Sunday, August 26, 2012

Nageons, Nageons dans la Grande Piscine

Song Translation "Swimming, Swimming in the Swimming Pool"

Since scoring my free pass to the YMCA I have gone swimming a few times in the 25 meter pool.  The other day I swam in the lane next to a girl I know from Chris' karate classes.  She is known as "Mad Maddi" because she is highly dedicated to everything she does and she does it all to an extreme level of perfection.  

Chris had been talking to her about his swimming adventures (as he stated he "swims like a cat") and she told him she is 1 second off from Olympic qualifying times.  Well how could I pass up a challenge like that when I could compare my speed to an actual swimmer?  I timed myself consistently at 40 seconds per length of the pool.  She set off with two other swimmers in her lane and they each completed their warm-up lengths in 20 seconds.  That is 20 seconds regardless of the stroke they were using - even legs only using a flutter board.  Heck she could glide 1/3 of the pool underwater just from her push-off.

Needless-to-say I tried to keep up and failed miserably (unless I secretly celebrated a win if I beat them to one end of the pool before they could lap back to their starting point).  I did, however, get a really good workout trying to swim faster for a long period of time.  The hot tub after was heaven though for my aching muscles.  I still have a cramp in my buttocks though.  On the upside all this swimming and cycling has taken a half inch off my calf and a half inch off my hips.  Go me!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Well Wonders Never Cease

"Well wonders never cease" was an expression my grandmother often used and it seems fitting for my life this week.

  • I worked out almost every day this past week including several late night workouts in order to get them in (because I actually wanted to) and that has left me a little tired today.
  • I lost almost 5lbs this week alone.
  • I've eaten fairly healthy all week, with a Dairy Queen blizzard dinner exception, but I lost the weight by morning.
  • I researched active things for Chris and I to take up together.
  • I scored a free one week pass to the YMCA finally and swam laps in their pool.  I can do a 25 metre lap in 40 seconds currently.  I also increased my number of laps.
  • I applied for and was offered an interview for a full-time teaching job for...wait for it...phys. ed. teacher for kindergarten to grade 3!  I couldn't believe it either.  I almost did not apply as I lacked the confidence (not looking like a typical gym teacher), but I thought why not - it's my focus right now in my own life so I can be a role model.  I brought my enthusiasm and a few new ideas to the table today at my interview and will wait until Monday to hear back.  The thought of teaching 25 gym periods (250 minutes a day for 5 days a week) has me tired, but pumped at the same time.
So wonders never cease.  I may get that Biggest Loser fitness camp experience I've always wanted by partnering my career with my own needs.  Maybe I'll learn to love the school gym instead of the fitness gym I set out to at the start of my blogging journey and inspire a group of 300 students along the way.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

My New Mantra: Think Healthy

Today I woke up and did my usual Saturday morning routine of sleeping in, weighing in, lounging around, getting ready for work, and getting together 3 meals and snacks from home and the grocery store to take to work for my 12 hour shift. 

These 12 hour dispatch shifts in an office by myself are brutal for my calorie intake as I get bored and want to snack so I often bring a lot of junk food.  Today I am making a change (again) with my weekend diet so I repeated to myself while I searched through the fridge and cupboards my new mantra: "think healthy, think healthy, think healthy".  I grabbed a bottle of water, some bagels and cream cheese, and one can of Coke instead of two (my one must have that I'm not willing to give up).

I went to the grocery store and said to myself again "think healthy, think healthy..." as I passed the displays of school snacks and chocolate bars.  I grabbed a chicken garden vegetable salad and low calorie dressing, a yogurt and fruit and granola cup, and a package of watermelon.  I was doing great. I thought there was no way I was going to make it through my first work day without some sort of treat so I scanned the aisles for a treat from Weight Watchers.  I passed all the tarts, and pies, and donuts and thought "not healthy, not healthy, not healthy" and kept on going.  I bought some milk to make tea and some Smart Food white cheddar popcorn.  I then avoided the chocolate bars at the cash and dashed out with my purchases before I could be tempted anymore.

That's when I pulled onto the road and proceeded to follow this vehicle for the next 15 minutes to my work...

                          "Think healthy, think healthy, think healthy".

Friday, August 17, 2012

Back on Track = Back to Results and a New App

This week I recommitted to fitness with a lot of encouragement from Chris.  I have put fitness as a priority in my day by cycling or swimming for at least 20 minutes.  As a result I have lost 1.5 lbs already this week and am on track to lose 2 lbs a week through healthy diet and exercise.  It's no surprise that putting in the effort has given me results.

