Thursday, December 08, 2011
Thought I was going to talk about yoga and touching my toes? Well, maybe in a bit, but this level of flexibility I want to talk about is the flexibility of my working out plans, and learning to listen to my body and my soul about the right thing to do on a given "today". Oh, and the weather forecast, too.
First, recall that I made a "blended" training plan that pretty much covers the next 8 months. Clear through July. Then I met with my personal trainer last Saturday to get my new strength training routine. At the end, as she was giving me the recommendations for rotating my workouts between the old and the new routine, she offered to make me up a calendar for the workouts.
My immediate response was "No!" I knew this would not work for me. For although I have this training plan all laid out, I have learned over time that being too rigid about the dates merely sets me up for that conversation with Polly Perfectionism, and self-criticism if I don't follow it exactly. And as anyone over 25-ish knows (and a lot of younger smart people, too)... life happens. You don't always do things on the calendar on the date they are written.
So far, I did Day 2's workout on Day 1, Day 1's on Day 2... took a rest day a day early on Day 3, and did the Day 3 workout on Day 4... I envision the rest of the workout week continuing in a similar vein. I will get 6 or 7 workouts in, they will be the ones that "feel" right depending on how my body and the snowfall responsibilities dictate.
Flexibility in training is vital to success and feeling good about myself. For me. Learn what works for you, and you're well on your way to being fit for life.
And about the touching toes? I could almost do this at the end of the Saturday workout with the trainer! I grinned and mentioned it. I have the feeling there will be more stretching in future routines... tell a trainer your weakness, and guess what you get!
Life is good. There are flakes in the forecast, and they don't scare me!
Spark on, my friends!
Wednesday, December 07, 2011
I don't think I've mentioned that the cats have indeed grown to the point where nothing in the house is out of reach. I recall a recipe that my mom used to love, where every other line was "remove Johnny's hands from bowl". She used to quote that one when my younger sisters wanted to "help" in the kitchen.
Well, I could write my lunch-making, washing up, and breakfast cooking regime in a similar manner. "Remove cat from sink", wash hands, put on the milk to heat, remove cat from counter, fill coffee carafe, remove cat from sink, wash hands. Mix salad. Remove cat from counter. Wash hands. Weigh nuts and fruit for snack. Measure oats. Remove cat from counter. Wash hands. Bag snacks and finish packing lunch. Pour coffee. Remove cat from counter... Spark. Ah, yes, what would we do without them?
Last night I opted to make a rest day. I made this choice on the drive home, past the gym. I knew I could either lift last night and rest today, or rest yesterday and lift after work tonight. The decision was based on what my back was telling me. One more rest day before the next lifting session seemed in order. Accountability: tomorrow I'd better be telling y'all I lifted tonight!
The thing about training as a mature person is that there is a careful balance between proper training, under training, and over training. My kid sis told me the other day that to maintain strength, one strength workout a week was required. She learned this in a class she's taking (studying to be physical therapist, I think). To increase strength takes more than one. This was in the context of a conversation about "if the weather is too bad to go to the gym, which exercises can I do at home?" I had concluded that most of my two PT workouts I can do at home, or modify slightly to do at home, if I need to... but there are two or three exercises for which a machine is required. The reasoning is that if I missed those on one workout and only got them in once that week, I would not be losing strength.
Taken to a broader interpretation, my one a week since the beginning of November should have kept me as strong as I was to begin with. As I increase it to two a week, I should start to see some improvements. Makes sense to me. And as my major goal is not to LOSE the fitness that I've attained, sounds like a reasonable plan. Adjust, balance, modify. And never, ever, ever give up.
Life's good: Spark on!
Tuesday, December 06, 2011
Yesterday morning I varied my hot cereal and had grits with my fresh strawberries. As they were cooking I was comparing the texture to Cream of Wheat, to my standard steel cut oats, and to rolled oats. It dawned on me the full sensory experience of the texture of the cereal, the fruit, and how eating mindfully opens one up to it.
Last night after work I managed to find the motivation to stop at the gym and swim a marvellous 950 yards to the backdrop of children's swimming lessons in the other lanes. I wore my noseclip and ear plugs, which makes me swim faster. Besides which, they kept both the splashing and the noise from disturbing the zen of rotating strokes. It felt wonderful and comfy, being cold outside but warm in the pool area. When your workout feels like reward, what's not to like?
Here's to a great Tuesday. Life's good. Spark on!
Monday, December 05, 2011
Listening to music while working out is nothing new. It's recommended far and wide. I sometimes have a soundtrack while going about my morning wake-up get ready for the day, too.
This morning's sound track is Handel's Messiah. In fact, this was Saturday morning's sound track, too. At the gym for my warmup I had the Flight of the Bumblebee and the Flight of the Valkyries. In the few spinning classes I've taken they have had these modern hip-hop and such where I don't recognize (or vaguely do) the artist or the piece, but they have a strong beat. Helps one keep the pedals moving.
Not that I am turning up my nose at more modern genres... I love working out to ABBA (although my son laughs and makes fun of them), to the Beatles and the Beachboys, or the Eagles and collections of hits from multiple artists of the 50's and 60's. Music of one's youth does tend to make one feel younger and more like moving about... it is tied up in memories.
I became aware that I'm "out of it" when I saw the Spark Survey about favorite workout tunes and I didn't know any of them! Current music has passed me by. I might hear them in the background now and then when the radio is on, but I'm past the point of actively seeking new music.
I've been infected by virtue of having lived through my son's teenage years with some from a decade ago that stick with me: Greenday, Analis Morisette, and Tubthumpin'. Even a few country ones get me going (When a God-fearing woman gets the blues?) But even his "music of youth" has moved into a stability phase. I must need grandkids!
Still, nothing matches the classics for me in getting moving. Whether it is the lift of something like Messiah, or something that makes me walk faster, like Bach's Brandenberg concerti (No. 4 and 5 are particularly fast-paced)... music has the ability to feed the soul while I'm moving the body!
What's on YOUR soundtrack?
Sunday, December 04, 2011
Sunday afternoon... potato baking in the oven, warm lunch on a chill day. Yesterday I had errands to run, despite the weather forecast. Made it to the periodontist just as the rain started to change over. Home after to change, then to the gym where I asked the personal trainer to "be nice to me, I shovel by hand". Hah! As my son said, "Good luck with that, Mom!"
Anyway, it was a great workout, and I decided to wait 'til morning to clear off the snow. Well! Those of you who live in climates like mine know that's a chancy decision. Wait too long, and in falling temperatures, wet slushy snow on the ground turns into textures ice. So this morning's workout began with that ice/snow reduction exercise. The hope now is that the sun will be strong enough even with a high of 30 to evaporate or melt the residue.
I also followed through on my "blended" training plan to start the Spark "5K your way" plan, as it just fits nicer into that plan than the Couch fo 5K I did last year. I did a treadmill rotation, longer than officially noted, as I added warmup / cooldown to the workout.
And with this level of meeting my promises to myself, and avoiding procrastination... so far, food plan is on track! First weekend in quite some time I've been able to say that for the whole weekend. Yep, "don't get cocky".
Here's to good decisions, delivered one at a time. Life's good... Spark on!
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