Have ALL the Seats

Summer Summer Summertime means  freedom. We’re free from the bad weather and drudgery of trekking through snow and rain and days of gray skies to enjoy sunshine, blues skies and and all things green. Summer time is NEKKID time err at the least, much fewer clothes time and for health and fitness enthusiasts we are freed from the gym. Boot campers, runners, bikers,  tail chi and yoga practitioners all head outdoors to do things in fresh air instead of the feet and azz smell of the gym.  I especially looked forward to the summer of 2015 because I would NOT be training for Peachtree which means I could walk as much and as fast or slow as I want (yeah I’m still complying with the no running rule). I could stop and look at butterflies and squirrels and flowers and not worry about my time.  Yeah, this summer was going to be awesome, or so I thought.

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Thus far I’ve had to enjoy summer at a distance, you see ye olde broad’s body decided that it didn’t have the energy to do anything back in June because it has gone full tilt hormonal.  Things got bad enough that the doctor told me to have seat, i.e. refrain from any strenuous pursuits which resulted in my 195,675th hissyfit of the year. My dears, this is getting old.

She advised, I consented and am hopeful that the trip that necessitated this dreadful outfit will result in my health situation improving and permission to exercise.

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Getting old ain’t easy, getting old as a woman can provide some special challenges, but a good healthcare team, the good Lord, and of course yoga has made it bearable thus far. Hopefully soon I can join you kids outside again.

So what have you been doing this summer? Spending more time outside? Doing new and exciting things? Traveling?  Allow me to live vicariously through you and tell me about your summer in the comments.

Until next time, see you anywhere but the doctor’s office.
Photos: MsThorns
Video: DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince on Vevo
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You’re Tingling Baby

I was at the end of my rope by the time I said this. I was at Kaiser again, getting yet another injury diagnosis. This is how it all went down.

A few weeks before that visit, I put my right elbow down on the armrest of my chair at work and came right off of it with an OWWWW! I thought maybe I hit something funny but it wasn’t a funny bone type feeling it was more like a knife. From that day on I couldn’t put that elbow down on anything. The Good Doctor (me) self-diagnosed it as “I must lean on that elbow too much, it will stop.” Thing is it didn’t stop. The weekend before the trip to the doctor I was washing dishes and started getting this tingling feeling in my right forearm and was like what is this? It was tingling after the dishes were complete, it was tingling the next morning then all hell broke lose in the Walmart parking lot.

I’m slinging bags in the trunk, closed it and my purse slipped off my right shoulder, I hoisted it back up my jacked grazed my elbow and I screamed. This was no tingling this a feeling like hot knives being stabbed right in my elbow, just from my JACKET grazing it. I knew I was in trouble and went to the doctor.

Doctor: weren’t you just in here a month ago? Didn’t I tell you…
Me: yeah that’s (previous ailment) okay it’s this elbow (describes pain, doctor shakes head, does a few strength tests, gives proper side-eye and look of disapproval)
Doctor: you have tennis elbow
Me: what??? I don’t play tennis.
Doctor: it doesn’t come just from playing tennis

She went on to describe how repetitive motion, poor form or overuse can cause it. She said “you’re doing to much, you cannot do EVERYTHING at the same time, you have to split it up” along with more side-eye and “you and your activities”. My regiment at the time was doing total body strength training two days a week , yoga every day, body weight training once a week and cardio. All but the cardio involved lifting and pushing weights or buy weight basically every day. . So yeah I was the captain of team DOING TOO MUCH. As for the remainder of the exam…

Doctor: you need to take a month off you can’t do anything on your hands
Me: what????? Well can I do this? (demos chaturanga on the exam table)
Doctor: NOOOOOOO! You can do cardio, legs and abs and anything that doesn’t involve you lifting or pushing anything with your arms. I was like:

Version 2

For one month there would be no P2180048_1024 and definitely no P2190288_1024.

These last two weeks I have walked sparingly, drowned my sorrows in 20150502_203727 and watched my belly shoot out so far that I can no longer see my toes without bending over. Another ongoing health issue escalated that landed me at the doctor again last week and by that time it was all too much for my head to bear. Restarting my yoga practice, no hands style has helped my mental situation. I have done one down dog per day the last few days, but that’s it as far has any pressure on my hands. Needless to say, a lot’s been going on.

I made light of the tingling sensation but it was a signal that stuff was wrong. Maybe you have had a sensation, an ache or a pain that lingered a little too long and have tried to ignore it. Don’t. The faster you high-tail it to a medical professional, the faster you can rehab and get back to your fitness pursuits.

Until next time see you at the gym where I will not be tingling but will be…

Photos: MsThorns; Video: LL Cool J

What Do I Do With That? Yoga Socks

By mid-March here in Georgia, winter is just about over. Sure, there are a few nippy days here and there but it’s more warm than cold, more rain and wind than snow and ice.  Though all of the cold stuff is pretty much behind, the effects of winter remain like pale skin and in my case ASHY skin. I’m dry, allergic and eczema prone anyway so I figured that what I was seeing was a case of overuse and dryness on my feet. I was dead wrong, my feet had been done in by:

MY YOGA MAT!!!!

You see I’d stopped cleaning it as much because my hands had begun slipping during practice and I assumed that all that cleaning rubbed off “the sticky”.  The result of that no cleaning schedule ended up on my feet, which meant yet another trip to the doctor and night and day use of:

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EEEEWWWWWWWW!!!!!! Mind you I’d never had this in my 48 years, neverrrrrrrr and I get it from a friggin yoga mat, my own mat at home? Well yes, it happens. Even though I wasn’t in a studio using a communal mat, I was rolling up my sweat and dirt everyday into the mat and that fungus just thrives on it.  I wasn’t about to stop practicing though and figured I’d resume my cleaning schedule after every yoga practice and get something to put on my feet.  Enter, yoga socks.  I decided on two different types: IMG_2032To find out how it went down check out the video below and until next time, see you on the yoga mat. Mine will be sanitized, deodorized and ready for action.

Photos/Video: MsThorns

Making the Cut

Not that cut but it certainly was an exciting weekend of golf at the Masters, with Tiger playing into Sunday young  Jordan Spieth busting all these records on his way to victory. I actually enjoyed watching this tournament, while doing a little busting of my own:

OUT OF MY CLOTHES!!!!

and not like the Hulk but more like this. You see in the space of one year and the onset of the big P, a sista has put on 8-10 pounds depending on what day it is.  I am distraught, dismayed and sometimes disgusted but not too disgusted because I had a big hunk of CAKE just yesterday.  Hence, the cut from my closet clothing that this new body can no longer fit.

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Since it’s warming up here I was redoing the closet, moving the the winter stuff over and the summer stuff up front.  I thought it might be a good idea that I should try on a few things that I had in that fit well last year but perhaps would be questionable this year and they were more than questionable.  I think I can no sit a plate of food on my butt and and maybe a salt shaker on my stomach.  Pulling thos dresses out had me all up in my FEELINGS.  Even though I now that weight gain and a whole bunch of other stuff can and in my case is happening during this time, the medical reasons weren’t enough to help me feel better.  What did help me feel better? Shaking it off the next day and putting in some treadmill work.  It was that or lay around and sulk which is actually easy for me as a person who has struggled with poor body image forever and ever amen.  The thing is, the loss of the dresses weren’t enough to get me out the door and to the gym.  What did? The desire to have a good quality of life in the long term. I don’t want any further diabetes complications, nor acceleration of spinal and other joint problems. I just want to live and live well, so I continue to work.  If the work means that maintaining this new body is the best that can be done and all my numbers look good, then I will learn in time to be satisfied with where I am.

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What about you ladies AND gents, how do you handle weight gain physically and mentally? Let me know in the comments or on any of these other platforms.

Until next time, see you at the MALL, where I’ll be buying something that doesn’t require sucking in or Spanx.

Photos: MsThorns

Powered By Soul Flips for FlipBelt

There had to be a solution to lugging keys and phones on the trail and at the gym.  I mean I’m pulling enough (my body) around as is and being weighted down with unattractive contraptions to hold stuff on my body was on my LAST.  Leave it to my running girlfriends to show me how to get it done.  Goodbye hideous fanny pack and helloooo FlipBelt.

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You can see and hear what I think about it below. Yep, there’s video. The first and maybe the last but check it out anyway and I’m NOT getting paid to talk about it. If I were dontcha think the video would be better?  Enjoy and if you get one, let me know how it worked out for you in the comments.

Photos/Video: MsThorns

This is the Gym! Nose Knows Edition

Last weekend was the last weekend for walking outside as everything is starting to bloom. My nose knows as it has started to trouble me. My nose also knows what gym smells like. My regular gym isn’t so bad because its pretty big and airy, nevertheless gyms, fitness and yoga classes invariably smell like funk, must, food, feet and or farts. Gross as they are those smells are expected at the gym, but what happened on this particular weekend, Lord Jesus almost put me out.

I’m on the treadmill, mad and cranky because I’ll be spending an hour on it instead of outside on the trail.  After about 20 minutes I finally got my mind right as I listened to Rakim tell me how to Move the Crowd and am hitting my stride. At 22 minutes, this chick rolls up to the treadmill on my left.  The treadmills are this close together

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When she starts walking she blows my nose all the way up with her PERFUME! Now why she came next to me I don’t know because even with one section closed for maintenance there were at least 10 other treadmills for her to use. I’m like this heffa is trolling me right now with this perfume.

I’m thinking she won’t last, I can wear a treadmill out so and I knew that when it came Survival of the Fittest on the treadmill I would win.  I was dead wrong.  22 minutes went to 30, went to 40 at which time Sucka Ni**a was playing… how appropriate. Q-Tip says “So concisely, musically we are the herb so sit back and light me, inhale my style is kinda fat reminiscent of a whale…” I inhale and start coughing and praying she would leave.

She didn’t.

She was on the same one hour program I was on.  I got off and she was still walking, she won.

I understand mugs want to smell fresh and all but THIS IS THE GYM, you are excused to be funky.  So ye old broad asks each of you ladies and gents to save your store bought fragrances until after you shower and are GONE from the gym. Members especially old broads will thank you.

P.S. in spite of the extreme duress I got the time in.

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Photos: MsThorns

Geared Up

Back in the go-go 80s my primary fitness activities were running, the foolishness formerly known as high impact aerobics and lifting barbie weights. As an employee of a chain retailer of fitness shoes and apparel I had ALL the gear including those running (booty) shorts. Decades and pounds later I’ve reached the stage of no damns given and am doing my best to GET TO the gym let alone be cute. So, I wondered with the recent attempt at war on yoga pants if I really should care and for that matter do those who are wearing yoga pants or anything else care. Well I did a little survey which you can see in its entirety here and the highlights below.

What are your primary fitness activities?
The participants are doing ALL THE THINGS fitness-wise.

Describe the apparel, footwear, sleeves etc used for your fitness activities.
“My apparel consists of running leggings. Most are black, but I’m working my way to wearing more colored leggings.  For some reason I think I can’t, so I’m stepping out my box and purchasing pants/leggings with more color.”

Does this apparel have an effect on performance? In what way(s)?
“I don’t like for my clothes to chafe, make me hot, or restrict my arms and legs in any way, so I would say they positively affect my performance by not being a distraction.” Amen!

How important is the appearance of your apparel?
“Somewhat important” to “very important” outnumbers could care less 4-3.

Does brand effect your choice of apparel? If yes, what brands do you prefer.
“Yes, I wear CW-X compression crop/long pants different race because they provide the compression that I need to hold all my butt and thighs.” Not just some of them but ALL of them.

Does price effect your choice of apparel?
Only one respondent answered no to this question. As such I’m going to very unscientifically assume that the respondents aren’t going to spend a lot of money on fitness apparel.

Conclusions (again unscientific): participants are doing everything, wearing everything EXCEPT Reeboks (gotcha big guy) and are doing so at a reasonable cost.

Powered by Soul would like to thank Antoinette, Sonya, Ant, OTJ, Michelle S., Kym, Marla and Teresa for participating in the survey. Here’s a medley of some of their greatest hits.

Geared UP

Photos courtesy of (clockwise from left) Antoinette Lewis by MsThorns, Sonya Strider, Ant Pruitt, OTJ, MsThorns, Michelle Soloman and center, Kym McNair

Appointment with Dr. No

Oh the travails of aging.

The week of Valentines Day I got sick. Not flu or anything but sick enough to be home a few days. Well that little nastiness continued to linger and by the time I attempted that headstand I felt worse afterward and my nose was doing some unusual things. Being one of those nuts who Googles symptoms I was convinced that I had some awful/horrible/dreadful illness and promptly sent a couple of panicky emails to my PCP. By the next day was in front of her.

Turns out that the nose was no biggie just rhinitis and since I was there I asked her what types of exercise are safe for me to do considering this degenerative disc stuff. Dr. Diva turned into Doctor NO when she said NO to:

Squats
Jan1

LungesJan3
Anything that requires me to be airborne (running, jumping jacks, which is most things in any HIIT workout)Jan2

and headstands, at which point I entered my final plea:

Me: well can I do squats and lunges with no weight, I’m going to do them unless you tell me no.
Her: I thought already told you that.

Truth be told, I already knew the answer to my question, but as a stubborn old person I’m not changing unless it is required and now it is required.

Until next time see you on the floor do some old school doggie kicks or something like that.

Photos by MsThorns – thanks to Jan B. for being my fitness model 🙂

The Commitment – 30 Days of Yoga

There had to be a way for me to build some consistency in my fitness life but I had to be gentle.  Whenever I’ve been healthy I’ve always gone full tilt for about three weeks at a time before some illness or injury occurred.  Though yoga is more than a fitness thing for me it seemed like building a better yoga practice was a good place to start. So I made a commitment.

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I saw that Yoga With Adriene was holding a 30 Days of Yoga series at the beginning of the year, Ms Overzealous signed up and unfortunately did not complete the 30 days of her program, but a funny thing happened. I actually did practice every single day in January and am still doing so as of this writing. This is no knock against the program as it had a lot of variety but speaks more to my listlessness. I practice with the exception of a few days of “freestyle” and one class at Kaiser, all yoga practice has been with Youtube and primarily with:

Fightmaster Yoga

Yoga by Candace

Yoga with Adriene

SaraBethYoga

A working playlist of videos I’ve done is available here.

I know some of you could care less about Yoga and I’m good with that. What I hope you do care about is Consistency. Are you consistent with your fitness program, your diet, check-ups, rest etc.? Consistency, I’m learning, doesn’t require sweat till you drop, lift till you can’t move dedication, what it does require is effort and a commitment to yourself, to take care of yourself. Can you make that commitment to consistently take care of YOU? Have you already? Let me know how you’re doing so in the comments.

Until next time, commit to consistency.

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Photos: MsThorns

Blame it on the… (you know how it goes)

I’m not much of a drinker even though I’ve posted many pictures of 

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but believe me the most I’ll have is one glass or one bottle and I’m shut down. Ye olde broad cannot get down like she used to and I’m thankful for that because alcohol ain’t nothin but trouble. It still troubles me somewhat, for instance if I have a beer tonight, the early morning workout gets pushed to late afternoon or evening because I CANNOT get out of at the bed and I am usually dehydrated or moreso than I usually am.  Knowing my experience, I wanted to know a bit more about the science of alcohol, the body and exercise. I found some things that I already knew and one thing was a bit surprising.  Here’s what I found out.

Alcohol’s effects on your body and your fitness are dependent upon what type of drinking you’re doing:

  • Moderate: one drink per day for women, up to two for men
  • Binge: when blood alcohol levels reach .08 g/DL which is about four drinks for women and five drinks for men in a space of two hours (GEEZ) another standard is 5 or more drinks one one occasion in the last 30 days
  • Heavy: five or more drinks on five or more days of the last 30 days

ldbooze Photo: Lamont Doss

The most deleterious effects of alcohol on the body occur amongst binge and heavy drinkers such as:

  • Brain: alcohol can affect mood, behavior, clarity of thinkingetc
  • Heart: stroke, high blood pressure etc
  • Liver: cirrhosis etc
  • Pancreas: production of toxins
  • Cancer: several types
  • Immune system: weakened

What happens in terms of fitness?

  • Muscle – lessened blood flow leading to weakness and deterioration
  • Hormone – lessens testerone, increases estrogen, leading to increased fat deposits and fluid retention and…
  • dehydration, fatigue, weight gain (empty calories and drunk munchies), decreased nutrient absorption

Not a pretty picture.

Here’s the bottom line, moderate drinking is alright and shouldn’t preclude you from reaching your fitness goals.  Going beyond moderate can enter you into the danger zone.

One more thing that I found interesting about alcohol consumption that I found interesting was a study at Northwestern that indicates that people drink more on days that they are more active and less when they are less active. One hypothesis is that that extra bit of drinking may serve as a ‘reward’ and I know that’s the case for me.  After a week of green food, green drinks and protein, I think I DESERVE a cold brew or glass of wine.

What about you? Do you imbibe from time to time? How does it affect your performance in the gym, on the road or wherever you do your thing? Let me know in the comments and have a great weekend (in moderation of course).

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Photos: MsThorns except where noted. Inclusion of photos are for illustrative purposes only.