Friday, April 16, 2010

This is Why I Train

If we are friends on fb, then you are already aware of my latest crush - Cross Fit!  A friend introduced us and it was love at first clean and press.  It has become such an addiction that I am rearranging my days so I can fit in my workout every day.   I have been teaching "aerobics" or group fitness off and on for 22 years and have had free access to some of the best gyms around the country.  I have always known I should add weight training to my regimen,  but alas, I am a cardio junkie and just never felt like lifting.  Well, last year I turned 40 and what some refer to as my midlife crisis, I call "a year of trying new things".  My hair is blonder,  I lost 12 lbs, learned to wake board, wake surf, snowboard and skateboard.  So when a friend told me about this new killer workout that she was doing, I thought it would be a good idea to try something new again.  Cross Fit is, in my opinion "Marine meets stuntman meets olympic weightlifter".  It is functional training to make you stronger by pushing your physical and mental limits.   I walk in any given day and look at the W.O.D. (workout of the day) and immediately say to myself "I'll never get through this.  This is going to be way too hard.  I can't lift that much".  But the coach says "go" and that's what I do, I go.  Before I know it I am gritting my teeth, grunting, sweating, huffing and pushing myself beyond anything I'd thought possible.  In only 6 workouts I could flex my thigh and identify 3 of the 4 quadriceps muscles.  I am not interested in actual body building for the sake of having muscle to look at, but rather I want my body to be able to perform all the tasks that are demanded of it without fatigue and injury.  I want to pick up a sleeping kid, run up the stairs, move furniture, bring in the groceries 6 bags at a time, go out dancing for 4 hours and yes, carry a 40 lb basket of laundry upstairs without needing a nap afterward.  This is my life and this is why I train.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Push of a Button

I should have realized that S C Johnson wasn't targeting the sharpest market when they thought it necessary to include the following on their bullet list of directions for Scrubbing Bubbles Automatic Shower Cleaner: "Not a body wash".   I am admitting to you all here today, that, "yes, I bought it".   Why is the "easy button" so attractive?  I fall for it too often thinking that it just might really make my life easier.  So I hang the Scrubbing Bubbles Automatic Shower Cleaner on my shower head and take a shower (fighting the urge to use it as a body wash - ha).   When the shower is over, I simply push the button and in 15 seconds, the sprayer starts coating the inside of my shower with cleanser.  It sprays for about 5 seconds.  My 4 year old son watches with delight while I realize I just spent $12 on this thing so it would spray for me?  So it saved me 5 seconds of spraying and I still have to get in and rinse it off.  Trust me I waited day after day to see if it would clean itself (as the directions stated "no rinsing, no scrubbing").  Finally I just got in there and cleaned it the old fashioned way.  It is just so pleasing to hear things like "Spray and Walk Away" and "Fix it and Forget it".  On that note, I also bought the dishwasher gel packs that have a rinse agent built it.  Now, I actually liked those little dishwashing pillow pouches but are they really easier than pouring some liquid or powder into the little hole?  Not really, but they are way cuter!  It wasn't until I bought a cheaper version of the pre-packaged dishwasher pouches that I realized my quest for making my life easier was getting out of hand.  The cheaper version also came in pre measured packets, but these ones didn't disolve, they had to be unwrapped; and they didn't unwrap easily.  When I finally got the little bugger out and dropped it in it's place I realized that it looked like the chunk of dishwasher detergent that would get stuck in the bottom of the box during the humid summers in NY.  I just paid extra to have someone turn my detergent into the hardened chunks I used to try to avoid.  Somebody help me!  Now there is the Bounce Bar calling my name.  Instead of spending, oh let's see, half a second getting a dryer sheet into the dryer, you just mount this bar on the inside of your dryer and never think about dryer sheets again.  The ad has women telling how much time they save and how they can use all the help they can get when it comes to laundry, blah blah blah.  Saving a milisecond does not count as helping me with the laundry.  When it can sort, fold and put away, then you have a product (or is that a maid?).  I am making a vow not to buy this thing, but feel free to pass on information about a product that really does help, and really does save time and/or money.

Friday, September 18, 2009

This Could Get Dirty

Today, I went to a craft store to buy some ribbon.  While perusing the enormous selection of spools, looking for just the right blue with a pattern that wasn't girly,  I was quite pleased to find that my 4 year old son had found a way to occupy himself.  There he lay on the floor, sprawled on his belly, looking under the display shelf.  He would occasionally report to me the things he'd found; "mom, there's a round blue thing", to which I would reply, "what do you think it is?" and "do you think you can reach it?"  I realize my parenting is often unconventional, but nonetheless, we were both happily engaged in our errand.   It seemed obvious, due to the fact that I was conversing with my child, that I  was aware that  he was indeed on the floor.  It was also obvious, judging by the few disapproving glances that I got from the antibacterial moms, that we were breeching the norm.  With that said, it wasn't a big surprise to me when a saleslady walked by and said to me, (by way of my son) "it's really dirty down there fella, you don't want to play on the floor".  I just smiled and said "yeah, I know,... it's ok".  As long as we weren't in anyone's way, I didn't see anything wrong with my son exploring the underworld of the ribbon aisle.  The opinion of the saleslady was, however, different from my own. I was obviously putting him in danger because she came back down the aisle to restock some spools, and in passing, said to me (directly this time), "you know, the sweeper comes through the aisles but doesn't really reach under there", motioning to where my health hazard child was now squeezing both arms and half of his face.  I continued to respond with a simple, "oh,... ok... thanks", knowing that I am the odd ball; I am on the path less traveled.  I don't expect others to agree with me, but I fall into the school of thought that we need some dirt in our lives to challenge and strengthen our immune systems (see link below).   By this time, I had found 2 suitable spools of ribbon and was ready to go.  Sensing that I had not yet realized the danger in which I was placing my son, and thinking I would probably encourage my baby to lick his hands clean after getting up, the saleslady made one final trip down my aisle.  This time she didn't even have ribbon to restock - she was coming just for me.   Jason and I were up and moving toward the cashier as she called out, "make sure he washes his hands, the floor is a very dirty place".  I smiled and waved goodbye feeling smugly confident that after restocking all of those spools that other people had touched with their coughing, sneezing, nose picking, bathroom going hands, she should be far more concerned about washing her own hands.
Disclaimer:  I do believe it is prudent to wash one's hands often, and I don't encourage touching things that look or smell gross.  A little dust or dirt however, doesn't bother me one bit. 

Monday, September 14, 2009

Exercise of the Month - September

Hamstring/Glute Bridge
Begin laying on the floor with your feet resting on the ball.  Keeping your hands on the floor for stabilizaiton, lift your hips off of the floor.  Hold for a count of 4, then draw the heels toward your glutes while keeping your hips off of the floor.  Hold for a count of 4.  Contract your abs working on core stabilization in both positions.  Contract your hamstrings and glutes as you draw in.  For an extra challenge, raise your hands off of the floor.  Your abs and hamstrings will tell you how many reps to do.  

Thursday, September 10, 2009

"You've Got Nails"

In high school ('83-'87) I drank Knox for Nails gelatin to make my nails grow.  In college, I experimented with Lee Press-On Nails.  I remember waking up with them stuck in my hair instead of on my nails.  As a young professional, I tried the DIY acrylic gel sets and ended up with weird cement lumps permanently adhered to my nails.  I have always admired pretty, manicured nails, but I guess I've never been willing to pay for them, so I have learned to accept my flat, thin, short, manly nails.  Last Christmas we went skiing and my boots were too small (I told the guy they felt small and he said I would want them snug, so I went with it.  What do I know?)  By the end of the first day, my big toes felt bruised so I got the bigger boots - duh.  A week later, my toe nails were black and blue.  A month later, they fell off!  Gross!!!  I did what I always do when I have a medical or other important question; I googled it - "toe nail falling off".  I learned that if I put fake nails on over the new growth, it would help guide the new nail so it wouldn't come in funky, crooked or bumpy.  I fully intended on going to a real salon and having real acrylic nails put on my big toes, but then, I saw it at Target - glue on toe nails!  I thought I should give it a try.  What did I have to loose, another nail?  So I picked out the right sizes for both of my big toes and glued them on and painted them to match my other toes.  Yay!  They looked so good, and stayed on over 7 days; I even wore them in the pool.  My toe nails have grown back perfectly now, in case you're wondering.  So I say all of this to say - You can imagine how excited I was to get an email from Revlon asking if I'd like to try their new "Runway Collection" of glue on nails,  and review them on my blog!  This excites me on so many levels,  first of which is they were free!   Secondly, someone actually found my blog!  Thirdly, they are DIY and very inexpensive!  Fourthly (?), they are gorgeous and go very well with my "lipgloss side".  I put on my first set last night and for my first attempt, they look pretty good.  I've got nails!  I did however glue my fingers together several times over the course of 10 nails.   If you look closely, you can see some air pockets where I either didn't press hard enough or didn't get enough glue.   I still need to see how difficult it is to get them off, and how much damage the glue does to my real nail.  But for now... I like them, except when trying to text (I think I'll file down the thumbs).
Update!!! - I've now tried taking them off and have on my second set.  Everywhere I go, I get compliments so I have to say, I love them.  My second attempt was much more successful considering I didn't glue my fingers together this time.  I also filed down a couple of the nails prior to gluing them on so I got a better, more custom fit.  A friend from high school, who uses these regularly gave me a tip on getting them off too.  She leaves them on until they start falling off on their own, which makes the soaking time shorter, and the temptation to pry them off lesser.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

If You're Happy and You Know It...Save The Earth!

Free things make me happy!  Last year, the city of Plano rolled out an experimental recycling program with Our recycling bins were fitted with a UPC type label so all of my recycling efforts could be recorded and rewarded.   Our neighborhood pick up area is grouped together and we are rewarded with points based on the total weight of our recycled trash.  The program also sent out a detailed list of acceptable items, including plastics #'s 1-7!  I taped the list to our "in-home" bin and explained to the kids what should go in.  About every month I get an email from RecycleBank letting me know I have points, then I go "shopping".  It doesn't take much for me to get excited, so my monthly coupon for a free hand soap or salad dressing is all it takes to keep me going.  Between the beefed up recycling and our compost bin, I am amazed at how much trash I am NOT making.  Check it out for your neighborhood!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Exercise of the Month - August, Part 2

             This is the modified "monkey deadlift".   With a "monkey" on your back, hinge forward from the hip, (placing your hands on thighs for extra support) until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings.  Stand up using your glutes and hamstrings.  Keep your back flat and abs engaged throughout.