Totally geeking out…

…yes, I said “geeking out.”

On a whim, I submitted my STS results to Cathe.com after seeing their call for entries on the Cathe Forums a couple of weeks ago. Afterwards, I didn’t think much about it and sort of thought it’d be a long-shot that my personal results and testimonial would be posted to their website.

Well, I was totally wrong. They DID post my STS results, AND my sister’s too! And the best part? We’re the only two STS testimonials on their STS Results page at the moment which is just awesome!

Just for kicks, here’s a snippet from my STS results submission – it’s a lot of what I talk about on this blog, about how strong and empowering a weight training program like STS can be, as well as a little bit about how it gave me the confidence to take the plunge with Kick:

When I started the STS program a year (or so) ago, I was not one to weigh myself, take tons of measurements and take before/after photos. While I was hoping for results, I wanted to feel them versus document them, if that makes sense. I wanted to experience all that STS could be, but not focus on checking off the box of “well, I lost an inch on my thigh” this week or “look at that, a couple of pounds lost on the scale.” And by taking this approach to STS, I have not only experienced the physical results that STS is bound to provide, but it’s worked wonders for me, mentally.

I feel strong, I feel empowered, I feel confident. I owe a lot of that to STS (and Cathe, of course!). When I kicked off the STS program, I was hoping for visual “proof” of my hard work and I think I succeeded there. I’m stronger and more muscular and that is empowering in and of itself. But what STS also did was helped me to kick my workouts up a notch or two or three which has improved my overall health and fitness immensely. As for confidence? I give a ton of credit to STS for giving me the physical and mental strength needed to fulfill a lifelong goal of mine. To teach a fitness class of my own.

Equally awesome to my “geek out” moment last night? I posted this to my Facebook page and Cathe actually commented on it! It, in all honesty, made my WEEK (which you know, was not the best of weeks for me), here’s what she said:

Cathe Friedrich

🙂 …I have no doubt you will be an awesome kickboxing instructor too!!!!
So now that I’ve fully admitted to my geekdom to all of you here, you must think I’m totally nuts. Or did you think that already?! Hmm. 😉
On a side note, I managed to have an AWESOME run this morning on the big, bad treadmill. I don’t know what got into me (maybe the Kick tunes on the iPod) but it was one of those runs where I could’ve just kept going and going and going. It was awesome! Managed to run a little over 5 miles in 47 mins (give or take). Yippee! I better get on it, that half marathon is inching closer and closer…eek!

It’s time for change

So I went to Group Power this morning which I haven’t been to in quite awhile (probably 2 months or so? gee I wonder why?!). I’ve been faithfully doing the STS undulating rotation lately for my weight training regime but thought this week would be a good one to get back into Power. Plus, part of me wants to be even more visible at the gym, in addition to the Kick classes, just so folks get used to seeing my face around more and more often. Couldn’t hurt, right?

Boy, was I totally surprised by how much I struggled during class this morning. Granted, I was working off less-than-optimal sleep after staying up to watch the Superbowl, but still, I was burning and struggling through every repetition, no matter what body part we were working. I was, quite honestly, pretty stunned by it. I mean, I’ve noticed some good strength gains from all the STS work so I thought Power would be a good challenge but not a struggle, but I totally felt myself struggling. What the?!

After class, I was mulling it over with my sis on the walk out to our cars and I think I’ve figured it out, well two things, really. First – I think I may be getting a little bit lax at home when weight training. I’m working pretty hard during those STS workouts but I think I’ve gotten into a bit of a “routine” and I’m not pushing myself as hard as I would if I were at the gym in front of others. Second – I think my body is no longer “shocked” by STS since I’ve been doing it for over a year. The whole point of STS is that it’s a shock to the system but if I’m no longer feeling “shocked,”  I’m thinking it’s time for a change (sadly since I LOVE STS so much!).

I”m thinking I’ll continue with Power 2-3x a week if I can fit it in, in between cardio (Kick – duh; Ride and the good ‘ol treadmill which I must return to if I’m ever going to run a half marathon this fall, per my resolution!).  I can definitely use all the strength gains I can get to power me through those Kick workouts – especially all the lunges and squats in track 3 and 5.

