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I Sometimes Listen

31 Aug

Do you listen to what your body wants? I sometimes do, I’m kinda working on it, some days…

trust my body

I find that I often tell myself I have to do this, or my responsibility is to that, when really, my decisions should be based more on what cues my body is giving me, what it is saying it needs, than what pressures I feel from others or myself to fulfill certain obligations or duties.

That is harder for me to do when the activity is something I usually enjoy, and in general, look forward to.

Like my Friday night workouts.

I work two jobs on Fridays, after job number 2 I head to the gym, usually start my work out around 10pm and depending on what muscle groups I am working end up home around 11:30pm or midnight. Midnight is more because I’m trying some new moves or took extra long stretching, or maybe fit in some extra cardio, generally I aim to be there an hour and a half.

My personal rule is that I go every Friday, the only exceptions being if I race the next day, have picked up an early morning shift the next day, or am sick or injured. Otherwise, rain or shine (or snow!), feeling energized or kinda sleepy, I go. I’ve never regretted going, never regretted a workout, even if some of them are definitely not me at my peak, lol. I figure a workout, any workout, is better than none, and to not go is me giving in to my lazy side, which fyi, my lazy side is loud and demanding and must be reigned in often lol.

Tonight however, even though I had my gym bag with me and was planning on going to the gym after work, I was tired, and kind of didn’t want to. Ok, no “kind of” about it, I really wasn’t feeling the idea of going to the gym. I tried convincing myself that once I was there I’d be fine, even better than fine. I told myself to just go through the motions of getting changed, follow the routine, get in that gym and everything will fall in to place and I’ll have a good workout.

Nothing I said made a dent in the yawning, or the tiredness that I was feeling. Hell, the person who replaced me at work even mentioned I looked really tired.Β There was no good reason for me to be so tired, I slept my normal amount last night, I always work two jobs on Fridays, today was my normal routine, but today it was hitting me harder than usual.

I told myself I would aim for home but when I was passing the gym if I felt like it I’d stop. Then, when walking to my car it was so nice out I thought that if I didn’t stop at the gym the least I could do would be to go for a walk. I like walking at night, and I feel I should take advantage of the warm weather while I can since fall is sneaking up on us and soon I’ll need another layer *rolls eyes*.

Confession time, I did neither. I drove past the gym, got home, hopped in the shower, felt like I could have dozed off in the warm spray, got cozy in my pj’s, and curled up with my book, a cup of tea, and the cat. Aaaaand that is pretty much where I have stayed since I got home.

My body was sending me all these signals that working out, even if it is my normal Friday night routine, was not at all what it wanted to do this evening. Normally I would have ignored it, had a not so great workout where I most likely would have put myself at a higher risk of injury because of being less focused while working out, or I would have just drawn a blank when at the gym for what to do because my brain wasn’t functioning at full capacity, and what is the point in that?

Where is the harm in listening to the signals my body is sending, paying attention when it says it is tired and needs a break, and then giving it that break?

Admittedly, a big part of me feels like I’ve failed in some way, failed because I always work out on a Friday and my not working out tonight wasn’t because of any of my previously mentioned reasons. But…it isn’t a failure to take care of myself. If anything I think I might count it as some sort of personal growth. Imagine that, personal growth! How adult of me lol

can not adult

I think a lot of people stop listening to what their bodies are telling them. We get in to our routines, we go on auto pilot and hit the gym or the hiking trail or the running path or the whatever, not when our bodies are wanting to go but when it fits in our schedule. I get that, I do, not like I can skip out of work half way through my shift to have a workout because that is when my energy peaks. So we make sacrifices, we go after work, or fit it in early morning, or do extra on our days off, and probably, for the most part, that is ok. Our bodies are adaptable, which is a handy perk, but even an adaptable body needs a break every now and then. Needs an early night curled up on a comfy chair resting.

