The perfect running partner

…is not my dog.

Power Yoga was canceled this morning for a fitness expo so, to get in my daily fitness, I took my dog for a run/walk to the park.

German Shepherd Dog

We walked the four or five blocks to the park. I wanted to start with walking to test my allergies. I didn’t do too badly! Breathed fine, nose was a little stuffy and sneezy, but I wasn’t nearly as bad off as I was the first time running outside.

I waited in the field next to the park for my dog to “get busy.” “Get busy” is his order to go potty. He begrudgingly did so, and then we took off.

We sprinted through the park, up and down the slopes and across the sidewalks.

My dog does not stay with me when he runs. He wants to run ahead of me because he thinks he’s faster than I am.

So we had to have a race…

…he won.

Jerk.

I was pooped! We jogged back home and sprinted the final block so he could get good and worn out.

My precious dog is the reason I can never live in a carpeted house. His drool drops covered my kitchen and hall floors. I had to lay a towel down.

Do you run with your dog? Is he/she faster than you, too?

New fitness goal: Eight limb pose

I woke up this morning with seriously sore shoulders.

The 400 or so chaturanga poses and the attempt at wheel during Power Yoga on Wednesday probably destroyed some of my connective tissues.

Jill, the yoga instructor, greets our class (if she sees new people) by saying: “Hi. I’m Jill. Welcome to Power,” which I interpret as: “Hi. I’m Jill. You will hate me in the morning.”

…and I disliked her a bit when I crawled out of bed this morning.

Ugh. Sore.

On Wednesday, I almost got my body into astavakrasana, or eight limb pose.

Almost.

I collapsed into my shoulder and face planted. Sigh. As per usual…

My newest fitness goal is to accomplish eight limb pose! Any other arm poses that I happen to accomplish along the way are bonus. Eight limb pose is my goal.

A YMCA yoga instructor is going to start teaching an ashtanga yoga practice. I’m both terrified and excited.

I was really flexible on Wednesday. I got about six inches off the floor in (not the real) frog pose and got into half turtle pose. (I call it half turtle because I was half way into turtle pose. I may not be correct with that terminology…)

My hips were really open! I felt physically strong and mentally fantastic after Wednesday’s practice.

Yoga is so good for my soul :)

Things that are also good for my soul…

Bocconcini Wichita KS Review

Bocconcini’s Pear Ravioli. zomg. EAT. THIS.

What are your fitness goals?

Can you get into eight limb?

Powerful poses

During my fitness hiatus, I missed Power Yoga the most.

Morning yoga practices wake me up. Evening yoga practices are the perfect energizer.

(I will miss Power Yoga on Saturday for a friend’s bachelorette party! Bad, Shae! Good, friend!)

I absolutely love yoga. Sun Salutations, moving through Warrior and suffering in Chair and Boat poses are some of my favorite activities.

I really torture myself.

I love the feeling of moving with my breath, letting my core lift and pull my body into poses and attempting to perform arm balances.

Arm Balances I Have Mastered: Crow

Arm Balances I Suck At: All the other ones.

I have successfully pulled off Eight Limb and Firefly poses once each. I cannot perform Crane or Side Crow to save my life.

Last week, our yoga instructor taught us to make proper connections in arm balances by performing the poses while lying on our backs! She’s so awesome.

The key to arm balances is to make a strong, solid connection between limbs. For example, in Crow, the inside of the knees must connect to the outside of the biceps. When you perform Crow on your back, it is easier to make that connection.

Plus, it’s a killer core workout.

I also perform arm balances with my feet on the floor. For example, in Side Crow, I bend my body over my bent leg, which rests on my biceps, but I never lift my foot off the floor. All of the weight is in my arms and shoulders, but my foots keeps me balanced.

Same exercise, less intense.

That’s one of our yoga instructor’s mottos. She says it all the time, and I love her for it.

Strengthening and stretching occur without balance in arm balance poses. My biceps are pretty awesome, and I have a tiny little tricep peeking out of the back of my arm! Yay! (Reverse Chaturanga and Chaturanga might also have something to do with that…)

We also did inversions. It was a small class so there was plenty of wall space.

Inversions are perfect for waking up. Unfortunately, my shoulders were too tight for Scorpion so I missed out on a back bend. I did do a hand stand for a while, but the instructor had to help me kick up.

I was afraid of eating the floor.

(If you can put your feet on your head in Scorpion pose, I think it’s called Scorpion Tiger.)

The more yoga I do, the better I feel (and the slimmer I’ll get!) so I plan on making it a regular practice, instead of a two-days-a-week activity.

Make time for your workout

Since I returned to fitness after my fitness hiatus, I have struggled to find time for my workout.

I am not a morning person. I wake up an hour before I have to be at work, which leaves just enough time to make myself presentable.

I have no intention of waking up earlier than necessary to get in a morning workout.

A lunch workout is out of the question, too. I do not have enough time to get to the gym, get a workout in, get cleaned up and back to work.

Let alone have lunch, too.

After work is when I have time to go to the gym. Of course, after work, I am exhausted. I never knew working a full-time job plus school would be so tiring! I thought I had the worst of it when I worked funny schedules when I was an undergrad at WSU.

Apparently not.

I want to make time for my workout. The YMCA is helpful because of group classes, such as Muscle Pump and Power Yoga, but I cannot always make it to the gym. For example, mother nature has been acting like a giant crab for the last few weeks and twice I attempted to go the gym when it was hailing. The only time I made it all the way to the gym I couldn’t get out of my car for fear of dying by ice balls.

Joy.

I have several at home workouts I can do including DVDs and on Netflix. When I am home, though, I do not want to work out. I want to clean my house and organize and decorate and play with my dog and clean my garden.

Which is pretty much what I’ve been doing: dog walking, playing fetch, cleaning my house and sweeping the rain-fallen leaves from my sidewalks and driveway.

Not much of a calorie-burn.

I need to figure out how to find and make time to work out when I know I won’t make it to the gym.

Use these four tips to squeeze in a workout:

  1. Keep track of your time for two days. Use a calendar or schedule with half-hour markers and journal what you do throughout the day. You might just find you have more downtime than you thought.
  2. This one is for me: Don’t be a perfectionist. The house will be messy. Just do the workout.
  3. Quit multitasking. Mastering three tasks at once takes three times as much energy as getting one thing done. Like a workout.
  4. Work out whenever you have a spare minute. Do not worry about taking a full hour out of your day. Do squats while you’re doing laundry. Do butt kicks while you’re getting dinner ready (not when your using knives, though).

I park far away from the entrance of the grocery store. I take the stairs (when I’m wearing flats). I take the dog for walks and play fetch with him.

That’s filling my spare pockets of time with fitness.

What do you do to get as much fitness in as possible?

The Sugar-Free Challenge begins today! Can you last 28 days without eating sugar?

Abdominal exercises sure to tone

Crunches and plank are traditional abdominal exercises performed in almost every group exercise class at the YMCA.

During Power Yoga, we perform at least 1,000 plank exercises and at least a few Boats (read: the most evil abdominal exercise ever).

Apparently I need to broaden my abdominal horizon (and shrink it at the same time)! There exist at least 29 other more-difficult-than-Boat-Pose abdominal exercises. Livestrong asked Jim Smith, a strength coach at Diesel Strength, to identify the 29 hardest core exercises.

For example, I have never attempted Plank on a Swiss Ball, but I’m sure it’s hard. It just looks awful.

I’ve also never tried RKC Plank, Stir the Pot, the Palloff Press and Treadmill Pike Ups. Some of the other moves I have tried and failed, and the others I do all the time.

Here are a few more abdominal workouts:

Abdominal exercises are a necessary component of a six-pack plan, but, as the saying goes: Abs are made in the kitchen.

Do 1,000 crunches a day and never change your diet… You’ll never see definition!

Strength workouts to kick start weight loss

On Monday, April 2, I attended my first Muscle Pump class in almost two months.

I got to the gym early and completed a 25-minute cardio circuit: arc trainer, rowing machine and the treadmill. (It would have been 30 minutes, but my knee started getting snarky so I quit the treadmill early.)

I stretched out all of my muscles after my cardio circuit because I knew the Muscle Pump instructor did not do a complete warm-up and stretch before the weight-lifting began because of time constraints. It’s a 45-minute class.

It felt UH-mazing! I came home drenched in sweat and floating in the clouds. Not quite a runner’s high, but close enough for me!

Incorporating weight lifting in to your workouts can kick start weight loss and increase your muscular tone. Without strength training, you miss out on an important part of exercise: anaerobic exercise.

Aerobic exercise and anaerobic exercise are terms used to describe exercise with or without using oxygen. Aerobic exercise uses oxygen as fuel. With adequate oxygen, the body can continue to work without muscle fatigue.

Anaerobic exercise does not use oxygen as fuel so the body fatigues faster and more easily. Weight lifting is an anaerobic exercise. A lot of weight lifters lift to fatigue, which is the point where the muscles absolutely cannot keep going.

After a weight lifter lifts to fatigue, he or she rests and allows his or her muscles to repair themselves. Muscle repair leads to bigger and better performing muscles!

And who doesn’t want horse calves and thunder quads?

(Just kidding! You probably won’t get thunder quads. I think that might just be me.)

I do not lift to fatigue, but I make sure I lift enough weight so that the last few reps are difficult to complete. I make sure I struggle so I know my muscles are breaking down.

Aerobic exercise and anaerobic exercise are two parts of a weight loss equation. A mixture of cardio and strength training, especially in circuit form, will help you burn more calories faster. And the more weight you lift, the more weight you lose!

What are your favorite strength training workouts?

Birthday Review + Link Blog

I turned 24 on Thursday, February 9, and it was totes the best birthday ever.

(Except for the fact that my hard drive is broken. I am attempting to fix the little bugger for freebies, but we have to validate the warranty first, and that’s kinda taking forever. Right now, I am hijacking my mother’s computer. Thanks, Mom!)

First, my boss sang me happy birthday and presented me with an awesome present.

Coffee and a travel mug from StarbucksDark Sumatra Coffee from Starbucks and a DISHWASHER SAFE travel mug. She already knows me so well.

The card she gave me said: “You have EXACTLY 30 seconds to present a &%$#&@# pony or this party is OVER.”

I love it.

She also bought me lunch because she is the bomb diggity. At lunch, a good friend of mine dropped off a mix CD for me. It’s the Yellow Crayon Mix. He asked me: “What’s your favorite smell?” I said: “Crayons,” but everyone says crayons, so I picked the YELLOW crayon. It’s a good mix :)

Then, a wonderful surprise arrived at the front desk.

A dozen red roses and a box of Russel Stovers chocolate trufflesGuess who sent a dozen red roses and a box of chocolate truffles to work for my birthday?

If you said: “Husband,” you would be correct.

I love that man.

He also made me turkey burgers for dinner! Best hubs evah.

On Friday, my husband’s family took me out to Thai Traditions for dinner. Thai Traditions is a great restaurant. Pad Thai? Yes, please. I got the Spicy Garlic Shrimp, and hung out with this sweet face.

My nephewThe picture is a tich dark, but you can totally tell he’s the sweetest little monster ever.

Google even wished me a happy birthday! How sweet is that?!

Google wishes a happy birthday to skinnyshaeOn Saturday, I dragged myself out of a Thai Traditions induced coma to go to Power Yoga. Power yoga is my…

Working out is my morning cup of coffeeAll-in-all: Best Birthday Ever. Happy camper.

Remember how I said my blog would change for a Web Writing class I’m taking this semester?

Well, that change is going to happen on Monday. Prepare yourself for some linky goodness. It’s going to be juicy, folks.

The truffles didn’t last long…

Empty box of chocolate trufflesI didn’t eat ALL of them… just most of them…