Saturday, December 31, 2011

the year in review

I would vote this year an overall success from the hippo fitness point of view.  We started this show in March, made regular trips to the gym and lost 35lbs by September, and even now, maintained through gym-free but outdoor active September and October, still maintained through kicked by life to the curb November, and only gained 3lbs back in Holiday Blitz December.
We got a Wii for Christmas, and I got a Latin dance fitness game with bull dodging I really enjoy.  I forsee a balance board and some additional fitness games coming in January, along with hopefully getting the hippo back in the water by February.  Cheers to 2011 and hoping for similar results in 2012!

Monday, December 12, 2011

The hippo mom has been a bit out of it lately.

      Somehow, November kicked my fitness oriented self to the curb.  Maybe it was having a kid in the hospital.  Maybe it was hosting national overeating day.  Maybe it was just the weather changing.
     My November fitness plan involved raking two houses yards twice each.  I guess if we count each day raking a yard as a weeks worth of exercise, I still made goal.  I definitely made it if you count the hours upon hours of shopping I put in at the end of November too.  I park in the back of lots, and carry bags instead of pushing carts out the store.  Surely that's something.
    December, with all it's candy, cookies, and another holiday food fest, or two, or three....isn't looking a lot better on the diet front.  On the up side, of the thirty five pounds I've lost, only three have come back to visit.
     On the exercise front, I'm toying with options. 
    I enjoy walking, especially if it's "crisp", not "Freezing."   The trick is to walk farther than Wal-Mart or Quick Trip.  Walking is free...except for what I spend at Wal-Mart or QT.   Si Guy and I get some playground time in to when the weather is okay.
    I do miss the community center, but money, gas, and kid schedules really mucked things up once we got back into school and sports.  I think this is the direction I may head back in, now that we're down to just basketball.
   Mr. Man's work offers a discounted membership at several places.  Only one is a couples deal though, and I just don't see too many hippos hanging out at Gold's Gym.  24 hour fitness looks fun, and has childcare, and doesn't have a monthly payment plan.   The other two, Jazzercise & Curves, are the closest to our home.  The thing with those is I'm not sure there's enough variety available in what they offer to keep this hippo happy.
   That's what brings me back to the community center.  I can do tai chi on Monday, and aqua aerobics on Tuesday, and try spin again if I ever feel masochistic.  So it really is coming down to convenience, or variety?  Which one is more important to keep me keeping at it?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Tiny Tot fitness

Today I didn't do any structured fitness activities, but Si Guy took me walking for about 2 miles.  One mile before lunch in the form of a "squirrel hunt", and another one after lunch in mall laps.  I checked on Google maps to be sure.  I did some using my weight as resistance climbing playground structures and lifted an approximately forty pound child several times during these outings as well.  While he was playing independently I snuck in some Tai Chi warm one doesn't have to be a gym rat to be active.  It was definitely fun this way!

Thursday, September 29, 2011


You Yoga.  Me.  owcha.  That sums out class today pretty well.  It serves me right.  My attendance of late has been well, sporadic.  Almost nonexistent.  I wasn't even really planning on going today.  I just had a moment of guilt.
"Hey, Si, wanna go to child watch today?"  (expecting his usual scream of NO!)
"Sure!  Chil-watch!  Yeah!"  (damn.)
So to yoga we went.  Today was a dog day. (oof.  I mean woof.)  More up and down dogs than I could count.  Thus I spent a lot of time in child and table...because this dog only goes down so many times.  On the plus side I did get to be a warrior princess.  I LOVE the warrior poses.

Si guy was ready by the time I got back.  We rewarded ourselves with an hour at the park.  Outside beats a sweaty studio anytime.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Judgement day is coming

To keep from an automatic 10% rate hike next year, Mr. M's insurance company is requiring a biometric they can legitimately raise our rates by classes instead.  In a way, that's what got this ball rolling...but I'm glad it did.
Even though there's no way I'll have a "passing" BMI or waist circumference, I'm going in the right direction and motivation is good.
My other numbers will probably all be okay.  They were last year, and I'm eating better and more active now than I was then.  How's the workout schedule going?
Fall has blown it to bits.  I still get to tai chi, most of the time.  I would like to get to aqua more, but at the moment am being thwarted by kid football, soccer, and before school activities.  Si Guy is willing to go to child watch occassionally, so yoga is kind of back in the picture. On the "unofficial" front though, I walk regularly to local stores, walk and play on the playground with my other kids during practices, and walk laps w/ Si at the football I'm still doing something.  It's just a lot more outdoor something and less at the community center.  Come November, I'm sure that'll change.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The pool is open! The pool is open!

Finally.  Hyper-chlorination "just in case"  "even though we never had a problem" at my favorite community center is done.  So tomorrow, the hippo is hauling herself out of bed at 4:30am for a 5:45 aqua class.  Really.
I thought this on Monday afternoon about Tuesday morning too....but then there was the skating party.   Yes, the hippo mom skated, for about an hour.  So come Tuesday morning her body was saying, "I don't think so.  You exceeded your 500 calorie per workout limit.  Today is rebound day."  But tomorrow will be different.  Really.   I believe it so, so so it will be.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

back to yoga

I took the summer "off" yoga.  My lower back did not thank me, so I went today...and then remembered why I took my "break."
Yoga is hard.  Yoga is hot.  Yoga is my muscles being to the point of quivering, threatening to collapse.  Yoga is pain.
After I left class though, I felt better because of the other side of yoga.
Yoga is being in the now.  Yoga is clearing your mind.  Yoga is remembering to breathe deeply.  Yoga is about embracing your limits and then expanding them.  Yoga is being centered.  Yoga is there for the challenge, and as long as you take the challenge you are successful.  There is no try in yoga.  You just do.  Maybe that's why it rhymes with Yoda.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Launch Day!