So that’s my goal for the next couple of weeks, I’m hoping for a good return to that “shocked” feeling, you know? I think my body misses it. 😉

In other news – my sis and I are scheduled to teach two classes together this week – one on Thursday morning and the other on Saturday morning. Thursday there will be three of us teaching and Saturday there will be four of us, it should be fun! Next week I think we’ll drop to two instructors per class. All sounds well and good right? Well – now I need to scramble to get used to cuing all the other tracks I’ve not been focusing on while prepping for launch and the tracks I needed to nail for that. Guess what I’m doing tonight after cooking some dinner for my sis and I? You got it, cue cue cue!

“Embrace the sweat”

In my sister‘s oh-so-wise words this morning, I definitely needed to “Embrace the Sweat.”

I got so caught up in my own thoughts running around in my head about all the items on my to-do list that seem to be piling up on me again that I wasn’t even enjoying this morning’s workout. How sad is that? I LOVE to workout, this much you all know, so why ruin it by letting my cluttered, stressed thoughts override the power of a good sweatfest?

Especially during one of my favorite STS workouts – it’s in the meso 2 series and its a leg workout. It was one of those love-to-hate workouts too. It’s filled with a series of trisets – basically three sets of three leg exercises done back-to-back three times. Rest, move on to the next triset of a different set of three exercises done back-to-back before moving on to the final triset, topped off with calf raises (which are already screaming at me, I might add). I swear, meso 2 leg workouts are probably the most intense and sweat-inducing leg workouts of the entire STS series, and I love every minute. So I kicked myself halfway through after my sister’s text comment about “embracing the sweat” and ended up with a great latter half to the workout. I must say, I think I love leg workouts best of all weight training workouts. Though, I’m also partial to a good bicep and shoulder weight lifting routine, too. 😉

So yeah, I have got to get away from letting outside thoughts clutter up my workouts – they are my ME time, I’m doing myself a total disservice by not embracing every sweaty minute, am I right?

On that note, I’m off to plow through a jam-packed day before heading out for some Kick training – we’re focusing on kicks tonight in preparation for *another* sneak peek on Thursday night followed by, dum dum dummmm, the big LAUNCH on Saturday! Wahoo!! I seriously can’t believe it’s almost here, I’m so excited, and, not gonna lie, really proud of all my sister and I have accomplished in such a short amount of time. Go us. 🙂 Annnd, we should have our Kick tanks for Saturday so I’ll even feel more badass with my gear on from head-to-toe – I promise to take a picture of my sis and I before we head over to the launch. It’ll be a goody. 🙂

“How can you workout so much?” and other questions

On my ride home tonight, after a particularly scattered day for one reason or another (hmm…I’m sensing a trend here), I got to thinking about what it is that drives this workout passion (er, obsession?) of mine. I’m asked all the time by friends, family, and co-workers about it – “How can you workout so much?” or “I wish I had that motivation” or “Why do you like to workout so much?” And the answer is usually “ah, it’s just my hobby” or “I just love it, I don’t know why.”

But, really? I DO know why…I think I tend to minimize it when I’m asked about it because I don’t want the person I’m talking to to feel like I think I’m better than them or more committed or healthier or whatever. I honestly cannot stand people that take that holier than thou approach to fitness. You know who I’m talking about – that person in the kitchen that has to gab as loudly as possibly about how great her current diet is going or during a meeting the person that has to talk about how tired they are from their workout at 5am that morning (insert dramatic yawn here). Cannot stand it. Why? Because those are the people that workout for attention. Yes, attention. They want everyone and their brother to know just how skinny and dedicated they are. They couldn’t care less about the real end result behind a good sweatfest, unless it equates to a lower number on the scale (and thus, more to talk about the next day at the office).

Why do I workout so much? Well, for one, I honestly LOVE it. I love the energy and the endorphin rush. I love how strong I feel. I love the confidence it gives me. I love that its adding years to my life. Yes, all the other things are great too – pants fitting better, more defined arms and other various body parts (LOL). BUT, the root cause behind my fierce commitment and passion? I love it because I’m healthy and that makes me happier and more centered in all other areas of my life. And the thing is? I don’t need to talk about it 24/7 for attention. While I might talk about it often with friends and things (hehe, sorry guys), its because its my passion, honestly. And, I do like to feel like I’m motivating others (as I’ve mentioned a zillion times before on this blog) to be healthier, that’s it. I watch shows like The Biggest Loser and it breaks my heart when they go through all of those medical tests and find out just how OLD their “inner age” is. Often double or triple their actual age. How sad is that? We’re only on this earth for a short time…we only have this ONE body…we should each be treating with the care and attention it deserves. Right?

