Category Archives: Fitness

Weekend workout: Aqua jogging

Fitness-comic.07.17.10.jpgSitting in the sauna gives me a great view of those in pool. I see all ages, sizes, and colors congregate in and around the pool area. After a vigorous, or in some cases, relaxed workout, you’ll see a few move over to the whirlpool or migrate to my area (sauna) before heading for the showers.

Before today, you wouldn’t see me in the pool. I tend to avoid public pools, since I’m skeptical about whose doing what in them. Yeah, yeah, I know they add chemicals to the water to deal with the people who decide that the pool is a perfect place to use the bathroom, but it still grosses me out. Additionally, the chemicals tend to leave a burning sensation on my skin.

I’ve successfully avoided using Bally’s pool until today. The clamoring of my daughter with, Mommy, please take me to your gym, so I can go into the pool finally won. This morning I added her swimming gear to my workout bag and away we went.

My daughter was having a great time splashing about in the pool, getting comfortable with the water. I on the other hand, am showing my daughter where she can and cannot place her hands on Mommy in the water. Placing hands on the my waist, arms, or shoulders are good. Latching onto the boob area with a death grip, not so good. Although that part seemed to amuse another mommy there with her young daughter. It’s not as though I have an overabundance of boobage but whatever… We had a blast; to make things a little more entertaining for her I did some aqua jogging.

Aqua jogging isn’t just for elderly or overweight people. I’ve seen numerous fit folks engage in this activity at my gym. I just wasn’t one of them until today. Sure, it looks weird if you are on the outside looking in, but it’s a gentle way to workout too. This low impact exercise routine, is a nice change from my intense workouts, and the best part of it is I got to hang out with my daughter. I incorporate her into a lot of fun workouts I do around our house, so it’s nice to include her in some fun activities at the gym too. My daughter didn’t see it as exercise. She held on; squealing as I ran laps in the pool. She was having a great time! She shouted, mommy, do more! Do more!

My daughter is sold on pool-time. I knew she would be, so it looks as if she’ll be tagging along with me to my gym at least twice weekly. Here’s an informative article for those interested in learning more about aqua jogging and other pool exercises.

Cooking news…

Today, I didn’t make those grilled bean burgers with my soaked beans for lunch. I had every intention of making them. However, my daughter was hungry after our pooltime adventures, so I quickly made a dish with black beans & dark leafy greens. I’m not sure what I want to call it yet? It surely was colorful and flavorful. It’s loaded with veggies; collards, sweet bell pepper, swiss chard, fennel, garlic, and onion. Herbs and a few seasonings were tossed in the pot too. My daughter gobbled hers up, and is now sleeping. I did take pictures, so I’ll be sure to upload a photo soon.

Re: Bean burgers

The good news is I set aside plenty of cooked blacked beans. Remember I said I prepare a batch of ingredients when I know I’m going to be busy? Well, I did that with the beans. Now normally after preparing what I need for one dish, I’ll store the remaining cooked beans in the freezer. Today, I set aside more beans for our upcoming bean burgers. I’ve already whipped up the ingredients for bean burgers. They’re in patty form too, so the only thing left is to cook them. Perfect meal for the days when I’m too busy to actually cook, and since I pre-made them. I know what we’re eating is healthy. You can’t beat that, right?

What’s my daughter doing? She’s currently napping, it seems she’s had a busy day.

Question: How was your day? Was it busy or have you been taking it easy?

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Fitness, Moondancer

Guilt-free gaming and children's day

Some of my favorite childhood memories are spending time with family. Yeah, yeah, I know… they can annoy the heck out of me at times. But, they were always there, and I knew that my parents really loved my brother and myself.

