For the last week I have transported a box of mini chocolate bars from Whonnock Lake Centre to the Leisure Centre, to my Studio, back to the Leisure Centre (when it became a second box), to the trail, to the track, back to my Studio and it has finally come to rest on my kitchen counter. What kind of fitness instructor gives out candy? Oh, there is a method to my madness; I do the same at Christmas and Valentine’s Day as well.
So as I unwrap my 4th candy bar of the day I look at the nutrition facts on the back of said box, I am thrilled to read that my candy bar of choice, Aero, only contains a mere 40 calories and not the 100 that all of “how to have a boring healthy Halloween” articles have been reporting.
With so much to celebrate in October, it seems like it has been one big party since Thanksgiving weekend. So let’s enjoy one last day of October celebration, because tomorrow is the first day of NO-vember…and I have a dress that I have to wear the first week of December and at this moment in my life the only way that I am going to get into it is to be shot into it!
Happy Halloween my lovelies, MWAH-HA-HA-HA.
The only thing that this post has to do with fitness is that it involved E, whom I met at the gym many moons ago.
When you spend a Friday afternoon with one of your girlfriends, normally it involves lunch, shopping maybe a glass of wine. Spending a Friday afternoon with E involves none of the above; instead she took me to the gun range!
I was all smiles leading up to this, peeking around corners with my finger gun, kicking in virtual doors with my finger gun as well as the classic holding my finder gun to my lips and blowing on it. I was a little disappointed to find out that I was not allowed to wear heels to the gun range, because in my fantasy I was wearing my really cute black suede boots, funny I don’t recall any of the Charlie’s Angels wearing sensible shoes…well may be Sabrina but I think she drove a Pinto too.
With my wardrobe completely rethought, I met E (who was wearing very cute flat black boots, she has done this a time or two before) and we headed out on our adventure.
So about this gun range, it isn’t an ordinary open to the public kind of place, it is a “training facility” and my first experience shooting a gun would be Trevor’s (my instructor) practicum. The poor guy.
Before we entered the range the gun rules were explained, and my giddiness quickly turned into nervousness.
Rule 1: Treat all guns as if they were loaded. Gulp, I kinda blanked out after the first rule, so the rest of the rules look something like this.
Rule 2: Keep the muzzle (that would be the end of the gun where the bullets come out of) pointed down and away for you.
Rule 3: Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot at your target.
Rule 4: Be sure of your target.
So much for hair, because we were then given baseball hats because sometimes the shell casings fly up and towards your face and they are hot, the hat protects your face. And so much for wardrobe because if the shell casings fly up and hit your hat, they can also drop down and if your neck/chest is exposed they can burn that too. I was wearing a good bra too, so the thought of shell casings dropping in my cleavage sounded very flammable. Lucky me I got to wear the evaluator’s jacket…zipped all the way up.
We got to practice a bit with a pretend gun. I did not need to death grip the gun either, in fact my grip should be similar to the grip that I squeeze a peach with to determine its ripeness…Trevor was trying to relax me I think, and what relaxes a girl more than squeezing peaches? After our practice the range became “hot”. We put on our protective eyewear and hearing protection and out came the real guns, mine would be a Smith and Wesson MP90. Trevor explained how to load the gun and also told me that if at any time I became tired or no longer wanted to shoot I was not to put the gun down, but instead I should say, “take it” (Breathlessly? Forcefully? I’m not sure it really mattered) and he would.
Trevor hung my target and set it across the range. It made a really loud noise and I practically jumped out of the evaluator’s jacket! He then handed me the gun…holy crap I am holding a gun…I am sure that the only way to describe my facial expression was stunned virgin.
The first shot was fired from the stall beside me; I screamed. At this point Trevor had to be thinking that he would receive an automatic fail. As any good angel would, I pulled myself together and fired my first shot at the target…holy crap, I just fired a gun! Although I did hit the target, I did not hit the silhouette on the target, oops I hit the innocent civilian. I re-positioned, re-focused and fired again, this time hitting the target, ahhh hell yeah!
It’s amazing how quickly one can go through a clip. We went through the unloading and re-loading of a new clip and I was good to go again. I was really starting to get the hang of this, and yes, shell casings were a flying so it was a good job that I was redressed!
By the third clip I was getting a bit cocky, aiming for the head on my target, you know, mixing up my shots a little, Trevor even called me on it! And then it was over. Out of bullets Trevor “took it” and the range returned to “cold”. I was a hot mess, my hands were shaking, I was in an all out sweat, and I liked it!
Trevor rolled my target up for me as a souvenir, debriefed my on my experience and of course we took some photos!
Thank you Trevor and all of the staff at the JI for an afternoon that I won’t soon forget and a special thank-you to E for helping me cross off another item on my bucket list, I so wasn’t ready to jump out of a plane this year.
According to Harold Camping, the world was supposed to be destroyed by fire today and depending on what time zone it happened in, I might have not had to turn 40.
I remember when I was pretty young, it was my Dad’s birthday and I was on my way to see him play rugby. I remember my Grandma saying that my Dad was over the hill, I had no idea what that meant, I also had no idea how old my Dad was. When I found out he was 40, I was totally shocked, I totally thought my Dad was in his 20’s. 40 just seemed so old.
I really was not looking forward to this birthday. My friends have been telling me for months that 40 is great, it’s when life starts and that 40 is the new 20. I have been telling them that they were just trying to make themselves feel better; you can do that when you are still in your 30’s and your friends aren’t.
Well, the world has not yet been destroyed by fire and here I sit celebrating my 40th birthday. And after taking a long hard look at my 30’s, I am kinda over them. So here’s to mammograms, being a cougar, a new racing age category, not caring that I am not being ID’d if they ID under 40 and my midlife crisis!
A couple of weeks ago, Soraiya asked me if I would help her out with a project for school, the dreaded 1.5-mile test. Now I am a big fan of this test but just for my clients. Wanting to show my support for our little girl and to kinda see where my fitness level is at this pivotal week in my life, I agreed. Then I got full on head cold, I rolled my ankle…my life fell apart, very high drama. But one thing that I have learned is that this body (my body) heals up quite nicely, call it denial maybe stupidity (on occasion) I call it strength baby, and I met Soraiya at the track this morning.
After filling out some forms and then signing my life away we started with a walk test, 4 laps of the track with a brisk walk. Now be honest, am I the only person who is competitive against themselves, and of course, the clock on a walk test? Lap 1 and 2 were the same, lap 3 was 2 seconds faster and the final lap was 1 second faster than the first. I think that I may have a problem.
The walk test served nicely as my warm-up and we moved directly into the 1.5-mile test. Having done this twice before, I had a couple of times to beat in my head already. I am also quickly approaching an age category change and originally (when I was feeling poopy) I had asked Soraiya to use my new age category, but stepping onto the track today was a new woman I had a little somethin’-somethin’ to prove and told her to use my current age.
Off I went. Soraiya had given me a heart rate monitor to wear before we started but the watch and the band were having some difficulty communicating, and not because I am heartless either (my Body Campers think that I am), I guess I didn’t put enough spit on it to start with (yes you do have to). So instead I was going to use it as a lap timer; that was until I broke a sweat on lap 2 and it started to beep at me and now Soraiya had to call out my lap times.
Rounding the second to last corner of lap 2 I had to yell at a couple of grade 8’ers (one of their math text books was actually laying on the track) to get off the track. What is it with people at the track? You can see me coming, I am sweating and snorting, so why must you stand in the middle of lane 1 where nobody else is and have a conversation? I guess I should be thankful that I didn’t have to run through the puffs of smoke as well, those teens moved to the outside lane.
Coming into the third lap I was starting both to fatigue and I was starting to feel my injured ankle, but I wasn’t giving up, I was half way! Lap 4 is always a struggle and I was wishing that I had taken Soraiya up on her offer to use her ipod, but by the next lap I was in a zone that no amount of hamster music or Nickelback could have put me in. Into the final lap and time to push it, feeling fierce and half my age this was by far my quickest lap.
As I crossed the finish line Soraiya called out my time and I was more than a little shocked. After performing the calculations my time was 5.7% faster than that from a year and a half ago, can I get a “hell ya”? Soraiya also calculated my V02 Max (V02 Max WTF? A factor that can determine an athlete’s capacity to perform sustained exercise and is linked to aerobic endurance. It is generally considered the best indicator of cardiorespiratory endurance and aerobic fitness) for both the walk and 1.5-mile test and gave me a superior classification! Now really, what else could a girl want for on a milestone birthday?
With Conny and I still nursing our cankles and D on her 5th consecutive running day, we decided to run an out and back along the lower trail at Hayward Lake this morning. Why can’t every autumn day be like today? Red, orange and yellow leaves lining the trails, blue sky peeking through the mist across the lake…ahhhh.
I hope that you are having a lovely Tuesday.
What is Pilates?
The Pilates method is a series of exercises used to increase strength of muscles,tendons, and ligaments, while improving flexibility and stability. It takes the muscles through a full range of motion, strengthening muscles while you lengthen them, with no impact on your joints.
History of Pilates
Pilates was designed by Joseph Pilates, who lived from 1880-1967. His health as a child was poor; consequently he became obsessed with his body and fitness and believed that true health was a balance of physical, mental and spiritual well-being. He studied all forms of movement such as gymnasts, boxers, dancers and even babies crawling to find out how the body was meant to move.
The Powerhouse and Core
Pilates targets the transverse abdominal muscle, which encircles the waistline, the lower back, gluteus muscles, and the pelvic floor. These four areas make up what is often referred to as the “powerhouse”, our natural weight belt. The powerhouse is responsible for many things, which include good posture, strong back, and flat tummy. In addition to the powerhouse, Pilates also targets the shoulder girdle. Together the powerhouse and the shoulder girdle equal the “core”.
The Principles of Pilates
• Concentration: Thoughts are focused on movement. By visualizing your nervous system will choose best method of movement.
• Control: movements are performed with control originating from mind and centre of the body.
• Centering: All motion begins with from the “core”.
• Breathing: All movements are coordinated with breath.
• Flow: The exercises take you through a wide range of motion in a controlled and flowing manner. Each movement should appear effortless and smooth.
• Precision: mind and body connect for precise controlled movement, hand in hand with control. Each move is calculated and precise that it why there are only 3-8 repetitions of each exercise, Pilates emphasizes quality not quantity.
• Stability: controlling certain body parts while others are in motion.
• Relaxation: Releasing tension in a specific muscle or area and maintaining control and tone.
• Coordination: ability of mind to direct body through movement (mind/body connection).
What are the benefits of regular participation in a Pilates-based fitness program?
• Your body becomes firmer and sleeker, with improved contours and a longer, leaner look.
• You can move more easily, increasing range of motion at your joints and overall flexibility
• Back pain and weakness are reduced as you strengthen the core muscles and stretch shortened muscles.
• Muscle flexibility, joint mobility, coordination and balance all improve steadily.
• Stronger, longer muscles are developed as opposed to bulk.
• Better sleep patterns develop as fatigue, discomfort, and pain are reduced.
• The exercises provide a form of resistance training that stimulates bone density.
• Correct alignment and a stronger “girdle” help to keep the vital organs supported and able to function more efficiently. You also gain flatter abdominals!
• Physical and mental strength and endurance increase making it ideal for people under stress or recovering from injuries. As relaxation is promoted, participants enjoy a sense of calm after a session.
• The exercises can be constantly modified to suit all levels of fitness.
• General health will be enhanced.
Mat Pilates Home Routine
• Warm-up: standing Roll Down, warm-up stretches, abdominal preps
• Thigh Arcs, Thigh Circles
• Single Leg Circles
• Single Straight Leg Stretch
• Single Leg Stretch
• Double Leg Stretch
• Double Straight Leg Stretch
• Rolling Like a Ball
• Seated: Spine Stretch Forward, Spine Twist, Saw
• Shoulder stands
• Pilates Push-ups
• Back Extension: Lumbar lift, Leg lift, Superman, Swimming, Swan Dive
• Leg Series: Side Leg, Clamshell, Glutes, Squats/lunges
• Cool down stretches: Cat/Cow, Neck and Back Stretch
Scampering through the mucky trails on a rainy Thanksgiving Monday. Less than 10 minutes into the run, my foot lands on a rock, the rock goes right, my ankle goes left. There is no snap or crack, I don’t go down, but as my left foot makes contact with the trail I know that my leg has never been contorted quite like this before. I guess only I would think during a time like this that it may not be a great idea after all to do the Rock N’ Roll Stiletto Dash.
The thing about ankle rolls is that you can walk off the less serious ones. I did, and continued the run. I wouldn’t say that my ankle was sore, but I was definitely aware that I had tweaked it.
Ask anyone, ask me ”RICE” Don’t ask me and I will tell you the same thing, early treatment of sprain or strain – RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation). But how does one elevate their ankle over her heart while she is preparing what may have been the greatest batch of chili on the planet?
I am not a fan of the hobble or limp, I don’t like that kind of attention (but there are plenty that do), and yesterday although my ankle was a little swollen and sore I went about my business with a slow walk, which was mildly inconvenient but completely drama free.
I know what about the rest? It’s the first letter in the acronym. Well that is what today is for, or at least part of today. Between walking the dog, the four loads of laundry (and the 14 stairs that I have to go up and then back down each load) and general ants in my pants when I sit still longer than 10 minutes, I will do it all, I promise.
Here’s hoping for a speedy recovery, Beginner Running Clinic tonight.
This post is not fitness related, unless of course you iron your running socks.
There was a point in my life when I wanted to be Martha Stewart (Martha Stewart in the early years, pre conviction, back in the 90’s when Martha Stewart Living was a weekly half-hour syndicated show maybe even until it became a weekday hour long show, when she was just pretentious, not bitter yet). But I am not crafty, I can’t sew, don’t have a room dedicated to either. I do however have a kitchen and did receive the Home Economics Academic Award two years running and I love to cook, but the thought of de-boning a chicken or making gravy using the contents of the paper sack found inside the turkey or foie gras gives me the heebie-geebies.
So I moved on to somewhere between Morticia Addams and Carmela Soprano. I work, I cook when I can, I clean more often than I would like to and I don’t iron. If it won’t de-wrinkle in the dryer or requires any major pressing I either don’t buy it or it goes directly to the dry cleaner.
True story, I was attempting to iron a few years ago and my daughter actually asked me “what is that?” I am ok with my lack of domesticity as is my family and I know that I am not alone. But some are not, including the older generations and that can-do-it-all/know-it-all acquaintance we all have, you know the one “you don’t do what?” as she is looking down her nose at you. If you have never run a marathon, you should if only for this situation. I know that I have only done one, but my response to Bitter Betty is now “I run marathons”, which inevitably stops her dead in her tracks, she may be a domestic engineer but can she run 42.2km’s?
So lately I have spent a little quality time with my flat iron, life in the fast lane. Not only have I learned how to curl my hair with it, I also found out that you can iron your clothes with it! Where have I been? I give you Exhibit A:
Now I haven’t tested it on fine silks, anything too expensive or anything Lulu, and it would not pass the Grandmother/Monster-in-law test (there is my disclaimer), but it does do the job for those little touch ups on an item that I would normally re-hang in the closet.
Oh, I know you’re going to try this one!
I bought a ceramic tile in when I was on vacation with my fam in Hawaii a few years ago that sits on my kitchen counter, it reads “If life gives you lemons…make a mai tai!” It kinda summed up the trip and also the final week of my challenge.
- 100 push-ups a day – with only 5 days remaining in the challenge I woke up feeling like I was carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders. There was no way I could do a push-up. Short story, I owe the challenge 500 push-ups which will be done as soon as my shoulder is 100%. Will you take an IOU?
- 25 miles/40.2336 km per week – apparently I must run a like a bobble-head because my I wasn’t able to run either All was however not lost, because I broke my mileage goal before my shoulder issue started. Total mileage for the month 106.22 miles (170.95km)!
- Weight Room Certification – done and in the mail! Thanks Christine for being such a fantastic evaluator and Soraiya for not being too difficult of a “client”