Monday, January 31, 2011

I'm back with the answers to some of your questions!

Hi guys, it's been a little while (a whole week, ack!) I had some feedback on things that people were interested and I thought I'd address one today.
One of my readers asked about exercise while menstruating, which is really a good question for all you women out there, so I decided I would answer this question first.
The answer to this question ultimately has to come from you. Some women have really easy menstrual periods and it's not a big deal for them to continue their normal workouts. Others, like me, tend to have horrible periods with everything you DON'T want; bad cramps and headaches, backache, bloating, nausea, fatigue, mood swings... well, you get the point. The trick with those periods is that you can usually workout and it will actually help relieve the symptoms somewhat. The most important thing for you to do during your period is to listen to your body. I'm not saying to completely take it off, but if you experience any worsening of your symptoms when you try a workout (usually this happens during the first couple days), stop. However, if you're just using your period as an excuse, knock that off! What is generally recommended is a slightly 'lighter' workout. Basically, just listen to your body and what it's telling you.

If you are a regular yogi, you probably already know this from your classes, but you shouldn't do any inverted poses (where your head is lower than your hips). There are some really good yoga poses and 'workouts' out there that can help relieve the symptoms even more. in particular; half-moon pose, supported child's pose, and reclining bound angle pose. If you are interested in the yoga route when you are menstruating, I highly recommend you look at Moving Towards Balance: 8 weeks of yoga with Rodney yee (in the back of the book there is a 'moon practice' that is really good. I also recommend you look at The Woman's Book of Yoga and Health.

I often find that light cardio or a lighter bodyweight or dumbbell workout helps relieve some of the discomfort and makes me feel better. The general consensus is that you should try to continue your workouts, they will help combat the fatigue - as long as you don't overdo it - and will help relieve other symptoms as well.

The main idea is that you listen to your body. Not the excuses your mind gives you, but what your body is actually saying. Try your workout and pay attention to how it's going. If you're feeling worse, stop. If you're feeling better, finish out your workout. Just like your body, your period is individual and not like everyone else's, so pay attention to yourself and do what your body is telling you to.

Monday, January 24, 2011

any thoughts out there?

Hi guys. I've been trying to write a lot lately despite taking on another job and trying to plan my wedding and I feel pretty good about how I've been doing! How are you liking the photos? I feel like it breaks up the content and provides a visual about what I am talking about, which is always important to me. I like a mix of information that touches on all the learning styles (it must be the teacher in me!). I (still) haven't been posting my workouts, but I'm hoping to build up to posting videos instead! So that's something to (hopefully) look forward to! I also want to point out that while I have done a lot of research and taken a couple classes on nutrition, my answers won't be the best you can get. I highly recommend you look further and ask a certified professional. If you don't have questions and just want to read more about good nutrition, check out my friend maggie's blog:

So, what I'm thinking of doing for a week or so is to profile a couple different exercise options to help you find the one (or many) that work for you. This could end up taking a full month with all the choices out there!

What do you guys think about this? Are there any suggestions from you guys that you'd like me to research and write about?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Working out with mommy

A lot of my friends and acquaintances are now moms and wondering how to pursue their fitness goals. I know for a fact that its possible, though not always easy. In my experience with my cousins (who are now 8, 6, and 3) and my fiancé's nephew (4) I have learned that there are ways to involve your kids in your workouts or use them to help you achieve your fitness goals.
One thing (that i've found from experience) is that pushing a stroller adds a little bit more effort to a walk. On a recent walk with a friend who has a little one, I volunteered to push the stroller for a little while (we had already been walking for at least 2 hours in a hilly area). Pushing that stroller uphill was an AMAZING workout. I feel like I'm in pretty good shape, but I was breathing hard and my glutes were working full-force!

how do you like THIS dancing workout?

SO that's one thing. grab a friend and go on a walk with the little one in the stroller.

