Eat Lightly, Breathe Deeply, Live Moderately

Archive for April 2010

There is just something about yoga that I find myself longing for. I love working out, I love getting in shape and feeling fit, but yoga is my addiction. There’s something special that you feel after burning 600 calories in a spin class, or doing squats with twice the amount of weight you did last time, but it doesn’t compare to the feeling after a yoga class.

When I go more than a few days without yoga or bodyflow I feel stiff and I really feel the need to stretch my muscles and tune into my body. I spend my entire day sitting at a desk staring at a computer screen, and several times a week I really work my body to its limits whether through weight lifting, cardio or core training. My weeks are jam-packed with working out, my day job, freelance work, freelance photography, cooking and cleaning that I hardly have time to myself. This weekend is the first weekend that I’ve had off in a couple of months and I’ve got my dad’s 50th birthday, my boyfriend’s 27th birthday, a photoshoot, a film festival that I’m judging, a hiking trip, an off-roading trip, Steve has a friend visiting from out of town who is coming over and two birthday dinners. Granted, it’s going to be a great, fun weekend and I’m really looking forward to it… but there’s still no time to rest. Yoga gives me the release that I need.

Breathing deeply helps me focus when a busy week has my mind all over the place. Stretching my muscles helps repair the damage done days before. Using body resistance helps build my strength in my arms, legs and core. Balance poses not only Β help with my balance but also with my posture. Since I started doing yoga my posture has greatly increased and my lordosis has almost fixed itself.

This morning before work I went to BodyFlow class, which is a yoga class with a tai-chi warmup and pilates core abs and back. It is the best way to start the morning. Any sort of workout in the morning is great, but yoga is the best. It really affects my outlook and my general mood. It’ll take a lot to turn this day into a bad one, and I don’t see that happening!

I Β haven’t had anything of worth to say in about a week, but I figured I’d post an update anyhow.

I have been doing the morning routine. I did BodyPump yesterday and did almost double the weight I normally do. I’m extremely sore today so I’m taking a pass on the gym for the day. Doing BodyFlow tomorrow morning, a nice way to ease back into the routine of going every day.

We’ve got a busy weekend ahead of us. My dad’s birthday is tomorrow and we’re going out to dinner for his birthday. Saturday morning I have a photoshoot with two friends and their kids and Saturday night I’m a judge at Towson University’s Media Arts Festival. Sunday is Steve’s birthday and we’re going out to breakfast and for a hike with his mom in the morning, off-roading with a couple of friends during the day and dinner with other friends at night. No time for the gym this weekend, but we’ll be physically active on Sunday with the hike, and Saturday running around the park for the photoshoot.

After this weekend I’m hitting the ground running in terms of Fit360… and going to the gym every day until I hit all of my goals. I’m not too far off already and it’s only week two. I’ve got 4/7 done for cardio, 4/7 for mind and body, 3/7 for strength, and 2/7 for core. I don’t have any classes for Sports Conditioning yet, but I’ve worked something out where I’ll be able to get them all in in three weeks πŸ™‚

It’s official. I’m committed to the morning routine… and I love it! Got up at 5:30 this morning and so did Steve since he had to work early, so I made egg sandwiches with cheese on whole wheat bread for both of us, I made my lunch and then I headed to the gym for BodyPump. My muscles were SCREAMING during class this morning. I did pretty heavy weights and really pushed it through the class. I was surprised to see that I only burned 266 calories in the hour long class, but then again– muscle building does not necessarily equate calorie burning. My heartrate was raised the whole time, but it wasn’t until the squat track and the lunge track that it was high enough to count as cardio. I guess chest press, tricep press and bicep curls aren’t enough of a cardio work out ;). Either way, I feel great… as always I got showered and off to work on time and I’ve got quite a good little dent in my Fit 360 program already! It’s going to be a pretty good work day too. I have two video records and a decent amount of editing to get done. Hopefully the day will pass pretty quickly.

