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Posts Tagged ‘Workout’

Movement

Last week I wrote about how happy I was to not take 10,000 steps/day. At the time I realized it was an odd thing to say, but I was. I feel like I’ve been go, go, go all summer and while I normally love getting 10,000 steps/day, it was nice to not for a day.

What I didn’t realize when I wrote that is I would spend most of the last week not taking 10,000 steps/day. I was always under the impression that I did a lot of walking at tennis tournaments. But, the pedometer doesn’t lie and my steps per day took a serious decline last week.

This was especially disappointing because I decided not to work out last week thinking I would get a good amount of movement in just by walking, but that wasn’t the case. However, I honestly don’t know where I would have fit a workout in. I went to bed after midnight every night and woke up at 8am feeling pretty tired.

Maybe if I had been working out I wouldn’t have been so tired? But I think the better strategy for next year’s Cincy tennis tournament is to make sure I do more walking. Yes I go there to watch tennis matches, but another lap around the outside of the stadium won’t take that much time away from tennis.

Luckily I don’t anticipate having this issue at the US Open next week. The grounds there are much bigger, there are a lot more stairs, and I walk there and back (well, to the subway) rather than drive like in Cincy.

Here are my thoughts on walking. My goal will always be to get more than 10,000 steps every day. When I’m home in NYC that’s easy, it requires pretty much zero effort. And when I’m not in NYC it’s a really great goal to have to make sure that I’m not just sitting on my butt. However, there will be days where I just want to rest, and that’s ok, just as long as they’re few and far between.

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All About Kickboxing

Since I post so much about loving my kickboxing classes I thought it might be nice if I did a little breakdown of what exactly a kickboxing class entails. Please note that I am not a kickboxing, or any type of fitness, instructor and this is just my opinion/description based on taking kickboxing classes at one kickboxing gym for a while.

Unlike kickboxing classes that are offered at traditional gyms (which I’ve also taken), my classes involve working with a heavy bag. At my gym there are about 30 bags upstairs and 12 bags downstairs. In most classes every other bag is left empty so you’re not too squished.

The owner of my gym actually did a little video testimonial for Groupon that they filmed at the gym and it gives you a good idea of what it all looks like:

Building Your Business with Groupon: CKO Kickboxing from Groupon on Vimeo.

Classes all start with three minutes of jump roping (note how I say jump roping instead of jumping rope, I know it’s wrong and I don’t know why I do this, but it sounds weird to me the other way). When I first started jump roping was so hard! It absolutely killed my calves, but now I can do three minutes no problem! The only issue I have is if I’m in a spot where the mats on the floor are uneven and the rope snags the mat, sad, but true.

After jump roping we go into stretching, different instructors stretch for different amounts of time, but I always appreciate the ones who do a thorough stretch. Stretches that are often included are downward dog, runner’s lunge, cris crossing your arms, pulling your arm across your chest, bending your arm over your head, arm circles, neck rotations, and touching your toes.

Once the stretching is over we go into a more dynamic warmup. That usually includes some combination of jumping jacks, high knees, squats, squat jumps, squat thrusts, burpees, mountain climbers, holding up the bag and running in place, forearms and toes, and push-ups. I often find that these few minutes are some of the hardest of the workout.

Following that we take a brief break to get our gloves on (I use fingerless gloves I bought at my gym, I think they’re these) and take a sip of water and towel off. Once everyone has their gloves on we start working on the bag. We do all different combinations of punches (jab, cross, hook, uppercut, elbow, backhand) and kicks (front kick, roundhouse, sidekick, knee) interspersed with the activities we did in the dynamic warmup.

For example we might do a double jab/cross, rear leg roundhouse, switch our feet three times and do it on the other side. Or we might do a jab/cross/jab/cross, squat thrust and repeat over and over. There are also more complicated combinations involving all the punches and lately they’ve really been loving punch-outs, rapidly doing the same punches over and over. Sometimes certain instructors will have us side shuffle around the room, run around the room, or do lunges around the room between punching combinations.

Depending on the instructor we’ll stick to one combination or activity for 10 seconds or a minute. I tend to prefer the shorter intervals as it keeps me more alert. All of the combinations are combined to make up rounds; some instructors do 4-5 shorter rounds for a class while others do two rounds a class. At the end of each round we attack the bag, meaning we go all out doing whatever we want. I think I’m supposed to really like attacking the bag, but I hate it. I go to class to be told what to do, having to come up with 10, 20, or 30 seconds of my own combinations is annoying. But from talking to other people and judging the energy in the room I think I’m in the minority on that.

After each round we get a water and toweling off break. In most classes after we finish working on the bag the instructor tells us to take off our gloves and we go into abs. A few instructors intersperse abs in with the rest of the workout, but most do it at the end. We’ll do some combination of bicycle crunches, scissor kicks, leg raises, sitting with the bag between our feet and sitting up and punching the bag, sitting with the bag between our feet and sitting up and climbing up the bag, side planks, side planks with leg raises, side planks with twists, forearms and toes, forearms and toes with twists, and spidermans.

Sometimes after taking off our gloves we’ll incorporate the medicine ball, both for a full-body workout (ie. throwing it down or working with a partner to throw it back and forth while doing squat thrusts) and for abs.

After abs we do a cool down stretch, mostly using the same stretches we used at the beginning of the class.

All of the classes are challenging and it’s definitely a full body workout. There are certain instructors whose classes I prefer and I try to go to them, but there’s no one that I’m disappointed to have to take a class with.

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Working Out on Vacation

This is going to be a post where I’m really freaking pleased with myself. Normally I am not good at working out on vacation. When I was running regularly it was somewhat easier, I could do that any where, or if I stay in a hotel with a gym easily accessible I can be somewhat better, but really, I kind of suck at working out when I go away.

That’s why, this vacation, I went into it with a plan.

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Before I went away I found five workouts online, printed them out, along with instructions for stretching, and tucked them away in my suitcase.

How did it work out? Pretty damn well! I worked out four out of six days. I had planned to do five out of six days, but I was tired and sore after three days of intense workouts so I decided to give myself a break.

Here’s what I did:

Sunday: No Equipment Needed Cardio Circuit
Monday: 1000 Calorie Workout (for the squats and crunches I did different types each time)
Tuesday: No Nonsense Circuit Workout (I did the squats without weights and regular crunches)
Thursday: Jump Rope ‘n’ Abs Circuit (the last three sets of crunches I did different types since I didn’t have a ball or weights)

And the workout I never got to.

My original plan was to run a mile, do the circuit, and run another mile. The only day I did that was Sunday. On Monday I ran a mile, but my right achilles killed my the whole mile so after that I said enough running, I’ll do the things I actually enjoy.

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One thing I found really helpful was the Seconds Interval Timer that I downloaded for my iPhone. I entered the intervals for Sunday and Thursday and it made the easy workouts that much easier. I found that I preferred the time intervals to the intervals where I had to count to a certain number of reps.

I really liked how my plan worked and it’s definitely something I plan on replicating on future trips. I think now that I’ve been taking kickboxing I’m used to having my workout be planned out for me and be varied. When I’m away I have no choice but to plan for myself, but planning in advance give me so much more motivation to get out of bed than if I would have had to come up with something that morning.

I also managed to get in my 10,000 steps every day when I was away, another thing that I am very proud of. Some days it was easier than others, but I made sure I did it every day (I don’t wear my pedometer when I workout so the total doesn’t include the miles I ran or any of my movements during the intervals). The only bad thing is that my pedometer, which resets at midnight, is set to eastern time (obviously) so at 9pm Pacific time it would reset for the day. I’m sure it came out even, but it kind of irked me.

What’s your favorite way to get in a workout while on vacation?

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Pedometer

About two weeks ago I got a pedometer. I had always been curious about how far I walk, living in New York City means half a mile walk to the subway, then half a mile walk to work, and all that make again. Not to mention going out at lunch, doing things after work, and of course my daily workout.

For a while now I’ve seen a few people’s Fitbits post their daily steps to Twitter and Facebook and I’ve debated getting a Fitbit, but then I realized all I wanted to know was how many steps I take a day and I could get that for much cheaper.

I ended up buying the Omron HJ-112 Digital Pocket Pedometer and so far I like it. I wouldn’t say I love it. It counts my steps correctly, I’ve tested it, but it doesn’t compute distance correctly. When I’ve gone for a 3 mile run (which I am 100% sure is a 3 mile run) it tells me I’ve gone two-point-something miles. I thought it might be a problem with my stride distance, something you input into the device, but I’ve checked it numerous times and my stride is indeed two feet.

I also take issue with the claim that it counts regular and brisk steps separately. I counts brisk steps separately, but the main step count includes brisk steps. But that’s me being crazy.

There are things I like about it, but they’re mainly about the concept. On a regular day in the city I easily get 10,000 steps, which is the recommended amount. On a day I workout I get around 20,000. I’ve actually started adding my step tally to to the workout page.

The pedometer also encourages me to walk more. I love walking and if I can walk rather than taking the subway/a bus/a cab I always would, but now I can see the tangible results. And it’s fun to watch the numbers climb!

Do you know how many steps you walk each day? Do you think it’s an interesting thing to know? Personally I can’t imagine getting to 10,000 steps/day in the suburbs, I feel spoiled by living in a city!

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I had a pretty great weekend. It was busy, but relaxing, and I got to see a bunch of friends.

For lunch on Friday I had a burger from Westville.

Friday night I went with my friend Josy to her coworker’s photography exhibit at the Yes Gallery in Greenpoint. It was a very cool show featuring photography of carniverous plants, plus some of the actual plants.

Photography:

Actual plant:

I thought this one would make a cool wedding bouquet:

I thought the photos were really gorgeous, the art was reasonably priced (but still out of my price range), and the food (lobster rolls) and wine were delicious.

After the gallery we headed to dinner at Calexico.

While waiting for the G train I saw this lovely subway ad:

Notice anything different?

Saturday morning started bright and early with my Step and Sculpt class. In a white Mount Holyoke tee shirt in honor of the Laurel Parade. Then a bagel, then lots of catching up on TV shows.

In the late afternoon my friend Laura and I headed into the city to see Midnight in Paris.

midnight-in-paris-movie-poster

It was good. I think if you weren’t familiar with the writers and artists he meets in Paris it might not be as good, but I thought it was enjoyable.

I also finally figured out Four Square on my phone (it was doing this weird thing where it wouldn’t find any places).

After the movie we headed to Emack and Bolio’s for ice cream. Low-fat malted cookie dough. Delicious.

Then we headed to dinner at the Dram Shop. Veggie burger and fries. Fantastic as always.

Sunday morning started bright and early with a damp, depressing, really hard 3-mile run in Prospect Park.

After a quick trip back to my apartment it was back up to the park to meet my old roommate Amy and her boyfriend Mike to go to the Prospect Park food truck rally.

The lines were all very long but we decided to brave one of the longest lines and try out the Red Hook Lobster Pound. Once I got over the fact that I was paying $16 for something from a truck I really enjoyed my Connecticut lobster roll.

The bread was delicious and buttery and the lobster was so fresh and perfect. As much as it pains me to say it, this was worth the $16 and the 30 minute or so wait on line.

What comes after lobster? Ice cream sandwiches from Coolhaus! I got the chocolate chip cookie with peanut butter ice cream. Very good. More than worth the $5.

After a quick walk around Grand Army Plaza it was time for me to hop on the 3 and head up to the Met to meet my friend Maria for the Alexander McQueen exhibit.

Savage-Beauty-Poster

I made it to the Upper East Side in record time, but unfortunately the line for the McQueen exhibit was insanely long. They said it was an hour and a half wait but I think we only waited for about 45 minutes. They moved us along quickly.

And once we got in it was totally worth it. Even though it was PACKED (like you could barely move) the pieces were so interesting. It’s definitely very avant garde, but the stuff was so detailed, so beautiful, and in many cases just freaky. I just wish there it hadn’t been so crowded so I could have spent more time studying the clothes in detail and reading about them, but oh well.

By the time we finished the McQueen exhibit the Met was closing so it was back on the subway to Williamsburg where we met Maria’s boyfriend Tim for drinks and a little food at Mugs. I had their delicious veggie burger which I highly recommend.

So if you’re keeping track that 2 lobster rolls and 3 burgers (1 beef, 2 veggie) this weekend. Kind of gross.

But a great weekend. That’s left me ready to pass out.

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This morning I ran the Oyster Ponds 5K. This was my fourth 5K race, but the first race I ran since I ran a half marathon on April 3, 2010. I can’t believe it’s been more than a year!

My dad was the one who wanted to run, as I’ve mentioned I haven’t really been running a lot, so I can’t say I was too excited. But the gorgeous scenery driving out to Orient Point certainly helped.

Nice view driving out to the 5K

It was a very small, local race that was run out of the elementary school. I like when races have a real location because it means nicer bathrooms!

School where the race took place

Here I am before the race. Ready to run! It was very chilly, I kept my long-sleeve shirt on while we waited and even during the race.

Before the race

My dad stretching. He was in a much stranger pose when I first went to take the picture.

This guy with the megaphone was in charge. Overall I thought the race was really well-organized. Granted there weren’t a lot of people (maybe 100-150?), but it was easy to sign in, they had lots of shirt sizes, they were very clear about when and where the race started, they started on time, and the course had mile-markers throughout.

Plus, afterwards, there was plenty of cold water, orange slices, bananas, and bagels. Cream cheese would have been nice but that’s my only (very minor) complaint. 

And here’s me after the race. 

After the race

I finished in 32:48 which is the slowest 5K I’ve run since I started running again. I didn’t have high expectations going in, but I did expect to beat the times I’ve been running in Prospect Park since the park is pretty hilly and this race course was pretty flat. However, my legs were SO tight that it made the first 2 miles pretty unbearable. I even stopped to stretch during mile 2 they were so tight. By the time I got to 3 miles I felt pretty good. Which is the hard thing about running shorter distances. But I was happy. 

They did a really nice raffle and awards ceremony at the end. My dad (who finished in 25:12!!!) won 3rd place in the men’s 55-59 division. The old guys are always so fast!

I sat under this tree stretching for a while.

And then I won 2nd place (out of 2 people!) in the women’s 25-29 division!

Overall a really great race and a good experience. And it didn’t rain!

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I’ve moved my Wednesday Workouts to their own page. It makes it easier for me to track what I do and allows me to write this review.

I started running again. I had stopped about a year ago due to some pretty bad knee pain. Over the last year I’ve ran on and off but because of pain or lack of interest I haven’t been able to get back into it. 

I’ve used my Garmin 305 to track my mileage, pace, and time for a while, but for some reason it stopped holding a charge. I had heard about the RunKeeper app from That Wife recently and my broken Garmin was the perfect reason to try it out.

As far as I can tell, and I’ve only used RunKeeper once, it can do many of the things my Garmin does. While I’m running it tracks mileage, time, and pace and I can even set it to do voice cues over my music (you pick a playlist for it to play through your iPod). I set it to update me every mile with my overall time and average pace. 

Normally I find myself glancing at my Garmin all the time so it was a change for me to run not constantly looking at something. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I kept pretty much exactly a 10:30 pace, which is what I’m currently aiming for, even without looking at the Garmin.

What I really like about RunKeeper (and my Garmin, but RunKeeper is free!) is looking at the data after a run.

There are three screens to analyze data, the first one, pictured above, tell you your overall time, average pace, calories burned, and gives you a map of your route with the mileage broken down.

The second screen has the same info at the top but then breaks down mileage by minute. I don’t find this particularly helpful, but it’s certainly nice. 

The third screen shows the mileage split which I really enjoy looking at. When I was running a lot I aimed for negative splits, but for now I’m happy with having approximately the same splits and not slowing down at the end. 

The RunKeeper app also automatically syncs with RunKeeper’s website. Everyone gets a profile, you can check mine out here. There seems to be a really great social networking community there which is something I need to explore more.

Overall I really, really liked the RunKeeper app and I’m excited to play around with it more. Highly recommend!

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