Other exciting news!  My brother introduced me to an app for my phone called My Fitness Pal.  I have never enjoyed tracking calories because it is too much of a pain to look everything up online only to find that what I ate is not there exactly or that I need to tally each ingredient separately.  Then this app was born.  I can scan the bar code of any packaged food I eat to get the exact calories and nutritional information per proper serving size.  The searchable database also is member generated and includes complete homemade meals tallied up, favourite dine-out meals/treats, and saves my common foods and common meals for easy access.  It is beyond easy to use.  It also tells you your recommended calorie intake per day based on your stats and goals and fluctuates that amount as you track your calories burned through fitness.  I can also view my friends food and exercise diaries.  It is available for phone or computer and did I mention it is FREE!

I have also made a decision about the gym and will be getting a membership for the YMCA.  It is a better fit for my fitness interests and goals as I can swim any time and like the equipment room.  They even offer adult swim classes to improve your stroke technique and a swim to fit class to learn how to burn the most calories in the pool.  I may even join the pick up underwater hockey team.  Yes, we Canadians play hockey on every playing surface possible (even if it includes mask, snorkel, flippers, a mini stick, and a weighted puck).

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Great Gym Membership Debate

I'm on a roll.  I did a workout for the second day in a row!  I went to the gym and swam 25 laps in 25 minutes and then tread water doing scissor kicks and jumping jacks in the deep-end for another 15 minutes.  Upon leaving I asked when my membership is due to expire.  Looks like Chris and I need new memberships starting Sept. 6th.

Now the debate...I don't know where I will be teaching yet this fall so I don't know where I should get my membership.  I was debating not getting one as I am mostly exercising from home, but come winter I will need an indoor location anyway.  There are three "good" gyms in our area.

The Wellness Centre where we currently attend is most likely going to be on my way home from work and is located in the city where I will often spend a few nights a week working, going to darts, or hanging with friends.  It will cost us over $924 for the year ($77 month) for a couple's membership or $531 for just Chris ($44 month) because he really likes it.  It has a great workout space, a swimming pool (limited swim times), therapy pool, waterslide, great classes free to members, and an awesome trainer named Jodi V.

The YMCA is in the city, but will be out of my way by a few minutes.  It also has a pool, but has lane swimming available at all times, a hot tub, squash courts if I become so inclined, and better workout machines (namely because they have individual tvs on them that you can plug headphones into directly.  It also offers classes, but I'm not familiar with them or the weight area.  Membership is more at $83 per couple or $48 single per month.

Goodlife Fitness is 7km from my house and I would have to pass it on my way home regardless of which school I teach at (with a few exceptions).  It does not have a pool and I still need to tour the workout space to see what is available.  It also offers classes, but I'm not sure if they are free.  I used to belong to the women's only gym downtown which I really liked, but it costs more per month to have the option to go to both gyms.   The gym is also open 24 hours a day during the week and open 7-6 on weekends.  It costs $30 per person per month for a membership.

Time for some decision making.  I wish gyms weren't so expensive.  What do memberships in your area cost?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

When Did I Forget How To Jump?

Yesterday I decided to whack some weeds in my new yard while Chris cut the grass.  I had to go onto the raised portion of our yard (a section behind a 2 foot retaining wall).  When I went to get back down it was too awkward and far to step down easily so I planned to jump down.  "Planned" being the key word because when I went to do it my mind and arms said jump and my feet and body said no.  Literally said no by weighting itself into the ground.  I thought that was weird so I went to jump again and ended up tripping closer to the edge but not jumping.  My body was telling me it wasn't meant for jumping.

I had to stop and have a little think to myself about when was the last time I jumped.  I thought back to my childhood days when I loved jumping double dutch and thought I must have jumped since then.  I thought to karate a few years ago when I met Chris and had to jump and kick and warm-up.  I thought to my Bachelor of Education when I had to do jumping jacks.  And, I thought about jumping over the half ball at the gym.  I told my body I was capable of jumping and this was ridiculous to be stopping me from doing so and I jumped down.  It was a little rough but I made it upright.  I had to do this two more times during my time outside working and each time I had to convince myself that I was going to jump because I could do it.  I realized this was an issue.

I've always thought my health was important, but I've never been really concerned about it because I always thought as long as I can do the things I want to do why worry about it or make a change.  Now I can't do things that I should be able to do without my body resisting it.  I have to make a change.

But herein lies the problem.  See Chris' blog post about knowing and doing because I know what I need to do, but I'm not doing it.  Chris had this massive realization that got him geared up to make a change.  I've had lots of little ones and my brain has said it is time to make the change on one level, but not in others.

This brought up an amazing conversation with Chris who has been beyond supportive and encouraging and enthusiastic and now has approached me with concern.  Through his comments I have discovered that there are two other barriers to my fitness health that I have not worked on.

