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Sunday, February 8, 2015

Snowpocalypse

That is how our recent weather has been described - East Coast Snowpocalypse. We had 3 snow storms in the space of a week. And then a little more snow after that. The total was something like 130 cm of snow in ten days. Everyone is running out of places to put the snow - roads are getting narrower, entire lanes are gone in some places, driveways and parking lots are shrinking.

I really have not been minding so much. We are fortunate to have an easy drive to work, on the stormy days we can work from home. As we were driving to work on Wednesday morning though, I said to Husband that I am very glad I am not still living in my old apartment, which had a tiny parking lot accessed by a narrow alley...If I were still there, I would have no hope of seeing my car until spring! And I feel for all the people who rely on street parking, because it is pretty much non-existent at the moment. The city had actually declared a state of emergency because the streets were inaccessible to emergency vehicles.

So we've been sort of hibernating, and I've been lazy...Though I really can't use the weather as an excuse because there is plenty I could be doing a round the house.

It took almost a week, but my back seems to have recovered from whatever it was. But I am kind of reluctant to restart Les Mills Pump right away. I had been avoiding yoga, because I feel like I am still not quite walking normally in bare feet, and thought I should stick to activities I would wear sneakers for. But I've reversed my opinion on that, and I'm thinking maybe yoga is where I should start, to try and get everything back to where it should be.

So far, that is as far as I've gotten. I keep telling myself: "Tomorrow I will do yoga."

But this week I will. JavaChick has spoken!

What does our snowpocalypse look like? Well, there has been a lot of this:



Adorable deer, in their winter coats.


Fabulous Felines wondering why we won't open the patio door to let them out.


It is pretty. As long as you don't have to worry about shoveling. We don't. We do, however, have to pay the guy who plows our driveway.


We've changed our minds. Close the door.



Sunday, January 25, 2015

First Week of Les Mills Pump. Ish.

"Ish" is getting to be a thing.

I've had the Les Mills DVDs & barbell sitting around for a few months. I'd been eying the package - I admit it, partially because I wanted a barbell of my very own - and when it went on sale, I ordered it, though at the time I was still hobbling around on my bruised-and-possibly-sprained foot.

Finally, I am getting to it. Ish.

Did you catch that "Ish" there?

Week One.
They start you off easy, which is good. I'm just easing back into this workout thing myself.

First off: Pump Basics
This is a short intro, demoing how to use the equipment, explaining how the workouts are structured, etc.

I did this the Friday before, and then did the first actual workout - Pump Challenge - using the bar without any weights. I felt this was a good preview to get me going. I would call Pump Challenge a beginner workout. Most of it was very familiar to me, being exercises that I have done often using dumbbells. The one completely new move would be the Clean and Press - still working on the coordination for that one. In addition to that, I'm finding Squats & Lunges with the barbell held across the back of my shoulders feels awkward, but I am hoping I will get used to it (I keep hearing Chalene's voice in my head, from PiYo, explaining how some things are just physics).

After that, the schedule for the week, with Monday being day one, looked like this:

Monday: Pump Challenge (Did the squat section with just the bar, no weights, everything else with 5 lbs; didn't quite make it through the lunges).

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: Pump Challenge (Squats with 5 lbs; up to 10 lbs for the middle section - back, deadlifts, chest, triceps; put down the bar completely for the lunges, back to 5 lbs for shoulders).

Thursday: Flow + 45 minute walk (I did not have time for the walk, but I did the Flow, which is a short yoga workout)

Friday: Pump Challenge (Same as Wednesday, except I went back to the 5lb weights for lunges) + 25 minutes walking on the treadmill (toward making up for Thursday).

...And Saturday morning I could barely roll out of bed. My lower back was just completely seized up. Could not bend over for anything. Could barely get up and down from a seated position. I spent the day taking Advil and sitting on a heating pad.

Today was better, but I'm still sore and moving carefully. We went out for groceries this afternoon; we went to Costco and then Superstore, and by halfway through Superstore I was ready to be sitting down.

So, it's looking like I will be taking another break from working out -  hopefully a short one. Oddly enough, the same thing happened to my baby sister not long ago; she went to bed one night feeling perfectly okay, and the next morning could barely move.

It could have been something to do with the workouts, but I honestly have not been pushing myself at all so far. The workouts have been short, I've been sticking to lighter weights, I haven't even been sore. The only different thing I did was to add the walking on Friday. I felt perfectly find when I went to bed. Husband said maybe I did something in my sleep; who knows?

