Archive | December 2012

New Year’s Resolution

New Year's Resolution

Yes – I’m sorry I’ve treated you like crap this past week with cake, cookies, cupcakes, and other indulgences. I promise to get back on track in 2013!

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 2,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 3 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Thank you all for reading my blog in 2012 and I look forward to 2013!

Willpower and Grace at Sweat Like a Girl

Willpower and Grace…. reading that class name, I had no idea what to expect.  Even after reading the class description, I wasn’t all that enthusiastic about trying it out.  But it was at a good time slot and I really liked the instructor, so I decided to give it a try.  I’m really glad I did.  It just goes to show you that you should never judge a book by it’s title.

This class was nothing like I’ve ever taken before.  We started out with some basic deep breaths in and out, reaching and stretching to warm up the body, and then we moved into a squat series.  We did so many stinking squats that my legs were screaming 10 minutes into class and I wasn’t sure I was going to survive.  The next fifty minutes of class kind of whirled by in me in a massive blur with touches of dance, weight training, piloxing, balance, and plyometrics mixed in.  All I knew was that I needed a water break but there was no break to come (I had to make my own because I was DYING of thirst).  The instructor kept encouraging us to take higher options (actually she gave higher options and I just opted to make my own lower options) but I had made the mistake of eating a HUGE diner style breakfast and my belly was not feeling all the jumping around.  I was thinking better safe than sorry, so I listened to my body.  I thought it would be a better lasting impression if I took lower options than to blow chunks all over the group fitness floor.  If I can remember correctly we began with a squat series, moved into front kicks, picked up some dumbbells and worked on our biceps (which seemed like forever), and we did a little dance break to shake out the muscles.  Then we moved into a piloxing series with hamstring curls which eventually turned into roundhouse kicks.  We added on alternating front kicks with roundhouse, working both sides of course.  She worked in some jabs, upper cuts, and speed bag work.  If I wasn’t tired enough, we headed into some dips and abs exercises before bringing it back to the floor with some more squats and dance moves.  She brought in some traditional aerobic exercises like repeater knees but added in some yoga balance poses for fun.  For the grand finale we alternated 20 second burpees with 20 second weighted squat jumps (I opted for the no-weight squat jump).  When she told us to take it to the mats I knew the end was near.  Embracing this little “break”, I headed into plank position.  By this time my entire body was shaking but I was determined to take the higher plank hold option.  Then she had to throw in the, “okay – lift one leg off the floor… hold it… now bring it up to your side and back.  Don’t let that foot touch the floor!”  And all I could think to myself was, “Gosh, do I sound like that when I teach class because I want to kill her!”  (Of course I meant that in a totally nice way!)  So of course I just held plank position while everyone else was at leasting trying to do what she said.  I know my body, and my form would have sucked, so I stayed in plank with good form like a good student should.  We then went to our backs and worked on our lower abdominals and just when I was about ready to call it quits myself, class was over.

I’m definitely leaving Willpower and Grace with a love-hate relationship.  I was hating it when I was taking it, but how I felt when it was over was pure love.  I loved the feeling I had when it was over.  I loved how I felt like I got a great workout.  And I loved that it was like no other class I had taken before.  I can’t wait to take some of the things I’ve learned today and take it back to my own classes that I teach and I can’t wait to come back to Allentown, PA and take it again!

If you are in the area – check out Sweat Like a Girl and try your first class for FREE!

Pole Sweat at Sweat Like A Girl

Being on the road, I’m always looking for an opportunity to get some physical fitness in my life.  A few months back my sister showed me a Living Social deal for Sweat Like a Girl group fitness classes.  These classes are just for women, in a women only atmosphere, with classes specifically geared toward women.  I figured – eh, why not?  So for $19 I purchased the Living Social deal which got me 5 classes.  Since I was only going to be visiting for a week and realistically I’d be able to make it twice since Monday and Tuesday were holidays, I figured it was still a good deal.  (Normal drop in rates are $12 a class).

So today my sister and I put on our shorty shorts, brought a towel, and Prince Grip Plus (stuff that makes your hands less slippery) and headed to Pole Sweat.  This is the beginner class otherwise known as Intro to Pole.  It was nice because there were only 5 of us ladies in there plus the instructor.  Our instructor, Heather, who is also the owner of Sweat Like a Girl, was very knowledgable  being ACE certified and having a background in dance and was a former NFL Eagles cheerleader.  She was very friendly and welcoming.  She didn’t make you feel foolish for not knowing how to do anything and was very encouraging and helpful.  We warmed up and stretched to make sure we didn’t pull any muscles (because although it might not seem like it, it is a good muscular workout).  She walked us through the fireman spin, martini spin chair spin, pole inverts, and a couple other moves I can’t remember the names for.  Heather demonstrated each move for us, took us through step-by-step, and then allowed us to practice over and over until we were comfortable with the move.  She made sure that we practiced each side to keep things even. (even though I totally favored my right arm/side)  She coached us through all the moves and had us put each of the moves together into a progression which would eventually turn into our big show (or our own little solos that no one watches but yourself).

I will say that I went in not knowing what to expect, but you’d be surprised how much muscle control you need to hold yourself up on the pole, the use of your core to control your spins, upper body strength to keep your distance between the pole and hold yourself up, and leg strength to keep you stable on the pole with no hands.  I will definitely be feeling the affects of this class tomorrow!  I think the best part about this experience was going in with an open mind and just trying to have fun.  You’d be amazed at how quickly an hour goes by when you are tinkering on a pole and how much muscular endurance you use to repeat the moves over and over and over again.

My sister and I have already decided to go back on Friday for the morning double – Willower and Grace and Power Pole – stay tuned!

Sweat Like a Girl fitness room

Sweat Like a Girl fitness room

Challenge Update Week 7

7 weeks into my challenge and I should be good to go.  I’ve been doing this long enough that drinking my shakes and getting my workouts in should be like second nature, but let’s face it, December is a CRAZY month.  These last two weeks have been super crazy and it’s all I can do to get an extra walk in the day so I can make sure I’m keeping active.

December is just super crazy with work parties, family and friend get togethers, Christmas shopping, meetings, and just every day life happenings.  I have been lucky to make it to the gym 4 days a week the last two weeks and my diet the last week has been less than stellar.  Every single day this week my students have come into my classroom bearing gifts of cookies, chocolate covered pretzels, Belgium chocolate, chocolate truffles, and fudge.  They sit there and look at you expectantly, waiting for you to take a bite of the goodies they brought you.  And of course I thought a cookie and a cookie there wasn’t going to be too bad, but let me tell you… they add up and soon I’m eating cookies, mini cupcakes, and truffles like they are going out of style.  Not to mention, my principal and assistant principal cooked us breakfast and it happened to be pancakes (my favorite!) and theses AWESOME sausage pinwheels…. so again I had like 7 of them… my will power has been non-existant these past few days and I really need to reign it in.

This was evident tonight after I decided to take advantage of my sister’s treadmill in her basement.  Since coming home to visit for Christmas, I’ve indulged in birthday cake (numerous times a day), iced cookies, Christmas cookies, spring rolls, chicken wings, and things I don’t normally eat on a regular basis.  After presents were opened and the kids were in bed, I decided to go for a quick 3 mile run…. boy, was that rough.  It’s amazing how poor you feel when you are trying to complete a simple run that you’ve done hundreds of times.  I can totally tell that I have not been putting good fuel into my body this last week and now I’m paying the price.  I feel tired, slow, and lethargic.  It’s time to turn it around and get it back on track.  I’ve had my fun, I’ve strayed from my plan, and now it’s time to get serious.  I will not be one of those people who say, well I’ve already blown it, I might as well have my fun until the New Year and start over.  My resolution is to get back on track and my resolution starts now.

Earn Your Body

Earn Your Body

This is exactly what I need to be doing – now!

Fast Food is Destroying America

Last week I assigned an argumentative essay to my 4th and 5th grade students.  The students were to choose a topic they were passionate about and write something that would make the reader ponder and/or consider your side of the argument.  One particular student of mine decided to take on Fast Food and our Obesity epidemic, blaming the fast food giants for contributing to this problem.   I thought it was so well-written for a 5th grader, that I just had to share it.

Fast Food is Destroying America

Steak and Steak, Wendy’s, Arby’s, Taco Bell, McDonald’s, Burger King, Dairy Queen, Hardee’s, Jack in the Box, Rally’s, Culver’s, KFC, White Castle, and Long John Silver’s… what do these all have in common?  Well besides the fact that you can find AT LEAST one of each in my town, they are all considered fast food restaurants AND they all have Drive-Through’s that make getting their hot, greasy food even faster and more convenient than before!  Did you know that fast food is one of the leading causes of obesity (Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser)?  Obesity is the second leading cause of death in America falling just behind heart disease (Center for Disease Control).  We need to stop this mayhem!  We Americans should limit the amount of fatty fast foods we consume every day.  Two out of three adults are already obese or overweight (obesitycampaign.org/research.asp).  And it doesn’t help that 1 in 4 Americans are eating fast food every single day (jacn.org).  Fast food is making our nation fatter and fatter every day.

Fast food is making our country fat.  About 66% of adults are obese or overweight in America alone!  And adults aren’t the only people that are obese.  According to Kidshealth.org, 1 in 3 American children is considered overweight or obese, which is 3 times the amount of obese children there were recorded in 1963.  That means there are about 12.5 million obese children in just the US alone (Center for Disease Control).  Those children then have a 70-80% change of being obese adults.  Obesity in America is not just a small problem, it’s a growing epidemic.

It is obvious that eating fast foods that are high in fat, sodium, and sugar can lead to obesity, but what does obesity lead to?  It leads to numerous health problems.  The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III showed that 2/3 of adult men and women in the US diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 27 or greater, which is classified as overweight and unhealthy.  Diseases like colon cancer and osteoarthritis are both caused by obesity (news-medical.net).  Obesity can attribute to high blood pressure (hypertension), coronary heart disease, breast cancer, sleep apnea, gallbladder disease, and stroke (Center for Disease Control).  Childhood obesity can cause liver, lung, heart, and musculoskeletal complications as well (obesitycampaign.org).  Fast food can definitely damage your body if you continually eat it on a regular basis.

Fast food isn’t only affecting the people that over eat it, it’s affecting you too.  According to a study by the George Washington University, it costs up to $4,800 for a woman to pay for obesity and $2600 for a man. By itself, Type 2 diabetes costs $63 Billion in health care costs (getamericafit.org).  Other obesity related diseases like osteoarthritis can cost the health care system roughly $17.2 Billion annually.  Companies lose roughly $39 million in lost workdays related to obesity illnesses every year.

While there are many contributors of obesity such as lack of physical activity, too much time spent in front of the TV or computer, and eating of junk food – a huge culprit to our epidemic is the availability of fast food.  You can  find a fast food joint around every corner.  In fact, there is a stretch of road in my community that has a Jack in the Box, Arby’s, Hardee’s, McDonald’s, and a drive-through Pizza Hut all on the same street (side-by-side)!  Fast food is cheap and convenient.  You can pick up a 20-piece chicken nugget for $5 at McDonald’s, pick up 4 drinks for a buck a piece, and slap on some value fries, and you can feed a family of four for under $15!  You can’t even purchase enough lean protein and vegetables to feed a family of four at the grocery store!  Fast food restaurants are promoting unhealthy living habits which is precisely why it is destroying America one waistline at a time.