Today is the first day of school for my four oldest kids.  Three of them woke up on their own before 6:30 am.  Amazing.   New outfits, new backpacks, new shoes, new lunch boxes.  Each and every kid was excited to pack their lunch.  Also amazing.  All the kids enjoyed a hot breakfast.  All were ready to go.  Dad dropped off the three elementary kids, and the brand new 7th grader headed to the bus stop.
I turned on PBS for the youngest two, and sat down with a sigh a relief.
8:26am, the 7th grader returns.
"Mom, the bus didn't show up."
"Okay guys, shoes on and in the car NOW!"
We made it, at 8:42.  Horribly close to the official 8:45 start time.  This would never do.
The bus company had warned me that if they didn't anticipate any students at a stop, they might skip it.  I had changed our address with them(twice.)  Did it not take?
So I came home and called the bus company.
"The bus driver was late.  Arrived at the stop at 8:22."
One minute after my almost tearful 7th grader gave up.  Argh.
A friend reminded us that "bus riders don't count as late if the bus is late."
BUT it's the first day!  At a new school!  I wanted this to be perfect for him!  Standing in the rain for 20 minutes just to have mom drive you isn't perfect.
But  your 4 &5 year old instantly obeying, stop watching tv, and get in the car in less than 3 minutes is.
The seventh grader trying to launch at drop off with a smile is.
The seventh grader saying "thanks mom." is.
The no fighting between the 4 &5 year old in the car is.
The 4 year old, buckling his own seat belt for the first time is.
And maybe, for the twelve year old, knowing mom will have your back in the face of uncertainty is too.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

nonscale victories

In the group I'm in on FB, we have a type of post we call non-scale victories.  I think it's one of the best ideas ever.  It helps us all through those times when we're not "perfect" (like say, every day.)  It keeps us from getting discouraged.  It keeps us from getting too hung up on weight and numbers.  It says, "SEE, this is making a difference!  What you do DOES matter!"  So today, since I'm on another gym lapse until school starts, I thought I'd dedicate this post to nonscale victories, some of which I've already posted on the board.

1) Stairs.  They don't hurt anymore, even going up.  I can walk them one foot each. I don't even think about them, except to marvel at how easy they are when I get to the top.
2) Public restrooms:  I'm not limited to handicapped stalls anymore.  Yep, I was so wide I couldn't "reach" in the regular ones, or my knees would hit the sides.  Not true anymore.
3) Clothes:  They're smaller, and fit better.  I've always been that dreaded "apple" shape.  Now there are more inward curves, so I don't have to buy sizes that are too big in the shoulders and hips to fit across my bust/abs.  I thank aqua aerobics for this.
4) Food.  I'm not feeling too rushed to eat breakfast anymore, because the payoff later in the day is HUGE.  Piece of cheese and fruit takes no time.  Or peanut butter and fruit.  Yeah, my kids became fruitetarians honestly.  Also, cutting down/out junk food is a great way to make room in your grocery budget for better quality proteins.    The kids will adapt.  Really.  Mine did.
5) Self perception:  It's good to feel like I can accomplish something.  It's nice to look in a mirror without squirming.  There is so much more to my mental game and how it's changed and is changing than I can fit in a single blog.

Remember, just keep dancing!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

It is August,

at the moment, my gym time has screeched to a halt.  The pool is closed I take aqua at for the next two weeks, and my motivation go to bed early/get up early has been sorely lacking.  Evening is my best window in this heat for cooking and cleaning.   We've been pretty busy with all the back to school and sports starting stuff too.  That does not mean I've given up on my 'be healthier' journey though.

What I've noticed lately is, the change in my perception of food.  I really am starting to not even want food that makes me feel like garbage.  I may think I want it sometimes, but I'm catching myself avoiding it more and more.
There's chocolate syrup available, but I put fresh blueberries on my ice cream instead, because I want to.
The kids make a frozen pizza, but I eat a salad, because I want to.
We ate dinner at BK.  I ordered onion rings, then gave most of them to my kids because I didn't want them.
Obviously, our eating habits are still far from perfect, but my preferences are shifting...and I'm not the only one.  Si Guy always prefers milk to soda.  Princess D eats fruit instead of fries.  My husband has given up soda altogether.  It's a ripple effect, one that will give our family better health and better futures.

Friday, July 22, 2011

tai chi....

I am still really enjoying Gary's class.  He's an excellent teacher.  He knows how to leave a good bread crumb trail leading you at your own pace down the path.    If you want to push yourself more physically, he has multiple levels of classes.  If you're a word nerd, he'll sell you books.   If you're into weapons, he has a weapons class and makes really pretty broadswords.  Tomorrow, he's doing a workshop.  I'm thinking about going.    Push Hands.  Tai Chi w/ partners, broken down for beginners.  This is something I'd like to see.  Anyone else in kc curious about tai chi, here's the link to Gary's site

