Monthly Archives: January 2010

Walk Away The Pounds

After hearing raves about this program from several of my fitness friends, before Christmas, I ordered Leslie Sansone’s Walk Away The Pounds DVD. This DVD has four levels of difficulty – one mile, two miles, three miles and four miles. Some of the programs use the weighted balls, and some use resistance bands. The DVD didn’t arrive until the new year, and with my new fitness classes, I hadn’t had a chance to try it.

I was feeling very tired all day today, and actually fell asleep on the bus ride home (not city transit – employer-provided transport). So when I got home, I decided to try the one mile walk, for a little pick-me-up. When it initially started I actually thought it might be too easy, but that 18 minutes is actually *quite* the cardio workout! Not like my BL Cardio Max DVD or the Wii BL game, but I was still sweating and had an increased heart rate.

What I really like is that the DVD is simple enough (no complicated steps) that my mom and I could do it together. She needs to ease into fitness, and this could potentially be a good way for us to motivate each other.

I have to say, I’m looking forward to trying the two mile walk sometime soon!

Zumba – Class #2

So last night was my second Zumba (latin dancing) class. I was half worried and half excited – the first week was fun, but it was crazy-fast, and I spent a lot of the time trying to figure out what I was supposed to be doing with my feet, arms, hips and butt. It felt like everything was moving in opposite directions, but at the same time. The first session we had (last week) was with a stand-in instructor, because ours had gone on a surprise holiday trip. I was interested in seeing what our regular instructor would do with us.

She was GREAT. She took the time to show us each of the steps before starting the songs, which also gave us time to catch our breath in between dances. Believe me, it’s a lot of cardio, so time to catch your breath is required. I still felt like I looked like a seizure patient while she looked sultry and fluid. But at least I wasn’t spending most of my time hopping from foot to foot, trying to figure out what I was supposed to be doing. I actually felt somewhat coordinated. AND . . . the biggest thing of all is that I didn’t feel like dying at 8 minutes in. Yeah, I was red, sweaty and out of breath . . . but I felt okay.

I did get pretty hot near the end, but I had started the day feeling kind of crummy, so I think the two are related. I had fun, I felt semi-coordinated, and I had hope that by the end of two sets of classes, I might remember all of the steps, in order.

Unfortunately I’ll be missing the next two classes as I’ll be traveling for work (and sneaking in a small vacation at the same time), but I’ll be back for the February 8th class, and I’m already signed up for the next set of classes too, starting in early March. Who knows, maybe I’ll finally learn to enjoy group exercise classes!

Double Your Fun!

Today I am making two (yes 2) blog posts! One of the email lists I belong to has asked people to send in funny dog stories. The first one I sent in was a post I made last week about Quigley (A Trifle-ing Matter). This week the story comes from way back in my past, but it’s a keeper for sure!

I have been racking my brain to come up with funny stories, and I found one that definitely fits the bill. After high school, I lived as an exchange student in Esbjerg, Denmark, through the Rotary Exchange program. My counsellor and his wife owned a beautiful Old English Sheepdog named Olga – I did training classes with her, bathed her, brushed her and spent tons and tons of time with her. I really loved that dog. One day I took Olga for a walk, and stopped by a friend’s house to watch a movie. We were in the basement, watching the movie, and Olga was laying on the tile floor in the entry way, to cool off. We heard the front door open and close, and before we could even get to our feet to see who had come in, we heard a high-pitched scream of terror. Both of us raced up the stairs, taking two at a time. When we got upstairs, we saw our good friend, who was quite pale (which was a feat, since he was of South American origin, with the rich, tanned skin). He was laughing so hard he was crying, and we were trying to figure out what the heck was going on.

It turns out that when he came in the house, he saw Olga and assumed she was a rug (she was sleeping with her head down). When she picked up her head to see who had come in, Henrik screamed.

That story still makes me giggle . . . poor Olga had no idea what the commotion was about!

Zumba Report

Well, as you know from reading this blog, I survived my Zumba class last night. I will say, it was touch and go there for a while, but I managed to pull through. Although I’ve been walking a lot since June 2009 (at least 3 times a week, plus other activities), I don’t have a lot of cardio endurance. That became painfully clear at about 10 minutes in to the 60 minute class. I was gasping, my chest was burning and my legs felt like jello. My footwork coordination was severely lacking, and when she encouraged us to keep up with the arm movements, I felt completely inadequate. I am just NOT that coordinated.

But despite all that, it was fun. I laughed a LOT – the instructor looked sensual and fluid, while I appeared to be having a seizure. She could move her hips in ways that I can only dream of. Her feet appeared to have a mind of their own – hey, so did mine! (they just didn’t have the same mind as hers LOL). The two girls that I went with and I shared lots of disbelieving looks as the instructor danced. But we did our best, and really, I don’t think we were any worse than most of the people in our class. There were no real “performers” in the class . . . nobody had hips or feet or fluid movement like the instructor.

I was exhausted last night, and I had the best sleep I’ve had since before Ange left. So that was good. And when my mom asked if I was going back for next week’s class, I was shocked. Yeah, it was tough, but I’m not quitting! In fact, I signed up for the next session too! So I guess you could say it was a success . . . and if I learn a few latin dancing moves after 10 weeks of class, even better!

It Starts Tonight

Tonight I’m trying something new. I’m taking my very first group fitness class. Okay, I did do water aerobics once, but it was drop-in, and mostly to keep my mom company, so I don’t count it. Tonight my Zumba class starts. I’m going with a co-worker and two of her friends, so that’ll make it more fun. I must admit, I’m excited and nervous at the same time. It’s a 60 minute class – if I can hardly handle a 30 minute workout on the Wii or on a DVD, how on earth will I cope with 60 minutes? Granted, some will be warm-up and cool down (please God, let both of those be nice and long), but still . . . I hope I can keep up with the girls.

I did super well on fitness last week. Two walks, one workout on Wii Biggest Loser, and two days of shoveling the driveway and getting rid of the hard-packed snow and ice. I feel really proud of myself, as that’s the first time I’ve done something active (above and beyond my daily activity) since October, when I had all the issues with my ankles. And honestly, it felt GOOD to be keeping busy. The dogs aren’t complaining about the walks, either!

So wish me luck tonight . . . I know the key is staying within my range of ability, but let’s just see how well I can do that without having a heart attack LOL

Biggest Loser on the Wii

So today was my first time trying out the Biggest Loser game for the Wii system. I got it for Christmas, but was really busy with company and family. Lame excuse, I know, but whatever. At least I tried it before June 20 Having read the reviews on this site, I thought it might not be challenging enough. The threads I’ve read have been pretty evenly split between people liking it and not liking it.

I put the game in the console and got ready to see what would come my way. Well, I was pleasantly surprised. It was QUITE the workout, and this was on the easiest level. The warm-up is 6 minutes, the main workout is 20 minutes and the cool down is 8 minutes. My heart was pumping and the sweat was pouring off me. Some of the exercises were hard to do in terms of the Wii Fit board “reading” my movements, but since I’m a trained physiotherapist, I know the correct body movements.

My overall impression is that it’s definitely challenging (much more so than the Wii Fit or Wii Fit Plus) and much easier to do than Jillian Micheals’ original boot camp game. If you have a Wii, it might be a good way to mix up your routine!

A "Trifle"ing Matter

I have American Cocker Spaniels – anybody familiar with this breed (and most Sporting breeds) knows that they are ruled by their stomachs. My old dog Quigley (now passed on) was the most food driven dog that I have ever known. He was a very mellow, pedantic dog, even in his younger years, yet he could perform acrobatic feats to obtain food when he wanted to. Some of the stuff he ate was the stuff of legends – an entire box of Bran Buds cereal, a box of Fruit & Vegetable supplement bars, ant traps and more. But the story below is my favourite one.

It was a summer barbecue that my folks were hosting, because it was my best friend’s first trip to the city I grew up in. All of our family and friends were invited to come and meet my friend, since they’d heard so much about her. My mom’s best friend wanted to do something special for me, and since she’s the most incredible cook/baker I know, she decided to make a fruit trifle. She used fresh fruit, full cream, and shaved Bernard Callebaut (high end) chocolate on top. It truly was a thing of beauty. We put it on the dining room table, along with the other food, and everybody went into the backyard to eat.

We were all eating, laughing and having a good time when we realized that Quigley was conspicuously absent. He was a champion beggar, so we knew something was up. My mom asked “Where’s Quigley?” and as if on cue, he came running out of the house, very nonchalantly. What made it funny was his whipped cream feet and beard! Now, Quigley was black, so it’s not like he could hide the evidence, but he acted like nothing was out of the ordinary – he always walked around like Santa Claus! Everybody was shocked into silence, and then my mom raced into the house to check on the trifle. It had two very distinct paw prints in it, and I swear to this day you could see the lick marks where he’d been self-indulging. My mom’s best friend was devastated, because nobody except for me would try the trifle. I figured that I live with so much dog hair and spit that a bit more wouldn’t hurt. I could see why he enjoyed it!

Quigley’s been gone for more than 3 years now, and I miss him all the time. This is one of those stories that keeps his memory alive for us (my family, friends and I), and it’s one that never fails to make us smile and laugh.

Thanks for letting me share!

Resolutions

Every year, shortly after midnight, my family shares with each other what their resolutions for the year are. Typically they’re things like lose weight, eat better, spend less (or save more), etc. Lofty goals that often fall by the wayside in February, if not January. In the past, I’ve found the process of choosing what to resolve for the year somewhat stressful. I mean, when you think about it, these goals are supposed to carry you through 12 months. 365 days. However many hours that adds up to (yes, I’m too lazy to pull out my calculator). I’ve never wanted to be that person – you know, the one that deliberately chooses softer goals that are easier to attain.

This year I made one resolution, and for the first time in as long as I can remember, it didn’t stress me out. I resolved NOT to have resolutions. Yes, I have goals and things that I want to accomplish, but none of it is a real change from what I’ve already been doing. I want to continue with the progress I’ve made with SparkPeople. I haven’t lost tons of weight, but my lifestyle is different than it was 7 months ago. Exercise IS in my vocabulary now, and it’s a part of my daily life. There are still days that I slack off, but I think about it all the time.

I have a long way to go – including learning to eat healthier and to be even more active. But at least I’m on the right road. That’s something that I’m proud of, because this time last year it didn’t even cross my mind that I could actually enjoy walking or doing DVDs or whatever.
So that’s my non-resolution decision for 2010.