Entries Tagged 'Exercise' ↓

Smiley Faces and No Excuses

I started running in January. No, really, I did. And I’ve actually managed to consistently squeak in about two or three runs a week, too.

But, so what.

Sure, I’ve never, EVER been an athlete. And it has taken a lot of something deep down inside to set my alarm before anyone gets up, to stumble out the door and get a couple miles in before the day begins. I mean, if you know me, you’d know that’s entirely unexpected and… kind of weird.

But, still. So what.

Maybe it’s some sort of mid-life crisis but I think this running business is simply about me getting off my ass and doing what I probably should have half my lifetime ago. I have one life and one body. My children have one childhood each and these years, and the years to come, and years with their children (maybe, if they have them) are a gift.

How could I, with a clear conscience, keep myself from doing everything I can to maintain my health and TRY to ensure that I am allowed this gift?

I’ve known all of it for a long time — eat your veggies, get off your ass and you’ll beat back all kinds of bad mojo. There are no miracle diets or magic products that will half my muffin top and slow time. Just be healthy and stop with the excuses.

But I do have one little, ahem, excuse. I think part of NOT doing it was also making time for myself. Parents GIVE. Parents make the most efficient use of their time. Parents push self-indulgent crap like, oh, a thirty minute run by myself aside if the kids are vomiting half-digested hot dog, have a baseball game to get to or are coming unhinged over their homework.

So, I guess I’m getting a little better about taking. Oh, and setting my alarm extra early when no one is awake anyway.

I can’t wait for short-term reasons to do this, either. Putting one foot in front of the other can’t only be happening because of some upcoming race or because I am trying to keep up with anyone else. This has to be long-term.

And I can’t put it off because I don’t feel like it. Life is uncomfortable sometimes. It’s a half hour of push. Only a half hour.

But can we talk about endurance? Because sometimes I don’t want to keep going. I get really tired and seriously consider walking. But then I think about that stupid chart they give you in the hospital for pain. Smiley face for no pain, crying face for crazy pain. When I was in labor, they showed me that chart. And I couldn’t make sense of it. I mean, what IS the worst kind of pain? I couldn’t possibly know. Did I deserve a crying face… or was there more to come still? Was there worse than this? Of course there was.

(By the way, I am secretly correcting the grammar on this chart. WTH is that about?)

So, when I’m running, I think about the chart. And I think about my discomfort. And I think about what other discomfort and awful pain and strain and heartbreak there is. (No kidding, I really think this.) And I think that my discomfort must only be at about a semi-smiley face. In the grand scheme of all that we endure (as I jog past palm trees on a sunny afternoon towards my happy home of boys and normal and nice), my pain is actually just peachy. So… SHUT UP.

And I keep going.

I should add that while I promise Nike isn’t paying me to say this, the Nike + Running app is fracking amazing. I’m addicted and in constant competition with myself. Breaking my 5K record pretty much makes my life when it happens.

But, so what.

I can get jazzed about my little accomplishments but no one else should. Because I am only doing what I should be doing. What I should have been doing for years. And it’s simply my choice to do it. Bed or run? Excuses or no excuses? If I choose wrong, that’s on me. If I shut-up and get out there, then I’m just doing what is good for me. That’s all.

It’s giving back to ME. It’s upping my chances of hanging around a little longer. It’s giving my kids the best odds for decades more of my rockstar singing in the car (“Stop Mommy, you’re tooo loooud!”) and lecture-giving (“You be the person YOU want to be, blaze your own trails!”) and shameless question-asking about their body issues. (“Did you wipe… DID YOU? …No, really, DID you? I can TELL you didn’t.”)

But all this smack talk doesn’t amount to much, really. It’s just talk. And all that running has happened, but it’s no guarantee that I will run tomorrow. Or next week. It could end as fast as I started. Because it’s all about choice and whether or not that drive is there.

Is it?

It is right now. So there we go. No awards. No guarantees. No crying faces. No excuses.

My Wii Fit Plus Review

I love my Wii Fit. I do. I have loved it from the moment I stepped on my brother’s balance board and decided I had to get up early and go wait in a Best Buy line to purchase my own. Yeah, I did that. I rushed in, swiped my bank card and was handed a balance board. I took it home, set it up and have loved it ever since.

Why?

Well, I’m a mom, home with my boys, getting by on one income. I am also the proud owner of a lovely little muffin top that I would like to be rid of. I adore running away from my kids but don’t get a chance to do that as often as I’d like to since my husband works late. A gym membership is out – I won’t pay for one and never have the child care to get to one. So, paying one time for a balance board that I could use at home, even with the kids around, made so much sense.

Granted, you have to make the time to use it. And fight your kids off to get a work out done. But with enough bribing and coaxing (both my kids AND myself), I can get a great work out in. Maybe it’s not quite as aerobic as I’d like but it helps me work on my core. And my core is where my muffin top resides. So, I heart my Wii Fit because it eats my muffin top for dinner, nom nom nom.

And aerobic work outs do happen too. You try 10 minutes of hoola hoops and tell me if it doesn’t kick your ass. No. Try it. I dare you AND your muffin top.

100_7340So last weekend, my blogger friend Britt invited me to a Wii Fit Plus party to check out it out in all of its new and improved glory. I was all about it. Because I have now unlocked all the games and work outs in my Wii Fit and am kind of looking for something new. My hopes are high for the Wii Fit Plus.

The party was hosted in a small gallery in downtown Orlando. I searched the street for the right location and knew I had it right when I saw Britt’s gorgeous blonde curls in the window. We were all greeted at the door by beautiful people wearing Wii Fit gear. Balance boards, yoga mats, flat screens and Wiis were lined up against the walls. And we all settled on comfy pillows in the middle of the floor to watch the demonstration. 100_7338

After hearing from them and trying it out for myself, here are the pluses of the Wii Fit Plus:

  • More fun games! There are a ton of new balance games. I like the flying one that makes me flap like a crazy woman to soar between targets. My arms were burning – Michelle Obama arms may be in my future yet! And my 6 year old will LOVE the new “Wipeout”-esque obstacle course.
  • Better ways to chart your progress. There are activity logs and ways to count down how many calories you’ve burned during your work out. I didn’t see the option for “an entire bowl of Halloween candy” however – but I think I could figure out how to chart that too.
  • Targeted workouts. There are specific workouts that are set up to work on different areas like lifestyle, health or being more youthful.
  • Individualized workouts. I love the fact that you can cue your workouts up (instead of spending time going in between workouts) and let them run one after the other.
  • You can add your pet and create a Mii for them. No, I’m not kidding.

100_7337Some things I wish they did add:

  • I was a little disappointed that I couldn’t add aerobics to my indivudualized workouts. Its limited to yoga and strength training.
  • It would be great if they targeted Wii Fit to children more. The older Wii Fit did not register my 6 year old’s weight of 42 lbs so we had to make him the minimum of 5olbs. Still, the weight doesn’t adjust to the games correctly for him. And certainly some are just developmentally out of his reach. Good health and fitness tips for kids just makes sense. If they added a few kid specific workouts, this would be the perfect interactive family workout experience.
  • They still don’t have a bell jar accessory. Don’t know what that is? I’m looking for a large protective clear shell I can put over me and my balance board that children are not able to penetrate and push me off. You think I’m kidding too. Get on it Nintendo.

As the event wrapped up and we were walking out the door, the beautiful Wii Fit people (perhaps Miis in real life?) handed us all (drum roll please) brand new Wii Fit Plus games, balance boards and cutie Wii Fit Plus training jackets! Muffin top beware, I’m coming for you.

Thank you to the amazing Britt and the gorgeous people at Nintendo!

p.s. Please excuse the horrid pictures. They’re awful. My camera sucks. But you get the idea.

My Baby Belly Battle

strongest-man

I loathe my baby belly.

And all the mother’s out there who have given birth to their children know exactly what I mean. It’s that tire of flabbed out muscle and mushy fat left over from carrying watermelon sized babies around in your abdomen. And even after you’ve breastfed both children (hoping they suck off the extra pounds), even after you patiently wait out the old mantra “9 months in, 9 months out”, even after everything else seems to have gone back to where it was… (eh… pretty much… good enough at least… if you squint with one eye… after your contacts are out) – that baby belly stays right with me like some trusty sidekick. It just won’t quit. It’s as if your abdomen is thinking “Hey, hanging out here in the wind really ain’t so bad after all. If it works for Homer Simpson, it works for me.” And you are left avoiding the empire waisted shirts or anything remotely maternity-ish for fear that if you wander too close to a Babies R Us, you’ll hear a squealed “ooooh, when are you due???” I’m not exaggerating either. It’s happened to me.

So I really loathe my baby belly. And I swear to you. I am not getting all vain here either. Honestly. I am not all into losing weight or getting some hard, Linda Hamilton type of bod. No way, being stacked like that just doesn’t get me that fired up. My body is my body, take it or leave it. All I reeeeally want to do is wear jeans WITHOUT the muffin top – do you catch what I’m saying?

So back to that damned baby belly. I want it gone. And how do I do that? Hold on to your hats folks, its a totally crazy concept for me. Here it comes… Exercise.

BOOOOOOOO!!!!!! Hiiiisssssssss…. virtual rotten tomatoes are being lobbed at such a concept.

But, heres the thing. Or irony of it all. I have a college coach for a husband. And he majored in – of all things – P.E. (For real, he did. Side bar I know, but he actually took college classes in badminton and ballroom dancing and teaching kids how to play kickball. And he ALSO took a lot of nutrition and physiology classes. Hence my perfect resource.) It’s crazy really. I had to marry a guy who is so damn physically gifted – athletics, sports, and physical fitness come as naturally as breathing for him. So, yeah, he certainly knows what it takes to get my flabby midsection back in the saddle again. I have an expert living right along next to me.

But can I also mention WHY I love my husband dearly? Because he NEVER, and I mean NEVER, has suggested I work on my belly by the way. He could care less if I do. He loves me as is. But when I ask questions, he is happy to provide information. Score for me.

So. Finally. I asked that husband of mine what I need to do to get my baby belly to bugger off. And he said two things. Aerobic exercise and toning my ab muscles.

(And then there is a third. Eat better. Whatever. Pass the Halloween candy.)

Huh. Now lets back the truck up a bit here. I hate exercise. (Hence those lobbed tomatoes.) I was the dorky, awkwardly tall, uncoordinated kid in bad glasses who dreaded P.E. I have not one ounce of competitiveness in me. And so when a soccer ball hit me square in the face at age 6 and my glasses went flying – I cashed it in. I mean, ow. That hurt. I could care less which net the ball got into. Exercise, sports, getting all sweaty = NOT. FOR. ME.

Well, at the ripe age of 35 and after having two large boys, exercise is no longer optional. If I don’t want to look like a potato with toothpicks sticking out of it, I better get off my ass. (Note: yeah, yeah, I am sure I am exaggerating. While I may not look exactly like said potato, I feel like said potato – and THAT, my friends, is JUST as bad in my book.)

And let’s not forget that studies have proven that exercise lowers a woman’s risk of breast cancer – which my mother has had. And weight bearing exercise will build my bones now and help me avoid osteoporosis – which my mother has. It’s time to get out the door and get it done.

So after all this whining about my baby belly, what have I started doing about it? How do I get to work on kicking its ass when I have a coach husband who never works regular hours like 9 to 5 and is often gone weekends? When I don’t have the extra cash to join the Y (with the baby sitting included)? When I don’t have any fancy stair master in some personal gym in the basement? How do I commit to cardio and toning? This is what I do.

1) Do I have a half hour? Yup. All I ask myself is to spend a half hour of my day doing something that raises my heart rate above “yawn, stretch, thump, wassup, oh yeah right, thump“.

2) If I am by myself, I get out the door and walk. Fast. With music. Walk, walk, walk.

3) If I am by myself, can I dare myself to run, just a little bit? Yup. It sucks, but I get done faster.

4) If I have the kids, can I drag or push them in any way? I don’t have a jogging stroller but pushing a heavy sit-n-stand or pulling 75 pounds of children in wagon has gotta give me some kind of work out.

5) Can’t leave the house? Out comes my jump rope in front of the TV

6) Ab time? Groan. I ask myself to do 80 sit ups, 20 jack knifes and some minimal core work. That’s it.

So its not much, right? But its more than what I was doing. A LOT more. And the funny part is that its actually becoming addicting. I can’t wait to get out and do it – even if it SUCKS while I’m doing it. But I will do whatever I can to get out there.

This is all so UN-me, I am telling you. Like today, me, dragging that wagon full of my kids. Even trying to run while pulling it. I swear I must have looked like I was in The Worlds Strongest Man (Or World’s Lamest Mom) competition. You know, when they are pulling a car behind them? That was me and that wagon trying to run but really barely getting anywhere. It kicked my ass, I am telling you. And probably offered my neighbors some comedy in their day.

But I’m doing it. I’m trying.

Do I see any difference? Nope, not yet. No idea if I’m losing weight because I don’t care about that (I don’t even own a scale, I think they’re evil). I still have my tried and true muffin top rockin out of my jean top. But I remind myself that it can’t happen over night. (Not with that lovely, delish bowl of Halloween candy sitting right here besides me as I type this. Oh no.)

But I’m doing it. I’m trying.