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Posts Tagged ‘24 Hour Fitness’

I am happy to report that I attended an Afro-Belly Boogie class tonight, and it was fantastic.  I hadn’t been to one in a really long time, but I think tonight’s class was even better than the last one I took.

It’s been hot here – in the 100s, and I know myself well enough to know that in order to make sure I stayed committed and attended the class, I had to take my accountability up a notch.  Which is why I invited one of my teaching colleagues, FiddlerGirl, to come with me to the class.  I knew that if someone else was counting on me to be there, I couldn’t renege.

(On a side note: FiddlerGirl and I couldn’t be more different in so many ways.  She’s unassuming, shy, and was raised in an ultra-religious Pentacostal household.  She grew up wearing skirts that went to her ankles and shirts that covered her to the wrist, but finally broke out of that when her parents passed away.  At that time she was 80+ pounds overweight, and I watched her transform herself in body and spirit.  She joined Jenny Craig and then WW, lost 80 lbs, started becoming really active and fit, and stopped wearing the long skirts and dowdy clothes.  She’s even a WW leader now.  Her metamorphosis was nothing short of phenomenal.  At 43 she’d given up the thought of ever getting married, but she went online one day, and met a man who became her husband.  Oh, and the name FiddlerGirl is because she’s a classically trained violinist who plays concerts in our area.  So even though I’m bold, outspoken, and the opposite of  conservative, she and I are becoming friends.  She’s such a sweet, kind, encouraging person and she inspires me.  She told me last night that she wishes she could be more like me in speaking her mind about things.  So I think that even though we’re opposites, we’re going to help teach each other something.  I’m really encouraged that I’ve made a new friend and workout buddy).

In class tonight I had two different women come up and start talking to me, which made me feel happy that I’m approachable.  And glad that I’m extroverted and like meeting new people.  One woman is a teacher, too, and said that she just joined the gym and plans on going a lot this summer (another workout buddy!). The other woman was joyful in the way that she moved, and I got such a positive vibe from her.  I think she’s had weight loss surgery because she was slender, but had some loose skin.  It seemed like she recognized herself in me, and she kept smiling encouragingly at me throughout the class.  Talking to both of them at clued me in to the fact that I need to keep getting out and about among people because I’m bound to meet new friends that way.

I told you all about this class in an earlier post, but I can’t reiterate strongly enough how much fun it is.  I love that it combines African beats, Belly Dancing rhythms, and then modern dance moves.  The class is high energy and empowering, and I left feeling sweaty and exhausted – in a good way.  There were women of all shapes and sizes in the class, and while I long for the day that I’m not the biggest girl in the room, I’m proud of myself for how well I kept up with the moves.  In fact, after the class, FiddlerGirl told me that she wished she could move like me.

FiddlerGirl has a hip injury that is so severe that she’s going to eventually need to get hip replacement surgery (she’s only 47).  Certain movements, especially jerking ones, send shooting pain down her leg from her hip past her knee.  It was so eye-opening for me to realize that even though FiddlerGirl is slim, fit, and wears single-digit sizes, she’s got limitations and she’s envious of the way that I can move my body without pain.  Which goes to show just how much I have to be grateful for.  My body may have been the biggest one in that room, but I was able to move and shimmy and shake with the best of them.  All the more reason to reach my true fitness potential once I lose this weight. 

Tonight I had a great workout, but it was so much more than that.  I deepened a collegial relationship that’s becoming a real friendship, I made two new acquaintances, I moved my body painlessly, I kept my commitment to myself about exercise, and I was proud of myself.  Not bad for 60 minutes, right?

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Welcome to another edition of Adventures in Fitness, where I battle the bulge and burn calories while keeping it fun and varied by trying all sorts of new activities.

You heard it hear first.  Afro Belly Boogie is going to be as big as Zumba.  It may take time to get to your area, but mark my words – it’s coming.  And you’re not going to want to miss out on it when it does.

This workout combines high-energy conditioning and rhythmic movements of African dance with the sensuous muscle isolations of Belly Dance to create a low impact, spirit boosting, high cardio workout. The workout features rhythms and sounds from Africa, Caribbean, Middle East and even current club beats. You’ll have fun while you burn calories, tone your core and strengthen your upper and lower body all while dancing to the beat.

That class description was enough to hook me; I had no idea that Afro Belly Boogie, created by Angel Thacker, was born here in the Bay Area. But knowing that the class originated here makes me love it all the more. I’m so thankful that 24 Hour Fitness offers the class!

