Tag Archives: Physical exercise




I happen to love bacon.  Probably not as much as cake, but it’s up there on my list of delicious foods.  However, this post isn’t really about bacon.  I just used it to get your attention, because who doesn’t love bacon?  And I am pretty sure you were all hoping I had a new weight loss solution that involved unlimited bacon.  Sorry about that (not really).

What this post is really about is revamping your workout (if you have one).  This has been a rather long winter, and if you are like me, you are at the point of sticking bamboo shoots under your fingernails than face another excruciating day in the gym.  Here, then, are my top 5 ways to get your exercise head out of its rut.

  • MUSIC – Did you see me change font colors there?  I’m, like, a professional.  Okay – this one is pretty easy.  Pick new music for your exercise playlist.  Be creative and look at music you might not have considered.  Ask your friends for ideas or look at music you already have that you don’t listen to normally.  See below for some of my favorites.  No picking on me either.  
  • GET OUTSIDE – Again, pretty easy.  So what if it’s snowing and the wind is howling and throwing ice pellets in your face.  You’re an animal!  A machine!  A warrior!  Cold increases your metabolism!  Tornadoes make you run faster!  Snow is just an excuse to run in snowshoes!  Only wussies stay inside!  Are you a wussy?  Exactly!
  • TRY SOMETHING NEW – Do you run every day?  Or spin?  Or do you lift the same routine?  Even if you are mixing it up, you may still be bored.  Time to hit YouTube and check out the bazillion workout videos posted there.  Some are cheesy, some are awesome.  See below for some awesome.  Don’t freak out if you run across something you are not sure you can do – this happens to me all the time.  The point is to TRY, then MODIFY.  
  • PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS – Sign up for an event.  Better yet, sign up for an event that requires a little fundraising and helps out a charity, plus you get to meet some pretty cool people.  Step out of the box and look at something you have never done.  Nothing motivates like a looming physical challenge.  See?  Now you just have anxiety and panic, but no more boredom!  Whee!
  • BUY NEW WORKOUT CLOTHES – I know this is shallow, but it works for me.  I love wearing new fun colors, and even if I still hate the workout, it at least gets me dressed.  Even a new exercise bra is motivating to me (yes, I know I’m a weirdo.  No need to point it out).  Besides, that gym shirt you have worn for the last two years probably has some major smell issues going on, no matter how much you wash it.  Don’t be that guy.

As promised, here are my top 10 Workout Songs!

1.  Bad Reputation – Joan Jett

2.  Pump It – The Black Eyed Peas

3.  What I Like About You – The Romantics

4.  Numb – Linkin Park

5.  Big House – Audio Adrenaline

6.  A Little Less Conversation – Elvis

7.  One Thing Leads To Another – The Fixx

8.  Ballroom Blitz – Blue Oyster Cult

9.  I’m Shipping Up to Boston – Dropkick Murphys

10.  Motivation – Sum 41

And some awesome folks who have some great workout videos, like Zuzana Light and Blogilates:

And for the completely impossible – this guy:

Please tell me your favorite workout songs or videos!  I am always looking for new music and ideas!

Stay classy San Diego,



Workout Wednesday

It’s been a while since my last post.  I have been crazy busy at work and had a lot of extra things going on, so I got out of the habit of taking time to write because I didn’t have any (time, that is)!  Things have slowed down somewhat, and now I do have more time, but it’s been a struggle to get back to it.  I’m actually a little bored tonight – good medicine to drive me back to my computer.

I would like to get into more regular writing, so am going to experiment with posting on specific days – namely Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.  Wednesday’s will be for workouts.  I hesitate to call it Workout Wednesdays because it sounds hokey, but I’m kinda hokey anyway so what the heck.  Sunday will be a ‘whatever is on my mind’ type of thing.  Fridays.  What to do with Friday.  I usually grocery shop on Friday.  Maybe I could do a food post.  Or an inspirational post.  Or a recap of my week.  I’ll have to think on that for a bit.

For my first “Workout Wednesday”, I want to talk about an exercise program I have been doing with some friends at work.  I’m not sure it’s even really a ‘program’ per se.  One of the girls found out about these videos and began doing them and then shared them with the rest of us.  They are called Zwow – which stands for Zuzka’s Workout of the Week, followed by a number (she is up to 63 now I think).  She has a website:  http://zuzkalight.com, but I subscribed to her YouTube channel and find her videos there because it’s easier for me to search.

Zuzka’s videos are classified as “power cardio”, and she uses a lot of body weight exercises.  Once in a while she will use dumbbells or kettle balls.  Maybe a bosu ball or a chair thrown in for good measure.  I can’t do all of her exercises at her speed nor level, so will sometimes modify them (such as taking more rest time or doing a regular lunge instead of a jumping lunge, etc).  They are challenging and I sweat like crazy, but boy have they helped jump start my metabolism.  If I review one of her videos, I will always try to include ways to modify the exercises so that if you are a beginner, you don’t get discouraged.  Or die.  I joke about the dying part.  Sort of.

Word of warning: This girl is very fit.  VERY.  And midway thru her video (she does them in real time, so you see real sweat and effort), if you see her struggling or getting tired, you know you will be in for it.  Don’t give up though!  The results are worth it.

That’s all I have for today – I hear Duck Dynasty calling!


PS – I have my bike all tuned up and ready to roll.  Can’t wait for some warm days to start getting some mileage in!

Dreaming Big

ListI’m a goal setter. I make lists at work and at home of things I need to do or want to accomplish, and then joyfully scribble them out when complete. Most days it’s mundane things like “laundry” or “clean up email”, and I keep lists to stay focused on what needs to get done or I will while away my time on Pinterest (and believe me, I can spend a lot of time on Pinterest) or camped in front of the Big Bang Theory, while my laundry begins it’s world domination plot like some bad episode of Pinky and the Brain. But I also

Pinky and the Brain

My laundry can take these guys.

keep lists because I LOVE the feeling of accomplishment that comes with crossing something off.

Sometimes I set bigger goals. These are not chores that need to be done to keep the world safe from my laundry. These are life changers. Personal Quests and Personal Bests. Goals that fuel my imagination, motivation, dedication, anticipation, concentration, inspiration and aspiration – and any other ‘tions’ you might like to throw in. These goals are usually challenging but attainable – like reading the bible cover to cover in a year or completing a century (100 mile bike ride) – both goals that I accomplished last year.

So when I sat down to write this post and explain my motivation behind changing my diet, I was at a loss because while I can feel the overall goal in my heart, I am having trouble putting the magnitude of it into a single explanation. Of course part of it is weight loss and health, and part of it is because I have some physical goals I want to reach this year (another post in the making!).

But I also have these other carrots God is dangling in front of me. Carrots that will take longer than a spring of training, and will in fact take a life time to realize. And a lot of divine intervention.carrots

For instance – I would like to be a motivational speaker. Or inspirational. Or spiritual. But I like speaking in front of people about things I am passionate about. A friend of mine once said she thought I was an exhibitionist – she was just kidding (I think) but there was some truth to it. I have spoken a few times in church and I think I did alright. I just want to share what I have learned with other people, especially other women, because:

I have a passion for helping women love themselves for who they are. I want to redefine body image, not only for myself but for anyone who has ever looked in the mirror and found only fault. I want to learn to see myself as God sees me, and then help others do the same.

You all know I love to work out. It’s not because I enjoy pain or hanging around with sweating, grunting men (although there is something to be said for that). It’s because exercise tires out my body and my brain. I have clinical depression, but since I have been exercising regularly, I have not had a major dip. At the end of a 4 mile run or a 20 mile bike ride or a really good strength training session, my brain is empty (no comments on that from the Peanut Gallery). I sleep better. I have more confidence. I am stronger, both physically and emotionally. My head is clearer and I can think better.250px-We_Can_Do_It!

Well, I want to share that too, with people who are afraid to work out, or don’t have the money to join a gym, or the confidence to even try. Maybe they think they are too awkward or weak or fat or ugly or old or unable. But they aren’t. I want to help others to feel that confidence that comes from accomplishing a physical goal. It’s unbelievable how that changed my life.

I also want to buy the old De Pere Library (thanks for planting that seed, Collie), currently a law office, and turn it into a women’s gathering place/coffee house/craft consignment/creative outlet/peaceful getaway place-thing-house-store-shop-house-thing. With one room full of big loungy furniture and cushy pillows; another room with tables and chairs for games or eating or creating; another room – maybe like a chapel area – for when you need to be quiet and meditative; a coffee bar area with comfy stools; a consignment area where people can sell their artwork or jewelry or handmade items. And books. I think there will have to be books in there somehow. I will be cruising around with my walker because I will be 150 years old by this time, but hey. A girl’s gotta dream and if I’m going to dream, I’m going to make it big.

I just finished reading Mark Batterson’s book, The Circle Maker. In it he talks about the importance of Dreaming Big, Praying Hard and Thinking Long. Right now, this is just a nebulous idea, a gleam in God’s eye. He at least knows whats going on. But until God gives me a better handle on it, I’m just going to refer to this whole thing as Brick House Ministries. Maybe it will be a real ministry or maybe it will only ever be a name. But I will never know unless I try. And somehow, making that dietary change is the first step of the journey. With God, and all of you by my side, I am willing.

When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would have not a single bit of talent left and could say, “I used everything you gave me.” – Erma Bombeck

100 What? – Bucket List Update

Yes, you read correctly yesterday.  I want to be able to do 100 consecutive push ups.

Deutsch: Liegestützender Mann in gelben Shorts...

This is an old guy doing push ups.  I bet he does more than 100 by the time you are done reading my post.  Jeez, I’m getting tired just watching this! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is even a website for it here.  And, because doing the training one time thru just doesn’t seem horrific enough, I plan on doing it twice:  the first time by doing the “girl” push ups (the ones on your knees), and then the second time doing “boy” push ups.

I can do ‘boy’ push ups, mind you.  However, I have a few issues with getting low enough, and if I do this, I don’t want to feel like I am cheating.  First of all, I am a little ‘top heavy’.  This prevents me from getting as low to the ground as most men do not only for the obvious reason, but also because I lack the upper body strength.  Women just don’t have as much upper body strength as men, so lifting a lot of chest weight with smaller arms is much more difficult.  Or at least that is my excuse.  I like to believe (especially when getting on the scale) that certain body parts weigh a lot more than they actually probably do.

US Navy 090314-N-5366K-056 Athletes battle thr...

US Navy 090314-N-5366K-056 Athletes battle through two minutes of push ups during the Navy SEAL Fitness Challenge at Arizona State University in Phoenix (Photo credit: Wikipedia) God Bless Our Troops!

Right now, I think I can do about 10 decent military style push ups.  I can do about 20 sloppy ones.  Maybe 25 if I am well rested and haven’t done any other exercises yet.  In a workout where we have push ups incorporated, I generally end up doing 36-45 total, but not consecutive.  So, I figure I can first build my strength doing alternative push ups this fall, and then when the snow flies, begin the true trophy quest – 100 consecutive boy push ups.

Right now, I am sure some of you are scratching your head and wondering “Why?”  Good question for which I have no real answer, except I want to prove I can do it.  And, heaven help me, I don’t want ‘teacher arms’.  You know what those are – when the teacher erases the board and the flab on the bottom of her bicep waggles back and forth.  The same effect can occur waving good bye or hello.  Arms are arms, not wings, and are therefore not intended to flap.  And I would lay wages that every single woman reading this just waggled her arm, checking for flap.  We are a vain bunch.

Before I sign off, I want to talk a bit about why you may want to consider push ups (besides teacher arms).  The push up is almost the perfect exercise.  It strengthens your arms, chest, back, abs and legs.  You don’t have to buy any equipment and you can do them anywhere, anytime.  You don’t need any special clothing or accessories, and you can modify them to target certain muscle groups. So why don’t more people do push ups on a regular basis?  Because, to put it bluntly, they suck.

I hate them in fact.  And I don’t expect to hate them any less by the time spring rolls around. But I do plan on having some fantastic looking arms for bike season.  🙂

See you Sunday!


Killer Quads

This post is going to be short and sweet – but I just feel compelled to share a single exercise that I found on the internet, that has killed my quads both times that I have done it.

I call it a “Single Arm Thruster”.  I have no idea if that is the correct name for it or not, but that’s my name.  Basically, its a squat while holding a weight in one hand that you lower to your shoulder when you squat down, and lift over your head as you rise.  I drew some pictures below.  Badly drawn, but the alternative is pictures of me doing it and I have not reached acceptance of my body image yet to the point that I will use myself as a model.  In short, you are stuck with my crappy drawings.

Pay no attention to the fact that I have a single clown foot and ‘cankles’. And ridiculously small thighs…

I guess I am posting this because I use my quads a LOT, and this exercise turned them to mush.  Besides working them in the gym and outdoors, I am also in genetic possession of my father’s thunder thighs.  But both times I did this exercise, I ended up with sore quads for 2 or 3 days.  And I mean REALLY sore.  Like, “needing to use the handicap rails in the bathroom” sore.  I can barely walk down the stairs sore.  I’m afraid to squat down on the floor to pick anything up because I don’t think I can get back up sore.  Holy crap sore.  Geez, did I mention sore?

So I thought I would share – misery loves company and all that.

The key to doing this exercise effectively is to be sure to pick a weight that is heavy enough to have you a little off balance, but not so heavy that it has you struggling to get it over your head. I think Amanda and I used a 10 pound weight last time, but experiment from 5# on up, depending on your level of fitness.

Start with the weight on your shoulder, your legs spread apart a bit past your shoulders.

More cankles, and I just realized I am not anatomically correct. Ha!

Squat down, like you are going to sit in a chair, being careful to keep your knees from extending past your feet.  Get down as low as you can, and then begin rising.  As you rise, slowly lift the weight over your head, timing it so the weight reaches top height at the same time your legs straighten.  Then go back down into your squat, lowering the weight in time with your descent.  Do this for 12 reps, switch weight to other side, do 12 more reps, rest, and then repeat 2 more times.

If you are like me, and you like to get as much into your workout as possible, instead of resting in between sets, you can do a different exercise or exercises.  Something like this:

Single Arm Thrust x 12 each leg

Abs on the ball x 15

Tricep dips x 12

Repeat 3 times

You can also incorporate this into Tabata or circuit training.  And now, because my nice short post took on a life of it’s own, I’m going to sign off.  Let me know if you have any questions by clicking in the “Leave a Reply” link below, and post your question in the box that appears.

Happy Friday!