Thursday, June 23, 2016

Mermaid Pants and Planking for Pizza

I remain on my Spring fitness kick. Or maybe it's not so much of a kick as a reinvigoration. It's been more than 3 years since I found and fell in love with barre, so I guess I am a regular working out person now, but I went 10 years without doing much of anything at all so it still feels fragile and temporary.

But since I rarely go a day without, and feel genuinely bereft when I do, I guess that's who I am now. A person who works out a lot. It's still weird.

I've settled into a new routine of barre 2x per week (teaching at least one of those), Orangetheory 2x per week, and yoga 3x per week. It's perfect for me right now and is just the right amount of new stuff (OTF!) and first loves (barre), with cardio (OTF!), stretching (barre and yoga!), and toning (ALL THREE!). It's fun, I'm genuinely excited about every workout, and I'm seeing such changes and improvements in my body, my strength, and my endurance. 

And of course, new workouts mean new workout clothes! All kidding aside, I have found new workout clothes to be an excellent and appropriate motivator and having good gear really makes a difference. Lululemon's speed shorts make me like running. They're so comfortable and cool and absolutely perfect for runs. I love Gap's sports bras (particularly this one) and my favorite tanks for OTF are one from the Express fitness line (now sold out, which is the world's loss), Lulu's cool racerback, and these new tanks I got from Wicked Custom Apparel online (great quality, especially for the price!).

Why else would you do it?

I wore my new planking shirt to my 7 a.m. OTF class on Wednesday. It is peak performance week; every day has a different challenge and you write down your results to compare to the next quarter. Wednesday was "longest plank challenge" day, so my shirt was a hit.

my fave coach

I won the challenge for my time block (3 mins 30 seconds), but to be fair, the winner of the earlier class kicked my butt. In barre when we do planks we're always moving our legs or arms- mountain climbers, elevators, jumping feet in and out, etc. Just holding the forearm plank without moving absolutely killed my lower back while my core didn't seem bothered at all. I think I need to do some more back strengthening exercises. Still it was a fun class- I'm really enjoying the treadmill portions which will never stop shocking and thrilling me in equal measure. I do think I need new running shoes since I've had mine for over a year and actually used them regularly for running. To the runners out there- does it really make a difference which running shoes you wear? Beyond just whatever is on sale at Academy and designated for running? I'm contemplating going to a real running store and getting fitted, but wondering if it will really make much of a difference. I'd love your thoughts.

But my real passion for the past two weeks has been yoga. I'm loving yoga. Every time I get back into it I fall in love all over again, and the beautiful thing about yoga is even if you let it fall away for a while, it's always waiting there for you to come back. And there is ALWAYS room to grow and improve, in small microscopic steps, every single class. I really, really love it. Last Wednesday I had a new teacher in my vinyasa flow class and she was so fun and challenging, while also keeping the flows fairly simple so you could start to feel confident as you went through them again and again. I did crow for the first time, then side crow, then a headstand to side crow! I have never done any of these things!! I came home and did headstands for the next hour. It's an amazing feeling to find something you didn't know you could do.

In celebration, I treated myself to these gorgeous Mermaid leggings on my way out the door of my yoga studio. How could I possibly resist them? Particularly while on a headstand high?

Obviously, I could not.

Since Wednesday's class I've been doing more yoga at home and tonight, while I was cooking dinner, I saw Cora very industriously working to lay out the two cheap yoga mats I keep around for the kids to use when they decide to join me in my yoga or barre class practicing. After many MANY minutes, she announced "All ready Mama! All ready!". I looked over and she announced, "Rah-rah's mat. Mama's mat. We do doga!" Unable to resist a setup like that, doga is precisely what we did.

She stuck with it for a while- we lifted legs in down dog, flowed through a chaturanga, and wagged our tails and did some cat/cows in tabletop. I had to recreate a tiny part when James and the kids got home just so I could get a picture. Cora is such a ball of industrious earnestness right now and I need little mementos to ever come close to remembering the joyful intensity of it all in the years to come.

cat/cows didn't work quite so well on round 2

And then, since I take videos of everyone else swimming, I figured I could get one of me yoga-ing. It's not my smoothest round and I felt like I couldn't hold it long- dinner was on the table and James was starving and actually holding his plate in his other hand while he took this video, and then I went to barre after everyone ate so I didn't get a redo. But, headstand! It's a whole new world view.

I'm missing a lot of my Saturday barre classes for the kids' swim meets and I'm missing my teaching very much. My yoga and OTF joy helps, but a big part of my heart will always be waiting for me at the barre. It's what made me fall in love with exercise after a decade-long absence. It helped me find a new lean and strong body after 3 babies. It was a very powerful thing for me and I will always be a barrevangelist.

But I'm a pretty enthusiastic proponent of my new HIIT and yoga workouts too, so let me know if you have any questions about those! In my dream of dreams I'd get my yoga teaching certification- there's so much depth to mine there, the student in me is dying to start digging in. But it's a 200 hour cert and I absolutely don't have the money or time right now. And a big part of the reason I can make barre teaching work is because I get to do the workout while I teach, so I can count it as exercise time too (double exercise time really; I never burn as many calories on my heart rate monitor as when I teach barre; yelling over music while pulsing and planking will really get your heart pumping!). Yoga teaching is more verbal and hands-on instructional than actively flowing with the class. Maybe in retirement? I also told James that I'd join our summer league swim team once Cora was old enough to be on the team, so who knows, in the meantime I may find my way back to the pool instead.


  1. Definitely get fitted for running shoes! It makes a big difference to have properly fitted shoes. Our local running store is great at this and will watch you run on a treadmill in the store and then help you pick the right shoes.

  2. yes, get fitted for shoes. they will watch you run (or jog for me) and recommend shoes. They did not recommend the most expensive ones, but ones that really did work for me.

  3. Love how your kids cheer you on in the video! It's so cute! I also agree with getting fitted for shoes. I have injured myself countless times by getting crappy running shoes!
    Love your cute blog!

  4. OMG, the shirts. I might need a "dibs on the guitarist" in honor of my Dad Band husband.

  5. I LOVE my Brooks Ghost 8 running shoes. And they've just introduced the Ghost 9, so you can probably pick them up at a discount. They are so comfortable! I started buying Brooks shoes after getting a fitting at a Fleet Feet -- I did think it was worthwhile to do that at least once.

  6. Yay!! If you can take 3 weeks off (I know, probably too much of a luxury with kiddos and a job), I'll hook you up for an awesome teacher training. I'm doing one in February in the Dominican Republic and Aruba in July, so it'd be an awesome mommy vacay too! Keep it up! Yoga loves you back!

  7. Have you tried YogaSmoga leggings? I just got some and they are as good/better quality than LLL. Also, they are made in the USA. And the company chairman does not seem to have made publicly disparaging comments about women's body types (unlike LLL), which is a plus.

  8. Fort Worth Running Company, Run On, Bear Creek Running Company, are all good local running stores I would recommend for getting fitted for shoes. Most will have a treadmill to test the shoes with. If they are uncomfortable, go with a different pair or set-up. Luke's is hit or miss, depending on the location. I've had numerous bad experiences at the one in Montgomery Plaza (and Running Co. is just down the street). The SMU location is fantastic. Love your blog! Keep at it!

  9. Try Brooks for running shoes! Amazing!

  10. I agree, get fitted for running shoes! Just one suggestion though - I see a lot of people recommending Brooks. I used to have Brooks shoes because everyone loved theirs, seemed like a great company, etc., but when I saw a physical therapist about bad knee issues she noted, as an aside, that my feet were too narrow to be in Brooks and I should look for a narrower shoe. No one had mentioned this to me (and I had been fitted) so just thought I would let you know in case you also have narrow feet. (And to be very clear, the Brooks shoes in NO way caused the knee problems - that was due to too many years of sitting at a desk lawyering instead of lifting/cross training!!)

    1. What brands did you pt recommend for narrow feet?

    2. She said literally any narrower shoe would be better, but suggested that I maybe try Mizuno. I did end up switching to Mizuno and so far so good! But I have also been doing a ton of PT so the shoes probably do not get much of the credit :)

    3. Thanks!

  11. Yes!!! Get fitted. Running stores are awesome.

    Also, the kids in your headstand video crack me up.

  12. As an avid runner (currently on hiatus after baby #3, still trying to find a groove), I highly recommend getting fitted and wearing good running shoes. I've run a full marathon, lots of half-marathons and some shorter distances and I will tell you shoes matter. I like Saucony's and Mizunos. My last pair was the Mizuno wave rider (also the famed Wendy Davis filibuster shoe) and they were great. But what works for one won't work for all.

  13. I've been wondering for awhile, why don't you swim anymore? Just curious! :)

    I also recommend getting fitted. I ran briefly many years ago and got fitted and was really surprised about their recommendations not just for brand, but also for size (almost two sizes up from my normal shoe size to allow for foot expansion during running). I still suffer from knee problems, so I'm staying away from running until I can get my core and pelvis stability back (hahahahah!), but when/if I do, I'll get fitted again.