My family is extremely important to me. When it comes to down time, I really enjoy including my daughter in many of our activities. She’s a great kid; I love hanging out with her. So yes, at times what I enjoy is tweaked a bit to ensure she’s having a great time too. Now that I think about it, I imagine that’s one of the reasons why I simply cannot get too wrapped up in gaming, especially MMORPG’s, as much as I enjoy playing them. Gaming is one of my guilty pleasures, and it’s something you’ll occasionally see me doing when my daughter is sleeping or preoccupied.

That’s why I enjoy the shorter video games, like First Person Shooters. The story lines don’t last too long. MMORPG’s, can be a huge time sink (if you let it) and they have that social aspect going along with it. I’ve met so many great folks in the few games I’ve played, but it can get time-consuming. When I was playing World of Warcraft, I could have easily spent hours kicking some night elf or human butt in a Battleground, but I didn’t.

Now that I think about it, even if I were truly single, I wouldn’t be spending too much time in the gaming fantasy world, because I still would feel guilty. Crazy, I know. Why is that? As much as I hate to admit it, if I linger in a game too long, I feel guilty wasting my time in the gaming world.

At times I gently reprimand myself, thinking of the other ways I could better use my time to do something ‘constructive’.

  • I could be working out
  • I could be writing an article
  • I could be working on some designs
  • I could social networking for my business
  • I could be reading

Well, you get the idea, and if you have a guilty pleasure, perhaps you’ve done something similar? After a few hours you’ll find me (regretfully at times) looking to do something creative. Besides, when my daughter is awake and not occupied the last thing I want to be doing is escaping into some magical fantasy world. I want to be ‘here’ if she needs me.

I know a lot of the guilt has to do with how my brother and I were raised. My parents, when not working, spent a lot of time with us and that has left a major impact on the way I interact with my daughter. I really enjoyed knowing that my parents were ‘there’ whenever I needed them. They included us in there interests and actively encouraged our own.

This week, my daughter is bursting with excitement! I told her I’m bringing her to my gym. My daughter knows how important fitness is. It makes you feel good, it’s good for you, and it increases your energy level. She knows that exercise can be a lot of fun too. Our exercise usually involves games. It doesn’t feel like exercise to her, and it’s a lot of fun! There are some games we play inside; others are done outside. Regardless of the weather, we got our physical activities covered

Anyway, childrens’ day at my gym is set aside for Tuesday, Thursday, Saturdays. Although it isn’t all day, the hours are enough to play in the pool. Although she was at my gym when she was three, she really doesn’t remember too much about it, and so I’m sure our first trip will be a tour of some of the equipment mommy uses. My daughter is excited and has already changed her swimming outfit a few times. You want to know something, I’m sure it will change again before we head to the gym this Tuesday.

Finding a happy medium can be challenging; Work, family, personal time. etc., Sometimes it seems impossible to make it all fit, right? However, I think I’ve finally stumbled upon what works for my daughter and myself. A few hours a week you can find me escaping into the gaming world, it’s simply one of the ways I spend my personal time.

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Family, Fitness, Moondancer

Vegan: Fueling the body with healthy post-workout snacks

Bodybuilding-ant.07.10.10.jpgWhen you do a lot of physical activity, you tend to burn a lot of energy. That makes perfect sense right? The question is, how are you fueling your body to deal with this increased activity?

Since my appetite increases based on my activity level one of the ways, I combat this issue is having snacks readily available. Whether I work out at home or make tracks for the gym, I’m armed with a nutrient dense snack that will fuel me through my workouts.

Before beginning my workouts, I always eat a light snack. Why? For the extra energy and stamina needed to assist me throughout my exercise! Once your workout has ended, your body still needs fuel. Why is that? Think about all the muscles you used during your workouts, the energy you expended during your training. I guess we should replenish some of what we lost, right? Having a post workout snack helps assist the body with replenishing your depleted glycogen stores. Glycogen stores are depleted during a strenuous workout. A post workout snack also aids repairing muscle tissue.

I’ve included some of my post-workout snacks below…

  • Post-workout smoothie
  • One of my favorite pre and post workout snacks are green smoothies. For protein, I normally add 1/4 cup of freshly ground almonds to the blend. If I’m working out at the gym, I make sure I carry an extra container with my green smoothie. I use Klean Kanteen Stainless Steel Water Bottles. I’ve been using them for years and haven’t had to replace my originals yet. I like them a lot since they keep my drinks cold, which is especially important when I’m sitting in the dry sauna.

  • Hummus and Collard Wrap
  • If you don’t like the collards try romaine lettuce or use pita bread.

  • Berries and Nuts
  • Carbs and protein, I tend to eat 1 cup of berries with a few tablespoons of almonds.

For those who want to see an extended list of where vegans get their protein, check out the Vegan protein link at the Vegetarian Resource group.

Question: What are some of your favorite pre and post workout snacks?

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Fitness, Smoothies

Workout Wednesday – 07/07/10; Legs

barbell.07.08.10.gifIt’s a great feeling to do something you enjoy, right? Yesterday I managed to squeeze a workout session at Bally’s Total Fitness. The workout wasn’t too long but, I still managed to have an excellent workout. Since I managed to workout some muscles in a different way, I’m slightly sore this morning.

When it comes to motivation, I guess I’ve always been fairly motivated/disciplined. I’ve always been a dreamer and as a child, I discovered how powerful our minds can be. I would set goals for myself, visualize what I wanted to achieve and continally work at acquring them. It wasn’t always easy, many times it was hard, but realizing how powerful the mind can be I pursued my goals. at times, it still isn’t easy, I still have to push myself to accomplish a variety of goals and yes making the time to go back into Ballys Total fitness was one of them…

I’ve always been an active child; my brother, and I helped my parents in their almost two-acre garden when we were young. When other kids were out playing we had chores (gardening) after those were over, then we were allowed to play, and play we did. Biking, tag, kickball, softball, running, etc., We had an arsenal of physical activities on our plate.

Moving onto college, I joined a weight lifting program. The reason was simple, I knew I might be as active physically as I was in the past, and I didn’t want to lose my edge. Sure, I had a high metabolism, but I wanted to stay physically active too. Besides, myself and another girl that class was all males. I remember the teacher told the girl and me that the assistant teacher didn’t think we’d make it because we were girls. Pfft, please I’ve been active my entire life. This was nothing. You want to know something; I’m never one to back down from a challenge. I was determined to prove him wrong, and I did. So yeah, I guess my body has always been active. I honestly feel guilty if I don’t do some type of physical activity. I simply enjoy the natural high I felt after doing physical activity, so there was no way I’m shelving that feeling regardless of how difficult it could be to incorporate a workout into my routine.

Anyway, back to the motivation thing… I kept putting off going back to Bally’s Total Fitness; I’d been working out at home after all. The past year most of my workouts have been done at home; I did some form of exercise daily. At times that entailed working out in the garden, which can be fairly intense, cutting grass, or doing the traditional workouts. The only difference my exercises were at home. You don’t need to go to a gym to workout, you really don’t need the tapes either, however, they can be motivational, and so if you don’t want to work out at a gym but need some type of motivation, I’d recommending purchasing a workout DvD.

Although I mainly worked out at home, I was able to stay in great shape. Something always came along that made it easier for me to keep putting off, stepping back into an actual gym. Isn’t that how it works? However, when we arrived back from vacation, I packed my gym bag determined to make the time to get into the gym on Tuesday. I placed the typical images in my mind of me spending time with my daughter, completing work for my clients, doing my usual exercise at home, and oh yeah… squeezing in some gym time too.

Why am I going back to the gym, if I’m already working out at home?

Well, I cannot squeeze out those extra reps on my own. I tend to do five sets of an exercise, 15 reps per set. On my own I can only do so much, however with a partner I can push out even more, or have them add more weight. Yep, in those instances it’s great to have a buddy to assist you with that.

Figure competition is another reason I’m back in the gym… Although I would love to compete this year, I realistically know I don’t have that type of time, and so I need to stop fooling myself. It’s nice to have a workout buddy to serve as an additional motivator. Although disappointed that I cannot realistically compete this year, I can work on a long term goal and compete next year. The good news is that one of my friends/workout partners works out there too. Now, it’s simply a matter of coordinating our schedules so we’re able to get a few workouts in together weekly. His schedule is just as busy as mine.

I’ve included yesterdays workout routine below. I did five sets of each exercise, 15 reps per set. I don’t take breaks between each exercise; I simply move onto the next station.

Wednesdays’s Workout: Legs

Cross trainer – highest incline, running at top speed (forwards and backwards for 10 minutes)
Front Squats
Stiff Legged Deadlifts
Leg Curls
Incline Dumbbell Press
Wide Grip Pulldowns
Calf Raises (worked out until muscle failure)
Bent leg donkey kicks

Dry Sauna w/sauna rounds – 45 minutes (I did some abdominal exercises while in there)

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Bally’s Total Fitness, Fitness

Upcoming fitness updates

Precor EFX 5.31 Premium Series Elliptical Fitness Crosstrainer.jpgYou would think as much as I work out, I would include some of my fitness routines here, sadly I haven’t been doing that. Yep, I’ve totally dropped the ball in this area, however that’s about to change.

In the future, I’ll post some of my fitness routines. My workouts are fairly intense, which is how I like them. I have a lot of energy, so it’s nice to burn through some of that doing my conventional (and unconventional workout.)

I’m a member of Bally’s Total Fitness; the cross trainer pictured above is one of the types used in their gym. It’s a Precor EFX 5.31 Premium Series Elliptical Fitness Crosstrainer. If you want to purchase it, you most likely will be spending over $3,000 for a new model. Early this morning you could find me in the gym sweating it out on a cross trainer. It was an intense workout, but I felt great as I pounded my feet, moved my hands, and rocked out with my Ipod on the Cross trainer. When it comes to cardio equipment, I believe this has to be one of my favorites? I set it at the highest incline possible, which in my case is ten, and ran the entire time. I normally run between 10 – 45 minutes. It’s a great all body workout. Running forwards or backwards, it doesn’t matter; I still run at the same speed. My hands move along with me as I run, sometimes I use light weights while I’m on the trainer.

I had limited gym time today, and so I didn’t run as long as I normally do. I like to end my workouts by sitting in the sauna, and so I worked my way to the sauna after swapping out of my workout shoes. slipped on some flip flops and headed to the dry sauna. I normally stay in the sauna for about an hour, but that didn’t happen today since I was on limited time. I think I stayed in there for about thirty minutes? I keep myself hydrated, and I also do sauna rounds. I’ll write more on sauna rounds, the benefits of utilizing the sauna in a later post.

Gym talk: Chatting about health & nutrition

Occasionally I’ll receive comments while in the gym about my workout routine, I’m more than happy to take a few moments and chat with people about what I do, and in some cases assist them with various exercises. Sometimes people are afraid to ask for help, which I think is sad. It’s important to remember at some point we’ve all started at the beginning. I tend to wear a lot of vegan name shirts while I’m at the gym. Yes, it’s a conversation starter. Naturally one of the questions I get, is where do I get my protein? I have a muscular build (think of the fitness/figure competitors) so I’m obviously getting my protein from somewhere, and it surely isn’t from animal products or supplements.

One comment I do hear often, “You’re in great shape, You can eat anything you want!” I smile and say thanks and say, “Sure, I could… but knowing the impact that certain food choices have on our bodies, I choose not too!” That usually leads to discussions about food and I chat briefly about the impact it can have upon your health. It’s all (food/health) connected, respect your body by filling it with delicious and nourishing foods. I’m not one to preach veganism, at times I do think you can have a huge impact simply leading by example.

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Fitness, New Tag, Bally’s Total Fitness