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My K9 Companion can motivate!

September 16, 2010
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Let’s be honest. When you “had a dog” as a kid, you didn’t really take care of it to the extent that it probably needed. I’m certain that there was a Mom or Dad behind the scenes ensuring this animal was bathed, fed, walked, checked by the vet, and an assorted other factors that were critical to the animals life. Now, my “ownership” of my childhood dog consisted of this.. walking her when I felt like it, dressing her up in my dance clothing and taking pictures (why she never bit me for this, I’ll never know), gathering much needed kisses when I needed them or was sad, and sending unwanted food under the table to her when the parents weren’t looking. Right? Isn’t that more of how having a dog went? We certainly didn’t keep them alive with our sporatic attention to them.

As adults, my husband and I chose to be a pet free home for over 10 years. We’re pretty anal, have allergies to dander and whatever other excuse worked for the time. We just weren’t ready. We started filling the home with kids, and the begging and demand to have a pet started to rise. So, what would one loving parent do – but to succumb to the children’s needs by offering FISH! This was our solution and it worked for awhile. As time has gone one, we have both been softening to the idea of having a dog. We both grew up with dogs (as stated above) so we weren’t anti-dog people per say, we just needed to be “ready” for that step.

There was a need for a home to an 11 month old golden retriever and without hesitation or much thought process involved (cause had we really thought about it, we might have actually said no!) we said YES! 2 days later, this darling dog entered into our lives and hearts forever. Her name is Chica and she’s got an amazing disposition about her. And of course, the kids LOVE having her around and offer as much “help” as I did when I was there age 🙂

Why am I writing this on a blog about fitness? Because with this bundle of energy – still a puppy dog, comes a greater need to be active! Let me list for you the ways in which Chica motivates me.

  • She needs to run. That way she will sleep. And, sleeping through the night is VERY important to me. So, several times a day we get out there to run the neighborhood, chase after balls and enjoy general mayhem of trying to get her as crazy as possible. A good solid tail-chasing has us all in a laughing fit, so that’s some good mojo going.
  • She sheds.  Fitness? Oh yes. I have to sweep 10x more than I used to and move the furniture to get all the hair under them.
  • She plays with a tennis ball in the house. We have all hardwood floors on the main level of the home, so when the ball rolls under the couch – we either listen to her bark and beg for us to get it and we do… or we listen to her back and beg until we do. Again.. moving furniture!!
  • She needs baths.  Because I have a tendency to be anal and don’t like smelly dogs, I choose to bathe her more often than most. However, with the large dog that she is, this takes some serious arm power to keep her in the tub. Not to mention, doing a VERY quick dry down (think vigorous arm movement) so she doesn’t shake and get her wet dogness (yes, I totally made that word up) all over the bathroom.

There are plenty more things that she needs from me that keep me moving and I’m not claiming that owning a dog is a way to exchange one workout system for another – but I’ll tell you what… this dog has put a new tempo in my step and has gotten me outdoors to play far more than I’ve ever done in a LONG time.

Enjoy your K9 and hit the trails with them! It might just give you that burst of energy that you need.

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Drab Workout Wear?

September 2, 2010

How many times do we grab the old worn out t-shirt and baggy shorts to head to the gym? I know I do. I rarely spend any money or time making my workout wear work for me. But, after receiving a great new outfit this past Christmas, I realized that it’s worth its weight in gold to feel great in what you’re wearing to the gym. It should no longer be just the afterthought hauled out of the corner of your room. And it certainly should not be for impressing others at the gym. What I’m talking about is the feeling YOU get when you wear it, and the uninterrupted workout that comes along with it. Imagine a world where your shorts don’t need to be removed from your butt every 30 seconds on the treadmill. Or dare I say that we keep our breasts in place the entire time too?? CRAZY! Well.. it can happen.

What better time to freshen up that workout wear section of your closet than back to school time! You’re already at the malls shopping for the kiddos – what’s to say you can’t get a new look for the fall/winter months that will be hard enough trudging through the snow to get to. Have some new pieces to make getting there a breeze. Your confidence will soar and who knows, you might even feel a little sexy. God forbid we feel good about ourselves, just as we are, with a new top and shorts 🙂  Don pieces that accentuate your figure – even if you’re still perfecting it.