You guys know that I took a belly dancing class a few months back, and while that class was relaxing, soothing, and empowering and more similar to a hip-shaking yoga class with it’s isolated movements.  Afro Belly Boogie, on the other hand, was nothing like that.

I really didn’t know what to expect when I walked into the class.  As I said, the description drew me in, but beyond that, I had no idea what I was in for.  A few of the ladies had hip scarves on, making me wish I would’ve brought mine, too.  Next time.  We were told that the regular instructor was on vacation and the girl who would be leading class would be here for two weeks.  She seemed friendly enough, and she was encouraging the class to let loose and get into it. She also warned,

This is a tough class.  We have fun, listen to great music, shake our hips, but this isn’t a gentle belly dancing class.  This one will make you MOVE.  This one will make you sore tomorrow.  But don’t get frustrated if you can’t do everything at first.  Keep at it.  Move with the music.  And have fun.”

My first thought was “Uh-oh, am I going to be able to hand this?”  I was the biggest one in the room (yet again), and the only other plus-sized woman in the class didn’t last past the first 10 minutes.  I have to admit, I had moments of wondering whether I should give up and leave, but then I told myself that even if I couldn’t do exactly what they were doing, I was still getting a great workout.  I loved the music, liked the moves, and hoped that I would be able to be more precise with the moves at some point in the future.  Plus, I  can shake my hips and follow a beat, so I knew I wouldn’t look too far off base, as long as I kept moving.  I stayed for the whole class, and I’m glad I did.

The class itself is so hard to describe.  It uses the movement of belly dance, but at a much quicker pace than the SharQui class did.  The music is a combo of a bit of African beats, with lots of Middle Eastern rhythms, and then paired with club favorites like “Like a G6.”  The music was awesome.

The moves on the other hand were difficult because they were so fast.  But just like with Zumba, I have a feeling that once I take the class for a few months I’ll be able to do them better and better each time.  And just like with Zumba, the instructor can make all the difference.  This instructor was sweet and friendly, but she didn’t spend enough time demonstrating the moves, especially since there were 5-6 new people in the class that evening.  She did inspire me to keep going, though, and by the end of the class, I felt proud of myself for sticking to it.  I loved the moves, and I can’t wait until I can do more of them successfully.

(Surprisingly enough, it was the club dance moves that I was the best at.  I’ve always been a good dancer, but since it’s been years since I’ve set foot in a club, this surprised me.  Guess the old girl still has it!).

Here’s a short video that gives you a small taste of some of the moves in the class.  It begins sort of slow, but once the women start moving, you’ll get a better idea.  Most of the class is much more intense that what’s being depicted in this video, but it does give you a little flavor of what the class is like.

In doing a bit of research about the origins of Afro Belly Boogie, I discovered that Angel Thacker was once over 300 pounds.  She developed this dance program to help herself lose weight and enjoy herself while doing it.  That REALLY inspired me.  So while I may not be able to  do all of the moves right now, I’m very confident that if I keep going, I’ll shaking my hips and moving my bootie with the best of them soon.

If you’re able to find an Afro Belly Boogie class near you GO.  You’ll have fun and you’ll burn a ton of calories.  Oh, and you’ll remember how much fun you had again the next day, when you feel your sore muscles.

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This morning LC and I headed to a Zumba class bright and early (ok, at 10am, but since it’s Saturday, that’s fairly bright and early to leave the house, right?).  It was the first time LC and I went to the gym together, and what a great time we had.  For so long LC would say that she preferred to workout outside riding her bike or taking a walk, and really hated the gym, but lately she’s been more pro-gym, which is great news for me.  But more about that in a while.

Back to Zumba.  You’ll recall that when I first tried Zumba, I loved it, and left the class sweaty, invigorated, and just plain happy despite the fact that I felt like I was taking a different class from everyone else.  Well, the same held true today.  I got many of the moves down, but there were still many others that I had no idea how to do.  Or let me rephrase that to say that I can’t get my feet/body to go that fast or in those positions at my current weight. But it didn’t matter one bit.  I thoroughly enjoyed myself, found myself laughing and smiling throughout the class, and realized that only a few other students were really doing all the right moves; the rest of the class was pretty much doing a similar approximation of moves that I was.  And really, the fact that I burned over 1000 calories in 60 minutes was amazing. I kept looking over to LC and she was having as much fun as I was, and I told her I’d like to try to make the class part of our normal Saturday morning routine.

Which leads me to the best news of the day!  LC joined my gym!!  24HourFitness was having a special that I could add her on to my account for no initiation fee and only $24 a month.  The best part is, she pays for it herself and she can cancel whenever she wants and it won’t affect my account at all.  So she gets the benefit of my long membership by getting a great deal and I get to go to the gym with my sis!  Win win!!  The offer a Kids Club for $4/child for 2 hours, which is a great price, but it’s not something LC could afford more than once a week or so.  So, her main plan is to use the gym during the day on her lunch hour (she spotted a 10:30am pilates class at the location in the city in which she works) on weekdays and then go with me on the weekends at least once.  And on the weekends when she doesn’t have the kids, I think she’ll go both Saturday and Sunday.  She said that once in a while she could see us going to an evening weekday class, but since it would involve her getting a babysitter to feed the kids and put them to bed, she doesn’t think that will happen too often.

But either way, just knowing that LC has the gym membership too will hopefully inspire me to use mine more often. I mean if she can use it and she’s a busy single mother, surely I can use it, since I don’t have too many restrictions on my schedule.  Actually, as I thought about all the coordinating it would take just for LC to be able to use the gym, and yet she was willing to make it happen, it really inspired me.  I mean, I really don’t have to worry about much except whether or not I’ve left a light on for Lulu.  I use feeling tired after work as an excuse too often, and I’m going to stop doing that.  I have nothing to complain about, especially when I compare my life to my sister’s.

On that note, you guys know that my parents and I have been watching my nieces after school until LC gets home at 5:45 or so.  And it has been quite an adjustment period, let me tell you.  Not that my nieces aren’t good girls, because they are, but they’re also 8 and 3 1/2, strong-willed, going through a huge life adjustment, which adds up to a lot of time and attention.  It was getting a bit overwhelming until my parents and I finally came up with a “coverage” plan that works really well.  I will babysit every Tuesday from 4pm-5:45/when LC gets home and every other Friday from 3:30-when LC gets home.  It’s a great deal.  Most afternoons if I’m home in time, we all (mom, dad, nieces, two dogs, & me) go on a long walk to let everyone burn off some extra energy/stress/enjoy the afternoon.

So on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays  there is absolutely no reason why I can’t go to a class at the gym.  And today I was inspired to make it happen starting today and throughout the foreseeable future.  Because when we left the gym (with the top down on my Beetle, of course), I felt so good.  So happy.  So fresh.  So inspired.  So healthy.  And just so alive.  And I loved that feeling.  And that’s the feeling I always have as I leave the gym.  We felt so good that we took the dogs on a 45-minute walk.  I came home feeling so energetic, rather than worn out.

And after I finish writing this blog post I’m going to burn some more calories by cleaning the house.  And I plan to go to the belly dancing class tomorrow.  And also to try out the Wii Zumba, so that I can write a comparison review (comparing it to a real Zumba class), since it’s all fresh in my mind.  Which goes to show that a little activity leads to more activity which leads to a happier, healthier lifestyle.

Also known as – Bella Does Life.

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To get the full effect of this blog post, please hit play on this video and listen to the music as you read.  If you want to imagine I moved my hips as well as Shakira, I’m not going to stop you.  😉

Let me set the scene: This morning I woke up to grey clouds, cold weather, and the promise of rain in the forecast.  It was a welcome change from the extreme temps we had last week, which were well into the high 90s; unseasonably warm for this time of year.  Finally we were getting true fall, cozy weather.  I had on my sweats and slippers, was reading the paper and enjoying some coffee.  Lulu was on my lap and we were in a cuddly mood.  The last thing I wanted to do was leave home to go to the gym.

Yet that’s exactly what I did.  Why?  I’m so glad you asked!

I went to my first-ever belly dancing class!

With hips as prominent as mine, I always knew I would love belly dancing, but never really had enough courage to seek out a class.  Then I happened to be looking up some of the group exercise classes at 24 Hour Fitness and saw that they offered SharQui:  The BellyDance Workout, and I knew I had to give it a shot.  The description alone was enough to pique my interest:

SharQui™ is for the person who wants a new and exciting way to get fit. It is a total body workout that will get your heart pumping while you celebrate femininity and feed your soul. If you are an experienced dancer, you will be able to perfect your form, balance, gain strength, and dance better than ever.

I finally felt healthy enough to attend the class, and even though the rain was ugly, I didn’t want to let it stop me from going.

I wasn’t sure exactly what to wear, since the class was a “workout” and not just a belly dancing class, I figured I could wear my workout leggings and a tunic t-shirt.  This was a fine choice (as was the sweater duster I wore to cover my butt & thighs, because it was a cold rain and I needed the warmth), but I’ll get into wardrobe a bit later.

