Category Archives: running

I Was RUNNIN’!

If this post title didn’t immediately make you think of this scene from Forrest Gump, you need to reevaluate your life. Also, if you don’t find this scene to be incredibly inspiring, you need to go away. 

Today, ladies and gentlemen, after nearly a solid year of not being able to run AT ALL (due to a pinched nerve from pregnancy), I ran a SEVEN MINUTE MILE. 

That’s right. I haven’t run in ten months and today I kicked it out like it was no big. Originally I told my husband it was a 7.5 minute mile, but I forgot I walked for 45 seconds as a warm up to my warm up, so really it was more of a 6.75 minute mile, but whatevs. I’m freaking stoked about this. 

There will be more things about mini Gwinn and deep thoughts by Jack Handy in the near future, but today, I’m celebrating the fact that I ran and bumped my weights. 

Have a good Friday! 

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Get Skinny Workouts Ad Nauseum

Hey! Happy late Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s, etc! I have been super out of the loop lately. There have been so many ideas on my mind, but finding the time to write seems increasingly impossible with mini Gwinn wandering everywhere and getting into everything. Seriously. This morning he was slamming a cabinet door into the oven just because he could. It kind of happened overnight, but now I have a wild child toddler, and I’m a busy B (yes, “B”, not “bee”.).

I digress. This topic has been weighing on my mind for weeks, literally. It has bugged me so much that I finally locked mini Gwinn in our computer room with my coffee so I could sit down and knock this one out before I adventure out to the gym. Get ready, it’s not gonna be pretty, but let’s hope I get the message across.

If you’ve ever walked by a magazine rack at the grocery store or looked at Pinterest for more than thirty seconds, you’ve seen those absurd “do this lame workout for seven days and watch the pounds drop!” claims, all accompanied by an image of a ridiculously toned/ skinny chick in a bikini or less. To anyone who will be duped by this, please read these words carefully: that chick did not do this lame seven day workout to look like that. No one did this lame seven day workout and immediately looked amazing. Please, put down the Prevention magazine, stop pinning those “inspiring workouts and words” to your fitness board, and take a few steps back from this entire concept of “get fit quick”. Just like getting fat doesn’t happen over the course of a week, getting fit doesn’t happen in 168 hours.As harsh as it may sound, dough doesn’t transform to granite over the course of a week, or sometimes even eight weeks. It takes a lot of time and a lot (I mean A LOT) of sweat to melt fat and gain visible muscle tone. While a week’s worth of working out will make you feel better, give you more energy, increase your appetite (that is a good thing!) and help you sleep better, it won’t magically give you a bikini body for next week’s vaycay. Your best you comes from dedication to improving your health, not attempting to mimic a rail thin model’s body or society’s idea of “beautiful” (unless you happen to fall into that naturally, and if you do, yay for you!) .

In that same line of thought, I have to admit that I was under the impression that “diets” had fallen out of favor with the gen pub. I could not have been more wrong. Seriously, my reaction to seeing “follow such and such celebrity’s three day smoothie diet to fit into your skinny jeans”pins/ magazines was, “HOLY CRAP DO PEOPLE BELIEVE THIS STUFF?!” If all someone consumes is fruit smoothies for a weekend, s/he may fit into skinny jeans, but s/he will put those on to run to the nearest McDonald’s to indulge in a Big Mac.  Healthy consumption of lean proteins, veggies and lots of water as a way of life, not a temporary starvation diet, will be a better fuel for working out/ health improvement. It makes me sad when I see women who are desperate to feel better grasping at hollow ideas for health.

I’ve heard of many women starving themselves and then running on the treadmill for forty five minutes. If anything, this teaches your body to store up any calories consumed because it thinks it will never be fed AND has to endure major cardio. That’s pretty much the opposite of what any (good) personal trainer would tell someone.

My advice: 1. Learn your body fat percentage, not your body mass index (BMI). Your BMI doesn’t tell much at all about your health. By that same token, your weight doesn’t tell you much about your health. How much fat you’re carrying around? That’s WAY more telling. Gyms will measure your body fat percentage for free. Check out what the numbers mean at Health Check Systems.
2. Eat. A lot. a 130 lb. woman looking to lose fat and maintain/ gain muscle tone should consume at least 50 grams of protein a day. I say “at least” because dietary professionals will suggest as low as 45 grams a day and as high as a 1 to 1 ratio of pounds of weight to grams of protein. That seems impossible to most women, especially given the fact that the average woman consumes around 20 grams a day. Protein will keep you fuller for longer than simple carbohydrates and give you the energy you need to build muscle/ lose fat. Vegetables and chicken, vegetables and fish, whatever your poison for meat- this combo keeps you full. Avoid simple carbohydrates like the devil (this includes: bread, cereal, rice, cupcakes, cake, cookies [my weaknesses], etc). If you just can’t live without grains, try quinoa and oatmeal, both complex carbohydrates that take longer for your body to break down and keep you full longer. Kelly the Kitchen Kop gives insight with an interview from Dr. Davis on the dangers of modern wheat and other genetically modified grains. I’m not pushing “anti-carbohydrates”, veggies have carbs too (say what?), I’m pushing “anti-genetically modified grains” here.
3. Don’t limit yourself to cardio. Weight lifting and body weight/ resistance exercises are going to help you burn fat more quickly and efficiently than just cardio (unless you are morbidly obese). Another myth to these crappy “get skinny quickly” workouts is that you can target weight loss to fat in certain areas of your body, like “7 Days to Lean Arms!”.  If that were the case, all my body fat would be in my boobs and my thighs would look like pillars of marble wrapped in skin. While you CAN target muscles during workouts, you can’t target fat, which is why mixing up a workout is paramount to actual fat loss/ muscle gain. The best fat burning technique I’ve tried- interval training. I’ve pushed this on other blog posts in the past, and I’m pushing it again. My current fave? Turbulence Training, as seen on the Greatist.

I suppose what I’m preaching here is the opposite of what many women do, which is “starve and go easy at the gym”. I say, spoil yourself by eating a ton of yummy, healthy food, and abuse your body like crazy at the gym. Go at it until your clothes are soaked and you can barely walk out the doors. These three day diets and seven day fitness routines aren’t going to cut it; quick fixes NEVER do. Dedication to fitness and a true lifestyle change in how one approaches food will result in a total health and body transformation. It’s pretty obvious I’m no personal trainer or health expert, but I am passionate about my personal health. This makes me seem like a self indulgent psycho to some, but my health matters for the sake of my family (and my sanity). If you’re anything like me, when you feel better, everything seems better, more accomplish-able, less insurmountable. Plus, I’m a lot less likely to Hulk out on someone when I’ve burned all my excess energy (read: rage) at the gym. It boils down to the fact that I just want people I care about to be healthy and happy.

So, in the coming weeks, or whenever I find time to sit down and write a bit, I’m going to start working on the reverse side of “Being Kind is Hard”. Every post for the next several weeks will include a glowing review of someone I love in my life. It will serve as a very public way (with his/ her consent) to display my appreciation, and hopefully spur kindness in myself and others.

❤ to you!


Steppin’ Up on Workin’ Out

Lately, with the past few weeks being especially erratic, going to the gym has been really (REALLY) difficult. As a result, I’ve noticed in the mirror that I look a little… mushy. My abs are no longer as defined as they were, and my muffin tops look like they’re freshly baked. When I was getting to the gym regularly, my focus was usually on one or two major muscle groups a day, which put me at the gym right around 30-40 minutes. That worked well for me, when I was going 5-6 times a week. With the crazy car situation, starting a new (wonderful) job and squeezing in training during the past week, going to a wedding (so much fun- congrats, you two!) which somehow put Captain Laser Pants and I out of commission from exhaustion for a few days, and our little guy starting to cruise around the house (aka using furniture to walk), life has been a little hectic.

I needed to step up my game for riz at the gym. With lots of new tunes (mostly seriously hardcore stuff that makes me strut around like a tough girl) and some new exercises, I was ready to spend over an hour at the gym every day I go. So far so good, even mini- Gwinn is doing really well at the gym nursery (of course they love him there, he’s darling). I’ve been getting there 3-4 times a week for the past two weeks and I’m already seeing a difference. Below is what I did today, be prepared to be OMAZED. That’s right, o-mazed. I should say that since I’m experiencing some pretty annoying pubic bone pain (pretty sure I have a pinched nerve, awesome) and both my knees are prone to giving out, I modified my routine A LOT. Like, no more running (sad face), easy on the leg press machine, and easy on the squats. Ch-ch-ch-check it out.

Warm up: 4-5 minutes on bike at a mid-range resistance

Tricep extensions 20 lbs x 10 reps
Tricep kickbacks 15 lbs x 10 reps
Bent over rows 20 lbs x 10 reps
Repeat above 3 times
Standing side ab crunch 25 lbs x 10 reps, each side, 2 sets total
Every other day: bench press ~40 lbs x 10 reps, 3 sets

Calf raises 120 lbs x 12 reps, 3 sets
Leg extensions for quads 70 lbs x 10 reps, 3 sets (gotta go easy on my knees!)
Leg extension for glutes/ back of thighs 70 lbs x 10 reps, 3 sets

Pull Ups – 30 total with ~60 lbs. assistance

Hip Abduction machine (inner thigh) 90 lbs x 10 reps, 3 sets
Hip Abduction machine (outer thigh) 70 lbs x 10 reps, 3 sets
Lat Pull machine 90 lbs x 10 reps, 3 sets
Chest Press machine 75 lbs x 10 reps, 3 sets
Every other day: Leg press machine 150 lbs x 8 reps, 2 sets

Wall bridges x 10 reps, 2 sets each side
Side crunch/ toe touches  x 10 reps, 2 each side
Weighted crunches, side to side and middle 12 lbs x 18 reps
Army style push ups x 5 reps, 3-4 sets
Side leg raises (for inner thigh) 12 lbs x 15 reps, 4 sets each side
Every other day: plank, 20 seconds, 3 total (I freaking hate planks)

Cool down- walking on treadmill 3 minutes, lots of stretching after

It’s intense, but seriously, two weeks ago I could only do five Army- style push- ups. Now I can do 20.

In other news, here’s a picture of Captain Laser Pants and myself at the wedding:

We didn’t mean to match, we just both like blue.

Mini- Gwinn is in the Gerber Baby Photo Contest on facebook. You can vote for him, his ID# is 317.

 

Our little guy likes blue, too.

And, last but not least, I finally have new glasses. Which are also blue.

“I’m blue, da ba di ba di da…”

 


“First World Problems” is a Stupid Phrase and More

Hello my jolly rogers! I took an unexpected hiatus from everything except living like a hermit (which I shall detail below). I trust you all lived with baited breath as you eagerly awaited my next post. If you really did, then may I suggest some social activities for you, perhaps a riveting game of BINGO or curling?

Ahem. Onto other things. So, after my “Overwhelmed” post, I didn’t think things would/ could be harder, but guess what! Things got harder. Mini Gwinn caught a bug the very day we went back to the gym, and promptly shared with me. The virus, as I was told by his pediatrician, would run its course within a week and leave us unscathed. So, naturally, a few days later when my throat was to the point that I couldn’t swallow or speak, the baby and I spent the day at my doctor’s (oh waiting room joy with a wildly active baby who wants to crawl everywhere!) only to find out that the virus had evolved into a heinous sinus infection. So we spent another week away from the gym, but we were both sick, so it wasn’t a major loss. While this was going on, our AC decided to run six degrees higher than its setting. This also happened to be the week that we were topping out at 105-110 degrees in the lovely (read: miserable) South. With multiple calls to maintenance/ AC and no real fix, a sick mom and recovering baby, we were on our way to misery town. Saturday I started feeling better, so we packed up the baby and headed to Costco for some good old fashioned American grocery shopping and sample eating (plus, the store was better air conditioned than our home, so it was more comfortable). Seeing that our radiator reserve tank was low, I added some (ok, way too much) water to the tank. While we were shopping, mini Gwinn peed through his Costco diaper (we don’t usually use those, and now I remember why) and ALL OVER my shirt. Naturally, he and I ran to the car while Captain Laser Pants finished the shopping. On the way home, our (NEW!) car began to overheat. We stopped in the ghetto between Costco and our home (why there is a section 8 stretch of hood between two lovely communities I will never know- good job, Atlanta) and the (NEW!!) car decided to die, right there in the parking lot of a grocery store, quite dramatically, I might add. So, it’s 104 degrees, we have meat and frozen veggies in the back quickly losing their cold temperature, the baby’s sweating, CLP is dripping with sweat as he troubleshoots the vehicle, and I’m freaking out because I think I caused the whole issue.

Fast forward to today- Wednesday- and the car still isn’t revived. CLP has been a super hero in his efforts to repair every aspect of the engine that comes to mind, to no avail. This man took the first few days off this week so he could rest (rest? What rest?), instead he’s been sweating it out in our garage trying to figure out what’s wrong with our beautiful new Jeep. He has spent days consoling me and telling me there is no possible way I could cause this bizarre, unexplained engine failure. Things he’s replaced/ investigated so far: camshaft sensor, crankshaft sensor, fuel pressure, battery, fuel injector and no codes. Suffice it to say, he’s running out of ideas. We haven’t been to the gym since the day the baby contracted the virus, and I may start sticking forks in my eyes.

It’s been a hard couple of weeks. On Pinterest (the place where my soul and self esteem go to die) I saw one of those retarded “text as motivational decoration” signs that said, “There are many who are happier with less than you”. Woo- freaking- hoo. I’m so glad they’re happy. And if it makes me seem evil for saying that “first world problems” is a stupid phrase, then I’m evil. Firstly- I like creature comfort. And my husband and I work darn hard to ensure said creature comforts. And yes, our country is the best of the best (if you don’t agree, go somewhere else), and yes, Americans are mostly spoiled. Are all the issues I complained about above first world problems? Yeah. But it’s the only world I’ve lived in, so I’m just calling it “my world problems”. Of course I have sympathy for those in need (truly, I do), but I also don’t have guilt for living in America. People that suffer from “white guilt”, “wealth guilt”, “having AC guilt” and any other kind of guilt for being born into a certain circumstance shouldn’t push their guilt on others. Go be guilty all on your own.

Moving on.

Rant number two (hehe, “number two”) for this post: women without children who talk about pregnancy and post- pregnancy. Shut up, or I will put a boot in your mouth. You don’t know what you’re talking about. Unless you’re an OB (which they never are), you only know from theory and watching what it looks like. You don’t know from practice, and you sure as heck don’t know what it’s like post- pregnancy. Stop putting up “how to tighten your post pregnancy belly skin” tips, stop suggesting ways to breastfeed your four year old, and stop pretending to have any idea what It’s like to live the life of a mother for even ten seconds. You deserve to have a boot in your mouth.

 

Favorite comic strip of all time- Calvin and Hobbes. Chances are, you know some people that should line up for this, too.

Ok, phew. Rants over. I promise I’m not in a horrible mood! To all of you who are happy to celebrate your first world problems/ spoils/ wonderments of life- Happy Fourth of July! Even if you’re a noncontributing zero, like myself, I’m sure you still appreciate the hard earned freedoms our country has.

I promise PROMISE the next blog will be better written and about something more thoughtful and thought provoking. This was just a “stream of consciousness/ I’m still here” post. Topics I’m mulling over: women with higher than average testosterone, pornography and modern media in marriage, the one article of clothing I own, and more. Thoughts? Ideas?


Overwhelmed

Typically when I sit down to write a blog I have a vague idea of what I want to say without any sort of “pre- writing”. Most of what I write isn’t polished, nor are there multiple versions before the “finished product” is posted to the interwebs. Today is no different. Honestly, I wasn’t planning on saying anything today.

But, readers, today I am overwhelmed.

It’s no small secret that I handle minor stresses badly. Having a baby? No big. Dishes in the sink? My face could explode. Running late for an appointment? I may blow up the house. Clearly, I should be working on how to manage stress in my life. Normally I work out until I just don’t have the energy to care. Take that away and I actually create problems, usually making a stress mess from nothing.

I haven’t been to the gym in a week. For some that’s not a big deal at all (“Hey, I haven’t been to the gym in 35 years, yuk yuk”), for others that’s mind blowing.

I may actually develop super powers and blow up our entire block because of the pent up energy I have.

It’s not out of laziness, I can assure you. With mini Gwinn’s changing nap routine (he’s growing up, after all- he said his first word on Father’s Day!), the usual time I go to the gym has shifted from the late morning to not at all. The childcare is only open until 1 PM (getting out of the house by noon is next to impossible with his new nap time that he’s selected), so by the time he’s up, fed, changed and I’ve changed clothes after having food thrown at me, it’s 12:45. Captain Laser Pants asked why I didn’t just do what I had planned and ignore the little dude’s nap. “Just put him in the car and go,” I believe, were his exact words.

Any parent knows that an interrupted nap is worse than no nap. To his credit, CLP doesn’t usually see our baby in daytime hours during the week- he wouldn’t know what a napless mini Gwinn looks like. Of course I didn’t follow his suggestion. I’m giving our baby what he needs. So after figuring out the new nap time and duration, I cleverly planned our morning around it and accommodated for the time. We were ready for the gym at our new time and BAM- I couldn’t find my key. Ten minutes later I asked CLP if he had it. He found it in his pocket. At work. Our new car has one key with a broken ring hole- it has been lost several times since the purchase of said vehicle. This minor stress has been accepted and isn’t really an issue. What compounded my reaction was that, after a week of no gym, I also realized that our little guy needs his acid reflux medicine, we’re out of baby wipes, and I need more vegetables to make solid food for the kid. Bonus- I dropped a heavy muffin tin on my toes this morning, my little guy has thrown up on me twice since 10 AM, and I have the caffeine shakes. Don’t get me started on the lack of dinner for tonight.

I’m a little overwhelmed today.

Being a stay at home mom can be overwhelming. I have a house that I can barely keep neat, let alone clean and organized. The three dogs tend to get in all kinds of trouble throughout the day. The baby has discovered new and unusual ways to cause injury to me (he flails his arms in the general direction of my cyst- covered face and leans away from my body, making my arm go numb from holding him). Some days are hard. Some days I want to throw bricks at glass panes. Some days I am amazed at the accumulation of laundry that has developed in the course of three hours. Some days I want to run full speed off the Empire State Building.

Image

He’s totally worth the stress.

At 6 PM (when my little guy has chosen to make his bed time) I squish my little man up against my chest, feed him, sing him a lullaby, and stroke his hair until he falls asleep peacefully in my arms. Whether or not the day has defeated me, the evening brings a precious peace that feels like melting into a hot bath filled with lavender oil (Wow, that sounds lovely right now). I sneak into his nursery several times between 6:30 PM and when I finally fall asleep just so I can steal a kiss or stare lovingly at my sleeping child.

Funny- even imaging it has calmed my frayed nerves. I suppose it’s all about putting into perspective the paces through which we put ourselves every day. Keeping in mind the obstacles life throws at us, being overwhelmed is normal, nay, expected. Accepting that every hour is different and rising to the challenge of a new day? That’s part of being a mom.

Now, about that lavender bath…