Further on and Further in y'all.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

getting my *spark* back

The last couple of days, I've restarted tracking what I eat on .  Like many things it's a tool.  I like the daily water tracker.  They have greatly improved their food tracker.  It's much easier to use than my last go round.
The only thing that bums me out on this site, is it's "exercise tracker."  Sometimes I don't know what "category" my exercise should go in.  I'd rather have a tool where I enter what I do for how long, and the program tells me if it's "cardio" or "strength training" or whatever other categories are in at the moment.
I understand the point of having variety in our exercise.  Different types of exercise have different benefits. Yet a lot of what I use the site for is "getting a pulse" on what I'm doing, if it's enough, and is it balanced.  The idea of these trackers is to have something quick and convenient.  Spending twenty minutes figuring out which box is the right one to enter tai chi in is neither.
Overall it's a great site, with a wealth of information and articles, support boards, and more.  It sends out weekly e-mails based on my interests, since I want them.  It's a way of keeping "self" accountable and that's a good thing.   It allows you to have "friends" and form your own groups and that's a good thing too.  It's got a lot going for it.  I suspect I'll be more consistent with it once we have a data plan for our phone.  So thank you Spark, for being one of the resources that keeps me trying, whether I feel like it or not.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Something that's been gnawing on me

 I'm a member of a facebook group to help keep my motivation for exercise.  A lot of this groups members are doing the high protein/low carb thing.  Some of them have decided all grains are evil, and try to get all those carbs from fruit veggie sources.  So to be fair, and make sure I haven't missed the boat,  I've been doing a lot of reading, (and rereading) about nutrition lately.

In my opinion the truth is, they're partially right.   BUT, so are my already thin and extremely healthy friends who avoid animal products like the devil.
Through the pages, and pages, of contradictory slanted, "research" I've been reading there is one truth.

Overly processed food is crap.

This means avoiding white flour and processed sugars like the plague, something both extreme camps agree on.
It means eating more dark green leafy stuff, again something both camps agree on.
It means avoid eating "fake" food, like artificial sweeteners and trans-fats...Both camps agree again.

I'm not ready to jump in the low/carb high protein boat.  I know what ketosis is, and have already had a broken bone.  I remember my dad's kidney stones courtesy of Atkins.   I have enough memory issues...mostly from having too much to keep track of already. 

I'm not ready to ditch animal products either.  Meat tastes good.  It has *ready to absorb * iron, B vitamins,etc.  Look at our teeth.  We're meant to be omnivores.

So what do I do?  Well, *when I'm paying attention,* this is what has always worked for me. (Insert I'm not a nutritionist, doctor,etc. disclaimer here.)

1) Drinking more water.  I have a diet soda habit, a fierce one.  Every time I cut back on soda, I lose weight.  I've never had any success quitting cold turkey, but I have had a lot of success alternating water with my flavored beverage of choice, preferably with a lot of ice in it so I get even more water.  Interesting side note, the more I exercise, the less I want to drink soda too.

2) I aim for the 25g of fiber thing, through FOOD.  One way I do this is if/when I eat grains, they should follow the 4g fiber per serving rule.  That pretty effectively douses the enriched food thing.  I also look at the sugars.  The lower the better.   

3)  Making sure I eat some decent protein from an animal source.  The vegetable sourced stuff has been associated w/ longer life spans & all that, but I am sluggish and cranky without meat.  Not just any meat will do.  Bacon, sausage, and really high fat beef will still leave me sluggish and cranky, so it has to be protein w/ some fat, not fat with some protein.  Research has backed me on this one too.  A moderate protein diet has been declared the winner on sustained weight loss.
4)Eat a green veggie every day.  Other veggies can be whatever color I want, but dark green leafy (or cruciferous) kinds are something special. 

5) Exercise.  Do it.  Preferably daily. 

I'm not saying I'm great about all these things.  I'm just saying they have worked for me in the past, and in the present are working me back down to where I should be.  

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The week in review.

This week my class schedule looked like this.
Monday-Tai Chi
Tuesday-Aqua Aerobics
Wednesday-Zumba Lite
Thursday-Aqua Aerobics
Friday-cardio dance lite + Tai Chi + shopping

Sure, why not.  We park in the back of the lots because of my van.  After tai chi I went to Penzeys and Whole Foods.  That afternoon we went to ALDI,  Sam's Club & Trader Joes.  I probably got close to a mile of extra walking in, (especially if you include Trader Joes.  Not so smart move going there on opening day.)
Want weights?  A case of 32 24 oz bottles of water comes in at around 50lbs.  Now throw a whole brisket, a pork loin, about 5lbs of cheese, + the bonus sized cleaning supplies in the cart.  My cart at Sams can push 200lbs, especially in sports season w/ the bottled water & gatorade & drinks for kids lunches in there. Juice/milk boxes alone can weigh over 20lbs!
If you want lifting instead of pushing, just forget to have a quarter for ALDI.

The difference is now, I'm not totaled for the entire weekend because of gauntlet.  I made the lighter runs to Kohls, Hy-vee and Price Chopper today, and my first thought is not Ow!  That alone has made gymfest worth it.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Zumba!! (Lite)

Dance classes used to be my favorite.  This go round I felt like the hippo amongst the alligators, very old alligators at that.   But the hippo is still part of the dance, so I fit in okay.  Some things I learned today.
All those lunges from Tai Chi are handy for Zumba.
There are just some things my hips won't do.
Fast music makes the class go faster.
Given time, I can learn new dance routines.

I still am on opposite time.  1-2, 123, is more like 1-2-3,12, oh crud.  Using hand motions too makes it worse.  Still, no one made me feel stupid.  And I was even invited back for "next time."  I need a Wed aerobic thing.  This was way more my speed than cycling, so come next Wednesday I'll try again.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

back on track

I've been to Tai Chi Friday & Monday.    The class sizes have shifted.   Friday morning Tai Chi has shrunk down to the core group, and even lost a couple of those to Wednesday afternoon.   I've mentioned before how tai chi is my physical "center" the rest of my exercise ripples out from.  It's also my support group.  One lady in my class mentioned she might start on long form in January. 
"What?  You won't be leaving us, will you?"
"Oh no dear.  This group has become a family."
That describes how I feel too.

 This morning I went to aqua, and it's  gotten big!  (Especially given it's at oh-heck-thirty a.m.)    Today, I'm a bit sore, but I was able to keep up for the most part.  Noodle balancing in deep water is not my strength.  I'm still fat enough my midsection wants to float anyway, so holding it down and a noodle under each foot, walking?  Um...maybe in another twenty five pounds or three months, whichever comes later.  Other than that, the other big shocker wasn't I wasn't the youngest person in the class.  We have added a beautiful, bikini wearing and worthy, member of the under twenty set.     She was sweet, graceful, and someone new to talk to.  It made the class fly by.  Now, my quads and shoulders are informing me the rest of the day will be at a little slower pace, but that's okay.  It's good to be back.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

still not at the gym

but had another successful month.  I've been clocking a fairly consistent 8lbs a month down since I started my "serious efforts".  I suspect July may plateau if I don't get back into a formal setting soon. 
Right now it's still waiting for the washer to fill?  Do some tai-chi warm ups.
Waiting in line at the grocery store?  Tree pose, or pick a warrior.
Wanting to lay in bed a few more minutes in the morning?  Do a couple spinal twists.
Don't sit on the floor to pick up.  Do lunges. 
Take that basket of clean laundry up to the boys room myself.
Never sit when I can do a job standing.
The little things count, even it's not walking miles a day at camp.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Temporary delay in the journey

Between VBS and the upcoming day camp for Girl Scouts, the amount of gym hours I've put in this last couple of weeks resembles my shape. 0.
That said, I've been sneaking stuff in.  Tai Chi and yoga poses both lend themselves to the "something to do while waiting for water to boil" catergory.
Even if my "official" activity hasn't been great, I wish I had a pedometer.  It feels like I've walked miles gathering supplies, making copies, and chasing kids at the pool and park.  Next week I will walk miles as the TAGS Unit Leader at day camp.
After that, back to class I go!  (I hope.)

Monday, May 23, 2011


Those of you who read this, or heck, just skim the titles, know that Tai Chi is the motivating force that the rest of my exercise success ripples from.
Sometimes I feel the dark forces must know that too, and that's why every childcare issue I ever have is on a Tai Chi day.  (I already expanded on today's adventure in my other blog, so I'll skip it here.)
So now I have  a dilemna, do I ditch Monday Tai Chi and try to motivate myself to get up for masochism, I mean cycling,  class at 5:45?
Do I pay a ridiculous sum of money on Monday to stay happy?
Do I just suck it up and be stressed about my kids during my "stress relieving" class?
I forgot to renew for another 30 days today, so I could switch centers too...but that also would be a lot more expensive, and while in the financial battles of financing the kids fall sports, moving, and more I'm pretty sure a cost increase isn't a good idea right now....but neither is quitting.  There would costs for that too down the road that are more than just money.  So what to do, what to do?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Due to unforseen events

I am not in Tai Chi this morning.  Exercise is all about planning.  Somehow I forgot to plan to have the stuff in the house to make E2's lunch this instead of Tai Chi I had to go to Hy-vee.
I still made it back to aqua aerobics yesterday morning, and it felt great!  I'm still no noodle master though.
"Put one noodle under each foot and walk to the shallow end."  (I have to be in the shallow end, near a wall, to even get a noodle under each foot, much less move that way.)
"Sit on two noodles like a swing, and kick back to the deep end."  (I can sit.  I can kick.  I ain't goin nowhere.)
"Hold your noodles out at 45 degree angle from your body, and be deep enough your feet don't touch the floor."  (Yes, I can do this!)
"Keep your shoulders down."  (Okay, I can almost do this.)
"Using your noodle like parallel bars, keeping your legs straight, use your abs to swing your legs up out out the water, and then back behind you."  (This one I could not even attempt 7 weeks ago.  I now can do it, even multiple reps!)
So I am getting oodles better with the noodles.  Like everything else, it just will take time.

Monday, May 16, 2011

I sound like a Tai Chi commercial.

This morning the childcare was NOT full.  2 points for that.   I moseyed down to class, and there was a confused lady in the doorway looking at the schedule.
"Is this chair yoga?"
"No.  Chair yoga is in this room at 11.  Then 10am class is Tai Chi.  You should stay.  It's still an easy class."
"I don't know anything about Tai Chi."
"That's okay.  G will teach ya.  It's what he's here for!"
G "I'm here for what?"
"To teach new people Tai Chi!"
"Yeah, come on in!"
So another newbie has joined our ranks.  Both Tai Chi classes have grown since I've been there.  I think it's because G keeps it fun.  He advocates movie reviews, jokes, and weather reports during warm ups, so there's a camaraderie among the regulars and it puts the newbies at ease.   
Tai Chi is especially fun if you have an active imagination.  Some of the moves remind me of various chicken actions.  Chicken breast stroke, chicken trying to fly,etc.  There's also the famous "wax on.  wax off."  from the original Karate Kid .
There's never a dull moment.  I think that's part of why I keep going back.  

Friday, May 13, 2011

Friday, it must be Tai Chi

but not yoga today.  I just was too scattered to handle back to back classes mentally.   Still, it felt great to be there, even for just one class.  Tai Chi focuses on rotating from your "center."  It's kind of your body is the pond that the the rock got thrown into, and the motions are the ripples.  Today it felt like my rocks were off center.  Still made it through.  Mr G still thinks an intermediate class would be a good thing...I don't know.  I've only been doing this 7 weeks now.  I'm still a beginner. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


As in on  a bicycle at 5:45am.  I was there.   I went to the "training" last Saturday.  I thought I was ready.  How long could 45 minutes be?
Surprise #1
"These early morning rides are an hour."
O.k.  What's 15 more minutes right?  Right.
Surprise #2
I really, really liked most of the music.  Queen, Bryan Adams, a little metal, lots of fun.  That will probably vary by instructor though.
Surprise #3
I made it through the entire hour, not that I didn't think about quitting about 20 minutes in.  I did.  Then I remembered what I learned from yoga. Breathe.  When it's hard, just focus on your breath and be present.  That got me through the next 20 minutes.  The encouragement of the instructor, a fuzzy mind, and some adrenaline pushed me through the rest.
Right now, my first thought is ow.
My second thought is two times a week is enough for this, for now, but it's definitely time. 
I could not have made it through this class when I started about 6.5 weeks ago.  So I am moving forward.  Now the goal is to keep moving forward.

Monday, May 9, 2011

a new kind of setback

Today I was psyched.  I love Tai Chi.  Then I got to the community center and there was a half hour wait for childcare.  No point in that when on a class schedule~
I was so mad, I called my husband and cried. 
So Matt Ross.  Here's the deal.  My child care was prepaid for so many uses.  The classes are VERY limited in when they are offered.  So how about giving us class members a break, like a link on the schedule for "reserving" child care?
I paid for 30 uses.  It would be nice to use them.  Since this feature could be  prepaid only, you could still "sell" my spot if I'm x minutes late, & charge me.   More money for you, less hassle for me.  We both win. 
If you feel that would be "unfair" to your fitness users, then just put a link on the childcare segment w/ a calendar/ clock in 15 minute increments.   Then at least, when it's "full" I would know it, and not have to waste my time & gas.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Getting back on track.

This week I did get back on track.    I went to Tai Chi on Monday and Friday w/ the ever entertaining G.  It's like living out an exercise class w/ the stars of Grumpy Old Men twice a week, thanks to R, J, and M.
I made it aqua aerobics on Tuesday, Thursday and today w/ the fabulous Ms. V.  That's a real victory given how I still would rather stay up until 4am than get up at 4 am.  My reward:  I get to shower alone, uninterrupted with HOT water.
Those are my base classes.  The ones I feel I "should" do every week.
For bonus points(because everyone knows there's always more points for a dog to give, in this case a downward dog...)
...this week I also went to yoga on Thursday, with a "spicy salsa" theme for cinco de mayo.  It felt more like fire sauce, but that's okay.  E says she'll only up the pace like this once a month.  Note to self.  Skip yoga first Thursdays. check.
*and*  I went to the cycle 101 to learn how to be fit to a bike and go on a "short" ride.  20 minutes did not feel short to me.  Maybe because I'd already done an hour of aqua aerobics before the intro class.  I hope so.  The cycle class is "supposed" to be my other 5:45 alternate, because I'm masochistic like that.
So that's the week in fast track review.  May your journey in hippo land continue.  Just keep dancing!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

What's goin down dog?

Yesterday I got back into it!  I showed up for 9:15 tai chi and it felt great.  My favorite yoga teacher was subbing for the 10:30 yoga class, so I stayed.  Oy!
One would think I would have learned last time I did this, that these two classes back to back tend to kick my big white...yeah.
The difference is this time, I didn't collapse.  This time I could make it through.  Yes I was stiff, sore, and generally useless the rest of the day, but still.  I made it through, after taking 6 days off.
Maybe the real lesson there is don't take more than one or two days off.  The sock line in my legs certainly thinks so.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

part of learning to dance is falling.

And this weekend I was spectacularly good at falling.  Falling into sweet potato fries and a pork sandwich from Rosedale.  Falling into some fried chicken from Popeyes...Falling into my glorious Easter dinner.  The trouble with all that falling is each time, getting up again comes a little slower.  And I'm wondering if my sluggish semi-migraine today is due to all the excesses over the weekend.  So no, I haven't been to any classes since last Saturday.  Maybe I'll go to bodyshaper tomorrow as penance.  Or beg my husband to let me go to 4:30 yoga today, since dinner is pretty much a no brainer.
Odds are though, that in reality, Thursday will be the day I get up early again.  This is still better than in the past, when I've had a spectacular fall and gone "oh well.  I'm okay the way I am."  because I know I'm not.  Repentance means turning about.  Backsliding is just that, sliding back into our old ways because well, they're comfortable.  It doesn't mean they were right.  So we repent, and get on our feet, and start again.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Saturday morning.

There are a couple of things I like about Saturday morning aqua aerobics.  One is, I'm not the only one under 40 in the class.  The other is, after class the OP farmers market is open.
Early Spring is a refreshing time at the market.  Just looking at all the plants is uplifting.  Then I get to come home with asparagus, fresh greens, and sweet taters this week.  It won't be too long until berries will join in.
Not that the farmers market only has produce.  One of the most enticing scents there is the "Farm to Market" bread.  Mr. M's favorite thing for me to bring home is dark amber honey.  I just wish someone would sell coffee out there.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Today was a double class day.