When I got the gym the class had barely started, and I knew I was going to love it because there were women of every shape and size and age group in the room.  The teacher, while extremely good at belly dancing, wasn’t stick thin – in fact, she had quite a tummy on her.  The music was awesome and I felt like I could just sway my hips to the beat and be fine.  Although of course I wanted to learn the actual moves and follow the teacher’s instructions.  I found that everything came pretty naturally to me, especially all of the hip movements.  Isolating my top half was a bit difficult, since I think the more natural tendency (at least for me) is to move my torso in line with my hips, but I think that’s where the discipline and the workout comes in.  (See Shakira’s moves in the video above, and I think you’ll understand what I mean.  Now I know how she got that amazing body!!).

As I looked around me, it seemed like everyone was having as much fun as I was.  I had a smile on my face the entire time because I KNEW I could do really well in this class.  Sure, I don’t have all the moves down like some of the girls did, but today was my first class; I’m confident that in time I’ll be just proficient in belly dancing as they are.

As I glanced around, I noticed that everyone was sweating as much as I was.  Belly dancing is much like yoga in that way.  You’re not necessarily out of breath, because the movements are somewhat slow most of the time, but because you are isolating your muscles and making precise, sharp movements, you can really feel it.  It’s been 6 1/2 hours since the class ended, and I’ve already been feeling some new muscles this afternoon. Although belly dancing wasn’t in my LoseIt database, I used “low impact aerobic dancing,” and it said that in the hour-long class, I’d burned 554 calories!

The other thing I observed was that lots of the students were wearing hip scarves.  Very pretty, brilliantly-colored pieces of fabric with tons of little silver or gold charms all over them.  They made a great cha-ching noise as the girls swung their hips and shimmied around the exercise studio.  The teacher was selling them for $10 each, but I knew that the ones she had for sale wouldn’t fit around my hips, so I came home and looked online and wasn’t disappointed.  (Seriously, is there anything you can’t find online?!)  ShimmySista has a great variety of dancing accoutrement for plus sized divas.  I ordered the one pictured above in purple (because they didn’t have red).  I can’t wait to get it, because once I do I’ll feel like I’m a “serious” belly dancing student.

Speaking of wardrobe, belly dancing is done without shoes on, or with dance shoes on.  The instructor was very clear to say that certain moves wouldn’t be as easy if we kept our athletic shoes on.  Plus, it just looks clunkier.  So I left my socks on (because I don’t like going barefoot, especially on the dance floor of the gym, yuck!) and it worked perfectly.  I think I’m going to wear my wide-legged yoga pants from now on, because I’ll feel more confident in the way my butt and thighs look, and the more confident you are with belly dancing, the better it looks.  Plus, I was a bit warm in the close-fitting workout pants I had on.  Just like with yoga, breath-ability is important in belly dancing.

The SharQui workout class was one of the first that I’ve taken in so long that I was good at from the get-go.  Usually I have a huge learning curve or have to modify the moves because of my weight, but not this time.  I could do everything that anyone else could do, and maybe even a bit better in some cases.  I seriously can’t wait to take my sister and one of my best friends, because I know they’ll love it, too.

If you can find a SharQui (or any other belly dancing class) in your area, I highly recommend it!

The teacher mentioned that although we think of belly dancing as originating in the Middle East, it also comes from Greece, Spain, and Italy, as well.  I knew there had to be a reason I was so good at it – it’s part of my Italian roots!! 

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This week I wasn’t as anxious about my weigh-in because I’ve been weighing myself daily, as per Dr. Beck’s directions.  The nice thing about the daily weigh-ins is that it definitely gives me a lot more information about my body’s natural ebbs and flows when it comes to weight, water retention, etc.  This was the first Wednesday where I wasn’t feeling “in the dark” when I stepped on the scale.

I was up quite a bit on Monday, down 2lbs from that on Tuesday, and then we come to today:

Which means I gained 0.3 lb (which is actually down from yesterday), for a total gain of 2.5 lbs in 2010.

This week I knew the scale wasn’t going to be pretty:

  • Thai food (oh, coconut milk!) on Saturday
  • A small handful of Valentine’s M&Ms
  • Chinese food on Tuesday (not the smartest food choice the evening before the weigh in)

I’m shaking this off, because really, what choice do I have?  I am pissed at myself that I’m a month and a half into 2010 and I’ve gained weight, but really, it’s been my choices and lack of true momentum that has brought me here. It’s time to “shit or get off the pot” as the saying goes. So where do I go from here?

Well, luckily next week I’m off for February Break, so I am going to work my ass off in true Bella’s Boot Camp style:

  • I’m going to make sure to cook nutritious meals (been slacking on that lately), and make at least 3 new recipes, since I’ll have the time.
  • I want to hit the gym and take a few new classes that I haven’t tried before, including: 24Lift (a group weight training class), Turbo Kick (kickboxing), and 24Cycle (spinning).
  • I’ll also keep up with my RLR training.  Next week starts a new level, so the fun will really begin! 🙂
  • Of course, I’m going to drink water ’till my eyes are floating.
  • And I’ll track everything I eat, per usual.
  • I’ll also FINALLY try out the EA Sports Active More Workouts that I’ve been meaning to try for over 3 weeks.

That should be plenty to keep my busy!  I’m actually really looking forward to it because it will be a bit of summer in February, and who doesn’t love that?

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On Wednesday I had said that I was going to a Zumba class on Thursday night.  That didn’t happen because I opted for staying home and making a healthy & delicious dinner instead.  Priorities, right?  LOL.  (BTW, I made grilled chicken, grilled zucchini, and brown rice – yum!).

Since a few of you were looking forward to my thoughts on the class, and I definitely didn’t want to be a complete flake,  I found out that there’s also a Saturday morning class offered at 10am at another nearby 24 Hour Fitness. So I headed there this morning. I spent about half an hour on Friday afternoon looking up various YouTube videos about Zumba so that I would feel prepared.  From everything I saw, I thought I’d have no problem with the steps in the class.

Now I’m a woman with big hips and I know how to use them. 😀 I have great rhythm, and I think I’m a good dancer.    Since I can swing and sway my hips with the best of them, I figured the merenge, salsa, and cha cha cha would be no problem for me.  HA!  With that said, I felt like I had two left feet the entire time I was in the class today.  The class was extremely fast-paced and had lots of fancy footwork that I had never done before. Not only that but the instructor was maybe 5 feet tall, and I arrived just as the class was about to start, so I was stuck with a space in the back, making it almost impossible for me to see her.  There were at least 50 people in the class, so it was jam-packed.  Unfortunately, the women in front of me were rhythmically challenged (to put it nicely), so watching them didn’t really help matters too much.

Even though there were many, many times that I felt like I was doing a completely different class from everyone else, I had a blast.  I loved the music and the energy in the room.  The instructor was hilarious and said things like, “Honey, I’m 62, so if I can do this, you can do this, now MOVE!”  At another point she was having us shimmy and she said, “now if you like a guy, you can even shake your “treats,” (meaning our boobs), “but if you don’t like him too well, you save those for yourself.”  It was hysterical, and I found myself laughing out loud at least 3 or 4 times throughout the class.  I don’t remember ever doing that in a more traditional aerobics class!

The class was really high-intensity, fast-paced, and challenging, as I said.  I was sweating dripping throughout the class, and that’s really saying something for me, because I normally don’t sweat that much at all, even during an intense workout with Jimmy.  My heart rate was highly elevated the entire time, but not in an uncomfortable, I’m-going-to-die kind of way; more like an I’m-really-moving-my-body-to-the-beat kind of way.  Sort of like when you’re out dancing with your friends and you really get into a song and just can’t stop.

Another thing I really enjoyed about the class was the music.  It was mostly Latin beats with a bit of hip hop mixed in.  The mix that the teacher was using was broken up into 10 minute segments, so you never felt like you were doing any one style of dance too long.  It really made the hour fly by.

As far as calorie burn, in the one hour class I burned over 800 calories and earned 14 Activity Points!!! (When I entered it in eTools I used the “high-intensity aerobics class” as the entry, because that’s exactly what it was).  Now, your results will vary because both of those previous stats are based on my weight, and since I weigh a lot, I burn a lot.  I’ve already well surpassed my calorie-burn target for today, and it’s only 7:20pm, which is awesome.

The one complaint I have about the class was that it was in no way geared for beginners.  It was more of a sink or swim thing.  Since I’d never done much of the footwork before, some of it was very difficult to follow.  Still, I kept my body moving the entire time, and tried my best to approximate the moves that I saw everyone else doing.  I’m sure it wasn’t a joy for anyone catching my rear-end view, but whatever.  I stayed after class and asked the teacher if she taught a beginner’s class, and she said she didn’t.  In fact, she told me that today’s class wasn’t as intense as the one on Thursday nights; she said that class was more of an advanced class.  So maybe it was a good thing that I flaked out on going on Thursday night, because I know I probably couldn’t have handled that class, at least not yet.

I definitely want to keep taking Zumba, but I think I need to start a bit slower.  I looked it up, and 24 Hour Fitness offers a Zumba Gold class, which is more geared towards beginners and seniors.  It’s only offered on Fridays at 10am, so I normally won’t be able to attend, but luckily this Friday is still summer vacation, so I can go.  I better soak up as many of those moves as I can!  The other thing is that this instructor doesn’t normally teach the Saturday morning class, so maybe the regular instructor is a bit less intense.

Either way, I had the best time today, and I’m definitely going to keep going.  Hopefully next time I can get to class early so that I can position myself more in the middle so I’ll be able to see and follow the instructor.

If there are Zumba classes offered through your gym or a nearby dance studio, I’d definitely recommend giving it a try!

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bodybugg_armband_thumb Friday I went into my local 24 Hour Fitness and purchased the BodyBugg.  Jimmy, my trainer recommended it, and since I’d been toying with the idea of buying one for quite some time now, I decided to finally give it a go.

Since it takes about 24 hours for it to initially charge up, I didn’t wear it until Sunday.  (Saturday I was going to a wine tasting event, and didn’t want to wear it with my dress).

It was very easy to put on, and after a few minutes, it gives off a few little beeps to let you know it’s working properly.  I really didn’t feel it at all throughout the day, and actually forgot I had it on, which is great.

As far as the online calorie management program, I really have mixed feelings about it:

  • The purchase included a 6-month subscription to the BodyBugg software/online management program.  After that, it will be an annual cost of $80, which works out to about $6 a month, which is cheap.
  • It won’t work properly in Firefox on my Mac, so I’m forced to use Safari, which I don’t really like.
  • The navigation is less than user friendly, and I often had to type in the food more than once for it to recognize my entry.
  • Hardly any foods are listed. There is a big announcement that they are adding over 8000 foods to the database, but so far, I’ve had to manually enter most of my foods.  And I’m not talking about obscure brands, I’m talking Thomas’ English Muffins.  This is annoying and  time consuming.
  • I’m fairly internet/computer savvy, but it was really a challenge for me to figure out how to get the Apex/BodyBugg program to recognize the fact that I had an armband.  I finally clicked on some random tab and saw that I could enter the fact that I had recently purchased a BodyBugg.  It was really hidden, though, and the directions that came with it weren’t very clear.  Maybe it’s just a Mac problem.
  • It offers preset meal plans, which are useful and do offer some good suggestions based on a 2085 calorie menu of 20% protein, 65% carbs, 15% total fat.  I have not been eating this many calories following WW, nor do I intend to.  Yesterday I ate 38 points (4 points over), and it worked out to 1728 calories.
  • I do like that it measures how many calories I burn in a day.  That’s the real reason I bought it, so I could have a better idea of my calorie deficit.

So far, it’s fine.  I didn’t do any intentional exercise yesterday, but I did do a ton of errands, and I burned 3050 calories.  It’s cool to know that information.  I also think that they BodyBugg will be a great source of info for me so that if I’m close to the number of calories I need to burn but not quite there, I can make sure to do some extra activity, if possible.

I would absolutely love it if somehow the BodyBugg could work with my WW online points tracker so that I don’t have to enter the foods in both places.  (For accurate results, I feel like I do need to enter in my calories consumed on the BodyBugg site).  I also wish the BodyBugg wasn’t this large armband, and that could wear something more like a watch.  That way, I would wear it every day, no matter how fancy the event I’m at.  As it is now, I know I won’t wear this if I have a special occasion where it will show.

For those of you with the BodyBugg doing WW, do you log in your points and enter in the calories on the BodyBugg site?  It seems like double work, but I know I want to keep counting points, and it seems like in order to have accurate results about calorie deficit, I need to enter the calories consumed into the BodyBugg site, too.

So, overall, I like it.  Was it worth $199?  I guess I won’t know for a few weeks until I see if it improves my weigh in results.

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scale This week’s weigh-in showed another gain; this time I’m up 0.2 lbs. I’m not going to let this get to me, though, because I know I’ve been working out as much as I possibly can and I’ve been eating well, tracking everything, etc.  I know that it’s going to take a few weeks for the Wellbutrin to completely get out of my system, and I am going to show patience, something I’m really bad at.

