Saturday, July 31

Cindy Whitmarsh: Fitness Guru or Tricep Torturer?

I was surprised to discover this morning that almost all of my mobility had returned overnight.  Although I could still tell that my shoulders and abdomen were still a little tense, sitting down to eat my morning bowl of cereal didn't cause my buttcheeks to twinge and strain with the motion of being seated.  My renewed comfort was short lived though, as today was a focus on the upper body and core once again.

M and I decided to work out exclusively with Cindy Whitmarsh today.  For the Upper Body portion of our workout we tuned into Tank Top Arms for 20 minutes of a variety of weight training moves as well as push ups and tricep dips.  For me, the first 15 minutes of the workout was easy to follow along with and although I could definitely feel the burning of the muscle groups we worked out I was able to do the moves without complaint.  The last five minutes though... they were rough and I began to wonder what I had done to make Cindy suddenly determined to make my arms, shoulders and chest feel like they were on fire.  I pushed myself through the end of the workout though (M right beside me, shouting at the TV, "Cindy, I'm ready to cool down! Where's my cool down?  Cindy! Cindy can you hear me?") and once the end came I headed straight to the kitchen for a drink of water and a couple of minutes of break before the next portion.

A glass of water and several minutes later, M and I pooled our courage and started the Core portion of the day's workout.  We really had to amp each other up for it though, and I am pretty sure that we were both doubting our decision to stick with Cindy instead of moving onto another trainer.  We started up Bikini Ready and dug into our core.  In Bikini Ready, Cindy introduced us to some very effective moves that I've never done before.  The variation on the movements made for a very interesting... and very difficult workout.  M didn't scream at the TV this time though... by about halfway through we were too tired to complain and focused all of our energy on completing those last ten minutes.  Cindy is a workout taskmaster, making sure every square inch of your body knows who's boss.

Now that the 4th day of workout is behind us, I'm glad that we were able to push through and not give up before the exercises were complete.  It says a lot about how far we have come on this fitness journey!  Hopefully we can keep it together to finish out the week!

101 Ways to Work Out with Weights: Effective Exercises to Sculpt Your Body and Burn Fat!

Friday, July 30

Boosting The Metabolism And Pushing The Envelope

Last night M and I meet up with K for our customary 2 mile track walk, and I was relieved to discover that they were just as slow-moving and sore as I was.  We still made it the full 2 mile walk, but we inched along it at a snails pace and spent much of the hour that we were at the track comparing notes as to who had the tiredest muscles and where they were located.

Not surprisingly, I slept like the dead last night and got probably the soundest rest that I have had in six months.  This morning after running some errands, M met me in the living room and we hovered over the calendar to see what day 3 of the 10 Pound Slimdown challenge would bring.

Today's focus was a total body workout, and we steered our computer to to see what 20 minute total body workouts we could find.  After much haggling (and trying to judge by titles and the pose of the exercise trainer in the preview photo how easy the workout might be) we started the Major Metabolism Booster with Jessica Smith.

Jessica takes you through a full body workout that focuses on keeping your heart rate up while working out major muscle groups, and she got us to break a sweat early on in the exercise.  Although we were both sore and tired from the last two days' workouts, we were able to push through the difficult movements and gather our breath and strength during the moves that our bodies are already somewhat used to... marching in place, stretching, and basic lunges and curls.

We opted to do the workout without weights this time so that we could prevent our sore muscles from being injured, but neglecting the weights didn't do anything to prevent us from reaping the benefits of the workout.  The only issue we had with this particular workout was that for some reason the volume of the video was low, even when we turned the sound all the way up on the computer settings, the monitor (we are using a TV as a monitor for these exercises) and the volume controls on itself.  The low volume ended up helping us to focus more closely on what we were doing though, and kept our side chatter to a minimum as we both were straining to hear her say those magic words... "Just two more!"

One thing is for sure though, following the exercise routines as suggested by the 10 Pound Slimdown workout calendar are working out muscles that I've always had trouble reaching and even though we are only 3 days into the workout every inch of my body is letting me know that the exercises are working.  Adding these simple (but VERY effective) 20-40 minute workouts to our regular exercise routines is going to take all of us up one more level on the fitness chain and I'm looking forward to the increase in strength and flexibility that will come in the next 27 days.

Women's Health: Train for Your Body Type

Thursday, July 29

My Lower Body and Core Are Going On Strike

Well, we've made it to day 2 of the 30 day 10 Pound Slimdown workout program.  As yesterday, for some reason Exercise TV has been removed from my On-Demand options on the telly, so I went online to search for workouts that fell within the Day 2 requirements (links to the program can be found on yesterdays blog here) of 20 minutes of Lower Body, and 20 minutes of Core.

For the Lower Body workout, M and I settled on 20 Minute Lower Body Workout / Real Housewives with John Spencer Ellis.  Reality TV notary notwithstanding, John has put together a well rounded lower body workout using light weights and your own body We used cans from the pantry as a substitute for weights,  but  20 ounce bottles of water also work great if you are lacking in the weight department... and you can drink them when you're done!

The standard combination of squats, knee lifts and lunges is broken up with a couple of Ninja and Sumo moves helped to keep my attention and make me feel like I just might have what it takes to enter the American Ninja Warrior contest.  (Or not.  I think I'll still be safer cheering on my fellow ninjas from the comfort of my couch.)

Since we have been walking religiously and doing a lot of gardening, we didn't have near the trouble with the lower body workout as we did yesterday with the upper body workout.  Once the 20 minutes had passed, we high-fived one another and took a 5 minute break to get re-hydrated and search for the next workout.

When we reconvened for the 20 minute Core workout, we attempted to play the actual 20 minute workout on but couldn't find the free version so instead we went with the Bikini Body Workout with Stephanie Vitorino.  I have done this same exercise in the past (and I was sure I blogged about it but couldn't for the life of me find it) but had forgotten how thoroughly Stephanie rocks your center mass with energetic gusto.  Luckily for her, Stephanie is sexy, encouraging and completely fun to work out with so we didn't pelt the TV with our sweaty socks - just quietly complained amongst ourselves about our aching upper abs, lower abs and obliques.  She also added to our lower body workout with some squats and lunges that added to the Jello-like nature of our asses, thighs and knees.

Now that we have completed these two 20 minute workouts we feel quite accomplished although neither of us can figure out if we're energized and ready to rock some house cleaning and a 2 mile walk later this evening... or if we just want to lay down and take a nap.  We'll let a roll of the dice decide.

Bikini Body Ready

Wednesday, July 28

10 Pound Slim Down Revisited

True to procrastination form, M and I put off looking at the 10 Pound Slimdown calendar until late this evening. Day 1 of the workout plan is a 20 minute upper body workout.  No sweat!

We flipped on our On Demand selections expecting the workouts to be there, but all of the Exercise TV On Demand options had been removed!  I immediately began cursing Frontier, our new internet/phone/Fios provider and scanned through all the possible combinations of "exercise", "fit" and "workout" that I could possibly think of.

Disgruntled, and further determined to find the workout, I went online and searched through  to find it.  For some reason I couldn't find the actual 10 pound slimdown free videos, just the download for $14.98.   Although a month of exercise instruction for $15 seems like a decent deal, I'm already paying for Fios tv and not reaping its benefits so rather than doing the download I searched for another 20 minute upper body workout.

After about 20 minutes of searching and snubbing ExerciseTV personalities that I have deemed unworthy in previous televised exercises, M and I settled on 20 Minute Upper Body with trainer Dove Rose.  Finally, we began working out!

Very quickly it became obvious that we haven't focused on sculpting and toning our shoulders, triceps, biceps, elbows, forearms, wrists, neck, upper back, lower back or middle back.  5 minutes into the workout, M had to drop her weights and do the exercises without them.  10 minutes into the workout I had to swallow my pride and follow suit.  11 minutes in we were both ready to give up and call it a night, but for some reason I fought through the burn in my shoulders, triceps, biceps, elbows, forearms, wrists, neck, upper back, lower back and middle back and urged M to keep going with me through the end.  No matter how bad I wanted to give up, I couldn't let a 20 minute workout get the best of me after all the work I've done in the last two months!!

