Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘new activity’ Category

bilbl_superI’d been looking forward to trying Zumba Step for the past month, ever since I first saw the flyer for the new class at my gym.  The only problem was, they only offered classes while I was at work – 11am on Thursdays and 8am on Fridays. So having this week off, I knew I wanted to try the class out.

1662019_10203079989939205_98500168_n

I love the music and the energy of Zumba classes, and I used to have fun taking step classes back in the day, so I figured the combination of the two could be really fun…or a catastrophe.  I could see myself tripping over the step as I tried to samba to the beat.

The teacher had brought two other instructors with her so that people on each side of the room could have someone to follow along.  She told us to grab a step, and at the most, to get one riser.  I decided to stick with the step by itself for this first class.

The class was really fun.  The teacher did a great job of cueing us about the moves ahead of time.  The difference between this class and a regular Zumba class was that the step was used about half the time to add some height to some of the moves.  We did the usual step-ups and knee raises, but included swaying hips and fun arm movements.  I’m happy to say there was absolutely no tripping over the step.

I’ll definitely take the class again.  I like the challenge including the step adds, and I could definitely feel it the next day.  As the class becomes more popular, I know they’ll add more sessions in the evening and weekends.  In fact, in checking the schedule just now, I saw that they now offer a class at 8:30pm on Tuesdays, so I’ll probably incorporate it into my schedule a couple of times a month.

The thing I really loved about the class was my own personal progress from the last time I took a Zumba class.  I haven’t taken a Zumba class since surgery, and the weight I’ve lost made a major difference in what I could do this go around.  I always gave it my all in Zumba classes, even when I was at my heaviest.  The thing is, my all was keeping things no-impact: no jumping, no hopping, no bouncing. Sometimes I’d end up a beat or two behind the class because I wasn’t able to keep up with the fast pace.  This time, I was jumping, bouncing, and hopping right along with the class. In fact, I was “that girl” who was going above and beyond.  The best part was that even though I was exerting myself and really getting in a sweaty workout, I wasn’t overwhelmed or out of breath.  At one point I got major tears in my eyes when I realized just how far I’d come.

In the past, I enjoyed Zumba so much that I thought “maybe someday I’ll be able to teach Zumba,” but it was a far off dream.  On Thursday, after I felt like I’d mastered the class, I knew with certainty that I will be a Zumba instructor.  That confidence is the coolest feeling in the world.

I snapped a quick pic after class, and as you can see, I was definitely "glowing" after the class.

I snapped a quick pic after class, and as you can see, I was definitely “glowing” afterward.

Read Full Post »

bilbl_superThis morning I woke up in just enough time to head to the spin class I’d been planning to attend for more than a week.  Actually, today’s spin class has been years in the making.  I’ve wanted to try spinning forever, but was extremely intimidated by the proximity of the bikes to each other.  When I was over 300 pounds, I was worried that I’d spill over into my neighbor’s personal space.  Not a great feeling.

There was the time, back in August 2011, when I went into the empty spin room and spent 5 minutes on the bike.  I know I didn’t even get “out of the saddle”/stand up on the bike, because I had no idea what I was doing.   I also didn’t change the tension at all.  I do remember that I felt the pain in the pubic bone that comes with spinning.

So I prepared for that pain by buying some padded spin pants that had a skirt overlay.  I’d first seen them on Emmie’s blog, and because I was convinced I was eventually going to try spinning, I decided the investment was worth it.  I remember in August 2011 that I was embarrassed to wear them in public because of how tight they were.  The skirt was almost indecent because my big booty was causing it to ride way up in the back, barely covering. Here’s the post from December 2011 where the pants showed up again.  This time, I actually missed the spin class because I was fooling around with the fit of the pants, trying to camouflage how tight they were on me.

I haven’t tried spinning in all this time, but today was the day.  My gym offers lots of spin classes Monday-Thursday: at 5:45am, 9am, and 6pm.  I figured the 5:45am class would be packed, as would the 6pm, and since I was off, 9am seemed like the ticket.  Because I’d heard all the horror stories about how much the spin seat hurts the pubic bone, I decided to wear the padded, skirted pants even though they were way too big.  Like at least 3 sizes too large! Let’s compare the fit, shall we?

Left - 12/2011 Right - today, 2/2014

Left – 12/2011  Right – today, 2/2014
The difference in these two photos is really striking, especially because I’m sucking in my stomach in both shots. Dramatic difference!!

I don't know if you can tell, but the skirt was way, way longer today.  Less of a booty keeping it up!

I don’t know if you can tell, but the skirt was way, way longer today. Less of a booty keeping it up!

And here’s a front view picture, just for good measure.

2014-02-18 11.09.10

So many of my workout clothes are just way, way too big. This top is supposed to be one of those snug, dry-weave tanks, but you can see that it’s super loose on me. I’ve gotta hit an activewear sale soon.

Anyway, back to the class.  I got there about 10 minutes early, just to make sure that I had time to chat with the teacher and make sure I had the bike all set up.  I found out that the seat should be set so that it’s in the middle of my hip when I’m standing up next to it.  I also made sure that when I sat on the bike my legs were still slightly bent, not completely straight.  The teacher showed me how to change the tension, and told me that I could stay a “half step behind” if I wanted to; meaning I could take it a bit easier than the rest of the class since it was my first time.  You guys know that there was no way I was going to take it easy, right?!

The class itself was so great!  The teacher started off the class with Pharrell’s “Happy,” which couldn’t have been more perfect! In fact, take 4 minutes right now and listen to it.  It’s guaranteed to make you feel fantastic!

The teacher immediately turned off the lights in the room.  I’m not really sure why – maybe so that we wouldn’t focus on how we looked in that room which was surrounded by mirrors?  At one point during the class, I caught a glimpse of a girl in the mirror across the room and my first thought was how good she looked on the bike, how confident she seemed as she pedaled.  Only, she didn’t look like any of the women in the class.  I went one by one trying to figure out which one she was, until I realized – SHE WAS ME!  I can’t tell you how amazing that felt.  That I thought that I looked great during an exercise class is a new first.  That and the fact that I wasn’t the biggest girl in the room.  And I wasn’t worried at all about being too big for the bike – there was plenty of room on either side of me today.  NSVs abounded!

I felt empowered by how strong my legs were, and how well I kept up, even when we were “climbing.”  Climbing is when you slowly increase the tension in the bike higher and higher to mimic climbing a hill or mountain.  Sometimes these climbs were done “in saddle” (sitting down) and other times the climbs were done while standing the entire time. She also had us go on “mixed climbs” where we alternated between sitting and standing as we increased the tension.  I really enjoyed how the teacher used the music to help us get through the tough parts of the workout, and I can see that a really great playlist can make all the difference.

To be honest, the worst part of the entire class was when we were “in saddle” because my pubic bone just killed me.  I kept squirming and moving around as I sat there, trying to get in any position that would relieve a little of the pain.  I can’t imagine what it would’ve felt like without the padding in my pants!  I’m still slightly sore right now, 8 hours later, as I write this.  Everyone says the pain goes away and you get used to it the more you do it.  Still, I’m going to have to dig out that bike seat cover that I’d bought a few years ago, because I will take any extra padding I can get.  Even with the pain, I absolutely loved the spin class!

This is the photo I posted on Instagram this morning.  See how big that smile is in both of those photos?  That’s because I felt so accomplished, so proud.  I finally did something that I’d been wanting to do forever.  And not only did I do it, but I loved it.  I was good at it.  My strong legs took me through the entire class, and while I was “glowing” within 10 minutes, I felt beautiful.

2014-02-18 10.04.51Today’s Adventure in Fitness was amazing! So much so that I’m going to start going to spin classes at least once a week. And I’m going to treat myself to a session at Soul Cycle sometime soon, to check another thing off my Fitness Bucket List.

Read Full Post »

bilbl_superThis week, I was determined to start strength training, no matter what.  I’m not going to lie, I was really intimidated by the thought of working out at the gym using the machines or the free weights.  And did I really need to do that type of training, anyway?  The more I’ve been reading on the different fitness blogs, the more I see that the trend that seems to work well for the goals I have in mind is using my own body weight resistance along with dumbbells and kettlebells.  After looking at so many great, free sites, I settled on Tone It Up because I remember reading their fitness tips in Self Magazine in the past. When I researched their website, I really liked the fitness community that Karena and Katrina have built. Plus, I saw their new show, Toned Up, on Bravo and thought they had cute, quirky personalities.  And I mean, look at them – they’re gorgeous!

be-you-tiful-love-your-body-series-toneitup-toned-up-bravo-tiu

Right now Tone It Up has a series they’re calling #LoveYourBody, which I think is so empowering.  When I signed up for the newsletter, which gives me free access to the #TIU community, daily workout routines, inspirational quotes, and some recipes, I loved their message about what I could do with the 4 weeks until Valentine’s Day:

