Monday, August 25, 2008

Moving forward

The good news first: I am still employed, still alive and mostly moved.

The bad news: we have yet to set up Internet at the new place, and my ability to post from work has been restricted.

The fitness news: My ankles are almost completely healed, and I will be returning to the gym tomorow. I retested my pushup max and am happy to say I will only have to slide down to week three in this fitness reboot. I am also happy to note that I managed to keep myself from gaining any weight through all of this. While I didn't do any formal exercise, I believe two solid days of moving boxes and furnature from a couple of second story walk up apartments to one third flor walk up counts for something! And never fear, I'm still planning on my triumphant return to aquatic exercise soon, hopfully very soon!


Monday, August 18, 2008

Holy Life Change Batman!

Ok, I realize that I'm being kinda criptic with some of this, but it's an ongoing problem that really can't be talked about. So. Suffice to say that my employment situation is unstable. I am also moving this coming weekend.

My best intentions for going to the gym have been back burner-ed by the current situation coupled with my traitor ankles.

The ankles are feeling much better today. One of the major obstacles to my recovery has been the fact that I live in Brooklyn and work (for now) in Manhattan. Not walking is not an option.

I'm going to attempt swimming again this week, once I have a better idea on where things stand in the rest of my life, and start back on the Hundred Push Up Challenge, although I do believe I'll have to drop back a few weeks.

I'm trying to see this as a positive thing, change is inevitable, and I was unhappy with my situation as it was.

I've also lost about two pounds from this. It's not that I haven't been eating, although I've been having to force myself to eat. I just haven't been eating much. And the things that I can stomach right now are very lite fare. Like I mentioned before, apparently my body reacts to this kind of stress by imposing a forced diet on me.

Things will be a bit more settled and clarified after today.

Change is inevitable.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Stress Diet

I'm sorry I've been awol. There is a lot of changing happening in my life right now. Not much I can talk about at the moment, but a lot of upheaval and destructive forced change. Once things settle down I'll be back to normal updates, but for now I'm going to be a bit distant, sorry.

I'll attempt to keep the update schedule normal, but I'm almost positive that there are going to be quite a few missed days.

That said, apparently my body reacts to extreme amounts of emotional stress by deciding that food is not exactly what it wants. I'm almost literally having to force myself to eat, and to keep it down.


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

H.I.I.T. me with your best shot!

In preparation for when my ankles decide to play nice again, I've been researching this trendy phenomenon people have been calling H.I.I.T.

I am most definitely going to try this, however much I think I will hate it.

There seems to be pleanty of resources out there, like HIIT source, to help a poor newb like me along. And this HIIT stuff has been talked about plenty recently, like Crabby McSlacker's post on the Cranky Fitness version S.H.I.I.T. ^_^

This is going to be another ongoing fitness experiment ala MizFit or The Great Fitness Experiment.

Anyone else up for this?

Facing Workout Phobias

After a quick self diagnostic this afternoon, I have decided that I should be able to try swimming tomorrow. I hemmed and hawed about it, tried to convince myself that I really should give myself another couple days of rest, bartered with myself (I'll go to boxing on Sunday instead!) and ultimately decided that I need to face this.

So tomorrow I will face the fear and don a swimsuit in a public place. Once I'm in the water I will be fine, it's that walk of shame from wherever you leave the towel to when you hit the water that bothers me. Never mind that I picked the gym I signed up for (NYSC btw) because it had locations with pools. Never mind how much I love swimming (I had a brief career in competitive swimming cut short by my inability to focus on anything enough to actually train for it in elementary school) or how much I just enjoy being in the water (I also used to teach swimming). I haven't been able to get past that walk yet. I swim like a fish in my parents pool (which is located in their back yard, nicely screened from the outside world by a fence ) but ask me to put a swimsuit on in any kind of public location (beach, party, you name it) and that clenchy panicky feeling grabs me just below my solar plexus and I use every neuron in my creatively trained brain to come up with a reason, any reason that I just can't, so sorry maybe next time.

The last time I swam for fitness was back in 2000, when I was living in California, and had a pass to a 24hour gym with a huge pool and hot tub. I was overweight then, around 160, but I had been making strides towards loosing weight. I had purchased a very unfortunate silver tank suit, which I thought was The awesomest thing evah, and was all about getting my swim back. Until I realized that As I stood there on the deck, people could see me, and I came to the sudden realization that I looked like a shiny tube of paint. Totally cylindrical. So not hot. I panicked and plunked myself down in the water as fast as possible. I didn't go back.

The major contributing factor, this time, in my decision to face the pool again, is injury. I can barely walk right now, let alone get a decent workout on a treadmill or elliptical machine. I must find an alternative. The state of my body today is the direct result of a previous injury. Back in 2004 I was in decent shape, nay I was the hotness. I spent four or five days a week at the dojo. I kicked many butts. A knee injury ended all of that. Waking up one morning unable to walk, let alone kick, jump, roll, and knee people in the stomach, I totally freaked out. For a while I kept up doing modified exercises. I did all my upper body basics sitting in a chair with hand weights. I did massive numbers of sit ups and crunches and other exercises. But I slowly petered off, as I gave up hope that this was a passing injury. It ended up requiring surgery and totally incapacitated me. It's still not 100%, and I've learned to be nice to my knees, but it took me this long to get over the injury, and my subsequent failure at fitness.

I will not let this injury do the same thing to me. I will face my public swim suit wearing phobia down in the name of my quest to regain my fitness and eventually return to the dojo floor.

But I'm going to bring the biggest towel I own and I will be wearing it up to the very last second I can. One step at a time here.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Modified Workouts

I couldn't face the gym today. After waking up and trying to walk to the bathroom, I wrapped my ankles, downed some Advil and decided to shoot for a Thursday return date at the gym. In the meantime I'm going to try and modify my workout so that most of what I do does not involve my ankles. I've been researching strength moves I can do to work various parts of my body with little to no equipment and without standing or using my ankles in any way.

So Far My list includes:
Push ups
Sensei Mark Specials
Ab Choppers
Bicycle Crunches
Hamstring Ball Curl

If you've got any ideas on various workout moves I can try please let me know...I'm desperate here!

Of course I'm going to try (and I stress the try) to hit the pool to get some Cardio on Thursday. It's not that I don't have the time, or that I don't love's well,'s the swimsuit issue. The idea of wearing a swimsuit in front of people I don't know makes me get slightly panicky. But since almost all forms of Cardio exercise that I can think of in some way involve my ankles, I may be forced (once again) to embrace a form of exercise that I've been avoiding.

I'm still bummed about the fact that I'm basically sidelined right now. Just when I was starting to catch the running bug, I manage to break myself.

Calorie counting is now of paramount importance. I'm terrified that if I'm not very careful I'm going to erase all the hard work I've done. Especially since I'm upset, and I'm an emotional eater.

Like tokaiangel said "Think like a surfer - 'stay stiff and ride the black wave'."

Monday, August 11, 2008

Dreaming of exercise

Ok, so I think it's official. I'm broken. I tried resting my ankles all weekend (minus the requisite walking - I do live in NYC after all walking is a requirement for life) and it's still like there are thousands of needles stabbing me in the ankle every time I step. None of the usual R.I.C.E. stuff is working. I've got prayers out and fingers crossed that I'll be ok for my work out tomorrow.

I am once again at that "enough!" stage with my life. My work schedule got changed, which is causing me to loose four hours a week off my paycheck. I'm working my tail off trying to keep up with everything. Not being able to walk is adding to my stress. I need a pause button. Hopefully things will be better by the end of this week. The apartment stuff will (hopefully) be squared away, the freelance assignment will be finished, and hopefully (again) my ankles will be working properly so I can focus on the running again.

Part of the stress factor is the fact that the S.O.'s brother is getting married at the end of this month. I will once again have to face both wearing a dress and having my picture taken. Both things I hate. Add into that the money stress of having to pay for plane tickets around t he same time that we're dropping butt-tons of cash for deposits and fees on the new apartment, and moving around the same time....lets just say that I've been trying really hard not to think too much lately.


Friday, August 8, 2008

Hit Like A Girl

I was raised in as close to a gender neutral environment as my parents could manage. Oh I knew that there were differences between girls and boys, but none of those differences had anything to do with ability. I truly believed growing up that I could do anything I wanted, and no it didn't matter that I was a girl, I could still be a baseball player.

This afforded me all sorts of amazing self confidence growing up, and allowed me to do all the cool sporty things I wanted to do. In short, I grew up a tomboy. I remember hearing the phrase "You hit like a girl!" for the first time and not understanding why that was supposed to be an insult.

The only major disadvantage that I've learned about growing up the way I did is that I have very little sense of "girly". I don't wear makeup unless absolutely necessary, and when I do I feel awkward, like I have a ton of paste smeared all over my face. I don't wear a lot of jewelery, only sentimental pieces occasionally.

The worst part however is my inability to dress myself. My default outfit is Jeans, a T-shirt, a Hoodie if it's cold, and sneakers or Doc Martins. This is fine. I honestly wouldn't want to change what I wear day to day. For dress up however I am hopelessly lost. I resort to collecting "women's magazines" and gleaning outfit ideas from there.

These are all minor inconveniences however. I am proud of my Tomboy status. When I was active at the dojo, I was proud of every bruise, every scrape, every hit. I loved the fact that I could go toe to toe with the guys and fight just as hard. It bothered me when then pulled punches.

The most annoying thing I've ever been told is "I can't spar you, your a girl, I can't hit a girl."

Ok, fine, stand there while I pummel you then, if it makes your macho ego feel better, but I honestly think that behind every time that I've gotten that statement was a truer one: "I can't spar you because if I loose, I'll have lost to a girl!" Which of course is somehow the worst thing ever. Because girls are Less then guys, and a guy should never loose to a girl, especially in a physical contest.

Well you know what? No. It dosn't work that way. Girls are not less than guys. We can hit hard and we can fight hard and we can run hard. In fact I've seen studies that prove that we can handle pain better, so I figure that makes it so we can work harder than you. (Ok so that study was about arthritis, but I think it applies to the "day after a workout" ache too.)

I'm proud of the fact that I "Hit like a girl" because you know what? I am a girl, and I'll still kick your butt.

Teh Pain!

The ankle pain is back again. I woke up this morning (afternoon for normal folks) and can barely walk. The pain is in whatever it is that is required for standing on ones tiptoes, or pushing off with the ball of ones foot. Now some background info, I did get new shoes this week, as my knees were aching something fierce from the instability in the old ones. Could this be the culprit? And if so why?

Tomboy post forthcoming. I got swamped with work last night...

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The girl hit hard like a barracuda baby

Last night I tried an experiment. Since I only have one ace bandage I wrapped up my right ankle and not my left ankle, took some Tylenol PM and went to bed. This morning, surprisingly, my left ankle felt better than my right ankle. I have no clue. In the process of getting myself up and mobile and to the gym I determined that stairs were no longer trying to kill me, and therefore I would be fine on the treadmill. So I laced up my sneakers and hit it.

I ran for half an hour and felt ok. I even pushed myself to run a little faster. My ankles started aching a bit towards the end but I figured I was alright.

I did day two of week six of the Hundred push up challenge, or rather I tried to. My arms gave out at push up 38 out of 42 in the max set. Part of my problem I've realized is that my palms get sweaty while I'm doing my push ups and my hands start to slide outwards slowly, making for progressively difficult push ups. Anyone got any suggestions? But anyways that means I'm redoing week six next week.

I kinda ran out of time for my strength set unfortunately. All I did was a set of 20 sensei mark specials. I'm planning on doing some more sit ups and squats on my lunch break to make up for it.

Then it was time for Treadmill Round Two! Yeah, no. Running produced a decidedly unhealthy shooting pain from both ankles. So I walked. I put the incline up to 5 and kept my heart rate up above 150. It was a fast walk, but it was most definitely a walk. So I sucked at the workout today.

I really need to figure out this ankle problem though. It's slowin me down.

I had this big long introspective post about me being a tomboy that I was writing in my head while I was doing the first half of my workout, but I've forgotten most of what I wanted to say...I'll try to remember and post a bonus post later.


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Draggin along

oooft. I woke up this morning and my ankles were on FIRE. I'm talking I can barely walk and stairs exist only to mock me. It's an odd feeling, because it's not really in the ankle so much as it's all the muscles attached to my ankle that hurt.

No walking for me today pleasekthnx.

SO I did the sensible thing and rubbed tiger balm all over my lower legs, and sat in a chair and worked on my art and made appointments to see apartments, and generally tried not to stand up or walk very much.

It helped some, but right now my ankles are still rather stiff, and unpleasant. I'm going to rest them for the rest of the night, and hope and pray that they're up to snuff in the A.M. I'm thinking I'll end up sticking to the elliptical machine tomorrow to give the poor ankles a break. I am however vastly amused that it is not my knees being the first to give out for once.

I am finding it increasingly hard to squeeze a good workout into my schedule. How do you guys do it?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Take a deep breath, babe, cause we've just started

It seems like I just can't get myself to exercise on the weekends. I make grandiose plans to do boxing and hit the gym and then *bam* real life interferes. After getting a grand total of 6 hours of sleep Saturday morning so that we could get up and traipse around Brooklyn looking at apartments, there was no way my body was letting me get up in time for boxing. Now mind you, normal people wouldn't have a problem getting up for a 12:30 class, but being the night dweller that I am, that's early.

I got myself back into the swing of things today (Monday was spent looking at more tiny overpriced apartments), and man do I hurt from it.

I did the half hour on the treadmill, with my body complaining the whole way. Then I did Day one of week six in the Hundred push up challenge. Ow. Just. Ow. I'm in the lowest bracket this time, and I barely made that last couple of push ups in the max set. I foresee redoing this week in my future. I did a wussy strength set, just the crunches I usually do, stretched and then tried to hit the treadmill again. My body was having none of that thank you very much. So I spent the next 25 minutes alternately walking and then jogging for a couple minutes, walking again for like 10 minutes, trying to run for a couple minutes, repeat.

And yet I feel like I ran a half marathon at this point..

Friday, August 1, 2008

Check in the appropriate box for Boy or Girl

First things first, I would like to apologize for my recent foul mood. I did a very silly thing, and agreed to work overtime on a week when I already wasn't at my best. Being overtired, PMSing and getting almost no human interaction outside of work? Not good.

I've considered taking down my last post, because honestly I could see how it might offend someone with or recovering from an eating disorder, however I feel I need to leave it up, for me, because sometimes I'm afraid I'm starting to develop *very* bad habits and thought patterns.I need to be careful, because I have a highly competitive nature, not to turn my food journal into a competition with myself to see 'how low I can go'. Let me say instead that I was speaking out of frustration and hormones, and I'm sorry.

I had a short, but good, workout today. The S.O. gets out early on Fridays so I met him at 3:00 for some gym time. I talked him into the treadmills and proceeded to fly. I had been feeling tired and out of sorts when we got there, I had only gotten 6 hours of sleep and was cranky, but let me tell you, after the two minute warm up, I cranked the music and just ran for 30 minutes. I even did an 'interval' for the last two minutes, pushing myself hard, sweating buckets, and hitting that 'no room for any thoughts' zone.

I did my Hundred push up Challenge set, day 3 of week 5. Again I barely made the last set. Those last few push ups were done teeth clenched and making my "I will KILL this" face. (Coined so by one of my Sensei's back at the dojo as it is the face I make that scares people ^_^)

I did Abs (25 sensei mark specials, 10 each side 'ab choppers', 10 each side side crunches, 15 toe touches with 12 lb weight), and a little extra arm work, just 2 sets of 15 tricep kickbacks with the 12 lb weight. Then I did a full stretching set for once (since I had time) and hit the showers.

One thing I noticed while running is that the appropriate music really helps me go. A small sample of my "I will kick @$$" music (and yes I'm weird so sue me):
"Infrared" by Placebo
"Boy or Girl" by Electric Six
"Mystery Girl" by Yeah Yeah Yeahs
"Come out Swinging" by The Offspring (or really most songs by them work)
"The Libertine" by Patrick Wolf
"Machete" by Moby

Yeah there's more...I have a huge workout playlist...but that's a good sample for now...

So what do you listen to?

Tracking Transformation: Where I stand now