strength training

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Time For a Make-Over!

Published April 15, 2013 by Susan Woodward

Given that this page was originally created when I was in a more somber place in my life, the theme seemed to reflect that.  Now that I feel I have more “color” and energy to me, it’s time my blog reflected that!

And in honoring “coloring” my life by getting out and LIVING it, I am going to enter the Color Run in Buffalo this August.

Color run

I may not be able to run the entire 5K, but I can certainly jog and walk it!  I have never, ever done anything like that in my life, and quite honestly, I never thought 5K would ever be part of my vocabulary…but I am going to get out there and try!  Even if I come in dead last, I will still be miles ahead of all those who never leave the finish line.

With a little color comes some grime along the way, so while I am at it, I am also planning on entering the Dirty Girl 5K in Buffalo in September!   And I love the tag line here!  I already have one of my three daughters (Robin) ready to get dirty with Mom… and it looks like my Marine (Sarah) might be home for a visit right about that time, so I can get her on our team, too!  And that would be quite a boon to the team given that this is not just a running 5K… it’s got an obstacle course built in!  It’ll be like a day in the park for her!  I have one more daughter to convince (Illy!!).  I also want to enlist the ALL ladies from the 12 Week Challenge (Patty included!!… sorry, Will… you can’t be a Dirty Girl).

spa

It DEFINITELY is Make-Over time!!!

 

 

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!

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!

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!

Getting Off the Ground is Getting Easier!

Published February 12, 2013 by Susan Woodward

Nope…not Cirque du Soleil ready yet, but in a one person show of Cirque du Suzanne, I would be the star!  Ok…not many tickets would be sold, but I could still pacify myself with saying that I have top billing…

BUT I am off the ground a little easier each time!  When I did a roll up today, I actually did it myself (Will says I did it all by myself, but he was right there…hard to tell if I had any nudges while I was struggling to pull myself through the silks…).  But not only did I roll up, but I unrolled rather smoothly (for me!).  Yay!

And today’s surprise success was getting into a new move, the side plank, not once, but a couple of times!  I even did the last one all by myself!  My right forearm will be screaming at me tomorrow as I was having a little bit of trouble catching the left arm wrap right away.  But here it is:

Side Plank

Just in case you cannot tell what’s holding me up, I have my right foot locked in one side of the fabric while my left foot rests on top of it; that is supporting about half of my weight.  The remainder of my weight is primarily held by my right arm on the other half of the fabric because I don’t have my left arm at enough of an angle to better share the burden.  I mention these things because the bulk of my body is suspended in between my right arm and my foot…and I have gained enough STRENGTH to hold myself in this position long enough for a photo op!  Certainly not of the Superman variety, but I am so much stronger than I was just a month ago…

And before this Challenge is over, I WILL get into that inverted ball position if it kills me!

Also, the ladies and I measured ourselves at this half-way point…so far, I have lost one inch from my waist, another inch from my belly, an inch from each thigh, and an inch and a half from each my arms!  That may not sound like a lot to some people, but to someone like me, it’s a MIRACLE!

Oh, yeah… OVER ONE MONTH WITHOUT SMOKING!!!!!!!!!!

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!!

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