Leg Day

I will try to post about my gym experience at least once per muscle group. Today was leg day. I love leg day!

This week I decided to up my workouts!

Between teaching or attending, I did 6 yoga classes this week, and I may do a solstice one tonight. One of those classes I attended was a Kundalini practice. For some reason, I had in my mind that it was mostly breathing and chanting….man was I wrong – it kicked my butt! I enjoyed it though.

I planned on getting to the gym 3 times with Bill, but I forgot that I was subbing for a class during one of those appointments, so I only got in two days. But two very productive days.

I’m estimating 13 miles of power walking (maybe 2.5 of “running”).

Fasting happened, but not very well. And yesterday Bill & I traveled to Nashville IN and back and along the way I ate 1/4 of a peach pie and 4 truffles. They were good – but I’m paying for it.

For about 2 weeks we’ll be on the road for a trip out west. I wish I could go into a coma-like state until we reach our destination, that would really help me not to snack….

Back to leg day: here’s my workout I actually change it often to give my muscles variety, but this is a nice overall sampling.

Squat
Squats

Squats are a great full lower body movement. It concentrates of the Glutes and quads. Sometimes I do them without the rack, but because I like the form the rack allows, I use it quite often.

glute extension
Glute kicks
Inner Thigh
Inner thighs

It’s great when the cable machine is open. I do 3 types of exercises there, glute kicks, and inner and outer thigh pulls. It can take some time, and monopolizing the machine for that long can be pretty rude if the gym is full. I got lucky today!

leg press
Seated leg press

This is a pride thing for me. I like to work out with the weight that was left on it – usually by a guy. I learned long ago that women don’t want to put their feet wide on the press, that can build up muscles along the sides of our legs. I want long toned muscles, so I keep my feet closer together.

calves
Calf raises

I take the opportunity to do calf raises while I’m there. Our Downtown YMCA doesn’t have a calf lift machine, that makes me a little sad. But there are plenty of ways to hit the calves!

You’ll notice the jump rope beside the machine. I’m trying to work jumping into my regime more. So much good can come from jumping! It takes a while to get used to the rhythm, but I try to stay on my toes and ‘stay light’.

dead lift
Dead Lift

Dead Lift is one of those movements that sneak up on me. They feel so easy and free-flowing as I do them, then- BOOM! the next day I’m feeling it big time! It’s basically done by hinging from the hips and letting the weights come to the ground then hinging back up.

Today I did a few rounds for quads on the extension machine. I’m very very careful with that because I love my knees and want them to last me forever!

Then I went to the seated flex leg machine for my hamstrings, I can go crazy on that baby!

Bill's arms!
Bill’s arms!

Bill is a very modest man. He doesn’t like ‘showing off’ his physique by wearing ultra tight shirts or shorts. In fact – most of his time in the gym he’s wearing a sweatshirt. I get to enjoy all his hard work though. He’s been hitting the weights for about 25 years.

I really really enjoy my smaller size, and I may relish in it too much with all the yoga pants. But that all may come back to haunt me after all my lazy travel eating!

dead tired!

Ever feel like your legs won’t move? Or that sitting up is just too much? (I mean really – my abs hurt on my sternum! There are no muscles on the sternum!) I’m not so bad that I’m incapacitated, and this is a good springing off week. I just need to find a good workout to do in the front seat of a van.

Tell me about your favorite gym workout!

Getting to know me

Not too long ago I met a beautiful woman who decided to give my restorative yoga class a try. She had undergone gastroplasty and had lost a huge amount of weight. She commented to me that she wanted to get to know her ‘new body’.

That comment has stuck with me. Especially as I have lost weight and do have a new body. A couple of times I have had to do a double take in a mirror when I was walking by. Or I’ve looked closer at a picture or video of me to make sure it was me.

I don’t know what to expect when I see myself. Not yet.

I had Danni snap this picture yesterday as we were walking out the door for church. My brother gave us this coat 7 or 8 years ago. He got it from a translator in Afghanistan who decided the mission they were on was too dangerous for him and felt bad about ditching my brother, so he gave him this coat.

This was a ‘double take’ picture. I’m not sure what it was about it that made me look twice. It’s really not that great of a picture. But I like the ‘me’ in it.

We went for a walk through the Minnetrista yesterday. I don’t like those filters that make the skin look like porcelain. I like the ‘me’ in this even though wrinkles are there and my grey hair is frizzing like a champ, I like the calm joy that is coming through my eyes, and I love Bill’s smile!

I find as I grow older I’m not worried about the perfect shot so much as the real ones. The ones that have a story and show the emotions of the situation. Of course I still don’t want to look like a zombie or a mug shot, but I’m less picky now.

To tie this into the getting to know me title, I’m struggling a bit with that. You will probably think I’m off my marbles here, but when I look at pictures or my reflection I expect to see something else. I expect to see a thinner younger me. I expect to see my transformed body looking amazing! But instead it looks a lot like I thought it should have looked 40 pounds ago.

There’s a certain amount of acceptance that I’m lacking. I’m working on doing better, but it’s the automatic response – the one I have to talk myself down from each time with the self talk about how far I’ve really come. I’m not even sure where that initial disappointment in myself comes from.

I’m not writing this to get your accolades. I hear daily about how much better I’m looking from myriads of people. I’m writing this in case you can identify and you can know you’re not alone. How we see ourselves is a tricky endeavor.

I don’t think it’s just our physical appearance either. I like to think that I’m patient and loving, but I know if I’m cut off in traffic I become this:


Maybe we’re all a bit splintered. Maybe I’m not so unique. Maybe it’s wanting the better me while seeing the lesser me that makes me want to continue to improve myself.

Why everyone should do Yoga before Zumba

So maybe not in the same day – but I’m talking over all. In fact I think yoga should be the first exercise a person learns, then try something new.

Let me tell you why…

While going through these poses a certain amount of body awareness naturally happens. We start to feel a connection with the body, the way the muscles move, the way our joints open, and the way our breath guides it all.

Women silhouettes. Collection of yoga poses. Asana set.

Usually a yoga practice is slow and thoughtful. The mind has time to visit the areas of the body that are being engaged. This body awareness helped me as I hopped, swayed, and shimmied my way through a Zumba class today

set silhouettes zumba dancers

As we did some twisty thing (like a belly dancer – the teacher – not me! – not yet…) I was able to put thought into my abs a feel the way they were supposed to move. Leaning into lunges I was able to know the form and flow that naturally occurs in so many yoga posses.

Something else yoga did for me was allow myself to move without judgement. I might not be able to “shake it shake it

transitions

I love the way Sun salutations flow from one asana to another, same with the Moon Salutes, although they require a little more balance. But over all –

it’s the flow.

I love the seemlessness, the grace, and the muscle control used in moving from one pose to another.

The tendency is to focus on the pose itself, but I think the movements between the asanas might be just as important.

I’ve been playing with transitions more in my practice. I tried to put in a video of my recent experiment, I hope you are able to see it, not because it’s super fantastic – it still needs improvement. But because it’s a work in progress.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/zRzYrQFrkji98y5x5

Danni was able to get this embarrassing image of me falling down. (Thanks Danni!) A couple of weeks ago I decided it was time to ditch the wall with my headstand. This did end as funny as it looks like it might have…

falling down!

Next time I tried I asked for help!

Bill stood behind me and I tried my headstand again. But this time I also decided to switch my hands to the front to allow me a little better foundation. It ended up that he didn’t have to help, I was able to get my legs up and hold without a problem.

Lessons learned: 1- Having a spotter gives me confidence to try something new. 2- I’m not too old to learn new tricks.

The thought of using a headstand in a flow excited me! The only thing I could think of for transition was crow. Then the flow brought itself to life! Going from crow to the headstand was a leap of faith for me. Could I make it smoothly (the video doesn’t look that smooth- I actually did better in practice!)?

I went through the flow I wanted in my head over and over until I knew how I wanted it to go, then put it all on the mat!

Are transitions in life similar?

We all go through transitions- I have them sub-categorized:

Baby bear transitions; new hair cut, changes to my schedule, helping a friend in an emergency, etc.

Mama bear transitions; getting really sick, appliance or car conking out, child going to college or getting married, etc.

Papa bear transitions; loss of a loved one, relocation, loss of a job, ended marriage, etc.

Of course we all have to deal with transitioning because of any and all of these possibilities in our lifetime. I think some more than others though.

The movements between the holds- the little things in life, it takes courage, time, patience and fortitude to move from one hold to another.