Here We Go...

Mar. 31, 2016

I bought my hubby one for Christmas.  He often sits at a desk all day at work, and I hoped that it would encourage him to get up more often and do a little walking.  I got him the version that also monitors your sleep, cuz seriously, the man can snore.  Besides counting your steps, miles moved and calories, it also gives you a heartrate and when synced with your phone, will scroll the name of a caller across the itty-bitty screen.  I love this last feature because he often is in meetings with his phone turned off and in his briefcase, so good luck trying to get a timely reply to a text or phone call.

He seemed happy to receive his sleek, black FitBit.  He even wore it while sleeping, until we realized that it just records when you move at night.  Periodically, when we were together and hiking or taking the dogs for a walk, he would comment on how far we had gone or how many steps he had taken.  I acknowledged this information with sincere interest, but didn't feel any pangs of jealousy.  After all, if I wanted to measure how far a run or walk was, I could simply drive my car along the route... right?  And I did have an armband to hold my phone when exercising if I wanted to know the time... even though the darn thing kind of hurt my arm and never really stayed in place.  And what about those emails that he got congratulating him on reaching his step goals or telling him that he had walked the height of the Eiffel Tower? Seriously.  Oh, and don't get me started about the times he wanted to reach his step goal and sat in his den or at the kitchen table swinging his arm back and forth to make the darn thing count his "steps."

But wouldn't it be fun to have him ask ME if I had reached my step goal for the day, or to set an outrageously high goal for every day of the week and try to meet it, even if I wasn't planning on excercising that day?  And what if it actually made a difference if I knew how many steps I had taken on any given day? I deserved to know what time it was without having to look at my phone, and that calorie counter on our elliptical machine was  always suspect to me.  Wouldn't it be great to have another calorie counter for a second opinion? Plus, I thought that I saw a purple one when I bought my husband's...

I'm pretty sure you know how this ends.  I did indeed purchase the purple FitBit for myself.  And I did wear it to Disneyland and post on Facebook that I walked 20,000 steps.  And I did stay up late one night walking around in circles in front of the television to get my 12,000 steps.  And I did appreciate, while shopping, the little buzz at my wrist with my daughter's name scrolling across the itty-bitty screen.  It is fun to compare my progress with my husband's, and I still try to wear my FitBit when I exercise.  10,000 steps a day is a relatively high goal and mine is 12,000, of course.  But I have decided that I'd rather wear one of my many beautiful bracelets on my wrist during an average day.  I usually walk the same route and I know how long it is and how generally how many steps it registers.  My skin gets itchy when I'm wearing my FitBit and sweating.  People don't really want to know on Facebook how far I've walked.  That itty-bitty screen is really hard to read in the sun and I don't wear a lot of purple.   

 

Oct. 9, 2015

New house, new neighborhood, no more elliptical machine!!  Still doing the T-Tapp workouts every other day (back and forth between the 15 and 55 minute versions) but I'm not seeing any inches off my thighs or tummy, where I was hoping to see results.  Why is it that I never can lose inches by just exercising?  All those people on the adds get to lose inches.  Why not me??Oddly, I do believe that the work I did with T-Tapp accounts for me not hurting my back during our recent move.  I'm telling you, the series of stretching, balancing and resistance moves in this program has worked wonders on my prone-to-pull back.

The question now for me is - given the fact that I don't want to buy an elliptical machine or pay for a gym membership, what kind of exercise can I do to burn at least 500 calories in lieu of the elliptical?  Oh, and running has proven to be problematic because it pounds my back too much.

The other day on a public radio station out of LA I heard a reporter admonishing people in the area about spending their time and money inside fitness clubs when there were plenty of opportunities outside to practice fitness.  She was right.  This area has parks, hiking trails, miles of bike routes and pools galore.  In a perfect world I would have the time and energy to participate in these activities but the fact of the matter is that there is nothing that can compare to the down-and-dirty calorie burn of the elliptical machine. 

Our new house is in the hills- some serious hills.  Along with these hills come some interesting obstacles in the form of coyotes.  Since moving in I have been warned several times by neighbors about walking, with my dogs,.at dawn or dusk because that is when the coyotes like to walk too.  I have been thinking about carrying a stick of some kind...

Fast forward six weeks or so-

Here I am-finally.  This last few weeks has left me tired of unpacking and ready to get back into an exercise routine.  We gave in and purchased an elliptical which sits on the back porch.  I can't tell you how cool it is to "elliptisize" looking out over the OC - any time I want to.  I have also thrown caution to the wind and started run/walking my two pups up and down the surrounding hills.  I adore looking at the old-school California houses in our neighborhood, and never tire of the new plants and landscaping I see.   Riley is so happy, and after five minutes of walking or so, I usually can coax Bennie into the jogging stroller I found abandoned next to the dumpster the week before we moved from the apartments.  I love hearing the chuckles coming from cars at the stop lights as they look over and realize that there is a little black pug sitting in the stroller instead of a baby!

Coco

 

Coco

Jun. 28, 2015

Riley quote: "I didn't sign up for this!"

Coco qoute:  "I did."

While Riley continues to receive obedience training at doggy bootcamp. my hubby and I took off on a work-related road trip of northern California.  We drove from the bay area to Sacramento and beyond.  At one point we stayed in a motel that was, well, not great.  You know, the kind where you strip the bed of everything but a sheet and put on lots of clothes, including socks, to sleep and use your rolled up jeans as a pillow??? Yep.  It was comforting to know that a band called "Kung Fu Vampire" was also staying at the motel.  I know this because their gigantic tour bus painted black and red with a giant vampire face on it was directly behind our room.  I admit, I'm not used to staying at a drive-up joint.  But I do admit it was handy when David had to sit on the stoop with his computer to pick up the wifi.

ANYWAY... needless to say, I did not do my workout that next morning.  And the next day we had to get up at 5:00 to get back on the road.  So.... I had to start  over my 14 day bootcamp at day 1.  I am currently on day 4, again.  I have done the 55 minute workout three of the four days, and one day I worked out on the elliptical and treadmill for 45 minutes and did the 15 minute T-Tapp workout.

About the workout.  I am impressed with it.  This workout is all about the "how."  While completing the exercises, you are constantly reminded on the DVD to push your knees out, tuck your butt and tummy, and keep your shoulders down and back.  You actually reset this stance after doing each series of exercise.  Not only does this work your core the entire time, I think it serves to protect your back.  I have noticed that just within a week of following this program I find myself standing taller with my shoulders back and stomach in.  You can even do this in the car.  While driving last week I thoughtfully adopted this pose while sitting.

Another feature of this workout is that evey series is made up of groups of 8 repetitions.  It is very comforting, actually, to know that your arms won't actually fall off even though they feel like they are getting close to falling off, because just when you think you can't do any more the 8 repetitions are over!

It is amazing how "heated-up" the workout gets you.  As I mentioned in my first blogpost about T-Tapp, many of the movements resemble standing yoga moves that require balance and strength, and cumulatively, they make you sweat about 10 minutes into it.

There is a 15 minute balance section about 30 minutes into the workout.  This is the bane of my existence.  You know that yoga series where you stand on one foot and bring your other leg up with knee bent and hook your foot above your knee??  No??  Well, it's hard, and takes lots of balance and your straight leg has to be steady and you have to really use your core.  Take that move but imagine your arms out at shoulder level and lift one knee at a time swinging your leg behind, to the side, forward, and at one point moving your arms side to side without falling down or putting your foot down.  Sounds like a contortionist at a Cirque du Soleil performance.  Yes, exactly!

I'll get back to you about my progress in a week or so.  In the meantime, check out this workout on www.t-tapp.com if you are interested.  I'm not getting paid to do this, I'm just a little cray-cray.

Coco

Jun. 17, 2015

Riley and I are both going to bootcamp!  He's going to learn how to be a good doggy and how to not act like he wants to eat other dogs when we pass them on the leash, and I'm going to my own self-imposed bootcamp to reshape my body.

Oh yes, I have tried "Brazilian Butt Lift," "PDX 90," "Hip Hop Abs," Tracy Anderson," and several other videos over the past several years. I won't bore you with the various reasons why I didn't like them or why they didn't work for me or why I couldn't even do some of them.  I'm ready for one to work, and I think I've actually found it!  It's called... drumroll please...T-Tapp Workout.  I first saw it on our local public tv station.  They were giving it away as part of a pledge package and Teresa Tapp, the creator, was demonstrating several of the workout moves and talking about how she developed it.  I went online to www.t-tapp.com and purchased her book, Fit and Fabulous in 15 Minutes, and two of her videos, Basic Workout Plus (15 minutes) and Total Workout (55 minutes).

Her methods and moves come from several years of working with many different kinds of people, from models to patients rehabilitating from surgeries or injuries.  She promises everything from inches and cellulite loss to better digestion and lower blood sugar.  You know what, I just want a smaller tummy and some actual proof that what I am doing is making a significant difference in my body.  Apparently, weight-loss is a by-product of the program but she emphasizes that you might not lose weight because you are building longer, lean muscle.

I have done the 55 minute video for two days in a row, and it was not easy for me.  I consider myself in pretty good shape, having worked-out at least six days a week for the past few years, and I think that these workouts will actually be challenging.  The moves remind me of a standing combination of yoga, Tracy Anderson and strength and stretching moves; all performed with feet straight and apart, knees pushing out, butt tucked, and shoulders back.  The stance alone is difficult but obviously designed to give you a core of steel.  Ms. Tapp suggests that you only do her program and don't do other exercises until at least you have completed the initial 14 day bootcamp.

I have chosen a specific bootcamp that promises to help me lose four or more clothing sizes, which is a joke because that would put me at a size 6.  I have never been a size 6, even when I lost 30 pounds on Weight Watchers.  I was maybe a size six when I was in Jr. High... nevermind, I'm going for the most extreme program and I'm going to stick with it because I can!  Here is my program:

 - Do a full T-Tapp workout (I'm doing the 55 minute) 14 days in a row.

 - Then switch to an every-other-day workout schedule for four to five weeks.

 - then take two days off between workouts for another four to five weeks.

 - Once you have reached your desired clothing size, work out once or twice a week to maintain results.

This program is based on moves that rebuild connections throughout your muscles, fire-up your metabolism and build fat-eating muscle.  Sounds good to me!  I have chosen to measure the parts of my body that I want to significantly shrink - my belly and my thighs.  I'll let you know weekly if I have made progress.  I'm also very interested in the claim that these exercises will reduce cellulite.  Nobody ever claims that!  Ms. Tapp does have an accompanying program which includes "skin brushing" for reducing cellulite.  I have decided to treat myself to it when/if the inches start coming off.

Wish me luck!

Coco

Jun. 6, 2015

I haven't been running since May 8th!  Went on vacay and partied hard!  The morning I returned on the red-eye I was beginning to get sick... really sick... fever, runny nose, cough, can't get out of bed for 3 days sick.  It took me a good two weeks to get back outside, and when I finally did, I felt like I was 90 years old! 

Thank goodness for Riley.  He seems to have unlimited energy even with three weeks off.  I've got to say that I don't think I could have done 4 miles without him pulling me along.  About halfway through the run there is a nice long downhill stretch and I opted to go for the full 4 miles because I felt great.  MISTAKE.  Got to come back up the hill.  3/4 of the way into it we hit the stretch where Riley really goes crazy.  The sidewalk is lined with trees on one side and groundcover on the other and is the hideout for wiley lizards.  They run across the sidewalk as we are running by like squirrels across the road.  Of course, Riley sees them and pulls me instantly after each and every one.  You can actually hear his teeth chomping down after them but he hasn't caught one yet!  It is a great distraction as we get towards the end of the run.

As for the "scents," of running in the OC, I've got to say that I have never been anywhere that smelled as good as this place.  Currently there is a little groundcover blooming with mini-bell white flowers that smells so sweet!  Everywhere along the route ornamental rosemary is planted, as well as Alium, which with its purple blooms smells like a hint of garlic.  Above the plantings, on the surrounding hills, wild sage and dill add to the overall olfactory delights!  Honestly, with the marine breeze, the actual air just smells fresh and crisp.  It makes you want to run!