strength

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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!

What the Hell… I Smell Already Anyway…

Published February 22, 2013 by Susan Woodward

When I got home from Aerial practice, there was coincidentally only one parking spot left in the lot, and it was right in front of the Fitness Center.  My guess it was the Universe saying to me, “Oh, what the hell… you stink already anyway.  You may as well go in and do something.”

So I did an 11:48 mile on the elliptical!

THEN I took a very long, very hot shower!  I feel better, though, because I took an extra step tonight.

And then it took three hours to load a few freaking videos to the internet from my camera!  All the relaxation of my Soul Food at the Art Gallery and the hot shower took a hike as I had choice words for both my computer and my camera tonight.

However, I DO have a finished product as evidence of my progress in the Aerial Arts.  Still a far cry from Cirque du Soleil, but a definite improvement.  As proof that improvements have been made, I shall re-share my first attempt at a roll-up…

This is the 7 Week improvement:

After trying and trying and trying, I finally did the hip key and was able to to it again for posterity!

This move (the inverted stag) I just learned two nights ago… but since I was semi-successful in getting into position, I wanted to get it on video:

Ok, so I fall out of it.  But I did get into the position (sort of).  I just have to remember to keep my supporting leg straight!

Well, after all the video broo-ha-ha and uploading fiascos, I am going to bed!

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!!!  🙂

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!

All in the Family at Aerial Arts of Rochester!!!

Published January 28, 2013 by Susan Woodward

Today’s Cirque Fit class was a KILLER!!!  I am wondering if Will was tougher on us because he just liked kicking our asses, or if because a U.S. Marine took class with us…hmmm.  I think it’s because he’s kicking our asses, but Sarah DID go to class with me tonight!!  And so did another daughter, Robin!  Woot!

That was even more of a challenge to me to have two of my daughters in the class… and me trying my best to keep up, not only with our energetic instructor, but with a Marine and a Physical Therapist who is also a yoga instructor.  Mommy really pushed herself to try to do what the fit young girls could do… and I will pay for it tomorrow!  However, pushing me out of my comfort zone is a good thing, and having the girls with me as motivation kept me moving even more.  While I  may be sore, I really am beginning to feel stronger, and my posture has improved.

And I did a plank!!!!  And even walked across the room in plank position back and forth!  I was the last one to make it back, but everyone kept cheering me on and clapping for me that I just had to keep going.  In spite of finishing dead last, I DID finish!

It was a good class tonight, and I wish my girls could be there every time… but I am thankful that I did get to have an evening with them!  It’s not often that we are all together at the same time, so I am especially thankful.

Also, Aerial Arts is great for kids, too!  My granddaughter, Jordan, had her 5th birthday party there yesterday… a superhero themed party, complete with flying and hanging upside down.  Will, the video is fantastic…thank you!

Superhero Themed Party at Aerial Arts of Rochester!

I am so glad that I am part of the Cirque “family.”

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