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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.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Do You

Lately I've been on a big self-improvement kick. I dutifully show up to twice a week therapy and talk about how I'm going to be different. I set goals for myself and pretend that I am going to keep up with them. Stop drinking soda. Give up Slurpees. Try to quit smoking. Lose 15 lbs. Stop being a narcissist with commitment issues who takes pleasure in other people's unhappiness. Well today I'm saying enough. I like smoking, consuming more caffeine that humanly possible, and having the ability to feel nothing at all.

I think we should take a moment to recognize Tilikum, the biggest, baddest Orca whale in captivity. It's been nearly three years since he's drowned someone, but don't for an instant believe that he's not thinking about it. Do you think he cares that he's vilified in the media? Hell no. After a timeout period, he gets returned to the main tank and goes back to entertaining hundreds of thousands of tourists who are all giddy to see Shamu. And this whale has a sense of humor as he gave Dine with Shamu new meaning when he dragged his trainer around in his mouth during one dinner in February 2010.

Tilikum proves that if you're pretty enough, people will excuse your actions, and let you keep doing you.
So I'm putting an end to this nonsense and I'm doing what I want to do, which is pretty much working long hours, running long distances, refusing moderation, and accepting that my initial reaction to almost everything is, "Who the fuck cares? Quick! Choose an acceptable emotion to display."

And WTF is up with Red Bull Zero? I was really expecting zero calories not zero sugar.

Kickboxing/Boxing Bootcamp Master Class

Otherwise known as the best 90 minutes of the entire weekend.

On Sunday I went to MC Dance & Fitness for a kickboxing/boxing boot camp master class with Theresa Alini. I had never heard of her (not like that means anything), but if Yves says she good enough to teach a kickboxing master class, she is.

Theresa Alini
From the MC Dance & Fitness invitation:
Theresa Alini has been in the fitness industry since 1989. Her group fitness classes range from Pilates, vbarre, boot camp, strength training, and cardio kickboxing. Her favorite class to teach has been and always will be kickboxing with equipment. As a master trainer for ISCA, her experience has brought her through the United States certifying instructors, trainers and fitness professionals. Standing only at 4 feet 10 inches, her strong voice and big personality makes her a giant in the field. 

The class was freaking awesome. We started off with about 20 minutes of a regular kickboxing warm up. Very Yves-like routine, which you know means "the way it is supposed to be" in my book. We jumped, we punched, we kicked, and then my abs woke up from seven months of slumber.

Then we put on boxing gloves and did a similar routine so that we could feel the resistance. I own my a pretty pair of white boxing gloves, but of course I didn't know that we would need them (Yves, please include a packing list in the invite!) so I had to borrow a pair. A fun fact about me is that I don't like to wear things on my hands because I find it really uncomfortable and distracting. I also prefer gloves to mittens, and boxing gloves are a misnomer.

that's me in the front row, closest to the camera
Then we moved on to sprints, agility work, and focus mitt drills. I don't like to wait in line so I kept sprinting around the room until it was my term to work with Theresa and Yves.

the studio
We used the fitness squares pictured in the top photo. These things are really neat because they have a place for your feet and for your hands. I found it really helpful when practicing my sidekicks. It's also more challenging to stand on the square and keep your balance. You can flip it over and also use it as a sliding disc. There's a patent pending and I expect to see more of these squares soon.

source: Yves Maco

For some odd reason, Yves has yet to realize that he should just film me the entire time. You can see snippets of me in the mirror. That's Jackie in the teal tank.

We finished up the class with jumping rope and stretching. I successfully jumped rope for 10 minutes and only hit myself twice.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Monday Morning Spin

This morning the sounds of "What Makes You Beautiful" and a light show woke me up at 5:45 AM. Bet you didn't know you could set your iPhone alarm to do that, did you? Nothing gets me to hop out of bed like a One Direction dance party and soon I was dressed and on my way to spin class.

This was the first time I've gone to a class with Betsy Buzaid. Turns out this is the last 6:30 AM Monday class she's teaching at Equinox, which is a bummer because I liked her. My body is pretty sore from kickboxing so I'm not sure how difficult this class is, but the music was good and there was some pretty decent climbs.

I'm always looking for ways to cut down on the amount of stuff I drag around. Today I wore my spandex under my jeans and packed my tank and sweater. I insisted on wearing my Uggs and packing my flats, which in hindsight was stupid. I should have just sucked it up and worn the flats even though it was chilly out.

fully showered and dressed by 7:37 AM
I got fed up waiting for mirror space. I also don't have the patience to dry my hair, so I put on some bb cream and put my hair up. Then I headed over to Juice Generation. I love when I do more by 8:30 AM than I normally do all weekend.

I got the very un-Paleo peanut butter split with almond milk. And then a fat girl came in and ordered the same thing. Eek.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Day of the Dreadmill

It's been cold and today's weather was a constant drizzle. Not exactly how I'd like to spend a long run. But since I definitely needed to get at least 10 miles in this weekend, I mentally prepared myself and drove to Equinox to run on the treadmill.

I told myself I would run 12 to 15 miles - basically whatever I could get in before my mother texted me to say that dinner was almost ready.

The Caumsett 50K is next Sunday, and you might remember from previous years that the course is a 5K loop. Yup, 10 times around a 5K loop. I'm a big fan of the 5K so this course actually makes me pretty happy. There's a porta-potty at 1.5 mile mark and I've learned from the past two years that I usually have to pee around 4.5 miles. Using this knowledge, I broke down a 12 mile run into the breaks I would probably take for the race.

I wanted to make sure that I wasn't starting off too quickly (um, yeah, might have run my first 5K loop in the 7 somethings last year), so I set the speed to 10 minute miles. It began to drive me crazy so I moved up to sub-9s and tweaked it back and forth for the first 5 miles. Then I attempted to go to the bathroom but some guy ran in before me, so I did a few shoulder presses.

I ran the next 3 miles alternating between 10 minute miles and sub-7 minute miles. I can easily run 8 miles outside, but I was really struggling on the treadmill. I was bored. My foot hurt. This idiot woman chose the freaking treadmill next to me even though there were twenty to choose from. Nothing interesting was on tv. I decided "Doses and Mimosas" could only be listened to so many times before I'd voluntarily blow out my own eardrums.

I finally got my bathroom break and got back on the dreadmill for another 4 miles. I ran the first 2.5 miles really slowly and listened to some Neon Indian. I ran most of the race listening to this awesome band last year and was able to get back into the groove imagining I was back on the course. I also played through ideal scenarios for my 5 year reunion that's coming up this June. I have a really bad habit of living things in my mind over and over before they actually happen and then the actual event always pales in comparison. Or ends up with me facing a police officer. Never a winning situation, which is why I don't like to get a heads up on events.

I felt fine at 10 miles but I got the text from my mom saying dinner would be soon and to be honest, as long as I reached 12 miles, I felt comfortable calling it a day. I switched over to my workout mix and pounded in the last 1.5 miles listening to "Jump" and "Starships" and running 6:53s.

check out that sweet tie-dye tech shirt
I'm pretty proud of myself for running 12 miles on a treadmill because I have never run that far on one. I'm also pretty sure I will never be running that far on one again. Show your love and consider donating $12 to my fundraising campaign for Rock the Ridge.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Taking Care of Business

Greetings from somewhere in New Jersey! I'm on my way to a conference in Philadelphia to reunite with some of my favorite colleagues from around the country. A fun fact about me is that I love traveling by Amtrak and sometimes think about just purchasing a ticket as an exciting way to spend a Saturday. It reminds me of fun times in high school, drinking gin and tonics out of Nalgene with my roommate, as we traveled from Wallingford to Philly and back.

unidentified bruises
I am in desperate need of a detox to reset my taste buds and sloth-like body. I've been craving carbs, sugar, and MSG like nobody's business. It's no wonder after the past week. I started my day off with a dirty chai latte. Not paleo at all, but a better choice than yesterday's pizza, peanut butter cup, Chinese food fest.

Long weekends are dangerous as I tend to see them as an invitation to behave badly. This, coupled with Valentine's Day and volleyball Wednesday, has really set me off my game. And I found myself wandering out of Windsor Court in the wee hours last week. As far as benchmarks of poor decisions and sadness, being lost in Windsor Court is almost up there with losing your pocketbook and pregnancy scares. For those of you who are not familiar with Windsor Court, it is an apartment building in Murray Hill, a neighborhood in Manhattan. Windsor Court and its neighbor the Rivergate, are home to recent college graduates as well as the confused residents who remember when they didn't share walls with drunken twenty-somethings returning home from theme parties. Nothing good happens there, but they are perfect places to take down targets born in the nineties. Not sure what I was doing there, and I'm pretty sure I do not want to know. I blame Harding's. It is way too close for comfort to my old apartment.

I think I clean up nicely.
I may have gone out a few too many times recently, but I have been putting on real clothes. And I fit into my jeans so not all is lost.