Firstly, that it has not become enough of a routine for me to even register in my thoughts of what to do each day.  I told him that on my drive home from work I thought "yeah, I'm going to be home early so this would be the perfect time to go for a bike ride and get fitness in for the day".  By the time I got home I had completely forgotten about the bike ride and instead made myself some supper.  I had the intent, but not enough desire to actually remember to do it.  I need to make fitness more consistent in the day so I remember it because it is not something I look forward to so much that I will remember it among other distractions.

Secondly, I am not willing to put myself first even when others are willing to allow me to be first.  I have a hard time saying no to other commitments and figure I can fit my fitness in later, but the reality is that I don't fit it into my schedule.  I need to realize that my husband will be just as happy (if not happier) if I ask him to do the dishes so I can go ride my bike as if I had done the dishes myself.  I'm working on this.

That brings me to this morning when I recommitted to my fitness.  I still can't run with my injured foot so I rode my bike.  I planned to ride for 10 minutes out and however long back rather than aim for a distance.  It took me just under 11 minutes to reach a turning point I could recognize on a map to chart later and a total bike time of 23 minutes 45 seconds.  Chris has suggested I bike at a lower gear and peddle faster until my leg muscles develop that way I get my cardio going instead of tiring my muscles.  It seemed to work well, but it was painfully slow on some sections of my ride no matter how fast I turned the peddles.  It ended up being about 5.2km.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Running Injured

Last week I ran the miserable mile and as a result re-activated an old injury (plantar fasciitis - aka huge pain in the arch and heel of my foot causing me to limp for the past week).  I hated it because I felt like I could not workout after feeling so gung-ho.  With encouragement from my hubby I still got out there and went cycling as it was manageable with the foot pain.

Then came today.  I was super busy and did not get to the gym to swim as planned to avoid being off my feet.  I decided to try running as I was only limping slightly, but I went out thinking I wouldn't make it the full mile.

Surprise, surprise, my running form is poor and therefore running flat foot (or pounding hard into the pavement) did not hurt my foot.  I ran and walked.  I got embarrassed running in front of houses with people watching from their porches, especially if I was on a walking section gasping for air.  It was particularly motivating to run past their houses instead of walk or push that extra distance.

As a result I went from a one mile run of 14 minutes 14 seconds to a one mile run of 13 minutes 37 seconds (with an injury no less).  A whole 37 seconds faster!  It was awesome!  And, I only got a stitch in my side at the halfway mark instead of sooner than that.  Any suggestions for side stitches would be welcomed if you have prevention or alleviating tips.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Goal Update

I was right back in January suspecting that I would forget all about my fitness goals for the year.  Reading many new blogs today I have been reminded of them so I will review them and then revamp them to make them more manageable.

My list:
1) re-learn how to swim laps properly in the pool, swim laps for 30 continuous minutes 25 times.
2) lose 25+ lbs
3) lose 5%+ body fat
4) run the 5km Warrior Dash or Mudnewton (watched it and considered partaking)
5) learn a dance routine
6) go to the gym at least twice a week for one whole month
7) go to the gym at least three times a week for one whole month
8) do not allow more than one week to go by without a workout
9) lose 1+ dress size
10) blog weekly (close, but not quite)
11) weigh-in weekly
(close, but not quite)
12) meet with Jodi (my trainer) once a month
13) workout with Chris once a month
14) go for a walk once a week
15) cook 12 new recipes
(some, but not all)
16) drink 5 or less cans of pop a week
17) track my calorie intake for 3 consecutive days on 4 separate occasions
18) try something new and sporty
19) walk 10km with a friend
20) do 50 girl pushups without stopping
(tried, but not there yet)
21) post Yoga pictures
22) improve flexibility, definitely to be able to touch toes, but aim to do the splits
23) lose 5 inches off my waist
24) bike to Lakefield and back

25) wall sit for 2 minutes (tried, but not there yet)
26) hold a plank for 2 minutes (tried, but not there yet)
27) meet and make friends with one new person from the gym
28) go canoeing and don't fall out of the canoe

Revamped goals
1) Lose 25lbs
2) Exercise 3 times a week regularly
3) Reduce pop intake
4) Reduce calorie intake
5) post Yoga photos
6) run 1 mile without walking
7) bike to the end of the trail near my house and back without walking up hills

FMM: A Little More Personal

I haven't done one of these in awhile so I thought I would today with it being a holiday.  It's always interesting to read new blogs. Visit to see the links to everyone's posts.

 A Little More Personal

1. Are you a morning person?  I am a mid-morning and evening person.  I do not like waking up to an alarm clock, I will fall asleep on the couch in the afternoon if given the chance, and get tired after 10pm.  I can go with the flow though after years working shiftwork (imagine working 11pm-7am and then going to university for classes from 9am-2pm before going to bed).

2. Are you an introvert or an extrovert?  I’m an introvert, but I fake it until I make it as an extrovert when necessary (like when I’m teaching).

3. Are you addicted to anything? If so, what?  I wouldn’t say I’m addicted to anything, but I would miss chocolate and coca-cola if I couldn’t have it.

4. How many times have you been in love?  I fall in love with everybody – I just see the good in everyone.  Maybe it is the fact that I work with young children who are constantly telling me “I love you Mrs. Barnes” that has me telling others I love them too.  But for the sake of answering the question I will answer 2 times to cover the two people I loved so much I thought I would marry them (one of them being Mr. Barnes).

5. What is your position on politics?  They are boring.  I vote with my heart and my head – so far that has been NDP.

6. Are you religious?  I believe in God.  I went to church every week as a child and young teen so I have a strong Anglican background.  As I grew up I became more spiritual and less about following the full beliefs of any one church.  I guess now I pick and choose the parts I like and those parts always come back to accepting others, treating everyone kindly, and a belief that we have a purpose on earth and a place in a Heaven.  When I have children I will likely return to church though to provide my children with the same beliefs and background.

7. Would you prefer backpacking or a luxury hotel?  Hands down luxury hotel.  I like to go do stuff, but I like to be comfortable.  Sometimes I splurge on the luxury hotel, but usually I find something mid-range as I would rather spend my money on experiences than a place to sleep.

8. Do you have/want pets?  I have one cat and will likely get another.  We will never own a dog.

9. Are you a sports fan?  No.  I don’t like to watch them or play them, but I do partake in both on occasion.  I was so happy when my husband’s hockey team did poorly last year because it meant he was not in front of the tv three nights a week watching the game for hours.

10. How often do you brush your teeth?  Usually once.  Sometimes more, sometimes less (if I’m rushed and forget)

11. Do you have tattoos and/or piercings?  I have one hole in each earlobe that I occasionally wear dangly earrings in (I used to have a collection of hundreds).  I used to have two holes in each earlobe, but I let them close.  I have one tattoo above my right ankle of a unicorn in black ink.  I would get another tattoo, but I haven’t found anything I can live with the rest of my life or a spot I would like it on.  I may eventually get something on my wrist.  

12. What’s your favorite clothing brand?  I don’t have one.  I usually wear stuff from the MXM collection, but I have a policy that every time I buy clothes I try on at least one thing that is out of character for me to wear.  Sometimes I end up buying it because it surprises me how good it looks.

13. Should a man open doors for a woman? I don’t think a man SHOULD open doors for a woman the way I think that a man SHOULD put the toilet seat down (speaking to you Chris).  But it makes me happy when a man does open a door for me.  Ie. this morning I was leaving a store and a man held the door open to let me out before he came in – instant smile on my face and a “thank you” for him.  It makes me feel girly and it makes me think that you are a kind gentleman – why wouldn’t you want to open a door for a lady if you can when you get that kind of response?

14. Which season is your favorite?  Fall is my favourite because I love the warm breezes and colourful leaves.  Spring is second only because it rains more.  I hate the heat and the cold and the temperature I hate the most depends on which season we are currently in.

15. Would you rather eat less or workout more?  Why do I have to pick one?  I really don’t like either.

16. What’s your idea of romance?  Apparently I need to express this out loud more because my husband’s response was “whatever my wife thinks it is” which would explain why I don’t think he is romantic very often.  Romance is showing me that you love me and why.  Romance is opening doors, surprising me with flowers/love notes/gifts just because, telling me you love me, giving me hugs and kisses, planning a date where I don’t have to make any decisions, cuddling with me, giving me a massage, or doing anything that would make you feel good and loved if I were to do it to/for you.

17. How often do you do things that are outside of your comfort zone?  All the time.  I am a teacher.  Doing things outside of my comfort zone is a part of my daily job – singing songs in front of people, dressing up, playing pretend, speaking to large groups of people, holding creepy crawly things and acting excited about it, and more.

18. Christmas or Halloween?  Christmas all the way.  I have boxes and boxes of decorations.  I love the music.  I love visiting family.  I love buying, wrapping, and opening presents.  I love baking.  I love turkey dinners.  I do not like having a birthday so close to Christmas though and I do not like that I have worked Christmas and its surrounding holiday days for the last seven years.

19. Would you rather live in the country or the city?  Country all the way.  I like the small town feel of knowing your neighbours, playing safely on the street, running through each other’s yards because there are no fences, the trees, the stars, the smell of fields, the sight and sound of animals, the bodies of water, and the short walk into a small downtown of unique shops.

20. Share your life philosophy.  With effort on my part if it is meant to be it will happen and if it is not meant to be it won’t, but that’s because something better will replace it.