Thursday, July 28, 2011

My Body Can Do This

On Monday I went to Tabata (interval) Cardio Kickboxing class. It was killer. There are three studios at my fitness place, two small and one large and Tabata always ends up in a smaller room. It was hot (Chicago has decided to hit triple digit heat indexes lately) and the room was crowded. The idea with tabata/interval training is that you hit a move hard for 20 seconds (a tabata in general can be anything: a set of kickboxing moves, burpees, jumping jacks, whatever) then you rest for 10 seconds, then do it again eight times. You can do anything for 20 seconds right? Oof. Easier said than done. Please try the tabata of throwing four jabs followed by two star jacks (power jumping jack) then talk to me. (Below is a video demo of a star jack).

I was feeling fatigued and wondered if my heart my explode. Then the instructor said something really powerful. She said, “Come on, you’re body can do this.” Such a simple sentence. She was right, my body CAN do this. I got this. I can push myself. So I continued to whisper it during class, (the music is always super loud so luckily I didn’t seem crazy) “My body can do this. My body can do this,” and my body did it.

I snapped a secret pic with my phone after class. I call this shot She Earned The Chocolate Chips.

My body can do this.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Assuming the Negative

I think of myself as an optimistic pessimist..if that makes sense. I am not overly cynical and jaded, but I fall into that area so many people do where I tend to assume the most negative outcome possible. I think some of this stems from the idea that if you assume the negative you will be pleasantly surprised when the outcome is good, but really that' s pretty self destructive. I have to work very hard to focus on the positive; what good things could happen. Take for example my first full hour abs class last week. I was so nervous. I thought about it all day. I knew I needed to try it because I was irrationally scared and I want to conquer these kinds of fears. I walked into class and set a mat out on the floor. I noticed everyone was getting two sets of weights so I followed suit. Class started with some standing warm ups. Okay, good, I like standing warm ups. Then the instructor (a man-see my fear of boy classes is dwindling) said the words I hate in a class, "Get with a partner..." GAH. I really don't like partner work. I didn't like it in school and I am shy and weird and definitely don't like it when I am exercising. I immediately thought, "Okay, here it is here. In the first ten minutes I know I hate this class and won't come back even if it doesn't kill me." All the partnering consisted of was one person standing on the others' feet to anchor them while they did sit ups with a weight. Mind you, I would have enjoyed if my partner (who'd taken the class before) been clear that I wasn't handing her my weight and hadn't let me drop it on myself, but it wasn't that bad. I immediately assumed it would be terribly awkward and horrible and cement that this class was a mistake, but it wasn't. On we pressed. There was a wide variety of exercises, and we moved from one thing to the next so quickly that I never felt like I couldn't hang in there. There were lots of good standing ab exercises that I really liked. I wish I knew what my very favorite was called. I'll have to ask them. You stand with your feet and hips planted firmly and hold a weight (I used an eight pounder) and rotate side to side kind of scooping out a figure eight on each side. It's kind of like this canoe move:
It's great for love handles! Very effective and there is no reason I can't do some these holding my tote bag or something during a break at rehearsals or while I am catching up with my DVR.

Needless to say the class was 70% less scary than I made it out to be. I have been very active with going to classes for 5.5 months now and am stronger. Surely this class would have been very difficult if I took it in February, but I am much more fit now and held my own. The one thing I have to figure out is how I will handle floor work. I think I need to double up on my yoga mats, because several times over now in a class with significant floor time I skin my tail bone. Seriously. I think I must have a freakish tailbone. Despite having clothes and a mat between me and the floor I have an inch long scrape over my bum. Sitting in a desk is ok, but sitting on the sofa is really unpleasant now. I am trying to learn my lesson and not use this as an excuse for never taking an abs class again. I just need to try out alternatives. Maybe I could make my own little inconspicuous tailbone cushion or buy a bean bag to put there. I shall call it the Hiney Helper and  now that I written this down you can't steal it. Intellectual property. Ha!

This week will be challenging since I will have rehearsals (and daily allergy/stress headaches), but I refuse to give up gym time. I am making time for:

Monday: Tabata Boxing
Wednesday: Turbokick
Thursday: Kicklates

It makes for long days, but I can't let my schedule keep me from exercise!

Friday, July 15, 2011

First Harvest!

After an afternoon of taking Venkman to the dog beach and grocery shopping for the delicious meal Mr. BB30 is making (our last Friday night together until the end of September-sniff), I came home and plucked my first harvest of the summer.

In the coming days this beautiful squash will be sauteed lightly with a little Earth Balance and olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt.

 I love being a farmer!

And in further good news, I will begin rehearsals for a new play on Monday. It is a four person show, the first act revolving around one couple and the second act revolving around the other. I am super stoked that a friend of mine was cast opposite me. It will be a great time and something wonderful to invite casting directors and important people to. Huzzah!

Lately Dayjobland has been very hectic and stressful. I can't imagine having to live through the extra crazy times with a mean boss. I really have a great one. With the stress of the past couple of weeks came snackiness and waaaay too much iced coffee. For the past few days I have had to focus on conscious eating and watching those unnecessary bad starches. We all know how to get back on the horse when we've strayed but it's never easy. I survived with lots of fresh fruits and veggies and upping my protein intake with a little additional tofu and bean action.

This week in fitness has been:

Monday: Off for an Audition (although I ended up walking almost all the way home afterwards for a total of 2.5 miles)
Tuesday: Strength Boxing followed by Abs and Butt Blast
Wednesday: R.I.P.P.E.D (Resistance, Intervals, Plyometrics, Endurance)
Thursday: WERQ
Not sure what the following days will bring, maybe more walking or a home DVD.

