A Morning Workout

Mind over matter, mind over matter. Part of pushing yourself is prioritizing the goal in your mind and ignoring the pain. Mind over matter. This definitely works on the treadmill, but when it comes to getting my body out bed, matter outweighs mind 9 times out of 10.

On the days that I do complete a morning workout, I feel amazing. A recent article in health magazine said that morning workouts burn 20% more fat than gym sessions done later in the day.

Morning workouts to do few things:

  1. They get a fitness goal done for the day
  2. They get your circulation going
  3. They help you burn calories throughout the day
  4. They set your expectations of yourself higher – so you’re more likely to make good choices throughout the day.
  5. They get your endorphins going – so you feel better about life.
  6. They give your bragging rights (but you feel so good about yourself, bragging isn’t even necessary.)

I really, really love morning workouts. Hopefully my love for them will soon soak into my subconscious so that it’s easier to get up and do them..

I need workout inception…

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Post 119: Cardio at Sea Level

urlHave you seen that SNL bit “The Californians”? Well, from Phoenix, you take the 10 to the 57 to the 5, and then head north until you get to the 33. The take the 152 to the 101 to the 880.

And then you’re at sea level. Almost 8 years in Arizona has acclamated me to a higher elevation. In Phoenix, 2 miles is a good run for me. The 2 mile distance around Fremont’s Lake Elizabeth barely prompted a sweat. This also included dodging nasty geese and their nasty poop, groups of people doing Tai Chi, and other people on the trail. I even tried to do lunges and felt superhuman for the lack of pain and resistance.

It was awesome! On one hand, it feels good to feel in shape. One the other, my workouts this weekend were less than strenuous.

So, if you want encouragement, try a lower elevation. If you want to stay strong, keep training at a high one.

Post 118: Fitness at the Airport

Goodbye FremontDelays and lots of waiting. These can both be expected with air travel. Sitting is also a big part of it, which is not good for fitness.

And when you’ve spent the better part of your vacation in a nursing home, your fitness is a priority. (Sure, I worked out – which I will talk about later, but it wasn’t like working out at home.)

While Hubbs and I waited for our return flight, which was 45 minutes late, I found some pros and perils of fitness at the airport

Avoid Bad food

Most airport restaurants offer fried or highly preserved food. Many of the restaurants are also bars. Finding a good salad can be difficult, and once you do, it costs $7 for a few leaves of wilted lettuce. So, if you’re hungry at the airport, focus on protein and hydration.  Nuts, water and drinks with electrolytes can be found easily. Instead of going to Cinnabon, find a chain like Subway, where prices may be comparable to other stores and greens may be more fresh.

Take a Walk

Airports are full of walkways. Instead of parking yourself by the gate, walk the terminal. Scared of missing your flight? Just keep an open ear for the announcements.

Carry On Your Luggage

I overpack, so I do need to check a bag. But I stuff my carryon with anything I may need. This makes the bag heavier, which acts like a weight when you lift it.

Take Advantage of Plane Time

If you are apprehensive about flying, I understand if you have trouble sitting back and relaxing during the flight. Rest is important for your body, and if you use your flight to get rest, you may feel healthier.

Post 115: Hiking

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It was my first decision to go to Utah this weekend for my nephew’s baptism. The threat of being stranded in Salt Lake when I needed to be at work, even with a standby plane ticket  reserved, made me extremely paranoid. Stupid common sense.

So instead I got to go hiking with Tabbs and some of her friends. It. Was. Awesome!! We hiked the siphon draw trail almost to the foot of the flatiron on Superstition Mountain. The Flatiron is true to its name: heated by the hot Phoenix sun, it towers above the east valley. From what I’ve heard, the Flatiron trail will straighten you out.

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It also kind of looks like the bow of the Titanic..

We didn’t make it all the way, but it’s a good goal! I haven’t been hiking since I was a Girl Scout, but I plan to do a lot more of it in the future.

Related Articles:

Summit Post

Hiking in Arizona

Voices Behind Me

Day 98: Better Tomorrow

38d74cd5c6bdc78a1cdcfb15030f2dd7My gym experience today was less than hardcore. My cold is holding on, and the strain of cardio on my airway left me gasping for air. When Tabbs joined me, I settled for a walk on the treadmill while she pounded out a workout.

As we were leaving the gym, we agreed that we would do “Better tomorrow”. It’s probably the smartest thing we’ve said to each other. Ever.

I did my best today. It wasn’t that great, but at least I made it to the gym. I can always do better tomorrow. As long as you’re not putting off to tomorrow what can also be done today, why not shoot for better and better tomorrows?

That’s how progress works. You can always eat cleaner tomorrow, especially if you ate clean today. You can only run farther and faster tomorrow than you did today. You are stronger tomorrow after lifting today. Tomorrow you are older, wiser, stronger, and more attractive than you were yesterday.

So today wasn’t the best. So what? There’s a hard workout waiting tomorrow.

Day 86: Like I Love Cake

I love you like fat kid love cake.

When I asked my SFAM (sister from another mother) Julie what I should blog about, her text came back quickly: Talk about how much you miss cake. So smart- because parting with body fat also means parting with many edible luxuries.

Until recently, cake really was a luxury. When my grandparents were married during World War II, their family, friends and neighbors all contributed their sugar rations just so they could have wedding cake. And my grandma was skin, skin, skinny.

In the days before every grocery store had a bakery department and convenience stores sold moon pies, you actually had to make your own cake. Depending on the type of cake , it can be pretty labor intensive to make, so at least the baker could enjoy a slice, knowing they had burned off the calories used to prepare the treat.

Cake isn’t a treat anymore. It’s cheap and easy and has a dozen TV shows dedicated to it.  People may still be happy to eat it, but it’s not as special as it used to be. This is one of the reasons obesity is so common.

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Okay I’m stopping myself- poor cake! It’s not cake’s fault that people want to eat it. It can’t help that it’s so delicious!

But we can help it. Julie- you are right. I miss cake. I miss a lot of things. But it’s that missing that’s going to make it so much sweeter to get to my goal and finally be able to allow myself those luxuries again.

Day 81: Crossfit

Crossfit session yesterday means sore Kate today. Or in Tabs’ words “Holy FML.”

Shirley has been telling me about Crossfit for months. She generously invited Tabs and I to join a trial workout, and I’m glad I went! For a workout that kicks your butt, there is a group of great people cheering you on the whole time.

It’s a little like summer camp. You are apprehensive of the experience, but once you get thrown into the lake with the other swimmers, you feel like one of the group. You end up going home glad that you went with great memories to share.

The workout was with partners, and since Shirley and Tabs are giants tall, they were a good pair. My partner Callie and I weren’t strangers for long, considering the first thing we had to do was drag each other 100 meters. They had to cut the workout in half for my weakling self, but it was still tough. All I have to say is poor Callie. I hope they give her a free class for dealing with me.

Anyway, here are a few things you should know about Crossfit:

1. Those pins on Pinterest that advertise a “Crossfit” workout: they may take you through the exercises, but they don’t re-create the atmosphere of a Crossfit session. Unless you have industrial sized tires, big boxes or any other fitness equipment you can only find in the training sequence of Rocky IV, it’s not a true Crossfit workout. For your reference, here it is. Don’t pay attention to Drago- focus on Rocky.

2. Don’t underestimate your own strength. I never thought I could do some of the things I tried yesterday, but they happened.

3. If you ever, EVER want to break the ice with anyone, drag them 100 meters. In lieu of hugging, I’m dabating making my children do this to each other when they aren’t getting along.

4. Cross fit is awesome, and the minute I can afford it, I’m signing up.

Special thanks to Shirley Kefgen, Haley Brinkerhoff, and Erin Finch for being my Corssfit heroes. And thanks to the staff of Firebird Crossfit for letting me entertain you yesterday.

Day 77: 27 Signs that Your Workouts are Working

  1. Your clothes are looser
  2. You can feel some muscle underneath that fat
  3. Your arms hurt so much that it takes 5 minutes and a lot of twisting to get out of your sports bra
  4. pinterest-inspirational-quotes-motivationYour mood is directly dependent on if you made it to the gym the previous day.
  5. When Nike commercials come on- you know what they are talking about
  6. 2 hours at the gym turns from a marathon into completely normal
  7. Post-gym exhaustion is now post-gym energy
  8. You can be half-asleep when you leave the house and STILL remember your gym bag..WITH everything you need in it
  9. There are callouses on your hands where you hold your weights
  10. You have welts on your knuckles from kickboxing
  11. You can run faster for longer
  12. Every song you hear is evaluated for its workout playlist potential
  13. You come up with reasons to move around…sitting still feels weird
  14. You are more likely to try new forms of exercise
  15. You start counting reps, sets and weights
  16. You no longer get winded after a few flights of stairs
  17. Goals seem so much more attainable
  18. You feel better about yourself..as a person
  19. People comment on your weight loss
  20. Feeling sick and lethargic happens less and less frequently
  21. You’re okay with being in pictures
  22. You are the one inviting your friends to the gym
  23. You feel beautiful after a workout..(okay- after a workout and a shower)
  24. You start abbreviating the names of muscle groups
  25. You naturally stand up straighter
  26. You are willing to spend money on more fitness clothes, gadgets and experiences
  27. You identify with fit people

Day 76: Gender Roles

Hubbs and I will probably never have the same workout routine. Hubbs hates running and I love it. I hate lifting and he loves that. His main goal would be to gain strength. Mine is to lose weight and get toned. I’ve talked to Hubbs about going to the gym together, and he respectfully declines with logical reasoning: we would never do our workouts together.

Besides, I look horrific mid-cardio.

Juxtapose us with this couple that used to come to my former gym. He was a wall of muscle and she had very little body fat. Their outfits were coordinated well, and she wore a full face of makeup. And what did they do when they came to the gym? Socialized!

Two very different behaviors on varying degrees of the gender stereotypes. It’s kind of funny the gender roles we find at the gym. What to know more? Check out the opposites in this video, courtest of Greatist.

Day 72: Nike Fuelband

Nike-Fuel-FeaturedI LOVE my Nike Fuelband.

It’s more than one week after Hubbs gave it to me for Christmas, and by this point I feel I can give an accurate review of it. Here’s what I’ve found so far.

Measurements

Nike Fuelband tracks the number of active calories burned. It’s also a pedometer and a watch. Sync your Fuelband with your smart phone app (iPhone for me) to see these numbers crunched.

photo (3)Fuelpoints Decoded

Nike Fuelband converts your active energy to Fuelpoints. Now, from what I can tell these Fuelpoints are “burned” based on Nike’s movement algorithm. Basically, it can tell how much you move and the intensity of your movement and measures it on a point system. Set your Fuelpoint goal for the day and try to reach it.

I’ve found that 1,500 Fuelpoints is more than enough to make it through a day at the office. Another 1,500- 2,000 Fuelpoints equals a moderate to hard workout.  My 1/2 hour commute to work is good for about 130 Fuelpoints. So, as a working stiff with a gym membership, my average goal is 3,500 Fuelpoints per day.

For more information about how this works, check out A Blog to Watch.

Fuelband Sensitivity

I’m really impressed with the Fuelband’s ability to track the intensity and amount of my movement. One sleepless night I removed it from its charger (power lasts about 2 days), put it on and then fell asleep. The little bit of motion that happened while I was unconscious  registered on my activity report the next day. Of course, my 5K runs registered much, much higher on the scale.

Wearing the Fuelband

My hesitance to want the Fuelband was based off of a few bad reviews, one which said that it was flimsy and broke easily. This is soooo not the case. I’ve found it to be pretty sturdy and even water and sweat resistant. Not that I’ve taken it into the shower or anything- but it’s gotten through hand and dish washing.

Motivation

“If anything, it’s a good motivator.” That’s what the rep at the Apple Store told me, and he was right. (Hubbs did buy the Fuelband at the Apple Store.) On days when my goal was set too high, or when I decided to skip the gym, I had to make up for my inactivity in other ways. As a result, my house is very clean, my laundry is very folded, and my couch is less sat-on.) I move a ton more now that every movement counts toward something.

What Doesn’t Work

Yoga doesn’t work with the Fuelband. Not that it inhibits your ability to power pose, but it just doesn’t track your calories or Fuelpoints burned, even though you’ve worked hard. Since a chose my left and also dominant wrist on which to wear the Fuelband, I found that when I am holding things or writing, it doesn’t track that activity. It makes me wonder if my activity level or Fuelpoint conversion would change should I move it to my right hand.

photo (3) copyAchievements

I love the achievement factor of video games. They encourage you to push yourself farther and try new things. Nike+ awards achievements for Fuelpoints earned, goals reached and goals exceeded. An achievements addict like myself will reach for the sky.

What Definitely Works

Since the Fuelband encourages me to move more, I feel like I have more energy. I also have automatic validation for the work I have done. The reports on the Nike+ website and App let me SEE my activity throughout every day I have used the Fuelband.

So, the Nike Fuelband is definitely worth it! Get one and be my friend!