First Impressions of Les Mills Pump (after not quite a full week)
Just thought I would share a few more comments, as these are the kind of things I would like to know if I were googling around the internet, researching a workout program. I won't blame you if you don't read them all...I think this is a hazard of having done so many different workout DVDs over the years...You can't help but rate them and notice all the things you don't like.
  • I know not everyone enjoys working out with weights, but I do, particularly if I find the right program. I think Les Mills is going to be fun. Once you get going, it keeps moving along and I  found the workout went by quickly (though admittedly, the first one is short). I like the music so far, and the cues are easy to follow.
  • Nitpick #1 - The lunge section in Pump Challenge is not quite even. This is obviously the introductory workout, they spend a lot of time on proper form and foot position (which is good). You do some single count lunges on the first leg. You switch legs, start in on 2 count lunges, go through a set of different counts on that leg, then switch legs and repeat from the 2 count. You never even out that first set of single counts. Honestly, it's not a lot - this workout is pretty short anyway - but this always bothers me when I see it in a DVD.
  • Nitpick #2: The chest section includes triceps. I don't know about you, but I can do a much heavier weight for chest than I can for triceps. So do you go low, and not get the benefit of the chest exercises? Or go high, and not be able to complete the triceps? Again, this is the introductory workout, maybe others will not be the same...but this is a pet peeve of mine - routines that don't give you a chance to switch weights between exercising different muscles that might not be able to handle the same load. Then again, maybe I just have really weak triceps (actually, right now it's not the muscle, I can feel strain on the joint - probably from too much computer time lately).
  • Nitpick #3: This one is really not a big deal, it just confused me the first time through...The last section is shoulders, and they use weight plates without the barbell. Now, I know I have small hands, but I was watching them gripping the plates and wondering how the heck anyone could wrap their hands around them like that...until I realized the ones they use in the DVD have 3 spokes and the ones that I received with my Les Mills package have two wide spokes and there is just no way I can wrap my hand around them. Not a problem, I have dumbbells. It definitely bugged me the first time through though, until I figured it out.
  • Finally, I wasn't crazy about Flow...But that is probably due to a couple of factors: a) my bad hearing, and b) I have yoga workouts that I really like and any new ones I do are going to be compared to the favorites. It's not fair to judge on one time through, and I will try to give it a chance, but...With yoga, verbal cues are very important;  you spend a lot of time in positions that make it hard to look at the screen. I have hearing problems, so there is already a challenge right there. Unfortunately with the Flow workout, I found the music fairly intrusive, and yoga instructors don't exactly belt out instructions for poses...So it was mainly frustrating. 

That's not exactly a comprehensive review. Basically I've done two different workouts at this point. My instinct is that I will like this program. You know, once I actually get to give it a try.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Wherein JavaChick has a conversation with herself


Say! Whatever happened to that 21 Day Fix thing you had going on?
Oh yeah, that didn't happen.

Monday of week 2, I came home from work with a headache of monster proportions; I curled up in my living room chair and tried not to move too much because it made me dizzy. Tuesday was better, but I was extremely tired. "That's okay," I thought. "I'll just pick up where I left off and do as much as I can." Somehow that didn't quite happen. Vacation was coming up and my attitude was somewhere in the vicinity of IwishIwasonvacationalreadyandIdon'twannadoanything.

I think, when it comes right down to it, I just don't love the 21 Day Fix workouts. They aren't bad workouts, mind you, and they are the type of workout I usually like, but I just didn't look forward to doing them at all. I will give it another try someday.

So how was your much anticipated vacation?
I had two weeks off over the holidays, and enjoyed every minute!

I was sorta lazy - I didn't work out at all - but I was on my feet a lot more than usual, puttering around the house rather than sitting behind a desk. It's nice to pick away at things without time pressure.

Hardly noticed that the new year rolling in...I mean I noticed; the date changed and all that; it just happened without any kind of fanfare. Dec. 31st is our wedding anniversary (Happy 13 years!) and normally we do something fun, but Husband was on call, thus had to work...I was at home, puttering around the house, doing cleaning and sorting...didn't even make a special dinner or anything. It was just a normal day. But that's okay...It has been a happy 13 years.


