Tag Archives: working out

The Great Outdoors … My Lunkless Ticket To Fighting Fat Cells

17 Sep

 

 

The Lunk Alarm.

Apparently some people take offense to it. I thought it was funny because it’s true. There are all kinds of people at the gym. However just like anything else this doesn’t happen in all gyms, but it does happen.

I remembered The Lunk Alarm this weekend as I was hanging out with friends and we were all talking about weight loss, eating habits, and the constant body changes after having kids, and the changes currently happening as we are all reaching 40. They all talked about what they could and couldn’t eat, self-restraint, gluten allergies, and portions. We all talked about trying to keep ourselves healthy and the work it took to maintain healthy lifestyles.

Apparently I’m not the only one who feels that it gets a little harder as you get older.

Tired becomes a factor. Tired from work. Tired from school. Tired from kids. Tired from marriage. Tired from a busy life. Tired becomes a problem sometimes.

And as it became my turn to chit-chat about my outlook on the matter, I admitted, tired is a factor Most definitely. I admitted parts of my body have changed, maybe not the same ones as everyone else but nevertheless stretch marks and fat cells are part of my I had-two-kids life.

And food? I’m in love with it. I admitted to the Claim Jumper size portions. I admitted my love for pasta and that I ate it at least four times a week. My adoration for chocolate. I was a food lover who had seconds, and thirds. But I did admit that because I had a deep Food Network type of amor for food, I did have to get off my ass and workout.

It just made sense.

I had to.

If I ate whatever I wanted, I needed to make sure that I got some exercise in the process. But what I failed to mention was that I hate going to gyms. All these sweaty people in one place, crowded workout areas and the Lunks walking around staring at themselves in the mirror and then staring at themselves again naked in the locker room. Yeah that’s really not for me.

It’s all good that you’re beefed up or that you’re “hot” … dude fantastic. You’re great eye candy, and a nice distraction for me and everyone else I imagine. High-five to you, but sometimes you’re a little too free with your body around me.

I’m all about freedom, but I love my personal space.  It’s mine, but sometimes staying out of my one-foot radius while you’re naked becomes a little too difficult for you while you’re blow drying your hair, brushing your teeth, applying make-up or sitting down. All while you’re naked you do this. I’m clothed. I’ve got a towel. I’ve got bra and panties. I’m good, but skin on skin contact is not allowed, not even feet or elbows. Not even accidentally.

So because I value the non-naked personal space radius, I don’t go to gyms. They’re just not for me. And I know not all gyms are like this. I know, but I happen to prefer The Great Outdoors anyway.

I like to do things that don’t make me feel like it’s an actual workout. Sports. Swimming. Biking. Hiking. Dancing. Boxing. Martial arts. Any outdoor recreation is good. Triathlons are good. Races are good. I’m not reminding myself that I’m working out, because I’m actually having fun.

I’ve never found that working on a Stairmaster is fun for me, even if I have the best playlist on my iPod, it’s just something I don’t look forward to … it feels like a chore. The Great Outdoors … that doesn’t feel like a chore at all. The Great Outdoors makes it possible for me to stuff my face … to eat carbs. It makes the non-workout, workout possible. Plus it has less naked people bumping into you. The Great Outdoors … my ticket to fighting fat cells and stretch marks that are trying  to kidnap my 40 year-old body.

 

 

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Fitness Party Lessons

29 Apr

I know I have rhythm, I’m a regular Solid Gold dancer with slick Latin dance moves. It’s in my Guat blood and in truth it’s one of my favorite traits. But I’ll admit I was a little nervous. I had never participated in a Zumbathon. In truth I’d never even done Zumba, but as I mentioned before it was for a good cause. So I suited up in my best Costco sweatpants and t-shirt and was on my way.

Zumbathon.

Zumbathon Logo.