I DID make it to aqua aerobics at 5:45 this morning...but I wasn't quite awake.  Something just didn't feel "right" in the water.  Then I realized I'd forgotten to take my short off. 
So off they came and I threw them out of the pool, but they still didn't dry before the end of class.  At least I remembered my water shoes today.  They make a HUGE difference in the stability of my footing, and the impact on the balls of my feet.  All in all, a great hour in the water. 
So good, that I came back at 9:30 for yoga.  I still think downward dog is an ancient torture method, but I am able to do it now!  I could hardly believe it.  I even was able to do some of the leg extensions with it.  If you look back, this was the position on day one that I called "the total muscle failure position."  I am truly amazed at how much my abilities have improved in just four weeks.  Yet my yoga abilities are definitely still best described by the "child" position.  I have a long way to go.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Climb back up on that horse again.

Okay, so last week kind of crashed and burned around Wednesday.  I went to "body shaper" at noon, and was easily the most unshaped person there.   I was also the youngest person there by at least a decade.  Somehow, that always gets my determination not to be decrepit to the next level.  Unfortunately, sometimes pushing myself to the next level takes me out completely.  About midway through the class, my body had a "you've got to be kidding me" moment. 
In body shaper, they use free weights and the latest in torture toys, the "bosu."  A bosu is kind like the top third or so of a balance ball attached to a board w/ handles.   I had survived doing squats standing on the bosu,  doing arm exercises on the bosu, and attempting to do ab exercise on the bosu.  The next exercise was to flip the bosu over, so the flat part was up, and do push ups while balancing the bosu.  Just trying to comprehend that exercise had my head spinning, and my arms tingling, literally.  So I had to take a time out.
I did recover and get to do the rest of the class.  I even kind of enjoyed the tug of war around a ring using a giant elastic strap type exercises.  The last one was running across the bosu's lined up, round side up.  Part of the point was moving fast.  I don't move fast on flat ground.  Some finale.  My hips felt like jello. 
I went home and slept the whole afternoon.  I so LOVE my husband.  He even started dinner not to wake me.
On Thursday, I vowed to myself to do better.  Unfortunately no one sent Si Guy that memo.  We were already running late for yoga, and he had a "why should I have to pee in a strange toilet" moment?  Or rather, hour.   I was in yoga for about 30 minutes before the child care people retrieved me.  It took another 30 minutes to convince him he'd feel a lot better if he'd just "get it done."  By then it was too late to rejoin the class, so I hastily retrieved my belongings and took the screamer home.  Once home and in dry clothes he was much better.  Unfortunately I wasn't.  It seems my crash-fest Wednesday wasn't from working out too hard.  It was from being on the verge of getting sick.  So Thursday & Friday were shot...and Saturday I was utterly unmotivated to get out of bed.
So that brought us to Sunday insanity and getting back out there today.
I'm so glad Monday is Tai Chi day.  It's by far my favorite class, and it's at a decent hour.  Yes some of the moves are open targets for humor.  We can-can, chicken dance, and do ballet-like poses.  It's full of spicy, smart mouthed elderly people.  Never a dull moment.  So today was a good day.
Tomorrow at 4:45am, I hope I remember.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Today I didn't get up at 4:30

Therefore I had to pick a different class to attend.  So I chose dancing sneakers.
What I learned.
1) Dance aerobics is much harder at 250+ than 180.  Or maybe it's just harder at 36 than 25....
2) I need an industrial strength bra for this class, unless I want my boobs knocking my glasses off.
3)  I also need newer shoes, with better shock impact.
4) That I can grapevine, rock, and slide.
5) Grapevine diamonds are another story.
6) I'm going to work much harder at getting up early for aqua aerobics...or it's counterpart on my "off" week.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

altering the plan for this week.

I can't believe I already feel like I have a routine.  It's only been two weeks.   Yet my body sent me a reminder today that I haven't been at this very long yet...yeah dear ole Auntie has dropped in for her monthlyish visit. 
Part of me says how do I do this?  I can't just take the week off!  Part of me says, be a big girl.  Go look at the schedule.  No aqua aerobics for you this week. period.
I'm so thankful Monday is a planned light day.  Tai Chi is fun, easy, and needs no rescheduling.
Tuesday, it's a 5:45am day.  I check the schedule.  My alternative is body shaper.  Perfect!  I want to try that class anyway.
Wednesday is an off day.  After last week I realize have a second day off midweek is probably a good idea for now.  If the weather allows, I'll walk with the tweedles down to the park.
Thursday, the other 5:45am class is Pilates.  As much as I'd prefer yoga at 9:30, this will depend on Mr. M's work from home plans.
Friday is ballet day!  I get to be a dancing hippo again!
Hopefully by Saturday I'll be able to do the pool thing again.  I hope so. 

Saturday, April 9, 2011

I made it!

A lot of things were "special" about going to class today.
1) I was wearing my new, one size smaller, swimsuit.  I can't believe I went down 1 whole size in just 2 weeks.  Woot! 
2) The OP farmer's market launched today, so I really had something fun to do after class.
3) I woke up fifteen minutes before my alarm, ready to go, with no child assistance.
4) I used my favorite shower stall after class.  (and I've been to enough classes to feel like I have a favorite!)
5) After class, I had to stop at QT to feed dh's car, and craved a cheese stick instead of a muffin.  (I don't eat breakfast until after class, something I may want to change on Saturday.)
6) I went.  I didn't let missing Thursday throw me off my groove.  I'm learning to be flexible.
7) I wasn't wiped out after class.  I came home to a fun filled day of yard work.  It was a perfect day outside.
It was a pretty perfect day overall.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Dance, hippo, dance

Yes, today I went to my second ballet barre class, and really liked it.  I'm not good at it in any shape, way, or form, but it is fun.  It's also a really, really, good core workout, but since I'm focused so much on where and what angle my hands and feet are at, and learning all the cool french words, I don't really realize it until I think "gee, my butt/abs/back are sore," after class.   I can't spell the french words, but tip-toed frog squats, pointy toe jumps, and hip turns are considered basic in this class.   It's nice to learn a sequence that has flow to it.  The music is pleasant.  (Sometimes yoga & tai chi leave me craving crab rangoon and hot tea.)  The steps we're learning are hard.  Not looking at my feet is harder, but overall it's great fun.  If they add the running scissor split jumps,  I may reconsider.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Yoga, no prefixes, just yoga.

Yesterday was a scrap day.  I tried to go to the noon class, but Si Guy's lack of second pair of pants stopped me.
Thursday is normally going to be an aqua aerobics day, but miss P had a 7:30am dentist appointment, so that didn't happen either.
That left yoga.  Not chair yoga, or gentle yoga, just yoga.  So yoga it was.
I had a little trepidation about going to "regular" yoga.  I mean gentle yoga left me in tears for parts of it a mere thirteen days ago.  But I sucked it in and went anyway.  I'm glad I did.  This class went way better than I thought it would.
Part of the difference was the studio floor.  This class was in the cycle room minus the cycles, but that meant there was a nice cushy rubber mat on the floor over the slick hardwood.  My bones definitely appreciated that.  There's a ledge for leaving shoes and stuff.  I liked that too.
The other difference was the instructor.  While pushed to challenge ourselves, she offered modifications to the poses more readily than the instructor of the gentle yoga did, and this class didn't hold the poses as long.  She's just subbing for this week and next though, but I already know I like E, the one who regularly teaches this class too.   I may have to make Thursday a two class day. 
I'm not saying I fully buy into all aspects of everything yoga.  The room being warm today did help soften my muscles, but I still don't think of sweating as detoxification.  I think of it as air conditioning.  I don't buy the positive/negative energy thing either.  I do believe that controlling our thought life is important though.   I am not trying to empty myself.  I am trying to be filled by Christ.  I do think it's good to be self aware though.  It's the first step to self control.
I just hope I have enough self control to keep moving further on and further in.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Today things went swimmingly

I'm not sure if it's because today was a noodle and board free day, or if I'm starting to get the routine down, but aqua aerobics seemed a bit easier during class today.  Maybe it was because there was a new person, so I wasn't the only one making waves. Maybe it was the waterbell weights.  They really do a good job working and stabilizing.  I like them a lot.  I kind of like the human jello feeling I have after class too.
The only downer today was I forgot my water shoes.  They really make a difference with all that jumping around, twisting, and "skiing."  I intend to upgrade them soon, but first I have a higher priority.
My suits are getting baggier in the behind.  That means I get to buy a smaller size!  This is both a blessing and a curse, because the makers of swimsuits have deemed that large busted fat people who want to be active in their suits must not exist.   I enjoy showing off my cleavage as much as the next busty gal, but a coed aqua aerobics class is not the place to do it.   The girls need to stay put, not make waves of their own.  While some active suits do exist, their makers think we must be made of money, because most of the "suitable" suits I've seen so far are $100+.  I go to aqua aerobics 3x a week.  I really could use two suits.  I cannot afford even one suit at that cost in the here and now.  Not to mention I hope the downward size thing is a trend.  I definitely can't invest that kind of money every couple of months into just one item.  I have six kids.  They have needs too.
So I guess for now I'll "just keep swimming."

Monday, April 4, 2011

There are days when just going is a victory.

I don't care if it was yoga for wimps.  I went.
Part of me whispered "feed the kids lunch first and go to bodyshaper."
 But, it was hard enough going to an eleven o-clock class.  I couldn't imagine my motivation lasting until noon.  Besides, my body has a shape.   It's shaped kind of like an egg on one of those easter-egg holder cylinders, fat side down. 
The way it was, in the parking lot,...after the renegades escaped unassisted, and made it to the drain cover on the edge of the parking spaces...
"Never mind kids.  I can't do this today.  Just get back in the van."
Then I found my card laying in the wood chips.  Part of me was really relieved.  Part of me said "Damn."
So I went.  And it was chair yoga.  I was reminded of how my hips have enough space in them to play guitar w/ the ligaments.  I was reminded breathing is an important skill, one that I often forget w/ the tweedles.  I was reminded to open my ribcage, and suck it all in.  (Okay, "gently draw in your navel to your spine to feel strong."  The word navel still makes me crave oranges.
 As class was dismissed, I could here the music from body shaper next door.  I could "feel" the energy.  Part of me still felt a little guilty for going to a lighter class.
I stuffed that part w/ a grilled turkey and cheese sandwich.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

What a big school of fishes today!

This morning when I walked into my 7:30 am aqua aerobics class I was stunned.  The pool had soooo many people in it.  V cracked "what happened today?  Are they having a sale?"  That said, the extra large class made it more fun for me.  It's hard to be self conscious when just one of many.  It's the classes of five to ten that are most intimidating for me.
Our routine today was adapted for the large class size.  Some parts were easier.  Some parts (like the cross country section) were harder.  The extra people made for extra resistance! 
Our new-to-me toy of the day were aqua dumbbells.  I really like them.  They come in various resistance levels, and are easy to maneuver.  We also had the noodles, but no pole dancing positions today.  I think that as long as the teacher is V instead of R I'll be safe.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

So is my core supposed to be like chewing gum?

Have you ever chewed a piece of gum for a really, really, long time?  Past the time it gets pliable to the point where it's all tough?
That's about what my "core" feels like right now.
Model magic I am not.
Between the pilates class yesterday and the core section of aqua aerobics today, this is one hippo that's not dancing anytime soon...except that the only class that fits her time block tomorrow is Ballet Barre.
  Balance, core exercise, and flexibility.
What doesn't kill us makes us stronger.
You have to damage muscle to build it.
No pain.  No gain.
Where's my ibuprofin?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Today I attended my first pilates class.  Pilates is the practice of yoga that focuses on our "core".  I'm definitely a "soft core" kind of gal.  If there was any doubt about that at all, pilates was there to prove the point.
First of all, a good deal of the warm ups were done sitting "indian style" by most people.  I just pushed by soles together butterfly style because I can't do that.
Beyond that, the beginning of the class wasn't too bad.
Laying on my back doing leg circles/extensions wasn't either.
Then she got to the "abs" portion of the workout.
Apparently "v"s aren't my thing.  Try it sometime.  Lay flat on the floor.  then fold yourself in half balancing on your tail.  Tear time.  At least for me.  I felt the burn.  Heck, that fire could have burned the whole studio down.
Then she instructed us to get into "plank" position, balancing on our arms, facing the ceiling, legs extended.  I couldn't even get up facing that way.
Next, was roll onto your side, and then lift your hips off the floor in a straight line.  Fail there too.
Then we went on our bellies and did airplane style stretches and reverse leg lifts.  That I could do!
In every class, there has been something I could do.  The trick is to find that something, hold onto it, and build from it.
Sure I could just hang out in chair yoga.  It feels good to know I can do yoga, competently, on some level.  But how much better will it feel to take on a challenge and master it?  Look back and see I rule my body instead of the other way around? Isn't that a goal worth reaching?  I think so.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

4:30 am is not a bedtime anymore.

I can remember getting home from work at 4:30am.  This morning, my phone alarm went off at 4:30am, alerting me it was time to get up.
I grunted my way around and I think I must have been up by 4:45, because I was "dressed" and ready to go at 5am.  So I had 20 minutes to spare.  You can bet I'm giving myself that 15 minutes in bed back on Thursday!
It took me a lot less time to get ready for aqua aerobics this morning than it did on Saturday because I loaded my bag and laid out my sweats last night.  I knew my brain would be mush for the first half hour or so.  What surprised me is I was fairly functional by 5.  Tired, grouchy, longing for my bed, but functional.
So in the car I was at 5:20.  K-love on the radio, ALDI diet cola in the cup holder.  The streets were pretty quiet.  After all, what sane person is up that early?
 The class itself went okay, for the most part.  I jogged.  I twisted to 60's music.  I "dolphin kicked," sort of.  There was no pole dancing today.  (Riding an aqua noodle.)  Instead, they invented a new form of torture with those floating kick boards. 
"All right ladies.  Have them criss crossed flat like this, then push them down under the water, sit on them, and cross your legs under to hold them in place."
Mm,hm.  Yeah.  Sure.  In chair yoga yesterday, I could barely cross my ankle over one knee sitting in a chair, and you want me to do what?
"Balance ladies.  Don't forget your balance!"
No problem with forgetting it.  How about just finding it?  First you want me to sit on two things under water that are meant to help people float on the water, and then you want me to take my feet off the bottom of the pool and cross them vertically indian style to keep them from escaping.  Sure.  That may happen.  In six months.  Fat floats, and I think that worked against me.
Thankfully that section didn't last long.  I can crab walk, soldier kick, frog kick, whatever.  Just save the balance for yoga. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

Chair Yoga

After my not-so-gentle introduction to yoga through a "gentle yoga" class, I wasn't really sure yoga was something I could do.  Today though, I found it is!
Yes folks, there is a yoga for dummies.  It's called chair yoga.
Led by a perky, enthusiastic gal about my age, I rolled out my mat and set out a folding chair w/ a half dozen ladies twice our age and embarked yet again on the journey.
This class had none of the cursed inverted v positions, so I was ahead right there.
The chair was there for me if the  "tree pose" fell, or I overlunged. 
Towards the end of the class we did the "monster mash."  No, they didn't call it that, but I guarantee you that's what it looked like, especially w/ the Bee-gees playing in the background.
So I learned yoga can be fun.
And the importance of being stacked.  (No, not my massive mammaries, my body alignment!)
And that I can do it. 
And that yoga is not a race.  It's a slow, leisurely walk.   I'll get to walk the dog eventually, but right now I'm just a toddler finding my feet.  and that's okay.

Welcome to dancing hippo land.

I've decided to split off my journey towards health from my kid blog, to be fair to all of us.

The real beginning of this blog are the "fix me" and "gym" posts on my parenting/life experience blog

My kids are awesome.  They deserve their own space.
I am working towards awesome.  That's what this space will be about.
Join me, whether laughing, smirking, or crying, as I try to find the balance and where fitness fits into my hectic family life.