Husband looks so young! I, of course, look exactly the same...*cough cough*


Well what are you going to do now that you are back to the normal work routine? Time to stop being lazy isn't it?
Husband is back on the get healthy kick. He sounds quite serious/determined this time. He's looking at kind of a strict plan, which makes me worried that he will get discouraged. I am currently walking the line between supportively-going-with-it and gently-sharing-advice/opinions...I think some of it you just have to learn on your own from experience though. The good thing about it is he is obviously thinking about it, and we've been having some good conversations (where previously he was more likely to brush off any comments I made). We shall see how it goes.

I am participating in a Facebook challenge group - sort of a January get back on track and change your life thing. I am mainly doing it because I am planning to start a new workout program, and I had good success doing PiYo with a similar group over the summer. My foot is a lot better, though not completely back to normal...Maybe not quite as improved as I had thought; it seems like it has been bothering me more lately, probably from spending more time on my feet over the holidays...But I am hoping I will be okay as long as I am careful.

How is that going then? It's the middle of January already, you know.
Well.  Let's just say I've been doing a lot of mental ranting for the past week.

Week 1. Back to work Jan 5. We started our healthy eating effort - which at this point mostly has me packing lunches & snacks for both of us every day. There were still some leftover treats being finished up at this point, but we were trying to be conscious of moderation.

Workout wise, I am planning to do Les Mills Pump. I was kind of excited. I own a barbell now. I've had dumbbells for years, but now I have a new fitness toy to play with, and I'm hoping the workouts will be fun.

The challenge group does not officially start until next week, but I plan to at least try a few workouts ahead of time...Except when I try to play the DVD I get a disk error. I tried disk 2 with the same result. They work upstairs in our Blu-ray player though, so Husband says we will replace the DVD player downstairs which is old anyway.

Week 2. The challenge group officially started Jan 11. Leftover treats are gone, getting a bit more serious about this clean eating thing. What sounded like a simple, straight-forward solution to my workout woes ended up dragging on until Wednesday evening due to unforeseen technical difficulties.

Wednesday afternoon/evening I could feel another monster headache coming on (I lost my bite plate; I think I'm going to have to get a new one). I had an early-ish deploy on Thursday morning, so I decided to work from home. I was all mentally prepared to jump up from my comfy living room chair at the end of my workday, and try my first Pump workout...And then Husband called and said "we're going out to dinner." Oh well. At this point, what's another day or two?

Next week there will be workouts! You know, if I don't come down with the flu or get hit by a stray asteroid or something. 

Anything else?
We had warm weather (relatively speaking) until late in December. Snow finally made an appearance on January 9, and shows every sign of sticking around. It seems that winter is here.




I am not tired of my fairies yet. Fortunnately, there is no one to say that I have to be!





Sunday, December 7, 2014

21 Day Fix-ish: Week 1


The goal: Follow the 21 Day Fix exercise plan (with modifications to keep it low impact for my recovering foot injury) and track calories (since the eating plan is too low carb for me).

If I hadn't stated the intention on my blog last week, I would not have done it; there was more than one day where that was the only reason I pushed play.

Result being: I did all the workouts! Calorie counting lasted half way through the week. It's a start anyway.

Pros:
  • Workouts are short - approx 1/2 hour each, which is less intimidating when you are facing one every day
  • I'm following modifications, keeping it low impact because I am still favoring my left foot, but still feel like I'm getting a decent workout
  • Dirty 30 is my favorite and I can see me adding that being added to my regular rotation. 

Cons:
  • No days off! It's honestly more of a mental challenge than a physical one. I like to know that I have at least one day where I am not scheduled; it's also nice to have the option to switch a workout to a different day. 
  • I am going to be heartily sick of the warm up. It's the same warmup for 5 out of 7 days. Thankfully I get a break on Pilates & Yoga days.
  • The obligatory vitamin and Shakeology promos. I'm sorry Autumn, Shakelogy is just not that tasty; it's never going to feel like a cheat.
Overall, I am happy what I did this week workout-wise; food could use some improvement (as usual).

Included in the lunch plans for this week: Homemade "Instant" Curry Noodle Soup




Fairy Tree!






Sunday, November 30, 2014

November

We had our first snow, which melted away. We had our first snow storm of the winter, which is now in the process of melting away.

