When I was in middle school I watched “Singled Out” like it was my job. Once there was this beautiful girl on there with six-pack abs that said, “I do 500 crunches a day to get my stomach to look like this.” My little 12-year-old prepubescent belly chub was enchanted. I did 500 crunches for a week and then I gave up. I didn’t have a six-pack, or boobs or long tan legs. What was a teenybopper with a shag bob and braces to do?
Luckily, I had a brother in high school that I emulated. He was honing in on his rowing skills in our basement ergometer and taught me how to do the same. He went on to row in college with men who all looked like 6’8″ Greek Gods*, while I continued to hit up the ergometer whenever all the other machines at the gym were taken.
You’re probably wondering why any of this is relevant. Well I am at my Dad’s house in Mendon, NY for my cousins wedding this weekend and it’s raining outside. Thus, I had to workout in my Dad’s basement which is stocked with all sorts of exercise equipment. I chose the ergometer. I rowed 5,000 meters and did 500 crunches while listening to Whitney Houston on repeat (OHH! I wanna dance with somebody…). It’s a good thing that Mike put a ring on it, because otherwise those casting directors from Singled Out would be hunting me DOWN! Well, maybe in 354 days…
*I wanted to include a picture of my bro and his college crew team to prove my point, but his non-facebook committing self would probably not approve.
My alarm went off at 5:15 a.m. and I quickly turned it back off thinking, “I’ll just run after work tonight.” However my cat, loved the idea of waking up and pawed at my face until I woke up enough to pet him. I covered every inch of my body in clothing and headed out in the freezing cold to Core Power Yoga. The studio is only five blocks from my house, how convenient is that? I didn’t realize how close it was until I tried blasting the heat in my car (yes, I drove. It’s dark out that early!) and was sadly disappointed when freezing cold air hit my face. I guess I would have to wait until my hot vinyasa class to warm myself up.
Today’s practice was monumental for me. I actually held a head stand in class for as long as the instructor wanted (20 seconds? 30 seconds? a minute?). I have never felt as proud in a yoga class as I did today when the instructor said, “if you’re in a head stand, please start making your way down to child’s pose.” It was like someone walked into class and gave me a bouquet of roses…and I had planted and nurtured the seedlings into something big and beautiful. Namaste to my cat, Jack, for being the wake-up call that I needed.
After an overwhelming amount of different types of workouts in the last few weeks, I decided I just wanted a regular workout. A “regular workout” differs for everyone, so I will describe what mine is. It’s what I used to do at the gym before I was introduced to the world of yoga and outdoor running.
Today I used my visitor pass at the beautiful, Pura Vida, and spent 45 minutes on the elliptical watching a television show about sperm donation. Although the story was fascinating, I realized that I do not really pay attention to my workout as closely as I’d like when I’m glued to the tube. Side note: I do not have a TV in my house, so this was particularly awesome to me. After my stint on the elliptical I used some free weights and then finished up with a round of ab work in the stretching area.
It was really nice to go back to my old ways for a change, but I was reminded how happy I am with the introduction of a lot more challenging workouts. My body is pretty grateful for that as well.
This morning I was rarin’ to go to the yoga class I had picked out the night before, Power Yoga at YO6th. It was 45 degrees outside and 105 degrees in the studio. That felt like a huge temperature variation and although I practice hot yoga a lot, for some reason it really challenged me today. I was in warrior II and I had to drop down to child’s pose within 20 minutes of the class starting. My body was shaking, my legs felt weak and my mind was starting to wander into a dark place. I wanted to scold myself for “quitting” but quickly reminded myself of what yoga is all about, “listening to and connecting with your body.”
I was listening and I made a physical connection when my body told me to gently take a break. 30 seconds of child’s pose and I was ready to get back up and finish my practice. I left whatever insecurities I had about taking a break in a puddle on my mat and thanked myself for being so gentle. It’s those breaks in working out and in life that help us achieve our bigger goals. So I challenge you to listen to your body the next time it’s telling you something, it might know you better than you think.
Last night I spent the majority of the evening trying to prove to the Denver bar scene that I had “moves like Jagger.” Because of this, I was a responsible adult and took a taxi home….only to wake up and have to figure out a way to get to my car. Good thing I’m doing this workout challenge because I knew how I’d get there! A 3.5 mile jog through the back streets of Cherry Creek to reach my car. It was not what I had planned for my Sunday workout, but sometimes it’s the small things that count as workouts on the days that I’m reminded why I am thankful that my college days are behind me.
I just got back from an hour-long Chair Pilates class at Pura Vida (a super luxg gym in Cherry Creek that offers free fruit and coffee on the way out, who could ask for more?). Have you ever heard of Chair Pilates? Me neither. There was no doubt in my mind that I would have to take a photo of this to share with you. I went with the manager of the lululemon Cherry Creek store, Val, who makes everything look as though it’s a piece of cake. There was definitely no cake involved in this, at least for me. It’s hard to describe this class without sounding like a crazy person. You basically sit on the chair and use the lever at the bottom for resistance and then you attack the legs, arms and core. It was hard and I almost flew off the chair a few times because of lack of core control.
Overall, the class was pretty awesome. It was challenging, but not to the point where I wanted to give up for numerous reasons. This class and gym is highly recommended to anyone who loves pilates and free bananas in the same morning.
Early morning workouts are a lot like drinking Maalox. You might not like it when you’re drinking it, but you feel like a million bucks once it’s settled down in your body. That probably was not the best analogy, but it’s all I could come up with when I was in downward dog at 6:00 a.m. This morning I got up at 5:15 to get to my 6 a.m. Power Vinyasa Flow at Yoga on 6th (Denver insider tip: if you’re shopping around for a place to practice, YO6th gives you two weeks of unlimited yoga for $25). Even though I was there and practicing, I kept thinking “I wish I could be one of those people who gets up early and works out.” Why would I be thinking that if I was actually having a good practice? Probably because I feel like a fraud. I’m not one of those people who actually enjoys getting up that early to practice. Maybe that will change. I have 360 days left to figure it out!
My workout from day three was pretty boring, so I chose not to write about it yesterday. I realized though that I want t0 write everyday to hold myself accountable and to let my readers know that I’m not slipping! Yesterday I felt like doodle. I didn’t sleep well the night before and the last thing I wanted to do was workout. It would have been one of those days that I skipped my workout all together and went to bed early. Alas! I ran 4 miles in Washington Park (you will see a theme with this location, it’s my mecca in Denver) and ran my way into a more positive mindset. Afterwards, I came home and spent the next few hours feeling renewed with energy and getting things done around the house. Thanks run!
Today’s workout was my first attempt at a Bikram Yoga class at Yoga on 6th. If you have never tried Bikram, then I umm, might recommend it to some folks strong at heart. It’s like yoga on heroin. The room is 105 degrees, 55% humidity and the class is 90 minutes long. You go through the same 26 poses in every class and hold each pose for one minute. It’s intense and I spent the first 45 minutes glaring at the instructor while trying to make those pesky black-out dots leave my vision. They eventually did, thank Ganesh.
The coolest part about this class had zero to do with me or my fellow lululemon’s that were with me. It was the four female monks that were practicing in the row in front of me. They came into the studio in their traditional clothing to lay out their mats and came back a few minutes later dressed primarily in lululemon. Seriously?! I got to practice yoga with four monks sporting lululemon? This absolutely made my month. They were beautiful to watch and I could tell that yoga meant something very different to them. It inspired me to stay out of Savasana and in my poses.
I left this class very undecided on whether I would go back. I might not be a Bikram yoga-goer and that’s ok. I would, however, follow those Monks around to the end of the earth if they let me…
I would love to start today’s blog off a recap of my workout, but I’m too overwhelmed by the half-naked picture of myself that I’m posting on the worldwide web to do so. Are you done judging yet? Please be nice. Don’t worry, I made a mental note to get a spray tan before next month’s photo and to thank my father for the hereditary love handles that have been passed down to me.
This morning I went to Bar Method in Cherry Creek for a regular bar class. This is a semi mainstream workout, but I’ll explain what it is in case there is any confusion. It’s an hour-long class filled with all women (100% of the time), dressed in tight clothing and wearing socks. The socks part really throws me off, but I felt that it was important for readers to know that socks are somehow involved in this workout. There are also mirrors on every wall and ballet bars that act as torture devices. The first 10 minutes is usually cardio, followed by 15 minutes of arm exercises (while holding baby 2 lb weights that soon feel like 100 lb weights), then there are leg things that happen on the bar and then I blacked out. Not really, but it gets harder and harder and for some reason the class NEVER gets any easier with practice.
The instructor and her assistant must have corrected me at least 17 times….not exagerating. I thought it was amusing, they clearly did not think my lack of flexibility was a joking matter.
That’s it for today. Aren’t my pasty thighs dreamy?
Today was the day that this stretch of an idea was born! I was running in Denver’s beautiful Washington Park, when I realized I’m struggling to get oxygen and that I might actually hate running. What?! I admit it, I don’t love running, but I do love the way that I feel when it’s done….especially when I’m running at an altitude of 5280 feet. It hurts my lungs. I ran 3.5 miles and only stopped one time to take a pretty picture to send to my deployed fiance.
I also went to Karma Yoga for the first time and completed an “all levels” yoga class. I feel confident in saying that I was the most confused person in the class. The instructor made the class fun by telling jokes the whole time and getting us to try lots of complex poses. I only fell on my face one time. I consider that a success.
*I’ll post my “before” picture tomorrow, once I convince my dear friend to take a picture of me in something she would rather not see me in.