Yesterday was the first day of Fit 360. I started off on a roll! I had three classes last night– RPM (spin class), Absolute Abs and Yoga. This morning I did the cycle class. I also spent the morning figuring out how best to meet all of the goals. I planned out my workout schedule for the next 6 weeks so that I could meet all of the goals for the program. I of course left a lot of room for flexibility. If I actually do all of the classes during the 6-week period that I planned out I’ll get to level three (the final level) of the program twice over. I made sure to schedule it so that I can look at the schedule for any given day and see what I can do class wise, what I have done, and what I need to get to where I need to be in the program. I will probably be at the gym between 6-7 days a week during the program (not too far off from my regular 5-6) but I don’t think I need to do 2-3 classes a day πŸ˜› Regardless, I made a really nice excel spreadsheet for tracking it πŸ™‚ Really excited to participate in the program. I’m very competitive, but not so much with other people but moreso with myself. I know that I can finish the program and win all of the prizes, and I’m going to do just that!

This week begins a six-week program that I joined at my gym called Fit 360. It’s a program that promotes total body fitness while focusing on cardio, core training, strength training, mind/body training and sports conditioning. It’s got an incentive program, as you reach each of the three levels you win prizes. Since I paid $15 to join the program I have every intention of reaching each goal and getting all three prizes. The prizes are 2 fitness shirts and a water bottle. Nothing too thrilling, but nice nonetheless. Another benefit of the program is that for the length of the program I have the ability to go to any of the Merritt locations whereas otherwise I’d only have access to my local gym.

I’m excited for the start of the program. It’s pretty achievable as long as I can find classes that fit my schedule. The way the program works is that you have to take classes in each category. The downside is that my gym doesn’t even offer classes in some of the categories (hence the need for the OnePass). As long as I can find a way to fit them into my schedule and get into a routine it should be pretty easy. There is a gym right near my work, and one in Towson– though it’s not as close as the one by us it’s still not bad. We’ll see. It’d really just be easiest if I could work something out with them so that I could just go to my home gym but we’ll see.

I just got my Polar F7 watch on Saturday and Sunday morning was my first time using it.

For those reading this who don’t know: Polar makes heart-rate monitor watches. Why would someone want a heart-rate monitor watch, you ask? For exercise! I have a heart condition, while not serious, it’s worth monitoring my heart rate and making sure that I don’t go over my limits. Also– a heart rate monitor is one of the most accurate ways to calculate calories burned during a workout. So, for someone who loves working out, and likes to keep track of progress– a heart rate monitor is a great way to go.

First impressions:

The silver watch is pretty big on my wrist. I’m 5’2″ and 123 lbs. While I’m not the smallest person you’ll meet, I’m pretty thin. The face of the watch is the width of my wrist. When I put it on for the first time I was very shocked by the size, even though I was expecting it to be large. After two days of wearing it constantly I’ve gotten used to the size and it even looks small sometimes.

I love the look of it. The grey color is nice and neutral with a clean look and a pretty feminine blue and grey design framing the screen. The buttons are big enough and easy to use. My only complaint, which is a complaint I’ve had with every watch I’ve ever owned, is that my wrist size lives between two notches. One notch is a little too tight, and if I move it to the next one, it’s flying around my wrist. Though it’s better than any other watch I’ve ever had.

On the back of the watch you see some basic stuff, the serial number, brand, model, etc. Also the markings indicating that the watch is water resistant up to 50m. According to Polar, that makes it suitable for bathing and swimming but not snorkeling or scuba diving.

Functionality:

So the way it works is pretty neat. The watch comes with a chest band. This band has two strips of “electrodes” that go against your body, and a “Wearlink Transmitter” that snaps onto the front of it. You wet the electrodes with running water and strap the band around your chest. Snap the Transmitter on and you’re good to go. Once you start exercising, press the “OK” button on the watch twice to begin your exercise. It keeps track of exercise time, your heart rate and calories burned. At the end of a work out you get a summary screen that tells you how many calories you burned, your total exercise time, and your max and average heart rates.

There are buttons on the watch for backlight, back (so you can pause or exit your work out) and to change the view. The various views during exercise are Calories, Own Zone- which tells you where your heart rate is in the proper zone, and exercise time. In each view you will also see your heart rate.

One of my favorite things to do for exercise is spin class, and in spin class it’s not always easy to take both hands off the handlebars in order to press a button and look at your watch. What I love about the Polar watch is that if I move my hand up to my chest, putting the watch close to the chest trap and the wireless transmitter, the watch lights up, tells me the time and then switches back to calories before the backlight turns off. This made using the watch during exercise so much easier. I could quickly move my arm, look at the watch, and then put my hands back into place. No fiddling around with buttons or settings. Quick and easy.

The trial:

Yesterday was my first time using the watch at the gym, and I wore it for two classes: RPM and BodyFlow. During RPM I kept track of my heart rate (which maxed out around 190, and averaged at 160) and calories burned. In just over an hour I burned 550 calories during the spin class. Not bad! I then went to BodyFlow where I burned another 216 calories for a grand total for the day of 766. During exercise I never pressed any buttons. I would occasionally move the watch near the transmitter so it would light up and I could see the time and calories burned so far, and I loved that I could quickly do that without pressing anything.

I wore the watch in the shower to test out the water resistance, and as expected, it worked just fine. I think it’s kind of strange to wear the chest band and watch swimming, but seeing as I can’t swim very well, let alone do it for any sort of exercise, I don’t see that being an issue for me. πŸ˜›

I also used the timer on the watch while I was cooking dinner last night. πŸ™‚

The Verdict:

Definitely worth the money. I was in the market for a new every day watch anyway, and though it is bulky and not exactly “professional looking” I am using it as just that. The exercise functionality is great and the chest band is extremely comfortable. I may purchase the sports bra with the transmitter attachment, but at this point I don’t see a real need for the extra investment. The chest band works just great for me now. The only things that make me a bit unhappy are that if the battery needs to be replaced, the watch has to be sent back to Polar for them to replace it in order to ensure the water resistance, which could take several weeks. Also– they have software that allows the watch to sync with your computer to track your exercise data, but it does not work for Mac. For someone like me with 4 Macs in the house at home with no PCs, this is really a letdown.

All in all, a great product and definitely something I’ll be using daily.

Yesterday I did BodyPump at 6:00 AM, and it was awesome! Going to a BodyPump class that early in the morning and still a little tired is a lot harder than doing an early morning cycle class, since you don’t really ease into it as much– that, and it’s nearly impossible to fall off the exercise bike, but standing and lifting weights could end tragically if you don’t focus. I ended up doing the same amount of weight as I did the first time I took the class (a little more for some exercises) and I was not sore the next day! Kind of crazy since only two weeks ago I took the class and was sore for DAYS following it, and this Saturday I took the class and was sore for a couple of days. Not this time! Good thing too–since I didn’t want to have to take any time off from the gym.

So I made it to RPM this morning and I have every intention of going to BodyFlow tomorrow before work. That’ll be four days in a row this week, getting up at 6:00 AM! That will be my routine if I decide to stick with this early thing, since Monday nights are Yoga class and I don’t want to miss that.

This morning Steve got up at 5:30 with me and we went to the gym together. He didn’t take RPM with me like he normally does on the weekends, since he had a lot of lifting to do and only had time for 30 minutes of cardio. I hope he likes getting up early and starts doing it with me! It would be really nice for us to have more time together in the evenings. We’ve already got more time together since I started going in the morning since I can make dinner while he’s at the gym. He spends between an hour and a half and two hours at the gym, and it doesn’t take me that long to make dinner so we would get more time if he picks up the morning routine πŸ™‚



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