Here are the best tips I’ve read about  in order to make great selections for yourself:

  1. Shop for your body type. If you have broad shoulders, then avoid racerbacks in favor of v-necks! Are you petite? Opt for long pants over cropped styles.
  2. Buy clothing tagged for your activity when possible. For Yoga, think roomy and comfortable. Runners? You need extra support.
  3. Do a few jumping jacks in the dressing room! If clothing restricts movement or rides up, you might as well know before those tags are removed and you’ve made your way home.
  4. Surf the internet. A couple good ones are Activa.com and Athleta.com. They have easy to use sizing guids and liberal return policies.
  5. Embrace synthetics. These high performance fabrics do everything from keeping your body cool to protecting you from the sun.
  6. Go seamless. These types of designs limit chafing. And, really.. who wants chafing?
  7. Have your workout pants hemmed. The right length will keep you from tripping. Added bonus? Your legs will look leaner.
  8. Use a gentle detergent like Nathan Sports wash ($10 at Lucy.com) and cold water. Hang dry to prevent fabrics from breaking down and becoming misshapen.
  9. Replace your sports bra every 12-18 months to ensure proper support and comfort.
  10. Buy in bulk. When you find a piece you absolutely love, grab a second one (or third and fourth)!

Happy shopping!!

You’re working too hard?

August 19, 2010
by

Would you believe that you can workout too hard and not get the results you desire because of it?? I didn’t think it was possible for so long, that I’d go to the gym with my own agenda of what I thought was a good workout. Pushing myself to exhaustion and never really getting where I wanted to be. The fear of bulkiness was becoming a reality, yet I had always believed that I could create lean toned muscles by whatever I did, as long as I was working those muscles. Now, envision with me, a college athlete that does the workout she’s instructed to do. Never questioning what it’s really doing for me and how it affected my body. I didn’t have any real goals, except to play volleyball and be the best I could be at it. If plyometrics at 5am and weightlifting were part of it, I was just doing it. Fast forward a few years out of college and working out takes on an entirely new meaning. It serves a purpose and I have a “look” in mind that I’m going for. With no set agenda, and a dozen fitness experts rattling around in my head, I perform an aggressive work out with power lifting, awkward running on a treadmill and a variety show of copy cat moves I’d seen on late night T.V.

Hmmm… This is NOT working for me. Not to mention, I feel like I’m killing myself and exhausting myself for nothing.

Fast forward a few more years. I discover there is a method to our fitness needs that once discovered – will change the routine completely. I don’t work as hard, and get tremendous results. Is that possible? Yes! Emphatically Yes! I do circuit training. It’s the very best thing for me. It often takes me half the time of others that are at the gym and I think I’m getting the same if not better results. I don’t have a case study going on this, but with some basic observation, their bodies aren’t changing and mine is.

Now, before you go off and try something half assed because “Cami said it was okay” – it’s not really what I’m suggesting. For me, it was a reality check of the intensity I was putting into all the wrong workouts. A combo of cardio and ABSolution is the perfect, full body workout for me. It gives me the results I was looking for and I don’t feel exhaustion from the workout – instead I feel revitalized! Isn’t that what we are really looking for? It’s not like I’m trying to win bodybuilding contests, or have any intention of challenging a beef cake to an arm wrestling contest. But I am fitting in my clothing the way I want to and seeing myself in the mirror the way I had hoped.

Find what works for you!

Working Out With Your Kids, Part II

August 4, 2010

I’ve been struggling to keep my girl active and here’s an update.

1)  If you wear out your kid with swimming and playing outside and bike rides and walking the dog and running errands and if she goes to bed too late without remembering to pee before tucking in…well, make sure you have a mattress pad.

2)  Badminton in the front lawn is not to be underestimated.  Try playing with no net for even more random results.

3)  I taught some classes last week and started adding various exercises and activities (“50 jumping jacks”, “walk the dog around the park” and “bring hamper to washing machine”) on my baby-sitter’s to-do list.  Bam!  Nothing like a 14-year-old girl to execute my will without any blowback or fuss!

4)  I don’t have to discuss “being active” explicitly.  Instead, I have been saying things like, “Go look for some treasures on the path at the park and bring three things back to me.”

5)  But when I am trying to discourage laziness or eating a junky food, my husband and I have gotten in the habit of saying, “Strong bodies – does that build them?”

6)  When running errands, have the kids come in!  Eschew the drive-through auto-bank.  Park far away and walk inside!  This may be easier for people like me with one child who is 7.  But still.  Adding steps is good for both of us and I often forget to do it myself.

7)  Two Words:  Lady GaGa.

8)  Kids Fun Fitness on Comcast On Demand – do a little yoga or ABC Hip-Hop dance if it’s raining or too hot.

My First 5K

August 2, 2010

I never thought I would become one of “those people.”

You know, the kind of people who sign up for “fun runs” or train for marathons or have bike racks mounted on their cars.  The people with state park passes who are out endlessly recreating in the sunshine.  I’ve always been more of a couch-and-book-and-wisecrack kinda girl.

But on August 21st, I’m going to attempt to impersonate one of “those people.”

I would never have started running if Swen hadn’t suggested it as an accompaniment to her ABSolution! program.  And now I find myself planning out my training workouts and amping up my playlists and downplaying how long a mile really is.

I never would have believed this would be me.

My goal is to finish the 5k, and run the entirety.  I know I can run 3 miles without stopping – I have done it.  But just once.  Today I hope to do it again.  The ABSolution! exercises Swen mentioned for my achy hip have also become de rigueur and are helping.

But I have questions, as always.

What to eat?  What to wear?  Should I have coffee?  What if I have to pee/poop?  Do I drink water during the race or wait until the end? Do I have to talk to people or can I just listen to my iPod?  What won’t I expect?

Any first-time 5k race advice from readers would be much appreciated!

Oops I did it again..

August 2, 2010

Hit that hill again today. Yep. I did!

Only this time, with my husband off to work, I upped my challenge to pulling both boys. (um, that’s about 90 pounds of kid) Why shouldn’t I? I mean, I just got back on that proverbial horse of working out and now I was acting like I WAS a horse. I think this small town, farm town has made me nuts. So the hill is the only way to get anywhere in this town from my neighborhood, so as joyous as it was to go down.. WWWEEEEEEEEEEE…  I had to face it again to get home. To return my children to the safety of being dragged up Mt Everest by their obsessed, insane (you fill in your own blank here), Mother.

Let’s rewind just about 3 hours though and start from the beginning. The boys and I are having an outstanding morning. Swimming lessons are done. Books are returned to the library. The air is comfortable and not bearing it’s relentless soul of heat. I am preparing to make lunch and I get this wild hair. This incredible and physically possible plan. Ha Ha. “Hey Boys! Let’s bike into town and get some burgers at Chuggers!” Of course they were game for this! They get to ride in style and Mom does all the work. They get burgers and Mom gets to bike them back.

Off we go then. I put my iPod on with a smile on my face and a full water bottle. The ride begins lovely. Inspirational. Invigorating. Wildly Ignorant. We head into town and there is a small incline to the burger joint. I’m pushing forward though and I laughed out loud when my iPod songs lyrics were “now I’m thinking, two is better than one” That is exactly the opposite of what I was thinking. 2 kids in the back was way harder than one and if this little incline was burning my legs – then I was in for a world of hurt on the way home.

Dread. The burgers have been eaten, soda drank. It’s time to head home. Which, like leaving a vacation, the journey there is always so much more exciting than the leaving! But off I go with reserved and timid enthusiasm. THE hill waits. As if God is insisting that I keep my sense of humor about me – the last 20 pedals up the hill served me another doozy of song lyrics… “heaven can wait, and hell is too far ago”  (I heard the words “hell is too far to go” – which made more sense at the moment of dead quads) I laughed again and found the leftover energy to get to my house and collapse onto the grass.

I’d hate to be less ambitious in my workouts and fall back into the gluttony of not doing anything – but I think it’s time to adhere to some more sensible bouts of energy and set realistic expectations without killing myself along the way. I may be humorous to watch crying up the hill, but let’s not be the small town idiot of the week.

I’m back? Yes, I’m back.

July 29, 2010

There are moments in life that shift our attentions elsewhere. Sometimes they come and only cause a small speed bump and we keep moving forward. Other times we get hit by a wave and it sends us spiraling out of control to the bottom of the ocean. We need time and directions to get back to the surface to continue our journey. The second notion is me. I didn’t quite hit the bottom of the ocean, but I spiraled out of control for several weeks. It started with a cold, then a week of camp in WI and finally crashed with 2 deaths in the family. How on earth did all those worlds collide? I hesitate to call it the “Perfect Storm” – but it was.

Finally though.. I AM BACK! However, this journey has lead me to want to say many other things along the way from.. I’ll be back, I think I’ll be back, I sure as heck better be back, I’m not sure if I want to be back, to Eventually I will get back! But, back I am and now it’s time to dig in!

I started back into my routine by biking outdoors with my 5 yr old in tow. We have this killer hill that is fantastic to go down, but always ends up being the last leg of my bike trip back home. There’s no avoiding it and no other roads to get to my house. I was heading up the dastardly thing when I realized that my lack of working out for over a month, may in fact, kill me. I am certain that Lance Armstrong doesn’t have to endure such pain of dragging a 50 lb child up the mountains. Let’s just call my hill what it is.. a darn mountain!  I never stood up, I just peddled until my legs were done working. I was breathing like a cow in heat. Ya, that’s what I just said.

When I finally regained my composure and my child stopped snickering from the Burley, I ran down (or better said, slunk down) to my exercise room and opened up my ABSolution book. I worked hard and probably had a look of disgust on my face – but the pain for the sake of bettering myself, made it all feel right in the world again. It’s quite amazing that our bodies respond so well, even when we let them down. The muscles want to be worked, the endorphins want to be pumping… all is right and good again for the body. It thanks me with that beaten down, but satisfied ache and begs me to come back again.

I reply… I’ll Be Back!

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