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My excessive energy, extreme narcissism, and intense love of neon-colored spandex is both managed and fueled by my addiction to fitness. I push myself to extremes and I push other people's buttons. Obviously I needed my own blog.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Happy Hour Cycle

The Equinox in Woodbury added Happy Hour Cycle to the schedule.  Held from 5:45pm - 6:45pm on Friday evenings, this class allows fitness enthusiasts to burn off the calories they will most likely be consuming soon after the class ends. Most Equinoxes in Manhattan offer Friday evening classes, so it's high time Long Islanders got some non-yoga options too.

I knew I shouldn't be spinning right after I clipped my shoes into the pedals. My left knee had locked out on the stairs during dismissal, and sitting in Friday traffic didn't help it. Although I didn't get to enjoy the class, I'm sure I would have if I had a normal-functioning knee.

John Kojac lead us on a fairly intense ride filled with climbs. He asked us to push ourselves at a level 10 as we climbed a series of three hills. This type of workout is good to develop length strength, and to train your body to push through pain, which is a necessary skill for racing.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Pecans: Friend or Foe?

It's no secret that I've gotten a little pudgy around the middle, but eating through your thrice-weekly hangovers will do that to you. While rooting around my parents' freezer the other day, I discovered my father's candy bar selection. (It's actually not that hard to find. It has completely taken over both shelves, and edged out my small container of flax seed, which now hides underneath the defunct ice maker. Depressing visual, I know.) My mother, who can hear the sound of a refrigerator door opening from two floors away, suddenly appears and says, "That's how I got fat." Now the woman is certainly not fat. For a while she was rocking a BMI (body mass index, a highly inaccurate measurement to determine if someone is a healthy weight) that put her in the "needs to be hospitalized within the week" zone. However, she's not as slim as last year.

So I thought about it... Could candy bars and my Seamlessweb addiction be responsible for our added girth? Certainly. But what about breakfast?

We eat Greek yogurt for breakfast. There's nothing wrong with the yogurt - it's the pecans we've been adding for a satisfying crunch. At 196 calories per ounce, and 20.5 grams of fat, we're basically begging for the bulge. An ounce of pecans is approximately 30 grams. Grab a small handful and toss them on a food scale, and you will easily reach 30 grams, if not more. I've been limiting myself to 10 grams lately, and I've got like six pecans topping my protein-packed treat.

Pecans are part of a nutritious diet. They are a good source of protein and unsaturated fats. Pecans are rich in omega-6 fatty acids, and have antioxidants and plant sterols that can reduce LDL cholesterol levels. Pecans are good for you, but only if you can recognize a serving size.

Verdict: FOE 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

In Shape Out of Mind's Recommended Reading List

When I was little, I struggled to learn how to read. Go figure that this hippie whole language approach to learning wouldn't work for me, and being the competitive, overachiever that I was, I freaked out and somehow forced myself to read, and to read well, the summer before 4th grade. As with everything you have to work hard for, I truly appreciated my new skill and attacked books with a voracious and passionate appetite. Then I became neurotic about recording everything I read and started making lists. Lists are the sign of the hyper-organized and the mildly insane. I should have stuck with it because now I'm not sure how many books I've read, or what books I've read, and sometimes I take home books from the library only to find out I've read them, twice.

I was a pudgy little kid with an awkward haircut and strange social skills. The world inside books allowed me to pretend to be awesome, when I definitely was not. The safe haven I found inside books is a lot like the safe havens I now find inside fitness studios and out on race courses. It doesn't matter how much life currently sucks on the outside - for those hours, I rock. Combining my two loves, I frequently read about fitness and running.

Here are two books I have enjoyed:

I received a free copy of Dean Karnazes Ultra Marathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner in college. I got it at EMS after purchasing a new spectator's chair to day-drink in during lacrosse games. The thing sat on my bookshelf until 2009, but once I cracked its spine, I was hooked. Who had ever heard of running all-night? I didn't even realize they had races for people who wanted to run 100 miles in the dark in the middle of nowhere. I became obsessed with one day running the Western States 100. Now that I find myself running my first ultra (50K or 31 miles on May 7th!), I've been rereading the parts where Dean trained for his Western 100 qualifying 50 miler. I don't plan on throwing up all over the interior of my car, but I will pack snacks.

