The Numbers Conundrum

I walked into the locker room the other night when a woman of an older age stopped me and instantly asked, “How tall are you?” With a raised eyebrow I replied 5’5” and she smiled and said, “You have the body I want. That’s exactly what I want to look like.” I thanked her and was about walk away when she stopped me again; “What do you weigh?” Now I wasweight-scale2 really taken aback. Who asks a stranger that question? But I obliged in my answer, because, well I don’t really care that much. But then she lowered her head shaking it no. “That’s not what I want to weigh,” she said disappointed in my answer.

Well, which is it lady? Do you want to look like me or weigh the number in your head? I mean, the fact that I told you what I weigh when most people would have been aghast should have been enough. But to then insult me and say my number doesn’t fit your ideal is just an insult. I wanted to say, “Good luck with that,” but I’m not in a position to be so rude.

It drives me crazy that people get so caught up in the numbers. Obsession with the scale and what they think is the ideal can lead to disappointment. In my opinion, she has already set herself up for failure. I’m not saying she can’t reach that goal, but if I physically look like what she sees wants to look like, then the number I gave you is what that body looks like. I’d have a different body at your number. That’s just a fact.

The scale is great. I use it from time to time to keep myself in check. But it is still a tool. And should be used as a tool, in a line of other tools and barometers. You can also ask yourself, “How do you feel?”, “How do your clothes fit?”, and “Are you able to do everyday tasks better?”

When I was in high school and played every sport under the sun and had probably the best figure of my life complete with six pack abs, I still never weighed the number that woman quoted me. At this age, I doubt I ever will and probably never should weigh that number. And I’m ok with that. I wish she was too.


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Happy Brain, Happy You

Happy-BrainIt’s that time of year where we get bombarded with articles about weight loss. The do’s and don’ts and should-do’s and musts and you’re-doing-it-wrong type articles. Ads on TV are for weight loss products and work-out videos and the easiest way to lose weight, like 36-second abs and miracle diet drinks. Everywhere you look right now all you see is everything about How-to be a better You. And let’s not forget every second post on Facebook is most likely of friends posting about resolutions, discussing what they resolved to cut out, or change or worse, just how much they have achieved in an apparent four days.

I am not writing this to bring you down anymore then you may or may not be feeling, I am writing this to simply tell you to step the F*#K away from the computer. Stop paying attention to commercials, reading weight-loss articles and feeling bad about your friend’s Facebook posts. If there is one thing you can do for yourself this year, and yes, admittedly this is my own personal resolution, is to declutter your brain. Declutter it of the pressure from advertisements and social media. Clear your brain of it’s own negative thoughts.

I mean, how are we, as normal human beings, supposed to separate the true from the deceitful. Fruit is good. Fruit is bad. Carbs are good. Carbs are bad. Don’t do cardio after 40, do cardio to lose weight. In my newsfeed this morning alone, I came across this list of articles. “4 Foods Surgeons Are Now Calling “Death Foods””, “This one ingredient is making a lot of Americans fat”, “An exercise scientist reveals the fastest, most significant way to lose weight with minimal effort,” “I followed my son’s miracle diet — and lost 63 pounds”, “6 Ways You Are Screwing Up Your Salad.”

Seriously, I am now screwing up my salad?

We all want to lose a little weight, maybe eat a little less sugar, drink a little less alcohol, eat more greens and maybe try to be an overall happier version of ourselves. I mean, who doesn’t? No one wants to be a sloppy curmudgeon. But if we give in too much to what we read and see it will start to become a huge negative weight on us and we’re already pretty sensitive as it is this time of year. Are we not?

Cut yourself some slack and think about what you achieved today. What worked for you today and what made you happy today. Then see how you can apply that to tomorrow. It is just too damn easy to get caught up in the clutter and forget the simplicity of what is. Your journey is just that, YOUR journey and you need to do what works best for you and then have gratitude in what YOU achieved. Do not compare, do not fret and do not forget that this is your journey and your journey alone.

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What’s Your Workout Fantasy?