Remember there are 4 FULL WEEKS left of the Love Your Body Series~ just in time for Valentine’s Day.  You have a HOT DATE with yourself!  Take a look at your calendar- commit to yourself and your goals.  In 4 weeks anything is possible…

♥ If you run/jog or walk 2 miles a day… that’s 2 MARATHONS you’ll complete by Valentine’s Day 

♥ Is weight loss your goal?  With the Tone It Up Nutrition Plan, you could lose 8-10 pounds in a healthy way

♥ Is toning your goal too?  You will see a major difference in muscle tone with the workouts below

♥ If you compliment 1 woman a day from now until Valentine’s Day… that’s 26 women who won’t forget how you made them feel beautiful.

♥ Connect with a new team member in the community each day… that’s 26 new TIU girlfriends :)

♥ 4 weeks doesn’t seem like much… but you can achieve a lot between now until then! ” ~ToneItUp

I was totally inspired by this!  I really like that they take a whole body/mind approach – not just working out and eating clean, but connecting with other people, too.  I feel like supporting each other is so important.

So when I got the weekly schedule in my inbox on Sunday, I new I was going to start on Monday after work.  I love that the schedule has video links, pdf downloads, and a Pinterest-ready photo of each workout, as well.  I also REALLY love that the whole thing is themed – each of the workouts are named with Valentine’s Day in mind.  So cute!

  • Monday: My mom and I had taken a quick-paced mid-morning walk as my “cupid cardio” and then I came home and did the #LoveYourAbs workout 3 times, which took me about 30 minutes.
  • Tuesday: I went to the gym and did the run/walk intervals on the treadmill for cardio and I did #LoveYourBodywithKettlebells for my toning.  This workout was killer, and even though it was only 19 minutes (I only did one set) I’m still feeling it!
  • Wednesday: rest day. I was starting to feel sick, and since I’d worked all day, I decided to take a break today.
  • Thursday: Despite having a pretty bad cold, woke up and did 18 minutes on the stationary bike followed by 1 round of #LoveYourArms&Abs (15 minutes).  If I wasn’t feeling sick, I definitely would’ve done the recommended 2 rounds.
  • Friday: I took another sick day, but still woke up and did 18 minutes on the recumbent bike, followed by 3 rounds of #LoveYourBooty, and I know I’ll be feeling that workout for a few days.
  • Saturday: I’m going to rest on the cardio, but I’ll complete the week’s plan by doing two sets of #LoveYourWholeBody2 (35 minutes).

I have really liked these workouts because they don’t require a lot of equipment.  I have everything I need – a kettlebell, some hand weights, and a yoga mat.  It doesn’t get simpler than that.  I can feel the workouts working by how sore my muscles are each day, but the thing I’m enjoying about these workouts is that I can do them.  Some of the moves (like the side plank) are out of reach for me, but I can find easy ways to modify them.  I feel so good when I’m finished with each round of toning, and I really like that none of the workouts take that much time.  I can easily fit in 30 minutes a day.  I like checking in on FB and Twitter, and getting support from the @ToneItUp girls every time I use the #TIU hashtag.

Another fun thing about these workouts is that Sofi really gets into them.  She thinks it’s playtime every time I hit the mat to do crunches, booty bridges, etc.  It’s impossible not to start laughing every time she licks my face when I’m trying to do leg lifts or is right underneath me as I’m doing kettlebell swings.  So, we’ve made a deal – she get get a few kisses and licks in and then she has to let me get my toning in, and afterward we’ll fit in a play session on the ground.  How can I resist – how cute is this?

2014-01-24 12.14.22A huge thank you to Karena and Katrina for making such a fun, easy-to-follow, FREE program.  I know I can keep this up!  I can’t wait to see how my body changes in the next four weeks!!

Read Full Post »

bilbl_superToday’s Adventures in Fitness (AIF) is a twofer – I completed C25K Week 3, Day 1 while I participated in the Silicon Valley Santa Run.

I’d been looking forward to the Santa Run all month because it was going to be the first time I attempted any sort of run/walk while doing a 5K.  And, it was going to be the first time I did the 5K on my own, well, sort of.  Ani and Di both did it with me, but I’d told them upfront that I really wanted to continue my C25K program, so I’d be using my headphones and doing the walk/run.  They were both really cool about the fact that we wouldn’t be walking this 5K side by side as we had when we did the Color Me Rad.