Today at the WW meeting, instead of talking about the normal weekly topic, my leader, Theresa, told us her weight loss story.  This week marks 6 years that she’s kept 46 pounds off.  The thing I loved about her story was that she was the first to admit that she had joined and quit WW at least 7 times before she finally made the commitment.  She talked about knowing she was going to gain one week and deciding to skip the meeting in the hopes of losing the next week, only to get so far off track that she never went again (sounds familiar).  She talked about the fact that she made it to goal 5 times, only to skip the maintenance portion and gain the weight back (and then some), each time.  And then she talked about finally making the commitment to WW and to herself to work the program, go to meetings every week, and do everything in her power to lose weight.

This is where the perseverance comes into play.  When she rejoined for the last time in July she had only lost 3 lbs by December.  3 lbs in 5 months!  I don’t know how she found the determination and will to keep going to WW, but she did.  She showed that perseverance pays off.  She said that in December something clicked for her, and she started exercising as well as tracking points and attending weekly meeetings and by the next July, she had lost all 46 pounds.  Amazing.  It shows that weight loss is as much of a mental thing as it is a food/physical thing.  Maybe even more so.

I know for myself that attitude makes all the difference.  Right now I am so commited to losing weight and keeping it off that nothing can stop me (not even my own frustrations on the scale).  Two months ago I would’ve gotten on the bathroom scale, saw a gain, and decided to skip the meeting.  Today I didn’t; I went to the meeting, and I’m so glad I did.  So much of Theresa’s story resinated for me.  Even though she had less than a third the amount of weight to lose that I have, the behaviors, struggles, and triumphs are the same.

After the WW meeting I went to another personal training session (my third so far), and Jimmy worked my ass out!  Literally!  Today was a “leg” day, and for some reason, those kill me more the arm days.  I think it’s because he has me doing so many of the activities on the steps (think step aerobics).  He’s not only working out my leg muscles, but he’s working on my core and my coordination and balance.  My balance and coordination are ridiculously bad, but as Jimmy said, it’s all a starting point.  I really like how much he motivates, encourages, and pushes me to finish the sets.  I also like the fact that he is very perceptive and can tell when I’m really feeling pain (in my knees) and need to remove a level of steps or simply just take a rest, beathe deeply, and drink some water.  I drank 64 ounces during the 60 minute session!  I think I probably sweated out half that much during the session, too.  LOL.

After we were done training, Jimmy set me up with the BodyBugg/24 Hour Fitness online nutrition tracker.  The program asks a series of nutrional questions about the types of food you like to eat, your sleeping habits, etc.  He said he wants me to use this so that he can see my food journal each day.  The cool thing about the program is that it gives you menu suggestions for what to eat.  You obviously don’t have to stick to it completely, but I’m always looking for new food ideas.  Jimmy is emphatic about me getting more lean protein at breakfast, and since I’m not a huge fan of eggs, I really struggle with that.  I’m hoping that the online nutrition program will give me some good breakfast ideas that will incorporate more lean protein.

I’m planning on buying the BodyBugg on July 31, when I get paid, because he really emphasized to me the importance of seeing the calorie deficit each day.  For instance, in order to lose 2 pounds a week, I need to eat 2050 calories a day and see a calorie deficit of 1000 per day.  That sounds like a lot, but I bet I burn a lot more calories in a day than I realize.  It will be really cool to have this device, because I think it will offer me more control over this whole weight loss thing.  Most weeks I feel like it’s a mystery every time I step on the scale.  Kind of like a game – Will I lose? Will I gain?  What’s going on?  With the BodyBugg, I should have no questions about what my weight loss for the week will be.  I’ll have all of the information in front of me, and barring any hormonal or other circumstances, it should be accurate.  It’s exciting.

So now, after an INTENSE personal training session, I’m heading to the pool to do some laps and work on my tan a bit.

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betty boop workout

Last night I went to the gym to workout, something I haven’t done in a very long time.  Sure, I’ve gone to the gym for the Aqua classes, but to just go on the elliptical machine, the treadmill, or the stationary bike?  It’s been months.

And why would I?  Spring and summer in my area bring gorgeous weather, and I’d much rather be outside taking in the fresh air as I walk, swim, or  ride my bike. I see my gym membership as something to be used during the late autumn and winter months, when the weather outside is not conducive to enjoying the outdoors.  Or, once Daylight Savings Time ends and the nights come sooner, it’s always nice to be able to workout when it’s dark outside.

But last night I went to the gym with a purpose other than simply working out.  I wanted to save money on my gym membership.  You see, for the past 4-5 years, I’ve been paying way too much for my monthly membership.  $45, to be exact.  And while this amount isn’t outrageous, it’s more than I should be paying, especially when I’m not using the gym that often right now.

So, I went in and asked what they could do for me.  They mentioned a few different options, but I really wanted to do a pre-paid membership.  One where you plunk down a chunk of money, but it buys you a 3-year membership.  Plus, I wanted to buy some personal training sessions, so I figured I could get a good deal for those while I was at it.

Boy, did I!  For $1449 I got a 3-year membership and 20 personal training sessions.  Now, that may seem like a lot, but when you break it down, the savings is incredible.  The personal training sessions were $850, which makes them $42.50 per session.  When I was buying sessions a few years ago, I was paying $50 per session, so this is a bit of a savings.  Plus, it’s nice to know that I have 20 of them that I can actually start using now.  I plan to use them once a week, so this will take me through Thanksgiving, and that’s if I start using them next week!  Now as far as the gym membership goes, I paid $599.99 for 3 years, which works out to $16.66 per month!  So much less than I was paying before.  Plus, I like the fact that it is already paid up; I won’t have to worry about monthly fees at all for the next 3 years.

And when those 3 years are up in 2012?  Well, at that point I’m sure they’ll be offering some other sort of deal like this one.  Just think, by then, I will not only be at my goal weight, but in top physical form!  I can’t wait to see how I look in 3 years’ time!!

I can’t tell you how excited I am about this new membership and the personal training sessions.  And all it took to get this great deal was asking.  I would recommend this to anyone who has a monthly membership rate that they feel is a bit too expensive.  The gym will most likely value your membership and want to keep you as a client.  They’ll work with you, and you’ll probably end up with a better deal in the long run.

Oh, and for those wondering, I go to 24 Hour Fitness.  My membership allows me to go to any Sport-level club (and below) anywhere in the world.  Pretty nice!

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relaxing-by-beach-with-tree-at-top-300-dpi-pict32511 I have this week off for spring break, and I told myself that this was going to be a preview of what my summer was going to be like.  Although it hasn’t been what a typical week in summer will be like (I hope), because I’ve also scheduled a ton of appointments this week – dentist, dr. follow-up, brows, hair, nails (wow, I sound kinda high maintenance!).  Oh, and I do have lots of papers to grade, unlike summer.  One aspect of this week that I hope is like summer is that I’ve been getting up fairly early (between 7 and 7:30) and getting started on my day.

Yesterday I had the time to cook two delicious meals for myself.  I made a fabulous salad for lunch and then for dinner, I made a mouthwatering, yet healthy recipe that I got from WWM.  I love cooking and preparing meals for myself (and others) – it makes me feel calm, organized, and very accomplished.  Lately I haven’t had as much time to cook as often as I’d like because of that SSAS class I’m teaching, but I do try to cook a “big batch” on the weekend or on Monday nights so I have home-cooked meals for the week.  Still, there’s nothing like going to the store and being inspired to make something.  Or finding an interesting recipe and deciding to cook it that night.  I love the spontaneity of cooking that way.  This summer I’m hoping lots of my inspiration will come from the foods I find at the farmers’ market.

This week I am really looking forward to working out.  Last week I didn’t really go because I was feeling tired and sick most of the week.  I love being able to to go “all clubs” with 24 Hour Fitness, because if I don’t like the classes offered at a certain time at one location, I can usually find a class I’d like to take at another one.  Here’s the workout plan for the week:

  • Tuesday – Aqua Class: 6:30pm-7:30pm
  • Wednesday – Aqua Class: 6:30pm-7:30pm
  • Thursday – Zumba: 9:30am-10:15am (I cannot wait to take this class.  I’ve been wanting to take a Zumba class for so long).
  • Friday – Aqua Class: 9:15am-10:15am
  • Sunday – bike ride around the neighborhood for at least 1 1/2 hours

I still haven’t made it to a WW meeting.  I was sick with a really killer cold starting Thursday (still recovering, actually) and I actually overslept on Saturday and missed all three meetings offered (7am, 8:30am, and 10:00am).  I ended up staying in bed the entire day; something I never, ever do.  I guess I needed it, though, because I felt so much better on Sunday. I also didn’t weight myself, but I’m feeling really good.  Clothes are fitting and I’m feeling lighter.

This is getting a bit ridiculous – my not attending meetings.  I have been doing well about following the program, though.  Measuring, counting, and journaling.  The missing step is attending the meetings.  I’m going this Saturday at 8:30, hopefully, but 10:00 if I wake up late.  Enough is enough with missed meetings!  I am boring myself by continuing to write “I didn’t make it to a meeting” every week.  This Saturday I look forward to writing, “I enjoyed my meeting immensely.”

Plus, it’s spring time, the time of renewal and hope.  What better time to get my butt back to a meeting?

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