Health

Two days of pumping

Two days of pumping 2

Share Button

No. Not that kind of pumping. (I realize I’m a super ridiculous dog mom, but that’s where I cross the line.)

I was referring to Body Pumping…the strength endurance workout created by New Zealand fitness powerhouse, Les Mills.

Two weekends ago, my gym hosted a Body Pump Instructor training. My gym currently offers Body Pump classes, and while I’ve only taken a few, I really enjoy the challenging, music-based strength workout. My group fitness director had encouraged me to get certified to teach the format, so I decided to sign up for two 9-hour days of pumping iron.

(Yes. Ouch.)

I won’t lie…my training didn’t get off to the best start. Scott, who had promised to drop me off at the gym for my first day of training, decided to make one of his incredibly involved devil smoothies right as it was time to leave. Naturally, this meant I strutted into training ten minutes late.

I sheepishly entered the group exercise room I teach in twice a week to see a circle of thirteen strangers. I also saw a giant poster hanging on the wall with handwritten “rules”. Commandment numero uno?

“Don’t be late. (10 push ups)”

Whoops.

Fortunately, our trainer didn’t make me drop and give her ten. She did however hand me a breath mint.

The confused look on my face must have been more apparent than I realized. “Don’t worry,” she assured me, “I gave one to everyone.”

We then proceeded to each go around the circle and engage in a traditional Roman handshake while touching foreheads and saying “Kia Ora” followed by our name. This would have made much more sense had I been there for the introduction in which we learned that Les Mills is founded on a “Tribe” culture, with several ties back to the traditions and rituals of it’s New Zealand heritage. But…I missed all of that, (see “devil smoothie”, above), which meant I was generally perplexed, yet thankful I had at least been given a breath mint.

Soon after this, we sat down to learn a little more about the essence of Body Pump. The words Les Mills uses to describe this particular format are strong and grounded. Basically, instructors should exude a vibe of strength and stability as opposed to bouncing around chirping like happy, cracked-out cheerleaders. Also? Instructors are encouraged to embody the strong, grounded persona by forgoing bright colors for the official shades of Body Pump: black and red.

This sure would have been nice to know before showing up to training in this get-up.

outfit

Yes. Seriously.

But I was stranded without a vehicle, and it was too late to go home and change, anyway. I decided to own my obnoxiously loud workout gear and focus in on what I came to do in the first place: learn more about Body Pump.

And learn, I did. I’ve attended my fair share of fitness workshops, and can say without a doubt that my Body Pump instructor training was head and shoulders above the rest. Here’s what pushed my experience over the top:

  • The training was two days instead of one. That’s eighteen hours of hands on learning, which resulted in a very thorough understanding of the class format.
  • Our trainer was incredible. Kind, funny, and didn’t make me feel weird about my flower pants. She also was full of great feedback and pointers.
  • There was a ton of emphasis on proper form. After nearly thirty years of struggling with lunges, I feel like I’ve finally grasped correct range of motion and positioning. (Even if I can only do two of them in a row.)
  • We took the Body Pump class four times. Four times. I can’t stress enough how helpful this will be when it comes time to teach my first class. Familiarity is key!
  • We had the opportunity to practice teaching and cueing. Believe it or not…I’ve been to several instructor trainings where this wasn’t covered. Um…hello? Teaching and cueing in front of a live class is the hardest part of all! Tackling this in the training (and getting real, honest feedback) was incredibly valuable.
  • Our trainer filmed us while we were teaching. As painful as it was to hear myself yelling motivational phrases when she played the footage back on her iPad, I was able to learn a lot about what I was doing wrong (and right!).

The icing on the weight lifting cake were the amazing participants I shared in the training with. We genuinely liked each other enough to go out for a team dinner on the first night!

dinner

No, you’re eyes aren’t playing tricks on you. I somehow convinced Scott to share a meal with a dozen fitness instructor strangers. There may have been some crumpled receipts angrily thrown at him after a few snide remarks…but it otherwise went fairly smoothly!

The most valuable lesson I learned during Body Pump training? How vital it is to vary your workouts. I exercise six days a week, which typically includes Olympic weightlifting and cross training at my local Crossfit gym, as well as free weights and cardio (Turbo Kick) at the gym where I teach. I’d argue I’m in pretty good shape. But my muscular endurance? I hadn’t focused on this area as much, and it really showed in my training. There were lots of spots where I had to stop and take breaks, even though I was lifting a fraction of my normal CrossFit weight.

The moral of this story? Variety in your training will make you a more well-rounded athlete.

The other moral of this story? Multi-colored flower pants should be worn at your own risk.

Share Button

Liked this? Then try these:

I’m worth it

I’m worth it 9

Share Button

This past December, I found myself in my general practitioner’s office begging for Ambien so I might make it through an upcoming flight to Australia. I’d also inquired about getting my annual pap smear out of the way–December is typically the month I deal with that. (Nothing says ‘Merry Christmas’ like putting your feet in cold metal stirrups while trying to force small talk with a middle-aged man holding forceps, right?)

The Doctor informed me we’d have to postpone that delightful experience until February, due to my insurance. I nodded in agreement while entering a reminder alarm on my phone.

“I think I’d also like to get the genetic breast cancer test done.” I informed him.

Both of my grandmothers faced (and beat) breast cancer at a relatively young age. While the chance I’m a carrier of the BRCA genes is probably minuscule, I’d rather be safe than sorry. I’ve been considering the test for quite some time, and figured the sooner I had it done, the better.

My doctor looked surprised, given I didn’t have an extremely strong family history. He warned me the test was quite expensive, and most likely wouldn’t be covered by insurance.

“That’s okay,” I remarked, “I’d still like to have it done when I’m in next.”

“You realize even if you don’t carry the gene, you can still get breast cancer.” he explained to me before once again detailing how very expensive such a procedure could be.

“Like, how expensive?” I inquired, still fairly certain it would be worth a significant investment.

While he wasn’t quite sure of the exact cost, he assured me he would get in touch with the lab and let me know what type of bill I would be looking at. I thanked him, uttering an awkwardly cheerful “See you in February!” before heading out to pick up my Ambien.

****

A few days later, I mentioned the above conversation to Scott.

“So you would get a double mastectomy if the test came back positive?” he asked.

“Absolutely,” I said with certainty. “Keeping them wouldn’t be worth the risk. Plus, the surgeons would probably be able to equip me better boobs than I started out with in the first place!” I joked.

“You should definitely get it done.” Scott urged. “If you die on me, I want it to be sudden and painless. Not long and drawn out like with cancer.”

“You and me both.” I agreed. “I looked it up online and it is pretty expensive, though. The testing can run up to five-thousand dollars.”

“I think it can actually be even more than that.” Scott added.

“Really? I don’t know…” I wabbled, “Maybe it isn’t worth it then.”

“Get serious, Katrina. You’re worth way more than five thousand dollars. I want you to get the test done.”

“Wow.” I remarked with surprise. Scott typically isn’t the sentimental type. “That was really sweet, Scott. Thank you.”

“I was strictly referring to your annual salary.” he muttered dryly.

Of course he was.

Still, I’m scheduled to get the test done next week. I’ve got a cynical husband who depends on my breadwinning abilities, after all.

Share Button

Liked this? Then try these:

The Fab Five: January 2014

The Fab Five: January 2014 4

Share Button

It’s time for a New Year’s addition of my monthly fab five round-up! (AKA, a summary of my most favoritest Christmas presents.)

I’ve tried to keep with the January theme by focusing on goodies that promote healthy living, or products that are helping crush my 2014 resolutions. Here’s what I’m swooning over this month:

1. Pure Organics Fruit Sandwiches

fruit-sandwich

I stumbled across these tasty little gems via a free sample, and immediately went searching on Amazon for them. Luckily, I didn’t have to look too far! Think of them as a natural, organic fruit leather that tastes better than ice cream! (Although not at all like actual ice cream.) Scott, a recovering Fruit Roll-Up addict can’t get enough of them, and has since been limited to two sandwiches a day. (At 70 cents per unit, I can’t condone a 6-sandwiches a day habit.)

The sandwiches come in two flavors —  strawberry banana and pineapple passion fruit. Both are to die for, out of this world, off the chain, etc. (Do people still say “off the chain”? If not, I’m bringing it back, organic fruit sandwich style.)

The best part? With only sixty calories of whole food ingredients per pop, they’re a snack you don’t have to feel guilty about.

(Unless you exceed the two-a-day limit, of course.)

 

2. Kindle Paperwhite

Kindle paperwhite

I’ve been an avid e-reader user for the past four years — yet up until this week, I was using the Kindle for iPad app. Don’t get me wrong — the iPad is capable of amazing things, and I absolutely adore mine. But I can’t help remember a trip to Hawaii Scott and I took a few days after beginning my e-reading journey. I downloaded several books onto my device, delighted at the idea of packing light (in the reading department, at least) and leaving all my paperbacks at home.

The next day, I sat sunning myself on Waikiki beach, my iPad stowed safely at the bottom of my beach bag. It was essentially useless as the screen was unreadable in bright sunlight. Certainly, the iPad is a magical manifestation of technology and convenience — but a top of the line e-reader it is not.

Scott gifted me the Kindle Paperwhite for Christmas, and it was love at first page. Because the device is intended solely for reading, the overall user experience is significantly more pleasant. The size, the contrast, the weight, the screen…everything is just right.  We’re heading back to Hawaii in just over a week, and I can’t wait to read on the beach without any glare or greasy looking thumb prints. (No offense, iPad.)

On a related note, I just started Born to Run and am already hooked. I don’t even like running all that much, but the book is incredible.

 

3. The NutriBullet

NutriBullet

Scott and I won this 12-piece NutriBullet blender set at his office Christmas party during a “match the celebrity couple” game. (Fred and Ginger, for the win!) We were the proud owners of the original Magic Bullet, which we used religiously until it bit the dust two years ago….rest in peace, MB.

I, for one, was thrilled to receive an updated bullet. I’ve been back on the juicing bandwagon, and have also been trying to incorporate green smoothies into my daily meal plans. I also have a hate-hate relationship with our Blendtec–seriously…we really don’t get along…like, really–and I was happy to have an alternate blending tool at my disposal.

I originally assumed the NutriBullet to be the exact same product as the Magic Bullet, just with an updated, “healthy” marketing campaign. The NB boasts an extractor blade, which they claim “transforms ordinary foods into superfoods by busting open seeds, cracking through stems, and shredding tough skin!” Uh…pretty sure you don’t need a fancy blade to extract nutrients from your fruit and vegetables, but okay Blendtec. Really, I’m just happy to make smoothies without having to use an 80-ounce pitcher.

Imagine my surprise when I opened the package and realized the NutriBullet actually is better than its predecessor. Here’s why:

  • It’s prettier. (Clearly, this is priority numero uno.)
  • It’s larger and more powerful.
  • It just blends better. (I still don’t buy all that “extractor” marking spin…but the new blade is definitely an improvement.)
  • The cups that attach to the blender are larger, more durable, and for all the hippies out there, BPA free.

The true sign of success? Even Scott has been using the NutriBullet to make his morning “power smoothies”. (Shh! Don’t tell the Blendtec!)

 

4. Lorna Jane MNB 2014 Diary

mnb-diary

 

I purchased this as a New Year’s treat for myself, and am totally smitten. Call me old-school, but I much prefer writing my goals, progress and daily check-ins down with a pen and paper. This diary quickly replaced three different online applications I was using to track my nutrition, calorie intake and daily activity. The book is beautiful, motivating, and full of recipes, positive mantras, and fun new workouts. I keep it on my nightstand and genuinely look forward to writing down my daily entry each night before bed.

Of course, Scott makes fun of my by screeching “Deeeeear Diaryyyyy!” In his most obnoxious pre-teen girl voice. (I think he’s just jealous.)

 

5. Rosetta Stone TOTALe

totale

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to become fluent in another language. While I briefly debated  taking the plunge into Old Norse, I eventually landed on Latin American Spanish as I already have eight years of classes under my belt. I downloaded Rosetta Stone TOTALe levels 1-5 during a half-price promotion that was running over the New Year, and jumped right in.

While I’ve only completed a few lessons, I already love how simple and intuitive the program is. (Even if it was a huge pain in the arse to install.) The software is highly interactive and comes with three months of live tutoring via Skype. The cherry on top of my Spanish-learning flan? Zero English is used, so I’m completely immersed in my new language. I’ve really enjoyed the ability to go at my own pace (not to mention schedule) and feel like I’m remembering quite a bit of what I learned in junior high and high school. It’s still quite a bit of review, but so far, me gusta!

*****

What were your favorite Christmas gifts? Any tools you’ve discovered that are totally helping you rock your 2014 goals? Someone please tell me I’m the only one cheating on my $400 Blendtec with a NutriBullet from Kohl’s

Share Button

Liked this? Then try these:

The Pregnant Ankle: Part 1

The Pregnant Ankle: Part 1 10

Share Button

One of the highlights of last weekend’s trip to beautiful Scottsdale was a lovely hike Scott and I took to the top of Camelback Mountain.

camelback

(Well…it was mostly lovely.)

Camelback Mountain is the highest point in all of Phoenix. This means once you get to the top, you’ll be rewarded with a stunning 360 degree vista of the city. It also means you’ll be enjoying sed view while breathless, drenched with sweat,  and possibly injured.

Scott and I opted to hike the Cholla Trail, as it was the only one open.  Little did I know, the route we selected had a difficulty ranking of “Black Diamond”. This meant the following things:

  • Long rocky segments and possible drops with exposure
  • Dirt and loose rocks with continual unevenness
  • 12′ or taller, loose rocks, exposure to drops

For added context, here’s a description of the hike, straight from the Cholla trail website.

The Cholla Trail is less known than its counterpart, the Echo Canyon Trail, gaining the summit from Camelback’s eastern side. The last 1/8 mile before the summit requires rock scrambling.

Be conservative in planning your hike! In addition to a gruelling climb, warm weather months can bring hot, dry desert conditions. Everyone who hikes Camelback for the first time reports that it was more difficult than they expected.

I wasn’t aware of any of this until I was already halfway up the mountain. I suppose it was better that way.

While the above description sounds totally miserable, I legitimately enjoyed the challenge of this hike. Sure, it was hot as Hades and more intense than three back-to-back Turbo Kick classes, but it felt good to get my sweat on. The scenery was breathtaking, and it was a heck of a lot better than being holed up in frigid old Minnesota!

The last part of the hike was definitely the scariest, large in part due to the previously mentioned “rock scrambling”. I’d never heard this term before, but can only describe it as hiking on all fours while fearing for your life. There were large, pointy rocks that were completely exposed. Scott had zoomed ahead of me at this point, which meant I was not only concerned I might fall 1.8 miles to my death, I also wasn’t quite sure I was still on the trail. Surely, climbing up over a ten foot high rock that comes to a point at the top and is totally open to thin air on all sides couldn’t be part of the trail?

(Apparently, it’s totally a part of the trail.)

I took a deep breath, summoned my inner Jon Krakauer, and vowed made that rock my biznatch.  Miraculously, I didn’t slip or lose my footing once! Within five minutes, I had reached the summit.

summit

After a few photos, lots of water, and insisting Scott congratulate my rock scrambling prowess at least six times, we began our descent.

Let me say this: If climbing up long rocky segments and possible drops with exposures is a challenge, then making it down them in one piece is about as easy as scoring a perfect score on the SAT while simultaneously running a marathon.

There was whimpering, butt sliding (luckily my floral mania leggings remained in tact), and a few prayers, but I survived. After making it down the technical top third of the mountain, the bottom two-thirds would be a total cake walk hike!

(Or so I thought.)

Remember that part about the trail boasting dirt and loose rocks with continual unevenness? Turns out walking down that is easier said than done. Particularly when you are A: so incredibly relieved to have made it past the backwards rock scrambling that you’ve foolishly let your guard down, and B: are wearing minimalist CrossFit shoes that provide little to no ankle support.

Just as I was mentally applauding myself for deserving some sort of medal of honor from REI, it happened. My minimalist shoe-wearing left foot landed on a rock the wrong way. I heard a popping noise, felt my ankle roll to the side, and immediately tumbled to the ground. Gazing down to assess the damage, my eyes were stunned to see an ankle that appeared to be well into its third trimester.

ankle

To be continued…

Psst! Part 2 is up! Check it out here…

Share Button

Liked this? Then try these: