Saturday, December 12, 2015

My Dynamic Body

Yesterday was the last day of our Dartfit class, the HIIT training class I took this term.  Of the 20 or so people who signed up for the class, only 6 showed up.  Another one took an earlier session, but nonetheless the class just felt so empty on the last day.

We did our usual warm up and gathered around the white board, which normally would spell out our end-of-class workout, that yesterday listed our entire class plan.  Instead of our usual 6-7 stations we would rotate in 2X blocks with cardio and water breaks in between, we had 3 large stations with 6 sub-station each.  We would do each sub-station for 35 seconds with 10-second breaks, and complete all 6 sub-stations 3 times before taking a water break and move on to the next big station.  Each station was themed: TRX straps, heavy ropes, and dumb bells.  All the sub-stations within each themed stations follow a similar flow: there was always a lunge, a sit-up, and a push up type of activity, and the other three were sort of unique to the instrument we were using.

So by the end of the class, I did these activities for 105 seconds of each:
Heavy rope jumping jacks
Heavy rope waves
Heavy rope side swipes
Dumb-bell squat lifts
Dumb-bell renegades
Dumb-bell sit-ups
Dumb-bell back lifts
Dumb-bell side lunges
Dumb-bell bear crawls
TRX rows
Medicine ball slams
TRX push-ups
Medicine ball forward and backward lunges
TRX pikes (we switched to fitness balls after the first round)
TRX skaters

It all seemed so daunting at the beginning.  We had done all of these activities before, some were fun, others were absolutely miserable to do.  I think it was the 3X part that scared me the most.  My friends joked that last day of class is like finals, you basically do everything you did and then some.  I joked that maybe that's why nobody showed up to class.

By the end of class all I realized was that, it just wasn't so bad.  It turned out that because there wasn't that much cardio involved (there was the burpee sub-station that was exhausting), so although by the end my arms were feeling like lead, overall I felt strong.  That afternoon, as one of 5 people who showed up to ride it to the end, I realized how much I had improved over the course of the term.  In less than 3 months I had improved on my muscle building and speed.  Not so sure about endurance since I still haven't managed to run a 5K in one shot on the treadmill.  And now I truly regret not signing up for the class for next term.

Registration for next term's class started earlier this week.  At the time I was so determined to not take this class again so I could recuperate and take everything slower and easier.  I thought about taking a morning yoga class with my friends to increase my flexibility, toyed with the idea of taking a fun dance class like hip hop so I could learn some cool routines, and ultimately chose beginners pilates thinking that it would be a milder form of exercise that still focused on muscle building and strength training.  I plan to continue indoor running and I thought pilates would be a nice anaerobic compliment.

The school offers three different pilates: beginners, intermediate, and advanced.  My main concern was whether beginner's class would be too easy, since although I've not taken a pilates class before, I'm not completely useless.  But time wise the beginners class was the only one I could comfortably fit into my schedule, and after watching a few beginners pilates videos online I thought maybe it will be a good challenge for me.

After I registered for my class a friend of mine decided to also take it with me.

Which makes the thought of backing out a bit more awkward to execute.

My current plan is to shop around for morning yoga, Dartfit, and pilates during the first week of class, and in the end decide which one(s) to take.  I don't think I will be doing Dartfit and pilates simultaneously, but if the morning yoga class is pleasant I might do that too.

If I don't like pilates it would be a better excuse to use to quit that class, and if I get injured again during Dartfit it might make me feel less bad about taking a break from it.  I am planning to take it again in the Spring regardless of how this upcoming Winter terms pans out.

On the running front, I did about half an hour on Thursday on the treadmill and managed to do about 2.5 miles, at speeds between 5.0-5.5 with slower speed during walking breaks.  The bottom of my right foot started to feel a bit stressed at 5.5 speed but overall I was quite comfortable running at this newer, faster pace.  Given my weight and prior injuries I'm pushing myself to achieve any certain unrealistic speed goals, but after taking Dartfit I could sustainably run at a speed I couldn't do before, and felt this rush I never had before that was a combination of adrenaline and a sense of accomplishment.  It just made me so happy that I had decided to take this Dartfit class after realizing how much I needed to build some muscle and strength, so  proud of myself that I didn't quit the class after that horrific first day (it did get easier, just like everyone had promised), so thrilled that the class worked, and that I was even injury free now.

All in all it has been a great 3 months.  In retrospect it's such a short period of time, but I think it has been the most dynamic, active, and empowering 3 months in a long time and I'm thankful for all the changes that my body went through.  My weight still has not changed, but that doesn't even bother me at this moment.  I know that if I keep doing what I learned I could push myself to do, I will achieve my health and exercise goals in a few more 3-month cycles.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Here's to another 100: Happy 101~~

Just realized that my last post was my 100th.  I was gonna talk about how I obsessively had to go to the gym today, and afterwards went to a restaurant alone and stuffed myself silly with a burger, fries, and carrot cake, but...

Well I guess I pretty much summarized what I wanted to say in one sentence.

Okay here are a few more details.  I got home later than I had planned and forgot to eat a pre-run snack (also my new scale arrived and I was playing around with that).  When I was running on the treadmill the TV was on and even though I couldn't hear what they were talking about, there were some very nice Christmas dinner themed dishes featured on the news program which ended with a delicious-looking pie, which made me very hungry.  After I got home I realized my need to have a good, fancy meal, and decided to go to a restaurant after my shower.  It's restaurant week in our town so a few places had put out special menus.  I picked one that opened late and for about an hour stuffed my face while reading Stephen Fry's newest autobiography, and came home with leftover fries and carrot cake.  I'm slightly disgusted at myself for eating more than I should, but at the same time feeling blissful.

But back to this artificially special post.  100 is such an arbitrary number and rationally should not really be a cause of any celebration.  It's been about 21 months since I started running and this blog, and overall I've written about my every workout and random thoughts I had during each workout.  Recently, I was ashamed and disappointed at myself for not running regularly in the summer and stopping writing for a few months, and after I started taking my Dartfit course I was just too overwhelmed with the class to really sit down and think about it.  Tomorrow is the last day of Dartfit and maybe I'll write something to reflect on this past school term.

I had also planned to write about all my cooking adventures (thus the "glutton" part of my blog title), but because I am too lazy to take pictures of my cooking, and recounting my cooking experience is too boring for me, I sort of stopped doing that after the first month.  I love to read blog posts where other people try out recipes and include pictorial instructions, but writing about them, especially right after the cooking experience, is extremely dull.

Plus I lost interest in cooking new things sometimes earlier this year and I haven't tried any new recipes in a long time.

Hm...  I really have nothing else to say.  Think I will be more thoughtful and reflective toward the end of December, maybe my later posts, while not landmark-y in number, will be somewhat more nutritious.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Another year, another Black Friday

Ever since I stopped going home for Thanksgiving the holiday to me just means sales and mindless online shopping.  This year is no different.  I spent the better part of my Thursday and Friday sitting in front of the computer, Amazon webpage opened, and watching the clock ticking as the next deal starts.

On Black Fridays I usually buy a lot of DVDs and other random stuff.  Nothing name brand or big/fancy, just random stuff I would normally be tempted to buy but not actually doing it.  But this year, apart from my usual DVD crazy buys, the majority of my other purchases definitely had an athletic theme to them.

My Black Friday shopping really started before Thanksgiving.  The one-ish day sale really awakened my inner shopping demon so I really let my credit card loose since the beginning of that week.  So over the course of the week, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I bought:

1 Fitbit Charge from eBay (which ended up to be cheaper than all of the Black Friday deals)

12-bottle monthly subscription of Soylent (my friend started it)

2 pairs of running pants from Dick's (I wanted something I can use in case I wanted to run outside during the winter, and I ended up returning one pair)

1 pair of Saucony Kinvara 5 in mint green from eBay (I realized that when the Kinvara 6 came out they just stopped making the 5, and therefore you can't really find the 5s anymore from major sellers.  Those who still sell them do not really sell them at a discount like I had hoped.  So I freaked out and got a pair on eBay just to hoard.  I thought about getting 2 pairs but that just seems a bit obsessive.  It's just that I have yet found another pair of shoes that I could run so comfortably in.  I haven't tried Kinvara 6 on yet, and I can't really afford new shoes at their full prices.)

1 pair of Gaiam yoga capris from Amazon.  They actually fit very comfortably and has this cool black-and-white pattern I liked but they make my butt look so huge now I feel self-conscious about wearing them.

1 pair of Adidas running capris.  Also fits nice and comfortably, but the material is such that I can really feel my legs rubbing against each other and I think I might have to apply some body cream on the fabric before I run?

1 pair of Calvin Kline performance capris which I later returned b/c they didn't fit.

1 Smartweighscales body scale that's supposed to be really fancy and can measure all kinds of random stuff like your body fat and your water weight or whatever.  But I don't know for sure since I had to return it for a replacement, as my first one turned out to be defective.  The scale uses these metal plates that measure some electrical current or body heat to generate these data, so after I received my scale I spent the better part of a very cold evening stepping on and off it in my bare feet, freezing myself to death before deciding that I cannot do this alone.  After I called the company the next morning and told them the situation (how the scale doesn't do anything but just telling me my weight and none of the other info shows up), the girl on the phone didn't say much except telling me to contact Amazon to ask for a replacement.  I'm slightly worried about the quality of their scales now since she was so nonchalant about my call.  Also a shame since I don't know what they are going to do with this scale.  I hope they don't just throw it away, it would be such a waste of resources. But my new scale should come in the next day or so and I'm excited about knowing info about myself that really don't mean anything to me.

So running caprices were definitely on my mind when I was Black Friday shopping.  I also looked at other athletics stuff and weight loss stuff and ultimately decided that I liked my money too much to exchange it for the stuff.  Despite the fact that in many instances I liked my money more than the thing I thought about buying, I still spend a very large amount of money on a bunch of random things.  The holiday season is always a time for uncontrollable shopping but I'm also struggling to not increase the amount of "stuff" I own.  It's a hard balance, but so far I'm not thinking about anything else I want to return.