Monthly Archives: October 2013

Perspective

photoThis is my view after my early morning workout in the Comtempo Rockin’ Disco Gym, aka my garage. I stretch out in front of the fan, stare up at the colored lights and get lost in whatever tune is playing. I slowly start to come down from the euphoria I feel after working so hard and I exhale. This is the moment where I reset my mind for the day. The morning light starts to fill the room, I hear my dogs running down the hall just on the other side of the door, the smell of coffee wafts in, and sometimes I hear my neighbor start her diesel truck, ruh-ruh-ruh-ruh. All of the familiar morning sounds and smells fill me with peace. This is the moment I feel so thankful for my healthy body and all the blessings in my life. I try to stay in this place for a few moments before the stresses of the day creep in. Life seems so simple here!

I’m wishing that you all have a moment in your day where you can reset and feel the presence of the simple joys in life. I keep this photo on my phone so I can go back whenever I want!

Have a wonderful week! Happy Monday!

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Enjoy the Journey

One of my favorite things to do is participate in various races as part of a team. I’m not talking just 5k’s, (although with a group these can be fun too). I’m referring to races that are really different, challenging and new to everyone in the group. It’s especially fun when all the participants are a little anxious and scared going in, but everyone overcomes their fear together. Winning isn’t the goal. It’s comradery, recreation and just plain fun!

My first race of this kind was in 2008.  It was the Orange County Adventure Race and our team name was “Pigs Might Fly”. They might have that day! The race was a combination of running, rowing a full mile in a little rubber boat we had to blow up as part of the race, and biking, all the while searching for and deciphering clues of where to go next. By the time we crossed the finish line, half of the other teams had already gone home! But that wasn’t the point. We finished and it was fun! All of us overcame one fear or another. Would any of us have done this  alone? Never!

Pigs Might Fly

In 2010 I signed up for the Irvine Lake Mud Run with my daughter and my friend from the gym.  We weren’t an official team but ran together as individuals. This kind of race was new to all of us. In fact, I can honestly say we all tried to stay as clean as possible. I wasn’t sure I wanted mud in my ears or my nose. I remember getting ‘Booed’ by some spectators because I lifted a rope so I didn’t have to submerge any part of my face. Whoops! People are so serious! Oh well, it was a great first mud run and it wet my whistle for more!

2010 Mud Run

Mud Run 2010 After

In 2012 I did the Irvine Lake Mud Run a second time. Our team was, “Mud Up Wit Dat?’ and consisted of myself, my son, my daughter and her fiancee. I was happy to be part of an official team and to celebrate I had t-shirts made up sporting our name. My daughter and I were “seasoned” mud runners (Haha!) but this was the first mud run for the guys on our team.  Let’s just say they really brought it and made us girls step up our game a little. It brought a whole new element. Everyone got totally muddy! It was super challenging but a ton of fun. Comradery with a little competition is an excellent combination!

Mud Run 2012

Mud Run 2012 Finish

This brings me to 2013! We kept our team “Mud Up Wit Dat?” but added a new member, my husband. He works out consistently but he’s not the type to jump into a race like this. The fact that he did and had a great time proves the point I’m trying to make. Great memories like this are made by going for it; by joining forces, supporting one another and throwing all fear and anxiety out the window.

guys

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I am always a little nervous before every race like this because of the unknown, but I never let it stop me. I think it’s thrilling!

guys 2

2013 Mud Run finish

This was the most challenging mud run yet but we all had a blast doing it. Enjoying the journey, that’s what it’s all about!

The Power of Push-ups

I love pushupsI’m always greeted with squeals of excitement in my gym when I ask clients to perform push-ups for 60 seconds straight – said me Never! And why? It’s not a mystery. I know first hand that doing consecutive push-ups in proper form is hard.

By proper form I mean in prone position (face down), on your toes, hands placed slightly wider than your shoulders, your back is in a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles (no saggy center or pike butt), bending your arms and lowering your body until it’s just off the ground (chin and chest first, no forehead bobbing) and then pushing yourself back to the starting position while maintaining proper alignment. Yes, that one rep took two seconds, now keep going for another 58. No wonder I hear grunts and see blank stares.

I’m not in love with doing pushups myself, but I do love what they do for the body.

Everyone can do them because there are so many variations! If you feel you’re not strong enough to start on your toes, then start on your knees, use a bench or the wall, and if you have wrist issues you can use your knuckles.

Pushups require many muscles. The primary muscles used are in the upper body. Pushups use your pecs (chest area), deltoids (shoulders) and triceps (back of the arm). Once you reach the top of the exercise, your body must stabilize itself and calls on secondary muscles to do this. Your body engages the muscles of the core, neck, hips and legs to help your body maintain a balanced horizontal position. There is so much going on!

Benefits of pushups include strengthening, toning and building beautiful muscle in your chest, upper arms and shoulders. Who doesn’t like to look at (or show off) a well toned upper body? They also strengthen and help tone your core. I love the benefits you can see!  Perhaps more important though are the benefits you don’t think about or can’t see. Pushups will also strengthen your wrists, forearms, elbows, and like other weight-bearing exercises, they help reduce bone loss and promote stronger, more dense bones. Because they use a large number of muscles at the same time, your heart rate will increase adding a little cardio element to the mix. It’s all good!

You get so much bang for your buck with push-ups! They will love you even if you don’t love them back. Give them a try!

What Drives You?

Is there a certain something that adds excitement to your life? That floats your boat? That tickles your fancy? I have a passion for physical activity and a healthy lifestyle.  It wasn’t always that way though. I’ve evolved over the years and it’s been a pretty radical change.

Growing up, physical activity meant recreation: softball, tennis, volleyball and bowling. It was whatever my friends were doing. It was whatever organized activity could fill my Saturday morning or after school. It was social.

As a teenager I occasionally went to the Elaine Powers exercise studio with my mom. It was there I fell in love with movement to music and I discovered aerobics. We also did a lot of doggy type exercises on all fours which I didn’t like as much. Knee up, extend leg out, in and down…up, out, in and down. If you’ve ever done them, or seen them done, you know what I mean. I only did them in class and if people were watching, unlike my mom who did them faithfully everyday at home. She had a different goal than I did at the time. I only did what I liked.

When I was married with children and we were dirt poor, Jane Fonda became my best friend. Well, her VHS tapes did anyway. I was desperate to get the weight off and she was the one who helped me. I actually dressed for the part too. You couldn’t work out with Jane Fonda without a proper leotard, even if no one’s watching. (Leg warmers were optional).

When times got better financially I joined the gym and took every aerobics class I could find. I found it helped me reduce stress. It made me happy. I did high impact, low impact, and then I discovered kickboxing. I loved it all.

My focus changed again when someone in my life got a horrible illness. Watching such a strong personality have to fight for her life made me angry and I released this aggression at the gym. It wasn’t fair! I felt my intensity soar as I imagined destroying the cancer with punches and kicks. Take that! Go away!

After I lost this person my focus changed again and I viewed working out as a gift. I was healthy  enough to do it. Not everyone was. I decided to enjoy this gift and also make myself as strong as possible so I’d be ready to fight anything that might come up in my own life. I began strength training around this time.

Then I lost my mother way too early to ill health. This was devastating beyond belief. I realized that just making myself physically stronger wasn’t enough. I had to help others too. Movement still makes me feel amazing, but there’s so much more to it than that. You can’t change your genetics or your family’s health history, but there are things within your reach that you can control to be a healthier you. In my opinion, diet and exercise are key. They are nonnegotiable!

My love of fitness started out as recreation, then it was for fun, stress relief, weight control, aggression release, then it became a gift and finally a passion for myself and to help others.  I am definitely a product of my experience! I’m driven to help people be the healthiest they can be. That’s what floats my boat!