing.

-It helps with managing stress.
-It has been helping my lower back pain. I told the instructor that I was having back issues and now she is able to cue me to on adjustments I can make.
-It’s suppose to be a sleep aid. I haven’t found this to be true yet, but I still have hope.
-Flexibility. Because I love weight lifting I tend to get stiff, yoga has helped keep me limber.
-Strengthening my core and stretching my hip flexors.
-It helps with menopause, not something that I am having troubles with, but my mom does. In some studies it has been reported that yoga can help decrease hot flashes.

Advice for first timers:
-Find an instructor that you like. There is a yoga instructor at my gym and I just don’t mesh with her. She is a little too sporadic for my taste. Luckily people convinced me to try other classes, because now I have found an instructor who I really like. She is encouraging, knowledgeable, and great at explaining poses.

-Don’t let your weight discourage you. I was at my heaviest when I first tried a yoga class. I couldn’t properly do a lot of the poses. Instead of feeling defeated or discouraged, I wish I would have asked the instructor for adjustment ideas.

-Don’t go on a full stomach. I once went to dinner with my mom before attending a class, bad, bad idea. Not that any class would be pleasant on a full stomach, but having to hold downward dog was miserable.

Fitness

R.I.P.P.E.D.

I thought it would be fun to do a series of posts outlining and critiquing the various things that I have tried at the gym. I am not a professional trainer, so all of these posts will be my own opinions, and personal findings.

I have done a post on cycling, and rowing. And for this one I will be focusing on a class called R.I.P.P.E.D.

Description:
R.I.P.P.E.D. is a choreographed class that is designed to be a plateau proof class because the choreograph changes every few months. The name of the class is an acronym that describes the format of the class and stands for Resistance. Intervals. Power. Plyometrics. Endurance. Diet.

Each song represents one of those words, so the song for Intervals has a much faster tempo than the song for Resistance. In the classes that I have attended, no certain diet plan is discussed, but it does serve as a reminder that diet plays a role in weight loss.

For a month or two the choreography to each song is exactly the same, which is designed so that each class you can get better and stronger.

Duration: 50-55 minutes depending on how much time each instructor spends demonstrating different moves.

Level of like (10) or dislike (0): About a 7. I think the concept for the class is good, teaches a lot of basic workout techniques. However I get extremely bored with classes when I know exactly what to expect. If I know that a class has a burpees portion, I start out the class with a feeling of dread. As opposed to walking into a class feeling excited and then having burpees sprung on me.

This also happens for me with music. In the current release I don’t like two of the songs, so now I find that I don’t want to go to the class as often because I hate the songs so much. Also I find that I like lifting weights on my own much better. When I lift weights on my own, I tend to life a lot heavier, and push myself harder. But that’s just me.

Benefits:
-The class is designed so that you ideally will burn anywhere between 750-1000 calories in each class. When I finally get myself a heart rate monitor, I would be curious to see if this is true for me.
-You get a full body workout. There are aspects of cardio, strength/resistance, core, and stretching.
-You learn new workout moves. The current release has a move called clock lunges, and they are actually kind of fun!


Advice for first timers:
-Go more than once. If I had written this post after the first class I attended I would probably not have had anything positive to say. But I forced myself to go back, and once I had learned the material I ended up enjoying the class a lot more.
-Tell your instructor that you are new. This can be hard or intimidating to do, but trust me, if an instructor knows that you have never attended the class they will break down the choreography a lot better.

And if you want to learn more, or find a class near you, here is the link

Fitness

It Happened, Again.

My back, is screwed, yet again. UGHHHHHH!!

I don’t even know what to do. The first time that I injured my back was in April. I was in a HIIT class, doing squats, I felt something shift, and my whole back tensed up. Ever since I have had a sensitive lower back, and experience lower back pain and stiffness almost weekly. However it has never been as bad as the first time I injured it. Until now.

Last night I was planning to go to a half hour Core Fit class, then stay for Step Class, and Chisel (weight lifting). I usually lift weights on Monday, Wednesday, Friday. I successfully finished Core Fit, I was feeling good, feeling thin, and I was ready to complete two more classes. The ironic part is that I have been attending Core Fit in an attempt to strengthen my core, and better support my back.

Step and Chisel used to be my favorite classes of the week, but ever since the instructor left, it hasn’t been the same. But one of the girls who always attends the Step class is now training to be an instructor. And last night was her first trial run. She killed it! She was soooo good. She used the same music as the old instructor, had similar moves, kept up speed, and didn’t mess up once! I was so excited for her, but also jazzed that I would have a good instructor back.

Because I was so amped up, I was going beast mode on the bench. Then she called out the Charleston Kick, and the minute I bent down I felt something shift, pop, and crackle (anyone else thinking about Rice Krispies?) in my lower back. Immediately I began to feel a tingling sensation shoot down my left leg and butt cheek. All I was thinking was OH SHIT!!

Here is an example of the Charleston Kick, but we were using benches, not bosu balls. I actually really love this move, but I guess my back does not.

I immediately stood up, marched in place, and tried not to panic. However all I wanted to do was scream out in pain. But I have such a tough time walking out of a class early, plus I didn’t want the new instructor to think I hated her, especially since she was doing so good. So I stepped out of class for a minute, tried to stretch out my back and hips, I lightly foam rolled, and went back to class.

You might be thinking that I am an idiot for going back to class, but don’t worry I took the rest of the class realllly easy. I modified everything. Because there was a lack of bounce in my step, I mirrored the old ladies in the back of the room. Actually, I think the old ladies were going harder than I was! But that’s okay, I had to listen to my body. Even though I was going slow, there were times when I felt like I was going to puke. Blah.

Class finished, I told the instructor she was a rock star, and then I ran waddled out. Of course I had walked to the gym, so I was going to have to toddle my way home. As I left I could feel tears welling up in my eyes. I was in pain, but more so I was mad. Raged. I wanted to attend Chisel but my body was failing me, again. And I knew that I was going to have to rest for a few days, not a fan.

Thank god for sunglasses because I cried as I walked home. Although I had the quivering bottom lip going on, so I am sure that people knew. I am not one of those girls that just kinda weeps, I definitely have an ugly cry. Every step I took I could feel something crackle.

I am uninsured and broke, so I am turning to Dr. Google for help. I am icing my back, doing light stretching, and taking expired vicodin for the pain. I already have troubles falling to sleep, and staying to sleep as it is. Last night was hell. No position was comfortable, and normally I toss and turn in my sleep, which was near impossible last night.

I am getting some ibuprofen tonight because it mixes better with wine than vicodin it’s an anti-inflammatory, which should help any swelling go down. Also, I am no expert, but just from reading my own body, I really think my lower back issues are connected to my hip flexors. I often get really tight and sore hip flexors, and IT bands, so I am going to focus on stretches for my hips, and foam rolling my IT band. Wish me luck!