Cirque Fit

All posts tagged Cirque Fit

Cookin’ With Jojo

Published February 23, 2013 by Susan Woodward

What a busy Saturday… Wegman’s tour with Patty to see the best that Weggies has to offer Health-wise, Nutrition class with the girls, Cirque Fit (with Patty, too!!), and then open aerial practice.   I am sore, sore, sore…but in a great way!  While I might have trouble making a fist (achy hands), I know that my hands are stronger than they have probably ever been in my life.  I do not want any of this to end!  Well…maybe the aches and the soreness can go away, but I want to stay committed to being physically active!

The Challenge Ladies have been great!  We are already planning a 5K in June, and there is talk of joining the Dirty Girl 5K in September!  (I’m not exactly sure what that is, but it apparently involves teamwork and obstacle courses…)  I will be researching that one more!

After a grueling workout and with arms like rubber, I left the studio with my granddaughter Jojo in hand to go shopping for dinner ingredients at Trader Joe’s and then head home to cook with my little Munchkin.

She really is a good little cook!

After a hard workout (Will my abs hurt, and so do my ARMS!!!), protein was definitely on the menu.  Patty had whet my appetite with the quinoa salad she made for the Challenge Girls, so I thought about cooking with it.  I was feeling creative, so while Jojo and I were at Trader Joe’s, I concocted a stuffed veggie recipe:

First, I prepared the raw vegetables:

– 3 large green peppers, halved and cleaned for stuffing (so that will make six)

– 1 medium eggplant, halved and hollowed, ready for stuffing (that will give me two)

We (Jojo and I) then mixed in a large bowl:

– 3 cups cooked quinoa

– one 8 oz. package Trader Joe’s Organic 3 Grain Tempeh (crumbled- Jojo had fun doing that part)

– one 10 oz. package Trader Joe’s Vegetable Masala burgers (crumbled- Jojo broke the burgers into chunks, and I crumbled the chunks for the stuffing)

– the chopped up innards of the raw eggplant

– one 10 oz. jar Trader Joe’s Roasted Red Pepper and Artichoke Tapenade

After mixing all ingredients well, we stuffed the six pepper halves and the eggplant halves.

Jojo cooking 2

Jojo cooking

It looks a bit like she’s trying to make me an offer I can’t refuse, but after four pics and she kept doing that, I guessed that a smiling picture wasn’t going to be part of the deal today.  She said she wanted to make silly faces.  Ok…so I will publish the silly face.  When you look back on this at 16, Jo, you will thank me for publishing it!

Back to cooking…

After we stuffed with veggies, I poured a bit of  Trader Joe’s low sodium vegetable juice over the top before baking.  Popped it into the oven at 350 for about 40 minutes, so that the veggies were tender.  Voila!  Dinner for the family for a couple of days!

The spices came from the Tapenade, the juice, and the veggie burgers.  No added spices (including no salt).

We had supper ready when her mom came to pick her up after she had been teaching silks at a birthday party.  Protein was on Mommy’s menu, too!

This has been a great family thing, joining the Aerial Arts program.  Once I sign up for classes after the 12 Week Challenge is over, Illy will keep me motivated (as my future teacher, she will kick my ass if I miss class), and we can both eat healthier while cookin’ with Jojo!

Guess What I Did After Cirque Fit….

Published February 18, 2013 by Susan Woodward

Yeah, Cirque Fit was its usual killer class…complete with 51 pushups for my birthday, and an extra held down in place before pushing back up for good luck.  Thanks, Will!!  🙂

However, tonight was very, very different for me.  I don’t know if it was because I was pumped from red meat for dinner (Illy took me out for my birthday…thanks, Illy!!) or from the chocolate mousse dessert, but whatever it was, I wasn’t ready to settle down when I pulled into the parking lot at home.   I decided to…gasp…use the apartment complex’s fitness center!!!  AFTER Cirque Fit!!!

I have been at the Westview Commons Apartments for three years, and this is only the second time I have used it.

I ran my purse and bags up to my apartment where I discovered that my son, Joe, had forgotten to take out the garbage like I’d asked.    We usually drive back to the dumpsters in the back of the complex (about a quarter mile from our apartment) on our way out, but I decided to walk it back there tonight.

So I walked the quarter mile in the snapping cold air to take out the trash.  While I was walking, I looked up at the stars… the sky is pretty clear tonight.  I saw Orion with his bow and thought about the endurance of a hunter when stalking his prey.  I remembered when I had NO endurance whatsoever, and the thought of walking to the dumpster was unheard of.   I also thought about how clear my lungs felt in the cold air now that they aren’t saturated with smoke…and I felt even more pumped to stop at the fitness center.

I just happen to have one of those little key bob thingys on my key chain to get in!

fitness center

I started out on the elliptical, thinking that getting my heart rate back up was a good idea.  I was already pumping a bit from my walk across the complex, so why not keep going.  Guess who did one mile in 12:15??  ME!!!  That has to be a personal record for me!!!  Once I finished that, I thought to myself, “Well…why not keep going?  You’re here…”

fitness center 2

You see that machine in the back?  That’s what I did next.  First, I got up on my forearms to do leg tucks and lifts…to practice L-sits for tomorrow.  Will, I did 15 tucks and 15 lifts!!  I then went to the rear of the machine where you pull weights in with your forearms.  Since we’d been doing lots of upper body stuff in Cirque Fit, I thought 30 pounds might be a good place to put the metal peg.  I managed 10 reps before my arms said, “Ok, you fool…that’s enough!”  So then I moved on to the last part of the machine: pushing weights with the arms.  I also did 10 reps in the two different positions offered on the machine.  I couldn’t figure out how to do the leg lift part of it, so I figured I’d just wait till another day.

I was pooped by then.

A hot shower and hot cinnamon/honey water later, here I am to tell the tale!

Oh…and by the way… I purchased an Aerial Arts of Rochester sweatshirt today, and it’s TWO SIZES SMALLER than sweatshirts I have purchased in the past ten years (I had been purchasing men’s XL sweatshirts…can you say men’s MEDIUM, please??).

Just thought I’d throw that out there…

On the Other Side of That Half-Century Mark…

Published February 18, 2013 by Susan Woodward

Today I enter the realm of the “other side” of the half-century mark… I am 51.  While I did have my six months of “dark time” this past year, there were also some great things to celebrate:

– I went to California for the first time ever (and I even went TWICE!)

– I spent my 50th birthday on the beach of the Pacific Ocean in San Diego;

– I attended and presented at an international Symposium on Mythology in Santa Barbara;

– I helped to coordinate the Celebrating the Mythic Life Conference in memory of Joseph Campbell and his work;

– I survived the sinking of the Titanic as Charlotte Drake Cardoza;

– I took on the Cirque du Rochester 12 Week Challenge and am doing things I NEVER thought I would be able to do (even if they aren’t perfect);

– I QUIT SMOKING!!!

– I actually lived up to my Mayan Sized promises that I made to myself in an earlier post last year… maybe I didn’t have them completed by December 31, but I have done them before hitting 51!

And so I continue with the work I am doing to make a healthier, stronger me!

Even though the workouts are grueling, I do notice that I don’t take as long sit-out breaks that I had been.  I guess I am building some stamina!

stretch

Here I am getting a bit more flexible… I am able to grab and hold my feet during this exercise!  I couldn’t do that at the beginning, so I am feeling happier about that!

swimming

Also something I could not do earlier… get those feet and arms in the air!  It may look like my hands are on the ground, I am in the middle of a “swimming” stroke, kind of like the breast-stroke.  My intention after the Challenge is to join the YMCA around the corner from my house because they have two pools.  I like swimming because it’s easier on the joints.

pulling

Poor Jenn!  I was dragging her across the room, but even worse for her, SHE had to drag ME back!  One thing to point out, though… I could NOT put my arms behind me at the angle when I first started.  I have greater range of motion in my shoulders now, and the pain has gone away.  In December, I could not write on the chalkboard at school because it hurt too much to raise my arms long enough to write anything.  Thank God for LCD projectors and computers!  But if I was to go back to using the chalkboard, I could do it now!

L sit
The face says it all.  It’s really hard to hold that weight off the floor, let alone with legs extended.  This is my first truly successful L-sit… more than just millimeters off the floor this time!  I am able to now hold them up about 10 seconds.  When I first started, I could barely hang on let alone raise my feet at all.

Tonight I tackle Cirque Fit from the other side of 50!  I am determined to keep making changes in my life to make the second half full of health, stamina, and strength!!

My Bathing Suit Thanks You in Advance, Will!

Published February 11, 2013 by Susan Woodward

Change begets change, and so far, 2013 has been a time of changes for me!  It has only been six weeks since the beginning of this new year, but I have felt better in these six weeks than I have in the past TEN years!  And today is the best I have felt in these past six weeks!!

I am in NO PAIN of any kind!  Soreness from exercise is not pain… it’s a reminder that I am alive and transforming myself.  My back does not hurt; my knee is a little wobbly, but it does not hurt; my neck does not hurt.  I FEEL GREAT!

Ok, so Will really kicked up the ab work tonight… AND the butt work…but like I said in class, “My bathing suit thanks you in advance!”  and I came home still feeling great!  (And ok…there was another reason for the smile on my face tonight!)

The Menagerie Workout instead of Cirque Fit tonight!  Duck Walks, Frog Leaps, Doggie Hydrants, Mule Kicks… and no menagerie workout would be complete without grunts and barks (and even some quacking).  Grunts and barks mostly came from this animal; however, I was really into it tonight…and I had some incentive.  😉

I did mention that 2013 is a year of changes.

So far:

I am a non-smoker;

I have lost some weight (not sure how much because I don’t own a scale, but I can see it);

I am eating much healthier and there are no fatty snacks in my house;

I am drinking only one cup of coffee a day;

I have energy;

I feel more confident, even to the point of taking some chances that I would not have done a few months ago (ie. going on a date– JUST in case anyone was wondering what that smile on my face and the incentive I mentioned earlier was);

I am more social (I went to see a show, am going to the Rochester Brewfest, have gone out for coffee);

I feel my creativity returning;

and I am writing regularly.

Yay!!!!!

On Saturday, we will reach the half-way point of the program, and if I feel this great at half-way, I can’t WAIT to see what twelve weeks feels like!!!  🙂

Wait…What? Weights?? WHAT??

Published February 10, 2013 by Susan Woodward

My arms currently do not wish to go above my head.   Can I MAKE them?  With an incredible amount of effort, yes…depending on the motivation.  Washing my hair after that arm-killer Cirque Fit is motivation enough.  How many pounds, say you?  Hey, it’s not the poundage, but the repetition and the continued movement that led to the fatigue!  But how many pounds, you ask again!  Ok, ok…. THREE!!!  EACH!!

Oooohhhh…. I had an hour and a half drive to Buffalo not long after class, and my arms were fighting with the steering wheel.  So we won’t mention the difficulties I had trying to pull myself up onto the silks IMMEDIATELY following Cirque Fit!

In spite of the tiredness in my arms, I DID manage to complete a sailfish all by myself (on the slippy-silver silks, no less!) AND I think I managed to do one roll-up with just a little aid from Will.  I know I was already in the foot-lock when I decided to do the two moves back to back (look at me, I’m creating a “routine”… ha!).  I DO remember rolling out of it pretty much on my own, though!  I’m getting better at keeping my hands higher up on the silks so that I don’t get too much slack in the fabric.

Also, I held my feet off the ground for a count of ten on the trapeze!!!  Not quite an “L” sit yet, but off the ground for more than a couple seconds?  Holding the position??  That’s a victory in my book!  And I did that after the Killer Cirque Session!  🙂

One of the things we are doing to chart our progress is to share three surprise successes each week, so here are mine:

1- I got up into a new foot lock position this week the first time I tried (now I have to ask Will how to do that again… I have forgotten how the wrap goes before leaning back into it…)…oops.  And I did do the double rond-de-jambe to get the silk wrapped around my foot for the first time without hands!  Ok, so I had to use hands to get the fabric UNDER the foot, but the wrap I did with foot power alone!  🙂

2- I did a Sailfish the first time I tried it… and have done it successfully every time I have tried since!  So far, five Sailfish…BAM!   🙂

3- This one is not a success in the aerial arts, but in my personal life transformation.  After having pretty much locked myself away from the world for over six months, this Challenge was also to help me ease myself back into the world of the living.   My social life was pretty much non-existent during that time, but I am now doing something about it… and this was a HUGE step for me.   I went on a date.  It was nothing more than coffee, and since there didn’t seem to be “anything there,” a second date isn’t in the cards… BUT I went.  And if I can go on one date, I can go on others!  Successfully beginning to transition into the world of the living once more!    🙂

The ladies on this journey with me are incredible…and I hope to count them as friends long after the Challenge ends.  We are actually planning on entering a 5K together!  Michelle, Jennyfer, Katie, Annemarie, and Anita… let’s keep this up!  And Patty, you are definitely included in this!!

I have also met great people at Aerial Arts of Rochester!  Since I plan on staying after the Challenge, I am hoping to create more friendships through the classes!   I never would have thought that there would be so many people close to my age at a place like this…and it makes me happy!

Doing this Challenge is giving me more confidence overall, not just in the studio.  I feel ALIVE again… I may be sore and my arms don’t want to go over my head, BUT I CAN FEEL THAT!!  Much better than the desensitized numbness I was experiencing… and for that, I am extremely grateful to Will and everyone at AAofR for making this happen!!

Cirque Fit, then Butternut Squash Soup with Lentils and Kale!

Published February 4, 2013 by Susan Woodward

Soup has always been one of those comfort things I turn to when I am tired, sick, sore, or just want something that makes me feel all cozy…and the chunkier the soup the better!

After the emotional day I had yesterday, along with the lack of sleep, I really REALLY had to drag myself to Cirque Fit tonight.  And also still nursing a sore knee (it hurt more the day after I fell than it did the day it happened…), so I did the very best that I was able to do today.

I have had to modify a lot, but even with all the modifications, I still feel much stronger than I have in years.  While a cannot jump up and down like a frog, I do bounce on the balls of my feet.  I can’t get my knees up all that high while attempting to jog in place, but I can do a modified quick-march that gets my heart rate up, and that’s the point.  I’ve had to go back to my knees for push-ups for now because the plank position hurts the knee…but I am doing more push-ups!

Modification, schmodification!  I can still feel the difference in my calves (not only in the burning sensation while bounding for what seems like a half hour, but in the decrease of flabbiness that was once there!), and I can really feel it in my shoulders and arms.  I am even getting a little “bump” in my bicep!  Granted, it’s a little bump, but I am just as proud of that bump akin to a three week pregnant woman who is dying to wear maternity clothes  because she believes she’s “showing” already (yeah… that was me at one time…or two…or three…or…four….orrrr….fiiive…!), but a bump is a bump, damn it!

I had to sit out for the push-you-pull-me part of the session, but I used the time with my back flat against the wall with my feet stretched out in front of me…and my arms/shoulders pressed flat against the wall with my hands making a “goal post” (I threw that in as a visual in honor of the Big Game that I didn’t watch yesterday).  I held that position all through the rest of the class’  first two rounds of pulling each other across the room, and man, were my shoulders burning!  So instead of using the shoulders to pull and push a partner around, I got a similar benefit and still got to baby my knee.

By the time I got home, I was ready for some cuddly comfort on the couch with my soup and my laptop to tell you all about it!  Tonight’s concoction? (actually leftover from yesterday and that much better!)…  Butternut Squash soup with lentils and kale… YUM!

Easy, peasy, lemon-squeezy!  I poured a box of pre-made organic butternut squash soup (courtesy of Wegman’s) and added a package of steamed lentils (go, Trader Joe’s).  After cooking that a bit, I added two chopped tomatoes and three handfuls of chopped kale.   Throw in some curry and cayenne and let it simmer till the kale is tender.  Delicious!

So right now I am going to relax with my soup and congratulate myself for what I WAS able to do instead of berating myself for what I COULDN’T.   I showed up, I participated, and that is a triumph in itself!

What Goes Up Does Come Down, and Not Always Gracefully…

Published February 2, 2013 by Susan Woodward

What goes up?  Me!  With only some help from Michelle, I managed to get up into the aerial roll-up!  I was so happy to actually get into the position, but what goes up must come down.

And that’s where I had my problem.  While twisting out of the roll-up, the idea is to let your body’s momentum and gravity un-roll you.  Yup… I had the momentum and I certainly had gravity pulling on this plus-sized body, so much so that my hands lost their grip on the silks, and I came crashing down.  While falling, the momentum kept my body twisting and the knee of the leg that was my pivot point kept in the twist.

Fortunately, there was a doctor in the house…several!  I checked out fine, and it was just the fall and sense of the knee twisting that scared me more than actually hurt me.  After she looked me over, I was able to stand up and walk…hooray!

BUT I DID GET UP INTO THE MOVE!!!

I think it’s probably a good thing that I was pretty loosened up by Cirque Fit before getting on the apparatus.  I’m still waiting for the aerobics to get easier on my body… it has to get easier with time, right?  That is absolutely a killer workout!  However, I do feel myself getting stronger little by little.  I am so looking forward to when I lose the wobbling warble in my upper arms… that is one of my biggest goals for this whole Challenge.  I want to be able to wear sleeveless shirts in the summer without being self conscious about my arms.

Another thing that will be helping with getting to that point of being less self-conscious will be the work of our nutritionist, Patty.  Today she brought us protein smoothies as a treat after our Cirque Fit workout.  I’ve never been one to make smoothies or protein drinks, so maybe I’ll look more into some recipes.  I do have a juicer, so maybe I’ll get that back out and actually use it again.   I’m starting to be more conscious of everything I eat, and at this point I think I have hit a plateau in my enthusiasm.  I’m sure that it happens whenever anyone starts a new program.  All gung ho right at first, throwing oneself into it… but then waning a bit as time passes and I begin to feel a bit more tired.  I am sure that this is temporary, and I am sincerely going to work hard to get through this phase.

And even though I took a fall, I am not in as much pain as I was that first week when I did NOT do any falling (if that makes any sense).    That’s a positive that I am planning on looking at as I get ready to make that climb again on Tuesday!

I may have fallen down, but I am NOT out!

%d bloggers like this: