Sunday, January 25, 2009

Non-stop Work and... a Baby!

Another quickie post to check in. I need accountability so badly, but time is at a premium these days, but I'm not complaining. Last Monday, I welcomed another granddaughter, Emma, into this wild world. I'm so lucky to have three wonderful, healthy and busy grandchildren! Hannah, 15, already knows more about what she wants to be than I yet know! Cameron, almost eight, should probably be a vet! I've never seen a kid who loved living creatures from ants to polar bears more than she does! Then there's baby Emma who had a bumpy ride on her way to the land of the living, but is totally healthy and well now - yay! We're about to go see her now, but wanted to write something about this past week.

I'm excited by the pounds down at this point. I've lost four more pounds since I last posted on weigh day. I'm looking forward to a trip back east for a couple of readings in New York at the end of February and the work and workouts are keeping me super-pumped in mind, body and spirit. I just miss my connection to blogger friends and hope I can post more often in the next few weeks. I'm off to see Emma now, but will catch up on some of your posts a bit later and wish you all a restful Sunday!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Mostly Downs with an Uptick

I'm up early this morning, but have been flat on my back for the last week or so. (The one who's supposed to be preaching health has reverted to the realm of studentdom!) While I like being the position of learning - I do - lots (she protests!) - I hate having the dual problems of flu and disc problems at the same time.

I've been more than frustrated, but I'll save it as I'm beginning to poke through the fog and move around a bit - uncertainly, for sure, but move! Yay! My hubs was an angel and got me out into the gorgeous weather we've been having, which was awesome (funny how one appreciates the little things after stress (sickness?). Eyes opened wide! Will try to update (on not much!) in the next couple of days. Worked last Monday, but than crashed. Hope to get back to work/lite workouts at some point next week. Will start with some bands today --arrrggghhhhhh! I often wonder if the fact that I took such horrible care of myself for so long - so much of my life - has contributed to some of the chronic problems I have these days, when I have fairly healthy habits? Bummer.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Activities That Feed The Soul?

I think I’m getting the hang of the early a.m. roust, coffee and cardio, in that order. But for several years now, I’ve taken off Wednesday mornings (when partner and I are both healthy!) and drive this butt over to Ironworks (climbing gym) in Berkeley, where I manufacture Wedensday's sweat. And getting this old “butt” up the wall is becoming more and more farcical each year.

According to the article “Rock Climbing” by Tanya Tiessen in Alive Magazine, rock climbing “addresses four of the five components of physical fitness” including “muscular strength, muscular endurance, body composition and flexibility.” A climbing guide and friend, with whom I climbed some pinnacles on Mt. Saint Helena a few years ago, describes climbing as “playing chess with your body over an expanse of rock.” I still like his characterization.

I was excited to see that Sandrelle has been hitting the climbing gym! Indoor climbing is actually a lot of fun and a lot of work—but in some odd, new ways. Mentally and physically challenging, I was surprised by how significantly balance and coordination skills figured and how "climbing" resistance worked as opposed to, say, dumbell or cable resistance. Later, I remember reflecting on the amount of focus and concentration involved. Built-in meditation (and exhausting!).

Later, comfortable on a gym wall, I eventually moved outside for an entirely new rock experience. I’m incredibly lucky to live in the S.F. bay area, with so many gorgeous hunks of granite scattered here and there (mostly “there,” as in the Sierras). I’m also fortunate that a very supportive pal, once a Yosemite climbing guide, introduced me to the outdoor experience. An ardent supporter of my lifestyle transformation, he has, nonetheless, verbally kicked my tail a few times to help unstuck me in the face of lots of exposure (at least to my way of thinking) on my way up a cliff. (Nothing like yelling up a canyon that, "I'm gonna die!")

But, besides working up a good sweat and giving the body a great workout, climbing is ultimately fun. The teamwork and trust required and given and returned is so rewarding. And believe me; NO ONE is ever left out of the arrangement. After so many years of feeling excluded and isolated, climbing has fed me more than any meal I can think of.

Is there any sport or activity that you’ve experienced which feeds your soul AND burns calories?

Monday, January 5, 2009

Earlybird Experiment

This will be a quickie! Got my bod up and off to gym early - groups of 20 squats in between lat pulldowns and pushups. Some cable tricep work nestled in with some strokes on the rowing machine, and finally home for breakfast after a half hour walk with our dog, Samantha. It's the first morning I've tried to adhere to the early morning workout. It's a push today, but hopefully after a few days of this, the habit should kick in. Gotta hit the shower and get off to work, so I'll sign off. Happy Monday.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Are You An Early Bird?

Happy (belated) New Year! Yes, it’s been a while. I salute all of you parents who keep blogging, working, working out, cooking and shopping, not to mention all the other things you do, day in and day out. Throughout these holidays, I’ve had the grandkids over a lot. Between trying to do some of the above and getting away for a couple of days with hubs, I’ve sorely neglected the blogging. Hats off to moms and dads everywhere!

Yesterday I worked with a returning client who I hadn’t seen for a while. The gym (shocker!) was full to the brim—difficult to move from one place to another without getting bumped. On the platform, there was some boxing going on with target mitts. Almost all the weight machines were in use, and every single cardio unit was occupied except for the versa climber. If you’ve ever clambered aboard one of these delightful contraptions, you’d know that it was not for the novice. It was a good test to find a space to play with bands, but we laughed and hung in there. I’m not a fan of crowds and traffic, but a jam-packed gym takes the cake (or... carrot?)

My final 3p.m. client was luckier. The swarm had thinned out to a couple of dozen bodies and we moved quickly from one exercise to the next. C. was even able to build up a great sweat by the time we were done. Then, it was my turn. I almost had the place to myself. I have a new band that’s almost three feet in diameter. About four inches wide and maybe 1/4 of an inch thick (color: purple), I loop it around a chin-up station, stick my feet or knees into it and pump up and down using back and arms mostly, but legs and core as well. I’ve always wanted to be able to perform pull-ups; this is by far the closest I've ever gotten. It’s great for other exercises as well. Moved on to push-ups (on the bar of a smith machine) and then triceps (skull crushers with an EZ Curl bar on a decline bench). After several sets of cable bicep curls with a rope (feel like I’m playing “Clue”), I hopped on the treadmill for my little cardio routine. Basically, I start walking backwards slowly at an incline of 3.5, then, at a speed of 2.1 and the same incline, turn sideways and hop, doing this on each side. Finally, I jack up the incline (and speed), then walk/run forward for as long and fast as I can. Repeat the series for 45 minutes. Felt good.
Now, I need to go back today and do it again! Gym should be (?) a bit less crowded by 2 p.m.

I’d love to be one of those amazingly consistent 5a.m. gym-goers, because on the few occasions that I’ve been able to get there early, I’ve loved having the freedom of the remainder of the day to get more done. And that’s how I started this particular blog. Timetimetime! So I’m going to give the early workout a try this 2009 year. I look forward to seeing how much better the 5 – 6a.m shift works for me. When do you all work out? If early, what time do you make it to bed at night? Happy ’09!