I know most of us from time to time play some sort of fantasy in our head when we are knee deep in the middle of a kick ass workout. And I would like to think that in the middle of say, those Clean and Presses or kick boxing class or a really good run, I’m not the only one thinking about how much butt I can kick. Sure, maybe most of you are thinking about beating that PR or getting mentally even with that annoying co-worker in your head. But sometimes my mind goes a wonkier route then that and I think things like, how much butt can I kick in say, a zombie apocalypse.

IMG_20151008_111830551_HDR (2)Let me go on record first by saying, I am a nerd. A full-fledged, card carrying, Star Trek convention attending nerd. I swoon over Captain Picard and wish I was a cross between Princess Leia and Marion Ravenwood.

And while my fantasies might range from escaping spear tossing indigenous folks, punching the bad guy in the throat or floating in the air next to Yoda, my brain is elsewhere this week. This week we are between the season finale of “Fear the Walking Dead” and the start of season 6 of “The Walking Dead”. So this week, my brain is on Zombies. And if we want to continue down the road of me oversharing, I am a zombie nerd. I’ve read the graphic novels. I mean, I’m the gal who squealed one Christmas when given the Max Brooks: World War Z and The Zombie Survival Guide box set (complete with poster which I do plan on framing). I am also the person who will wax poetic for hours with my brother Paul over zombie survival strategies (they freeze in the cold FYI, you’re welcome).

As a strong, fit person, I would like to think that I have some skills to survive something like a zombie apocalypse (hypothetically of course, I really don’t think there will be one just for the record). I can run, I was a competitive swimmer, I can climb, I have strength to haul and carry things, I’m fearless when I need to be (which is odd for a person afraid of everything). I can fish, I can cook on the fly, and I was a Girl Scout all the way up to the Cadette level. Which is, like, too old to be a Girl Scout nerd level. But regardless of all these strengths there is one thing that will bring me down faster than any flesh eating threat. I’m blind as a bat. Like, can’t see two feet in front of my face blind. And I doubt there would be a lot of Optometrists on hand during a zombie apocalypse. I’m either zombie food or worse a Klutzy fool bothering my fellow survivors. I mean, God, who wants to be the Urkele of the zombie apocalypse? “Did I do that?”

As I had this conversation with Matt, my ever so genius husband had pointed out that the thing to do would be to take glasses off of the dead. Seriously, mind blown. Whether they were the proper prescription or not. You can give them to others who need them if that be the case. Why has no one thought of that before? Because I know if I’m not wearing glasses, and I don’t have a pair of contacts (which come on, who’s going to be able to search for a missing contact when a hoard is coming), then I will have to learn some blind monk Shaolin shit pretty fast to survive. Or I guess suck it up and get Lasik. Yeah, maybe I’ll finally give into getting elective surgery pre-zombie apocalypse. Where’s the blind Achilles’ heel now?

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Real Results, Real Slow

Well I did it. Finally. I participated in and passed the weekend-long Body Pump training. I am now allowed to move onto making my video and fingers crossed I will be a bona fide, certified Body Pump Instructor.

Q2012_BodyPump_A2 POSTER P1There are a million reasons why I waited so long and too many excuses to list here. Timing wasn’t right before. Timing was right now. But I will say this: as far as what I thought of my own capabilities, I really sold myself extra short and didn’t realize how much so until I got to spend a weekend with some really off-form, off-time people. At the same time, I also got the meet some amazing strong women who might have looked older but put most of the college kids in the room to shame. Seriously, there was a lady who had to be in her 70s and was using a pretty high amount of weight. Joan, wherever you are, keep eating those peanut butter sandwiches girl!

I guess I could also chalk things up to being an over-thinker and an over-preparer. It drives Matt crazy but while I took too long, it definitely worked in my favor here. The room was full of every spectrum of people from those who didn’t print out a single thing (kind of dumb actually) to those who had full color binders. There was the snacking on one bag of Stacey Chips gal to the woman with a full size cooler. I originally felt like a Sherpa with my two changes of clothes and enough food for a camp out, but in the end I fell somewhere in a very comfortable middle. Futhermore, I also lucked out in that while I was given two tracks to memorize, in the end I only had to perform one (triceps) and it was the one I knew better of the two. Lots of gratitude right there.

