It’s A Treadmill Day

After days of not working out, today I had to hit the treadmill. While clearing the mega-snow that fell over the weekend could be considered a workout, there is something about a planned, structured workout that makes me feel as if I accomplished something. I hit the treadmill for 30 minutes while I watched Dr. Oz. His show today was about food fraud, which is pretty scary stuff. Fish, extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, just to name a few things that are routinely mislabeled.

Over the past few weeks I’ve become more conscious about the food that I buy. I saw a report on 60 minutes about food flavorings. Inside this lab was all these flavors that had been chemically created. I guess I never really thought about it. Until that episode. And a perfect example of my change of thinking was when I was trying to decide on a side dish for a chicken dinner. I wanted something quick and simple. I immediately thought of one of those bag side dishes of noodles and cream sauce. Then I remembered the 60 Minutes episode and how nothing in that package was real. Instead, I remembered that I had my pressure cooker and in less time it would take me to make that noodle side dish, I could make risotto. That’s right, risotto in 10 minutes and no artificial flavoring.

Now when I look at my shopping cart I am seeing less and less packaged food and more whole food. But according to Dr. Oz I shouldn’t fall into a false sense of security because there are companies out there who are looking to rip me off and pass of lesser quality products that do not have the nutritional benefits I’m looking for or that I need. Eating healthfully in today’s world isn’t the easiest thing to do but I know that in the long run it will pay off for me and my family.

After my grocery shopping trip and a quick lunch, on a whim I whipped up a batch of brownies. Now, brownies are not the most nutritious foods but these brownies contain no artificial flavors or ingredients I can’t pronounce. So, in the big picture they are not terribly bad for me as long I eat them in moderation.

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Cardio Backlash, Really?

“Is Cardio Making You Fat?”is an article that makes me stop flipping the pages in a magazine. And that’s what happened when I was reading my new issue of Body Fit magazine.

The article discussed the effect of intense cardio on our body.

According to one researcher, long cardio sessions break down muscle tissue and stresses our body in a way that increases cortisol in our body.

Cortisol has been linked to weight gain.

So, a sweatfest of a workout may backfire on us.


Interesting. Add aging, which also sets our hormones out of whack and toss in day-to-day life which is filled with stress, which has a negative effect on our bodies…seems like a vicious cycle.

Some may decide to throw their hands up and give up.

I guess that’s an option for some. But not for me.

The takeaway of the article was to lift weights, modify cardio workouts.

It would be nice if everything was black and white but life isn’t and aging definitely isn’t. I think I prefer it that way. Because if it was black and white, I wouldn’t be able to add any color.


There Were Workouts, Right?

I know I worked out last week but since I didn’t log them and last week was so long ago I don’t remember what I did or when I did it. I guess I can blame my forgetfulness on the holidays. ‘Tis the season to be doing a dozen things all at once but feel like you’re not getting anything accomplished. But I hate forgetting. But my forgetting could be the result of an overdose of sugar from my full-on baking marathon over the weekend. Cookie after cookie was followed by cupcakes and a cranberry-spice pound cake.

I know I went to my Pilates class last Monday and I know that mid-week there was a strength workout with a little Pilates and a session or two on the treadmill. This is very frustrating.

This week is going to be different. I’m logging in my workouts and my food intake starting tomorrow (today was kinda like the hangover of the sugar overload). I definitely need to find a “skinny” outfit in my closet for tomorrow to boost my mood. And I need protein. Lots of protein. There you go, a gal’s guide to the sugar hangover – “skinny” outfits and protein and journaling to feel more in control.


Standing Hundreds, Anyone?

Until Monday night I thought that Hundreds were only done on the mat and that those Hundreds were the hardest exercise in Pilates. Apparently, I was wrong.

Our Pilates teacher introduced us to a whole new way to do the Hundreds.

This exercise got its name because you hold the exercise for 100 beats. 5 breaths in and 5 breaths out and repeat for a total of a 100. Legs slightly lifted, head lifted and hands beating downward in conjunction with your breaths. This exercise is usually done at the beginning of the class because it warms up your whole body. And it’s great for increasing abdominal strength.

So since it’s so good on the mat, where it does hit the abs, lets bring it up and stand while doing it. We began easy. Standing, feet hip width apart, begin breathing and beating the arms to the breaths. Simple, right? Yes. Lets lift one leg, balance on the other and continue breathing and beating the arms.

Abs are targeted but it’s your balance and body control that is challenged. Doing the Hundreds standing wasn’t any easier than doing them on the mat rather it challenged me in a different way.

And isn’t that what exercise is supposed to do? Challenge us? Whether it’s for losing weight or maintaining a certain weight, exercise should push us to step out of our comfort zone.


Six Workouts and a Thanksgiving

One of the Thanksgiving traditions around here has been to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (I grew up with that parade and had the opportunity one year to be in it – full-on costume and a little dancing) some of the other traditions included my grandmother’s turnips and watching a holiday movie later in the day. This year I decided to shake things up and include a tradition I’ve always wanted to added to Thanksgiving day but never seemed to do.

What is the new tradition?

A workout, of course!

Nothing huge, no 5k here. I just made a point of it to get on my treadmill and I watched an episode of Castle while I banked some calories I’d use later at dessert.

Once we all sat down to Thanksgiving dinner (and yes, Stella and BB made an appearance in our backyard early in the day) the holiday season was in full swing. But I did not indulge in any shopping that involved me leaving the house, rather I shopped a little online. Clicking onĀ  a few keys was so much easier than getting in the car and fighting the crowds at retail.

But that doesn’t mean I had a completely relaxing weekend. In preparation for the craziness that is Christmas, I took the opportunity three free days offered me to clean, clean and clean. In retrospect, I think all the cleaning was another workout that I haven’t counted. While I was busy tidying up, the pups got to spend one day at the groomer. They got to play all day with the other dogs and be pampered. Not a bad life, huh?

A quick pix when I got them home.

After their dinner (both were starving when they got home) they crashed. What a life.

Now, it’s time to review what I did and when I did it.

Monday – Pilates Class

Tuesday – Pump, Jump & Jab workout

Wednesday – 30 minutes treadmill

Thursday – 30 minutes treadmill

Friday – 30 minutes Mari Winsor Pilates & 30 minutes treadmill

Saturday – Rest

Sunday – 35 minutes treadmill

The Firm: Pump, Jump & Jab

I am a Firm Believer. I have been one for over twelve years. I remember my first Firm video tape workout. Our local grocery store had a video rental store inside of it and I went in one day to rent an exercise video and I came across the Firm’s Time Crunch video with Susan Harris. I took it home and used it. I used it again and then I went back to the store and rented Volume One with Susan Harris. Trust me, the Time Crunch video didn’t prepare me for Volume One. OMG. At over 40 pounds overweight the workout nearly killed me and I was sold. I ordered Firm workouts and began my fitness journey.

The Firm Pump,Jump & Jab

Right now I have many, many Firm workouts in my cabinet and I love most of them. One of my newer workouts is Pump, Jump and Jab with Kelsie Daniels as the lead instructor. I really love this workout and I love Kelsie as an instructor. For me, she’s right up there with Susan Harris. Kelsie is tough, motivating and fun. What more could you ask for? Oh, she’s a good instructor too.

Do you love the Firm and kickboxing?

Pump, Jump & Jab is a 45 minute workout that combines Firm moves with kickboxing. You’ll need a couple pairs of dumb bells, light and medium weights. There’s no yelling, and Kelsie is not in your face. She’s motivating and encouraging and fun.

Kelsie’s cueing is good and the music isn’t annoying and the choreography is easy to learn. Kelsie moves seamlessly between toning segments and kickboxing sequences. And it’s fun. This is one workout that I really enjoy doing and it hasn’t gotten old.

This is one of those workouts that what you bring to the workout is what you’ll get out of it.


Twelve Breaths, Seriously?

A new week and it began with my fifth Pilates class. I’m finding that my after-work Pilates class is making Mondays bearable. Mondays have turned brutal and it’s only going to get worse so having my Pilates class waiting for me at the end of the day gives me the strength to make it until 5pm.

When I got to class last night I admit that I was impatient. I wanted to get down to the mat and do my Hundreds (huh, I used to dread that one) and do some leg work (my favorite exercises) but our teacher had other plans. We started with a breathing exercise.

Inhale for a count of one, raising both arms slightly, exhale one breath and lower arms. Inhale for a count of two, raising both arms slightly higher, exhale one breath and lower arms. Inhale for a count of three, raising both arms slightly higher…you get the idea. We continued until we reached a count of twelve inhaled breaths. Half-way through I was like, “ugh, can we move this along?”

Well, the answer was obviously “no”. We continued until we reached twelve and by that time I was less stressed, more focused and prepared to fully engage my Pilates workout.

Lesson learned? Taking the time to breathe is a good thing to do even when we have a million things to do and a million thoughts are racing around in our head. You know that to-do list we all have? Lets add breathing to it and be sure to be fully present in the breath.