Cirque Fit

All posts tagged Cirque Fit

Nearing the Finish Line!

Published March 25, 2013 by Susan Woodward

As the 12 Week Cirque du Rochester Challenge comes to a close, I must say that although it has been a grueling process, it has been one of the most rewarding things I have done in many, many years.

When I first applied for the Challenge, I was a sedentary, way overweight, pack-a-day smoker and heavy coffee drinker who spent more time on the couch than anything else.  I was also recovering from a nearly year-long bout of depression following the break-up of a long term relationship.   I needed a severe change in my life, and I got it!

The very first thing I did once I was accepted into the Challenge was quit smoking cold turkey!  It helped that I contracted an upper respiratory infection so that smoking was extremely difficult to do…and I have been able to maintain my non-smoking status till this day!  That is the single most significant outcome of this journey…but only one of many!

My other goals (besides quitting smoking) included:

– becoming physically active instead of sedentary (CHECK)

– gaining more self-confidence by doing something I had never even dreamed of doing (CHECK)

– learning to eat healthier and managing my eating habits (CHECK)

– losing weight (NOT IN AS MANY POUNDS AS I’D HOPED, BUT IN INCHES, SO CHECK!)

– making new friends (CHECK)

The people I have met at the Aerial Arts of Rochester have been so supportive and friendly!!   I feel as if I have bonded with the ladies who are sweating and huffing and puffing right along with me– we have cheered each other on, as well as supported each other through our struggles.  Our instructor, Will D’Ovidio, has worked us HARD (especially in Cirque Fit), but he has been very patient with us as we sweated and huffed and puffed and fell off the silks (onto the padded mats…no worries!).   His “Willisms” have been witty, most notably the oft-quoted “The easiest way to make it harder is…”  Will’s sense of humor helps as a motivator when one is just ready to drop from time to time (usually me…).

Patty Palermo-Hedrick, our nutritionist from Love Nourish Live, has also been supportive with her weekly updates, ideas for better living overall, recipes, worksheets, and yummy samples!  She has checked in on us through the week on FaceBook and has been available for questions and guidance throughout.  Her motivational pic-posts on our FB page have been a fun thing to look forward to each day, and one Saturday we even had a Wegman’s tour!

As for the other members of the Aerial Arts family, they have been our greatest cheerleaders, applauding at our successes and encouraging us to keep moving when the body just wants to drop in the middle of the room.  As I look at all the people who are close to my age who are working hard and are being successful with the aerial arts, I am encouraged to continue (I am 51 years old!  And when Cirque Fit fell on my birthday, Will helped us all celebrate it with 52 push-ups– one for good luck, of course!).

With all the HARD work, I am seeing results.   I have more energy and I actually get out of the house more.  With the Challenge coming to an end, it was time for me to make my plans for my after-Challenge life so that I do not lose all the progress I have gained.  I will actually go through month to month and write in all my exercise classes that I plan to take as well as my silks lessons in my calendar.  These are what I will be doing to continue my progress:

1.  I joined the YMCA to swim and take Zumba classes.   Cirque Fit is a bit intense for these old bones, and I will feel a wee bit more comfortable in a choreographed dance class where I will know what’s coming next and pace myself better till I build endurance.  Plus having the hot tub and sauna on hand is also going to be good for sore muscles.  I will also be using the weightlifting equipment to build my strength.

2.  I re-signed on for Aerial Silks!  My goal is to one day perform a routine to Apocalyptica’s rendition of “Nothing Else Matters”… and I want that one day to be as soon as possible!  As I gain strength and become better able to climb and do moves, my confidence will grow.   I am a performer at heart (having done many community theatre productions in the area), and so I am now dying to perform on aerial silks!

3.  I am juicing and will be doing a 10-day juice re-boot during my spring break next week (I will keep you posted on my progress with that!).   Patty has given me great guidance to help with my nutrition, and I printed out every page and put them in plastic sheet covers in a binder so that I can continue to work through the program.   I am going to commit to doing a juice fast at least once a year as a re-boot of my metabolism.  Ever since I started making juice in the morning (two weeks ago), my coffee consumption has gone to one cup a day.  I have also been drinking cinnamon and honey mixed in hot water, and I have noticed a difference in my blood pressure and my stress levels.

4.  I am making a visit to the Public Market a part of my Saturday regimen.  I’ll buy locally grown produce (to support our local economy as well as to get the freshest product possible) and try to find as much organic food as possible.  I am totally re-doing my eating habits because I want to be around for a long time for my family!

5.  The ladies and I are going to continue our friendship beyond the Challenge, and we are planning on doing a 5K in June together!   I am also trying to convince them to sign up for the Dirty Girl 5K in Buffalo this September… here’s hoping we can do it!   I have also made friends with others at the school, and it feels like a circus family!  This is truly a great group of people to be around!

6.  I will NEVER smoke again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It is amazing how much my life has changed in just twelve weeks!  If anyone told me before Christmas that I would be doing ANY of the above, I’d have laughed while pouring another cup of coffee and lighting another cigarette.

Thank you, Will, Patty, all the Challenge Ladies, and everyone at the Aerial Arts of Rochester for giving me a new life!

Advertisements

Getting Well With Juicing and Finally Climbing Consistently!

Published March 16, 2013 by Susan Woodward

After feeling under the weather the past few days (notice the lack of posts?), I watched a movie called Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead.  This documentary follows two gentlemen who were overweight and suffering from auto-immune illnesses until they turned to juicing for better health.  Inspired by their story, I decided to add juicing to my new regimen of exercise and just plain eating healthier.

I am easing myself into it by only having one juice per day.  At the end of the 12 Week Cirque du Rochester Challenge, I will be on spring break from work, and Aerial Arts will be closed for Easter week.  What a perfect time to try Joe Cross’ 10 day metabolism reboot!

rebootwithjoe Click the link and check out Joe Cross’ site that outlines the whole process, step by step.  It also includes recipes for all kinds of juice combinations!

Here are a couple of juices that I made since I started trying this yesterday:

In honor of St. Patrick’s Weekend, I made this green concoction and put it in a tall beer glass!

more juice

This is made from:

– two large handfuls of kale

– one red pear

– four small carrots

– two stalks of celery

beet juice

Today’s juice is more of a “hodge-podge” after my visit to the public market today:

– 2 small beets

– a handful of kale

– one cucumber

– 5 small carrots

– 2 stalks of celery

– 2 small pears

– 1 medium apple

This made enough juice for two glasses; one that I had right after I got home, and one for later.

After having felt under the weather for the past few days (nasty migraine, which made me feel nauseous), I think the juicing is good for me.  The migraine was stress-related, so I have been working hard to de-stress through the Deepak Chopra and Oprah Winfrey meditation challenge, and I was able to return to exercise today.   But first I went to the public market to stock up on veggies and fruits for the juicer before going to my classes.   Kale chips a la Patty were our treat at nutrition class, and then it was time for our Saturday Cirque Fit butt-whooping.  And then…  climb

I CLIMBED!!!  I actually climbed more than once and got about several feet off the floor!!  Woop!  The picture is not of my “good” climb, but I am still off the floor!

After my success at silks, I spent the afternoon with my granddaughter at the YMCA.  I’d joined in an effort to continue my exercise workouts once the 12 Week Challenge ends on March 30.  While I shall continue with the aerial training, I am going to do my cardio and other training at the Y.  I love swimming, and the pool happens to have open hours right after I get out of work up till 5:00, which is perfect for me!  They also have other classes right after that, and I can still be home before 7 to have a light supper.  Of course, I will still do drop-ins at Cirque Fit from time to time, but the time frame of the pool and zumba works better into my schedule.

That’s my training plan that I have come up with, and I intend to stick with it!

Mary Kay Had a Hell of a Workout Tonight!

Published March 11, 2013 by Susan Woodward

Yeah…she was running all over my face!  It seemed that even my eyes were sweating during Cirque Fit!

When I first arrived tonight, my arms and shoulders were still screaming about their weekend treatment at the last Cirque Fit class and a subsequent visit to the Fitness Center yesterday.   Even while warming up, my right arm especially was balking, but I pushed through.  I only hope I don’t pay for it tomorrow when I have to get on the silks!  After about a half hour, I got better situated and was able to keep up without as much pain.  That was when the Mary Kay started to melt.

I will say that my arms are beginning to get a little bit sculpted!  And the bump on my bicep is on TOP of the arm, not hanging below it!  🙂

And so I made it home after the rousing Cirque Fit!

Today was also the first day of the 21 Day Meditation Challenge with Deepak Chopra and Oprah Winfrey.  It’s been quite a while since I meditated in this way…I have been using guided visualization for quite a while, but I have been having some issues with that lately.

Today’s centering thought was “I commit to living perfect health.”  What a perfect focus for me at this time!  Again, I am a huge fan of synchronicity!

Our Sanskrit mantra for today:
Om Bhavam Namah
“I am absolute existence. I am a field of all possibilities.”

Today’s Questions and Journal Entries:

Day 1 – Question 1
What does perfect health mean to you?

Perfect health means honoring my body with good food, proper rest, exercise, no smoking (I quit two months ago!), and higher thoughts. I am working toward living up to these ideals every day.

____________________________
Day 1 – Question 2
As you seek perfect health, what would you most like to improve?

I would most like to improve my weight. I have been taking the 12 Week Aerial Arts Challenge and have been working out five times a week, as well as meeting with a nutritionist, I do not see a difference on the scale (I am in week 9). However, I know that muscle weighs more than fat, so I must be content with knowing that I am making positive changes that I can actually see.

____________________________
Day 1 – Question 3
How would your life transform if you felt completely vibrant and strong?

I would become even more physically active and have more confidence in doing things I have always wanted to do (or return to once more). I know for a fact that I would smile more.

____________________________
Day 1 – Journal

I think I shall wake up a half hour earlier in the morning so as to meditate before going to work. With the stress of my job, that might be a good idea. I wanted to try to meditate during my lunch hour, but I cannot access the site on my school computer, nor can I get the meditations on my Android. I had to wait until after my Cirque Fit workout tonight before I was able to finally do my meditation.

 

Since this Challenge is an open forum and free to everyone, I think it must be okay to share these ideas and thoughts here.  I won’t post them everyday… only on the days that I blog after the 12 Week Challenge.  If you want to take part in the 21 Day Meditation Challenge, see my previous post and the link there!

Namaste!

Down to the Final Three Weeks of the Challenge

Published March 10, 2013 by Susan Woodward

You know, I am a huge fan of synchronicity.  I love it when seemingly totally unrelated things coincide with absolute perfect timing in my life.

The next three weeks will be very intense for me, both physically and spiritually.  On the physical end, I will be completing the Twelve Week Challenge that I began nine weeks ago.  On the spiritual end, I begin a three week Spiritual Challenge online with Deepak Chopra and Oprah Winfrey.   And on the financial end, I will be making the final payment on my car.  This is actually perfect timing as these things will come to a conclusion at the same time…and these endings will actually coincide with my Spring Break from school.  At that point, I will begin outlining my next set of personal challenges.

main_imageWith my car paid for, I shall be able to allocate those funds toward keeping up the momentum of working out and getting healthy.  I’ll be continuing the Beginner Level Aerial Silks, as well as the Cirque Fit classes and the Open Aerial practice sessions.   My goal is to get to the point where I can finally do an aerial routine to my chosen song, “Nothing  Else Matters.”   That will take care of feeding the physical realm of my life.  That and continuing with healthy eating.    I am so grateful to be getting a handle on those areas!  Also, today makes TWO MONTHS since I have quit smoking!!  I cannot say how happy I am to be able to say that!  It feels so great to  be smoke free!!

While I have been busy getting my physical house in order, I seem to have been neglecting my spiritual house.   Now that the physical classes have become more of a routine built into my schedule (instead of looking at it as having to fit them in), it’s time to add that spiritual element I do crave.

What I do not wish to add is one more place to be outside the home… the idea for me is to do something to make my home more of a sanctuary.   That’s something that I would like to make a routine part of my day, and the 21 Day Meditation Challenge arrived at the perfect time!  Adding meditation to what I am already doing with my physical exercise and more healthy eating will create a complimentary lifestyle for me.   And to have both of those built into my life by the time I go on spring break will be a true gift.

Let’s face it… school has been extremely stressful this year, and it’s not getting much better.   Standardized tests will be the death of public education as students will become more like robots than independent thinkers.  I work hard to force kids to think, refusing to do a lot of hand-holding and spoon-feeding, because I WANT them to be able to think and learn for themselves.

Actually…I don’t want to get into all that here.  I am supposed to be focusing on de-stressing my life with healthy habits.

As much as I have been complaining the past few days about the pain in my hands, arms, and shoulders, focusing on working through that pain has been a good distraction from other things.   And even though I have been feeling a bit discouraged at not being able to go through all the silks moves that I want to be able to because of the pain, I am still feeling stronger and more confident overall.   The pain tells me that I am ripping that old me apart and reconstructing this old house into something more inhabitable.   I am transforming the physical body…and now it’s time to turn to transforming the mind.

Having some accountability during the 21 Day Meditation Challenge will be good for me to do just that.  I am someone who has needed to be challenged and held accountable in order to be successful throughout life.   When left to my own, I have a tendency to get complacent… something I intend to address as part of my spiritual/mind make-over.   While I will be held accountable for the next three weeks, what happens AFTER that is really going to be the Challenge for me…and I am going to do all that I can to stay successful in continuing in my new routines.

But look at how the Universe is bringing everything together for me!  It is as if It wants my success as well, and for that, I am extremely grateful!!

Rough Time After Missing One Class…

Published March 4, 2013 by Susan Woodward

Oy.  Take one day off from Saturday’s Cirque Fit to go to a Shakespeare competition, and my body wants to know what the hell is up tonight!  Ok, so I was trying to make up for the lost day and really threw myself into it tonight, and I mean I literally tried to do everything without a break (ok, I snuck in ONE break…) and with as little modification as possible.  I even tried the hopping and “leaps” across the floor.  Umm… yeah.  This is more of what my hopping looked like:

One of my favorite Everybody Loves Raymond episodes, by the way…

We had to hop forward twice and then hop once back…and then drop for three pushups.  I was bound and determined to do full plank pushups all the way across the room.  And I (sort of) did it!  Ok, so the push ups didn’t go all the way down, but at least I wasn’t on my knees for them!

And, oh, are the shoulders feeling it tonight!

I was told (I can’t remember if it was Patty or Will or one of the websites I was reading) that protein is a good thing after a hard workout because it feeds the muscles.  So I am making it a habit to eat protein after these classes (a late dinner because I certainly cannot eat BEFORE class… tried that once and it was an unqualified tummy disaster!).   The best thing I have found so far for this time of the evening (when I am too tired to cook much else) is mashed avocado and scrambled eggs.  I know I have mentioned it once before, but I bring it up again tonight because I added a modification.   Tonight I topped it with a bit of black beans and cayenne pepper.

Maybe it’s an acquired taste…I’ll have to try it again to see if I really disliked the combo as much as I think I did.   Maybe it was the cayenne pepper…I have a tendency to have a heavy hand with the old spice jars.

In any case, I hope the protein helps with the screaming shoulder muscles because they are bitching up a storm right now!   But I know that building these muscles is the only way that I am ever going to get to the point of performing my someday-routine… and nothing else matters!!

Oh, and by the way, my student, Stephanie Bertman did me proud at the English Speaking Union’s Shakespeare Competition!   Way to represent Webster Schroeder, Stephanie!

stephanie-bertman-and-me

Past the Challenge Halfway Point…

Published February 28, 2013 by Susan Woodward

We are now nearly at eight weeks of our twelve week Challenge… two thirds of the way through!  I cannot believe how fast the time has gone.  I also cannot believe how much I have accomplished so far…and I look forward to continuing!

Will took our pictures last week at the seven week mark, but before I post that, I will re-post my “Before” picture.  This was me at the very beginning of the Challenge:

susan_woodward_Cirque Challenge Before Pics

Ok…so this is as of last Saturday (Feb. 23):

seven weeks

It’s a start!!!

And speaking of starts, tonight I actually started climbing with my arms!  I pulled myself up a couple of times, using my arms only!

I also tried combining moves on the silks in preparation for my someday-routine.  I did a roll-up and then went into an inverted stag.  I did both moves without falling, and I even held the stag for longer than I have before!

So, my three surprise successes this week are:

1- beginning to climb, even if it is just with my arms!

2- combo moves!

3- getting into a layout five times in a row without falling…and I have the boo-boo to prove it!

Once the twelve weeks is up, I plan to sign up for continuing with silks and Cirque Fit (although I do not know if I will be able to commit to CF twice a week); however, I will be looking to take a Zumba class and swimming at the YMCA (I have to check to see if they have an AARP discount).

The harder I work, the closer I get to that first routine!  I have been playing the music video for “Nothing Else Matters” as my motivator!

Willisms: “The Easiest Way to Make it Harder…”

Published February 25, 2013 by Susan Woodward

…is to drag my sleep deprived ass onto an elliptical after a crazy hour of Cirque Fit! (But I DID it!)

And where in the world would we Cirque Challengers be without our Willisms?

Will at CF

Meet Will:

Hi, Will!

William D’Ovidio is our trainer and the co-owner (with his wife, Jennifer) of the Aerial Arts of Rochester.

See Will run…actually, it’s hard to see Will run, or hop, or leap as he moves faster than the camera can capture him.  Notice that the others in the picture are not as blurry.

Will likes to see just how hard he can push us.  We have crawled like crabs, leapt like frogs and kangaroos, hopped like rabbits, lifted like dogs at a hydrant, stretched like snakes, and I am right there with my menagerie of animal grunts and other noises as I strive to keep up.

In the middle of each challenge across the floor, he adds things like, “And if you want, you can add a clap to that push-up” or “If you want, you could do that push-up on two fingers”… in other words (to coin Will’s phrase), “The easiest way to make it harder…” and he’ll just fill in the blank for us.

Cirque Fit 1

Meet Susan:

Hi, Susan!

Susan is the confused looking one saying, “You want me to do WHAT??”  half the time in class.  That is her go-to-response when Will utters his Willisms.

Will wants Susan to drag Jennyfer across the room.

See Susan wondering about the exercise, but not just for the initial trip…Susan is thinking ahead about Jennyfer dragging Susan back again!

The easiest way to make this harder…for Jennyfer!!  Pair little Jenn up with Susan!

And that’s how Willisms become our reality every time we enter Cirque Fit!

%d bloggers like this: