About Me - Fitness


In just a few hours we will all be packed in the Jeep on the way to Upstate NY for our reunion. I'm just so tickled I can't describe it! The original plan was for me to get a solid hour workout in before we left. I busted out two 45 minute workouts yesterday, have been working out every day since Monday and my muscles are sore. Plus I think I pulled my left calf, so today is a rest day. I'm going to pack my portable DVD player and some DVDs after all. Not sure if I'll be able to squeeze one in tomorrow but I'm going to give myself the option.

So if it wasn't obvious, I'll make it so. I LOVE to work out. And since I'm paranoid and have a severe allergy to going out in public sans make-up, going to gym isn't for me. I'd feel as though every single person's eyes would be on me (even though in actuality their eyes would be in their skulls and focused on their own workouts). But a friend recently told me about some weirdo who followed her all over the gym while she was working out. Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you... Also let's not forget how skeevy and dirty those places can be - not everyone is fastidious about cleaning up after themselves. One of Ben's friend's New Year's resolutions was to get back in shape (like so many others) and he was going to the gym regularly and had lost ten pounds by February. But his face started breaking out in this awful rash, which working out made worse. Ben said his doctor supposes it could be a staph infection from going to the gym and touching a machine someone else didn't clean properly, then touching his face. Eeeewww! (channeling Garth there..)I also don't care for machines. Too repetitive. I much prefer to kick and punch the air (or the occasional unfortunate piece of furniture) in my living room, or to be barked at by my fitness hero. 

I could be stirring up another controversy here, but my fitness hero is Jillian Michaels. Given that reality TV is one of the four horsemen of the Apocolypse and I despise all but two shows in that genre (Next Food Network Star and Ice Road Truckers), I've never seen The Biggest Loser. I guarantee that's the reason I gave her a chance.

One day while perusing Collage Video's online catalog, her DVD 30-Day Shred, with her snarling-smile image (something I've never seen anyone else pull off), stared out at me. Click on link. Three 28 minute workouts, each comprised of three six minute circuits: 3 minutes of strength training, 2 minutes of cardio and 1 minute of abs. The first workout was designated Intermediate, the second Intermediate/Advanced, and the third Advanced. I snorted. Puh-leese! How on earth could a good workout be only 28 minutes long! The advanced workouts I had lasted at least forty-five minutes. And only three minutes of strength? My high-rep, weight training workouts were all an hour long. But hey, they offer a a 30-day money back guarantee; if it sucked I could send it back.

Time jump to arrival of DVD. I pop it in, certain that I'll blow through the advanced workout barely breaking a sweat. As the second circuit started I was panting like a winded dog. I couldn't even finish it without pausing. Boy she showed me! Inside the DVD case was a little flier for her book Making the Cut, which guarantees that you'll; drop the last ten-twenty pounds for good! I'm listening.

Time jump to the trip to Barnes and Noble. I grabbed the book and started reading. Three sentences in I was sold. I love her no BS style. I'm not motivated by softness - I need to be kicked in the head mentally. I read the self-assessment test to Ben on the way back to the RV park. To assess your fitness level there were exercises to perform listed, and for how long. She said: (and I'm paraphrasing here: Push-ups and not the girly kind. You want to do that, you bought the wrong book) Bring it!!! The program worked. I lost fifteen pounds and felt great. My clothes fit - some were even loose, including a pair of capri pants that were tight since I unwrapped them from the white Victoria's Secret mailer!

Not long after that I fell ill with bronchitis, a sinus infection and some other ailment that laid me up for nearly two weeks. Then I lost my workout mojo. That had never happened before. While going through photos for Shiloh's birthday post, I came across the pics below from just before I found out I was pregnant with her. And WOW! I'd REALLY packed on the pounds. Then I found out I was pregnant and THAT is always a motivator to get back on the work-out wagon. (Right!)


I only put on twenty pounds or so with the pregnancy, but since I started at 165 I ended at a whopping 185 pounds! Isaac's pregnancy was a completely different story. I was working out regularly before I found out I was pregnant with him and continued to do so until the week before he was born. That last week I was just too cumbersome to be jumping around and doing step-ups on a 16-inch platform and ended up mowing our lawn with a push mower to get my exercise in. Ben told me once that one of our neighbors scolded him because he saw me mowing the lawn.

Three months after I had Shiloh, the disgust with how I looked and how decrepit my body felt was overwhelming. I was still wearing maternity clothes and I had to be sure a pillow was in the truck to support my lower back because it would start to ache after more than a half an hour. Can you imagine? Just sitting in the truck for more than half an hour was too much for my lower back to take without extra support. That was it! I got the coolest free App - My Fitness Pal - to track all my calories, got back on the JM diet plan and busted out the DVDs that had been collecting dust for a year. In eight months I dropped fifty pounds and I've never been fitter!

Much better!
And while wallowing in that scummy quagmire mentioned in Greetings and Salutations, my workouts propelled me through the muck. Even at my most despondent, when I wanted nothing more than to put Shiloh in her crib so I could crawl into bed and pull the covers over my head, I'd go on auto-pilot. Put on the sports bra. Put on the shorts. Tie the sneakers. Put a DVD in (I have several). Press play. I have JM's Ripped in 30, which is in the same vain as 30-Day Shred but better. And there are 4 workouts. She does a lot of motivational speak, and usually that stuff is so touch-feely it doesn't work for me. But not hers! At one point during the 4th workout she says: "We're strongest in the places we're broken. I think Hemingway said that. And with that said, I'm going to break you! I'm going to break you in half! Because when I'm done with you, you're going to be unbreakable." When I first heard that I felt pretty broken mentally and it made me smile. She goes on a bit at the end of that workout just before the cool-down stretch and it's pretty good. I'm not one to ask people to kiss my boo-boo and tell me it's going to be all-wight; but if I do need that, I put on that workout and let that part play in its entirety instead of fast-forwarding. 

Since JM specializes in circuit training, and treadmills and ellipticals aren't my thing, I do have cardio DVDs. A couple of my kicboxing DVDs are: Rapid Fire Results with Susan Chung (the link for this is in Invasion of the Isaac Monster post) and Tracey Staehle's Cardio Kickbox Challenge. These are a lot of fun. It's hard to find really good kick-boxing workouts that aren't super-repetitive. And yours truly even wrote a review of Rapid Fire Results (Collage Video encourages people to write their own reviews). It's titled "Like Kick-Box Dancing" if you decide to check out the DVD. And several times I've popped it in because I've needed a mental boost and the music and choreography are so much fun it is like kickbox dancing, and who feels bad when they're dancing? I also have Amy Dixon's Breathless Body which is a Tabata-style workout and HARD!! It's eight different drills, each performed for twenty seconds with a ten second recovery - eight times. I'm drenched every time I finish it. As I looked up the link for that, I saw another of her workouts I'd like to try. It's about time to add to the library anyway.

Yoga is also prominent in my fitness regimen. I have JM's Yoga Meltdown and two others by Shiva Rea - Shiva Rea Power Flow and Yoga Shakti (a link to that is also in the Invasion of the Isaac Monster post). JM's is a great little work-out, all about the fitness of yoga and not the centering. I have mastered the level two on that DVD (there are only two levels). Shiva Rea's, on the other hand are ALL about the mind-body connection. The best part of all her DVDs is the Yoga Matrix where you can mix and match. All the pre-mixes are comprised of practices anywhere from 5 - 30 minutes long. And if you look up Zen in the dictionary, Shiva's visage will be there exuding a warm, calming glow. At this point in my life it's impossible for me to immerse myself completely in the centering aspect of yoga. I do it for the stretching and it's great for an aching back. But if I need to find a calmer place, I will use one of Shiva's DVDs. Her voice is soothing and wraps around you like a blanket of peace.

For the past six months I've been struggling with the last ten pounds. I'm 140 and comfortably wear sizes 2 and 4. 130 is the goal. The closest I've gotten to that is 136. When I'm motivated enough it will happen. Summer is right around the corner and with it comes the shorts, short skirts and tank tops. Think I can do it by the end of May? Who's up for a challenge?


In keeping with the healthy theme of today's post, tonight's dinner is Skillet Gnocchi with Spinach and White Beans. I LOVE gnocchi. But I'm Irish and love all things potato. I have even made gnocchi from scratch and they were delicious, but it is time consuming. And since I buy whole wheat everything whenever possible, here is a brand readily available in the grocery store: 

Make sure you don't get the sweet potato version of this, though! It will completely mess with the flavor of this dish. I'm not a fan of the sweet potato. And what's my philosophy? No such thing as too much garlic... I up the garlic by four or five cloves here. This dish is ready in a snap!


  1. I do Tabata with Dan...KICKS my butt. Seriously who knew 4 min workouts would be so darn hard...and he has me repeat total of 16 mins...It works though. I can see it in him (what he does every other day + running too many miles for me) :) I love the 30 in shred btw THANKS for convincing me that JM isn't the devil :}
    Have a wonderful time with your family.

  2. My pleasure!! Glad you like it. Need to get working on the next post but have a TON of things to do. All the things that didn't get done over the weekend because of the trip. Taking a small break right now. Will see about throwing in a workout as I didn't do one all weekend. Too much merriment Friday night spilled over to affect my motivation. But it was all worth it. Still exhausted - didn't help that the pull-out we slept on was one of the worst ever - even for a pull out. Hoping another early bed time tonight will be just what the doctor ordered!


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