I didn’t know what to expect, but I can honestly say I didn’t expect to see this type of chick there. However when I walked into the basketball gym, I saw them … Dude. There they were all decked out in their full on Zumba gear, bracelets and hats included. I thought who the hell wears a hat when they workout. I mean if it’s not a baseball cap to hide your messed up Iris Chacon-Amanda Miguel morning hair, who wears that? Who wears hats like that to sweat?  Who does that? Zumba groupies I guess. I had been informally introduced to the Zumba groupie. I’m sure you’ve seen her, she’s the kind of chick that wears makeup to workout. After this encounter I wasn’t sure I was going to be enjoying this fitness party adventure.

The Zumba Groupies

The Zumba Groupies

But after a while, the majority of the Zumbathon people trickled in and most of them were wearing the “normal” sweats, shorts, yoga pants and t-shirt attire. Most of them were people from my old high school, most of whom I hadn’t seen since I graduated, and I was all right with that. There’s really no need to see certain people after high school, and some of them you don’t even want to run into on Facebook. Unfortunately, they find you. But I was willing to cowboy up and have the numerous Oh-my-God!-how-have-you-been conversations for the sake of raising money for my old acquaintance battling cancer.

So after all the hello hugs, I found a spot with my buddies and began the “fitness party” adventure. I had been warned that it might be a serious workout and that I might need to take several breaks within the two-hour frame. But in truth I was all right. I felt like I was on a dance floor at a wedding, only this time I was wearing my New Balance and not some killer high heels that would emotionally and physically damage my feet. Now don’t get me wrong there was a lot of sweat, but it didn’t feel like I was working out, which I guess was a good thing.

I enjoyed my first Zumba encounter, although there were a couple of things I learned through this experience.

The Zumba Instructors and for some reason the groupies got into the shot.

The Zumba instructors and for some reason the groupies got into the shot.

I learned that the fake excited dance teacher that you see in DVD/videos really does exists. It’s not a myth. She’s real. She has all these cartoon character facial expressions and cheesy sayings that she really shouldn’t use, but she does because she thinks it’s going to motivate you. It doesn’t. It makes you lose faith in the Zumba philosophy, and it just makes you wish you hadn’t wasted money on that particular exercise DVD. Sadly I couldn’t turn her off. She was live and in progress. I was so grateful to learn that there were five other instructors that day and that fake happy dance teacher would not be returning to the stage. I also learned that the sixty-year old, gray-haired Zumba dance instructor was the most badass of them all. Sweat was pouring out when this lady took the stage.

Lesson Number Two: You Gotta Commit. In both life and Zumba, you gotta commit. I’d never taken a dance class but apparently it’s kind of like monkey see-monkey do. You pick up the dance moves as the routine progresses. Some of the moves were a little bit too involved for me. They were a little bit too much for everyone except for the Zumba groupies down in front. But as I saw the people in front of me half-ass the moves I thought  … dude that looks terrible. So non-athletic and non-dancer like.  I can’t be looking like that. Either you’re in or you’re out. So I fully committed to all the steps and if I messed up the Flashdance moves …  well … then … I went down in flames and I got a couple of laughs in the process.

Working it on the Zumba dance floor.

Working it on the Zumba dance floor.

Lesson Number Three: Be Prepared to Pump It.  I had no idea that Zumba had a lot of these chest-pump dance moves. A lot. I felt like I was in a rap video — you know the kind where the chick is wearing Daisy Duke shorts with six-inch heels, and all of sudden takes a wide stance, puts her hands up in the air, and does her best Beyoncé-like chest pop. Apparently it has something to do with the abs, but I wasn’t feeling it and I looked nothing like Beyoncé. More like a chick with back problems, but nevertheless I remembered Lesson Number Two and forged on.

Two hours went by pretty quickly and in the end everyone was pretty sweaty from all that chest pumping. It was such a success that they said they might be planning another one in the fall. And who knows I might go again and learn a couple more lessons. But hopefully by then people will not feel the need to take pictures and post on them on Facebook. Maybe they’ll just take pictures for the sake of taking pictures.

 

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My RSVP to the Fitness Party

17 Apr

I’ll have to admit. I had to look it up.

I wasn’t aware of this phenomenon. In truth I hadn’t been to the gym since my college days where step classes were the latest workout rage. I’m not fond of gyms, too many beefcakes checking themselves out in the mirrors and too many naked chicks in the locker rooms admiring themselves. I’m not into narcissism so I like to work out in the privacy of my own home where I can where sweatpants and nobody will judge me for not wearing a matching sports bra. Or I exercise outdoors where there is nothing to admire but nature.

So when someone sent me an invitation for something called a Zumbathon, I had no idea what they were talking about. But Google enlightened me. Apparently it is something well-known in the fitness world. It involves Latin dancing and exercise moves that make you sweat in a fun way. That is just Zumba, but a Zumbathon is a two or three-hour session of this moving and shaking. I guess it’s a nice way to shed the pounds. They call it the “fitness party.” I’m not sure I like this phrase. My idea of a party does not involve exercising. Dancing yes, lifting weights and sweating in front of people? No, not really.

But nevertheless this whole Zumbathon was for a good cause. They are raising money for an old high school acquaintance who has Leukemia. So I thought if it’s for her, why not. We weren’t best buddies and we didn’t hang out and eat Corn Nuts together at lunch, but we had a few laughs when we joined forces at track meets. She was the track and I was the field.  Believe it or not my scrawny 130 pound self was a shot putter and a damn good one. I always came in first place against opponents. They underestimated me. I had a lot rage. Boys. They suck in high school. I mean they suck all the time, but more so in high school.

My only hesitation was the whole running into old high school people. I don’t like running into people, which is probably why I’ve fallen off the Facebook world. People find you and I’m more of the if-I-want-to-hang-out-with-you-I’ll-call-you frame of mind. But it’s for a good cause so I sent in my RSVP and will be participating in this fitness party this weekend. I better brace myself for the whole Oh-My-God-I-haven’t-seen-you-in-years-what-are-you-doing-now conversation. Plus all these people will probably be taking pictures with their camera phones and immediately posting it on their Facebook status. What is that? What is that! I’m not into being tagged and broadcasted on pages so that other high school people can find me. But I’m sure I’ll be all right. I’ll bring sunglasses.

However in terms for the actual exercise part of this event. I don’t know. How do you train for this sort of thing,? I don’t think you do, really. I mean it’s not a sport. I’m still in pretty good shape because of my recent Fight For Air Climb and I’ve kept up with my regular workouts. So I don’t think I’ll be out of breath. And there’s definitely no need to practice dance moves, because those are just natural for my Guatemalaness. So I guess will just have to see what comes out of this fitness party.

 

Image via LeFunny.net

Image via LeFunny.net

 

Hopefully I won’t end up looking like the chick on the right during this whole event. I’ll keep you posted.

 

Even Though I Hate This Step It Gets Me One Step Closer.

3 Oct

Two miles. I’m up to two miles a day. Normally I would say, you’re out of your #$^&%@! mind to be running two miles a day. What’s a matter with you? You hate running. You hate it. But when it’s an integral part of a race, it kind of seems necessary. Essential even.

So it’s become part of my training regiment. A necessary evil. But that’s just me. There are hundreds of people who enjoy hitting the pavement at a brisk pace. Apparently some of my friends find it liberating. Rejuvenating. Calming. Stress relieving. A journey that clears your thoughts and centers your mind.

Image via Durtbagz.com

This does not happen to me.

Most people get to run in the morning. They wake up charged up and ready to go. However since my kids wake up at sunrise, and I’m not the greatest morning person, I’m never really in the wake up-charged up-ready to go kind of mood. I’m more in the holy-crap-I’m-exhausted-type-of mood.

I don’t get any “me” time until nine o’clock in the evening, when they’ve both gone to sleep for night.  So my runs happen at night. Not a good place to let your guard down and feel calm or relaxed. No rejuvenation going on here. Just paranoia. Most of the time you’re extremely aware of your surroundings, making sure nobody comes out of the bushes and tries to slash you. However I do get a couple of daylight workout hours during the weekend. But I prefer to bike on those days. Bikes and nighttime traffic don’t really mix.

So I try to liberate, rejuvenate, and calm myself by walking, swimming  or biking during weekend daylight hours.

Running. It’s not for everybody, but in my case it’s something that needs to be done. It’s step one on my path, a dreadful step one. But a very necessary one for success.

And for me, success in triathlons is the finish … making it to the finish. No need to be showboating and finish in first in the 35-40 chick category, the top three hundred is fine.

And what do I need to get there? Nonstop service from the starting line to the bike transition station. That’s the goal. So I’m just gonna cowboy up, lace up my shoes and hit the pavement. I dread thinking about it, even when I’m out the door I question myself. I question the insanity of running. But once I start, I keep going because I know it’s bringing me one step closer to my goal.

One step closer to not passing out when the running part is done. One step closer to not being that chick, you know, that chick that walks during the race.  One step closer … that idea is all it takes for me to keep running in the dark. Night after night I think “one step closer.” And if there’s chocolate waiting for me at the end … well then I’ll run a little faster. Incentives rock when you hate step one.

Happiness Project Update 3: I Don’t Fit Into Skinny Jeans, But I’m O.K. With That. I’m an Athlete With Curves.

18 Jun

Being able to fit into skinny jeans … for some chicks and dudes, this is a really important factor in life. It’s all about body image.

And in truth, physical appearance is what drives some people and maybe in high school it even drove me. Although I’m not so sure whether that statement is true considering the fact that I wore jeans and t-shirts throughout my adolescent and teenager existence. But then again I didn’t show up in Levis to the prom either. So physical appearance does matter, but not as much as physical wellness.

Image via Happiness-Project.com

This was my happiness challenge for the week. Physical wellness. In my quest to seek happiness during my current state of is-this-my-life malaise, I decided to concentrate on “wellness” this month. Last week I focused on spiritual wellness, this week I concentrated on physical wellness.

What is that for me?

Working out, feeling good, feeling healthy.

But considering that I’m training for a triathlon, I’d say this was a good week. In truth, even if I wasn’t preparing for a triathlon, exercise would still be a part of my life. The only thing is that I like to workout without having it seem like it’s exercise. I know it may sound confusing for people who love going to the gym and hanging out in the Nautilus section working out on the elliptical or StairMaster machines. But the actual act of exercising is not much fun.

I’m not a big fan of the “no pain, no gain” crap. If there is pain, it’s really my body’s way of telling me “hey jackass, cut it out or there will be consequences.” So I just do something else. There’s no need for pain. I have enough of that in life, no need to add it to my body. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a good workout, but I need something fun.

Playing basketball, swimming in a pool, playing tennis, kickboxing, playing soccer at the beach, or going to the batting cages are awesome activities that produce sweat. Plus, it’s not work, it’s fun.

I think that’s the key, at least for me.

During the week I was having one of those days — the kind that everyone has when they’ve reached their patience limit with every human being in sight, especially the ones related to you. And this crazy bad mood washed over me and there I was swimming in it. Drowning in fact. There was no use counting to ten or meditating on this one, I needed some physical wellness STAT!

So I busted out my Hapkido brown-belt skills and took to the punching bag. It was the most awesome fifteen minutes of the day. I had only slept four-and-a-half  hours that day, and for The Guat that’s not enough. That’s zombie, cruise-control function mode in the morning. But for some reason a surge of energy rose out of this fifteen-minute-Bruce-Lee moment. I was feeling so good about this that I went to the track and ran a couple of miles for my triathlon training regiment.

As I stood there hunched over, stretching out my quads, and sweat dripping from my forehead, the stress and anxiety evaporated. They seemed to have vacated The Guat planet.

And I felt much better for it. I know all the studies tell you the physical benefits of working out and how great it is for my heart, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, energy, and on the random parts of your muscular body which attack body fat, but I’m all for the happy moments it brought during meltdowns.

But the happy moments could’ve been from all that wellness my body was experiencing from the vitamins. I decided to also take vitamins. Doctor Oz says they’re good for you, and I like him. So I went crazy at the vitamin aisle at Costco. B-12 rocks, as does the rest of the vitamin alphabet in this Nature Made Super B-Complex. I’m a fan of calcium and glucosamine, too. Apparently they help out my bones, which is necessary for the physical wellness factor.

So with the sports workouts and crazy vitamin surge I’d say this week was pretty good in contributing to squeeze more juice out of the lemon. I still don’t fit into skinny jeans, but I’m O.K. with that. I’m an athlete. I’m skinny enough, and I’ve got curves.

The Outdoor Diva

1 Feb

I didn’t know what to make of her. I thought she just showed up in places like reality television or Spanish soap operas … pretending to run on the treadmill and then gently dabbing the sweat off her brow. But no…there she was in her pink stretchy pants, matching razor back tank, headband, hat, sunglasses, wristbands, earrings, ponytail, and white running shoes.

Who wears Bedazzled wristbands to run? Who wears accessories to the track? Who paints their nails to match their glimmering eye shadow and running outfit? Who wears make-up to workout in the morning? Who wears a headband and a hat? Who jogs with a G-string? Yeah a G-string. Who does that? Who runs only one lap around the track, stops to take a rest, and drinks from her matching water bottle?

The Outdoor Diva.

I had to do a double take as I witnessed this spectacle jog daintily around the track, stretch her legs, which incidentally exposed her G-String and then walk back to her car. It must have been the G-String. I mean who runs in a G-string, unless you’re hurrying on stage to get a crack at that dancing pole, you shouldn’t be running in that at all. Doesn’t seem like proper workout attire to me.

 

T-shirt and sweats. T-shirt and shorts. T-shirt and yoga pants. Those are my three outfits. No color accessories with my ensemble, no Bedazzling, and definitely no G-String. Just in my regular proper running attire.

She mystified me.

My Warrior Update #2

31 Jan

I don’t feel any sculpting developing here.  I feel soreness and backaches. Normal for a 35-year old body in training, but I consider myself an athlete so I’m a little disappointed in my muscle metamorphosis, but I’ve got two more months to physically transform into a Warrior. 

Warrior Dash

This week I decided to change it up a bit as it dawned on me that this race is not going to take place on a smooth all-weather polyurethane track. There will probably be elevation changes, dirt, rocks, gravel…all kinds of mother nature obstructions other than the Warrior obstacles. So I went hiking, which when you think of it is really just walking quickly up a mountain. I should have gone running up there, but considering the shin splints I got the next day I think walking briskly was the better choice. What a wimp! Apparently I overloaded my shinbone and the connective tissue with excessive force. So I took two days off to recover.

During my 48-hour training hiatus I decided to work on my muscles in order to prepare for the Rubber Ricochet and Muddy Mayhem obstacles. In the Rubber Ricochet I must “ram my way through a rubber jungle” composed of old Goodyears and Michelins. But what I didn’t understand was whether people would be shoving me into these tires, or the tires would be swinging on their own, either way it sounds painful. I won’t be wearing football pads or anything, so I focused on biceps. I mean I don’t look like Angela Bassett in What’s Love Got To Do With It, but I feel the seeds of strength planted.

I’ll probably also need upper body strength during Muddy Mayhem in addition to quad muscles. In this little adventure I scramble in the mud underneath barbed wire. I’ll probably need arm muscles to keep my face from drowning in the mud, but not too high or I’ll find myself getting stabbed by the sharp edges usually used to restrain cattle. Sounds like Semper Fi training, but I’m not even close to Armed Forces material. I should practice crawling, I guess.

In any case the training continues, the cardio commences, and ten obstacles to go. Giddy up!