Saturday, December 15, 2007

Workout Help...

Gee, we have become a quiet lot, haven't we? I am in the last of a 3 month self-imposed break from working with my trainer. We BOTH have goals we have to achieve before we allow ourselved to work together. And right now I need help.

I have determined that I am completely uncreative when it comes to "designing" workout sessions for me. So, here's my thought: I'll share one of my fave workouts with you and then you share a workout. We should all get something new to think about just in time for shaking things up after the holidays.

Deal? Deal!

My workouts are typically built on a stable/unstable super-set idea. I try to move to more unstable elements all the time. Adjust for your ability. Unstable will work more muscle groups, constantly challenging those core muscles.


#1. 30 minutes of cardio.

#2. Assisted Dip. 3 sets of 15 dips where I'm lifting about 20-30# of my body weight. This is t0 warm up the arms/shoulders. Perfectly stable.

#3. Flat Bench Press, alternating 1 and 2 arms with hand weights. Get one of the flat benches and whatever appropriate weights. Push both weights overhead. Lower both arms 6 times through the set, lower one arm while keeping the other strong overhead 7x for each arm. Try not to do in a predictable manner. It helps to have someone else tap the shoulder of the arm(s) you're working. Make sure to hold core stable or you will fall off the bench!

#4. Paired with #3. Flat Bench Press on Ball (8-10# hand weights). Sit and ball and roll down so that only your head, neck and top of shoulders are supported. Knees are bent, hips up so that body is perpendicular at knee and parellel to floor. Standard bench press technique, 20 reps. The weights should come down slightly wider and not as low because you're on the ball.

#5. One arm standing rows at cable station. Cable placed at waist height. Knees bent, "free" arm out from bodyfor balance, core engaged, neck straight. This can be done with 2 feet flat on floor or with one foot down (opposite of arm). Adjust weight about 10# lower if you're going for the 1 foot. 15 reps each arm at 3 sets.

#6 Paired with #5. Bicep curls on ball. (10-12# hand weights). Sit up straight on ball, lower weights to just below parallel to ground (keep bicep tendon inside elbow engaged). Curl both arms up to point of full muscle engagement (not beyond). Twenty reps for 3 sets.

#7 Lat Pull Downs. Grasp Lap Pull Down bar near center, palms facing face, spine tucked under slightly, shoulders back. Pull down to top of ribcage (just below collarbone), and slowly release bar upward.

#8. Paired with #7. Tricep Push Downs, one foot. Using the lightest weight, stand facing the machine. Start with bar at waist, balanced on one foot, core is engaged. Push bar down and slowly release back up. Ten reps, then switch foot. Concentrate on maintaining a straight posture throughout.

There ya go! Just about an hour of arm/shoulder greatness!! Now how about a great leg workout, or a back/abs routine... something that will keep me going until Guido and I both meet our goals for working out together again!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Elimination Communication at the Y

This evening I headed out to the gym with the plan that afterwards I would come home and do a blog post about the Elimination Communication aka Diaper Free Movement. After warming up, I headed over to the free weight area and began my routine. Let me state for the record that the free weight area tends to smell completely disgusting in the evening (as opposed to the rest of the day when it smells like a bouquet of roses). However, when I walked by a trainer and a young teenager (maybe 12 or 13) to grab a free weight, I got a distinct whiff of diarheaa. I tried not to gag. I instinctively looked around. No one seemed to be writhing with cramps. I chucked it up to either a toxic gas leak or a...personal gas leak.

A minute or two later the boy began to do some leg squats right by me. I was hunched over doing rows. As I looked up I saw that there was definitely some Elimination Communication going on in or perhaps coming from his pants. I immediately had a flashback to a conversation with Suzanne while we were at the Jersey Shore about Alli, the weight loss pill and anal leakage. (To the best of my knowledge, no one at the Jersey Shore with us suffered from anal leakage.) A second squat from this boy confirmed it. He then proceeded to sit on a bench that I had been planning on using.

Honestly, I wasn't quite sure how to handle it. This boy looked like he was struggling with his weight. He was meeting with a personal trainer and really focusing on what he was saying. If I went over there and said something to him or to his trainer in his presence there is no way he would ever come back again. I would probably send him into therapy for the next 30 years. On the other hand, I couldn't let him just walk around like that. First of all, some of the guys in the weight area were already noticing the smell and murmuring about it. As a mom, my heart would break if my sons were in that situation. I just felt so bad for him. Second, it's just not sanitary.

I looked around and saw a woman who I thought might be his mom working out on a treadmill. I thought I had seen him talking to her when I first came into the fitness area, but I wasn't sure. Then I remembered that had been a staff member sitting behind the desk when I came in. I went over there to tell her about the situation so she could discretely deal with it. Unfortunately, she was completely gone (just like my workout). I saw the boy dart off (I was hoping to change his clothes) so I went over to the personal trainer and told him what I had seen. He seemed completely surprised. He told me that he would take care of it.

The boy came back, and I saw the trainer talk with him. Then his mom came over (or at least the lady who I thought was him mom.) The trainer walked away. I made a note just to skip the questionable bench for the day. I finally finished my workout and headed out towards the locker room. As I passed the stretching area though, I saw the kid in the same clothes on a mat.

I really don't know what to make of it. I guess it's possible that the clothes had an old stain, but seriously if you had a stain like that why would you wear the shorts again? Plus it doesn't explain the smell. I initially wondered if he really was taking something like Alli. Then I thought there was no way a child of his age could be on such a drug. But kids inhale fumes and computer air sprays, so if one was struggling with his weight, I don't think use of an over-the-counter medicine to help with weight loss would be too surprising. He could have also had a medical condition. I'm guessing the kid was just really embarrassed and denied it; it's not like the trainer was going to check. Now I'm not sure I did the right thing. Maybe I should have just gone straight to the mom. I know one thing for sure: if anyone ever sees me like that, please tell me!

Friday, August 10, 2007

to gym or not to gym?

When my gym opened up 8 months ago, I was the happiest monkey around. It was right at the point where I transferred trains coming home from work. In fact, I had often said, "I wish there was a gym right here. That would be so easy for me." And then there was a gym right there. And there was much rejoicing. (yay!)

I took advantage of it. I went 3 times a week. I would bring my gym bag to work with me, then stop off quickly and easily on the way home, and still be home in time for dinner.

But then I quit my job. Now the gym is not so convenient for me, because even though I sit at home alone all day, I'd have to make a special trip out there. Lately it's been too hot to leave the house and go work out. Today it's hot AND raining. Since the gym is no longer on my way anywhere, I've simply stopped going. I feel bad because I love the gym, and I should keep working out, but the motivation is no longer there. If it was closer to my house, I would be there in a minute. But I just can't face the 20-minute train ride, plus the walking time required to get there.

Am I a bad person?

Thursday, August 2, 2007


I just have to say that you swimming bitches are hardcore. I consider myself pretty fit, and I can do all kinds of athletic-y things, like hiking Vernal Falls at Yosemite, but I decided to try swimming today. Holy cow!

I was winded after one length, and pretty much had to stop and catch my breath every length thereafter. Ultimately, I ended up going 1/4 mile. Normally I go 16 miles on the bike. I realize you're using more of your body when swimming, but... wow.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Fan etiquette and escape artists

Wow, I haven't posted on here in a long time! I've been going to the gym, but mostly for yoga (and there's only so much you can say about yoga) or a run-in-and-hit-the-bike-and-get-out trip. I'm temporarily banned from my upper body free weights (neck weirdness) and don't do leg workouts anyway, since I get enough of that at ballet. This story is already too long!

Tonight I got to the gym and it was STIFLING inside. I know they have an air conditioner, so I don't know what the problem was. It was probably in the 90s inside. I went over to the bikes and two in the cluster of three were taken. I usually grab myself a fan (and why are all the fans always in the treadmill area, anyway? What makes treadmill people so worthy of fans?), but I figured that it might be rude to disturb their climate. I actually asked once, in that same situation, if anyone minded if I brought a fan over, and a gruff old man said yes, he did mind, and then he muttered at length about these people who need to be cool while working out. Um, hi? I'm still here.

Here's my question: What the fuck? I mean, being hot or cold doesn't have much of an impact on the workout you get, so why not be comfortable? I'd be really delighted if it was around 78 in there. Am I crazy?

On escape artists, tonight, I witnessed my second little kid running out of the locker room while his mom was butt-ass naked. You see the look of horror on the mom's face, then "James. James!!" I nabbed him this time, but kids are such opportunists! I'm going to have to remember that someday.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Can You Believe This Lady?

We unexpectedly have an almost completely free week. My older son (OS) is on vacation from camp. Of course I forgot about this "vacation" until the end of last week. I rescued my kids from boredom today by suggesting that they play in the Y childwatch while I worked out in the fitness room. I realize that doesn't sound like a good deal for the boys, but they actually really like going there.

I dropped OS off at the 3 year old room at the childwatch first. It was a full house. This woman was there dropping off her son. The boy looked mad. He clearly did not want to be there. The mom was not at all sympathetic. She handed him a name tag sticker which the boy proceeded to somehow wrap around one of the drawer handles. He got upset and asked for another one. Instead of complying with this simple request, she pulled the somewhat crumpled sticker off the drawer and stuck it on his shirt. The kid protested. Instead of giving him a hug and telling him it would be okay, she picked him up and put him over the gate at the entrance to the childwatch playarea. She then gave the staff his sippy cup and told him that she would see him later. At least she wished him a nice time. I just couldn't believe my eyes. I don't think the other moms there could either. The kid decided to stage a sit-in to protest being there. One of his friends joined him.

I was really hoping that this woman wouldn't be there when I went to pick OS up from the childwatch. I mean really, where did she learn how to parent? Of course, as luck would have it, she walked in just as I did. Her son was really happy and having a great time playing. He excitedly told her about all the toys he had played with and the kids that played with him. The staff members confirmed this. When she said something about being an unsympathetic mother, she was told that what she did was great; actually being too sympathetic could have made the separation a lot worse. Really?! I thought to myself, surely there is going to be a blog post about this horrible mother, even if I needed to write it myself. And I have. I should also add that this unsympathetic mom was me.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Good Judgment and Personal Training

I intended to cross-post this when I put it on Formula Fed and Flexible Parenting almost a month ago. Normally The People Under the Stairmasters are the ones watching the behaviors of others in the gym. This time, my husband, the Big Giraffe, was apparently trying to keep an eye on me.

I was very surprised to receive the following question from the Big Giraffe over email: "I am curious. If you happened to consider a guy very good looking, really liked him, and were discussing that guy and those perceptions of him in an email to a female friend, would you consider it good judgment to forward that email to me?"

What on earth could have caused him to ask that question?

After being inspired by two of my friends' successes with meeting with a personal trainer, I decided to sign up for the 5 session package that was on sale at the Y in honor of Mothers and Fathers Days. I thought it would be great to learn some new approaches to fitness. I decided to go with my friend Kate's personal trainer because he sounded like a good fit for me. I was told that a lot of his exercises involve using your own body weight. I exchanged emails with "John" and arranged to meet him on Friday evening. I had no idea what he looked like but my friend had told me he was very good looking. (That was not a factor in me choosing him.)

Friday came, and I met John. He was indeed very good looking. I then explained to him how I wanted to get rid of my "upper gut". He wrote a fantastic workout for me. I felt great when I left and good yesterday and today. I even repeated the workout today. Within the last couple of days, I had emailed Kate about something else. In that email I mentioned that I had met with John, that he was good looking, and that I liked working with him. Her reply was not relevant to the subject of personal training, but it did include some comments that I thought would be of interest to the Big Giraffe. I therefore forwarded her reply email to him, forgetting that the email history was included. Hence, his reply. So what is my answer to his question? I do not think it was poor judgment to have forwarded that email. Our marriage is secure enough for the Big Giraffe to be able to handle me finding someone else physically attractive. No Big Giraffe, it doesn't work the other way!