Obviously, your children are only going to be content to sit in their strollers for a short while. When they are older they are even more fun to have around to help you achiever your fitness goals. The best part is they will adore you for spending the time with them! The best thing you can do is play with them at the park. If your back is strong enough, toss em around a little! push them on the swings and that'll involve your chest and upper back muscles as well as your abs to stabilize and your legs because you're standing on them! chasing them around is great cardio and kids have SO much energy, they will keep you running for as long as they can keep you upright (and even after you've fallen over).

One thing i've noticed with children as they reach 2 and older, when you start doing yoga poses or 'unusual' moves, they want to be involved and often either climb on you or mimic your poses. My cousins were always saying that they wanted to do headstands like daddy (who practiced yoga regularly at that point in time). Whenever I did pigeon pose, one or more of them tended to climb on me like I was a human jungle gym. Older children love playing ball in the backyard and love you even more if you go out and kick the ball around with them for 30 minutes. They also love riding bicycles. You can ride with them, run alongside, or move with them in anyway you see fit! Uncovering your inner child will re-teach you how to play again and give your body some of the physical activity it craves.

I guess what I'm saying is if you can't fit a 10-20 minute workout in your day, you CAN fit in some active playtime with your children and beyond the fitness benefits, the bond you'll develop with your child will make every silly game they invent worth it's while!

Hiking with extra weight. Even more calories burned!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

working out and your life

I've been really bad about posting my workouts lately, but trust me, i'm doing them! just not being as religious about uploading the photos of my journal. That being said, I'd like to talk about how you fit working out into your life. I assume that by now you realize that you go through cycles in your life and that one thing doesn't work for you all the time. My exercise history is proof of that. For Example; when I was a child, I was really active. I loved running around the neighborhood making up fanciful games, climbing trees, and playing basketball and baseball with my brother. I swam whenever I had the opportunity, without reservations about wearing a bathing suit or whether I had remembered to put on sunscreen. Formally, I danced and was in a baton troupe. Essentially, I was very, very active until I hit my teens.

When I was 12 I quit dance in favor of trying soccer. The downside to soccer is that recreational youth soccer is only 4 and a half months of the year. Without ballet to keep me active the rest of the year and with puberty in full-force I became very sedentary. For a while, my metabolism kept me very skinny, but, as every woman knows, somewhere in your teens your metabolism SLOWS DOWN! I still had (and have) a fast metabolism, but I was out of shape. Even with P.E. classes, I didn't have the physical fitness level that I enjoy now. My junior year I started to get a bit heavier - enough so my mother noticed, although I'm pretty sure that she was more worried about my fitness level than my waistline.
The turning point for me was the summer after my Junior year of high school. That summer my family went to Hawaii. We walked a lot, climbed stairs to the fourth floor (where our condo was) every day, multiple times a day, we swam all the time, and I tried surfing. Over the course of two weeks, I noticed that my shorts started to fit better and that all of a sudden I liked the shape of my thighs. They were slimmer and toned, as opposed to mostly fat and heading towards chunky. (I'm one of those body types that puts weight on mostly around the hips and thighs, in case you couldn't tell!).
who WOULDN'T want to walk here?

When we came back from that vacation I was motivated by the changes in my body. My mom and I discussed what kind of physical activity I might do regularly if I had it available. I decided that I would probably do a pilates video so we bought a couple Denise Austin pilates workouts. (Pilates for Every Body and Power Yoga Plus for those of you who want to know). I started doing the Pilates for Every body every day. I wouldn't always do the whole video, but I did some part of it every day. Then, as I progressed through my senior year, I started adding videos to my collection and I would mix it up. I did a lot of Denise Austin videos because they were effective for me at that point in my life and because I was working out at home (and I'm a self-motivating type) I would actually do them.

some of my video library:
Denise Austin: Pilates for Every Body [DVD]Denise Austin - Power Yoga Plus (DVD) Denise Austin - Personal Training System (DVD) Denise Austin - Power Zone: The Ultimate Metabolism Boosting Workout (DVD)Denise Austin - Burn Fat Fast (DVD)Denise Austin - Fat Burning Dance Mix (DVD)Denise Austin - Fat Blasting Yoga (DVD)Women's Health - Train for your Body Type (DVD)

I kept up with the video trend (using the videos above in varying combinations) throughout my undergraduate years. My sophomore year of college I took up jump roping regularly. When I say I took it up, I mean I would turn on a movie (usually one that was at least 2 hours long) and jump rope for the ENTIRE DURATION of the movie. I would start with the opening credits and not stop until the closing credits were running. To this day I am not sure how I managed that, but I was in the BEST cardio shape of my life at that point! (I also weighed all of 102 lbs).

The winter of 2006 I started snowboarding on weekends. It's a GREAT workout and really fun to be out in the great outdoors, flying down a mountain and feeling your legs burn. And then I had a snowboarding accident that quickly ended that. (another snowboarder ran into me when I was sitting off the run and his board cut into my lower back/right hip about an inch from my spine... ).

As soon as I healed I started training in Martial arts. Martial Arts is another great place to get a really well balanced workout. I loved the art, but only made it through my yellow belt before I moved to Boston for Grad school. One note here, the training I was doing there was so intense and so calorie intensive that it would make me incredibly hungry for the entire week (I wasn't hungry after the workout, but the next day I was a bottomless pit) and I gained nearly 15 lbs that summer - all muscle.

The next stop in my workout evolution was Boston. I moved 3,000 miles away from everything (and everyone) I knew and loved. I was a wreck. One of the few things I could count on to keep me out of the all-encompassing depression of my homesickness was the endorphins from my workouts. I was nervous about doing them in my new home, though. I was living in a 3rd floor walk up with 3 other people that I didn't know. Thankfully, my days usually started after everyone else's did, so I was able to do my home workouts - which morphed several times while I was going through my masters degree. First I would just use my videos that I had brought with me. THEN I discovered This website has a whole store of workout videos of all types and lengths that you can stream online. for the first year and a half of my masters degree (2008-09) this website was my new best friend. The downside was that between walking everywhere (I didn't have a car while I was in boston), the workouts, and the new city I was getting sick a LOT. And when you're working on a master's degree in VOICE, having many, many colds really makes it hard to progress.
So my workout practices changed again. I started doing yoga almost exclusively while adding some pleasure walks to my daily, very necessary, walks. I stopped getting sick as often and started feeling a lot less stressed and a lot more open to the world around me. Which you can read more about in this post:

But then, as I moved into that groove, I moved back to California. My parents, being the awesome people they are with lots of furloughed time, flew to boston, rented a car, packed me up and we started the first real road trip of my life. Keeping up the yoga on the road was surprisingly easy. I'd just wake up a little earlier than everyone else and do some yoga on the floor of the hotel rooms. So the trip itself wasn't total ruin for my routine, it just changed where I did it. Then I got home. while settling back into life in California - for good this time - My daily routine went *splat*. I was transitioning from living in boston to living in california again AND I was transitioning from living with roommates or my parents to taking the step of living with my fiancé. In a small house. With lots of stuff. Doing yoga in a room with lots of stuff is really hard to do! So I did some yoga, but I tended to go back to my videos on exercisetv. Sometimes.
Sometimes I would do workouts from Those are great too, but it was still only sometimes. I was also playing and refereeing soccer at the time, so I was getting some exercise there, but that was all weekends and my week days weren't as proactive on the workout front. I became a 'weekend warrior.' Uh oh.

This is when Ethan (the fiancé) sent me the link to As I watched Zuzana go through her routine, my eyes kind of glazed over and I remember thinking, "there's no way I could do that." So I didn't. I continued with my lackadaisical workout schedule and counted floorsets at work as a workout. Finally I got up the nerve to try one of Zuzana's workouts. and it was fun! I did another workout the next day. And the next. I started recording my workouts in my little journal and I kept doing the bodyrock workouts on a nearly daily basis until I sprained my ankle. Then I discovered that I could create my own Zuzana style workouts that took into account my injury. I discovered that creating my own workouts was fun and decided to keep doing it.

I do even more research for exercising now than I ever have. It's interesting and I learn so much on a daily basis about the different ways to approach fitness. There are so many choices that there WILL be one that works for you.

Have you already figured out what that is? What it was when you were younger? What's your workout evolution? Do you keep a workout journal? How often do you workout? Those are all questions for YOU!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Workout Buddies

Most people find it really hard to self motivate when it comes to working out. There are always reasons not to and it's so easy to come up with excuses! One of the best ways to counter that nagging little voice saying "i'm too tired" or "Work was so emotionally draining, that I can't face anything else to do today." My most common phrase is "I have time. I'll do it later." Bet you can guess what I never get around to doing on those days.
One thing that is really hard to get around is another person depending on you to show up. When someone is expecting you for a workout of any kind, you're more likely to show up. So I challenge you to find a workout buddy with similar workout goals and interests who will challenge you not only to try your hardest, but also to show up for those workouts!

Monday, January 17, 2011


I love working out and I love many, many forms of exercise including yoga, pilates, walking, running (ok, only sometimes!), interval training, sports, biking and hiking... I'm sure I can think of many more as well. Yoga is definitely at the top of my list of things I like to do. While practicing yoga you learn balance - not just physical, but also emotional and spiritual - strength, patience, flexibility, endurance, and self-love. Many times even the most complete workout doesn't provide ALL of those components.
think it doesn't take strength and balance for these poses? think again! try chair pose (below). too easy? Add a a twist!

You may be asking about your regular workouts. 'Why would I want to do such a sedentary workout?' Is probably a question many of you are asking. First of all, anyone who has ever done hot yoga will tell you that there is nothing quite as exhausting as a class of set hatha yoga moves in a 100+ degree Fahrenheit room. I encourage you to try adding yoga to your workout to round it out. If you are taking rest days (which you should be doing) try making them a little more active with a vinyasa flow yoga class. You will get some awesome cardio in a really low impact, stress free, non-competitive environment. If you are a super competitive person, especially in your workouts, this is even better for you. There is no place for competition in your yoga practice. Many of the poses are such that you must listen to your body and many people, myself included, HAVE to do modifications to the poses.

Some of you will LOVE yoga to the point that you ask; 'Should I quit them and just do yoga exclusively?' The answer is completely with you. I can't tell you what your body needs, or what is going to work best for you and your complete health. It's important to stay active, but a healthy 'diet' of yoga and frequent walks was what kept me healthy and balanced in the last year of my masters degree. That time period was arguably the healthiest I have ever been. I experienced a lot fewer colds and flus, I was better able to manage the stress of multiple performances, the 'thesis' project (program notes and orals on those notes), and packing up to move back to California.

One more benefit of yoga. the way you look (looking at yourself) while doing downward facing dog. I feel SO confident about myself when I see how I look in that pose. Why? my abs, legs and arms are engaging, showing off muscle tone!

I forgot to mention this: Yoga is great for all people at all stages of their lives!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Loving yourself

First off, I have been loving my new Gymboss timer! My fiancé got it for me for christmas and it makes working out SO much easier (and more fun, I'm a dork that way!). The gymboss timer ( allows you to easily time interval workouts (and build workouts around interval training) and also has a stopwatch function. One of my favorite parts of the timer is how its really small and you can clip it onto your workout gear (or use the provided armband to clip it onto) making it convenient to take just about anywhere.
My workouts are much more fun and challenging with that little device clipped onto my sports bra. :)

I've been doing a lot of yoga and health reading - specifically focusing on women and stages of their lives. Yoga has always been an interest of mine - my mom used to teach me poses when I was a small child and I just ate it up! It just goes to prove that yoga is good for all ages, and its definitely good for all people - male, female, old, or young, no matter the stage in life or physical issues. With a good teacher you can not only deal with weird body issues (like the plate in my arm or old injuries, pregnancy, bad backs, etc) but gain strength, flexibility, and lots and lots of self esteem. Every time you finish a yoga session you gain something, and I've never left a class feeling worse emotionally, physically, or spiritually than I did before I went in. The best way to experience yoga (as a beginner) is to go to classes. From there the possibilities are endless. I love to do my own practice at home, sometimes guided by my body's needs, sometimes by a prescribed 'routine' I find in a book. one of my favorite books for home 'routines' is "moving towards balance: 8 weeks of yoga with Rodney Yee" which covers 8 weeks, explains each pose in detail and provides 8 weeks of daily yoga routines that will help you grow in your yoga program - all while providing helpful modifications for those of us who are less able to do the poses for various reasons (like lacking flexibility, having hurt joints, or other pain). The book I've just been reading avidly is "The Woman's Book of Yoga & Health" by Linda Sparrowe and Patricia Walden. This book is SO great for talking about needs specific to women that yoga (the practice and the lifestyle) can help. One of the most important subjects that they talk about is loving your body how it is.

How many of you don't love your body as a whole? I'd guess most of you dislike some aspect of your body or the other. I always let myself dislike my thighs and rear, which is counter productive in SO many ways. One of the things we should always remember to do is love our body for the good things and refuse to think about the bad. Instead of thinking about how huge I envision my thighs to be, I should think about what they allow me to do and that I'm blessed to have them.

I challenge you to love your body. Love the way your feet allow you to walk, the way your thighs allow you to do squats, the way your upper arms balance you out, and the way that your stomach allows you to digest foods. And remember. your body is yours, it serves you and protects you. Its yours for better or for worse, so take care of it too!

Also if you need snack ideas on the go check out

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Vacation Burpees and some of the story with my arm

Last post for today, I swear! :)

On my holiday to Colorado I made Ethan (my fiancé) take videos of me doing burpees in some of the places we went. By that time my arm was feeling a lot better - just painful to the touch in one spot.
For those of you who read and haven't known me forever - I had an ulna shortening procedure in 2002 to even out the radius and ulna. The unevenness was caused by a break in 2000 that healed over the growth plate in the radius and allowed my ulna to get longer than the radius. Very painful. The procedure looks kind of like this: (graphic pictures, so be warned)

anyway. my arm now looks like this:

About a week before Christmas I started experiencing incredible pain that seem to start from that screw closest to my elbow. The general consensus is that the hardware needs to come out, so now I am waiting to see when that will happen.

Zuzana and Freddy at have a habit of doing burpees in some of the cool places they travel to, so I decided to take their lead and get videos in the garden of the gods and UC Boulder!

Workouts for the last couple of weeks :)

I guess I should post my last several workouts! :)
some of these are from when I was experiencing painful inflamation around the hardware in my arm:




(still taking it easy on the arm)


12/31/2010 - Last workout of 2010!

1/3/2011 (first actual workout of the new year!)



So that's the workouts I did over the holidays (that I actually wrote down - there were some unrecorded, improvised workouts in there - Like on christmas day :))

hopefully someday soon I'll get workout videos up! :)

Motivating day to day

This is a common question. You've made the resolution to workout regularly, but when it comes to that day, you can't seem to get around to your workout. Everyone struggles with finding the motivation to workout, even those of us who look forward to it every day! So what gets you to workout? Are you a social person who will do it if a friend is depending on you? Then get a workout buddy. I personally use working out as a chance to think through my day and plan out what I want to do and once I have started my workout the trick is getting me to stop! The trick to finding your motivation is to find your own. Find the time that works for you to workout and a place to workout that doesn't cow you or make you uncomfortable. Another part to making working out a motivation in itself is to find a workout that inspires you to do it every day. There are so many choices out there of workouts to do that there is bound to be one that inspires you. you have choices including, but not limited to, lifting weights at the gym, running or walking on a treadmill, bodyweight exercises, pilates, yoga, dance, martial arts, sports (like soccer, football, basketball, squash, you name it!) and workout videos that you do from home. There are so many resources available to people who want to get in shape, and many of them are free or inexpensive, so take advantage!

Some places to look for your motivation (that have helped me find mine): (you all know how much I talk about this website!) (a great source for streaming workout videos with lots of great trainers to pick from) (the magazine - great workouts and lots of other fun things to look at)
rodney yee yoga products (videos, books, classes, and website)
the fitness video section of your favorite bookstore
Library books and videos

i know i'm missing some, so let me know what inspires (inspired) you!

and for your diet questions, check out my friend Maggie's Blog: Food Moment

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Years and resolutions

My future 'step-sister-in-law' wrote a beautiful note about the new year on facebook. The viewpoint is perfect for one of the problems in making your new years resolutions stick... Especially for working out and maintaining a healthy diet.

HAPPY NEW DAY. (my take on New Years) by Ashley George
You know, I think we give each year a lot more credit than they're worth. What about all the days in between?
So many people decide once a year that they'll make resolutions. Stop smoking, lose weight, clean out the closet, journal, etc.
What happens after a few months? Well, a lot of times, the dedicated few can stick with it. I admire that. BUT, so many people end up not being able to keep their commitment, often times leading to disappointment in themselves. Am I wrong?
Why is it that ONCE A YEAR, we decide to set our bigger goals? Then we get sidetracked, lose focus, and then feel like we need to wait again until December the 31st to start over? It's like the person who says "I'll start that project on Sunday". Why not start the project on a Wednesday? What's wrong with all the Tuesdays or Fridays?
Why not celebrate the coming of a new month? What about a new week? What about a new DAY?!
What if we all started off each day saying "Okay, TODAY I'm going to really work on complimenting other people." or "TODAY I'm going to keep every promise I make.", "TODAY I will take 20 minutes to relax".
For a couple years, i have refused to say happy new year. I try my very best to acknowledge new days. Yeah I fail at that pretty often, but I don't have to wait any longer than 24 hours for the next one.
Waiting 24 hours for a fresh start instead of 12 months? Sounds good to meeeeee.

--Just some food for thought =]

"THIS is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!!"
-Psalm 118:24

[Oh look, I just noticed the verse is 24. hahaha that made me happy.]


So what's my point with this? She's right, and it applies to every area of your life. You can't make changes if you don't make a dedication to those changes DAILY. Saying you are going to get fit in the new year; lose those 20 extra pounds and go for a run at least once a week at the new year doesn't help you with the daily grind. As she points out, lots of people struggle to stick to their resolutions then decide it can wait until the new year. I beg you - don't let that person be you! Make your resolutions a daily goal-setting practice. Before you go to bed tell yourself that tomorrow you will do your first workout. Remember, you don't need a gym membership! There are lots of ways to get in a workout without ever going to a gym and it's easy to start small. I have several websites I use to help me stay on course with my workouts because I really dislike going to the gym and working out with all sorts of strangers around. If you aren't ready for some of my workouts start with something simple - do 20 jumping jacks, 20 crunches, 20 squats, 20 lunges, and 20 modified pushups 2-5 times through. It's easy to do that and it's a start towards your goals. Go for a long walk or a short jog. Go outside and play a sport with your children (or, if they're younger, go chase them around for a little while, trust me, that's an excellent workout!). So start your working out today - it's a new day. Then do it again tomorrow. If your resolutions are small and manageable and you can start over every 24 hours, you'll build healthy habits and it's not so hard to keep up!

I wish you all a happy new year, and a happy new day. Lets make 2011 a year of daily resolutions to be healthier and fitter. I know you can make that happen for yourself.