Yesterday as we waited for class to start there was a general consensus that everyone was feeling a bit unmotivated to workout. We were glad we made it there, but many of us weren't feelin' it. The adorable instructor reminded us that in one hour when class was done, there was no way we would regret having come to sweat it out. It's so true. Any time I feel blah about putting on the gym clothes I am always 100% glad I went.

I am really loving what boxing and dumbbells have done for my arms. I can see results and I love it. Scales can be upsetting and stupid, but the mirror don't lie. I feel like I am really getting my tone on!

Tell me something you're happy with about your bod lately! Let's remember to celebrate ourselves!
How are your summer gardens?

Friday, July 8, 2011

Man Fear

This week I overcame my fear of doing a tough work out class with a male instructor. I've taken Zumba from a dude, but I feared taking a hard core class. I think deep down I was scared he would be judgmental and mean like every fifth grade boy who called me a whale or a blimp. It happened as I needed it to: I was signed up for class, in line waiting to go in and they pulled a fast and changed teachers on me. So I sucked it up and knew it was for my own good....and it was. The class is a full body workout mixing up resistance, interval, power, plyometrics, and endurance training. I  like taking classes like this against super cardio classes like boxing to make sure every area gets attention. I think that's actually the principal behind the infamous P90X program the principle of muscle confusion and not letting your body get to comfprtable with the same workouts. Perhaps I am a genius after all.

Anywho, I found that I felt challenged in a great way by having a man lead class. I knew I wasn't about to use 20lbs dumbbells in each hand like he did, but I was motivated to challenge myself with heavier weights that normal and it made feel great that I kept up. I felt pretty bad ass.

This week I have been a little slow and a little too snacky. I blame some recent agitation over the ol' career and feeling a little suffocated. I need an adventure.

Monday: Holiday
Tuesday: 3 mile walk (I had Tues off of work as well and really needed some quiet thinking time)
Wednesday: Resistance and Interval Training Class
Thursday: Off. I had no clean gym clothes and was feeling sluggish and moody and opted for a bestie chat.
Friday: Resistance Band Pilates followed by Kwando Kickboxing

I didn't plan to take class tonight, but I feel like I need it and want to get the weekend kicked off right!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Fourth!

Last week's work outs went like this:
Monday: Off
Tuesday: Strength Boxing (I think I may be ready to move up a pound in weights-eep!)
Wednesday: Glee Camp (calisthenics, resistance band and dumbbell work set to Glee music)
Thursday: Off (I got two unexpected print ad look-sees
Friday: Resistance Band Pilates followed by Kwando Kick Boxing

On Wednesday there were only THREE of us in class (the masses were crammed into Turbo Kick-people seem to really love it-although I worry for those people who don't practice proper form.) It was like having a personal trainer for the hour. Kinda cool. At the very end of class, we used a foam roller to massage our muscles. I had been interested in learning how to do it. It was definitely a hurt so good feeling, like getting a rough but awesome Swedish massage. However, I am seriously bruised. I am full our good leafy greens and I take a multi-vitamin with iron in it everyday, but alas, it looks like I've broken my ankle. It's sooo bruised. Don't think I will be partaking again.
I wish I could find an image of the exercise that killed my ankle.It felt like a really intense massage in my calves but man oh man. I look like I've been beaten.

I'm wishing you all a SAFE and happy holiday today. On holiday weekends we have to remind ourselves that moderation is key and having some bites or sips of deliciousness isn't a crime! In honor of all the get-togethers going on across the country I present a test drive of The Kind Diet's Artichoke Dip that I did a few months ago.

Artichoke Dip
from The Kind Diet by (my pretend friend) Alicia Silverstone

• 2 8 1/2-oz. cans of quartered artichokes
• 1 cup vegan mayonnaise
• 1 cup soy Parmesan "cheese"
• 1 tsp. paprika
• Garlic powder to taste
The only vegan Parmesan they had at my Whole Foods was a chipotle one which would have probably been tasty but I wanted to stick as close to the recipe as possible, and well, it cost almost $6. No thanks. So, I substituted nutritional yeast flakes. Stop. Don’t freak out. When I first started reading about vegan cooking, I thought that nutritional yeast flakes sounded bizarre. They’re not scary. They are yeast flakes, exactly what they sound like. They have lots of protein in them and look and taste like Parmesan. You can find them in the bulk bins at Whole Foods. One cup of nutritional yeast flakes from the bulk bin costs about $1.40. CHEAP.

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Drain the liquid from the artichokes, mash, and combine with the other ingredients. Scoop into a casserole dish and bake for 1/2 hour. Sprinkle paprika on top before serving. Serve with chips, toasted and cut pita bread, or sliced fresh vegetables.
Makes 10 servings.
The paprika adds great color. I went light on it because the type I had on hand was really hot.
It took a mere 15 minutes to put the ingredients together and pop this in the oven. Major points for simplicity! I snuck a taste of the concoction before putting it in the oven, cheesy and yummy already. After I let it bake up a while I took a peak. It looked so bubbly and happy as it browned! Soon it was the moment of truth.

The verdict:
Me: “Ooh, tangy! It’s so creamy!”
Mr. BB30: “I hope you made enough for yourself.” (walks away carrying the whole pan)

This dip was so easy and delicious. It’s perfect for party. In the 30 minutes it takes for it to bake you have the perfect amount of time to clean up, arrange crackers on a tray, apply lipstick, sprinkle the dip with paprika and greet your guests at the door with a creamy steamy appetizer.

Next time (and I foresee several next times) I think I will add in some minced onions and maybe sprinkle the top with a little bit of Daiya cheese.
Now bust out your finest sparklers!