Pre race, I had to get my selfies in:

2013-12-15 12.20.112013-12-15 12.20.37

We wanted to get down to the race area early, so we’d have no problems with parking.  Since it was starting really late – at 3pm, we left around 12:30 and had lunch at Chipotle.  I had a steak burrito bowl, which was a great choice since I only eat 1/3 of it at a time and it fueled me perfectly.  We got down to the race area with over an hour to spare. So what do three girls who are excited about a 5K do? Take “groupies” of course:

2013-12-15 13.56.52

2013-12-15 14.43.20

I’m so lucky that I did this 5K with these girls. We’ve been friends since our freshman year of high school. We’ve shared so much! Love them!

Waiting for the race was the most difficult part, partly because I’m just so impatient and partly because I had so much anticipation going into it, because I was going to do Day 1 of Week 3 of C25K, which is fairly intimidating:

5:00 warm up
Jog: 1:30
Walk 1:30
Jog: 3:00 (yes, that’s 3 entire minutes of jogging at once)
Walk: 3:00
Jog: 1:30
Walk: 1:30
Jog: 3:00
Walk: 3:00
5:00 cool down

2013-12-15 14.59.45 And just like that, I was off and walking at a brisk pace (Endomondo clocked me at 4.0mph).  At the first jogging section, I knew I started running too  quickly – all the adrenaline hit me, and my competitive streak definitely kicked in, too.  Because I’d started running at was was surely a 5.0 mph, I barely made it to the end of the first section, but I did.  And I definitely used the 1:30 walk time to catch my breath.  When it came time to run for 3:00 run, I have to be honest and say that I stopped running with about a minute to go.  I couldn’t seem to regulate my pace.  I was either going as fast as I could, or I was walking.  By the time it got to the next running section, I realized I needed to slow it down if I was going to make it through, which is what I did.  I was still going at a good pace, about 4.5mph, which is faster than my usual treadmill runs.  By the time I was hitting the second and final 3:00 run, I am so proud to say I made it all the way through.  I took it slow, but I did it.  28 minutes of the C25K was done, but I still had more of this 5K to go.

2013-12-15 15.12.33

The sea of Santas running in front of me – we all looked so cool out there! It was such a fun thing to be a part of.  Definitely on my Must Do list for next year, too.

I’d thought I was going to complete the remainder of the race walking, but I felt so guilty about giving up a minute early on that one section of running, that I continued to do a run/walk style for the rest of the race.  Nothing evenly timed, mind you.  I’d just walk for a bit and then tell myself to run from those palm trees to that street sign, and so on.  I did that at least 4 times.

rocky_balboa_runningThe proudest of those times was when the course was getting to a fairly steep incline, and I decided to “get all Rocky” on that incline and run up it. And I didn’t stop at the top of that incline, but kept running to the next intersection.  When I finished, I felt like this:

imagesI kept doing these periodic run/walk intervals for the rest of the race.  I was listening to my Madonna RockMyRun playlist, and felt incredibly invigorated.  I did end the 5K walking, but I was walking strong, and proud.  I felt so good!

2013-12-15 15.52.09 As I crossed the finish line, I got completely overwhelmed.  Tears welled up in my eyes, and I had to hold myself back from the brink of the ugly cry, because I was on the edge of it.  I was so emotional because the realization hit me – I had just done a 5K where I was running for 1/3 of it!  (Carina, my math may not be right – I don’t think I did a full 1/2, so my English-teacher brain goes to the next “measuring cup portion” I can think of). I’d also just PR’d! (More on that in a second).  As of today I have lost 112 pounds, and I am doing things I only dreamed of.  Actually, I guess I’m living my dreams.  So you can see why I was so emotional.  This experience meant the world to me.

2013-12-15 17.19.25When I got this notification that I’d completed the 5K in 48:56, I was ecstatic!  I can actually say I’d PR’d!!  By about 8 minutes, which is awesome! I can’t explain the feeling of pride that I had at that moment.  Just so happy about my life and all that I’ve done to change it.  Incredible!

2013-12-15 15.52.20 The Santa Run ended at Christmas in the Park, and this tree was the first thing I saw as I finished.  I was still trying to get ahold of my emotions, and seeing this majestic tree really hit home for me.  In those post-race minutes when I was taking it all in, this tree symbolized everything I had just accomplished.  I know that may sound corny or silly, but it’s 100% true.

It didn’t take long for Di to finish next and then Ani was shortly behind her.  We’d all finished the 5K in under an hour, and were feeling really good.  As we walked back to the car, we happened upon one last photo op:

2013-12-15-16-09-57It was the perfect spot to take a post-race pic. Such a beautiful setting, and I was feeling just this beautiful inside and out.

Read Full Post »

reverb13-blog-button Throughout the month of December, I’ll be participating in #reverb13: Reverb is a way to reflect on the past year and project into the next year with a prompt a day for 31 days.  December is the perfect time to reflect on 2013 and start to create intentions for 2014.

Day 5: Challenge
Did you take on a new challenge?  What was it?  Is there are challenge you deliberately avoided?  What do you want to do to challenge yourself in 2014?

The biggest challenge I faced and overcame in 2013 was meeting the weight loss requirement for my surgery.  It took me over 2 1/2 years to lose the weight – persistence and perseverance were key.  I failed so many times, but I never allowed those failures to get the better of me for too long.  Through lots of ups and downs, on the scale and mentally, I finally just decided to stop making excuses and start following the steps I knew would work.

In my career, I have taken on the challenge of teaching a totally new class – AVID.  It meant a commitment of four years to follow my cohort of students from freshmen year through graduation. It meant adding another prep – I teach four very different classes – English 3 honors, journalism, yearbook, and AVID.  (Most teachers teach two preps, maybe three). It meant spending a lot more time prepping for this entirely new class, which meant my work life became a lot busier. It also meant that I had to work with freshmen, who require a whole new level of patience to deal with students who are squirmy and silly and completely fun.  Although there have been moments where I’ve wondered if all the added time and work were worth it, ultimately, when I see the impact I’m having on the students’ lives, I know it is.

I’ve also challenged myself to start running.  I very recently (just last week) began the C25K program, and while it has been physically challenging, it’s not impossible, as it has been in the past. I love moving my body in this whole new way, and while I’m not breaking any records in terms of speed, I’m breaking through so many boundaries personally.  It’s exciting!

In 2014, one of my main challenges is to explore new hobbies.  I’ve focused for so long on weight loss, and while I still have a ways to go to get to my goals in that area, now that I’ve got it “down,” I want to start focus my energies on new areas of my life.  I’ve been so single-minded for so long in my personal life that I’m not sure what I might end up getting into, but I think that’s the fun of it.  The ideas I have are all things that take me out of the house and get me meeting new people:

  • Taking an Italian conversation class.  I’m so into my heritage in all other aspects, and I think learning the language is an important next step.
  • Joining a local run club.  Their program that lasts 28 weeks, has Saturday group runs, and a running schedule to follow during the week.
  • Reading more books, and maybe joining a book club.  This year I’ve been absolutely awful at reading books, even though I love to read, so I’m thinking that if I had a deadline and the expectation of discussing the book on a certain date, that would help.  I need to find out where I can find book clubs meeting in my area.
  • Taking some sort of art journaling/scrapbooking class that will tap into my creative side.
  • A dance class would be a great way meet people, do something physical, and have a lot of fun.

I’m interested in seeing what other challenges I find myself facing in 2014.

299b688862d6844f2002b15cb2e629d3

Read Full Post »

bilbl_superThis morning I woke up with a mission.  Even though it was freezing cold outside, I was going to head to the track at my neighborhood high school and start C25K.  (I was supposed to start on Monday, but Sofi was feeling ill and after our visit to the vet, I didn’t want to leave her home alone. I’ve had appointments and other obligations the rest of this week, so today was the first time I’ve been able to get to the track in the morning).

As you guys know, I’ve tried C25K once or twice before. Both of my previous attempts weren’t successful.  I really wanted to do the program, but I just weighed too much to physically do it.  In fact, both times before, I wasn’t even able to complete all of the running segments on the first day.  I figured that it was ok to skip a few of them, as long as I was out there and moving, and I guess at the time it was alright, because my fitness level just wasn’t up to it.  The heart wanted it, but the body couldn’t follow.

So getting up this morning, I have to say that I was determined that this third time was going to be different.  I wasn’t going to allow myself anything but success.  But I was still scared that I wouldn’t be able to do it, even though I really wanted to.

Always go with the choice that scares you the most, because that’s the one that is going to require the most from you.” – Caroline Myss  (One of my MFP peeps posted this quote today, and it couldn’t be more apropos).

It was 46 degrees as I got out of the car and walked toward the track. (That temp downright frosty for this Bay Area girl!) But I knew that I’d warm up quickly once I started jogging.  So I turned on Endomondo, opened my Madonna Madness Rock my Run playlist, and opened my C25K app from Zen Labs.

I started on the 5-minute warm up, really enjoying the Madonna beats the DJ had put in the mix, and taking in the gorgeous, sunny weather.  There were only 3 other people out on the track with me, and since I had my shaper on underneath my workout pants, I felt confident that there wasn’t “too much jiggle in my wiggle.” Even though I was anxious about starting the running portion of the C25K, I decided not to psych myself out and just enjoy the warm up.

As I was rounding the track for the third time, I thought to myself, “wow, I’ve gone 3/4 of a mile in 5 minutes!” And then I thought, “wait a minute…that’s not possible, I’m only going at about 3.5 mph, what’s going on?!” And that’s when I realized that the dumb C25K app I was using wasn’t prompting me to switch to running.  Apparently, I had to keep it open and active for it to give me any cues.  I thought it would work in the background, but apparently you get what you pay for.  (This app from Zen Labs was free and not worth the time it took to download it).  In reality, I’d gone 13:56 minutes.  Ugh.  But I wasn’t going to let this less than stellar start deter me from doing the C25K – I’d make it work.

So, I started the app over again, did another 5 minutes of warm up, and then hit the intervals.  60 seconds of running, followed by 90 seconds of walking, for 20 minutes.  It sucked to have to keep the app up and active the whole time, but I wasn’t going to let that stand in my way of completing this goal.

{If anyone can recommend a C25K app, please leave it in the comments. I’m willing to spend some money on an app that can run in the background}.

As I started running, I felt light, smooth, and easy.  Ok, easy probably isn’t the right word, but I did feel strong.  I wasn’t huffing and puffing as I had in the past.  I’d learned from my last attempt at C25K that I needed to pace myself and not run at a sprint, otherwise I’d wear myself out.  So I jogged in my “tip-toeing-through-the-tulips” style that my sister says I have.  Carina said that this might mean that I’m light on my feet, and since she’s a running expert, let’s go with that.  :)

In the past, I’ve been so out of breath during the running portions of the program that I had to skip a few of those segments, but not today.  Today I completed each 60-second run, and sure, those last 10 seconds or so were me willing myself to finish it, but I didn’t give up and start walking early.  I stayed with my jog and pushed through it.

83db7483820eceb252910509dfbb17d9I’m so glad that this morning, for the first time ever, I listened to the part of my brain that has helped me lose 106 pounds.  Today I tapped into every single ounce of perseverance that I possess, and I kept going.  And you know what, it was actually great.

2013-11-29 08.48.32 2013-11-29 08.53.31

As I finished the 20-minute run/walk intervals and began the 5-minute cool down, I had the hugest smile on my face.  I’d accomplished something that had been a goal of mine for so long.  And I did it well.  Sure, today’s just Day 1, Week 1, but I am confident that I will be able to complete this program this time, and that’s more exciting than I can express.

2013-11-17 18.23.17

Reward Time!! TGI(Black)F

Because I’m someone who responds well to rewards, and since today is Black Friday, I decided to take advantage of the deals Old Navy was advertising and buy myself a few casual/workout/”after school” clothes.  I’d just completed Day 1, Week 1 of C25K and it was time to shop!! I got all of these items for $65, including tax, which I’d say is a GREAT deal. I know that within two months these will be too big for me, but at prices like, this, I’m fine with it.  Part of enjoying each step of my journey is feeling and looking my best as I do it.  Having clothes that fit is a huge part of that. So I don’t mind buying a few pieces that won’t fit me forever – I deserve it.

ON1-3

ON4-6

Read Full Post »

Every year during homecoming week, my school has a series of powder puff football games.  (Powder puff is when the girls play football, and the boys do the cheer/dance routines).  Day 1 the seniors play the freshmen (seniors usually win), Day 2 the sophomores play the juniors (juniors usually win), Day 3 the juniors play the seniors.  And of course, the seniors win, which means they play the faculty.

This year I decided that I’ve lost enough weight, gained enough confidence and cardio ability, that I was able to play on the faculty team this year.

pink_panther_big We decided that we were the Pink Panthers (our school mascot is the panthers, but a much more vicious, intimidating panther).  We held 4 after school practices to get ready for the game.  Our coach quickly decided that I’d be Center, which was fine with me.  It meant I didn’t have to memorize the different plays, could use my lower body strength to protect my quaterback, and that I didn’t have to run too much.  Those girls are fast!!

The practices were challenging, but I surprised myself a number of times by realizing that the fast runs didn’t leave me out of breath.  Because I only had to run in quick bursts,  I wasn’t getting winded.  What a dramatic change! I really enjoyed the camaraderie of working out after school with my colleagues, some of whom I don’t get much opportunity to really talk to, give our different departments and rooms on the other side of the campus.

