Monthly Archives: November 2013

Push It Real Good

Today I celebrated my quarter life crisis, I mean, my birthday.

Turning 26 is officially entering the darkness of the second half of my 20’s and saying goodbye to the times when stupid decisions are much more socially acceptable.

For my birthday this year I am giving myself the gift of pushups. When I came out of shoulder surgery 8 months ago, my surgeon told me I wouldn’t be able to do pushups again because I had lost so much structurally. In my post-surgery daze of anesthetic and disorientation, I cried. I whimpered to my parents as if this exercise was the love of my life and couldn’t live without it. After sobering up I went through a “I have an excuse to never do pushups again” phase and thought I would enjoy my justified laziness.

However, due to my innate human tendencies, if you tell me I can’t do something then I am overpowered by desire to conquer it. I remember doing pushups against the wall for the first time months ago while D was trying to politely tell me how terrible my form was. It was like glorified leaning on the wall and I felt like the Hulk.

Slowly but surely, I worked down to the ground through various stages of incline pushups and to the terror of my friends, I announced I was ready for the real deal. Their faces all said “this will be a train wreck” so we were all pleasantly surprised when I eeked out 3 in a row.

I then ran through the bodybuilders as I screamed “Shoulder champion of the world!!!”

Some days you have to choose brains or brawn.

hulk_comic_book_wallpaper_01

 

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , ,

“I Think We’re Winning!”

I had my first experience going to Supperworks this week. K and I went and we (I) could barely carry everything we left with. After ditching some ice cube trays and defrosting some food unexpectedly, I fit everything in my freezer. Now I will be eating like a Queen for the next 30-36 meals.

It was a lot of fun and much easier than I thought, especially after all the intricate instructions I was given ahead of time. We were referred by a friend who didn’t want us to embarrass him. Who us?!

We arrived (late) to a place that looked like a really big kitchen with about ten big workstations. The space was filled with nicely dressed women in pearls, sipping wine, and packing up their meals to most likely tell their families later, “I have been slaving over this meal for hours!!!”. K and I ran in wearing our work clothes and he had a 3L jug of water in tow. I took the wine I was offered, but this did not help me blend in any better. Fact: Running shoes and wine don’t blend in any situation.

Between K’s frequent bathroom breaks, our uproars of obnoxious laughter, and our blatant lack of knowledge on where to find things in a kitchen, it was pretty clear we both have a long way to go until graduating Supperworks. On the plus side, we did both learn a lot about food preparation.

We are both competitive people, and it became established that we were on a team racing everyone else, logically. Somehow we forgot we were there to learn, and our focus became being the fastest food preparers in the history of Supperworks. When K yelled across the kitchen “I think we’re winning!” the other cooking- challenged people seemed to start drifting out.

It was a lot of fun for us, and we left with some amazing dishes. Whoever created this place is a genius and I would highly recommend it to anyone who needs some help with cooking or is low on time. I am looking forward to dusting off my crockpot, greasing some pans, and warming up the oven. I will have to read my notes to see what happens after that though.

chefvictory

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Whack A Mole

Oh hey there. Things have gotten crazy on my end so thanks for sticking with me. This has been a time of re-evaluation and analyzing for me. I have had to temporarily refocus myself which meant about a week without exercise but thankfully I have some big goals on the horizon to scare me back to work.

I blogged a few months ago about choosing a direction for ourselves and the importance of making a conscious decision where to place each step. Right now, I feel like one foot is mid- step and I am standing on a single foot sized island. There are many islands around me, and there are boats that can carry me. Most importantly, I can swim. I just don’t know where my compass is pointing me.

We all feel defeated at some point, but with time and effort, we all make a comeback in some form or permutation. If we were never knocked down then how could we know how to stand? If we never felt defeat then how could we appreciate success? If we never left our island, how could we learn to swim? How can we discount negative experiences so quickly and neglect to see that we have gained experience after all? These self taught lessons always teach us best, like the first day of school in big colorful block letters.

There is a saying that things always work out in the end, and if things haven’t worked out yet, it isn’t the end. Eventually the feeling of being the rodent in “Whack A Mole” ends in an unpredictable dimming of lights and sounds, and your head pops up somewhere bright and new. No one really knows when the whacking stops or where the mole ends… but we all agree that those are both inevitable.

Last week I hit some obstacles that I couldn’t see until they blinded me. Even a little stumble is movement and it will only add to my momentum whichever direction I propel myself. Here is to the comeback.

Sounds like this girl needs to go for a trot.

images

 

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Mountain Climber

My workouts are really coming together. I’m less obviously holding up other people, I get less “what is that girl doing?” looks, and dare I say that in the right lighting- I have some muscular definition.

It seems like things always get worse before they get better. We have to break things down before we can rebuild them and that is never an easy or stress-free process. It is the crucial first step to the process, nevertheless. If we put ourselves through a struggle to get what we want then the reward is always worth it.

This time last year, I hated the way my body looked and I hated that I couldn’t control what was happening to it. I hated that I never felt good about myself and the painkillers made that even harder to deal with. It was hard to train clients who were more mobile, stronger, and more motivated than I was. To be honest, I got so low that I set myself up for an even bigger comeback, which allowed for many more small victories on the way. I am progressing, feeling strong, and I don’t have a limit on how far I will climb.

The last few days at work, the guys have commented on how I am louder, I dance around the gym (again), and even the way I dress is different. No more “basketball shorts” or “homeless man” outfits. Their words, not mine. Following these comments, I like to take the opportunity to flex my tiny arms and make them admit they see muscle. It is one thing to notice change in yourself, but to hear it from those you spend the most time with is a million times better. I hadn’t noticed that I neglected certain pieces of clothing or that I was sparing the workplace from my fantastic dance moves. I guess that is how you know you have a great support system though; they will make sure you see everything you missed.

I have been doing my research on triathlons, and I am finding what I got myself into. Yikes. I have so many questions but I am also really excited because this is far from any other competition I have voluntarily sought to compete in. When I told my family that I had been considering a triathlon, it brought back fond memories of dog paddling/ crying my way through a Learn to Swim class to get my Kinesiology degree. I’m not sure why I think this will be less terrifying but I will have to address one fear at a time. I will probably be more scared of getting back on my bike again, but I’ll save that topic for when it gets here. Once I clean off my helmet, get the SUV hood marks and road rash off my bike then I’ll probably just need a pep talk (or a hundred). This will get interesting.

So what next?!

Now that I’m starting to get the hang of climbing, I’ll need to start learning to swim.

cliffhanger_-630x342

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Will Squat for Subway

So, the people in Moscow are geniuses. I just watched a video from BBC Europe about a new way to board the subway. This is to promote the Russian Olympic team but I hope it has a bigger effect than that. And I hope Toronto takes notice!

Here is the deal: if you can do 30 squats in 2 minutes then you can ride the subway for free. Like I said; genius.

Sure, some flaws exist but the idea and the message are fantastic. There was a lineup of people in the video and I bet at rush hour this line would be making people very late for work. Explaining to your boss that you were trying to get a free ride might not be the best excuse. I seem to have a magnetic pull for people with body odor problems, so I consider the potential for sweat an issue to consider, also. If you are wearing stilettos and a skirt? There is no stiff leg deadlift option, ladies. Finally (what I noticed first) is bad form. This is an automated device which counts down your squats but only has a sensor to monitor how low you go; I don’t think the reporter let his heels touch the ground until he bounced up and locked his knees into place. Thirty times.

In exchange, these people are offered a chance to exercise, save money, and travel to their destination. Squat what your mama gave ya! Bonus.

In the grocery store today I saw big signs and banners to help support our Canadian athletes for the approaching Olympics. It was a table of laundry detergent samples manned by two teenagers both on their cell phones. As I paused on my walk by, neither looked up. Good thing there is no medal for national spirit. I would be hopeful for Rob Ford to pick up on this, but I expect he will soon either be in jail or rehab. Oh Canada!

Here is the video and story
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-24873180?ocid=socialflow_twitter_bbcworld

perfect squat

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Squat a Lot

Back to the weights today!

It is a rainy day in Toronto and nothing cures the blues like squats. My bony post-surgery shoulder isn’t a big fan of the barbell but somehow the blasting dance music and the adrenaline of pushing weight rules that out.

I worked out today in the middle of the afternoon; that awkward lull when lunch is past, the trophy wives are done their parade, and the 9 to 5’ers aren’t out yet. This is my favourite part of my job. Actually, this is not part of my job. This is the time when the trainers come out to play. We almost all have breaks here so our overlapping workouts are a chance for us to hang out, but more importantly, show off. I weigh much less, and I am substantially not as strong (I am up against men let’s be serious), but trust me I promote my gains more than anyone. I let everyone know how much I was squatting as I moon walked through the gym floor, shouting out my stats, and giving them all the wink and the gun.

Today I did German volume training… which probably means I need to hang out females more often. 10 sets of 10 barbell squats, then walking lunges, hamstring curls, and knee extensions. Terrible facial expressions and weird sound effects included. By the time I finished, my excitement and shameless self promotion was reduced to bending over and panting with a  little bit of walking like a cowboy. It was all worth it though because today was another first! The first day I have added weight to a barbell squat in over a year. Not necessarily my best decision to combine it with so many reps but things were feeling good. If I am problem- free tomorrow then that means that it is time to squat! A lot!

This seems to be what happens to me when I work out with the guys. I forget about my limitations, and for the most part, that is a good thing.

K is three weeks out from a figure competition and more concerned with caloric intake than anyone I have ever met. I had never seen anyone use a calculator to decide if he could eat an almond or not, but he is 4% body fat so I will let it go. When we workout together I am the official Instagram photographer (you’re welcome ladies) but it is worth it because the high intensity is contagious. It was almost too good of a workout considering that it is 7pm and I can barely stay awake. As a bonus, seeing him practise his poses and giving himself seducing smiles in the mirror makes me laugh so hard that is the only ab workout I will ever need.

Depending on if I can walk tomorrow, I think this may have been leaps and bounds for my progress in the gym!

772548f141e73e5fa079be22ca4a586b

Tagged , , , , , ,

Gold and Goal

To celebrate my achievement of beating my goal time (by 28 seconds!) and my time from last weekend (by 51 seconds!) I decided to reward myself. So I tried.
Monday was supposed to be a day off from exercise and a guilt- free day to eat anything. One muffin later, my stomach told me to pick something else.
After I was done training for the day, D and K were starting their workouts. Like the good friends they are, they made sure to give me a really hard time about taking the day off. Other tips included “don’t eat cookies!” and “why are you going to bed so early!” which made it feel less like a day celebrating my victory. These guys come in handy when I feel lazy though, so I won’t complain.

So now I am looking ahead at what is next to come. It is too bad that I’m just getting started as racing season is wrapping up but I still have options. I can keep racing through the winter since apparently Mother Nature isn’t totally against me, or I can focus my efforts elsewhere. I have a lot of friends who train and compete in figure competitions so that has crossed my mind but my body is still working on basic level functioning. That would be like trying to take the whole flight of stairs at once.

The best part of making a comeback is passing the benchmark that you had set before.

I still remember my last workout before the car accident. It was the day before and I was feeling great. An easy run to the park, 100 lunges, 10 hill sprints, then I ran home at a 3:51/km pace. I will have to use that as a baseline to see just when I surpass my (old) self. But not yet. Anyways, I am thinking even further ahead than that.

Swimming in a race in a lake terrifies me; the thought of getting back on a bike makes me nervous; but I can absolutely run. So, next summer I will do my first triathlon.

With two attempts, I have achieved my first goal and now it is on to the next one! It is big, and it is challenging, and I am looking forward to every scary step of the way!

Cue the motivation saying!!!

tumblr_mcf9ayD0iY1qhp8jfo1_500_large

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Hitting My Stride

Eye of the Tiger playing on repeat didn’t work last time so I tried a new strategy today… which was just being normal.

I signed up for a race this weekend after my dreams were crushed in last weekend’s attempt. Well, that is an exaggeration but I had wanted a better result. I had my mind set on beating 25 minutes, but my body didn’t follow through. So I set up a plan to try again.

I came to my parents house this weekend for a visit and of course, for another race. Luckily for me, all conditions were in my favour, especially compared to my last race. The weather was as close to perfect as it ever gets for races, and it was the opposite of the hurricane- like scene of last weekend. I had a ride to the race which also meant I had a warm up buddy (thanks mom) and I could strip down my layers at the last minute. My dad made sure to weave through the women at the start line to give me a firm handshake and yell “Give ’em shit!” which did a great job of clearing me some space.

Due to lots of rain over the past week, the original course was flooded and the new route was much flatter. Like I said, things were turning up in my favour.  We were running an out and back course on a flat bike path, I had a great starting position, my laces were double knotted, and my cheering section was waiting for 25 minutes (as they specified).

The first kilometre was the hardest but at the 1k mark, I was running a 4:50 pace and that was a good feeling. As we ran through the park I saw some old co-workers and after yelling a friendly greeting, I almost forgot I was racing. The bonus to running in my hometown is that I know that park inside and out, and it is easy to get comfortable. As comfortable as racing can be.

Beyond the turnaround, I found I had a new cheering section in the runners behind me. Some friends from old soccer teams or people I knew from the running community hollered my name and yelled encouragement as I headed back to the finish. That felt great and I found more motivation to get myself across the finish line even faster.

Turning the last corner before the finish was when I really started gasping for air… but then I saw the clock. I could roll to the finish line and cross this goal off of my list. Not only did I beat my last time, but I beat my goal time. I really beat it. I happily crossed the finish line at 24:32, high fiving strangers and looking for my parents’ excited faces in the crowd.

As a kid, running races with my family was just an average weekend. It’s funny, though; 15 years later and there is still no feeling that matches seeing your proud parents cheering you on from the sidelines.

Another good feeling is having to set another goal.

training

Tagged , , , , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: