A Midsummer’s Resolution

Anyone who has ever made a New Year’s diet resolution, joined a gym, talked to anyone ever, or lived has really discovered how hard it is to create and maintain a healthy lifestyle.  Full disclosure: I have belonged to all of the above clubs and rode the lifelong roller coaster of being on and off the fitness track.  I get in a good groove making my own healthy meals, working out 5-6 times a week, attempting to meditate and take time for me, drinking ALL the water ever.  Then, inevitably, my life gets busy (usually in the summer) with teaching summer camp, extended day duties, travel in awful DC traffic to rehearsal, acting my face off, drive back home, pound through memorizing lines, and crash.  All this leaves little  make that no time for anything else.

There's a reason these are popular shirts!

There’s a reason these are popular shirts!

My eating is usually reduced to snacking on the job or gasp fast food on the way in the car.  Workouts…. when?  Weekdays I do the above and weekends I am busy performing the show I already rehearsed.  My job often means missing best friends’ & family members’ weddings, vacations, birthdays, and everything in between.  A missed workout seems paltry in comparison.

But this is something I want to work on this year.  It may not quite be a New Year’s resolution but since I am a Shakespeare girl anyway I’m gonna call it a Midsummer’s Resolution.  (Okay, so it’s spring but summer is when it will get crazy!)

Part of that will be using this spring to establish some health & fitness habits! I was clicking through Pinterest procrastinating searching for inspiration for a lesson plan when I stumbled upon a Women’s Health article: 15 Fitness Habits You Need Establish In Your 20s.

Well if that wasn’t fate!

So what does it include and how can I improve or maintain by fitness habits:

1) Fall in love with strength training– current score: B, I love strength training and am missing that sore feeling for a great pump session a bit with Insanity’s focus on cardio. Hopefully I can bring a few days into my run training soon!

2) Drink more water- current score: C+, When I remember this I am great, when I don’t remember I am awful.  Doing theatre outdoors this summer I will really have to stay on top of this or I will pay the price.

3) Vary it up- C, I like running & dancing, I like feeling like I am improving in something.  I also know I am going to plateau without changing some things.  I have plans to try some different workout routines, Insanity is part of that.  Hopefully I can keep it up.

4) Embrace the rest day- B, It’s a little more difficult with such an outlined workout program like Insanity.  If anything I like my rest days a little too much!

5) Learn proper form and don’t cheat- B+, I mean who doesn’t cheat a little on that last bicep curl when you just don’t think you can do anymore…

6) Switch up your running shoes- F, I have one pair of running shoes, one pair of cross training shoes, and one pair I use for teaching dance when sneakers work better…. Maybe once my christmas bonus rolls around.

7) Refuel properly post workout- D+, Slowly but surely improving.  I don’t like milk so the chocolate milk solution won’t work for me.  Anyone have a go to they want to share?

8) Go to random gym classes- D, I’m not part of a gym so this isn’t easy but I am looking at trying some new stuff and will update soon!

9) Stretch before and after you exercise- C, Because I am following what Shaun T does I am doing well.  When Shaun T isn’t there I tend to want to save time.  And stretching hurts… hmm maybe this was the reason I am the only dancer I know who can’t do a split.

10) Make your workout a part of your day- D, This is going to be the main struggle this summer y’all!

11) Be mindful- C-, I’m always on the run and the busier I get the harder this is.

12) Invest in good workout clothes- C, You know what actors make right? And I’m not talking Jennifer Lawrence here.

13) Do either yoga or pilates- F, I struggle with yoga I always have and I have yet to try pilates (I know I know how am I that behind on the fitness craze)

14) Choose your friends wisely- B, We all know Triple A is clearly a good support system, and one of the theatre’s I work for is doing a health challenge/group.  However, actors are also notorious drinkers and I do love me some Jameson.

15) Have fun- C, The last rule we have for acting classes we teach too! I’m decent at it but I also look at fitness as something I have to do… this one needs some work!

So how did you stack up? Be sure to check out the article for detailed info.

Here’s to keeping a fit & fierce lifestyle!

-Little Red

It’s Following Me

Well as usual I am running behind.  Not literally but in terms of keeping up with life.  Surprise alert: Teaching 45 kids from ages 4-9 for 5 days straight 8 hours a day makes you feel like this:

10 more minutes...

10 more minutes…

 

I mean really even trying to write all those numbers made me feel like that.  The thing people say about kids stealing energy from you must be true (how else do they do it????)

But occasionally you are rewarded with seeing them all adorably sing “Impossible” from Rogers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella, or dance around to “The Jitterbug” from Wizard of Oz.  However one student topped all things EVER of adorableness.  This one four year old was walking in our tiled hallway, which shines like a mirror sort of, and started stepping very carefully saying “It’s following me!”  Yep, she had discovered her shadow for the first time and it was THE MOST ADORABLE THING EVER. (there are not enough capitals to describe this)

But lets take a look at the workout week on top of the massive amounts of elementary school energy I endured.  I’m not gonna lie this was R-O-U-G-H.  Oh and add in the allergies for good measure. In addition to sweat I was dealing with snot which meant water breaks were more like tissue breaks. Gross.

"It's not a pretty picture"

I may have looked closer to this than I liked.

 

Sunday- Rest Day! but not really I ran the George Washington Parkway Classic 10 miler (race report soon)

Monday- Fit Test #2, that came so quickly and the results are below

Tuesday- Plyometric Cardio Circuit, I may have thought about crying through this workout I was so exhausted

Wednesday- Pure Cardio & Cardio Abs, I got through almost all of the abs.  Hooray for progress!

ThursdayCardio Recovery, thank goodness I needed the stretch but my muscles felt crazy tight like I wasn’t quite getting there

Friday- Cardio Power & Resistance & Crystal City 5k Fridays #3, I cannot thank Triple A enough for being there otherwise I may not have finished this race.

Saturday- Plyometric Cardio Circuit, I really want to punch Shaun T when he says “This isn’t tap dancing” umm…. WHAT??? Tap dancing is fun while burning calories this is torture.  And don’t talk smack about Tap!

 

Body Stats/Measurements

Fit Test #1         Fit Test #2            Result

Weight:                          108.2 lbs              110.1 lbs                   + 1.9 lbs

Body Fat %:                   19.7%                    19.2%                        –  .5%

Resting Heart Rate:    55 bpm                  56 bmp                     + 1 bmp

Chest:                              32 in                      31.5 in                      – .5 in

Bicep:                             10 in                      10 in                             0 in

Waist:                             28.5 in                  27 in                          – 1.5 in

Hips:                               38.5 in                  38 in                          – .5 in

Thigh:                             23 in                      21.5 in                       – 1.5 in

Calf:                                 14 in                       14 in                             0 in

 

Fit Test Results

Fit Test #1         Fit Test #2            Result

Switch Kicks:               64                            108                           +44

Power Jacks:               48                             62                             +14

Power Knees:              95                            112                            +17

Power Jumps:             25                             39                             +14

Globe Jumps:               9                               13                             +4

Suicide Jumps:            15                             17                             +2

Push-Up Jacks:          20                             26                             +6

Low Plank Oblique:  50                              62                             +12

And of course a few pictures (if terribly taken by myself):

sorry diffuser in the way!

sorry diffuser in the way!

Yes that is A Chorus Line poster

Yes that is A Chorus Line poster

 

Slowly but surely I am getting it done!

Here’s to spring weather, even if allergies are going nuts.

-Little Red

 

Insanity: Plyometric Cardio Circuit

My boyfriend aka Triple A (it’s a nickname from a group of friends, story at a later date) made this meme for me and his sister, who started her own Insanity journey this week- get it girl!  I don’t know about her but this couldn’t be more spot on for me.

I was even teaching a dance combination to “Shoeless Joe From Hannibal Mo.” and caught one of my students giving me this look.  I joked with him he looked like I do at Shaun T during at least half of Insanity, but especially this workout!

Dear Plyometric Cardio Circuit: I HATE you.  And this is the exact workout that Shaun T gives the famous quote below.

From "Triple A"

From “Triple A”

 

Grumpy cat I feel you this morning.

To be completely honest I feel like this is the only one in the series where I am not yet seeing improvement in performance.  My feet get all tangled if I try to take the suicide drills too fast, my arches start to burn on basketball jumps, and forget in & out abs.  The arches hopefully will be fixed with a new training shoe (why is it so hard to find 5 1/2s in stores? I just want to try them before I buy them…) but I am impatient and want to show improvement NOW!

Deep breaths.  I got through it but it was rough and painful.  That’s kinda the point I guess right? Pushing yourself?

Here’s to a recovery workout.

-Little Red

Query Quarters: How to you stay positive when you aren’t seeing the results you want?

Insanity: Pure Cardio (+Scheduling Madness)

Not even two weeks in and I already skipped a workout.  I felt terrible about it, but I have crafted a plan to make it up… although not ideal.

Yesterday I was supposed to do Pure Cardio but life got in the way, and by life I mean pure exhaustion.  Drowsiness is a side effect of both the hyperthyroidism & ironically the Anti-thyroid Drugs I am on to treat it.  (Is it just me or is this kind of double effect becoming more common in medications?) Add to my general tiredness the fact that I was teaching dance and covering my monday workout until 11pm, had to be up at 6am for a work fundraiser, and was acting in a staged reading that evening.  All of this meant I needed a nap as soon as I got home from the fundraiser before performing if I was going to be anywhere near my best.

When I got home I was so beat I skipped the workout.  Although I did it today and have plans to do today’s in conjunction with the Recovery DVD.  Smart: probably not.  Effective: hopefully, especially as I can do one early morning and one early evening.

Man, Pure Cardio is HARD! I don’t know how I forgot that.  It felt better than the first time, but still rough.  I feel confident, work hard, get sweating, and then all of the sudden switch kicks start and I’m out.  I am a trained dancer capable of kicking my leg above my head and yet I struggle to keep going for even 5 kicks most of which are below hip height.  It’s frustrating.  But then I feel like a beast when it comes to football sprints, level 2 drills, and mountain climbers.  I’m scared for the day Cardio Abs gets added on but I am doing my best to take it one workout at a time.

So I failed to power through for the first time in this process.  But it taught me a lot.  I am going to have to be better about scheduling.  Especially with my busiest season coming up.  I want to work out regularly but that is gonna require some serious planning if I don’t wanna let it stress me out.

Here’s to planning next week and getting back in the game!

-Little Red

Query Quarters: When you miss a workout do you just skip or try to make it up even if it means doubling for a day?

Insanity: Cardio Power & Resistance

This was my second time through this particular workout and it did not get off to a smooth start.  I was over visiting my boyfriend (I really need a nickname for him on here..) and forgot to bring my DVD. Cue my gasp of shock and horror.  No problem you can totally find them on YouTube, Vimeo, or some other such video service and still get it in.  Well 1/3 of the way through the warm-up and just as I was starting to gear myself on to kick this workout’s behind it started buffering…. and buffering… and buffering.  You know the feeling: just as you get to that revealing moment in Lost (or House of Cards) and Netflix just stops.

I breathed and I waited and about 20 minutes later after a few stops and starts I wanted to throw my slow computer across the room.  Especially after I thought through my day and realized I would be lucky if I could get it done at 10pm when I got home from teaching dance for two hours.  Needless to say I thought I would end up pulling a double the next day.

But I did it.  With the help and motivation of Tall Blonde (nope that isn’t gonna work) I made it through and did a damn fine job considering I was exhausted and had been teaching.

I think this is still my favorite of the first series and tonight I KILLED those 8 squat hops + 8 push-ups sequence.  I still struggled with a few of the moves but powered my way though, with some side encouragement/coaching from Blonde Buddy (closer?). For example: Hit the floor makes me really dizzy after about 15 seconds… maybe all the up and down of my head so quickly?

Even if it is hard, get it done!

-Little Red

                Query Quarters: When pressed for time in a training program do you skip the workout, double up, or push through the extra long day even if it may not be as strong?