Finally M, I, our shoulders, triceps, biceps, elbows, forearms, wrists, necks, upper backs, lower backs, and middle backs made it to the end of the workout.  We sat down with the calendar and plotted out the rest of the workout week, making sure that we'll have time to meet up in my living room at least once a day to complete the prescribed exercises.  There was no joking around though - we've discovered that this exercise plan means business.  And tomorrow when we walk with K we'll follow up with her to see how all her various muscle groups held up.

Tuesday, July 27

We're Making Another Left Turn!

Hello out there!  I've been off for the last three days or so for some time with my family and a bit of recovery from too much sun.  I'm sure all of you know this already - but when you're out in the warm weather (and particularly when you're working up a sweat) hard lemonade is not a substitute for water... no matter how much we'd like it to be.

Now that I'm back in good form and headache free, I met up with M and K for another few rounds of track-walking.  We busted out 2.25 miles this evening while we caught up on the highs and lows and in-betweens of life that has occurred since our last walk.  K showed us all up with actual exercise clothes on, and made me secretly vow that next time I'll be better prepared too.  Truth be told, if I would have taken the time to put on some sweatpants, a sports bra and a loose t-shirt I probably would have been a thousand times more comfortable than my jeans, push-up bra and fitted shirt, even if I did look fabulous.

K also proposed we start working out on the regular with Exercise TV's 10 Pound Slim-Down Workout Plan.  If you scroll down the page, there is a workout calendar about 3/4 of the way down that you can print for free, and follow the exercises along with videos On Demand or through online downloads.  Her proposal, and smart looking athletic attire, made it impossible for me to say no - so I'll be blogging about it a lot over the next 30 days.

M, K and I agreed we should also keep up with the walking since we are planning on doing some 10K's later this fall, and hopefully the extra exercises will get us all over the weight "hump" that we're on now.  Progress is being seen, however slight, and I know that as long as we all keep our momentum we will be trim in no time.

Friday, July 23

They Call Me... The Rose Whisperer

Today I decided to take it light (at least I thought I was taking it light in the beginning) because it is my birthday.  I debated neglecting to mention that it was my birthday - but knowing my reader base, someone would have mentioned it anyway I'm sure. ;)

This morning I decided rather than undertaking a huge exercise endeavor, I would simply trim back the neighbor's rose-bush for her.  When we moved in several years ago, the neighbor had a very large rose bush on the property line between our houses.  Over time the bush has grown progressively larger, wider, thornier and deader.  As of this morning, it was roughly 10 feet tall, 12 feet wide and 8 feet deep.  With the permission of the neighbor I headed out with a hack saw, a pair of gloves and a set of clippers.

Very quickly it became obvious that my little "light" project was a labor intensive and difficult undertaking.  Close to two hours passed before I was done clipping, sawing and breaking throngs of dead, dying and overgrown bush.  Deep down in the center of the bush were four green branches, but it took a lot of sweat and blood to get to them.

Unfortunately, when I had hacked the bush to bits, I suddenly realized that the pile of dead branches was much larger than my already mostly full yard debris bin could handle.  So now, the neighbor's bush looks fantastic, and there is a huge pile of horrible looking dead rosebush hanging out in my front yard awaiting it's turn for disposal.

At least I got my workout, even if my yard looks like it got eaten by a rose bush.

Carona Super Carbide Sharpening Tool For Sharpening Pruning Tools Ace 3 Piece Pruning Tool Set (GT2823)  

Thursday, July 22

Duplication Be Damned; Producti-wha?

I am going to do my best to not just completely copy yesterdays posting.  I have been astonished, astounded, amazed, some other 'A' word that means "surprised", that I have suddenly become able to conquer all.

This morning M and I had vowed to work in the garden after neglecting it for three weeks of holidays, birthdays and family crisis.  We got out all of our tools and gloves (M was itching to break in her new ultra-grippy gloves with Nitrile palms and fingers) and headed out back to weed between the vegetables.

Three and a half hours later.... yes... 210 minutes later... we finally wrapped up.  In that time we were able to not only weed the entire back yard, but also turn the mulch in the compost bin and dig out the good decomposed stuff.  We spread mulch around the plants, shoved all the weeds / vines / thorns into the yard debris bin and laid a plastic barricade where the eventual fire pit / brick patio is going to go.  We scooped all of Pooch's poo while he looked on stoically, and even remembered to water things while we were out there.

It is incredible to me that after weeks of only being able to work for an hour or two at a time, today we were able to push through so many projects with minimal breaks.  I've always considered myself a pretty active person (when I was able to talk my butt into getting off the couch) but the last couple of days of being able to keep active through the majority of the day has really shown me what "active" can be.

I've spent so many years struggling to fit 30 minutes of activity into my day that I had forgotten how awesome it is to spend an entire day outdoors, working with your hands and making your own little habitat a little better.  I feel encouraged with this whole exercise business... who knows... maybe I'll find myself a new career in botany.

On second thought... all the plants would probably die and we'd all starve.  Maybe I'll just stick to writing and keep gardening as a hobby.

Harlequin Variegated Honeysuckle Vine - Lonicera

Wednesday, July 21

The More Active I Get, The More Active I Am

Well today ended up being a flurry of several day's worth of activities all rolled into one.

This morning, M and I did a 2 mile walk to the library and back to get our read on.  We've only done this walk one other time, and it was great to stretch our legs and wander through the neighborhoods for friendly conversation with gardeners and librarians alike.  We were sure that we were only going to drop off the couple of books that we had and only check out a couple more to replace them - but we should have known better.  Each of us carried an armload of books and DVDs on the mile trek back home, and by the time we were done our arms ACHED.

Then came an afternoon of housework.  As I have mentioned before (and will probably mention again), housework is a unique set of exercises that give you instant results.  Not of your waistline, of course, but of your surroundings.  Scrubbing down counters, putting away keepsakes in hard to reach places, changing the sheets on the beds and scrubbing the toilet all provide their own little twinges and twangs on the muscular harpsichord.  Luckily, I didn't peter out before the house looked like it was ready to be photographed for the internal pages of a fancy magazine.

Finally, this evening I met with K for another 2 mile walk around the track.  After about a mile and a half of this leg on my fitness journey I started feeling the effects on my poor feet.  The left one hissed and moaned with every step, and the right one just plain gave up.  Somehow I was able to convince them to push on and wrap up the walk before heading home for business meetings and dinner.

As for body changes, things are still moving and shifting with the sands of time.  On Monday, while out shopping, Mr. Kawaii grabbed me by the wrist to show me something and suddenly became distracted when he realized my wrist-bone had re-emerged from its exile to fat-land.

It has also occurred to me that my second chin has been making fewer and fewer appearances.  Now I have to be making some pretty pronounced expressions in rather awkward positions for it to come into view.  I can't tell you how nice it is to be able to smile at someone and not be concerned that they may be distracted by the bulge that has at times resembled that of a bullfrog's throat.

Even though the changes have been slow in coming for me, they are coming in their own time and place.  I may not be winning any "who can get in shape faster" contests, but I am at least becoming somewhat successful into coaxing the bulge into taking a more streamlined shape and stature.

 Women's UA Varsity French Terry Capri Bottoms by Under ArmourWomen's UA Form 5" Short Bottoms by Under Armour

Sunday, July 18

Feel That Extra Stretch... Riiiight There...

The blessing (and curse) of doing exercises that you aren't used to doing regularly is that afterwards you can feel your body's response.  This morning when I woke up I was very aware that I had boxed the Wii a little harder and a lot longer than I'm used to doing!!  Tense shoulders, an almost unmovable lower back, and sore muscles in my neck all reminded me that I had gotten out of my comfort zone.

As the day wore on, it was plainly obvious that I wasn't going to be able to shake the stiffness unless I took the initiative to work the kinks out.  I asked M if she'd be up to giving yoga another shot, and she (reluctantly) agreed.  I popped in an old favorite, Denise Austin's Fat Blasting Yoga.  I've had this particular workout DVD for about 6 years, and I always find myself either forcing it on someone who has never tried yoga before or going back to it myself.

One disclaimer about the DVD, should you decide to check it out for yourself... Denise Austin can be... umm... grating.  Mr. Kawaii, for example, can't stand her.  There are times when I can't stand her.  Sometimes, since I have most of the moves memorized, I put the DVD on mute and follow along with the radio playing in the background.

That said, the DVD is phenomenal for anyone who is wanting to give yoga a try without the commitment of hiring a personal trainer or having to do "downward facing dog" in a room full of people who can see your underwear lines.  Although Ms. Austin and I don't always get along, I can say that it is truly my most favorite workout tape and I haven't found another yoga exercise routine that I enjoy more.

So... going back to my original thought here... M and I worked through the first segment on the DVD which is a 30 minute tour of flexibility and strength exercises.  (The second and third parts are much more advanced and are daunting unless you are doing them on their own... very rarely can I make it through all 3 parts in one session)  M made it through, and both of us only almost fell over a couple of times.  Even though I've had this DVD forever and have worked out to it at some times daily, I am STILL surprised at how loose, sweaty and sleepy I am at the end of it.  M was sure surprised too!

Fat-Blasting Yoga 
Fat-Blasting Yoga

Saturday, July 17

Wii Would Like to Fight!

I didn't get a chance to update the blog yesterday, but here's a recap of all the physical activity that went on.  There was lots of up-and-down stair climbing with arm-loads of bags and boxes, pushing and pulling of utility trailers (by hand because I can!) and the moving of furniture while a rug was being laid down/rearranged/re-rolled/re laid down/re-adjusted.  It was a long and exhausting day filled with grief, hard work and lots of love.

Now on to today:

Internally, I've had a bit of frustration building over the last few weeks and this morning I woke up with one of those, "get out of my way our I will feed you your own fingers and toes one at a time," kind of attitudes.  Not really angry at anyone in particular, just deeply embedded in the murk and mire of hormones, long days, short nights and a lack of stress-outlets.

I decided to turn my internal angst into a beneficial workout and turned on the Wii.  I warmed up with some tennis, solidly whomping the artificially-intelligent competition three times.  Then I got down to it and selected boxing.  Mr. Kawaii's eyes grew wide and he turned the volume up on his video game when I started verbally attacking my opponents in addition to punching them in the virtual face... but after about twenty minutes of screaming and thrashing (luckily without damaging the Wii-motes or the TV) I was finally so tired and sweaty that I was ready to move onto something else.

The Wii Fit training exercises made for a great cool down, and now that I'm sufficiently exercised I think I'm ready to face the days challenges without smacking anyone upside the face for real.  Although generally I am probably classified as a passivist, some days there's just nothing like knocking someone's lights out - even if it's not real.

Wii Boxing Gloves

Thursday, July 15

Working So Hard, I Almost Forgot!

Typically, I try to complete this blog while the sweat is still dripping and the stink still surrounds me.  No, I don't have a bad-smell fetish.  I just know that if I don't get the blog done right away, I'll get side-tracked by other projects and forget to do it!  Today is a case-in point; M, K and I all wrapped up our walk hours ago and I didn't remember until I was pajama-clad that I didn't get a chance to blog about it!  For shame.

This evening we all put off the walk until the sun sank low in the sky to avoid the heat and humidity that popped back up this afternoon.  The result was a perfect evening for a stroll, and we took advantage with 2 miles of walking and talking.  Solving the world's problems one step at a time, we managed to get our workouts done with enough energy left over for me to come home and get so involved in my work (I've been working on a handful of new articles in addition to doing graphic design in my "spare time") that I forgot to finish the written portion of the calorie burn.

Tomorrow may be more of the same, Mr. Kawaii and I are headed to help move some furniture and hopefully do some substantial lifting for a great workout without pains, strains or pulls!

  Moving Men 8-Piece Furniture Slider Set

Tuesday, July 13

Keep Coming Back, It's Working!

Well, I made it through my day of grief somehow intact.  I've decided that although all I feel like doing is staying in bed with the covers pulled over my head, in hopes that the big bad monster Grim Reaper will disappear and return our family member to us, instead I am going to just keep putting one foot in front of the other and do the things that I've been doing.  Best case scenario, I'll work all the sadness out; worst case scenario I will be able to prevent myself from turning into a 600 pound blob while I figure out what this whole life thing is all about again.

So although I sincerely debated calling off my walking date with K and M, I got myself dressed and headed out anyway.  Hampering my depression, the weather was beautiful tonight, just the right amount of sun and heat and breeze.  Further hindering my sinking emotions was good conversation with amazing ladies.  Bah, I'll admit it.  The whole endeavor cheered me up a little bit.

We made it through two miles of track before we all had to say our goodbyes and get back to our various evening chores (I get off easy by only having to write this blog and take a shower before Pooch starts giving me dirty looks).  I'm still sad, but I can tell that the momentum at least helped my body to feel better.  It's amazing, but that commercial for anti-depressants that plays periodically that says, "Where does depression hurt? Everywhere." is accurate.  It's important when we get into these depressed, unsure and unmotivated frames of mind that we get out and continue to do something.  It never hurts anything, aside from putting a dent in our depression and reminding us that life does go on.


Monday, July 12

I Like My Bush Trimmed

I can't tell if M and I are just getting used to the summer weather, or if there really is that big of a difference between 80 degrees and 90 degrees.  Either way, we headed back outdoors for some garden therapy and took out our aggressions on the evergreen bushes along the front and side of the house.

Sadly, there was a death in the family this morning which followed a couple of weeks of a battle with Cancer and I was in sore need of some whacking and hacking.  We put on some protective eye-wear, pulled on some gloves and spent the better part of an hour chopping up branches and attacking Mother Nature with the force of electric hedge-trimmers.

In doing so, I sweated out some of my grief (although not nearly all of it) and M and I uncovered a section of sidewalk that had all but disappeared since the last time the hedges were trimmed.  M also weeded the main flower bed, and we both spent some cool-down time sweeping and raking the resulting mess into the yard debris bin for later curbside collection.

It is a sad day, but I hope that my family will forgive my absence while I do some internal straightening-out.  Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day.


Sunday, July 11

Hump Ahead


We've been suffering the turbulence of life's little "humps" for the last few weeks, and while the sign above says that they end in 350 yards, I'm beginning to think they're measuring them wrong.  For me, it seems that when life problems pop up along the roadway of daily living, it is really easy to just say, "Fudge it," and hit the drive-thru instead of hitting the yoga/track/Wii Fit/cardio-anything.  This past week has been one of those times in particular, and I fear to say that the last few days I have really fallen off the "Get Fit" bandwagon.

After torturing M yesterday with yoga, we decided to return to the familiar track since today it was only in the mid-80's instead of the mid 90's.  Getting out and getting moving really felt great, although my calves and shins cursed me for skipping out on long walks for the last 6 days.  I also felt the lethargy left over from fries and pizza, the sad stress eating fare of the last couple of days.

As I said to M at the end of my 2nd mile (inlcuding jogging at least one turn on 5 of the laps!), my body just can't handle the grease and grime of take-out meals any more.  A couple of years of lean eating has changed the way my body reacts to fatty foods, and the results are almost immediately apparent when I eat poorly.  I won't go into the nitty-gritty details with you, but I will say that I'm looking forward to having a light dinner of fruit and a sandwich instead of a full spread of deep-fried comfort food.

So, all that said, I am determined to get back into the groove come hell or high-water.  Or maybe low-water... I have a fear of deep amounts of H2O!

  Eat This Not That! Restaurant Survival Guide: The No-Diet Weight Loss Solution Eat This Not That! The Best (& Worst!) Foods in America!: The No-Diet Weight Loss Solution

Saturday, July 10

Toga! Toga! Toga! No Wait... YOGA!

This morning in a rare mood of adventure, M asked me to show her the ways of Yoga.  Delighted, I turned to my dear friend, On Demand and selected a 15 minute beginner workout (called, amazingly enough, Beginner Yoga).  We moved my coffee table and recliner out of the way so we'd both have room to move, bend and stretch, on off we went!

I can tell you that the first time I decided I'd give yoga a try, I was pretty sure that it was a piece of cake.  "A piece of crumb-cake."  I mean, all it is is standing up, bending over and breathing in and out... and those are things that I do at one time or another every day.  M had much the same view, and looked at me like I was riding the short-bus when I told her that if she wasn't able to do everything the exercise show said, to just find a comfortable position and wait it out until the next pose.  She nodded politely, and even refrained from rolling her eyes at me, which was a nice touch.

About 5 minutes in, M started muttering things like, "You want me to do what?" and "Pfffft.  Yeah, right." I did my best to keep her frustration out of my Zen since I knew she was irritated with the size 2 model on the TV and not with me.  I am proud to say that she did give it her best, and did make it to the end of the exercise without too many Hrumphf's and "Arrrrg's.  As she was wrapping up she conceded that the exercise was just a bit more difficult than she had anticipated, and she hasn't had to bend her knees "that way" in a long time.  She did agree to give it another shot in a few days, and I assured her that with practice all the poses get much easier.

Once M was done, I then moved on to the intermediate level 10 Pound Slimdown Yoga routine.  A 25 minute workout, I thought it would be a great addition to the beginner yoga we'd already completed.  As it turns out, I'm not as "Intermediate" as I thought.  10 minutes in and I was having difficulty doing the moves, I was hot and sweaty, and just about done.  The workout was fantastic, but after not having done yoga in a couple of weeks, it was just a little too much for my tense and tired body.

All said, I got close to a 30 minute yoga workout completed and then M and I went to a local Farmer's Market for a mile walk between booths.  I was even good and refrained from taste-testing everything, although the Marionberry Pie flavored jam got the better of me.  I only had about an eighth of a teaspoon though, so still pretty darn good.

Now that the heat is starting to wane, I feel like my activity level will come back up.  It's been near 100* every day for the last week and the hell-fire has made it really difficult to walk away from the freezer section at the grocery store.  Luckily, M, K, Mr. Kawaii and I are all in this together and keeping one another accountable, otherwise, who knows where we'd be!


Friday, July 9

Cleaning Makes The Muscle Grow Fonder

It's days like today that make me wonder if cleanliness is next to Godliness, or if it's just the next best thing to spending five hours in a gym.  Really wonder.

I was blessed by a visit by my Great Aunt and Grandmother today, and before they made the venture out to the house I wanted to make sure I was putting my best broom forward.  Waking up early so I could get all the nitty gritty sweat out of the way before their arrival and still have time to shower the stink off of me before their arrival, I started my day by wiping down all the counters and tables (I have three - I'm not sure why) making the bed, doing laundry, sweeping the entire house and then running over it with a mop.

On these days of rushed deep-cleaning, when I have four days of work to get done in just a few hours, I suddenly discover that I use muscles scrubbing and mopping, de-greasing and spot-removing, couch pet-hair-removing and HVAC filter cleaning that I don't use on any other project or adventure in my life.  For some reason the motion of sweeping is unlike that of mopping, and neither are akin to rowing a boat although it seems like they should be.  Scrubbing the toilet uses completely different muscles than scrubbing the sink, and neither are helpful when it's time to churn butter or wash the dog.  Tugging at the sheets on a king-sized bed doesn't help to build the same muscles that one might use when pulling vines from trees to swing like Tarzan (or in my case, Jane), and lifting items to dust doesn't seem to be anywhere near the same as bowling.

The positive silver lining to this realization is that cleaning house can be an immense workout when you put your back into it; and it helps to shape and tone your whole body while you bend, lift, squat, push and pull your way towards a clean house.  The end result is that not only have I found myself an indoor workout on a day that was close to 97 degrees last time I checked, but I've also ended up with a spotless house that won't need to be cleaned for at least another six hours.

As any person trying to keep a clean house can attest: a lot can happen in six hours.

 Swiffer 360 Dusters Refills, 6 Count Boxes (Pack of 2)

Thursday, July 8

Life Keeps On Truckin'

Hello readers.  This has been a challenging week, but tonight I am back at the fitness goals and so I decided to force myself to sit down long enough to write what's been happening down on virtual paper.

Over the course of 4th of July weekend, exercise was found by walking through town to various events and gatherings rather than driving.  Not only did this afford me and Mr. Kawaii the luxury of not having to find parking, not having to battle with traffic and not having to worry about accidentally running over fireworks, but it allowed us to walk between 3 and 4 miles on July 3rd and July 4th.

Unfortunately, due to a family emergency, two birthdays and my own need to recuperate, no further exercise happened on the 5th through the 7th.  Today M and I got back on the proverbial horse through errand running and house-cleaning.  Completing a walk of over a mile, and breaking a sweat doing general cleaning rounded out our exercise for the day.  We debated walking the track this evening also, but the heat and continued family needs are going to force us to stay indoors today.

On a high note, M has decided to give yoga a go and it sounds like we are going to make our first attempts at Downward Facing Dog tomorrow.  Wish me luck - and M balance.  We'll both need it!

Harbinger 340100 Durafoam Exercise Mat 3/8" x 24" x 72" (Black)

Friday, July 2

5K The Rain Away

When I woke up early this morning the rain falling outside my window was a welcome sound.  I was sure that as long as the rain persisted I would be able to justify staying in bed and cancelling my track-date with K.  I waited for her to call and tell me the weather was too sloppy, but the phone didn't ring.  As the time neared for me to head out to the track, the rain slowed and then right on time - it stopped and the clouds became less ominous.


So out I went, found myself at the track and met K right on time.  Off we went around the track, and made an attempt at walking 3 miles instead of our standard 2.  I kept hoping for rain, but it would't come.  Around and around we went, and the further we made it the happier that I was that we didn't cancel our appointment on account of rain.

As we made it through the second mile, I could feel my body getting ready to quit as the muscles found their familiar ending spot.  Beginning the third mile wasn't physically hard, but mentally I was glad that K was there to give me a push outside of my normal comfort zone.  About a 20 yards into the 3rd mile my body fell back into the groove and we kept on trucking.  We even took the initiative to jog the corners of the last lap around, and then added an extra quarter mile to cool down from the jog!  And we did it all in just under an hour.


As K has said, you quite often regret skipping your workout but you never regret doing it.  I'm glad we made it out today so that we could go into the holiday weekend with healthy muscles and revved up metabolisms.  With all the beer, bar-b-q's and elephant ears in our future, we needed it!

 3 Months to Your First 5k 

Thursday, July 1

Wii Would Like To Party

Today is going to be a crazy busy day, so this morning I woke up early and hopped on to Wii Fit for a half hour of stretching, boxing, hula-hoops and aerobics.  I was really hesitant to start it up, seeings how it was so depressing and creepy last time but I soldiered on anyway.

Rather than getting on me for not having used it in a couple of weeks, the Wii focused instead on Mr. Kawaii's upcoming birthday.  It reminded me what day it was, asked me if I had any plans for him and if I had gotten him a nice birthday gift, AND suggested I throw him a surprise birthday party.  This whole artificial intelligence thing makes half of me laugh with delight and half of me cringe with fear that it knows everything.

Once I got past the birthday wishes for husband, I got into the body training mode and it announced that I have lost 2.5 pounds since my last weigh in.  I actually weighed myself a few days ago and the scale told me the same thing, but with my daily fluctuation in hormonal water retention I hadn't put much stock in the loss.  But now, several days later and on a different device I have conformation that I did indeed lose two pounds.  A small victory, but a victory nonetheless!

The Wii was very excited for me and urged me to set a new goal.  I'm trying really hard not to pressure myself into losing a ton of weight right this second  and so I set another small goal of 2 pounds in the next two weeks. I am really learning that the less I stress about the scale, and instead focus on how my body is responding to the exercise I am much happier.  The visual results of losing fat rolls and getting a tighter tummy, having well rounded shoulders and the emergence of biceps, firm calves and tightening tush are all way more exciting than the movement of the needle.  Although I haven't lost 20 pounds overnight I am able to stretch further, jump farther, breathe deeper and feel achy less and less and those are results worth celebrating.

I got a good rounded workout and stuck with it until the little exercise "bank" announced I'd reached 30 minutes of exercise (remember, it doesn't include the time you are in the menu selecting exercises and doing the basic fit-test so 30 minutes of exercise will take you 45 minutes to an hour to complete depending on what you are doing).  I broke a light sweat and got my body ready to face the day, did a lot of stretching because tomorrow K and I are going to attempt a 3 mile walk/jog and I know I'm going to need the extra flexibility!