A friend sent this article to me today: What Happens When You Follow Your Passion and it got me thinking more about how to do that… I’ve been struggling with finding a path to explore what I am passionate about. It’s frustrating for sure but as quotes say – sometimes the hardest part of any journey is right before a breakthrough…
Jury Duty Fun
Yesterday, I had a busy day. First, I had my turn at serving jury duty. After a few hours of sitting there and the selection process, I was dismissed as a juror for a criminal trial. I’ve never been in a court room, let alone seen how it all goes down. Just like on TV, it was pretty slow, stuffy, rigid and old fashioned. I couldn’t help but notice that everything in the court room was wood and rigid. Sitting there for an hour or so was not what I would consider comfortable.
During the selection process, the judge, prosecutor and defense attorney each took their turn asking generally benign questions. It’s so interesting to see how it all goes down and how people filter questions differently. But man it goes slow and seems to be very low tech. Anyway, I was dismissed for whatever reason and now I can say”been there, done that’ (until the next time…)
Later in the evening, I met up with my dear friend Mastaneh and we drove to [SolidCore]. You may remember me sharing my experience doing a class last March, when we hit up the one in Ballston.
What is [solidcore]?
Someone online described it as “Pilates on Steroids”. Ive never done Pilates, but I can tell you it was the kind of workout where I literally hated it while doing it but when it was over – i felt great and wanted to do it again to challenge myself to get the hang of it. You use a megaformer machine for the 50 minute class. It’s all slow, controlled movements focusing on core muscles. The classes are kept small so the instructor can give everyone the attention needed. Depending on the movement, you would do a 4-6 count to ensure you are really working the muscle.
This one just opened in the Mosaic District in Fairfax and we brought along some extra pals. Let’s just say that it was as hard as I remember and I was not the only one of that opinion. Even my boxing instructor, Alex, who joined us agreed.
When we were done, it was like a sweat festival. Not only was I drenched with sweat, my muscles were twitching for some time afterwards. I am definitely feeling the results of all that slow, deliberate core stuff today. Amd after the class, the instructor told us how great we were, especially because we were beginners and it was because of how strong we all were.
Thoughts about [solidcore]
I wish that [Solidcore] was closer and/or in Loudoun County. Right now they are focused on the immediate DC area. I’m sure the demographic is good there but Loudoun County is the richest county in the country so that should count for something.
I’m not usually one to balk at certain things cost wise. I believe that for me – my health and fitness is worth paying for if it works. I could pay 20 bucks a month at a regular gym but I know it’s not going to work long term for me. I need to workout with others and have an instructor lead the way. I’m willing to pay a bit more for it because it works. A lot of folks pay that low monthly membership at their gym but rarely go or go and do the same thing all the time – seeing little to any results. That is a waste of money no matter how cheap.
[solidcore] is pretty expensive even to me- up to $34/class although they are running specials. The classes are limited because everyone works on a reformer machine, so I get why they charge more but it still seems a bit more than I would be willing to pay on a regular basis.
The instructor was great and it was a great workout. Very different than the other stuff I do but different in a great way. I would definitely add a class or two into my regular overall monthly training if it were closer. It’s easy to see how strong, limber and flexible you can become by doing it regularly.
Stories of kindness and bravery are the stories we should be sharing and talking about more…
Dubbed the “British Schindler,” Winton helped 669 Jewish children avoid a grim fate by smuggling them out of Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia.
I hit up a boxing class last night and then headed to Ashburn CrossFit this morning to workout with a dear friend I havent seen in over five years. I have written about Lidia previously and what an inspiration and kickass chick she is. It’s one of the greatest things about finding my fitness passion – meeting and bonding with the most amazing people. Many of them have become very dear to me and even though I don’t see them regularly, they continue to inspire me and motivate me to be better than I was yesterday. I mean – come on now, these are strong, bad ass chicks. If I let myself go to pot after all this time – I think they would kick my ass. Not only are they amazing people – they help keep me accountable. It’s a win that keeps on giving…
As you probably know, I don’t do CrossFit regularly anymore. The change was brought on partially by burn out. I was not getting the joy or seeing the results I used to from CrossFit. I also felt that my body wasn’t recovering like it used to which was causing me to not have as much fun while I was there. My shoulders weren’t healing either because of the constant stress on them. It’s only been since I stopped completely, have I regained range of motion in my right shoulder.
It is nice to revisit CrossFit every now and again and today it was quite a workout – a chipper.
In CrossFit, a chipper is usually a combo of 5 to 10 exercises designed to push metabolic conditioning. This morning’s chipper looked like this…
- 50 Wall Balls (20/14)
- 40 Push Ups
- 30 Medball Cleans (20/14)
- 20 Burpees
- 10 Pull Ups
- 20 Burpees
- 30 Medball Cleans
- 40 Push Ups
- 50 Wall Balls
(20 min cap)
I chose to do it with a 10# med ball and finished at 19:37. Yeah, Ouch. I am now at work and the soreness is creeping in. It hurts just to walk. I don’t know why, but it always surprises me at how sore I get when I switch up workouts even though I workout all the time!
I have to admit it was a great way to start my day. A group of strong ladies, a lot of laughs and creating a sweat festival.
- Parents’ Denial Fuels Childhood Obesity Epidemic
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- America’s getting even fatter: Startling growth in obesity over past 20 years
As a final sign off on today’s post – I want to wish my smart, sassy and super adorable niece Amelia a Happy Birthday. I wish I lived closer so I could be in her life more, but here I am living in ‘Grassyland’ (that’s what she calls Virginia bc we have a lot of grass and San Fran does not).
I love her to the moon and back…
One of the reasons that I continue to live healthy and fit is for the example it sets for my kiddos. We do all this stuff so that they are active and healthy growing but many of us let our own health fall by the way side. We have lots of excuses related to not having enough time. I have been really vocal about calling bullshit on that excuse but the past week I noticed something else…
Many times during the week, when I go box – I see parents either drop their kid off to a boxing session or sit on the bench and watch. Same thing happened when I took my kids to Rebounderz. I was the only parent jumping around the trampolines and having fun and getting exercise with my kids.
I don’t understand this at all — why not join your kids in an activity or if you drop them off at soccer practice, why not walk around the fields listening to music? Just MOVE YOUR BODY. You don’t have to go at it hard like some of us do but instead of sitting their on the sidelines watching your kid during a boxing session – put on a pair of gloves and join them. Not only are you helping yourself, you are spending time with them and setting a great example. So, stop sitting on the sidelines. Life is too short, kids grow up way too fast and you are allowed to make time for yourself! Who knows – you may even find it’s fun!
Here are some related parenting and kids fitness resources to talk about with your kids:
- How to teach your kids about sugar
- 25+ Ideas to Exercise with Kids
Rewind the Future
The Connection Between Eczema and Eating Dairy
A few weeks ago I was talking to a friend of mine about her recent case of eczema. I immediately said it’s probably dairy. She said that’s what her doctor said too Fast forward to this morning, before our 6A boxing session, she said she stopped the dairy and almost immediately – her eczema cleared up! Well what do you know!! It’s amazing how many people don’t realize that a sensitivity to dairy can cause skin issues and congestion.
Before understanding how dairy affected me, I had hard, crusty hands all the time. To help alleviate the burning and itching, my doctor gave me a steroid cream. He never once discussed its possible cause. Once I quit dairy – it was gone. Just like that! Recently, I was reminded once again that dairy and I don’t mix. I started drinking a whey protein shake in the AM. Whey protein is a by-product of the cheese making process and after a few days, my eczema started to flare up on my hands again. I switched to a veggie based shake and the eczema issues cleared up.
As a general practice, I don’t eat dairy but maybe once a week. When I do have some, within hours, I feel congested and the next morning, my hands start to itch. If i eat it more than once a week, eczema on my hands starts to appear. One of my favorite treats – ice cream – is almost not worth eating because my congestion gets so bad that getting a good night’s sleep becomes a challenge. Everything in life is a trade off and now, before eating anything with dairy or gluten for that matter, I ask myself if it’s worth it. Sometimes the answer is yes, but most often, it’s no.
Here’s a bit more info on dairy and food allergies:
How can you figure out if dairy is causing you issues?
It’s simple really. Try eliminating it for a week or so to see if any skin issues clear up, including acne. Then, add it back in. If you notice a reaction, then you know that dairy is causing you some inflammation issues. Keep in mind that a week may not be enough time to really eliminate it. As with most things, It depends on the person. The thing is, if you find you are sensitive to dairy, you are armed with the knowledge and can be more aware of how your body feels and reacts to your food choices.
Believe, when you are most unhappy, that there is something for you to do in the world… Helen Keller
I’ve been doing some more soul searching the past week –
The past few days have been pretty stressful. Scott’s mom is in the hospital. My dad and step mother got into a car accident this past weekend. Their car is totaled, they are banged up but going to be OK. The thing is, experiencing your parents’ getting older is tough especially when they didn’t take particularly great care of their health in general. It’s another reminder that lifestyle definitely catches up with you as you age. And when you are experiencing it from a distance – it’s hard to really see how bad a situation is. You have to rely on your parents to tell you what’s going on. Reality is different depending on the filters we put on.
In other stressful news, Scott and I are both not feeling well with different maladies. Nothing too serious but enough that we both went to the doctors last week and are on meds. And to top it all off – Scott’s car broke down on Friday evening and a bunch of money $$$ later, the car should be fixed by tomorrow.
All of this has me thinking about what I really want out of life and why am I not feeling as happy as I think I should be?
Career wise: Do I want to continue heading into an office and working for someone else? The culture and company I am looking for based on my experience with my last position is a lot more clear than it has ever been. The issue is, I’m not sure my current situation is meeting the requirements as I had hoped it would. In the past 90 days of me starting, there have been a ton of changes and restructuring. Things I didn’t know about when I accepted the position. The changes aren’t really in line with my background, interests or what I was looking for. It’s disappointing to say the least. I was hoping to be able to grow, learn, be challenged and thrive in this environment. At this point, it’s not really looking like many of those opportunities exist. Never say never, of course, but having learned my lesson at my previous job, I realize that if it doesn’t feel right, I need to explore options.
I am stressed out and feeling a bit lost. Life sure doesn’t stop for you to catch your breath…
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- A 2-Minute Walk May Counter the Harms of Sitting
Who doesn’t love Tina Fey – not only being super funny, but also subtlety showing the lengths women go to conform…
As a fitness enthusiast, I crave challenges and variety to stay inspired. But as committed as I am to living fit and healthy, there are times when I feel my momentum and enthusiasm start to wane. It happens to the best of us from time to time. These “exercise humps” are usually a sign that it’s time examine what’s going on in your life, reconnect with what motivates you to live this way, and make changes to your current fitness routine to push you through.
Here are a few ways I get re-inspired to get over an exercising hump:
Remind myself why it’s important.
It’s not easy to live fit and healthy. It’s a choice you have to make each and every day. When I find myself looking for excuses to skip a workout, I go over my personal reasons for living this way. My reasons are varied but include looking and feeling great and preventing immobility as I age.
Add spice to my current workout routine.
Most of my workouts are created by my trainers or instructors, but there are ways I can add in my own touch. It’s what I call making them ‘spicy’. For example, during a boxing session, I may add in an extra move to one of the runs, or focus on speed vs intensity during a round.
Try something new.
Some exercise humps happen because you are bored. However, if you’re open to trying new things and aren’t afraid to be a beginner at something new, there are an infinite number of fitness methods to cure boredom. Zumba, Pilates, Yoga, Hiking, CrossFit, Boxing, Cycling, Trampoline…the list goes on and on. Pick one or more to try on the regular to keep you engaged and energized.
Ask for help.
Getting frustrated with the lack of results? There are a lot of experienced and friendly experts out there, online and in person, that can help. Some offer free articles and advice online, while others may make themselves available in person. For me, the best advice and inspiration usually comes from my own network. However, no one else knows when slumps start to develop, so you have to be proactive and make seeking out advice, advice and inspiration a habit.
Everyone hits a wall during their fitness journey. Even the most dedicated athlete has to shake things up once in a while. So, the next time you find yourself hitting a fitness slump in your own routine, recognize it as a sign that something needs to change and change it.
There does not seem to be enough hours in the day lately to get it all done. My new job has me so busy and now that spring has sprung – there is so much to get done. I’m not alone in that feeling I am sure – we are all running at a thousand miles a minute now a days it’s hard to quiet your mind and slow down sometimes. I think that’s one of the reasons I workout – to have some time to really focus on how I feel physically. A few friends of mine recently made some comments about how I am always working out — well, first that’s not true. I work out regularly for about an hour five times a week. That leaves a whole lot of other hours during the week when I am not working out. However, after the years of doing this – it’s almost like an addiction. I crave a good workout for mental and physical reasons. I feel better when I move my body. Who doesn’t? Well according to a new study and the Wall Street Journal, a ton of people out there don’t exercise regularly – 1 in 4 Americans to be exact…
“We are deep in a national crisis. We’re not sweating enough. We’re running away from sports. We’re fleeing from fitness.
The other day, the Journal’s Sara Germano reported on a mind-numbing survey from the Physical Activity Council which found…well, it basically found that 1 in 4 Americans didn’t exercise at all in the past year.
One in four. For a year. Yikes.”
It is a crisis – just look around suburban America. How many people around you are living less than healthy lives? We are all busy. We are all tired. We are all pushed and pulled in so many directions – but your health should be non-negotiable and top of the list of importance. Not only for you, but for the example you are setting for your children. They learn from what you say and do. You don’t have to be an Olympic athlete, just MOVE YOUR BODY! Go for a walk, stretch, do sprints – whatever. Do it and continue – it’s a long term journey with peaks and valleys.
It’s not easy I know- but have you seen people living with chronic illness or immobility? That’s not easy either. Which hard would you rather have in your life?
What you believe has more power than what you dream or wish or hope for. You become what you believe.
The Skulpt Aim uses a technology called electrical impedance myography or EIM. ‘Myography’ literally means “The description of muscles.” EIM measures two separate features of the tissue: its resistive properties and its capacitive properties
Skulpt Aim measures body fat percentage and Muscle Quality (MQ). One of the first questions I have been asked is what is Muscle Quality (MQ)?
“MQ, or Muscle Quality, is a rating of your muscles’ fitness that was designed to be intuitive. Aim uses EIM technology to send a small current directly through your muscles. It uses 12 sensors and multiple frequencies to get very accurate readings. Since current flows differently in muscles based on their composition and muscle fiber size, Aim is able to evaluate the quality of each muscle.
Similar to the IQ scale, the average person has an MQ of 100. Higher MQ scores correlate with stronger, leaner, more defined and firm muscles.”
So in layman’s terms, the higher over 100 your score is, the stronger, leaner and more efficient your muscles are. Higher numbers mean better fitness.
When it arrived, I took it out of the box and found it pretty easy to set up. I put the device on the charger for a while before testing as recommended. To see how easy it was to use, I decided to have my boxing instructor Connor try it out. Without telling him much about it overall, I showed him the Skulpt website and let him figure it out. It took him only a few minutes — and he began using it.
To get started, he watched some of the videos to learn how to properly measure using the device. It’s different for males vs females.
How to get your Total Body MQ & Fat percentage
To measure your body’s MQ score and fat %, you’ll need to measure four areas: biceps, triceps, abs, and quads. There are videos available to help you learn where to properly place the device to get accurate readings.
It took only a few minutes to measure and what’s cool is there is a Skulpt app available to help you track your stats so you can see progress as you continue to work towards reaching your strength and fitness goals.
My instructor/tester, Connor, thought it was useful and cool. It gave him an idea of where he was at fitness wise – which for the most part, was right where he should be. There were a few areas that were not quite where he felt they needed to be and in his words “I have some work to do.”
Connor will retest in a few weeks to track his progress as he puts in the necessary work…
Here are some recent articles about this revolutionary device:
- PC Mag: Skulpt Aim
- Indiegogo: Skulpt Aim: Revolutionizing Fitness Tracking
- Men’s Fitness: SKULPT AIM LETS YOU KNOW YOUR MUSCLE QUALITY
- Cult of Mac: Skulpt Aim takes the pain out of measuring body fat
My initial thoughts: For people who thrive when they have actual data at their fingertips while working towards their fitness goals, this device helps you see if your workouts really are making your body stronger, even if the scale isn’t budging! And it’s easy to use and you can track it — this is the kind of info that we never really had at our fingertips. Now you just need this device and a few minutes –and you get accurate readings to help you adjust your fitness programming or goals as necessary.
This is really the future of fitness – being able to track and evaluate how your fitness program is working at the touch of an app whenever you want to evaluate your progress. I love it.
Thanks to Skulpt Aim for sending me their device. Even though I received it for Free, there was no expectation on their part to influence my review. My opinions here are my own.
NPR just published Learning To Move, Moving To Learn: The Benefits Of PE – encouraging schools and communities to bring back real PE classes. It’s no secret that “neuro-cognitive development is associated with exercise and can benefit from exercise”, so why aren’t we demanding that our children get more exercise??
Watch the video below that highlights the La Sierra High PE program in the 60’s. It’s exactly what our kids need to be doing today– real physical fitness classes in school. Not only will it help them physically but mentally as well! Our kids will learn to deal with the stress of life. Also look at the people featured in this video –they look younger and healthier overall. I bet it’s because they have been fit most of their lives, starting early on.
PE 50 years ago…compare to today! Help us bring quality PE back to our schools: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/la-sierra-high-pe
In 1962, JFK gave a speech to the nation challenging them to make a “great national effort.” He held the La Sierra High PE up as the model for the nation to follow. 4,000 high schools followed this program. This is the only known digitized copy of his speech. The footage shows one high school PE class. Remember, this is a normal PE class at the high school. This was PE 50 years ago in America! Help us make this happen again. Ron Jones, MS, founder of The Lean Berets (Executive Producer), Doug Orchard (Producer/Director).