DOM da da da DOMS!!

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness? Yes, indeed.

Someday....

Someday….

My Boxing class did a number on my muscles. Pretty much everything between armpit to knees was sore. I say armpit deliberately – my arms, wrists and shoulders were fine. I think since I’ve been lifting some weights, I’ve been using those muscles. Everything else? Yowsa – not so much.

I took care of myself after the class, and I am glad I did. I had thought for one quick minute about walking to the gym, (it’s a 20 minute easy walk from my house,) but I didn’t know how tired I’d be afterwards – which turned out to be a good call. Not only was I a hot sweaty mess with a beet red face, I was so tired I didn’t even want to drive! I just sat in my car with the windows rolled down and sipped from my water bottle for awhile. Thank goodness I hadn’t walked!!

When I finally got home, I took a long shower and then put on some of my favorite summer comfy clothes. I had tons of yard work I wanted to do, but instead I made some great food and relaxed the rest of the day with a good book. I made sure I drank a lot of water throughout the day and even went to bed at a pretty reasonable time.

Every muscle that you use to do a squat? Sore. Inner thighs, glutes, and abs? Sore. Sore. Sore. It’s okay though. It feels like my body just took a highlighter and circled all the parts of me I haven’t been working or stretching enough. As long as I keep moving, (walking the dog, doing things around the house,) I feel pretty good. It’s only when I sit for extended periods that I stiffen up a bit. Unfortunately I have a desk job, so Monday was a little rough.

Will I go back? Of course. I am already signed up the Intro to Boxing Class (the one I should have taken first) for next Sunday!

I can’t wait!

Photo credit: Rikard Elofsson on flickr

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First Boxing Class!

gloves

These beauties are all mine.

“So, where are your gloves?” Bob, the friendly older gent sitting next to me on the concrete step asked. “Are they in your purse?”

“Noooooooo….” I said cautiously, “I thought this was the beginner’s class. Online it said you could borrow gloves for the first class.”

Bob and Carmen looked at each other. The three of us were sitting outside the gym waiting for the instructor. Bob slowly shook his head, and this is how I found out I had made a mistake. I thought Beginning Boxing was taught every Sunday. Nope. It is taught every other Sunday; this was a regular class. Bob looked me over, “You look like you are pretty fit. I am sure you will be fine.” Carmen looked like she had her doubts.

Then Joe walked up. I actually know Joe – he was on a freelance job I worked last summer. We reintroduced ourselves. As he shook hands with the others, I looked him over. Joe has huge shoulders and is built like a policeman, or a firefighter. I suddenly had the feeling that this was not going to be an easy class.

Then Joe and Carmen started talking about the instructor. (Hereafter known as: TI) “Hey,” she said, “you didn’t come out for his fight.” Joe shrugged and said something about getting busy and losing track of time. “He won,” she said, “but I think TI took it easy on the guy. They had a practice bout last week and he broke the guy’s nose. I think he felt bad.” Before I had a chance to think about that, TI appeared. He was a fairly normal fit looking guy. (I later found out he is a machine.) He waved and ushered us in.

I quickly went over and explained the situation. “Have you taken boxing before?” I shook my head. He explained that I really should take the Intro class first, so if I wanted to come back… I felt panicky. I have been looking forward to this for weeks. Maybe he saw something in my eyes, “Or you can give this a try and do what you can. It’s a small enough class that it would be okay. Normally this class is packed, but since it is Father’s Day, we’re pretty light.” I agreed, and he handed me a package of wrist wraps and some gloves. The wraps I would have to buy, the gloves I could borrow. TI quickly wrapped my wrists, explaining what he was doing while the rest of the class got ready.

The class was a mix of men and women. They were a motley group, some looked like they worked out a lot, others not as much. I had somehow gotten the impression that this type of boxing would be mostly women, probably because the two people I knew took it were women and from some disparaging comments made by a MMA fighter I talked to last fall. I like coed groups – they don’t trigger high school flashbacks like all-women groups do. Some in this group looked really tough, and I liked that too. I’d like to look like that myself someday.

Then we went and got the jump ropes… Let me just say right now, this class was far, far harder than I had imagined. We did circuits – one minute of floor work followed by one minute at the bag. The boxing portions were okay. I mainly focused on how to hold my body, how to do each move and remembering the sequences. I didn’t worry about how hard I hit or how fast. (A guy next to me was fairly slow but he hit the bag with a staggering amount of power. I did my best to ignore him.) The floor work though… Lord, the floor work.

Carmen ended up being my partner. While she was at the bag, I was on the floor and then we’d switch. In between she’d give me little bits of advice whenever she could, but before long we were both just panting and nodding to each other as we passed. TI would do a sequence at the bag and then hop down on the floor to show us what to do there. Each time I felt my face move into an expression of “You want me to do what??” A couple times Carmen caught it and laughed. But when it was my turn I gamely got on the floor with a big determined grin on my face and did my best.

I have to say, TI was awesome. He checked in on me regularly and helped me with everything. “Doing okay?” “Hanging in there?” He asked early on how I had heard about the place and I had told him a friend sent me. At one point he got down on the floor to help me with something and he quipped, “Still like your friend?”

I laughed, “Mostly!”

There was only one point, maybe midway in, when I thought “I am not going to make it.” I felt hot and sweaty and a little weak in the knees. Fortunately a moment later TI called break and I had a chance to catch my breath. After that, I was good to go. By “good to go” I do not in any way mean I was able to complete each set. I did what I could do, and by the end, I’ll admit, I rested more than I moved, but I gave it everything I had and then some. I haven’t tried that hard at anything in a long time. Even though there was a lot I couldn’t do, I still felt pretty good, and when TI came over and fist bumped my glove, I almost teared up a little in pride.

At the end of class Bob walked over. “Well, you didn’t puke, and you didn’t pass out. I think you should come back!” He chuckled a little and then said, “Although, by those rules I don’t know why they let me back.”

I will definitely be back. In fact, I went ahead and bought my first set of gloves.

 

A Different Point of View

Strong by Scott SwigartIt took me a little while to understand why the post: 10+ Reasons I Love My Ugly Body hit me so hard. I hadn’t read her blog before, I found it on a link from Fit, Feminist and (almost) Fifty on Friday. I’m pretty happy with the way my body looks, overall. So, it wasn’t that I felt particularly close to the author or that I completely identified with her, although like most women, I certainly have things about myself I wish I could change.

I think the reason her post put giant tears in my eyes and made me catch my breath was that it directly addressed something I have been dealing with myself. I’ve mentioned that I gained some weight back in January. I’ve been trying to ditch it, but I haven’t had much success. It’s been really upsetting to me, and I think I am starting to connect the dots as to why. It’s not really about the weight exactly – sure, I wish some of my clothes fit a little better and I liked the way I looked last summer, but a few extra pounds do not look bad on me. I’m upset not about the weight… I’m upset because it is effecting my confidence. I feel like I should be able to just do what I did before and it should come off. But it hasn’t.

This probably wouldn’t be a big deal, except that I have gone through several confidence busting incidents in the last few months. When you start to feel like you can’t even control your own body the way you did before, it eats at your faith in yourself. My weight loss and fitness was something I have been rather proud of, and lately, it’s been slipping. It’s hard when other things in my life are in the same boat. There is a lot of “what is wrong with me??” kind of thoughts going on.

But Andrea turns it around, she celebrates all the things that her body can do that it couldn’t do before. And seriously, look at some of the amazing things she can do! She is a badass!!I mentioned I just achieved a personal record in weight lifting the other day, and honestly, I feel like I have a lot more in me. What if I relax a little and instead of beating myself up, give myself a little credit for all that I can do now – and for all the goals I have in the future? How would that feel?

I think I’ll give that a try.

 

Photo credit: Scott Swigart via flickr

New Starts

bird on a branchI’ve been a little trepidatious about starting Stage 2 of my New Rules of Lifting for Women plan. There are two things making me nervous: 1) I’m not familiar with some of the exercises and 2) I’m not sure how long the routine is going to take, so I am not sure how to plan my morning. So, I did a “practice run”! I chose the lightest weights possible (an empty bar, for example,) and just ran through the motions. I did the full sets so I could see how long it took. I gave myself a half hour and I ran out of time. I’m sure I will be faster once I have done it a time or two, but that is all good to know. I’m always such a Nervous Nelly, but it is better that than not being able to lift because I pulled a muscle doing something stupid!

My doctor’s appointment is a week away. I’m hanging in there, but I am really looking forward to getting this process going. I am just so sensitive to everything. Someone asked me a question the other day – a perfectly innocent question with no negative connotations meant – but it spurred a long crying jag. I’m so tired of feeling this way.

….AGH! While in the middle of typing this, my doctor’s office called. They wanted to reschedule my appointment out to July 15th! Apparently my doctor is going to be gone next week. (I’ve decide to believe that she has an emergency trip to some disaster stricken location to provide aid to people in desperate need, because if she is rescheduling for a vacation I’ll scream. Doctors should know their schedules in advance.) I pretty much lost it on the phone with the receptionist, who fortunately, understood. She talked to the doc and managed to squeeze me in the following Monday at 7:45AM. She apologized for it being early – heck, I don’t care if it was 3:00AM if it meant I could start getting some help.

Okay, time for some chamomile tea…

Over the last week I have been doing an online health coaching dealie-do that my insurance company offers. It’s surprisingly useful, but some of the suggestions about eating habits and exercise make me grin. Things like “Try just going around the block once a day,” make me I giggle. I know it is really helpful for many people, but it is definitely a suggestion from a computer. C’mon website dealie-do – don’t you remember 5 screens ago when I filled in that I walk an hour a day 7 days a week? …and this is why computers will never replace human therapists.

 

 

 

 

You Are Not Alone

SunriseIt’s interesting what happens when you talk about your problems. It doesn’t take long before you find out you aren’t alone. I talked to a friend about my anxiety and setting up an appointment with my physician to get some help, and wouldn’t you know – they are going through almost the exact same thing. The reasons are different, but the feelings are very similar. The same thing happened when I went through a rough patch following my divorce a few years back. I made the decision to be open about how I was struggling with the whole thing – financially and emotionally. I was amazed at the outpouring of support and the number of people who came to talk to me privately and to say, “I’m going through something similar…”

Truthfully, I already feel a tinsie bit better. Just making the appointment helped. Talking to my friend also really helped. Plus Julian and I took a vacation day recently and actually relaxed. (So often I use my vacation time for things other than vacationing.) We spent time in our state’s beautiful parks, we grilled food, we looked at the water, we even took naps. It was perfect. And I did something else that makes me happy:

I signed up for a boxing class!

I’ve been wanting to learn how to box for awhile. I have some of the equipment and a lovely heavy bag, but I’ve wanted some actual training. I found out recently that a local fitness center has a boxing classes and heard two glowing reviews about the place, (one from one of my friends who does not mince words when she doesn’t like something!) The Center had a Groupon for 50% off drop-in classes recently so I can check it out with a minimum of risk. You have to take their basic boxing training class before you can go to the regular classes, so I signed up for one on the 15th!

I also have a friend who is teaching some hooping classes. I would love to figure out how to get to those as well. I just need to figure out if I can make the times work.

I’m hoping some of the changes I am choosing to make will help. I feel like part of my life is in a rut and I don’t know how to get out. Actually, take that back – I know exactly how to get out, I just don’t have the energy, motivation or confidence I need right now. Hopefully, however, I am on the right track of getting it all back.

 

 

Asking for Help

Iblue stars really liked this article on GoKaleo about weight loss and self compassion: Self-compassion: an Excuse to be Fat? No. It fits in with some things I’ve been thinking about myself. I’ve mentioned a few times over the past couple of months that I’ve been under some stress. After a gentle nudge from my boyfriend, I think it is time to do something about it. I set up an appointment with my doctor. I am hoping to get a referral to a therapist so I can work some of this stuff out.

I’m a pretty introspective gal. I’m not afraid of the long look inward, but sometimes it is good to have a guide. I was in therapy once before and it was incredibly helpful. I am good at asking myself tough questions, but the beauty of a great therapist is that they ask the questions you never think to ask. They challenge your beliefs, sometimes in ways that seem so obvious (in retrospect) that it is annoying, but usually really helpful.

I’m feeling a bit stuck in my life, like certain parts are in a rut. I know what I have to do to change those parts… and yet I don’t do them. Something is holding me back. I feel weighted down, and this weight is keeping me from moving forward. (Or moving forward at a glacial pace.) It’s causing anxiety and frustration.

I’ve been trying to get back to my healthy eating and exercising, and that does really help. As I type this, I am munching on a simple salad made from organic lettuce and greens plucked straight from my garden. I spritzed on some lemon juice and it takes like summer. These simple pleasures feed my heart, belly and soul. Lifting weights (hit a new personal record last week!) gives me added confidence and assurance. I’m not running off the rails, I just need a hand with my map.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Does Meat Change Your Mood?

I had a strange thing happen to me.stormy clouds by Kristine Paulus

I’ve been feeling deeply stressed. It’s gotten so bad that this morning when I was out walking the dog, there were tears in my eyes. It was a beautiful, gorgeous day and I was out doing something I love. I should have been happy.

Adding to my unhappiness (although certainly not the cause of it) is my weight. I was comfortable with my weight all through the end of last year and up into the New Year. I sailed through Christmas feeling great about where I was. However, at some point after January, things started slipping. I’m working on it. I’ve mentioned that I am getting back to exercising and lifting weights and so forth. I’m not talking about a lot of weight, roughly 7 pounds from where I was, so I decided mid-May to give myself a little challenge: Get back to where I was by the end of June. Seven pounds in 6 weeks seemed doable. Here we are, two weeks into my challenge… and I now I have 10 pounds to lose.

That’s right, I went up 3. It’s not the end of the world, but it is discouraging. I’ve been tweaking my diet, trying to find my groove again. One of the things I’ve been doing is trying to eat for the occasion. The idea is simple – I usually know what my day is going to be like, so I should eat for that. Just like you pick out the right clothes for the right activity, I wanted to try eating for the day. If I was lifting weights, up the protein. If I was going to sit on my butt at work all day and then sit some more at night when I went to the theatre, then eat lighter. Going out with friends? Eat really healthy during the day so I could blow off a little steam at night without terrible consequences. It seemed perfect.

It was terrible.

I don’t know why I doesn’t work for me, but it doesn’t. It seems so logical! But my body hates it. In fact, I didn’t realize quite how much it was backfiring until today.

One of the things I have cut down is my amount of protein. I haven’t cut it out completely, but I’ve been eating less unless I know I am going to work out. On a rest days I’ve been concentrating on counting calories instead. So, I get home from the dog walk, tears in eyes, feeling like I just want to go back to bed. It’s a workday though, so that isn’t an option. I go to make a light breakfast when it suddenly hits me – I want a protein shake. I’m craving it. I make one, no big deal. Along with it I have some meat and some mushrooms.

And almost instantly I feel better.

Twenty minutes after my high protein breakfast I had a wave of energy. I felt wonderful. It wasn’t a slight “lifting of the mood” it was a tsunami of “Let’s DO this!” It was great! And it lasted, I felt better all day. I’m still stressed, but I’m not feeling that upset about it.

A coworker suggested that there are vitamins in the shake that might have helped with mood. I’m also hormonal, so I thought the iron might be helping. Then I did something I’ve been meaning to do for a few weeks. I hopped onto My Fitness Pal and looked up my food logs for last November.

Last November I was as slim as I have ever been, I was feeling good, and I wasn’t exercising all that much. (It had gotten cold and I wasn’t doing any outdoor cardio at all.) I have mixed feelings when people say “You know how to lose weight, just go back and do what you were doing,” because I feel that just because something worked when I was 170, doesn’t mean it will work at 140, however, I can’t argue the logic. It’s pain to look at past food logs on your phone (which is usually how I use My Fitness Pal,) but I finally sat down on desktop computer and looked it up.

In November, I was eating high protein breakfasts every. single. day. I had a lighter lunches and a very simple dinners. The goal was to eat a gram of protein for each pound of my weight, and to eat over half of those grams in breakfast. This is what my body loves – and this is the exact opposite of what I have been doing.

I am not saying this would work well for everyone. I think different people have different metabolisms and react to different foods in diverse ways. My body seems to react well to this – not just on the physical side, but on the mental side as well. Fair enough, I am smart enough to take the hint. I’ll take all the help I can get. Guess I’ll be thawing out steaks for breakfast again!

Photo credit: Kristine Paulus via flickr

 

Weights

Weight lifter by Rennett StoweWhen I stopped working out, I started gaining weight. Not surprising, but it didn’t happen the way I thought it would.

It started when it got cold, really cold. We had the nastiest winter we’ve had in decades. Slowly my motivation for outside activities died. I thought I would spend the winter snowshoeing or cross country skiing, or even the crazy of all crazies – winter running. I forgot a very important piece, however: Newton’s First Law. “An object at rest tends to stay at rest.” True for physics, true for my butt on the couch. The couch seemed like such a good option, especially after the morning I was walking the dog and my eyelashes froze together.

Yes, I kept walking Hermes. Thank heavens I have a pooch – and a pooch that loves the snow. He is the one thing that kept me moving. Even as my running shoes collected dust, I added cleats to my winter boots. I upped our walking from roughly an hour a day to an hour and fifteen, and for the most part, kept to it… but that was all I kept up on.

I had planned to keep lifting weights, I mean, why wouldn’t I? It wasn’t like I do that outside! Except for something I did that was fairly smart when I started lifting: instead of relegating the weight bench to the basement or spare bedroom, I put it in my library. Most people would call my library a living room – it has books, of course, but also my big comfy couch and my television. It’s the place I hang out in the most, and since I have always wanted a library since I was a little girl, (and never dreamed about having my own living room) it’s the library. And that’s where I put my weights. I see them every single day.

Until Christmas… because the weight bench sits in my bay window, which the same place I put my Christmas tree. Out went the weight bench to the front room. It’s kind of a formal parlor and unheated in the winter, but I made a really great work out space in there, complete with a space heater. No go. The minute the bench was out of site, it was out of mind. I moved it back in January, but by then the routine was broken. It sat, gathering dust, (along with those running shoes.)

Here’s the interesting thing – I was able to maintain my weight beautifully through Christmas without running, biking or kayaking. It was when I stopped lifting weights that I saw weight start to come on. Not a lot, not all at once, but it steadily creeped up. Finally I had enough and in April I started lifting again. The weight isn’t off, but I feel so much better and I can really see the change in my appearance. My jawline is tightening and the cheekbones are starting to show. I’ve come to the conclusion that my body is telling me that it loves when I lift weights.

Now all I have to do is listen to it.

 

Photo credit: Rennett Stowe on flickr

Mamma Got a Brand New Hoop!

Guess what I bought myself?

A custom made hoop!

This is my new beauty, outfitted in the “peppermint” color scheme. I purchased it from the same lovely lady I took the hoop workshop from this fall. Last night I gave it a whirl. (HA!) I promised myself I would spend at least 10 minutes practicing. To make sure I didn’t give up too early, I set the timer on my phone for the 10 minutes. Not only did I not give up, I went on for another 10 after the timer went off!

At first I dropped it… a lot. After a bit though, it started coming back to me. At the end of 20 minutes I was ready to start trying to take steps while hooping.

Miserable failure. Once I shift my hips to take a step, the hoop hits the ground. That’s okay, it’s all part of the process. My hooping instructor could walk all around the room, keeping the hoop going the whole time. I am sure that in time, I can take a step or two!

I also ordered a new pair of ice cleats. I lost both of mine in snowbanks this last month. I’m determined to get back to exercising, at least a little every day. I need to keep moving!

 

Planning My Life – Planning My Career

signs of the futureTwo nights ago I got out a notebook and began jotting down what I want in a future career. I thought about all the things I really like about my present job… and all the things I wish were different. It was a pure brainstorming exercise – I dreamed big and didn’t try to censor myself at all.

I think people (especially us women) tend to narrow goals down to what seems “reasonable.” We don’t allow for “crazy ideas” like, oh, having something within walking distance that also pays a good salary – we expect to have to make sacrifices; one good thing or the other. We don’t allow that we really can have everything. Normally, I’m a master at this – I call it being practical or being realistic, but really, I’m scared to go for broke. Not this time! I am determined to just throw it all out there into the Universe and see what comes back. My final list was a full notebook page long!

After that, I started filling in the following pages. I’m meditating on each of the items I listed. Okay, I want “opportunities for growth” but what does that really mean? I’m putting thought into it and trying to define it for myself. If I start interviewing, I’m going to be evaluating the companies just as much as they are evaluating me. In order to be able to do that, I need to know exactly what I want in a clear and concrete way. Does that make sense?

I’ve also started fleshing out my resume. It’s a lot of work when you haven’t looked for a job for 15 years! In order not to get overwhelmed, I’m tackling it from two directions: first, in the same notebook, I started writing down my biggest accomplishments at work. I’m making a list of all the things I am most proud of – and those will become points on the resume. Secondly, I’m allotting just one half hour a day to work on the actual resume document. If I can work on it for 30 minutes and then walk away, I won’t feel frustrated. Last night I worked on it for awhile, then closed and saved the document. A couple hours later when I was laying in bed, some new thoughts came to me on what I want to include. I think that system is going to make it a lot easier than trying to dive in an knock the thing off all at once.

So, that’s where I am at! My focus on losing weight does seem to be paying off, I have dropped a couple of pounds. Now I just need to keep moving ahead!