Archive for the ‘Exercise’ Category

Wellness Assessment

So, my work had yet another year of wellness assessment. This marks my fifth year of doing the assessment. My first year working there, I missed it because I had a misunderstanding that employees would pay for this assessment. I had found out after they finished all sites that my employer had offered this for free. Whoops! From that point on, I participated. One year, I missed at my site but drove almost 15 miles one way just to be able to participate.

This year was a bit different, this marks the first year that the employer offered health incentive for participating and also volunteering to a cotinine test (but must pass). Upon completing one of the two or both incentives, the rebate would be applied as a credit towards our out of pocket health insurance cost. I was all for it seeing how I participate on an annual basis anyways. Not only that, our sites have recently gone tobacco free as of July 1, 2012. I don’t smoke either so it was a no brainer to do this test. If I don’t volunteer for it, then I don’t qualify for the rebate. Again, no brainer, I just wanted to do what I could for my family to cut down the health insurance cost where possible.

The cotinine test was quite interesting. After finishing my wellness assessment, they asked if I was planning on participating and said that I was. They directed me to this lady waiting for the next person to oversee the test. It was quite simple and painless. They instructed me to open a sealed bag and outlined the process for me. I did that. It looked sorta like a wand with a flat cotton-like tip only flat. I had never done such test before so I was pretty awkward and the lady helped me through the steps, explaining what I needed to do next. As soon as I placed it where the wand needed to go in my mouth, my mouth just about shriveled up in efforts to secrete more saliva. I think that was the whole point of it, to soak that cotton-like tip. I had to hold it for 5 minutes. It was the longest 5 minutes of my life… It was just sooo… salty! At the least I thought it was…

wellnessassessment2013

So, yea that’s me waiting for the time to do it’s thing. I believe I was only a minute in before I felt, “Dang, this is really taking a while.” Last time I talked about the wellness assessment, I was trying to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight. It was this assessment that I discovered I did just that! Yayy me! I really stuck with it! I have minimized my pop consumption, ate more fresh fruit/veggies wherever possible, and increased water consumption. Not only I got down to my pre-pregnancy weight, I went even lower. I wasn’t planning on that! I didn’t have weight goals (other than getting myself back to pre-pregnancy weight) and weighed myself obsessively. I just ate what I wanted, made sure I did my hours at the gym as part of an employee fitness section. It’s a whole lot cheaper than paying gym membership!

I decided to opt out of the gym this semester since having been bitten on my right pinky finger as part of my massive update recently.  Even snapped a shot of what my pinky had looked like after my ER visit was all said and done.  It was for good reason, we had quite the insane semester and it’s not over!  I barely had time to step out of office.  Plus with Haley starting her new preschool, I had wanted to ensure she was transitioning well.  She really is doing well there and I am comfortable to start up my gym again.  Having that hour to myself daily has been awesome!  I saw the semester schedule of pilates class and it looked like they were offering pilates still, not one but TWO times a week!  Oh man!  I missed that change!  I sure hope they will have similar offerings like that for the fall semester.

Speaking of pilates, I took Haley to her audiologist visit just last week.  As I had pulled in, somehow I had glanced over at the buildings beyond the traffic waiting for it to clear so I could make the turn.  Within those buildings, I had seen this recognizable logo of a white circle with a letter “P” on it, which was red.  No way!  Could it be?!  I needed to get Haley to the appointment, so I turned once the traffic was clear.  Did the appointment, which seems like eternity.  I explained to Haley we would make a quick detour as mama wanted to check something out.  I head over to the buildings I had spotted this logo.  Could it be?  Oh please?  Really?  It really is!!  What was it that I saw?  Pure Barre studio!  Oh joy!  I heard so many great things about it.  I parked and go in to get the class schedule.  I had the chance to talk with the co-owners, Veronica, who was really nice.  It turns out they had their grand opening just earlier that morning!

After talking with Veronica, we both agree that should I decide to pick up few classes there, I should do just fine in there as I have quite a bit of pilates background.  I really enjoy doing low-impact exercises.  I can’t quite run, not at the least comfortably.  If you know me, you’ll know what I mean.

circleppurebarrelogo

Do you think it’s possible that Christmas will come early in July.  Oh how I would LOVE to have some classes there.  I’m happy with once or twice a week!  I’ve been going once a week for the last almost two years until I got bit leading to some challenges in being able to hold the poses.  The pressure on my right hand felt really bad only because it basically left me a hole.  Now it’s mostly filled/grown in where the bite was plus the nail growing almost all the way back (I lost almost the entire thing), it’s more comfortable again.  Wish list mental note, add pure barre to my Christmas/birthday/mother’s day/any holidays you can think of and I will be a happy lady!  Oh and of course, they have dress code requirement, which I totally get.  So throw that in, and I’m happy.

Bottom line, the wellness assessment is a great tool to keep a progress check on yourself.  It wasn’t until my second assessment that I decided to try and get back to my pre-pregnancy weight, but I had not gone to the gym yet or started pilates yet.  The assessment after that was really good.  No problem.  Oh no, it was fourth assessment that had me start going to the gym.  I had shown that my weight was going up, not down.  I did what I could with my eating habit (notice I did not say “diet”, I do not believe in “diet”).  I will be glad I started this assessment when I did now that my employer is offering incentives to apply towards our fiscal year health insurance out of pocket costs.  That means more money in my paycheck.  Perhaps that could translate in some pure barre?  We shall see as we have few other things that my family need to take care of first to ensure financial health.

New Workout Gear

So!  It sure has been a crazy few weeks which contributed for being MIA lately.  Sometimes over the summer, I managed to pick up new capris and t shirt for my new workout gear.  I am staring my third semester of employee section class at work.  I decided not to continue that through the summer otherwise it would be my fourth semester.  Naturally, I was worried my body would become lackadaisical but surprisingly not since I remained active over the summer in another form.  My summer consisted of a compressed work week which in turn made my Fridays being my off day.  I am slightly sore but nowhere near the level of soreness I experienced my first semester.  Holy cow!  Walking or even stretching was a major chore!  I look forward in seeking out additional items for my workout gear.  Sadly, my pilates mat doesn’t seem to be used much anymore.  It’s lost the stickiness since I keep slipping and sliding during class.  Silly, I tell you.  For now, I’m using the general mat provided by the group fitness.  I make sure I pre-wipe the heck out of the mat, like crazy.  I much rather have my own.  I like it sticky, long, and even a bit thicker but most I’ve seen is pretty thin.  Boo.  The search continues.

newgymgear

So naturally, new clothes made me feel good!  Surprisingly comfy!  My main concern was would the outfit be as comfy as I work out?  It did!  First day back, which was yesterday, consisted of the following, some running on the treadmill, leg press, bench press, and some mat work with the medicine ball.  The mat work consisted with bent leg roll ups, traditional roll ups, some Russian twists, and a bit of stretching.  I was impressed with the gym at work since it went through a bit of remodeling in terms of floor materials and rearranging the equipment to flow a bit better as one moves around the gym.  Tomorrow, pilates!  It will be two hours earlier than my usual time but dang it, I’m committed to go!

Not only that, I have also signed up for a third round of Mile Club Challenge.  I started out with 100 miles since I had no idea what is involved and second time around, I doubled that.  Now this time around, I now signed up for 300 miles in 100 days.  It’s not yet started but soon will!  For example, I would have earned close to 3 miles for riding the stationary bike today in 50 minutes (woot woot!).  The program credits 1 mile for every 3 miles cycled.  I would have met my daily goal.  Not to mention, you can include the steps you have done that day.  It varies from day to day but for something like today, I would have totaled 1 mile.  If it was last week, I sure spent a lot of time outside the office so I am sure it’s probably twice that!

With summer winding down into fall even though we are still experiencing summer temperatures, I’ve been downing water like crazy.  Shall we demonstrate?

thirstymuch

A bonus would be a glimpse of Haley’s lovey, Sophie on the bottom left of the picture.  No, in all seriousness, I didn’t drink all those bottles myself.  We have a water delivery and normally get 5-7 bottles, depending what we need that month on top of Hubbs’ hobby of brewing.  We had missed a delivery so whoops!  That meant we were holding those empty bottle for a bit longer than usual.  Haley do love helping us stack them outside, ready for the deliver/exchange day.  She has been such a little helper these days.

In other news, I have been toying with the idea of signing up for Warrior Dash after my two dear friends have completed their courses earlier this year.  My supervisor and/or co-workers would be involved in marathons, triathlons, or even events including Tough Mudder.  A might too extreme for me, until my friends told us about Warrior Dash.

warriordash

It’s more on the fun side and the course itself is 3-miles ridden with obstacles course (Tough Mudder is so much tougher and longer than that).  So far, I haven’t taken the plunge, but the thought is there.  Go ahead, Google up Warrior Dash and check out the images.  Doesn’t that look like fun?  Right now, no local races but out of state.  Road Trip?  Yes?  Hmm, still contemplating…

Latest Personal Goals

Lately, I’ve been making a point to continue my exercise routine.  The last post I did under the “exercise” category, yes I even searched it up, was this.  Once in a while, I would post some moments I find myself thinking “You Know You Are a Mom When…” and found Haley’s binky in my gym bag.  What a surprise.

Well, last semester, I finished out my gym just over the time required to “pass” the course.  Yes, I signed up for a course.  The kind of person I am, I hate failing in a class.  So I used that to my advantage.  Oh yea, and with my work, I got some mad discount on the tuition and only paid the class and registration fees.  Pretty much beats out a gym membership.  I even work out during my lunch break.  I go around 4-5 days a week, depending on what’s up that day.  Sometimes Haley would be sent home from school before I could hit up the gym or I have appointments for myself.  With the success of that, I signed up for another semester of gym class.  Same gig.

I love going to the gym these days.  I see it sort of a bit of time for myself.  Sometimes I would do some free weights.  Sometimes I would do some stationary bicycle.  Usually when I’m on the bicycle, I’d also read while cycling.  Hey, multi-tasking!  No joke.  I think I got through all of Harry Potter books, thanks to my mama friend, in few months.  I made it a goal to finish it all before the last movie.  I don’t know how I’ve not read those books before the first movie was released at all!

Before going in the gym, sometimes I would draft up my own gym sheet to keep me on track rather than hemming and hawing on what to do that day.  Usually, they consisted of going to Women’s Health Magazine’s website.  I think I started visiting that website from reading the uber old magazine of theirs while on the bike.  They would have few sets of exercises shown in the magazine.  What I really like about their website was that I can do a lot of multi purpose moves during my short lunch break.  That’s what I noticed when I used their weight circuit systems as compared to doing multi purpose moves.  With the weight circuit system, sometimes I am in an awkward position and having to take few minutes to adjust myself.  With the multi purpose moves, I could do free weights to do squats AND bicep curls.  So sorta like hitting two birds with one stone than hitting up two separate machines.  Not only that, seems everyone is using the machine and I just can’t wait for them to get off.  So using body weights or nearly no equipment works best for me.  I would scour the WHM for ideas, or sometimes Googling for additional ideas.  I use some resistance bands, stability balls, free weights, medicine balls, bosu ball, or just my own body weight.  Fridays is my dedicated day for Pilates.  Oh how I love Pilates.  Just something about it I like.  Even though it’s not all go go go, it still gives me the focus to make sure my form is correct, it’s just about me.  I’m always bummed to miss Pilates but have gone to every single one of them since the spring semester began.

Lately, I worked mostly on planks.  My first time around last semester, it was sorta pathetic:  10 seconds.  There, now you know how it was for me.  Now, I’m working towards 45 seconds plank and aiming for a bit longer.  But in no way I’m aiming for the world record of the longest plank hold, which appears to be nearly a year ago by an Australian guy, holding at 33 minutes and 40 seconds!  Umm, wow.  I’ve gone 5 seconds over that, but not 33 minutes additional!  Eek!

So all in all, I sort of forgot how important exercise was to me.  Not necessarily “exercise”, but moving around.  I mean, I participated in team sports all the way up to high school.  College, I did some co-ed teams, but not so much in terms of competitiveness.  Most of my time was dedicated to my studies.  Then college was over.  It was sorta muddy trying to sort myself out.  Never too late, right?

You Know…

I have another “You Know…” to share…

You know you are a mom (who is also trying to cram in some gym time during her day) when you find little surprises in your (gym) bag like this…

gymbagsurprise

I found this when I was unpacking my gym bag (which is temporary and hope to have one made for myself as a project) and seeing this totally caught me off guard and made me smile.  Haley must have sneaked her pacifier in the bag before we left for the day.  In fact, I was just thinking before seeing this how I did really well this week also with exception of Monday that I forgot my bag.  I’m so proud of myself for doing pretty well since I first began 2 weeks ago.

Dead Arms…

Okay so my first workout session Tuesday with lower body/abs went great!  Given that I had the aftereffects aka soreness.  Which was fine since I would stretch at my desk when I could.  Then yesterday, I did day #2 in the gym with lower body.  I found myself a bit awkward with the machines so trying to figure out which ones I want and tried probably almost everything plus abs too.

Awesome, after that, my total brought nearly to 2 hours.  Then today was the Pilates class for group fitness.  I really wanted to get back into doing that.  When we began, it seemed they were focusing a bit more on core plus the arms too.  I thought I wanted to die!  My poor arm is probably mad at me right now.  If I keep choosing days to work on some areas and end up doing the same areas they do in Pilates, I expect my limbs to be chiseled, no?

My grand total is just a bit more than 15 minutes shy of 3 hours total.  Not bad for 3 days this weeks.

Fitness Rescue

Okay so I seriously slacked off on the fitness part in my life.  I find it more difficult to try and fit it in at home.  Heck, keeping watch on Haley is a fitness in itself.  My work was offering some sort of fitness incentive so I signed up for it.  I was told I could use the gym AND go to the group fitness.  I looked at the schedule they have for group fitness.  They have Pilates AND Zumba!  Pilates, how I miss thee!  I didn’t have the opportunity to go two Fridays ago, work was crazy-fast so I hope to make it in this Friday.  Zumba, now, I’ve not tried this before but it’s supposed to be pretty cool.  So we shall see, given that all will go as planned Saturday, I’ll get to try this out.  So with a bit more flexibility, I should be able to meet my goal.  I was told, 32 hours until the end of the semester.  Hmm, sounds doable.  I am aiming for a “lunch hour” work out at the gym with some classes thrown in.

Today, my very first work out in a looong time and I feel great!  When I checked out, I was told 55 minutes. Pretty cool.  That included some stretch time, warm up, working out, and even cooling down.  Not bad I don’t think.  I did some stretches, warming up on the treadmill, some leg extensions, calves presses, hip abductors, cardio on the bike, leg press, some Roman chair, and some of the back resistance- thingy.  All in all, it was a good start.

Truth be told, I was REALLY nervous, to be honest, when it came to some abdominal work so I think I held back just a tiny bit.  See, I had c-section.  The doctor didn’t cut my muscle, she just separated it with exception of making a tiny cut on the right side to let Haley’s head free.  I took it easy with the weights, sort of getting to know the machines.  I’ve worked out there before, way back when I was a college student.  Weird coming back at different time in my life as compared to then.  Not much has changed.

Before today, I was looking for a workout shirt and sports bra.  I finally bit the bullet and took my butt down to Target, tried on few sports bra to get an idea what’s out there, what I like and don’t like.  Target had a sale going on and I was determined to find something.  I found something rather quickly!  It’s a simple sports bra by Champion.  I think their new line, supposedly C9 or something.  I also found this shirt from Target, I LOVE it and hope to pick up some more like it:

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Awesome isn’t it?  It was just perfect for working out.  Now the shocking part of where I found this shirt.  Get this, I found this in the sleepwear section.  Whaaat?  Yes, sleepwear.  It’s soooo soft.  Hopefully soon, I’ll pick up another set to grow my gear a bit.  I’m focusing on Pilates friendly wear so I can easily go from the gym or Pilates rather than having two separate gears.  So nearly 1 hour down and 31 more to go to meet my minimum hours for the semester.  Of course, I aim to exceed that as well.

Balance Outta Whack!

What’s so interesting about tonight when I was doing pilates, I felt like my balance was outta whack.  I tried to focus and just couldn’t seem to get it in check.  This time I did level 2.  I noticed few subtle poses with level 2 and didn’t realize it first few times around.  Whoops!  It did feel challenging, maybe that contributed to the lack of balance of my core.  I could feel my overall pose a lot better when I stand, sit, or walk aside from the occasional lounging position at home.  Thank goodness for pilates mat otherwise I would have been slipping all over the floor (no carpet here although we have an area rug).  It was NOT a good idea for me doing matworks with my hair clip, claw, whatever you want to call it.  Should have had it pony-tailed.  Oh well, live and learn.  I’m not sure if it’s me or I’m noticing a bit different shape about my body these days.  Not that inches are dropping at this time, just there’s different shape.  I’m not sure exactly what it is, but I think it’s there.  I didn’t take any measurements of what the body was before for an after comparison.  I just never really bothered with it.  Heck, my jeans I bought before returning to work is loose.  LOOSE!  It was loose about 1.5 months after I got back to work and it’s been 3 months since I returned.  Talk about defnite inches lost right there…  Not sure if I’d jump into buying a better fitted jeans yet or wait and see.  Sure, it might bug me with some baggy areas, but would rather see how it goes until the end of the year.  If my pants practically falls off, then yeah, time for a new set.  What’s odd is my shirts are fitting me just fine like nothings changed other than some storage in the boobies. 

With more pratice, I may not need to follow the DVD and may have it memorized.  I’m curious to see what level 3 may bring although I could see the level 3 lady there, it seems with my balance issue, I could topple off!  Now I think about it, the weather hasn’t been friendly to my inner ears, it could be contributed to the weather.  For now, the 3 videos I found is good but am on the look out for more so I can have them in rotation.  I would have been discouraged (not given up) if I stuck to only one.  Come to think of it, I haven’t weighed myself since mid-April.  At that time, I had about 8-10 lbs. left to go.  With conscious eating, reducing my soda intake, and increasing my water intake, I should be back on track.  That’s on top of making attempts to exercise on a regular basis.  I think this month I’ve been more productive in my efforts than last month or even the month before that.  It’s about baby steps, right?   

pickyourlevelpilates

Jello-y!

Urgh…  My legs are jello-y.  My arms are jello-y.  Heck, my nose is jello-y too!  This is the second time I’ve done this exercise video and I think all I could say was holy batman!  Pretty much the whole body.  Not to mention, I broke a sweat doing this.  I’m pretty proud I did some exercise last night and few days before that.  It’s been an improvement if I can say so myself.  They are both 30 minutes however this one felt longer.  Maybe 45 minutes?  Not to mention that while letting the hubbs finish up his TV show, I did random stretches, exercises, and attempted at push ups.  So maybe that was another 10 to 15 minutes.  Longest ever.  The push up was a fail since my right wrist hurt pretty bad.  I banged it on my desk earlier in the day.  In the corner.  o.u.c.h.!  Even doing the modified push up, it still hurt.  I sort of opted for pilates style push up, if you will.  To boot, Haley actually woke up.  Poor girl is a bit backed up in her plumbings.  So with my jello-y arms, I could barely hold onto her.  Wowzers!  After helping her and tending to her, she was good to put back down.  She did wake up during my session and hubbs was taking care of her. 

If wanting to know the title of the DVD, it’s Self: Bikini Ready, Fast!

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Jello Legs

Yeah, my legs!  It sort of feels Jello-y at this point.  Thankfully, Haley is down for the night so I don’t have to worry about making sure my legs don’t buckle under me.  This time, I chose the Pick Your Spot Pilates.  I followed the video for nearly all of it with exception of having to follow the modified version.  Some of it wasn’t shown on the video that I remembered from my old pilates class.  Some of it I stopped and did the rest pose for the sake of my incision.  I could feel the tension, so I didn’t want to push myself too much but within reason.  I also noticed that I haven’t had much to eat or the size of my portion reduced.  Lately, I would bring an empty tupperware to work with my lunch bought from Fresh and Easy.  When I nuke ‘em, I would immediately half the portion size and I’m good to go!  I also try and have more fiber in my diet although I shudder at the word “diet”.  What is “diet” anyways?  I really don’t follow a diet…  I eat anything within moderation.  I minimize my soda intake, as an example.  My water habit is still pretty good from my pregnancy although there are days that I completely forget about it.  How I know I forget?  I don’t make as many trips to the bathroom.  Yah, that simple.  Because with the trip to the bathroom, I go to the furthest one possible which means I’m walking.  Genius!  Instead of walking to the nearest bathroom, I go to the furthest one.  Of course, not the ultimate furthest one, more like further than usual.

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Phew!

My last official post was probably end of April, shame on me…  But really, I had maybe one or two in between that post and this one.  But still…  I am continuing to do my best to aim for a daily basis.  I even did The Pick Your Zone Pilates at level 2, a bit more challenging.  Wow…  I got used to the level 1 and figured I’d give it a shot.  Somehow I convinced the hubbs to join me.  It was actually nice to have him with me.  I challenged him to join me and he completed the warm up part and somehow went off doing something else.  Probably some computer stuff.  Then pulled him to come back and finish it with me.  We’re only talking 30 minutes.  Personally, I am trying to get in the best shape I can before the end of this year.  Ideally, my pre-pregnancy weight but to have an overall tone, obviously.  I won’t expect too much, but I’d like to aim for it.  Truth be told, I love wearing my bikinis mostly because I have cute sarongs to go with it as a cover up, tied on the sides, or as a skirt.  Whatever that may be, I’d like to feel good about myself.  Level 2 was definitely a challenge to my balance system and could SLIGHTLY feel the tension of my incision so I didn’t push myself too far.  For regaining the balance, I took an extra rock or taking an extra second or two to regain the balance.  Not to mention, I’m focused on balancing.  Hubbs talked about joining me which I’m honestly excited about too. 

Also, I’ve been attempting to eat well such as food conscious choice.  Example?  The work cafeteria choice is quite greasy and you could probably inhale the grease in the air.  Not to mention super expensive.  I could buy 2 slices of pizza for $5.  FIVE dollars…  For $5, I can get from Fresh and Easy’s kitchen meal, two of their bowls pre-made.  Usually, I eat half of it to carry over for the next day.  If that’s the case, I can have 4 meals from 2 bowls for $5 as opposed to the cafeteria’s 1 day’s worth of pizza slices.  $1.25 per day or $5 per day?  I think the choice is obvious.  Not to mention fresh and tasty!  Until next time!

pickyourlevelpilates