I’m working on feeling comfort in my quiet evening, not guilt for a missed workout. Feeling glad that I could understand what my body was saying it needed, not worry this will be the beginning of a trend of missed workouts. I’m reminding myself the gym will always be there, there will always be another chance to work out, and one night off won’t be the end of my workout plan, or my active-ish lifestyle.

Basically, I’m working on listening to my body, following through to give it what it needs, and accept that is the right choice. Friday night gym session be damned! πŸ˜‰

 

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My Best Time – So Far!

19 Aug

I have made a habit of hiking the Coquitlam Crunch one to two times a week for I dunno, a couple months or so? A friend suggested it and I got hooked.

It is described on the city website as a steep urban trail that offers a great workout, which I’d say is fairly accurate. The city website also says it takes 1.5 hours to complete, but they always overestimate for the trails.

The first time my friend and I went we were around the one hour and fifteen minute mark I think…I don’t really count the first attempt at a new trail though because you don’t always know where you are going, and there end up being pauses to figure out are you turning left or right because the trail branches off both ways, reading signs, stuff like that. Second attempt and onward though, those get tracked and turned in to times to beat!…not that I’m competitive with my stats or anything lol

This trail has three road crossings, and depending on if traffic stops or not that can really affect your time, which sucks. There have also been two times where I paused to watch deer, but only on the way down. Pretty much nothing stops me on the way up, I have a mission and am determined to keep moving! The first time we went up I paused to read all the signs, they mostly have blurbs about the area, the wildlife, things like that.

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There is one section with stairs, looks like this…

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Well, actually, I’m sorta lying. Oops! There are two sections of stairs, they are at the same section though, just one set is to the left the other set is to the right. I tend to go up the set to the left and down the set on the right. I find the set on the right easier because there are more flat spots so I save it for my way down when my legs are tired. On the way up I want as many steps crammed in together with fewer flat resting spots as I can get.

Pictures don’t do the Crunch justice. There are power lines the entire length of the trail and in pictures they dominate what you see, but when you are there it is easy to ignore them and just enjoy the view.

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My best time had been one hour and two minutes and I was determined to get it under an hour, even if all I managed was 59:59, I wanted it under an hour!

This past week I went and had no confidence in my ability to beat my best time, I was going to be happy if I managed to hit one hour and four minutes. It was mid-day, the worst time of day for me, I wasn’t as hydrated as normal, there is poor air quality thanks to fires, and my legs hurt from my previous days workout. If I hadn’t been in the area I don’t know that I would have gone to do the Crunch at all that day, but I was in the area, and if I am there I can’t pass up an opportunity to go up, so up I went!

Something about not putting pressure on myself to beat my best time seems to generate results. I only asked my body for the best it could do that day, and was going to be happy with whatever that was, and lo and behold, I got my best time, and it wasn’t 59 minutes!

IMG_2056

56:26!

Do you see that Fit Bit info? I completed the Crunch in 56 minutes and 26 seconds! wOOt! wOOt!

I don’t care if it is rude to celebrate yourself, I am happy with that! πŸ˜€

Yes I know there are people who can do the whole thing in a much shorter span of time, and yay for them, but for me, in this moment, I am excited I completed the Crunch in 56:26. And really, there will always be someone who can do what you are doing better, and that’s fine. I only compete against myself, I only look to beat my time, not the person next to me, as my coach says, race your own race.

So now the time to beat is 56:26…talk about setting myself up for a challenge!

Paddle Boarding, Attempt 1

18 Aug

I do not have great balance, in fact I have pretty sucky balance, but did that stop me from taking my friend up on the offer to try out her paddle board? No, of course not, because where would the fun be if I said no to new things?

So we went paddle boarding. I didn’t fall! Of course, I also didn’t stand, but let’s not get nit picky ok? πŸ˜‰

We each went out a couple times, the first time I stayed within the rope & buoy markers and stayed kneeling low to the board. The fear of tipping over was real I tell ya!

Me

My first attempt.

Kat

My friend Kat looking fierce!

That is my friend, using the paddle board as it is meant to be used. She is much better than I am – granted, it is her paddle board so she should be better at using it than me lol

She is also a great teacher, helping me get on and off, giving tips on how to turn, things like that. Though, she did wait until I was on the water and trying to figure out how to turn before she explained it to me, but hey, thinking you’re going to crash just keeps things interesting, right? πŸ˜‰

Me 2

You can’t tell, because I am a blip in the distance, but that is me, on the paddle board, beyond the buoy and rope divider. There wasn’t much danger since the only other people on the water were either also on paddle boards or were the two people you can see in the canoe in the above picture and they were not moving, just sorta floating along, chatting, having what seemed like a lovely date. Not that I eavesdropped or anything… *whistles innocently*

I didn’t get all the way to standing up but I did raise up so I was, I dunno how to describe it, kneeling, but not as low down as in the first picture of me. So, raised kneeling? If my knees were my feet, I was standing on them, does that make sense? Or just give you a weird mental picture? Probably both lol

Alice Lake BC

I took a panorama picture of the lake to try to give you an idea of how beautiful it was there. Just to the right is a little creek that feeds in to the lake so you had the constant sound of trickling water, and crickets making little cricket noises, and the sounds of paddles gently moving through water. It was tranquil, and soothing, and would be lovely to hang out at for longer periods of time. There are camp grounds near there so I imagine during the day it is louder because of people jumping off the docks, and swimming and all that but right then, at that time of evening, it was chill and relaxing…even if there was the constant worry of me falling in the water lol

Hopefully I get to go again, and if I do, hopefully I take a chance and stand up on the board!

 

0.317

16 Aug

Last weekend my dragon boat team and I competed at the Victoria Dragon Boat Festival. So many things happen at these away races and I always struggle on how to write about them. Do I focus on the races? The food? The general merriment? The travel? Sometimes there is one huge thing that stands out, so it becomes obvious what story I want to tell, other times the entire weekend is fun and I wish I could find a way to talk about everything.

I thought I’d try breaking things down in to categories…maybe that will help?

So, the food!

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This isn’t all the food I ate over the course of the trip, there was dinner on the ferry ride home, and a random banana or slices of toast here and there, but the best food deserved to be photographed and shared.

Pictures of Victoria!

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I took some random, kinda touristy, pictures of Victoria while there. I can’t really tell you all that much about them lol I just took them because I liked how they looked.

General hi-jinks!

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So yeah, I realized I didn’t ask anybody if I could put their pictures on my blog and it is late at night right now so I’m not going to wake them up with texts asking, which means you’re stuck with pictures of me. Sorry!

Last, but definitely not least, is the actual racing!

Each team raced twice on Saturday and twice on Sunday. We had the option to race in something called Guts & Glory but it happens later in the day on Sunday and we wanted to be on as early of a ferry as possible so we opted out. It was nice to qualify though. πŸ™‚

We won Bronze in Division A, or as this festival calls it, Diamond Division!

You may be wondering about the title of this post, 0.317.

0.317 is how far behind we were from the team that won Silver. So we were thiiiiiiis close to winning silver. Which for some people might make the bronze seem less special, or might make winning the Bronze sad, because instead of thinking we Won bronze the thought becomes we Lost silver. I get it, I do! So many races are won and lost by hundredths of a second and when you are on the losing side of that number it can hurt. To know that you were so close and didn’t make it sucks. It doesn’t help that when you tell people you won Bronze they dismiss it, or joke about you not winning silver or gold, or make any number of comments that I guess they think are funny. Weirdos.

It happens when you win silver, people comment about you getting gold next time, things like that. *rolls eyes*

Instead of celebrating the medal we earned, the time we got, it becomes about being apologetic we didn’t do better. To that, I am calling bullshit. That’s right, you heard me.

We have been training for months, since February in case you were curious. We train in cold, in rain, in wind, in polluted waters, in poor air quality, in blistering heat, in hail. We train when we are tired, sick, injured, sad. We have been working our butts off for the better part of a year, and we’ll keep training because it is what we do. We train on the water, we compete in other sports, we go to the gym, hike trails, do all sorts of things to stay strong and keep fit, in part so we can bring a strong and useful version of ourselves to the boat.

All of that counts for something, at least to me it does, and I’m proud of our Bronze medal. We worked hard for that, we earned it! My team accomplished something in Victoria, we came together and showed that we could work as a team and earn some hardware. I am proud of all of them. πŸ™‚

Ok so I didn’t actually get permission from any of them yet to show the team picture so I’m just gonna cross my fingers none of them mind! lol

That in a nutshell is my Victoria weekend. We went. We ate a lot of food. We raced. We won bronze. I bought a hat that is over priced but looks so good on me. None of us got sunburned (that’s mostly a concern for me, the pale one in the group lol). We had a fun time. πŸ˜€

 

Leg Week?

10 Aug

Is leg week a thing? I feel it should be a thing, I can’t be the only person who has done this…granted I did it by accident, but still, I’m not the only one, right?

leg day 1

Last Friday night (it is currently the next Friday) I had leg day at the gym. I hadn’t had one in a while due to scheduling and life and laziness so it was nice to get back to routine. I pushed myself, because what is the point of working out if you don’t push yourself? By the end of the workout I could tell I was going to be feeling the results of that workout for days.

I love that feeling. πŸ™‚

Saturday there was pain, there was using my arms to push me up from a chair, and using arms to take the weight off my legs when I would go to sit, and there was the knowledge I would probably suck at running if I had to run that day. But all that is good, because it is good pain, and it means I worked the muscles hard, the pain will fade, the results will stay.Β  Saturday is my rest day due to how my work schedule is so I didn’t do anything to really work the legs beyond normal day-to-day things.

Sunday I went for a hike after work, it occurred to me that might suck since my legs still had a noticeable amount of muscle pain but I went anyways. During the hike I noticed my legs started to feel better, stronger, they were benefiting from being worked again, even though I was still feeling the Friday night workout. I think, and I could be wrong, but I think the hike helped clear out some of the built up lactic acid and helped them stretch and basically just helped the muscles in their recovery. Yay for a good hike! The trail has a lot of ups and downs and uneven surfaces so not only did the larger muscles get worked but so did the smaller ones used for stabilizing etc. Also, part way in to the hike I noticed my stride was lengthening, I have a decent stride length but started the hike with a shorter stride due to discomfort, as the pain cleared my stride got longer, and I felt better.

Monday evening I did the Coquitlam Crunch which is like a less evil version of the Grouse Grind…which means nothing to you if you don’t live in Vancouver BC or the surrounding areas lol Basically it is a steep urban trail, with an elevation of 244 meters, that gives you a great and fast workout. So far my best time is one hour and two minutes round trip. My goal is to get that under an hour.

Then Tuesday evening I did a long walk with a friend after work. Which brings us to Wednesday where I did the Coquitlam Crunch with the same friend I walked with Tuesday. I had intended to go to Lynn Valley and hike the trails but that will wait for another day.

So, I inadvertently had, what is that, 5 leg workouts in 6 days? Um, oops? Sorry for neglecting you upper body, I swear I still love ya! lol

Normally I do a much better job of working out all my muscle groups, and its not like I have some driving desire to only work on my legs, they just somehow got all my attention this week.

I think the flaw in my workouts is that it is summer, and that means hiking, and trails, and all those lovely outdoor workouts can be done at any time of day, on any day, without worry about weather cancelling your outing, so I tend to go out on a trail instead of inside to the gym. I mean c’mon, if given the choice wouldn’t you go out on a trail, get some fresh air, see some pretty sights, maybe spot a deer or bear or some other fuzzy critter, rather than be inside the gym where yes, you get a good workout but all you really look at is equipment and yourself in the mirror?

The hiking gives me a chance to either ruminate on something that is bothering me, or clear my mind and enjoy the quiet for a while, whichever I need. I can be alone, with nature, infusing myself with the peace that comes from being surrounded by trees (seriously, what is it with trees that they are so soothing?) or I can go with a friend and enjoy a lovely chat while getting in a workout.

The gym, I love the gym, but to me it is more like work, or an expectation, or I dunno, a thing I schedule. I don’t mind any of that, I really don’t, but sometimes I like the idea of being out on a trail more. I know it isn’t as good of a workout as my gym time, and my muscle definition suffers every summer because of that, but I can’t give up my trail time, I enjoy it too much.

However, my enjoying of my trail time this week has resulted in a lot of leg workouts, and no upper body workouts, until Thursday that is when I was at dragon boat practice.

I’ve really got to take care to balance things a bit better because while Leg Day is a thing, a good thing, a thing to be done often, Leg Week is a teeny bit of over kill and maybe shouldn’t be repeated anytime soon…don’t want my back and arms and shoulders to think I don’t care about them after all! πŸ˜‰

 

Where’s Your Village?

17 Jul

They say it takes a village to raise a kid, I think, maybe, it takes a village to do a lot of things.

Easy things. Fun things. Hard things. Sucky things.

There is almost nothing that you do completely on your own. Even if you are accomplished at something, say you write novels, or cook, or paint, you didn’t magically pop out of your birth mother knowing how to do those things. Maybe you had a talent for them, maybe you had the drive to want to do them, but you still had teachers, coaches, inspiration, along the way. Those people are your village.

Same thing when it comes to weight loss, or strengthening, or training for a fitness goal. You don’t accomplish these things alone, even though at times you might feel alone in your journey.

Your village is made up of the people that inspired you to start, taught you what you needed to know to work towards your goal, help keep you motivated when you struggle, provide guidance, and practical assistance, and the tools to get you where you want to go.

One part of my village are the chefs at my work, well, one of my works. I am spoiled at that job by the food that is considered a perk of working there. If your shift falls over lunch time you get fed lunch, same deal if you work over dinner time. It isn’t written in stone but the general idea is you eat what is being cooked that day, for that meal, with obvious exceptions to accommodate allergies, ethical food choices, and other restrictions.

Because I try to not be too big a pain in the ass to the chefs at work, but I am food picky, I generally ask for whatever the lean protein is for that day (as long as it isn’t pork, I don’t eat pork), and veggies. Or I ask for a salad with a lean protein on top. I don’t want sauces, gravies, starches, none of that stuff, which I’m pretty sure makes them cry a bit inside.

For the most part my dinners at work are either fish or chicken, with veggies. My lunches are salads with chicken or fish on top. I know it sounds like I eat the same thing all the time but each meal is different because of the creativity, flair, and seasonings, each chef brings to their dish.

I am well and truly spoiled by the chefs at work, and I do my best to never forget it, and never take it for granted.

One of the chefs has gone on vacation, one of my village, and it has tilted my food world a bit, making it hard to feel like I’m keeping on track.

Yes, yes, I know I could have taken my own lunch, but have I not already explained that I am spoiled?

I’m used to feeling like I am on my get fit journey on my own, even though I know I have a support system out there. There are few people in my village that directly affect the food I am eating on a given day. Those work meals are meals I don’t have to think about, they will magically appear, they will always fit in to my meal plan, they require no effort on my part. I am so grateful for that because I find dealing with food exhausting a lot of the time. The planning, the buying, the cooking, ugh, I hate it.

So to have one of my village gone, and being immediately affected by that loss, made me realize that the comment I have made to the chefs often is in fact true:

I would not be where I am in my journey without their help. They make it easier for me to succeed.

They, in their willingness to accommodate my food requests, make part of my journey easier, more do-able, they make my being able to stick to my plan a thing I can actually do.

I don’t think it is often we notice the people that make up our village, they are just there, their actions taken a bit for granted. Not because we aren’t grateful but because we are all a bit spoiled. And you know, I think thats ok. It’s human nature.

I don’t know if I am a part of anyone’s village, I hope I am, and I hope whatever it is that I do that helps someone I keep doing it, so I keep inadvertently helping them.

Just like I hope I keep being grateful for the people that make up my village. Without them this journey would be so much harder, perhaps impossible.

work food

Some of my work meals. Didn’t believe me when I said I was spoiled did ya? πŸ˜‰

 

 

 

Forgot My Plan

7 Jul

Don’t forget your plan when you go to the gym, or in my case, to make a plan. sigh.

Usually when I go to the gym I have a plan of what I want to accomplish. It isn’t some set in stone can’t be adjusted in the moment kind of thing, but it at least covers how long I want to be doing cardio for and what muscle groups I plan to focus on when lifting weights. Within the muscle groups I know what moves I will do, but even those can be changed once I am at the gym.

The changes are usually because of not being able to access the equipment I need / want. So, say I wanted to run for 30 minutes but all the treadmills are in use, then I’ll go to the elliptical. Or say I want to do Wood Choppers using the pulley system but the proper attachment is nowhere to be found, then I’ll do them using a free weight or medicine ball, or maybe I won’t do them at all, maybe I’ll do Russian Twists instead.

It’s all about getting in the workout I want while making minor changes based on equipment availability and comfort level around the people that I am sharing the gym with.

By comfort level I mean some days the free weight section is crowded with jacked up guys who are doing super sets and moving from one exercise to another and they are taking up a lot of room with their little stations that they created. Or a bunch of guys are working out together and they kinda take over the space so some of them are working out while the others are hanging on equipment next to the guy who is working out while they all chat. I get it, they want to be social, but it sure can be annoying for the rest of us sometimes. *rolls eyes*

This was not meant to be a rant! Oops!

What I was trying to get to is that I always have a flexible plan when I go work out, ensuring I come away from my work out feeling like I have accomplished something and got in a solid session.

Until the other night.

I knew I was going to do my cardio, but hadn’t committed to which machine I wanted to use for it, in fact I kind of didn’t care what I did for my cardio. I ended up using the elliptical for 30 minutes, which is fine, but I could have done better.

Then I took a look at the free weight section and didn’t want to deal with navigating all the guys that were there so I went to a different room, it is a bit smaller but is a good space for free weight work. There were some guys in there but usually I’ll go in even if it is partially occupied cause, well, I can. But since I didn’t have a plan for which muscle groups I wanted to work on, and no real motivation to be there, I didn’t go in the room, instead I went to the stretching area, had a cool down, and went home.

I have never had such a short workout. And I can’t believe I let myself leave without getting some weight work done.

It was like, once there, with all the equipment, I was overwhelmed and didn’t know what I wanted to do, or what I should do, and I couldn’t make a decision, so I left.

Maybe it was because it was at the end of a long day and I was tired and my brain just couldn’t make any more decisions. Maybe for whatever reason I had less motivation that day and I used that lack of motivation as a reason to leave after doing only cardio. Maybe I am just a lazy person at heart and I wanted to go home and be cozy in my pajamas while watching Netflix. πŸ˜›

Whatever the reason, it wasn’t a great workout, and I think a big part of that is my going in to that gym without a plan.

The plan doesn’t have to be some big great detailed thing. Some days it is as simple as:

  • 30 mins cardio
  • weight work for arms, shoulders, and back
  • some core work
  • stretch

That’s it! That is all it takes to make a plan! Who knew something so simple could be the difference between getting a good work out in and only getting 30 minutes of cardio in? Not me, that’s for sure!

Lesson learned, plan, even just a bit, and my workout will be way better.

 

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