I came across Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Chris MacDougall on an old boyfriend's bookshelf last summer. I read through chapter 5, realized Dean Karnazes was a bit of a self-promoting sellout, and decided I needed my own copy stat. In addition to a ton of information about a hidden tribe of super-runners, the book taught me about the Leadville 100. Add that to the growing list of abusive ultras I will one day run. I also learned of some other runners who find it totally appropriate to drink all night, and then participate in grueling physical activities. If they can party blackout until dawn, and then run an ultra for kicks, I think I am totally justified in my pre-10K debauchery. MacDougall does a great job of weaving his quest to find Caballo Blanco, the little-known history of the Tarahumara, the background of running and different runners, and this ultimate trail race into a coherent story that captures your attention and makes you want to throw out your sneakers for a pair of sandals. In Shape Out of Mind highly recommends this book.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


You can't choose your family, but you can certainly choose which family members to disown for eternity. I hadn't planned on going to the gym after sleeping through all of Tripp's spin classes, but after trimming my family tree, I needed to do something to get me to relax.

I went to Raj Shtrom's yoga class at Woodbury at 4:30pm. If you remember the last time I ended up in one of Raj's classes, this was fortunately a class for all levels, and not intended for L2/3 "I can lick my own shoulder blade" yogis.

The class is heavy on the downward dog standing split. Some people don't like this move, but I'm for anything that breaks up the monotony of downward facing dog. This supposed "resting pose" is the most painful thing in the world for me. I have tight hip flexors, tight shoulders, overdeveloped thighs, and stress fractures in my feet - I imagine downward facing dog is comparable to being strung up on a medieval torture rack.

We made it through the sun salutations, and then got on to what I can actually do: awkward balancing poses. I'm all about eagle, tree, airplane, and anything else that requires standing very still on one foot. I practice while standing in line and waiting for my students to settle down. It's amazing what 8 hours of daily practice can do...

Raj has a few classes in Woodbury, Roslyn, and Great Neck, including a Saturday class. I highly recommend her. After 75 minutes, I wasn't so keen to exact revenge on my former family members, so maybe there's something to this yoga business.

Monday, April 25, 2011

My First NYRR Race

I ran my first NYRR race. After putting it off and putting it off, I finally became a member of the New York Road Runners. It's worth it, because you make back the cost of your membership after two races. I also want to run the New York City Marathon, and the 9+1 system is tough to beat. Basically if you register, run nine races, and then volunteer at one race, you are guaranteed entry into the next year's marathon.

The NYRR 4 Mile (really creative name, huh?) was held on Saturday, April 23th in Central Park. T, the Professor, and I all signed up at the beginning of the month and had many plans for our inaugural race. The Professor decided we should wear tennis whites. T didn't get the memo. So on race day, after waking up at 1:30, 2:30, 4:45, and 5:30, I got out of bed at 6:38 am to eat breakfast and clean my apartment. Of course it was pouring rain, which obviously only happens when I wear white. I had to forgo the cute white tank, but kept the white skort. Although I had collected my bib the day before, it was only at this ungodly hour did I notice that my bib was brown... and my pace was listed as 11:21. "11:21?" I gasped. Surely they couldn't mean 11:21 minutes per mile?  They did.

To spite the obnoxious NYRR volunteers, I went to the back of the line. The way back of the back of the line. And then I smoked them. I finished in 29:21, with a 7:21 pace... only four minutes faster than my bib's claim. Take that NYRR and your typos!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Cuckoo for Coco

Please excuse the sickening title, but I couldn't resist.

Coco Xie is now teaching Cardio Knockout! at the Great Neck Equinox. I first met Coco at one of her and Yves's master classes at Fusion Fitness. She is an incredible Zumba instructor, and a pretty sick kickboxing instructor too. Thank God, because I sometimes spend Thursday night on Long Island. If you miss Yves, you'll love Coco's class.

Thursdays @ the Equinox in Great Neck
Cardio Knockout! 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm
Zumba 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm

The True Story of GOGI 1

I received an email about the 2nd Get Outside on Governors Island 10K, which will be held on June 26th. All participants in last fall's race will receive a $10 discount if they register in-store at Paragon Sports.