Let's see...what else...Weekend before Remembrance Day we woke up to water leaking onto the kitchen floor. After calling three plumbers, we managed to get someone to come on Monday. Fortunately it was just the faucet that needed to be replaced. That weekend we had lovely weather, and I managed to get the yard all cleaned up for winter.

Exercise...Well, I'm not quite back yet. Sometimes my foot (and/or ankle) still gets achey, some days I was busy...and some days I'm just plain lazy.

I tried out some of the 21 Day Fix. I felt like I was back on familiar ground; they reminded me very much of the Jackie Warner DVDs I like so much. But, I haven't fallen in love with these workouts, not sure why exactly.

I have not been feeling like I wanted to actually tackle the full 21 Day program (21 Days in a row, no days off = ugh!), but then I looked at the calendar and realized that, as of Dec 1, there are three full weeks before I am on vacation until after the holidays, and it seems like maybe it would be a good time to give it a go...So I'm sorta thinking that's my plan.

I'm not doing the eating plan...Everytime I read it over and try to tell myself that I can make it work for me I get cranky. The plan is very low carb and I'm just not a high protein girl. So I'm thinking I will tackle the workout schedule, and try to stay within the calorie target. I can track calories for 3 weeks, right? We'll call it 21-Day-Fix-ish.

There, I've said it; now I have to do it.

Yikes.

Photos from our first snow day.
The birds are always busy at the feeder on stormy, snowy days.



 

The Fabulous Felines are always taken by surprise when this nasty, cold, wet stuff shows up. 
We are not amused.



This early in the season, I always enjoy the pretty views.  Come March I will be so over it.




November Workouts
03: 21DF Upper Fix
04: 21DF Cardio Fix
07: 21DF Lower Fix
09: Fall Yard Work
10: Fall Yard Work
11: Fall Yard Work
17: 21DF Cardio Fix
18: 21DF Upper Fix
19: 21DF Lower Fix
29: 21DF Dirty Thirty

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Nose In a Book




October

When last I blogged, I had just taken a tumble down the stairs and banged up my left ankle and foot. Did a pretty good job of it too. It was swollen a litte bit for the first couple  of days, and then developed into bruises on the side of my ankle, and along to side and top of my foot. Not to mention the scraped knee, bruise on the front of my right ankle, and another scrape and bruise on the underside of my right wrist. Go big, or go home, right?

I worked from home for a week, since hobbling around was difficult. But I discovered that walking was easier with shoes to hold my foot up, so since then I have not been laid up. My foot is definitely much improved, but still not back to normal. It's still a little sore if I move it certain ways. I still find I can be a bit awkward when I walk around without shoes. I am limited in what shoes I can wear (The horror! Do you know how many pairs of shoes I own?).

Everyone keeps saying that this type of injury takes a long time to heal, and I know that I probably just need to be patient. But there is that little voice in my head wondering if I did some damage after all, and maybe should have had it looked at. But I am sure it will just take time.

Two weeks after the foot injury, I managed to get an ear infection. First one that I've ever had, at least that I can recall. It hurt. I was surprised how much. I spent Thanksgiving weekend taking ibuprofen and holding my aching head. Went to a walk in clinic and got a prescription for antibiotic ear drops. It took a full week to get betted.

October has been a tiring month, what can I say? I haven't felt motivated to do very much. I have been sitting around, reading a lot of novels. In my head, I can hear echoes from my childhood; my mom muttering and/or scolding about "those girls", always with their noses "stuck in a book." My sister and I liked to read. A lot. It was our preferred form of entertainment. Frustating to my poor mother who wanted us to get up and do some chores, or go outside and play.Or, you know, answer when we were spoken to, instead of being completely oblivious to everything going on around us.

I was surprised when I got older to hear that my mother actually likes to read. I knew that my dad liked to read, but I never saw my mom sitting down to read a novel, until us kids were older. She said she stopped reading when she had kids because she didn't like being interrupted all the time. I've been totally getting that lately, sitting around with my nose stuck in an e-reader a book. Why must Husband insist on talking to me? Can't he see that I am reading? Why do the cats need me to get up and walk them to their food dishes or give them treats every 5 minutes? Can't a person have some time to themselves to read?

Possibly I need to pull my nose out of the books and do some other things for a little while.

I have made the decision a few times to try a workout, carefully...Then I talk myself out of it again. I don't want to make things worse. Better to let the foot heal. And so, the whole of October has gone by. So I am deciding again - it is time to try some exercise. Carefully. Wish me luck.

We have been having a fairly decent fall so far, but we're having a pretty wild rain storm today. It's entirely possible that we will get snow tonight. Snow and ice pellets, the forecast is saying.

I am feeling sad today; my youngest sister is having to say good-bye to her beloved dog. We've known it was coming - due to old age, for which there is no cure - but I had hoped it would be a while yet. And they are so far away - on the opposite end of the country. At least my other sister is out there too. But I feel very sad.

I have hardly taken any photos this month. Another side-effect of having your nose in a book all the time. Guess it is time to peek out at the world and see what is going on.






Tuesday, September 30, 2014

PiYo Round Two

I had hoped to keep up with weekly posting, but oops! So here's how the rest of September went down...

If you've been following along at home (Hellooooo! Anyone out there? No worries, I don't mind talking to myself...), you'll know that PIYO Core and I did not get along. Specifically, the side planks and roll ups. Core work does tend to be my least favourite thing to do, so even though I know it's important, it tends to be the first thing I skip. While I feel that PiYo has been doing good things for me, I feel like I need to do some other Core workouts to hopefully get to the point where the PiYo Core workout does not seem like an exercise in frustration.

To that end, I have decided to dig out some of my old school Pilates DVDs, work them into the PiYo Schedule, and see what that does for me. If it feels like that's not working for me, I'll...try to figure out something. :)

So this is how I've started out:




Pick Your Level Pilates - with Ellen Barrett.  I love Ellen Barret workouts. She makes me feel tall and graceful, adjectives which are not in any way descriptive of my 5' awkward self. This DVD has 3 levels - beginner, intermediate and advance. As you do the workout, you can pick any of those levels for each move. I normally do all intermediate (except for roll ups...always beginner with the  roll ups), but after PiYo I decided to give the advanced a try, and most of it is doable (you know, except for the roll ups). Not sure if it is due to increased ability, or just lack of confidence in the past...Possibly a bit of both.

Pilates for Dummies - Was my very first foray into Pilates. Definitely identified some areas where I need to work on flexibility, but not as hard as I expected. Also, kind of boring; now I remember why I stopped doing this one.

Crunch Super SlimDown Pilates Yoga Blend - another old favourite from Ellen Barrett, which I had not done in a long time. This is a longer workout; again, I would say not as difficult as I remember from the last time, but definitely some challenging moves in this  one.

Week 1 - starting from Sept 8 - I skipped the intro workout this time, replacing it with a Pilates DVD. I doubled up on the Define workouts, doing both Lower & Upper in one session, and throwing in Pilates DVDs on the other days.

Week 2 - I was actually noticing a bit of strain in my hands & wrists, so decided to back off a bit and go back to splitting up the Define workouts for this week.

Week 3 - Was just one of those weeks. Things kept coming up. I did one workout. I was still in a good frame of mind though, because I feel like I'm back on my game. A bad week is not going to derail me; I will just start over the next week...

Then Sunday night, going down the stairs I somehow missed the last step, or possibly 2 steps...all I know is I ended up on the floor at the bottom and, along with a few scrapes and bruises, I've hurt my foot and I'm hobbling around. So there will be a short break in the workout schedule.

Could have been worse, no serious damage done, just trying to stay off my feet for now and let things heal.

September Workouts

01: PIYO Drench
02: PIYO Buns
03: PIYO Sweat
04: PIYO Core
06: PIYO Sculpt
08: PYL Pilates
09: PIYO Define: Lower + Upper
10: Pilates for Dummies
13: PIYO Sweat
14: PIYO Define: Lower + Upper
15: PIYO Sweat
16: PIYO Define Lower
17: PYL Pilates
18: WAlk[20 min]
19: PIYO Define: Upper
20: PIYO Sweat
21: Crunch Pilates/Yoga Blend
23: PIYO Buns

The weather was seriously beautiful last weekend. I spent some time sitting out in the yard with a book, which is something I did not do enough of this summer. It's been a bit of a weird summer, actually, and I'm not even sure how to explain why. It was definitely not a good year for my garden, just finally getting some tomatoes now, and not many of them. Peppers are just starting, I doubt they will get a chance to mature. I got a late start, for sure, but it also seemed like things were just really slow.




Hopefully we can still look forward to some good weather, though it yesterday cooled off considerably.