And by real clothes, I mean ripped jeans and cowboy boots.
The hotel we're staying at has a gym and I brought my gear. Unfortunately there are no pictures of the gym on the hotel website, but I'm hoping for a treadmill and a full set of weights.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Pain in the Neck

I woke up at 3:50 this morning with shooting pain in my neck. I've noticed that I've been rolling over on my left shoulder lately in my sleep, and this combined with last night's intense workout has completely killed my left side.

not a happy camper
I managed to drift in and out of sleep a few more times until 7 AM and then took a hot shower to relax the muscles. Then I dragged my broken body to CVS for Icy Hot medicated patches. The last time I did this to myself, these patches were a lifesaver. Shout-out to Matt who is facing his own neck pain. Feel better soon and if you're looking for someone to commiserate with, I'll bring the Dewars.

God bless Icy Hot
Now that I've thoroughly scared you, let me tell you about the classes I went to yesterday.

Omar Sandoval is one of my favorite instructors. I also harbor a not so secret crush on him. He is known for his Titan classes and his classes are nuts. He also looks great in spandex.

Back when I was teaching, I made it to Titan Method pretty regularly. He has since introduced another class called Titan Method Phantom that is done entirely with your own body weight. I was super psyched to be able to go to both.

Phantom is 30 minutes of planks, push-ups, burpees, lunges, and variations of those moves. Try lying on your stomach and launching your body into a squat so that you're doing a burpee without relying on your arms. Now do this for a minute. Try not to throw up. The yoga push-up is another killer. It's a fast paced transition from downdog to chatturanga to updog without stopping. It hurts and it's not easy.

I used 8 and 10 lbs weights for the hour long Titan Method class, but I saw some women rocking 15 lbs. To these women, I salute you.

You perform 20 sets of 5 exercises 3-5 times in 9 minutes. Then you mop up your area for a minute. There are 5 different circuits. Everyone moves at their own pace, which is bad for me because I can't follow directions that I hear nor can I count my reps without getting distracted. I tried to find people to watch in the mirror to use as a reference, but alas, I pitifully tried to remember the sequence in vain. I still think I looked pretty good with the one armed clean and snatch.

my disgusting pile of laundry that had to be left to dry in the shower
While lying in a puddle of my own sweat, convinced that this would be the day my heart finally gave out and I would die in the gym I call home, I remembered how fun a punishing full body workout can be. Omar offers Titan Method and Titan Method Phantom at 85th & 3rd on Tuesdays and at Columbus Circle on Wednesdays. I'm open to attending either once volleyball ends the last week in February. Hit me up if you're a member and want to join me.

in case you're wondering what I'm wearing to work today

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Expensive Stuff That's Worth It

Douglas: Related question: what expensive workout apparel (or gadgets) are really worth it and make a huge difference?

The items that are worth it are the items that you are going to use.

If you're into running, buy a Garmin. It is hands down one of my favorite things in the entire world. Many people swear by the Forerunner 410, but I love my discontinued Forerunner 305. I recommend purchasing the Forerunner 310XT because, like the 305, you can also use it for biking. It's the much sicker version that syncs your data wirelessly and can be used when swimming.
Forerunner 410

Forerunner 310XT

If I leave my Garmin at home or go for an impromptu run, I use the Garmin Fit app. It kills your phone battery and I've managed to accidentally pause it multiple times, but if you're used to using Nike+ to track your runs, this is a superior app.

A good running jacket is essential because it's miserable to run in a jacket that is too bulky and not ventilated. I wear the Brooks Silver Bullet.

Never skimp on your running shoes. You should be properly fitted at a running store where they can analyze your gait. At most places this is free.

If you're not into spinning regularly, don't waste your money on spin shoes. However, if you go at least once a week, they're a great investment because they really change the workout.

Tech materials have really changed my life, but you don't need the expensive brands. The Frank Shorter line offered at National Running Center is much more affordable that lululemon or Sugoi, but I've heard its just as good.

I generally try to follow the rule that if I am going to use it all the time, then I want the best that I can afford. If it's something I'll use only a few times a year, then it's not a priority for me and I will try to do without.

That being said, my dream in life is to wear head-to-toe lululemon and go to back-to-back SoulCycle classes like all of the women on the Upper Eastside who leave their children with nannies and congregate on 83rd Street.

Caring For Your Clothing

Alyssa recommended that I write a post on how to care for your high-end workout apparel because apparently she didn't know how to care for hers. We were in the sauna testing our shared ability to withstand high temperatures when she complained to me that her Athleta pants were pilling. I asked if she had put them in the dryer and when she told me that she had, I began to feel a little faint and it had nothing to do with the sauna. You don't put your fancy pants in the dryer. Period.

I separate my workout clothing into two camps - expensive stuff that needs to be babied and intelligently made items that can be tossed in the wash like anything else. If you only have enough laundry for one load, you can treat the normal stuff with tender loving care, but not vice versa.

Speaking of camps, what the hell was going on between Brandi and Adrienne last night on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills?

Make sure that you never wash something new, especially something new and black/navy/red, with the rest of your clothing. Do you want your $64 light grey, exceptionally flattering Back On Track Tank covered tinged with colored splotches? Wash that stuff with your real sweats and make sure the colors don't run.

I wash my laundry in cold water. I prefer to use Woolite on my workout gear and run it through the delicate cycle. I think that's the best way to keep these items safe. However, if Woolite is unavailable or I am washing all my C9 by Champion for Target gear and a bunch of leggings, I will use Tide in the regular cycle. Do not use fabric softener.

DO NOT go near the dryer until you sort your clothes.

Take everything lululemon and put it aside. Take anything that has tech in the name and put it aside. Take anything that has odor-blocking technology and put it aside. You should only have leggings, your middle-end sports bras and shorts, and maybe your Under Armour depending on how old it is and how long you've been abusing it. These items can be put in the dryer with or without a dryer sheet.

The remaining items should be hung up or laid flat to dry. If you would like to expedite this process, you can set the dryer to air dry or fluff but never ever use fabric softener or dryer sheets as these will break down tech materials and the treatment used to make odor-blocking fabric.

Monday, February 11, 2013

A Blizzard in Photos

I refuse to entertain any of those Finding Nemo jokes. However, someone borrowed my copy in high school and if you're reading this, I want it back. Because everyone watches a movie about a lost fish on the way to a Phish show. Duh.

We got out of work early on Friday because of the storm. After playing a rousing game of mash-up animal charades (clearly the dolphin-rhino was the best), some work friends and I went out to enjoy the storm.

We went to the MoMA to learn about art.

I really like The Kill by AndrĂ© Masson.

my photograph
museum website image
After a stop at the MoMA Design Store, we headed to Rockerfeller Center to go skating, but the rink was closed.

We had a snowball fight instead.

We ran through Times Square and stopped at a few bars.

Then I ended up in Brooklyn at a rave that no one else came to because of the snow and suddenly it was 4 AM and I was in Little Italy. 

Crap Weather, Errands, and Yoga

What's with this foul weather? First there's a snow storm that apparently shut down Suffolk county and now this rain is threatening to give me perpetual bad hair day. I give up.

After four months of putting this off, I finally walked over to Hermes to get my clic clac H bracelet fixed. Now it's going to Paris for 4-6 months to be realigned. So glad my bracelet gets such a lovely extended vacation. I am missing it very much.

just a few of my favorite things

In case there's a reader out there who has always wanted to buy me an overpriced gift, I absolutely love the jungle green bracelet.

There is a grey one with the H in white that is kind of tacky and kind of awesome. Unfortunately I didn't take a picture of it because I foolishly believed it would be available online. If I find a pic, I'll post it. Bonus points to the reader who photographs it and sends me the JPEG.

So after walking in the rain to Hermes and then coming home, I went back to Aubrey's yoga class. Loved it.

Those are an ex-boyfriend's old sweatpants.
The relationship was entirely worth it for those pants.

There were a lot more people there than last week but luckily I secured my spot in the very front to the right of where the instructor goes. That's my spot in every class if I can get it.

The highlight of today's class was practicing crow. I suck at it and usually make one feeble attempt to get up there on my arms and then give up. I do remember being able to do it in high school, so I know it's not impossible. Apparently a lot of us were struggling, so Aubrey had us lay down on our backs and put our arms and legs into crow from there. Then we all flipped back over and low and behold, I was able to into crow for a whole five seconds. Genius.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Balls Are Their Business

So last night I played ping pong at SPiN with my date from Friday. To my surprise, making him aware that I am bat shit crazy was not a complete deal breaker. I think I also impressed him with my secret sick ping pong skills.

I can't remember the last time I played ping pong and God knows us lady folks were not allowed to touch a paddle in college. Turns out I have pretty decent hand-eye coordination except for a massive blind spot if the  ball comes straight to the right of my elbow. And I maintained my hand-eye coordination through two glasses of Dewars.

I had a really great time and I've wanted to go to SPiN since I moved to Manhattan in 2008. Yes. It's been that long and I never bothered to actually go. I do nothing here which has recently begun to make me a little sad and I'm making more of an effort to experience the city a bajillion people love so much that they come here for vacation. Why people want to spend their time off with crowds, concrete, and the smell of homeless people pee is beyond me, but whatever.

We didn't eat at SPiN last night but their menu is below. I've heard it's pretty good.

SPiN New York is located at 48 East 23rd Street, right near Time Warner Cable and a quick walk over from the Shake Shack in Madison Square Park.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Yoga Night

I went to yoga at 7:45 PM at the 85th and 3rd Equinox. On Mondays I have the luxury of escaping my office in the afternoon to see my therapist and then finishing up the workday at my apartment. I figured since I was home, I should get to the gym.

Don't mind me. Just casually taking photos of myself.
I haven't made it to a yoga class in a while and tonight I felt really good about my practice. I felt strong (as in I can hold this downdog and flip it bitch strong) and more flexible. I completely noticed how different my leg muscles felt after getting that massage last week. I was much more aligned in Warrior I and II and I didn't have that shooting pain up my shin. I felt more open in my twists and it was a great boost to my confidence to know that I had less of a gut to hike over my leg.

I also liked this instructor. Her name is Aubrey Lampkin. She was just the right amount of supportive/encouraging and funny. She also played a sweet playlist of folksy songs. I was into it.

Speaking of songs, I've been on a real Ben Folds tear lately. I had a Ben Folds Spotify radio station on during my run on Sunday and this song I really liked came on but I forgot to "like" it. Today I was Googling the lyrics I could remember on the ride into work and now Google is providing me with links to suicide prevention websites and the eharmony blog. The song is called "A Working Day" in case you're interested. 

Even if you're not interested, here's been the soundtrack of my life today.

And as we learned last week, people are pinning a photo of my wing tattoos when they were fresh and bleeding to Pinterest. Please folks, at least pin the photo below. They look so much better.

Better Food Choices

I'm being smart and making better food choices at the beginning of the week and hope that I can keep it up through the troublesome days known as Wednesday post-volleyball happy hour, hungover Thursday, and dear Lord kill me now Friday - oh wait, shit it's already Saturday morning. These are actual days and times on the calendar. You just didn't know it until now.

One thing left over from my minor foray into Whole 30-dom is eating tuna fish for breakfast. I'm so used to it now that I kind of look forward to it. That being said, I'm thinking about reintroducing Fage into my life.

For lunch, my daily lunchmate and I went to Just Salad. I love Just Salad and have recently branched out past the Immunity Bowl. Today I had romaine lettuce with pesto chicken, turkey bacon (double protein, I know I'm living large), walnuts, green apples, red onions, and cucumbers with lemon vinaigrette.

Not as good as the arugula and watercress salad I had at Westville on Friday but still way up there. I went on a lunch date on Friday. It was fun but by that evening I had convinced my date that I am a sociopath and untrustworthy. He won't be asking me out again. I added grilled chicken to the salad.

I've got some tasty leftovers from La Mela last night. I think I will be enjoying some veal this evening with a side of lettuce.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Whole 30 Fail

I have epically failed at Whole30. I've had cheese, milk, cereal, bread, pasta, alcohol, peas, and Chinese food. You shouldn't sleep with your Paleo Pal right before the challenge starts because then you spend the next thirty days avoiding him and then there's no one to hold you accountable or help you cook.

Since the Whole30 Challenge started, I have not had soda, Slurpees, or sex. The soda and the Slurpees is intentional. The sex - well I've gotten to the point where I am so disinterested in people that usually I completely zone out after three minutes and then after that I sometimes think about how much more satisfying it would be to kill the guy rather than have to continue doing what I'm doing. This may be why I've been upped to two sessions with the shrink a week. However, I had a lovely time with the last person I slept with, who unfortunately lives across the freaking country, so chances are I won't become the black widow serial killer just yet and stick to celibacy.

By sticking to some Whole30 principles I have been able to lose 8 lbs. Yes, I got on the scale when I was explicitly told not to. I have decided that I will follow a Paleo diet during the week and on the weekends I can eat whatever my dad is cooking or go out for sushi. This should help me continue to lose fat but also let me enjoy things I love, like my dad's pasta dishes and Yuka's unicorn fish.

I'm a bridesmaid in my friend Jacqie's wedding in May and I am so excited to celebrate this special day with her and her awesome (and quite attractive) fiance. Last night I went to try on my bridesmaid dress and was able to get into the size 4! I bought the size 6 instead because I'd rather pay to get it taken in than worry that the 4 is going to be too snug if I eat anything the day of the wedding.

I tried the dress on in plum but I ordered it in black. Jacqie picked beautiful dresses for us and I'm psyched that I can wear it again and again. I've never worn a one shoulder dress before and I think it's pretty flattering on me. I do have to step up my upper body work though. Look at those flabby chicken arms. Anyone want to train me?

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