Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Week 17 Work out Wrap Up

It was a hectic Monday and I didn't get around to posting my 17 week wrap up.  This week was the first of, I'm sure, many to come where I have to improvise for changes in the schedule. Without further ado, here goes:

Monday - Lunchtime Aerial Tone class
Tuesday - I'll call it "Twowheel Tuesday"...a fun family bike ride (a little over an hour)
Wednesday - off (couldn't make it to Aerial Tone) :(
Thursday - missed Yoga at lunch but caught Aerial Tone with kiddo at night see here
Friday- off
Saturday- off
Sunday- 60 laps in the adult pool at club (25yd)

So you see, I missed two scheduled classes but managed to pick up an evening class and conveniently labeled the family bike ride a workout because...we could have all been on the couch watching tv, right?!  I knew it was a good workout when my kids start getting tired and complaining that their legs are sore.  Ha!  Plus, riding the mountain bike takes that much more effort than my road bike.  That thing is heavy!

I love this DoubleCam app! Takes a simultaneous pic from both front and back cameras of the iPhone.
Here I am following my little ducks (baby duck is in a seat in front of dad)
The weekend's plans were altered quite a  bit because of the buckets of rain that fell over Houston and by late afternoon Sunday, I was going stir crazy.  I patiently waited for my daughter to finish a school project and rushed everyone to get ready for the pool before it was too late.  Of course, upon arrival, the disappointing sign "Lap Pool Closed - Sorry for the Inconvenience"  just about brought me to tears. Waaaa! I had all my swim gear but didn't think to pack anything for a gym workout if need be. Bikini circuit training, I'm guessing, is frowned upon. ;)

I quickly dashed over to the adult pool and seeing that it was 1) open and 2) had lines on the bottom of it was enough for me to jump in and give it a go.  At first, I swam 50 laps.  Not knowing what the length of the pool was and not wanting to go *under* what I had done the previous two weeks was driving me a little crazy.  I pulled my portable computer to the ledge of the pool (i..e. iPhone) and looked up the club and it's pool stats.  I quickly learned that it is 25 yards versus the lap pool's measurements of 25 meters. I knew I would be short and when hubby walked by with the baby to check on me, I put him to work to do the math.  I figured an extra 10 laps would more than suffice and sure enough, with his research, I learned that I surpassed what I swam last week! Yay! (I really am that competitive with myself).

1 yard - .9144 meters.
60 x 25 yards = 1,500 yards x .9144 = 1,372 meters
That's 122 meters or almost 5 laps more than last week!

So...now, I KNOW that I can easily add laps without feeling like it's just too much and bonus, I learned that I have a backup pool if necessary.  Win-win! This week, I'll have to shoot for 1,500 meters. (What's another 5 laps, right? Totally doable!)

Hope everyone had a fantastic Monday on off to a great week!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Taking Flight

Every time I tell someone about my Aerial class, the reaction is usually the same..."what is that?".  I try my hardest to explain it but the  best real life reference that *most* people can get a visual of is when I mention Pink.  Not the color, rather the singer with amazing abs that usually flies through the audience during her concerts.  Of course, I have to quickly tone it down to explain that is NOT exactly what I am doing which is where it becomes a little difficult to describe without visual aids and I start looking like a monkey trying to describe some of the things we do.

Aerial Yoga, Anti-Gravity Yoga, Aerial Fitness, Aerial Arts, Aerial Fabrics, Aerial Silks, Aerial Dance...whatever you call it, they all have one thing in common - Aerial.  In the air, baby!  Depending on the studio, instructor & class you'd see a combination of techniques from Yoga, Pilates, Calisthenics, Gyrokinesis and Acrobatic moves integrated throughout any given workout.  I have been following Pink! for some time now and after she mentioned (and thanked) Dreya Webber for training her, I knew I wanted to learn more.  Dreya Webber is an aerialist and one of my "personal" work out buddies in the P90X videos so I was familiar with the name. ;)  She is strong, lean and shows amazing grace (and posture!) while doing her workouts.  Why wouldn't I want to learn more about this?  Well over a year ago, I did some research on this and even "pinned" some pictures on Pinterest as motivator to find a class and do it one day. It seemed to be on the very early side of a trend then since it wasn't something that was readily available in most cities to the layman (i.e you and me) but celebrities were starting to dote about how much they loved the practice and that's usually all it takes for it to start sprouting everywhere. Case in point, AntigravityYoga , developed by Christopher_Harrison (with many Broadway accolades) has many locations throughout the country now and their site even has information on franchising. (Check them out!...I plan to visit them when we travel to Manhattan this summer.)

I found that the ONLY place in Houston that this is available at is Vault/GyrotonicHouston.  As I mentioned here, I pulled the sample week class and was all geared up to attend and the schedule never panned out for me to make it.  (I had an infant at the time, a very active tournament baseball playing son and was gearing to get back to work among other things).  After that, Aerial lost its traction in my mind and was a faded memory until I went to the Pink concert earlier this year and it sparked me once again to look up the latest  schedule at Vault.  I was lucky enough to catch it in time so that I can set it on my radar for the following month. Coincidentally, my sister (a Yogi herself) posted a picture of herself on FB doing some pretty amazing aerial tricks with a friend of hers.  I knew fate was in the cards that I could not let this pass me up again.

So, here we are.  I attended the sample Aerial Fabrics class with a coworker a few weeks ago.  It was merely a sample so we only got to learn some basic locks, wraps and terminology but did get to flip over a time or two (super cool!).  Due to that fact that I am pregnant now, I knew that I would have to look at modifications if I wanted to pursue this as an exercise regimen. Particularly since  this class required a 6 week commitment (each class builds on itself by learning new techniques).

I tried their other class "Aerial Tone", which is more of a drop in class that can be taken anytime, and knew that I had found the right fit for me (for the time being) until post baby when I can really explore the Fabrics and actually take "flight".  In Tone, we do more muscle strengthening and conditioning that most aerialists need in order to do the performances and routines that they do up "there" by using an aerial hammock. Honestly, it's quite deceiving...it starts off kind of slow with dainty stretches but I assure you, using that hammock as a resistance band makes it is a FULL body workout, everything was burning by the end and child's pose and laying in the hammock in "corpse" pose was a welcomed relief!

I am now 4 classes into Tone and I see myself making this a twice a week routine until my belly won't allow it (which gauging from the last baby was well into my 8th month...fingers crossed that this will be the case this go 'round too!).  I feel myself (already) getting stronger, toner, more flexible and dare I say...taller?  My back feels incredible relief in some of the stretches that we perform and my spine feels realigned after every class.  Enough that I feel the need to continue my stretches and yoga poses beyond class (and see improvement!).  I'll have another post on the Instagram Yoga Challenge my daughter and I have been dabbling with every night later.

Speaking of my daughter, she has been begging to join me at one of my classes.  She's seen some of the pictures and wants nothing more than to partake in the action (can you blamer her?).  They have a kids class on Saturdays that I am considering turning that into a "mom and me" time with her but before I dive into that, I brought her to my last Tone class as an observer and to talk to the instructor about more.

Here are some of the fun things she did and let's just say, she was a natural and totally hooked!!

10 year old goes Aerial
And here are some of the exercises that work the legs, arms, abs and bum (usually all at once).

The plank (top right) is killer.  That's usually incorporate with crunching and twisting side to side at the END of the workout. Ooof!
And finally, here are some of the awesome stretches and fun stuff I got to partake in with my daughter, that in itself was priceless. :)
I love the "Giselle" on the bottom left to open and stretch the hip and back.
I feel great doing all these moves even with the baby (although the bump is barely noticeable in these pics).  I was inverted for very short periods (just for pics and fun, really) and the ab workouts were modified to be less intense.  In fact, while I was rest/cool down mode in the pod or "corpse position" I felt the little fella kick quite a bit, he must have been doing his own somersaults!

A great place to chill (and potentially get motion sick if you stay too long, I've heard!)
I'll leave you with my inspiration for all this flying stuff...Pink performing 'Glitter in the Air' at her concert in Houston, TX earlier this year:

Monday, April 22, 2013

Week 16 Wrap Up

If you want something to happen, you have to make it happen.  "One day" or "next week" has fallen empty on me too many times where I just now know better.  The schedule will ALWAYS be busy and hours in the day will fall short but if you push hard enough, you will find a way to squeeze it in. That is, if you really want it.

I want it.  I need it. And I'm making it happen.  Week 16 has come and gone and my fitness goals were surpassed. Yay!  Here's a wrap up of how the week went:

Monday - Aerial Tone at lunch (adjusting the work schedule on both ends to accommodate)
Tuesday - off
Wednesday - AerialTone at lunch (different instructor, different routine...like!)
Thursday - Lunchtime Yoga (provided by our company, nice fringe benefit)
Friday - Unplanned 4 mile run (with baby in the jogger)
Saturday - off (though there were was plenty of running around going on)
Sunday - 1250m swim (early evening after all kiddo activities were complete)

Closing the week with a swim was not planned either.  We were all tired after a long day of activities but when the sun made a strong appearance, the big kids wanted to play in the pool.  It was painful, but I obliged by taking them to the club while hubby stayed home with the baby (and grocery shopped AND made dinner! Lucky me!).  I didn't pack a magazine or iPad or Nook...but boy, I didn't leave home with my swim bag with all my workout goodies. Clearly, I felt the week needed one last push before I put it to rest.  Also, I feel a whole less guilty coming home to all those chores done from having a workout done than simply lounging around. :)

I hadn't planned on going over the 40 laps I did last week but when I looked at the time and saw how well I was coming along, I topped another 10.  It wasn't too hard considering that every time I stopped, I began to shiver (temps were dropping and the water was warmer than the air out there...hence the goosebumps in the picture!).  

I'm ready to conquer week 17 and I'm wishing you a full, fit and happy week too!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Interruption to regular programming

Nothing like a baby's fever to bring a regular schedule to a screeching halt. The phone call that makes you move & leave those "to-do's" in the dust is the one from daycare.

Sometimes, however, this can be an opportunity as I can stay home with baby while she recovers and we can bond, play and I can catch up on chores. However, being up all night with late breaking news that has yet to end (thanks for waking me, honey) makes for an unproductive day at home on the chore front.

By early afternoon with a fever that just. won't. break. and a baby that was starting to get cranky from lack of sleep, I decided to take to the street.

As soon as I strapped her into the jogging stroller and we hit the driveway, she was out. It started as a walk but as the norm with me, it ended in a run. 4 miles through the neighborhood was the silver lining to the schedule shakeup. And really, after all the nerve racking news all day, I needed the peace and quiet.

Of note from this run was the reminder of my pregnancy that 1- breathing is a little more difficult 2- as soon as I head out, I had to pee and 3- hey! I see a tiny bump!

Back to the news and hopes that all this madness in Boston comes to an end soon and safely. The people of Boston could certainly use getting back to their regular scheduled programming as they've had their entire lives come to a halt while this manhunt is underway.

Thursday, April 18, 2013


It's been an absolutely horrific news week.  Bombings in Boston, explosion in West, TX, Poison lined letters sent to the President...and that's just on American soil.  It's hard to watch the news, or click a link on Facebook or Twitter without tearing up.  And not just from the bad things that have occurred but for all the good that has come from it too.  It is easy to get choked up watching all the people running TOWARDS the disasters.  So many willing to help and a nation that are pulling together in a time of need.  This makes me so very proud to be an American.

My thoughts go out to all those affected by these tragedies and my gratitude goes out to all of those that have put themselves aside to help others.  For the nurses, doctors, EMS, firefighters, police officers, volunteers and just fellow brothers and sisters that reached out to help because they can.  

This is obviously not a fitness post but I did have my lunchtime Yoga class at the office.  Nothing could have been better.  A solid five minutes of meditation at the end to center the mind and soul in a time of so much turmoil.  Namaste friends.

I leave you with this:

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Another beginning

Seeing as this will be my last pregnancy, I thought this a good a time as ever to start this.  I hesitated one too many times with my last pregnancy and before I  knew it, I was working on post-baby fitness and getting my body "back". Perhaps it will be something I will continue post baby this go round too just to keep me on track and accountable with staying fit while trying to run a household of 6.

I was on a pretty regular program (though not regimented) of running, cycling and occasional P90x videos peppered in for abs, arms and leg toning.  That is until I started feeling bleh.  That is the best way to describe it really. It wasn't morning sickness per se it was more of just feeling yuck all day.  And that feeling, is just not conducive to wanting to exercise.  It completely zapped my energy.  

What I have learned in the last few years (usually the hard way) is that when I stop exercising because I have no energy, I feel WORSE.  I become sluggish, moody and my body just starts to feel achy all over.  This realization (every time I have it) is when the difficult transition BACK into some sort of routine takes place.  The eye opening experience of "wow, I lost so much strength and endurance in just 6 weeks!" and "ugh, I have to start all over again!" takes place and then you get your butt in gear to make the change.

So that's where I am at.  I'm 16 weeks pregnant and into my 2nd week of getting my butt in gear.  I started easy with a family bike ride.  My husband was so concerned that I was still in the "bleh" zone and kept asking "are you ok?, how are you feeling? do you want to head back or keep going?" After just a half mile I was responding "GO, GO, GO!!!" The immediate satisfaction of feeling the slightest of burn in the quads while pushing down on the pedals was not something I was not willing to give up so soon.

We did the P90X arm/shoulder workout a couple of nights later and the soreness that followed for the next couple of days was all I needed to get me back IN the mode. 

My company sponsors a weekly lunchtime Yoga class that I seem to always forget about or forget to pack my clothes and mat for.  I was geared up last week, went and felt renewed. I also tried an Aerial Fabric class that a local dance studio/fitness center offers "Vault/Gyrotonic Houston".  I've had my eye on this for well over a year when they had their "sampler" week between 6 wk class sessions.  I had it in my calendar last Spring but with my son's crazy baseball schedule and having a few month old, I couldn't get away to try any of the classes and missed out.

That wasn't about to happen to me again this year!  I've been checking on them periodically and when sampler week came around, I jumped on it...lucky for me it wasn't during the "bleh" period.  Haha.  I was also lucky enough that a coworker (who coordinates the office Yoga class) was also looking at the classes and we happen to find a night that worked to go together.  Buddy system!  Bonus!

It was fun, different and definitely something I'd like to commit to later on but my interest was caught and  focused on an "Aerial Tone" class they offer on class by class basis. It combines Pilates, Yoga and Gyrotonic moves for a full body conditioning and strengthening workout using an aerial hammock. 

I spoke with the studio owner to discuss my pregnancy and possible workout modifications (if necessary) and was happy to hear that she was not in the common camp of "alarmists".  People who quickly think that because you are pregnant, you should halt and avoid all things active and become sedentary.  As with all exercise, you should listen to your body FIRST.  If it doesn't feel right, stop.  I haven't always listened to my body but that was usually during runs when my IT Band flared up or my knee felt "off".  When there's a baby on board, listening comes first.

Her response quickly led me to take her class on both days this week. My schedule wouldn't permit a workout any other time this week so getting it in while I could was optimal.  ...and quite frankly, it was worth it!  I highly recommend looking for these type classes as a way to "shake things up" with your workouts.  

I also managed to drag the kids to the club on Sunday evening so that I can get a swim in.  It has been almost a YEAR since I've been in the pool and honestly, I was nervous.  It is not like riding a bike.  Breathing is well...essential and not my forte in swimming.  I struggled at first but managed to get 40 laps in with the kids cheering me on while sitting on the ledge. Yay!

I am well on my way to getting ultra baby fit with baby #4 if I keep this up!

Here's a progress picture of the barely bump at week 16...sorry for the graininess...it was dark and everyone was sleeping... :)