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Archive for the ‘exercise’ Category

Hey, you guys!

When’s the last time you had FUN working out? Be honest, now……

Have you tried a gym class? (OK, I’m biased. I teach these gym classes, and most times I’m in front of a group, I truly am having fun leading the group!)

When I talk to people at the gym about the classes, one of the top reasons I hear for not trying a certain type of class is….. FEAR. Fear of not doing it right. Fear of feeling too tired. Fear of looking like a complete idiot.

Well, for one… there’s a reason I don’t teach Zumba! (I dance like a white girl. I got rhythm, but…… believe me, my hips don’t got the moves.) But–I’ve gone to a few Zumba classes! And I’m not afraid. Because people aren’t looking at you. People are focused on themselves, and they’re focused on having a good time! So, don’t think that all eyes will be turned in your direction!

OK, so now that your first fear is out of the way, what if you can’t do it? That’s why the instructor is there to help! Just come a few minutes early to class and talk to the instructor. Tell him or her that you’ve never been to this sort of class before, and ask how they can help! Ask how the more challenging moves can be modified, if necessary. Build a relationship with the instructor–we love this! Take breaks during the class if things get too rough, and there’s no harm in leaving early if you need to. Start with 30 minutes the first class, 35 minutes the next week, and within a few weeks–you’ve built up to making it through the entire class! Go, you!

Now for fear number three: what if you can’t do it? OK, y’all: look at any group fitness class. Is it full of perfect people, executing each move perfectly? 99% of the time… NO! So, unless you’re injuring yourself (and, hopefully your pre-class discussion with the instructor has eliminated this possibility) who cares if you look like you belong in So You Think You Can Dance? Just do your thang! Keep on moving–your calories don’t care if you have the choreography 100% perfect, they’ll still burn!

So hopefully I’ve inspired you to run, walk, ambulate in some fashion… to a new group exercise class. Try it out, bring a friend…

And if you’ve had a spectacularly fun experience, talk about it below!

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Hi!

Good busy news from me! I’m running about 12-15 miles per week, I have one more class to go to make 9 fitness classes taught this week, and… while I’m a bit exhausted, everything seems to be in working order! Go, me!

So, I’ve been trying to find recipes that aren’t too challenging (yeah, I really don’t feel like standing up in the kitchen for hours this week, nor do I feel like cleaning a ton of stuff) but provide a lot of nutrition. A quick web search led me to this veggie-filled recipe, which I tweaked in several places.

This is one of those recipes where it’s tough to figure out a name, since it’s full of so much stuff! It also contains spinach, onions, garlic, a few seasonings…. wait, don’t run away! There isn’t a long ingredient list, don’t worry.

I cut back on the amount of liquid in the soup (this was based on the comments at the end) and it ends up giving you more of a stew, not much broth. If you want more broth, increase the amount that you add. THe original recipe calls for 5 cups of broth, and I probably wouldn’t go quite that high.

White Bean, Fennel, and Tomato Soup
based on an All Recipes recipe

1 large onion, chopped
1 fennel bulb, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
3 c veggie broth (more if desired)
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt (or more to taste)
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
4 c shredded fresh spinach

1. Saute onion, garlic, and fennel in oil over medium-low heat about 5 minutes, until starting to soften.

2. Add broth, beans, tomatoes, thyme, pepper, salt, red pepper, and bay leaf and bring to boil, Reduce heat to simmer, cover, and let simmer another 30 minutes or until fennel is tender. Remove bay leaf.

3. Add spinach and cook another ~3 minutes or until spinach is wilted. Adjust seasonings and serve!

The weather is wonderfully sunny outside, so I’m going to take advantage with a longer run in a few minutes! (I did see one of the news stations predict a low of 17 degrees today, though–hopefully that’s passed! Brrrr!!!) Go and make it a great weekend, whatever it is you’re doing!

Hey, gang! I’ve returned from my holiday adventure, and I want to share it with you all! We went to Germany, Belgium, France, and Luxembourg to check out their Christmas markets. Though the weather could have cooperated a bit more (maybe 9 hours of sun on the whole trip), it was a really great adventure, and we ate a lot of good food. I did manage several Pilates sessions, and further explored exercises that I can accomplish all while not lying on a questionable hotel floor! (So–Pilates while standing, Pilates on a bed…)

I blogged about the trip, and there are many pictures, so take your time to peruse. You can check it all out at

http://mehrgluhwein.wordpress.com/

I’m getting back into my daily routine–even teaching two spin classes tonight–and glad to say that the knee strain from a few weeks before the trip disappeared shortly after we started… hooray! So, I’ll see what kind of running I’m able to do once I shake the rest of this respiratory infection.

Start thinking of your 2012 goals… I’ll be back with a recipe on Friday, and the new year is just around the corner!

Hola, Amigos!

I hope those in the Southwest and the Northeast are doing OK! It seems that once we finally got our perfect weather, the rest of the country started going to shambles. Be careful, OK?

As for me, I’ve been playing around with different workout routines (why not…) and started experimenting with a Jamie Eason lifting routine this week. It’s supposed to give me a “whole new body”, but I imagine the “new body” would appear more quickly if I were to follow the nutrition plan (too regimented for me). Anyway, the lifting has been different and challenging–good stuff!

Also, a few home improvement projects this week… but that leaves me wondering: is today’s hamstring strain from 1. more weight lifting, 2. two rounds of pressure washing, 3. back-to-back spin classes and working the second one extra hard (I know, baaaadddd…), or 4. using a Peak reformer (heavier springs) to do Pilates last night? Toooo many variables.

Today’s recipe involves changing only one variable in a recipe I’ve made several times previously–yielding entirely different flavor! Fortuitously, I’d run out of quinoa, so–what the heck–try it with bulgur and see what happens!

The result was a sensory illusion–almost creaminess, despite no dairy at all in the recipe!

So, here’s my rough translation of what I did.

Warm Bulgur, Roasted Corn, and Caramelized Onion Salad
very loosely based on a Mark Bittman recipe

2 c bulgur
2 c mushroom broth
canola oil
2 onions, peeled and sliced into half-moons
1 c corn (either fresh if you can get it, or thawed from frozen)
salt and fresh-ground pepper to taste

1. Place the bulgur in a large bowl. Warm the mushroom broth (not to boiling) and pour over the bulgur. Stir, and allow the bulgur to sit for 20-30 minutes until chewy (it will soak up the liquid).

2. Meanwhile, roast the corn: in a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp canola oil on medium-high heat. When hot, add (thawed) corn, Cook/roast, stirring frequently, until some spots of brown appear on the outside and corn is fragrant, ~7 minutes. (Don’t let it burn!) This should smell good!

3. Also meanwhile, caramelize the two onions using the best caramelized onions technique. Triple multi-task!!! (These things don’t need constant stirring, so it’s easy.) **If you use oil and not butter in the onions, you can keep the dish vegan!

4. When the bulgur is hydrated to your level of doneness, pour off any extra liquid (push it through a strainer so you don’t lose any precious bulgur!). Place it back in the bowl, and stir in the roasted corn and caramelized onions. Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve warm.

I just finished off what was leftover of this to fuel our day’s hike! Go, complex carbs!

So, we’ll see how the hamstring does during the hike… and Sunday, in honor of those who can’t, I’m going to try to (run a minute or two–yikes!) for the first time on my post-op hip and leg. I promise not to do anything stupid… but at the same time, wish me luck!

Tuesday Tuesday……. so it was just last week that I wrote that “I’m going to save the world despite my current limitations” post. I have been doing a lot of writing toward the Big Goal, true.

But… deep sigh. I’ve been getting conflicting advice on how to deal with my medical issue (and I’m definitely out of time to save my college teaching job for the fall). Adding to that, just a few hours ago, I found out that what I thought was “just an old crown falling off an old root canal” is really a tooth that needs an implant. (I’m not that old, yet!!! And I won’t tell you how much it costs, since I’m still in denial.)

I’m just having so much trouble letting all of this sink in…. productivity, while not a standstill, isn’t too great. Sometimes I just need to be in the backyard and pluck weeds. Don’t we all?

Meanwhile, why not kick back for a few laughs and good things to think about:

1. When I’m in charge of the world, I’m going to paste this sign on doors everywhere.

2. This one’s hilarious!!! Batman!

3. 20 ice cream recipes. One of them is the easy and healthy frozen banana puree–I can vouch that it tastes fantastic!

4. Have trouble motivating yourself to exercise? Here are 5 ways to exercise even if you don’t like to exercise.

5. A push in the right direction for our educational system?

On a better note, today, I took a Bodypump class for the first time since my second hip surgery. I held up great! The lunges were the only thing that bothered me a tiny bit, and I just eased up. I’m going to try and add this to my weekly routine! This, plus two spin classes, plus swimming once a week, plus a short hike once a week… wait, wasn’t it just a month ago that I could only handle easy cardio and upper body weights? I have made big-time progress in recovering my body!

If you’re a Pilates diehard like me, and you’re on Facebook, search for the event 30 Day Challenge. It’s led by Mo Wolfe of Evolution Pilates on Long Island (in Bruce’s hometown!)–she’s challenging us to do some Pilates every day for the month of August. We’re a little over halfway there–come join us, if you can!

See you Friday with a yummy recipe!

Hi, Friends.

I’m typically not much of a Wednesday poster, but inspiration struck (duck and cover!) and I totally felt the need to get this out to you.

While driving yesterday, I realized how much time I’d lost this past week wallowing over this freak vocal cord nerve injury. And before that, I’d probably done the same over the hip surgery that didn’t go well (in 2010) and had to be redone, plus some.

But why waste time crying over things out of our control? None of us are getting any younger.

It’s fine to feel sorry for ourselves, true. And I’ve found that sometimes, the current path just seems so unbearable that I just can’t find focus and have to chill out. But either to ourselves or others, it just becomes the broken record after a while. And just like a broken record, it continues on the same useless pathway. At some point, we have to pack up and move on as best we can.

Which is what I have done and have continued to do. And you know what? This approach has shown me opportunities I never would’ve imagined, if I’d been left to continue along my same road.

OK, so the Leprechaun of Ideas doesn’t jump onto your shoulder at 2pm every afternoon. (I wish! But then, we’d all be rich.) This takes some brainpower. But think of it this way: you’re developing awesome critical thinking skills!

Case In Point 1: prior to my first hip surgery (April 2010), I was running a fitness business with two corporate clients and a few private clients as well as teaching fitness classes for 4-5 gyms. I wanted to expand my business, but I didn’t have time to think about how to do that, or to do it at all… despite being married to an MBA in marketing. Surgery #1 led to complications and Surgery #2. After the requisite feeling sorry for myself, I got going and put my brain to work. I talked to other instructors. I did some marketing (and learned what does and doesn’t work in this area and field). I hired more contractors. I expanded my business to include other types of classes. I even tried a second business (which… didn’t work, but it was a great learning experience!). I now proudly call myself a small business owner!

When I was getting ready to teach again (that is, working for others), I almost didn’t want to let previous employers know I was available. I preferred having the time to strategize for myself! (Though, gotta say that I do like the steady income stream that I get from bigger companies.)

Case In Point 2: My current struggle. Just when I literally got my feet under me to teach again (and also got a college class to teach in the fall), I have a timeline of potentially three months until I can talk again. This hit me from out of nowhere–I didn’t anticipate this sort of limitation when I was dreaming up projects to take me into the end of the year and going forward.

But life has a way of throwing us curveballs, doesn’t it? And again… we can’t stand still while it blows past us. To me, that just isn’t living!

So, during the next few (loooonnngggg) months, other than non-work-related stuff such as improving my piano playing and cleaning up the jungle that is my backyard, I’ve come up with four work-related projects that don’t require speaking:

1. Getting my body back to the strength that it was before Hip Surgery #1 (which was the best shape of my life other than torn hip cartilage)

2. Make a new trifold brochure for my business, now that I offer Zumba classes, which may get me more corporate business (and plan a guerrilla marketing attack for the beginning of the year!!!)

3. Keep going on the….. (book) that I write in spurts. Since I’m oh-so-experienced in rehab (plus 500-hour Pilates certified), I’ve been working on a… document, in laymans’ terms, to help people recover from injury using Pilates-based exercise. I need to redouble efforts.

4. Lower priority, but script videos. I intend to create a YouTube channel of short videos that, once again, use Pilates-based exercise to help people reduce pain in various parts of their body. Big goal of mine in life is to help the world feel better without pharmaceuticals! (Ironic, given my masters’ degree in pharmaceutical chemistry…)

See? It takes a little bit of the gerbil running in that mental wheel, but you can come up with some fruitful projects that will get you toward your life/career goals, despite current limitations. (Try to make your projects meaningful, rather than, say, learning Swahili. Unless you are absolutely taken by the Swahili language, and by all means, go for it!)

Maybe by the end of allllll of this… I won’t need or want to go back to working for the man at all. Now, wouldn’t that be a hoot? Having had illnesses and injuries that supposedly take me out of work for a combined few years, but during that time, I end up generating a successful income stream. That would be amazing, and it’s my goal.

I encourage all of you to share this with anyone who’s going through a rough time in life! Any rough patch can be turned around… and can lead you into more exciting territory!!

Hi hi!

Good to see you guys again! Last week, I mentioned that it was time for my monthly swimsuit shot post, with my weight loss progress. Well…. (here come the excuses) I didn’t post last week, since my right leg was covered with nasty bruises from a household renovation project. (I guess I could’ve just shown you my left side.) Now that the bruises have started to fade, I’m looking puffier from a round of prednisone that I had to take, for the month-long bout of laryngitis. (Which is still continuing. Back to the doctor today. Think good thoughts. And loud thoughts. This is too long to be nonfunctional.)

In any case, I have a bruised right side and a thick midsection, even though I’m now working out more, and harder, than the Initial Plan outlined in the first note. Siiiiigh. What to do but keep pressing on, and have faith that things will all work out in the end, right?

Right. So, for now, here are a few fun things to keep you entertained this fine Tuesday!

1. Poor Cookie Monster.

2. A comic on the importance of exercise.

3. Very cute! Decorate your food with vegetable flowers.

4. Make some glow stick lanterns for your end of summer outdoor parties!

5. This looks tasty and easy (and good finger food for gatherings): Cinnamon-Sugar Pretzels

6. Very pretty apples with cream cheese dip!

That’s it for the day, y’all–happy August, and I hope you have fun plans for the month! Friday is my birthday, and we’re still putting together some interesting shenanigans. I’ll try to squeeze in a recipe before the end of the week–maybe homemade mustard!


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