So anyway, this was what rolled through my mind tonight en route home to do what turned out to be a pretty fantastic STS leg workout, Cathe style of course. Per the usual, those leg workouts leave me wincing in pain but it’s all good. I needed to work off some of what was leaving me scattered today and it totally (as it always does) did the trick. I capped off tonight’s workout with a pretty darn tasty sauteed shrimp and spinach combination. I’ve been obsessed with shrimp lately for some reason, so good and packs such a bang for the buck (18 grams of protein in 5 of those suckers, I mean really, what could be better??). And now,I’m off to find something a little sweet to satisfy my cravings, hopefully I’ll avoid the almond butter…that stuff is so good but SO addicting!!

Sunday ramblings…STS, friends, and guacamole

Thank you all for your comments on my post yesterday! I guess I do need to listen to my body this time around, huh? In fact, I listened to my body again this morning (you’ll be so proud, Heather). I was contemplating an STS workout paired with STS Shock Cardio but my body was screaming for a halt to all the cardio after last week’s crazy workout schedule mixed with Kick practice galore. So instead of going for it, I stuck to weight training only, no cardio. I sort of wanted to toss the Shock Cardio in there afterall, especially since I have girls night tonight where I’m pretty sure I will be eating lots of mexican and drinking a fair amount of wine.

But, I fought the urge…and besides, meso 3 biceps/triceps/shoulders was pretty brutal today so I was feeling pretty spent by the end of the program. I am happy to report, though, that I did manage to up the weights on almost all of the exercises so that was an accomplishment which made me smile (note – a “little thing” that made me smile, resolution stuck to!).

Now that I’m full of coffee, eggs and an english muffin with almond butter, I’m ready to tackle a jam-packed day full of time spent with some of my favorite friends. Scott has to work today (he has to work at least one Sunday/month) so it works out well that I have a busy day ahead (especially since it’s not a “school night,” woo, another “little thing”). I’m going to spend some time with one of my friends who is pregnant – she’s one of my oldest friends so I’m totally excited to help her plan her baby shower! I can’t promise that I’ll do a great job of writing out invitations today (I have HORRIBLE handwriting) but I’ll do my best. 😉 Then, Jo and I are heading to our monthly GNI for mexican-style girls night. Always a good time, cannot wait!

Anyway, it’s a beautiful and sunny day today, even though its pretty cold, but somehow just seeing the sun gives me such a boost. The news is on in the background and I can’t help but feel so sad for those in Haiti who are struggling to find their loved ones. I feel safe, loved, healthy and content – I’m very lucky and its situations like this that reminds me what life is truly about. I hope you’ve all made your donation to the Red Cross – I texted my donation to 90999 (text “Haiti”) last night. Random end to this post but it’s on my mind so I had to share it.

Have a safe and happy day – enjoy every (little) moment. 🙂

A partial rest day still counts, right?

I promised I’d build in some rest this week…so I’m calling today a “partial” rest day. I woke up around 4:30am with my knee feeling a little bit on the achy side – the same knee I went to physical therapy for this past summer for an IT band issue, resulting from weak hip muscles  (go figure, huh?).  So, rather than re-injuring myself (which would be all kinds of BAD just weeks before Kick launches), I decided to forgo the STS legs workout I had planned for this morning.

Sadly, I LOVE the legs workouts in meso 2 – it involves a series of trisets which are killer but pretty awesome all at the same time. It’s basically three sets of three leg exercises done three times in a row. Sounds confusing but it ends up being a total of 36 leg exercises done in about 45 minutes. It’s awesome, trust me on this one. 😉

As for this not being  a full rest day? I have a kick practice planned for tonight that I don’t want to miss. Now that I know we’re aiming for a “preview, invite-only” class on Jan 23, I want to squeeze in as MUCH practice as possible in the next two weeks. We’ll probably practice for about an hour tonight which is perfect, I’ll just avoid the jump knees in that killer muay thai track number 3.

With that said, I’m off to knock the pants off of this Tuesday, I’m aiming for UBER productivity so I can get my butt out of the office right on time to make it to Kick by 6pm. That is, if all goes according to plan and there isn’t major traffic. Wish me luck on that one. 😉

Going from “this might sting a little” to FOOD HEAVEN

I think I died and went to food heaven. Seriously.

I just finished a KILLER workout. Who knew that HIIT 40/20 combined with STS meso 1 back/triceps combined would make me feel completely, and utterly, spent. But it did. In a good way, as usual. 😉

As I alluded to in my previous post from tonight, Cathe’s workouts always get me no matter what it is. STS Shock Cardio, just as I suspected, pairs PERFECTLY with any of her STS workouts. Incredible stuff.

Anyway, tonight continues the “surprise dinner” parade from Scott and he totally pulled out all the stops tonight. He is seriously gourmet, who knew?! For those of you who don’t know Scott, he used to be the PICKIEST eater you’d ever met. Before we started dating, he had barely tried any vegetables let alone admitted to liking them. He never ate his father’s pasta sauce (which drove his father nuts, I might add) until we met and I went over for Sunday dinner for the first time!

Tonight’s surprise dinner? Um, pork tenderloin with an apple and chipotle reduction. Um, what?? UNREAL. He put it all together and tossed it in the crockpot. Needless to say, working out tonight while that was wafting through the house was killing me!! Dinner was ahhhmazing. It had the perfect combination of sweet and heat and the pork was so tender. He paired it with brown rice and a spinach salad on the side. SO good, in fact, that I forgot to take a picture before practically licking my plate clean.

I just couldn’t resist sharing both my “this might sting a little” workout tale but better yet, what an incredible dinner I just enjoyed with the best company around. I think I’ll keep him around, what do you think? 😉

Ramblings on workout motivation

Guess what? I almost, ALMOST, rationalized away my workout today.

I slept an extra 90 minutes this morning which was totally necessary. My body was screaming at me to rest, I have been exhausted all week and I think the extra sleep was exactly what I needed. Plus, it helped that Scott was sleeping sooo peacefully next to me. How am I going to resist that tomorrow and Friday at 5:15am, I have no idea!

Anyway, back to rationalizing away my workout…almost, that is. Thankfully, three Advil saved the day (thanks to one of my favorites who sits just one office away from me now, yippee!). Well, three advil and an Rx to catch-up on my fitness and healthy eating blog friends’ blogs. That truly motivated me today.

But it also got me to thinking – it is SO easy to fall into the trap of “ohhh, I can miss one workout this week” which quickly turns into “wellll, three out of four isn’t so bad” to barely working out once a week. It’s a downward spiral and we’ve all been there, even me (shocking right, Heather?).

So how do I motivate myself and in turn share that motivation with ya’ll? That’s a good question. I’m actually not really sure where my motivation comes from and it always makes me laugh when friends call me nuts for working out so much (and clearly talking about it way too much!). I just love it. Period.

But thinking more about what motivates me, it’s a combination of things. I think it’s partly just become so ingrained in my routine that breaking that routine is actually much harder than just sticking to it (especially given how Type A I am, I LOVE routine and being scheduled and uber-organized). I also think its the competitive streak in me – I never want to miss a workout especially if I know my sister is working out. Isn’t that crazy? But it drives me nuts if she’s working out and I’m slacking and staying in bed for some reason. And, I obviously like how it makes me feel alive, energized and happy with my accomplishments/results. All combined, those are good reasons, I guess, right?

So, here’s my question: how does what works for me for motivation translate to motivating others? Is it all one and the same? Is it a different motivator for everyone? A combination of both? I’m perplexed. I want to say everyone’s motivation will be different but at the same time, there’s got to be commonalities, too (better overall health, maintaining a healthy weight, gaining strength, improved cardiovascular health) .

I guess what I’m trying to get at is – what is it that motivates you? Is it the same as what I’ve listed above? What unique things motivate you that I haven’t even listed here? Now I’m curious!

On another note, I’m getting ready for night two of “surprise” dinners ala Scott. You all saw what he conjured up last night so I’m obviously excited for tonight’s surprise,too! But first, must tackle STS, it’s all about legs tonight, meso 1-style. Always kills me. Ouch. 😉

**********

Quick update, “surprise” dinner tonight was SO tasty. Scott and I always make grilled fajitas in the summer but he surprised me with a new variation on our usual fajitas, they were nicely marinated and grilled perfectly (who cares if our deck is covered in snow, right? Fired up that grill anyway!). Paired the fajitas with a homemade mango salsa which was SO good wrapped in my low-carb wrap. I ended up only having one wrap left so I had the second fajita as a “salad” with spinach. YUM!!

Shock and Plyo, Plyo and Shock

I just finished my last workout of the YEAR (haha). Since I had the extra time today (no work) AND I know I’ll be eating and, more importantly, drinking up a storm tonight, I thought I’d double time it today.PLUS, I’ve been DYING to try Shock Cardio which has been sitting up in my gym for two weeks and I just haven’t had time to fit it in with all the Group Kick stuff.

And, what can I say, Cathe can do no wrong in my book. WOW. The combination of Plyo legs from Meso 3 and the HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout I chose from the Shock Cardio series was out-of-this-world amazing and totally killer.

The best part, arguably, with the Shock Cardio workouts is that they are all pretty short so you can definitely pair it with another STS workout when you have the extra time like I did today. The HIIT series is great, it’s a combination of three different high intensity workouts, basically non-stop plyometric moves that keep your heart rate up, up, UP. I tried the HIIT 30/30 split which is 30 seconds of high intensity moves and then 30 seconds of rest. The other HIIT workouts are 40/20 split and HIIT double-wave pyramid. Those are supposed to be a smidge harder than the 30/30 since the rest periods are a lot shorter. I figured I’d start “easier” the first time out. 😉

I have to tell you, 30 minutes never went by faster in my life, nevermind the 30 second rest periods! Doing Plyo Legs afterwards (since I’m in undulating rotation mode again) was a tough combination since most of the HIIT work is lower body work but it was the exact right challenge for today.

Now I’m fueling up with coffee, a cinnamon raisin english muffin with almond butter (my new addiction) and scrambled eggs/whites with some laughing cow cheese. I have a lot to get done before tonight’s festivities! It’s our annual New Year’s Eve party and every year tends to get crazier and more fun than the year prior. I cannot wait! But first, I need to scour this house from top to bottom (yay, LOVE a good cleaning spree) and then shop for the goodies before everyone shows up later on today. I think I’ll have a second cup of coffee first, I earned it!

I’ll be back tomorrow with my New Years resolutions – I’m still thinking them over, I have a few in mind, some fitness-related, some not. Hope you all have a safe New Years’ celebration tonight – *virtual cheers to you all!*

Habits, STS and other ruminations

Last night, after blogging up a storm for ya’ll, I laid in bed wide-awake. Brain would NOT turn off. Of course, this is usually when I’m inspired by future blog post topics, future to-do lists and other random thoughts when I should be counting sheep. 😉

Well last night’s fitful rest was a blog-inspiring moment. I got to thinking more about why I’ve been struggling a bit with Kick and I’ve figured it out. It hasn’t become a habit yet! I talked about forming the fitness habit back when I first started this blog and that it takes repetition and forming a routine that works for you before it’ll become truly second-nature, and just another part of your day.

Well, Kick clearly isn’t quite a habit yet but I’m bound and determined to make it one. I wish I could hit “fast forward” on the next six weeks merely to see how I turn out as a Kick instructor. Though, I suppose that’s all part of this journey huh? The bumps and bruises along the way that will mold me into the Kick instructor I want to be. Right now, I’m too focused on the musical cues in each round of each track and making sure that…

  • I’ve set my heel for each kick, especially those roundhouse kicks
  • If I’m supposed to be doing a jab, that I’m actually jabbing and not doing a hook or a cross or an uppercut
  • I don’t look like I’m swimming during those descending elbows
  • Each of my moves are sharp and staccato (I can hear Natalie, our trainer, shouting to us now: “out in, out in!”)
  • I look fierce, arms always in guard, set low in my stance, not high and bouncy and aerobic (Kick is the antithesis of your typical kickboxing routine if you haven’t figured that out already, its very aggressive, very martial arts, very DIRTY as our fitness director likes to remind us)

Aside from remembering all the technical form cues, I’m also thinking about what my next cue will be, what move do I need to tell the class to get ready to do, and oh yeah, I have to make sure I’m doing that move as technically accurate as possible.

Hmm, now do you see why I’m struggling? I truly think that once I really figure out technique and make THAT part a habit, the cueing and motivating will happen pretty naturally. That’s my hope right now, anyway. 😉

In other ruminations…I got back into STS this week after a two week hiatus. And, wow did I miss it! I started another undulating rotation – I’m loving the shock-your-body feel of doing a different mesocycle each week. Today was focused on a back/chest workout from meso 3 (heavy weights, low reps). I noticed some good strength gains – but I also noticed just how worn out it leaves me at the end of the routine! A sure sign that it’s doing what it’s supposed to be doing. SHOCKING it!