Today was the day we’d been working for – the matchup versus the senior girls.  We’d heard how fast, how vicious, how tough these girls were.  And I’m not going to lie – as I took my place on the field, my heart was beating fast.  I was nervous, and I wanted to do my best.

Yes. that's me with my butt in the air.  Don't you love that form?

Yes. that’s me with my butt in the air. Don’t you love that form?

More than a few times, I hiked the ball way too hard, way too high, making it difficult for my poor quarterback to reach it.  Still, I did pretty well, considering we only practiced a few times.

I love this action shot of me running toward the ball (right side).

I love this action shot of me running toward the ball (right side).

block

I think it’s hilarious that I have a smile on my face as I go to block the girl who is trying to get to my quarterback.

The game was sad – those girls had us in age, speed, and endurance, but I am proud that we were able to score once, and that we gave them a run for their money.  It was intense down on the field, but it was also so much fun.  And I think my students saw me in a different light, too.  So many of them came up to me afterward with compliments.  Even though I know I didn’t play very well, it was cool to try something new.  I’ll definitely be out there next year.

2013-10-03 11.01.21

This was my uniform.  To see the rest of my outfits for the each of the Dress Up Days of Homecoming, check out my Instagram.

Read Full Post »

bilbl_superToday’s edition in Adventures in Fitness is just that – the story of a crazy adventure I had while attempting some water fun.

Over the summer I bought an Amazon Local deal for stand-up paddle boarding (SUP).  Several of my friends on FB had posted pictures of themselves giving SUP a go at Lake Tahoe and various other locations around CA.  I’m always up for a new fitness adventure, especially when it involves water sports.  So, I purchased the $15 deal.

Ani and I arrived at HMB Kayak, and I was surprised to see that it was basically a tent on the beach.  (I’d expected more of a proper storefront, I guess).  We decided to forgo true wetsuits (there was no way I was going to try to squeeze into one of those) in favor of our dri-wik yoga pants and wetsuit jackets.  One of the employees gave us a very brief (and I mean very brief) basic intro on how to paddle, and we were on our way.

How many of you are thinking that I should’ve chosen a tamer waterway for my first SUP experience, rather than Half Moon Bay, open ocean, on a windy day? Oh, and it was also high tide.  Yeah, hindsight.

I started out on my knees, keeping balance pretty well.  A few moments later, Ani had dropped into the water, and was having some difficulty getting back up onto the board.  So much so that she needed the employees to come out and help her.  All the while, I was still floating along, balancing on my knees.  I was having a good time, amazed at my balance. I’d been out there for about 15 minutes. So when I was feeling super confident, I decided it was time to try to stand up.

Not a good move. I fell off right off the paddle board. After failing to pull myself out of the water and back onto the board, the way the guy had told me, I decided it was time to make my way back to shore and switch to kayaking.  As I mentioned, wind was really strong, and it was high tide, so I’d gotten pretty far out in the 15 minutes I’d been floating on my knees.  To get back to shore, I had to swim for 20 minutes, against the current, lugging the paddle board behind me (attached to my ankle). That same employee came out to check on me, and I assured him I was a strong swimmer, and didn’t need any help.  Which was true – I swam back to shore without too much trouble, but I have to admit, I was very tired by the time I’d hit land.

So, I decided to try kayaking. Again, after very minimal instruction, I was out and trying to get myself into the boat, balance, and get out on the water.  I fell out of the kayak a bunch of times close to the shore, but finally righted myself and found my groove.

I kayaked for about 25 minutes, and was really enjoying myself. I got pretty far out, was enjoying the sunshine, the ocean, the boats, the harbor, the sea lions. Feeling so proud of myself and lucky at the life that let me enjoy an afternoon of fun at the ocean on a Friday afternoon.  Just as I was finding my zen…  the kayak flipped over!

The current was so strong, and I was so exhausted from falling all the other times, as well as the huge swim, and I couldn’t even turn the boat right side up, let alone entertain the thought of pulling myself  back into it. I had the oar in one hand, and was trying to keep a hold of the kayak with the other, while staying afloat. (I did have a lifevest on, thank goodness).

At this point, I knew I was too far out to get myself back to the shore.  I wasn’t pancking, but I was a bit worried about how cold the water was, how close the sea lions were, and how far I was from where the employees of HMB Kayak could see me.  Then the current started to really pick up, and I wasn’t sure how I was going to get back.

Just then, some women who were walking along the pier saw me, started yelling, and tried to get help for me.  I told them I was fine, and that there was no emergency, but they said to hang on and that help would be there soon.  I was feeling utterly embarrassed that I had to be saved, but I realized that it was true, I needed some help.

Luckily for me, a wizened, old fisherman with a small motor boat came to my rescue. When he pulled up, I told him I was too heavy for him to lift up, but he assured me that he could get me out.  He pulled me out of the water, and I was angled directly into his lap.  Awkward!  But I wasn’t worried about it at a time like that.  He got me into his boat, made sure I was ok, which I was, and brought me back. When I told him how embarrassed I was, he said that on the open ocean, things can go from “fine” to “bad” in no time.  And I know he’s right.

Ani saw what was going on and grabbed my iPhone to capture the rescue.  LOL.

Ani saw what was going on and grabbed my iPhone to capture the rescue. LOL.

I was just grateful to have his assistance, and to make it back to shore safely.

2013-09-27 16.19.50

2013-09-27 16.01.00

All in all, I am glad I tried it, but my adventure helped me realize a few things:

  1. I need to do more research about the company I use.  HMB Kayak was terrible. They gave little instruction, sent me out ill-prepared, and I’ll never use them again.
  2. My next SUP/Kayak will be done on a lake or smaller body of water.  The ocean is way too rough for a beginner.
  3. I am strong.  I have come so far, and I have so much to be proud of.  When I look at myself in this photo, I notice significant changes in my body.  I have a ways to go, but I am happy with the way I look now.

Read Full Post »

As I just mentioned, I’m going to put the Plank Challenge on the shelf for the time being, but because I’m not a quitter, I wanted to replace it with another workout challenge.

For the remaining days of September, I’ve decided to complete a Kettlebell Challenge.  The reason I’m choosing Kettlebells is because they’re such an efficient workout and burn so many calories.  If you need more explanation, check out this article I just read on Fitsugar.

My Kettlebell Challenge is going to include this 5-move circuit: (all photos taken from fitsugar)

  1. swing basic swing
  2. figure8figure 8
  3. windmillwindmill
  4. halohalo
  5. orbitorbit

The circuit includes completing 10 reps of each move for a total of 3 sets.

I like that this circuit hits lots of different body parts, and it seems difficult enough to keep me challenged but accessible enough that I can complete it.

To make sure I’m really pushing myself, I’m going to increase the number of reps each week, add 5 more, which would look like this:

September 12-14: 10 reps of each move, 3 sets of the entire circuit

September 15-21: 15 reps of each move, 3 sets of the entire circuit

September 22-28: 20 reps of each move, 3 sets of the entire circuit

September 29-30: 25 reps of each move, 3 sets of the entire circuit

Let’s tweet under the hashtag #SweetSeptemberKettlebellChallenge (since I found these moves on Fitsugar).

Who’s in?!

Read Full Post »

bilbl_superSince the Squat Challenge in August went so well, I thought that for September I’d start my own 30-Day challenge. Since we worked on legs last month, I thought it might be time to focus on core, which means PLANKS. I find planks uber-challenging, which is all the more reason to participate in this 30-Day Challenge.

To get all the details, view the full 30-Day Plank Challenge. This page has great tips on technique, including the 3 different types of planks you can choose from. It even has a great video! I also really like this FitSugar Plank Variation page because  the photos and descriptions make it easy to understand.

basic plank

basic plank

plank jumping jacks

plank jumping jacks

Reverse Plank w Leg Lift

reverse plank
reverse plank w/ leg lift

side plank with leg lifts

side plank w/ leg lifts

circlingplank

circling plank
5 done clockwise, 5 done counterclockwise as one set

Photo Credit

As always, I enjoy variety, so as the month continues, I think I’ll attempt each type of plank. Looking at some of them, I know I’m crazy for typing that.  Which kind of plank do you usually do?

Planks are really important because they work the core muscles, and help with overall stability and support of the body. Planks force muscles to work together, rather than in isolation, which means you get more “bang for your buck.” Let’s use the hashtag #plankaday. From 30 seconds on Day 1 to 300 seconds on Day 30 – we can do it!!

Wanna get organized (some might say anal) like me? I’ve already entered the entire challenge into my iCal. Taking the time to do that insures that I won’t make any excuses. It’s scheduled, and I’m going to complete it each day. You should, too!

30day-plank-challenge-chart-1

So….who’s in?!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 963 other followers

%d bloggers like this: