Fitness Virtual Challenge – IRELAND

January 2021 – The start of a new year, it’s time for a fitness challenge.

My girlfriend was on Facebook and found this Run West Ireland – Cancer Fundraiser – Virtual Challenge. It was a no brainer to sign up. We love Ireland, happy to donate to cancer and need to exercise. A win/win all around.

Here’s how it works. Race Duration: January 18 – May 31. Miles: 502; however, you can sign up to do less. Doing the math, as I signed up for the 502 miles, it seems I need to walk about 5 miles a day. It’s hard to find 1.5 hours a day to devote to exercise, but that will be the challenge.

They have a Facebook group page, which is nice. So, there is some camaraderie and then other perks along the way. I clocked my 5.6 miles in today. Feeling good.

So the race begins!

Exercise… Chicago – 30°F, gotta walk and surfers have to surf!

This morning, I was determined to get my walk done. I knew it was cold outside. I opened the door to see “how cold” it really was. About 30 degrees Fahrenheit, for sure, I needed a hat.

Walking at 7:15 AM, my hands were cold. Note to self, gloves not working. Scarf, hat, leggings – all good, but need to prepare for colder temps. Quite a few people walking or running, so I was not alone. Motivation for the next few days.

Imagine my surprise when I saw surfers out on Lake Michigan. I would have LOVED to ask them how they felt when they came out. How warm do wet suits keep them, but it was TOO COLD to wait around. Next time, I will ask.

I did get lovely photographs of the icicles — AMAZING!

Proud of myself, got my walk in. Got to walk rain, snow or shine, right! Otherwise, with COVID we will gain more than the estimated 15 lbs. Don’t want that!

I hope to go sledding this year. Stay tuned for that. I’d be happy if snow didn’t come until February. These temperatures are just right for walking — not tooooo cold.

Happy Exercising Everyone! (I hope I guilted you into walking today…)

Protein Powder — What size is enough?

Look what happened, I asked my daughter to order some protein.

Mega size!

I had such a shock when I saw that HUGE tub. My first thought was, I like protein powder, but that big container was probably going to last 5+ years! I hope I liked the taste.

Chuckling…

At that point, she reminded me it was three of us splitting it. More economical to get the biggest container rather than three separate ones. My shock went to praise. Glad she was “thinking” about our pocket books.

So, we are like bears, winter is coming and we are all set for shakes and overnight oats during hibernation. It is getting cold in Chicago!

Wish I could talk longer, but it’s time to go walking.

Soon daylight will change… sigh.

Stay well everyone!

Fitness: Resistance Bands

Staying at home, I have been learning new exercise techniques. I’ve never used resistance bands, but I heard how great they were. So, I bought some, see photo on the left. I gave them a try.

I was not impressed. I put the band on my legs. First off, the band was so tight, I thought it might cut my circulation off. Once in place, I found that the band would not stay in the wide format, instead it kept scrunching up and the elastic would pinch my legs. NOW, exercising is painful as it is, without being snapped by a rubber band every 10 seconds. You can see, they do look like large rubber bands.

My daughter was visiting. She said, “Hey Mama, I didn’t realize you were using resistance bands.”

I said, “Well, I am not anymore, those bands are way too painful.”

This is when she enlightened and told me I needed better resistance bands. I couldn’t imagine how they could get any better, but I put my trust in her.

WOW – was she right! She showed me her 4KOR resistance bands, pictured on the right and had me try them out. What a difference.

The 4KOR band is wider and made of a soft elastic type material. It’s still snug enough to offer resistance, but didn’t pinch the skin. Now, when I did a squat and walked to the left and to the right, I focused on the pain of the workout, not the pinching of my skin.

Hallelujah!

Having the “right” workout equipment is critical!

Walking -> Meditation -> Listen to Podcasts by “Meditative Story”

Walking_Meditative PodcastsThis weekend I was looking for some new podcasts to put on my Ipod for walking. I came across this great one called, “Meditative Story.” We go through phases in our walking career. Yes, times when it is nice to be out in nature and hear the birds chirping. Then other times, when we need to be entertained. Walking 3-5 miles gets a bit boring (my opinion) and why not enrich our lives.

So, I was thrilled to find these podcasts. Each week they have a person who shares “their story” with us. For example, I listened to Jule Hall share his story of being in prison and how it felt to be locked in his cell, the sounds he would hear, going outside, finding he felt safe in the chapel, he learned to meditate.

While he was telling his story there was meditative music playing in the background. The Host, Rohan (lives in Scotland), has an interesting voice and periodically interjects a comment here or there with the meditative music playing in the background. It’s very soothing to listen to.

Also, we just happen to be in quarantine, so this particular podcast I could relate to. I’m looking forward to walking now, so I can hear the next story…

Give it a try!

If you know of some good Podcasts, please share.

Fitness at HOME – Getting creative with a concrete block, mucking out stables…

Concrete BlockI admire people who are driven to exercise — NO MATTER WHAT! They find creative ways to reach their goals. My daughter was out walking with her friend and came across this concrete block. Any normal person (like me) would have walked past it. However, my daughter saw exercise potential in this block, so lugged it home.

Good deal – concrete block is $2.00 versus a purchased weight ranging $20-80.

Spring is here… gotta step up our exercise routines even in quarantine.

This made me think of walking. Years ago, when I lived in California, I called a horse stable and asked if they needed volunteers. I was getting BORED with walking. Sure enough, they needed help. I was excited. I would be outside, be around people/horses and exercise all at the same time!

Every weekend, I went to the barn and they gave me different chores to do. This gave me a full body work, while getting fresh air. Well, hold on, mucking out stinky horse stalls does not give fresh air, but it is an excellent work out.

For those of you, who have never mucked out a stable before. Here is a YouTube video from “This Esme” on how it is done. She’s super funny, she loses her GoPro camera in the truck where she is throwing out all the “poop.” THEN has to go into the poopy truck to retrieve the GoPro camera. This made me miss being at the barn for a couple of hours.

Being quarantined, has me thinking about outdoor activities.

Can you tell I have cabin fever!

Spin class… the Do’s and Don’ts

4055CEDC-3ACF-4128-B897-7C8B702568B3I’ve always wanted to take a spin class, but it is very intimidating. Take a look at the photo, that’s how spin class looks.

If you are a beginner like me, it looks like everyone is a major athlete.

I mean… I know how to ride a bike, but this is different. This is hard core, it’s not like Dorothy riding her bike with Toto in a flower basket.

This weekend though, I went to my daughter’s spin class. Since she is the instructor, she told me to come early. She’d set me up.

Set me up she did. She adjusted my seat for me, gave me some water, explained the gears and got me one of those wrist bands that tracks how you’re doing. YOU KNOW, the dreaded wrist band that shows your name up on the TV screen, so everyone can see how you/they are doing. I tried to resist putting it on, but my daughter held it out — she gave me a look of “just put the darn thing on.”

Actually, it wasn’t too bad. During our training session, I wasn’t always the slowest ranking biker. We did a lot of hills, my knees and thighs were burning.

After class, she told me that I wasn’t doing Position 2 properly. I guess I was supposed to be straighter with my legs, not have them bent. That explains why my knees were hurting. Perfect form is critical.

Overall it was good. Do I want to do that again?

Hum… I think I prefer dance class.

Fitness: Weight lifting routine

Exercise - weight liftingHow do you remember YOUR weight lifting routines? I’ve been working out with a personal trainer. When we’re going through a routine, I think I’ll remember everything he taught me.

Then I get to the gym on my own…

NOPE, NO MEMORY –  I think, “How did he do that, what size weight, did I bend up or down?” You get the idea.

So, I smartened up, after each session, I started doing quick stick drawings.

Guess what, I’m becoming a PRO.

AND I have a start of a new exercise book!

SPECIAL NOTE: Never tell your trainer you don’t like a certain exercise. WHY?? Because he will MAKE YOU DO the exercise you HATE every single time, i.e., planks!