The weekend itself was obviously long and tiring.  But I’m not too sure how difficult it was though. Yes, you spend two, 10-hour days learning everything there is to be a Body Pump instructor, and yes, you are doing the whole BP release at least five times over the weekend. This, all on top of technique exercises (Clean and Press till they say stop), the Body Pump Challenge (say, four minutes of squats with 50% extra your normal weight) and the  practicing of your given track that you have to perform three times over. I’ll say this, the muscle in my left shoulder spasmed for two days straight afterward. But, I have been taking Body Pump classes for years and in all honesty: Pump is my bitch. I should know what I’m doing. I might not be used to performing in front of people but the rest of it was second nature. There were people in there who clearly had never even taken a single class before. If nothing else, I should have never denied myself that fact.

Brick Bodies Downtown Crew

Brick Bodies Downtown Crew

And as an added bonus, like I needed one, it made me respect my gym and my gym family all that much more. We are definitely a group of bad asses and I guess I got really skewed by just how badass we are. (Shout out to my prison gang!)

So here I am, ready to move onto the next phase. Video. AFAA certification and I guess the future.

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Life Gives you Lemons, yada, yada, yada….

84430aa31566aa6467126eab3d0fd026I know, I know, it has been a long time since I have posted anything. I won’t go into details or explanation or specifics because it doesn’t matter. Life happened. Life gets in the way. Life got in the way.

But you know what? The silver lining? The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? The insert your “ra ra” cliche quote here? It doesn’t effin’ matter if life gets in the way. You always have today to start over. And start over you can. That’s always an option. Always.

Once I got over dealing with life, I had declared this summer, “My Summer of No Fear (ish).” I wasn’t jumping out of planes or hiking the Himalayas or putting pictures of clowns in my bedroom, but I was willing to tackle stuff I might have been embarrassed or lacked courage (or had misconceptions) to do in the past, even if they seemed small. And they all seemed small in all honesty.

IMG_20150904_103626149_HDR (2)First, I started really small and bought two pairs of colorful patterned workout capris. I simply never had confidence to wear anything other than black (or a daring grey) on my bottom half. Turns out, I like them, go figure. I also treated myself to new cross trainers and a snazzy pair of pink Brooks’ Ghost. Second, I moved onto things I wouldn’t dare try. Matthew and I began the summer with free yoga in the park. To most that sounds easy. It’s FREE! But to a very cynical and un-bendy me, my idea of an early morning hour with what I thought would be a bunch of nature-loving hippies wasn’t exactly my bag. In my bare feet no less. It also wasn’t remotely true. I ended up loving it and now that the summer is coming to a close I’m really going to miss my Saturday morning outdoor yoga.  Thankfully I can continue my practice thanks to the kind folks at Charm City Yoga and their affordable community classes.IMG_20150812_154849765 (2)

The third thing I did was buy a bike. My first bike since I was 13-years-old. (You do the math). Not one I’ve borrowed, or rented for a couple of hours at the beach, a real, honest-to-God bike that I have to ride inside the city limits; with cars and dogs and babies and everything. And I love it. (love-ish? Fit Matthew disclaimer here…)

11825893_1041653629179884_9096433233446029696_nAnother thing I tried this Summer was paddle board yoga with OC SUP & Fitness. I have never been on a paddle board before and I’m not exactly a world class yogi (or is it yogini) and I didn’t care. I nailed it and had a blast. Falling in the water wasn’t an issue at all. I love the water. The black stinky muck at the bottom of the bay, not so much.

And, finally this summer, I bit the bullet and signed up to become certified to teach Body Pump. Training is at the end of this month. I really couldn’t explain why I put it off for as long as I have but with some stars aligning and my new found zest for things (Remember Summer of No Fear!), I figured the time was now. Am I nervous? Of course, but that’s not the point. This is personal. This is my mountain.

I guess the only thing left is to figure out what my will be my Fall motto. “Autumn of…”?

Posted in Bike, Biking, Body Pump, Exercise, Fitness, Group Fitness Classes, Les Mills, Paddle Board Yoga, Schwinn, Vinyassa, Yoga | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Vortex Shmortex: I’m Done


Courtesy of cartoonist The Oatmeal.

