Friday, December 28, 2012

Better Work! Fitness Focused

Another week of Cross Fit, this time we are now beginners!

T'was the morning after Christmas and we had a lot of family fun and delicious food. We signed up for a morning session and off we went heading to the city. Once again, I was excited. I had no idea what was in store and if I would be able to survive.

Interestingly, while I was in my elements session, there were other sessions going on and they were moving quickly from one thing to the next with the coach yelling out "Let's Go!!!" How surprised was I to find out that they were not the advanced classes but beginners. Naturally, I began to have some doubt, I questioned whether I should sign on to take the elements class over. Well, it was too late now. I signed up to do this and I will follow through.

This week I took the beginner sessions - pull ups, ring fall outs, over head squats, sit ups, push ups, wall walks (my husband did it with ease while I prayed that my sneakers would stop slipping and that my face would not be flattened by the fall), kettle bell swings, hang clean, front squats, tabata squats, jump rope. I did it all and I was not the last to finish nor was I racing to be the first to finish. It was difficult but I knew that I could do it. After last nights session, someone from our session asked me how did I like it, I said "I hate it but I will be back on Saturday."

No, I do not really hate Cross Fit, it challenges me and that is exactly what I need.
Are your pom poms still waving? I sure hope so :-)

Friday, December 21, 2012

What You See - Is What You Get!

And so it goes.......... The final week in CrossFit elements.

Here's what we covered:

Handstand Push-ups - Here's an impressive demonstration. Of course we did not do the parking lot handstand push-up or the dangling mid air on the bars. However, we learned how to do the handstand push-up on the wall as well as using the box. My husband can do the hand stand push-ups on the wall and on the box. I am happy to share that I was able to kick my feet up and hit the wall - almost there. On the other hand, I can do the handstand push-up on the box :-)

Ring Dips - picture me balancing myself on the rings and then dipping down and coming back to my original position. Yes, you cannot imagine that either :-)I did manage to hold myself up on the rings for about 5 seconds. Naturally, it will take some time for me to get the rest of the actual exercise together.

We did the Elizabeth - I used the bars as opposed to the rings and for the clean reps, I had the bar without added weights. Now for some good news, I was not the last one to finish (confetti time).

Watch out now....... then there's the Helen. Our cross fit training is located indoors, the running part was substituted by burpees (yuck!!!) You guessed it, I was the last one to finish, but I made it through the Helen. 21 of each, then 15 of each and 9 of each.

The morning after my body ached and I smiled :-) I asked for it and I got CrossFit. Elements completed - next up beginners. More to come......

Monday, December 17, 2012

A Time To Talk and A Time To Take Action!

The Sandy Hook Elementary School killings has become another moment where I pause and ask God - WHY???!!!

However, in the meantime, it is time for we the people to have a serious talk.

Let's discuss mental health and the services that are available for people with mental illnesses and disorders. There is something unethical about allowing someone who is known to have violent behaviors to blend in with the population where at any point, something tragic can happen to someone.

Let's also discuss the issue with assault weapons.

Who should have them? What is the criteria? Why? etc. It just seems to me that too often we hear the common statement, this doesn't happen here or this is not supposed to happen here. Where is it supposed to happen?

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) told Fox News Sunday that he believed more guns are the answer to violence in schools.

"I wish to god she had had an M4 in her office," he said of Sandy Hook Elementary School principal Dawn Hochsprung, who was also killed in the shooting.

Really???!!! Is that the solution???!!!

As a mother, this hits close to home. I cannot imagine what the other parents and families are going through right now. I cannot imagine what the husbands and children are going through without their loved one returning to their homes. I feel such a sadness about it, yet my sorrow cannot be compared to their unbearable grief.

We really need to get serious about this issue. I do hope that parents who have children with mental illnesses/disorders who exhibit violent behaviors can recognize the danger that they may be facing and it's impact on society as a whole. There is a huge responsibility that comes with being a parent. Recognize your role, get support, find a group, organization or create one. Shake the stigma and deal with the situation at hand. Yes, there will be good days but please do not allow those days to keep you from actively seeking help. Speak up and speak out loudly - don't wait for another situation like the one we're facing to come forward only to slip helplessly back into your norm.

In the midst of this emotional period, let the lives of those who were so violently taken away be the prompt for us to make a change.

It's time to talk! It's time to take action...

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Whip It Real Good - Cross Fit

Week 2 of Cross Fit and what a whipping it was! Sophia our instructor came in and eased us in with some demonstrations for doing various workouts. However, by the end of each session, I was gasping for mercy, air and water. My favorite was the wall balls which she referred to as the suck balls workout. In this workout we had to hold the ball, squat and throw it up to the mark on the wall then jump into burpees (my least favorite) and we were timed to complete 21, 15 and 9 of each. Yes, I was the very last one to finish but I did them all.
This week I did the scarecrow, pull ups, burpees, snatched, clean, jerked and sucked balls. The pulls up were rather difficult. I just had the most difficult time using my arms to pull myself up, so I would dangle there holding on. I jump down get the chalk and massage them into my palms and fingers - feeling like a professional athlete. I jump back on the bar and dangle some more until my arms let go. I hate doing the pull ups. However, I do the pulls up with the assistance of the band and it really is tougher that it looks.
Another workout that we did included barbell thrusters and then pull ups. The aim is to complete 21 barbell thrusters and 21 pull ups getting your chin up above the bar. Next you jump down get the barbell and thrust for 15 and jump up on the bar to do 15 pull ups. As soon as you are done, jump down get the barbell do 9 and jump up on the bar and do 9 pull ups all within 1 minute and 52 seconds. I did it all within 6 minutes and 18 seconds :-)By the way, this time, I was not the last to finish. Unbelievable yes, but the guys who had weights on their barbells were still going at it when I was finished. Obviously my barbells had no added weights but it was heavy just so you know ;-) The Fran workout was quite a way to end the workout. I cannot imagine what to expect next week. I just hope that you are still cheering me on. Check out Jason Kaplan showing us how it's done.........

Monday, December 10, 2012

All Things in Moderation

It's a new week and as I prepare for my second week of Cross Fit, I think of the emails I've received with questions and concerns about beginning or getting back to working out. Whenever I get back on track to focus on improving my health and wellness, I always begin at a pace that is comfortable for me. As I have mentioned in previous blogs and on the Health & Wellness Show, your health and wellness depends on you. You are the one who is charge of taking care of yourself. Not only are we focusing on the diet and exercise but also the well being of the mind and spirit.

There's no need to punish yourself with thoughts of where you should be in your health, or constantly fuss about the weight you have gained, just make a decision to change the way you do things - gradually. In doing so, you will begin to settle in to a different life style. You will notice that you are able to make more changes and may even look for new ways or methods to improve your health. Whatever the case, begin at your own pace. Do NOT try the quick fix remedies, it will fade as quickly as it came - once you have a flash back craving.

Even though there was a time that I could run 16 to 20 laps on the track, whenever I begin my track workout after having a long break, I begin with walking and perhaps running a lap after every three laps walked. Eventually I will walk one run one until I am able to run 4 laps and then walk one and then 4 laps, etc. It is important to note that I also run slowly. I run at a pace that is comfortable for me. As my ability to run more laps increases, my pace picks up.

As excited as I am to face the challenges of the Cross Fit program this week, I still work out at my own pace when I am on my own. In this case, the challenges are timed and I am able to compete - at my own pace :-)

Here are some suggestions that you may want to consider in beginning to improve on your health and wellness.


Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Thrill Is On

Please keep waving the pom poms, it's only the second session of CrossFit and I am feeling it. First, I must clarify the level of CrossFit that I am taking is called Elements. The first session was not as intense as I imagined it to be. However, it was in it's own respect, an introduction to how intense it will become. Thanks be to the good Lord, my partner (husband) is also taking the classes with me. It would be great to get his perspective, perhaps I can convince him to share his experience with you also.
A Peek Into Week 1
Nothing is more awkward than the feeling of entering a new forum and feeling like the new kid who enters the classroom in the middle of the school year. Here we were walking into an open area with groups of people and instructors working on all sorts of reps - well advanced. Then there are the looks you get that translates into "Oh look who finally stepped away from the buffet table." It made me pray that I would not end up flat on my face begging to sit something out.

Our instructor who was filling in for the week had us introduce ourselves and then gave us a brief introduction to what we should be expecting in our level of training. Then it was on.... the moment to begin. Our first night included squats, push ups and sit ups beginning with 20,15,10 and 5 of each while timing it for the reps to be completed within 8 minutes. I came in just under 6 minutes at 5:57 (Yippeeeee!!!) Albeit, I was the last one to finish but I was happy to know that I did it with time to spare.

You know how it feels the morning after, the work out is real and it tells you throughout your body. My muscles ached, I was in pain yet I was thrilled, something is happening :-)

Last night we began with the jump rope (50), plank for 30 seconds then 5 ring rows. It was also timed to be completed within 10 minutes. We moved on to the bars, squats, chest press and lift over the head, and then lowering to the thighs pass the shin then back up again keeping the body in perfect form. We ended with pull ups and squats. I am not a fan of pull ups as it requires me to use my arms to lift my body up and bring my head above the bar. There we were all six of us standing on the box and waiting for the instructor to say "GO!" I did my pull ups, struggling to pull myself up 5 times and then jump down to do 8 squats and then back to the pull ups and squats as fast as I could in 10 minutes. I worked very hard and did everything. As usual, I was the last one to finish. None of that bothered me one bit, I was determined to give my best. I even told myself that eventually, I will be better the next time. As I walked to the bathroom to change, I smiled to myself. I was really loving the sweat, it made me feel as though I gave my body a well deserved shake down.

While having dinner with my partner (husband), we spoke about the sessions comparing them in terms of the intensity. As I was sharing with him that the lady next to me did only 3 pull ups and then jumped down to do the squats, he said that's what the instructor told us to do. 3 pull ups and 8 squats. Really???!!!! How did I miss that?!!! Oh I know, I was the last one to complete the previous challenge/rep and the group had moved on to the instructions for the next workout.

Keep waving the pom poms. Next week, I will be listening ;-)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Practice What You Preach.........

As I have often heard the saying 'practice what you preach' it has never meant as much to me as it does now. I have openly shared on the Health & Wellness Show and in my speaking engagements that I have some reckoning to do with myself. Thankfully, I have made some major changes to improve on my health and wellness. However, I am still in need of many more.

I have always enjoyed running, walking, going to the gym and getting my work out on. On the other hand, I have also enjoyed my Pepsi, chocolate, cookies, cakes, ice cream, and for movie watching, popcorn with raisinets blended together with a large Pepsi or Orange soda to wash it all down;-) I get my runs in; I really enjoy being physically active. The difference is that my work out has decreased and my intake of snacks has increased. Needless to say, this is not good, especially coming from someone who practically has a bull horn approach when discussing health and wellness.

Today, I'm going to begin CrossFit training and I will give an update on my progress. I took an introductory class and it was a killer. I have a sneaky suspicion that the introductory class was really a mild session. However, I am excited. Pray for me! :-)