Boot camp and beyond

Progress: the wardrobe measure
23 October 2006 (Monday), 11:35 pm
Filed under: Outside boot camp log, Tracking progress

Friday after work Rachael and I walked from my work, along the Sea Wall and up the hill to my place before picking up Kirsti and heading over to Mandy‘s to eat and knit and stuff. At one point Rachael mentioned her theory on Winners, which is that you always find something but it’s never what you went there looking for. Saturday was the exception that proved the rule, for me: I went looking for a suit (ideally black); with Mounir’s assistance (I’m not marrying him because he’s so good at picking out clothes that look great on me, but it’s a very nice perk), I found and acquired three, one of which was black. Which was great — I like wearing suits to work and it was time for some more variety. However, since I’d bought two other suits at a consignment store on Granville earlier in the week, it was also time to clean out the closet.

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I miss dancing.
20 October 2006 (Friday), 2:23 pm
Filed under: Dancing

This excellent (probably staged) video of someone stopped for DUIing reminds me I need to sign up for another workshop or class or something.  I won’t attend under the influence, either.

Essential fatty acids, seafood and serendipity
19 October 2006 (Thursday), 11:27 pm
Filed under: Food

GMail showed me a link to this article When Fish Isn’t the Best Source for Fish Oil This amused me, because yesterday T’ai gave Chrissy and me a bottle each of Udo’s Oil to apologize for having to miss our session on Monday (we also have a make-up session scheduled for tomorrow), and because yesterday I was thinking about the amount of fish I’ve been consuming.

The article screwed up one of its recommendations, though:

“most of us can enjoy farm-raised fish as often as we want, since they are not as generally not as contaminated as wild fish.”

Apart from that redundant not as, if you check the Oceans Alive links you’ll see that wild salmon is less contaminated than farmed salmon.

I’m pretty certain I’m getting enough essential fatty acids in my diet: on top of two tablespoons daily of Udo’s, fish is one of my major sources of protein (along with whey powder, eggs, and cottage cheese.) Especially after yesterday morning’s lower body targetting session, which left sore leg and butt muscles I didn’t know I had, I’m happy for the Essential Fatty Acids to “prevent muscle break down, and speed recovery from fatigue” (that’s from the Udo’s Oil description, but there’s more here on the functions of EFAs.)

I’m mildly concerned about mercury consumption, though. Most of the fish I eat is on the good side of this list, linked to by that article. As the daughter of former commercial fisherman I’m also fairly vigilant about asking if salmon in restaurants is wild, not farmed. Usually it’s mentioned already in the menu. But I’m definitely exceeding the 2-3 servings/week recommendation, so it may be worth getting a hair sample tested. My hair dresser told me on Saturday that I ought to install a filter on my shower because copper in the pipes is making the ends of my hair brassy, and then I found some hippy-dippy websites that made a copper imbalance sound like that was going to kill me, or at least make me stupid (along with the mercury). Sometimes Dr. Google is a jerk and makes me paranoid. I can’t decide if GMail giving me that link was good serendipity or if this paranoia will cause me to turn into one of those people who grows their own sprouts and talks about the enzymes in raw food or something.

In a more positive incidence of serendipity, a few hours after finding the fish oil article I ran across Losing My Veginity, an excellent account by Trish Kelly of her first encounter with seafood after years of vegetarianism. Along with providing links to two other programs that evaluate the impact of eating different species of fish (Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch and the Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise program), it’s both more insightful and evocative of the joy of eating seafood. I’m planning to read the rest of the Tyee’s Guilt-Free Hedonist series once I catch up on sleep; I hope it either staves off the urge to grow sprouts or makes it seem fun.

Why pay for personal training?
16 October 2006 (Monday), 11:35 pm
Filed under: Climbing, Outside boot camp log

This whole personal training thing is causing me to reevaluate my previously uninformed biases about the practice of using a personal trainer. I always figured people who went to personal trainers were hardcore athletes or actors/public figures whose bodies were pivotal to their ability to earn money, or executives who had more money than time and were intensity junkies, or women with body image disorders, or rich people who were bored and had nothing better to do and (if you believe stupid TV show premises) might be having affairs with their trainers. The one friend of mine (that I know of) who’s signed up for regular personal training sessions in the past fits the intensity junky/short on time generalization.

Based on my stereotyping categories, the need for intensity seems closest to my motivation too. I went climbing tonight for the second time since injuring my foot in August; the intensity of it, even at the fairly novice level I’m at, definitely appeals to me though I often whine about it as I suffer through the pain or fear it causes.

Michael, my climbing buddy, has been pushing me to attempt more overhangs, because they sketch me out. Tonight I both proved to myself that I’m no longer intimidated by the mild overhang at the top of a 5.7 route on one wall, and freaked out on two other routes (a 5.8 and a 5.9) because I was quite certain I was going to die. I knew on one level it was entirely irrational, because Michael wasn’t going to drop me and if I lost hold of the wall I was at most going to bruise myself. But despite not being afraid of heights and trusting Michael, the rope and the knots not to screw up, when my body weight is pulling me away from the wall and I need to move one of my arms to the next hold, my fear of falling of kicks into overdrive. As does my ability to visualize myself swinging towards an angly bit at the edge of an overhang and splitting open my head or poking an eye out, even though laws of physics would have to be violated for that to happen. I didn’t complete either of the scary routes but I came close on the 5.8 and I felt great about it when I got down to the ground again. So yes, putting myself in difficult or challenging situations must be something I enjoy, or I wouldn’t keep doing it.

Why am I revisiting the assumptions about why people hire personal trainers? Because I’ve paid for two sessions a week until November 5th and it makes sense to articulate why I’m doing this, in order to achieve as much as possible out of it. Plus this guy thinks it’s important. Additionally, this morning T’ai wasn’t able to make it so Chrissy and I were left to train ourselves, which highlighted to me the benefit having a trainer provides. Thus, a list (I like lists, if you haven’t already noticed; I am also overfond of parenthetical asides):

1. Accountability, both financial and personal: having a walking/climbing/running/dancing buddy who is counting on me to show up and work out with them is helpful; having a trainer counting on me to show up plus having money committed that I don’t want to waste is even more helpful.

2. Being pushed to my limits and discovering I’m capable of more than I thought: this morning Chrissy and I did a reasonably thorough and hard workout. I wasn’t exhausted the way I was after last Wednesday’s session, though, even though we repeated the two most challenging exercises: dips with our feet up on a stability ball, and push ups with one hand on a medicine ball and the other hand on the mat (rolling the ball from one hand to the other in between each push up). I’d told Rob the RMT about them at my massage Wednesday afternoon, and he accused T’ai of violating the Geneva convention with that sort of torture. This morning, though, I stopped just short of torturing myself; I may have done more reps of the dips, but didn’t do as many of the push ups, and didn’t feel as rubbery-yet-accomplished after either.

Which brings me to the third reason — there are more, but if I get to bed right this instant I still won’t get 7 hours of sleep, so three will do for now:

3. Variety: I’ve been surprised by all the new exercises T’ai has thrown at us. They’re almost all things I can do at home on my own or with Mounir, but every session we do something new. Variety rocks. I hate being bored; being challenged to try something new, even if I wouldn’t inflict it on the most evil war criminal in the history of war criminals, is fun. I could buy (and have bought) DVDs that will push me and provide the physical part of the challenge, but having a trainer means someone else is responsible for keeping it new and mentally challenging.

The burn and the ache: thoughts the day after my second morning of personal training
5 October 2006 (Thursday), 10:20 am
Filed under: Outside boot camp log

Yesterday morning’s session was intense enough to turn my face into a tomato, and Chrissy (my training partner) also felt it was more strenuous than Monday’s.   We both needed that Thai Massage stretch at the end (see previous post).  My balance is good enough that tree pose is reasonably easy, but I felt quite unstable doing combined one-legged squat/10 lb rows, and later bicep curls while standing on a Bosu ball.  One-legged dips on the bench were okay on the balance front, but by the 35th or so (out of 40) I kept going only because T’ai was encouraging me to do so. 

Today I am feeling the ache.  While I like it as a sign that I pushed myself (or was pushed) fairly hard, I don’t like it as much as the burn during the actual movement.  The particularly strong ache in my shoulders is probably from the exercise where I was punching forward with the resistance tube handles in my hands and T’ai was several feet back putting tension on the tube and moving it unpredictably side-to-side and up-and-down.  From the burning in my shoulders it was obvious at the time it was going to cause this soreness later.  I just wish my next massage was scheduled for sooner than next Wednesday.

tags: , , , recovery

Thai Massage
4 October 2006 (Wednesday), 1:10 pm
Filed under: Outside boot camp log, Photos

Thai Massage

Originally uploaded by spamangr.

After this morning’s training session, which involved quite a lot of upper body work (resistance tubing can be used in surprisingly hard-but-fun exercises), T’ai showed us this Thai Massage stretch that opens up the chest and shoulders while also stretching the back and arms. I was going to try to describe it, but found a picture of it on Flickr so yay.

Chrissy and I switched off being stretcher and stretchee, and both ended up with weirdly tingling forearms coming out of the stretch. It felt very effective, though. It seemed like it would have been a bit more relaxing if my shoulders weren’t perpetually tense.

tags: , , , , thai massage

Thoughts after my first morning of personal training
2 October 2006 (Monday), 7:55 am
Filed under: Outside boot camp log

1. Boy, are my arms and legs and abs rubbery. (T’ai was having us do exercises that worked large muscle groups and the core simultaneously.)

2. It’s quite possible to have a very intense work out in half an hour (with 11.5 minutes of warm up on the eliptical machine beforehand).

3. Asthma sucks. I didn’t puke, but the whole phlegm thing is disgusting. The cardio machines at the gym (conveniently right downstairs from my apartment, yay!) do a much better job of getting me breathing hard than did climbing stairs at boot camp. This should make up for my not running over the last month.

4. If I didn’t have to get to work, I’d go back to bed right now.

5. I may be insane: I’m really looking forward to Wednesday’s session.

tags: , , ,