I guess it's time to finally share the story of the first GOGI 10K. All events are true. If you recognize your involvement, please keep that to yourself.

I had recently stopped smoking and picked up running races instead. I had already completed the Michael Trauma 5K, and was looking forward to this GOGI race I had signed up for over the summer. I was high on my own achievement - hell yeah, guess who doesn't smoke anymore and rocks a 7 minute mile? I do! I do! The only problems were I didn't know anyone else who would be running this race, and I would be leaving from my apartment so I didn't even have my mom around to entertain me. For someone who loves spending so much time alone, I need to be entertained.

Friday night I went out for a few beers with a buddy, but was in bed way early. If you can make it through Friday, you know you're on your way to a civilized and grown-up weekend. I had three beers and I didn't smoke a single cigarette! Saturday I was up and about at the crack of dawn. I went downtown to have brunch with the best friend and her boyfriend, and then we went to Paragon to pick up my race packet. Everything was great. The sun was shining, the chick from Rules of Attraction (Shannyn Sossamon) was dragging a dog around the farmer's market, and I wasn't smoking cigarettes.

After spending money I didn't really have (hypnotism isn't cheap and my best friend really likes to drag me around shopping), I was tired and getting a little grumpy. I decided to walk from the West Village back to the East 80s. Done and done. Strangely, no one could be found to play with on such a nice fall day (the best friend and the boyfriend were on their way out to Long Island) and that was making me feel anxious. Clearly people were out and about... they just didn't want to be out and about with me. When I get anxious, I get manic. When I get manic, I smoke cigarettes. But I didn't smoke cigarettes anymore. And no one wanted to play with me. And I live in a studio apartment and there was nothing on tv and I needed to do something.

This is how a wonderfully pleasant Saturday ended up with me on a roof deck somewhere in the East Village/Lower Eastside/Hell for all I know, watching a UNC game on a large flat screen tv that had somehow been brought out to this roof deck. Then the dance party began. I lit a cigarette, and then another, and another. More beer arrived. This was at 11 pm, and I needed to be on my way to the race by 6 am. Fast forward through a few more hours, dance parties, two bars, and six taxi rides, and I was walking into my apartment to get changed for the race. Some people would have accepted defeat and gone to sleep. "Not I!" says In Shape Out of Mind. Instead I poured a roadie. (I put a little coconut water in it. Had to hydrate!)

I went to that flippin race and I finished that flippin race. Granted, my pace slowed down to 8.30 minute miles, and I was cold and disoriented, but I finished that flippin race. The course was confusing when I reviewed the map sober two days before. So I got a little lost trying to run it inebriated. Some guy jokingly asked me if I were drunk. I smiled serenely, and answered, "Of course I am." Well, he asked. Sorry I'm not sorry.

The worst part of this entire cold and poorly organized race is the ferry to Governors Island. There is a real reason why no one wants to go to Governors Island, and that is because it sucks. The only redeeming moment of this horrible experience was running into my friend Palindrome. We formed our running club Team RuNNuR shortly after. And no, we still have not purchased t-shirts.

I might return for GOGI 2 simply to prove how confusing the course really is.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


At 7:30 this morning I had the privilege of clipping my cycling shoes into bike #9 at Roslyn to spend forty-five quality minutes with Tripp Doherty and my fellow cyclists. Today Tripp told us that during these forty-five minutes, we should think about our lives and our goals, that we should feel like we're at a disco, that we're experiencing the worst time of our lives, and the best time of our lives. During those forty-five minutes we should live an entire life. He also reminded us to live in the moment, and that tomorrow is an eternity away, that today is what matters. (In case you were wondering why my punctuation seems to go to hell in a handbasket whenever I quote Tripp, it's because I am trying to be true to the words of a man who is simultaneously cycling at level 7 or jumping around the room. I'm having trouble reconciling my grammar-obsessed childhood with desire to authentically record what moved me.)

I have a real problem with living in the moment. I have always been a tomorrow, or one day person. One day, maybe tomorrow, I will look the way I want to look. Or one day, maybe tomorrow, I will do the things I want to do. One day, maybe tomorrow, I will have everything I have always wanted to have. One days and tomorrows have let me avoid taking inventory of my life for years, but that has begun to change. In particular, I have realized how many "one day, maybe tomorrow" friendships and relationships I have had. If you suck today, you'll probably suck tomorrow, and I'm not waiting around to find out.

Tripp encourages us to work through our feelings during class. He has psychologists and psychiatrists in his classes that say they are able to work through things better during that time than any other. I think that I am a self-aware person (perhaps painfully so?,) but I am not one who handles feelings particularly well. There is something about pushing your body to do things you would think are physically impossible that allows you to tap into emotions you didn't know you had. For instance, after pushing through the last four minutes of class at a level 8, out in 3, thinking that my legs might burst like grapes at any moment, I found myself yelling (most likely silently) "Why don't you love me?" into the towels on my handlebars. I think I might have some issues to sort out during spin-disco-psychotherapy.

Pilates Still Sucks

My best friend (the one on the fitness kick who makes me feel ashamed of my hungover binge-eating marathons) is really into Pilates. I remember Pilates from my first foray into group fitness... and it sucked. Despite these vivid memories, I went to Clay Grant's SILER-Centric Pilates class this morning.

You know what? Pilates still sucks, but only because it takes so much work. You can't use momentum or brute force to make it through the moves; you have to use your individual muscles and be aware of your movements. I love brute force. I hate attention to detail.

I'm so glad I went to this class though, because it was a lot of fun.  Apparently the regulars have a running joke about their ages in comparison to Clay's. Clay orders everyone about, and they all rag on him. Clay was away last week and some "West Coast Instructor" subbed the class. An hour of kum ba yah and papaya juice drinking really traumatized the bunch, and they were happy to have Clay back to yell at them. I might not be on the inside of this joke, but I did spend a good portion of my morning laughing on my mat.

Pilates is a full-body exercise meant to use all aspects of your body, not just your abdominals. This is why the class sucks so much if you're not used to doing it. I carry a ton of tension in my neck, (probably from grinding my teeth wishing for cigarettes, child-free classrooms, and the end of Americal Idol), and perhaps more Pilates in my life might help me to align my back. We'll see.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Flying Monkeys and Magic Wands

Last night I was lying in bed, ignoring my text messages, and basically wallowing in what my life isn't. I was being a lazy grump. I didn't set an alarm, and figured I'd sleep in and pad around in my pajamas all morning.

This morning I woke up in time to catch Tripp Doherty's 9:45 class at Woodbury. The class is magical, and we could all use a little more magic in our lives. Who doesn't want to attend a spin class that involves flying monkeys, a magic wand, and disco? I was running late this morning (I woke up at 9:05) and didn't get my morning coffee, Ritalin, or breakfast, but I still managed to find the energy to power through one of the best rides I've ever had. Tripp's inspirational commentary pushes us all to go past what we expect of ourselves. He has a dedicated group of followers for a reason. I only wish I got to ride with him more often.

Without my morning meds, I can't focus long enough to claw my way out of a plastic bag. The usually euphoric ride was even better because I could lose myself in the sweat and music. At the end of the class I could barely remember what had soaked my clothes and made my heart race. If I could stay on course, I'd definitely blow off the Ritalin for my long races.

Tripp tells us that his religion, what he believes in, is found inside the cycling room. All of us working together as one, showing what we can really do is a demonstration of faith. While I consider myself a Christian, I have to admit that the closest I've felt to Jesus in a long time is sweating in a spin room surrounded by a lot of Jews.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Freezing My Gym Membership

After much contemplation, I have decided to freeze my Equinox membership at the end of June. For those of you who don't know, I am a teacher, and this means that my schedule will drastically change as of June 28th. My summer job is part-time and isn't that compatible with the group fitness schedule. I spend a lot of time out on Long Island, and many of my favorite LI instructors have peaced out to other facilities. I am going to use this time to test out the fitness waters, although I plan on returning to Equinox in the fall. (Can you tell that I am trying to justify my decision to myself?)

My goal this summer is to save money and experience new things.  I've done a little online research, and I think that I can find enough free passes to go to the gym 3-4 days a week without paying a dime. Of course, I'll have to start buying shampoo again, which costs a small fortune. I have very long hair.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

East Side Health Food

After nearly a year of living in my current neighborhood, I finally went into East Side Health Food. Lo and behold, (almost) everything I like to eat, but can never find, is there.

I tried my first All Green juice. It tasted a lot like celery.

I was hankering for Trader Joe's Seaweed Snacks, but wasn't dumb enough to give up my seat on the 5 train. I settled for some Nori sheets. Now my apartment is covered in seaweed flakes. Oops.

My student handed this in for his Florida project. I think it's awesome and just wanted to share.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Can We Get a Quiet Car on the Express Train?

So I'm on the 5 train on my way up to my training session. Forgive me, but after a day trying to maintain order in the lawless world of 4th grade, all I wanted to do was read my Nelson DeMille book in peace. I'm developing intense upper body strength dragging that hardcover across boroughs and I'd like to find out what stunt John Corey is going to pull next. This is obviously too much to ask because this beastly high school senior is loudly and rapidly retelling her slutty escapades of the past week to her not-so-straight male companion. (He couldn't find a girl he liked while in South Africa... Right...)

As annoyed as I am right now, I am glad that I can channel this energy into my workout. When I hated my old boss with every fiber of my being, I was able to pummel through two hours of intense cardio and resistance training. I imagined his smug face making contact with my foot. Then I went for a series of right hooks. Made it easier to sleep at night.

Take whatever (and whoever) drives you crazy and use it to power your workouts. You're going to feel better once you start releasing the stress from your life, and you will see results. Of course, you better find new ways to get pissed off if you want to continue to push yourself. For some reason, I don't think I'll have a problem.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Bikram is like Xanax

For some reason I had psyched myself out of the last four days of Bikram, but today I made myself go. I am so glad that I did! It was disgustingly sweaty, and smelled like ass, but I feel awesome. I have to figure out a better showering system though, because I freaked out the neighborhood on my walk home. I then had an intimate moment with my yoga mat in the tub. Germphobia + sweaty gear = horrifying nightmares.

Weekend Without Wireless

My Internet has been out since Thursday.  I have barely survived the weekend without wireless access. My Cherry Blossom posting has suffered because I uploaded my photos to my computer mere hours before disaster struck. Some genius got on my building's roof and cut through our modem connections. I have spent countless hours on the phone with Time Warner, and I threatened a representative who was clearly drunk early yesterday morning. If it's 7:30am on a Sunday morning, and I manage to be sober, you could show a little courtesy and be the same.

It was a wild weekend, but I did drag my friend on a river run. The run up to 125th Street was great, but I thought I was going to keel over on the way back. He schooled me, while I prayed that I would make it back to my apartment before booting all over the street.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 Mile

I guess it's about time I wrote about my race on Sunday. My dad and I headed down to DC for the weekend for a little father/daughter quality time. We arrived late Friday evening and went straight to the L'Enfant Plaza Hotel. While convenient for sightseeing and getting to my race, it was not a place I'd stay again.
Triceratops love.

Saturday morning my dad and I went to the Natural History Museum before going to the race expo to pick up my packet. I got to take a picture with the triceratops. 

Line for packet pick-up

The line for packet pickup was absurd. I sent my dad into the expo and waited outside for over half an hour. The line wrapped around the building and continued inside, up the stairs, and around the balcony. I should've waited until the morning if the race.

The expo crowd

We spent the rest of the day at the National Gallery. After a lovely Italian dinner, we went in search of a grocery store so that I could buy my breakfast staples. Five hours later I was thawing frozen peaches with the hair dryer. I felt like I hadn't slept at all. As you can see, I also looked like it.  

Color-coordinated hairstyle and outfit.
I was able to enter the subway station from the hotel (awesome) and rode one stop over to the National Mall. We runners gathered at the National Monument for pre-race activities. Naturally I got on the porta-potty line immediately.

The Cherry Blossom is divided into waves to regulate the flow of people. The elite runners set out at 7:40am. Then the yellow wave started. I was in the red wave, and we left next. I met two nice girls standing with the red wave. They're from DC and had run the Cherry Blossom before. They cleared up some misconceptions I had about the course.

The day turned out to be a beautiful one. It was sunny and brisk - perfect for running. The first 5K went by pleasantly enough. I felt sleepy but I kept a good pace. I tried to avoid weaving except when necessary because it expends a lot of energy. I packed a KIND almond and coconut bar in my Spi-Belt because I was hungry during my 25K. Kelly, one of the girls I met at the starting line, said she refuels at miles 3, 6, and 8, so I ate a bite as I passed the 5K marker.

The halfway mark took us over a bridge lined with spectators. They were all bundled up, but I felt fine in my tank and shorts. I was feeling tired, but from a lack of sleep. Did I mention I received a few it's 4:30 am, come party! phone calls? I knew I just needed to keep at it.

I really tried to avoid a bathroom pitstop, but it was slowing me down. I just can't run farther than 5 miles without having to pee. Thankfully I spotted available porta-potties at mile 7. I added probably 45 seconds to my time, but it was worth it.

I made sure to drink a little water and Gatorade at each refreshment station, but I kept moving. I felt like I was keeping a steady pace, although I know I slowed down between mile 6 and 7. When nature calls...

My D-Tag

I finished the race in 1:15:47, with a 7.35 per mile pace. While nothing to sniff at, and better overall than my 5 mile and my 10K, I just didn't feel too great about it. I never unleashed the beast. With less than a mile to go, I started to fire up, and I sprinted across the finish line. I heard my name and hometown announced as I yelled for this moron woman to get out of my way. Dumbass actually bent over one foot passed the finish line with thousands of people coming behind her. It felt anti-climatic and I had no idea where my dad was. I had to head over to the bag check to get my cell phone to call him.

My dad and me in front of some cherry blossoms.

The rest of the day was awesome. We went back to the National Gallery to see the Chester Dale and Gauguin exhibits before heading over to Zyntainya for a delicious brunch. We took a leisurely walk past the Capitol Building and took some pictures outside of the Supreme Court. Basically if you can do all that after a race, you didn't race that well.  

Detox Retox

God bless the Internet. After I posted the list of activities I wanted to try, I received a few messages from fitness friends interested in joining me. One such friend, we'll call him FS, said he would go to Bikram with me.

Last night I had plans to meet up with an old camp friend for beers. All good, until FS said we should hit up Bikram at 8. While I questioned my sanity, it did not deter me from drinking three beers beforehand. I chased them with seltzer and cranberry, so it's not like I'm a total lush. I shouldn't have been concerned because the heat in the Bikram studio had me sweating out the booze before my buzz even kicked in.

This was actually my second time practicing Bikram yoga. I tried it once last summer with my buddy R out in Locust Valley. I liked it, but I never bothered to go again. I'm obsessed after last night's class.

The class is 90 minutes long - 55 minutes of standing postures and 30 minutes for the floor series. I am so ADD that I can't handle being in Vinyasa yoga for that long, but something about the heat and discomfort makes me finally relax at Bikram. I have been in a weird funk since my race on Sunday, but the anxiety and tension I have been carrying around disappeared before the standing series ended.

The room's high temperature promotes flexibility, and your body is able to bend in ways it wouldn't be able to otherwise. For example, I can normally extend my legs and reach past my toes, but I can't place my forehead on my knees. The heat loosened up my muscles and allowed me to really stretch out.

Because I'm out of my mind (and that's why you love me), I returned to my watering hole after a quick shower at the studio. I had told the fine folks at Dylan Murphy's to expect me back after class, and I'm good at my word. Clearly I needed a little elixir of the gods (double vodka with seltzer and a splash of pineapple) to retox after class.

Despite three of these delightful concoctions, I woke up sober and feeling awesome. Better than I've felt in months actually. Can we say #winning?

Bikram NYC has locations around Manhattan. I'm hitting up the upper eastside location, because 1. I live there, and 2. I can throw a rock at my favorite bar from the studio. The newcomer special is $27 for one week unlimited. I have my own mat (thanks FS for jacking that and leaving me with the dingy rental) but you can rent a mat and towels. I am so psyched to go everyday this week.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Jillian Michaels Show

Last year I discovered Jillian Michaels' podcasts. The original show aired on an AM radio station on Sunday mornings. I was ecstatic. Then I realized the show was over and I had a finite number to enjoy. After rationing my Jillian intake to maximize my enjoyment, I stumbled upon the best tweet once I joined Twitter - the Jillian Michaels Show is back!

Jillian and her sidekick Janice are entertaining, informative, and motivating. It's available on iTunes each Monday. Happy listening!

Monday, April 4, 2011


I had a session with my new trainer today. I told Morgan that I ran a 10 mile race yesterday and to be nice to my knees. He had me running stairs... that jerk. I love it.

I bought six sessions to start, and we'll see how it goes from there. I definitely got my money's worth because I was completely kicked after an hour. We spent the first ten minutes running pyramids on the stairs, with an exercise in between each run. After one flight, I did squats. Then I ran two flights and did shoulder presses. Five flights of stairs (1,2,3,4,5,4,3,2,1) and nine exercises later, I was covered in sweat and tasting lunch. That was the warm-up.

My new nemesis is the assisted pull-up machine. What the f*ck? I can do six assisted pull-ups before Morgan has to step in and pull me up by the footrest. I'm a little ashamed of this, and clearly it's going to eat away at me until I master it.

We did something awful with a sled that I couldn't even do. I was on my knees crying for mercy. Not even hollering helped. I don't think the cardio crowd appreciated my sound effects. Let's hope we don't play with that again.

It turns out I'm kind of badass at deadlifts. I definitely need to work on my form, but I picked up the basics pretty quickly. I've only done them with a body bar before.

I think my training sessions will get me excited about working out again. I miss having something I look forward to doing at the gym.

Student Likes Spinach?

One of my students was eyeing my container of baby spinach today. I spend so much time encouraging healthy eating habits that I couldn't deny her request for a small plate of leafy greens. The little girl then topped it with some of her orange slices, which tasted quite good. I recommend adding some crushed walnuts and a little balsamic vinegar, and you'd have a super healthy and tasty afternoon mini-meal.

A cluster (aka prep period, or "special" for my EWS alumni) teacher at my school has introduced a health unit into his curriculum. My students received a workbook about the importance of breakfast and healthy eating and a pedometer. I was so psyched when I got one too! We've been tracking our breakfast consumption on a giant poster, and we're going to use the data for our graphing unit. New York requires students to learn about nutrition and how to read nutrition labels. I think incorporating this knowledge into a math unit is a great way to reinforce its importance while teaching other skills.

If you have the opportunity to teach children about health and nutrition, you definitely should. You never know if you are their only source informing them on how to make healthy choices. I may buy my class donuts, but I think my daily actions set an example for how to eat and what should be considered a treat. Our nation is facing a serious childhood obesity problem. It is really surprising how many kids simply don't understand what and how much to eat.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Stick

I dragged my dad to packet pickup at the National Building Museum yesterday. The Cherry Blossom expo was going on and it was a great opportunity to spend someone else's money, such as my dad's. I am now a proud owner of The Stick.

What is The Stick? It's a plastic stick with spindles that is used for myofascial release and trigger point therapy. Basically you roll it over your muscles and it relaxes them.

I'm frequently in a lot of pain after working out, especially after a race. I tested out The Stick after this morning's 10 mile course, and I think it made a difference. I was able to walk all over the National Mall and the Capitol area with minimal hobbling.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Cardio Boot Camp

I headed down to the Equinox on 74th & 2nd last night to wage war against the glazed donuts I mindlessly inhaled at work. My class was celebrating the successful performance of our interpretation of Chris Van Allsburg's Just a Dream story. The children each had one donut. I had six. Oops.

I went to Ben Damptey's Cardio Boot Camp, followed by his Abs, Back, and Stretch class for the first time. I know where I'll be on Thursdays from now on. The class is divided into "chapters." Each chapter is made up of four or five exercises, and you repeat the series twice. The forty-five minute class went by quickly; I know I'm having a good workout when I'm not looking at the clock.

I liked a lot of things about the class, but I'll focus on the highlights.

Ben had us do ball taps with our medicine balls. I haven't played soccer since 2000, and it wasn't easy tapping that ball without rolling it around the room... or tripping over it.

We used steps for two purposes. In the beginning we kept them flat on the floor for down, down, up, ups (You can run these on the back or the middle. I prefer the middle. We did both.) and for alternating lunges. Later we added two sets of risers to create a bench for chest presses, rows, and balance work.

I really like how Ben incorporated bits of kickboxing and yoga into the class. Bonus points for Sexy Back coming on during lower back extensions.

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