Thursday, June 28, 2007

Greetings from NY

So I'm here at the Apple store on 5th Avenue trying out a MacBook. The iPhone comes out tomorrow, and there's a line of people camped out to be among the first to buy one.

We're staying right in Times Square, and we've walked for miles and miles, biked around Central Park, gone to the top of Rockefeller Center, gotten an art fix at MOMA, and eaten at Juniors twice. Tonight we're seeing Spamalot on Broadway.

We're all having a great time and the kids are at perfect ages for this trip -- any younger and I don't know if they would have the stamina for it. Wish I had a way to post photos, but that will have to wait till I get home.

Although Tim convinced me to run in DC -- past the White House and by the Capito Building -- I sure hope someone besides me is exercising, cuz that's the extent of working out on this vacation. Our normal destination is Hawaii where we can count on daily workouts and daily naps -- but there's plenty of time for both (well, at least for workouts) when we get home.

Hugs to everyone...

Thursday, June 21, 2007

So maybe I'm an A-, but that's still an A, right?

Kids fighting led to a white chocolate chip fest for me. Did it solve things? No. Did it feel good in the moment? Um, yeah. But I still get an A because I'm halfway through a kick-butt workout, determined not to let a temporary slip-up become an all-day thing. In case anyone's wondering, white chocolate chips don't feel good in your tummy when you're doing kettlebell swings. Also, everyone needs to know that a 16K kettlebell (36-ish pounds) is WAY heavier than a 12K kettlebell (26-ish pounds). Trust me on this!

You may be asking why I'm writing in the middle of a workout? Well, I turned down the music and heard a strange sound and needed to investigate. Youngest son, who does not lack for initiative, decided to make puffed pancakes, and was whizzing the batter in the blender. I'm staying down here till he gets his concoction in the oven, then it's back to the training room for me.

Note to Katie: I included a modified bodybuilder in the workout. It was a four-count move starting from an ass-to-grass (atg) squat position:

1. Jump back into high plank
2. Jump forward into atg squat.
3. Grab 12K kettlebell and stand up (dead squat).
4. Squat back down.

Since my workout was 1 minute of exercise, then 45 seconds of rest, I don't know how many I did, but I know that I've rarely done such a long minute of exercise!!!

My new motto

I have signs that say this everywhere that matters -- in my car, on the mirror in the bathroom, and on my computer. And it's helping me to handle the summer in a different way.

As I think back on growing up, it's true that every experience has made us what we are now. And I'm not looking to erase the past, but I know that mirroring the way I was parented is NOT the way I want to parent.

So I was thinking about how I just lie down and say "whatever" to a degree that causes a lot of resentment and anger. And then I was thinking, "Well, what do I really want?" The answer is this: I want to get some things accomplished that are important to me. And I think a big part of my problem is that I am, in essence, a Type A personality who has contorted herself to fit into a Type B lifestyle. That's why it's not working.

So the signs are reminding me that it's ok to want to see something through. To say, "Yes, but later" to requests that would completely derail me. And they're working. Here's a small example: right now the kids are swimming with three of their friends. (I have no music or TV on, and I'm listening to make sure they stay safe and sane!) But Tucker's had some pain in his foot and wants me to take him to the doctor (it's been going on for a while). I called and they had a 2:15 appointment. Did I take it? You betcha! So yeah, the kids will "only" get to swim for 45 minutes, and not the customary 3 hours. And that's ok. That's better than ok -- that's GREAT because this way they get play with their friends (I didn't mention that they've all been here for a couple of hours already, so it's not like they're having no fun!) AND I get to do what's important to me.

Time to feed the pool boys...

Muchas gracias! - Custom comment codes
I am feeling so much better about our trip, now that I've gotten so much great feedback from my online friends. From the bottom of my heart, thank you! Last night Tim and I spent about an hour pouring over your comments and emails, as well as the notes we'd taken from conversations with friends, and we have a sense of what we'll be doing on our vacation, which makes me feel GREAT!

In fitness news, I got at 16K kettlebell!!! Today will be my first time to play with it, and I'm super excited!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

New York City/Washington D.C.

We're heading to New York City and Washington D.C. for our family vacation. If anyone has any must-see's or must-do's for either city, can you let me know? Right now I'm sorting through guide books and various printouts and trying to plan what we'll be doing. We have 3 full days in each place. Any help is greatly appreciated!!!

True confession -- I'm really scared about going to THE BIG CITY(IES). I've lived in the Sacramento area my whole life and as a stay-at-home mom, my world consists of a very small area that goes from my house to the kids schools to the grocery store to the gyms (fitness and gymnastics). I bought a geeky hip pack, because I'm terrified to carry a purse in either place.

To me, this vacation feels a bit like getting onto a roller coaster. We (the royal we -- I mean Tim, really) booked the travel and hotels a while back, so we've been sitting in the car with the lapbar down for a while now. But it's almost time for the roller coaster car to start moving and then there's REALLY no turning back!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Workouts can save you

Yesterday was a tough day. Some of the highlights:
  • Started the day feeling emotionally "off"
  • Was ready to leave and do some things I needed to do, when kids friend stopped by. Being me, I let him stay for 3 hours and never got my stuff done.
  • New washer spewed water all over laundry room floor.
  • Emptied espresso maker grounds all over the kitchen floor by accident.
  • Stepped in discarded gum on the street -- a BIG piece.

One way I can tell I'm not doing so good is when I'm breathing "fuhhhhh..." a lot. Another indicator was when I brought the garbage can in and repeatedly kicked it as hard as I could. What could I do? Ahhhhh -- sometimes exercise helps, right?

So upstairs I went and did a 20 minute butt-kicking workout. I did 1 minute of work, 30 seconds of rest, and kept the intensity high with kettlebell swings, squats, pushups, etc. After 20 minutes things weren't perfect, but I was certainly better than I was before the workout.

P.S. I intend to respond to comments soon. Chantal2bfit asked about kettlebells, though, and I thought I'd try for a quick answer here. Yes, kettlebells can be used at home very successfully. If I were starting out with kettlebells, I'd try to find someone locally who could teach me how to use them. If I couldn't find a local resource, I'd go to No Fear Fitness and learn as much as I could from the exercises listed there. I'd buy an 8K (18.6 pounds) kettlebell if I could only buy one. And I'd work on two-hand and one-hand swings and front squats.

That's all folks!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Links are working/Brain is not

I edited the html code and checked the result, and I think the links are working. These are not the only weblogs I read, but the ones I keep up with the most consistently. I use Bloglines to notify me when a weblog I subscribe to is updated -- HUGE TIMESAVER! And I'm sure I'll be adding more links soon. But I'm babysteppin' my way and that seems to be working just fine.

Now onto my brain problems. Do you ever feel like your past just controls you? Right now I sure do. I did not have a great childhood. I DID (and still do) have parents who love me, and for that I'm truly grateful. But growing up with mental illness in the family is tough. My dad was the one who held everything together. So he not only worked, he also (as my mom got sicker and sicker) did the shopping, cooked the meals, cleaned the house -- if there was something that needed to be done, he did it. And once a month he went and played poker with his professor friends from the university. Other than that he was selfless to the core.

So that's my model of "good" parenting. Problem is that I have just enough emotional healthiness inside that I resent the prison that I create by the mimicking of what I grew up with. So today for a few hours I was deep in that, "I'm invisible, I just do what helps other people" kind of mindset. Now don't get me wrong -- I know that being a parent involves sacrifice -- but it doesn't involve sacrificial living to the degree that I can take it. And that's why summers have been so hard in the past, because I will stay home and do whatever my kids want (which is usually hours and hours of playing in the pool with their friends) in a way that's out of balance for them, for Tim (who gets a resentful, discouraged wife when he gets home), and for me.

Why am I writing this? Because once again I'm committed to finding a way past this behavior. The victory is that today I only stayed in the victim-ey place for a few hours. And I'm hoping that by writing about it, I'll create an awareness internally that will cause me to make a better choice next time.

Life is good!

Living in California

I've never lived any place but here. And living in California is great for many reasons. Today, though, all I can say is IT'S HOT!!!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Austin in Action!

A few months back I posted a video of Tucker's gymnastics competition at Stanford. At that time, Austin was injured (skateboarding wrist injury) and not even sure if he was going to continue with gym. Well, he's back, and here's some footage of him in action. I watched it with Austin yesterday. All he sees is the problems -- toes not pointed, legs not together, etc. All I see is power, grace, and beauty. Enjoy!

Still here!

It's not that I don't have any free time during the summer, it's that I don't have any uninterrupted time. For me (and maybe for everyone) it takes a convergence of several factors to write in my weblog, including:
  • something somewhat meaningful to say
  • uninterrupted time to write what's in my head
  • a little bit of energy
Those three factors have all been around, but not all at the same time, hence no writing.

Right now, though, the kids are swimming at a friend's house. And the washing machine isn't working (no working machine = no clothes to fold). And the house is relatively clean. And we're not having dinner at home tonight, because nobody will be home to eat. So it's time to write. (Oooh, the pressure is immense ... just keep typing and something good will come out, right???)

Almost all my workouts these days involve a kettlebell and my Gymboss timer. I've done everything from the quickie 12 minute workout of Friday night, when that was all the time I had before picking Tucker up from swimming, to some tough 30 minute circuits with 1 minute of exercise, and 30 seconds of rest. I am pretty flexible about the exercises I choose, but there are always kettlebell swings and front squats. And I can tell that I'm getting really tired when the thought, "Some bicep curls would be good for the next set!" crosses my mind.

I can tell that upping the intensity of my workouts is working, because I went to Bikram Yoga on Sunday (yeah, I just want to be exactly like Tracy!) and made it through the whole class with no problems. It's been over a year since I've been to Bikram, and it felt great to jump in and do it.

Also, I've made a new kettlebell friend. Her name is Allyson, and she just moved here from San Diego, and is starting kettlebell workouts at the park. I'm attending the workout tonight -- yeah, at 5:30, and I'm sure it'll have cooled down to about 95 degrees or so! (Great practice for Bikram, right?)

Well, that's it from me for now. Time to plug my washer back in and see if it's in the mood to work again.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Template Play

I've had a little time today to play with the blog template, specifically adding a list of links. However, said list is NOT operational yet, so don't be surprised when you try to click and link and it does absolutely nothing. But I'll try to have this remedied by the end of the weekend.

Summer is here and life is good!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Ladder Fallout and New Toys

I could tell my emphasis has been on lower body training, because my lats and triceps are STILL sore today, 3 days after the ladder workout! So of course I have to do the ladder again in another day or so, cuz I feel like IT owns ME, and that, my friends, is just not acceptable!

Well, I got some presents in the mail yesterday and today. Yesterday's present was a Gymboss interval timer. And today's presents were an 8 kg kettlebell and a 12 kg kettlebell!!! Using the new stuff, this was tonight's workout (1 minute work, 1 minute rest for each exercise):

8 kg swings
8 kg swings
12 kg swings
12 kg front squats
12 kg swings
12.5 pound dumbbell overhead press
8 kg roly poly squats
12 kg swings
8 kg one-arm swings
12 kg roly poly squats
12 kg swings
4 kg double swing/clean
12 kg suitcase squats
8 kg swings high/low
12 kg swings
total workout time: 30 minutes

The Gymboss made intervals really fun. And having a heavier kettlebell was great.

Kids are out of school tomorrow, and I'm looking forward to the ease and fun of summer. Those who have known me for a while will know that this is a new attitude towards summer on my part. How did I get new attitude? Wish I knew, but I sure hope it stays!!!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Death by Ladder

I've been reading and watching MOD 1 from Body by Fish. It's a bodyweight workout that's quite intense. I don't think I'm up for the MOD 1 challenge, but he does a lot with ladders, and that got me to thinking that I would like to make my own ladder, which I just finished. The workout took 35 minutes and I feel like a limp washrag right now.

The exercises:
Squat tosses w/10 lb med ball
Floor push ups
Pull-up negatives
Step ups w/15 pound dumbbells
Plank holds for 8 counts of music
Kettlebell swings w/20 pound bell

So to do the ladder you do 1 rep of each exercise. Then you do 2 reps. Then 3. And so on, all the way up to your target number (10 reps was my target), and then if you're insane like me, you come back down the ladder to 1. On the way down, I did lat pulldowns instead of negatives, and I did ball crunches instead of plank holds.

One of the things I liked about this workout (and maybe why it doesn't count as a "true" ladder) is that I could play with the reps. So I did rounds 7, 8, and 9 combined for pushups and for kettlebells. And somehow that made it seem easier.

If you're reading this and you're one of my clients, you can expect a ladder in your future!!! Now that's something to look forward to!

Friday, June 01, 2007

Fridge detox

This is a cute video with some smart suggestions:

Wouldn't have helped me with the chocolate malt balls, as I made a special store trip to get 'em!

Unfinished business

There are a few things I needed to follow up on, so in the spirit of tying up loose ends as we come upon the weekend, here they are:

Butt lift: According to my husband, butt is plenty lifted. That's a relief, but I'm still sticking with kb swings, squats and lunges cuz they WORK!

GDE: Wouldn't you know it? Just when I decreed that dinner would happen at 6:30 nightly, Tucker joined the swim team and now has practice at 6:35 three nights a week! So now I see it as my job to have food available to whoever (whomever?) is around to eat it. The new plan includes black bean chili once a week, breakfast for dinner once a week, and a lot of flexibility on everyone's part. I do have spring salad mix around at all times, along with cut up veggies (peppers and lightly steamed broccoli are current favorites) which make salad making easy. And maybe once swim season is over, we'll get back to the new normal!

Learning: The quest for knowledge continues and the process is SO MUCH FUN! Tim accuses me of "working" all the time, and I suppose in one sense he's right, because I study fitness every chance I get. But is it work if you love it? I don't think so!

Clean eating: Is anyone eating clean these days? Cuz I'm sure not. I'm not going overboard or anything, but I have yet to find a diet plan that includes chocolate malt balls and lots of my son's Chinese leftovers as part of a weight loss effort. (Both were yummy, though!) Our family vacation is in three weeks -- New York City and Washington DC are on the agenda, and we plan to do every touristy thing we can fit into our time. And I'd like to have some ease, both physically and mentally, going into the vacation. So it's time to tighten up the food. The good news is that I know what I need to do, and I know it works.

Today's workout: My workout happened in 3 parts today, but that's not a problem as far as I'm concerned. Here's the rundown:


Run 4 (?) miles (2 with Stacy!)


Fun stability ball flow series consisting of
  • glute lifts (3 sets of 10)
  • push ups (3 sets of 10)
  • knee ins (3 sets of 10)
(I really liked this progression as it went from lower body to upper body to core.)

Ball slams (3 sets of 25, 16 lb med ball)

Rope ups (lying on the ground and pulling yourself up using a rope and as little lower body involvement as possible) (10 times)

Swing/squat/swing/squat/swing (3 sets of 10 of each, 20 lb kb)

Dragon walks (3 sets of 20, 20 lb kb) (kind of like lunge walks)

Step ups (3 sets of 15, using 12 pound dumbbells)


Ball slams (3 sets of 20, 16 lb med ball)

Swing/squat/swing (2 sets of 10 of each, 20 lb kb)

Ring rows (2 sets of 10)

GREAT NEWS!!!: There's a BOXING GYM that's opened up like 10 minutes from my house. I have always wanted to learn how to do the speed bag and hit the heavy bag and do all sorts of boxing moves. The only thing I'm not ok with is getting hit. (Tim thinks that's hilarious!) So there is yet another fitness field trip in my future, and this one is like right in my own back yard!

Hill repeats: Tim and I did hill repeats (on the upper trail, for those of you who have experienced the trail) on Wednesday. We did 7 repeats (cuz it's the number I committed to, gosh!) and for the last 3 I was so exerted that I was nauseated. Don't usually feel like that, and since I don't EVER want to throw up from working out, I was quite happy to walk part of the way up. Tim charged up the hill each and every time. It was fun doing it together, but it took a bit of a mind shift, cuz when I'm alone, I'm the fastest one there! (Honestly, Tim pushes himself and his hard work pays off! Can you tell I'm proud?)