I know it’s January and I know it’s winter, and I know the Mid-West is getting it worse than Maryland, but I’m ready and done with it already. This Polar Vortex shit plus snow and ice has officially drained me. I haven’t been to the gym at all this week (I think only once last) and yet I’m sore in places I haven’t felt since I trained for my first Half-marathon.

My runner’s knee is acting up something fierce, my ankles hurt, my arms are sore, my shoulders are constantly locked and need a massage and my gluts could use an Epsom salt bath. I know it’s all related to the weather. I don’t own a car so I have to walk around in this. My posture is probably so off kilter from staring at the ground looking for ice, arms perpetually in my pockets with hunched shoulders, walking on the ice causing issues with my legs. And I’m done (did I mention that I’m done?).

Not just done physically but it’s emotionally soul crushing too. All I want to do is sleep, eat the worst things possible and drink to ease the pain. I’m beyond bloated and would like to get to the gym but my body is screaming otherwise. And I guess I have to respect that, but I’m ready to get back on with my normal life.

I guess it doesn’t help that I’ve been taking on extra shifts at work causing more pressure on my extremities. But I’m stronger than this; at least I thought I was. I haven’t felt so broken down in a really long time. Today I slept until 11. I never sleep that late.

I know in due time this will all be over, I’ll be running outside in the great outdoors with the sunshine on my face, back in the gym laughing it up with my Fitness Family and feeling revived and refreshed. And maybe those are the thoughts I need to put in my head. But right now I seriously need a break from this. Anyone know a good masseuse in the Baltimore area?



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Reality TV Time

Last night, my restaurant partook in the filming of a reality series pilot. And while I wasn’t the focus of the cameras (thank God) it didn’t make it any less weird. The concept of what is tentatively being called Bar Swap on TruTv is to switch bar owners of two establishments. In our case it was our Tex Mex place switching with a higher end cocktail bar. I think both owners had to introduce one menu and one drink item at the other place. In our case the high end cocktails were jamming up our bar. (We have way too high of a volume for someone to be fresh squeezing anything.)

The show (at least for this episode) was hosted by comedian Mo Mandel and aIMG_20140115_180011_805ll night you heard him telling one liners, over and over again. The repeating of dialogue was deafening at times. Especially, since the bar couldn’t play any music (copyright laws). It was like working in a cafeteria with the glaring bright stage lights and only the noise of restaurant chatter.

Only once did Mo engage me in conversation and with the camera on me I sort of just smirked and tried to ride along. One, he gave me shit about my name and told me I was greedy for having two. Then he tried to harass me about not doing any work but they came over to the host stand and I wasn’t even sure what to do so I just stood there and smiled. I probably could have been working if say, there weren’t f*#king cameras in my face. I kind of shut it down right there and hoped that the interaction wouldn’t make it to tape.

The whole night I watch customers come in slack jawed and confused when the saw the bright lights and cameras. Some walked right out the door, others weren’t too sure they wanted to even be seated, many asked to be put in the old section where there were no cameras. Most of my night was spent pushing cameramen to the side so I can go about my business which wasn’t always easy (especially since they seemed to favor the one spot the entire staff uses to get in and out of the bar). And the few times I had to wait because there was no way to get around the shot, all I could do was hope for the lack of a retake. Of which there were many.

“Ok, that was good, can we do it again.” “I liked that but can you say it this way.” And there were the few times where they engaged customers in the filming so you had to wait to get around those moments. At one point, a handler of some sort rounded up a group of customers, made them go outside and when prompted they had to come in the front door acting super excited to be in the restaurant. So, then again, I had to wait for that to pass.

I will say this. The crew themselves were super nice and very respectful that we still had our jobs to do. Anytime we needed them to move, they did, and over and over again they reiterated that to us.  In fact, they seemed to really enjoy being in our restaurant, with our staff and seemed to be having fun themselves. Especially, when some of our drunken regulars decided to heckle Mo toward the end of the night.

Which is why I found it odd so many of my coworkers were stressed out. I think as far as being part of a reality show goes, it was pretty easy. Granted, maybe it helped that I purposely worked out hard three days in advanced, got my hair did and stopped off for a beer before work (which was thankfully bought for me by my bar regulars) but in the end I ignored the cameras and they ignored me. If you see anything of me on camera at best you see my backside walking away from the camera and that’s about it.

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