Read about our adventures! Because someday we might be famous, and you'll wish you could bank off our life story!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

"Your Butt Looks Good in the Future": Day 4 at the U

Today was a day of confidence... and tornados!

Well, tornado warnings.

Today was Taco Tuesday at work, and I was already feeling a bit on the heavier side of the scale. Mostly likely due to eating bigger meals on Monday.  I was sure I was going to get my ass kicked by the latest and greatest workout set for today.

I've been driving to the U after work, giving me plenty of time to change clothes and get some good stretches in before class starts. It seemed the class before mine was running a bit long, and to the point where I wondered if they had already started without me? I stretched and watched all the red faces push through today's routine and started to feel a bit nervous. When they were finished it looked as if I was the only one there for today's 5:45pm class, which could be good or bad. More individualized attention ....or more individualized attention?! Two more women showed up and we were a class of three today, which was pretty nice actually.

Today's class was Strength 101, which was actually the same type of the first class I attended on this past Friday (I may have failed to mention that- so here's the definition).

Strength 101- Don't let the name fool you….. it is 101 because we are getting back to the basics of fundamental functional training. The movements of functional training require coordination, balance and control, and timing the muscle contractions. This is similar to how muscles may need to be timed in jumping to get a rebound, staying in a good defensive stance while shuffling left and right, or even putting the groceries up in the cabinet. The major adjustment the body must make in order to improve functional performance includes coordination, range of motion, type of contraction, and speed of movement.

So right, my Friday class was rough. Today we had twelve different weight exercises (working out the arms, back and legs) on the stability ball and twelve exercises on those 'Devil Straps' (TRX) (working the arms, back and legs again). We did sets of 2 exercises, each 12 reps for 3 sets. If that makes any sense.

Only having three people (all of us were newer to the classes) helped keep the pace down at a reasonable level. Or maybe it was the fact we didn't have any crazy cardio. As hard as some of the arm moves got, I felt pretty .....confident! My body is starting to heal and the pain is slowly moving out. I really surprised myself with the hamstring curls. My back was the worst thing today, but my legs were much better. I'd say I felt the most mobile I had since Friday. The smaller class allowed even more time for TJ to help us on our form and keep our reps slow and steady to build leaner muscles. All good things. It was hard work, I'm not going to lie but something was different about today.

About halfway through our TRX moves, someone came in to tell us that there was a tornado warning and everyone was supposed to go to the bathrooms and wait it out. So we watched and waited as the sirens started blaring and I made a call to Bob to make sure that he and the furry ones were safe. We all decided it was just high winds and we should finish out the rest of our workout. The rest of the time we heard lots of rain, thunder, and maybe even hailing as we worked through our last reps. Our class of three was most certainly hard core today- we worked out through tornado warnings and blaring sirens!

All in all I feel better and better after each new class, and as the pain goes away, I build new confidence by what my body is able to pull off. Of course I was using beginner/light weights, but my confidence that that will only increase is getting stronger too. Today was an affirmation that this was a good thing for me and my body. This workout program and this gym was turning out to be just want the doctor ordered for my body. And I was thankful for having heard of it and seeking more information out. I can already tell my arms are going to be hurting tomorrow. And I'm sure tomorrow might work a whole new muscle group that will hurt on Thursday. BUT in just 5 day I've gone through a lot; self-doubt and a ton of pain turning into small victories and healing muscles. Heck, I might even start to like those TRX things...(shhhh don't tell anyone, I'm sure it was just the lack of oxygen to my brain at the time).

Tomorrow is a big workout day for me, I'm heading to the 5:30am class so I can still keep up with my 5:45pm Yoga class. I've been doing this Yoga class since the beginning of the year and really love my teacher. I'll tell you more on that tomorrow. Until then...

Monday, March 21, 2011

"Your Butt Looks Good in the Future": Day 3 at Inspire U

Hello Blog Fans,

Well, I just wanted you all to know that I lived through the weekend, screaming muscles and all. I'm not going to lie to you, it was touch and go there for awhile. I had to have Bob help me with all sorts of things, simple things like getting off the couch, picking up laundry off the ground, etc. And listening to me scream every time I dropped something and was forced to pick it up (or just yell for him to come help). My workout drunk lasted most of the weekend. But secretly I sort of missed not doing anything on Sunday- Gasp! The workout addiction begins! But with all the pain could I make it to class on Monday?! Should I or would I just hurt myself more?!

I tell you, I threw caution to the wind and went to class! I spent most of my Monday cleaning and moving things into my new cubicle at work (YAY NEW CUBE DAY!). So I figured I could give it the ole college effort (what does that exactly mean anyway?) at class after work.

Today was Metabolic 300 day. Is that the new Arnold movie you ask? Perhaps Keanu Reeve's making a come-back? No, Metabolic 300 is the name of today's class!

Oh Keanu, when will it be your turn to rise to stardom again?!

A metabolic cardio workout focusing on multi-joint, functional plyometric movements. A "Metabolic" workout features a total body workout that combines muscle building benefits of strength training with the cardiovascular benefits of cardio training. A fun "bootcamp-style" workout that will supercharge your metabolism, and build lean muscle. - Inspire U website

Notice the word 'fun'. Today's workout entailed of 3 routines of four exercises each, including things like mountain climbers, high knees, spider planks, 180 squats, burpies, egg rolls (not the delicious Chinese treat- trust me on that), skater lounges, one leg balance/jumps, etc, etc. We had three minutes for each routine- to do as many times as physically possible. Oh yeah I almost forgot, we had to do 3 rounds of the 3 routines! The goal was to keep moving and by god I kept moving! I couldn't pull everything off perfectly or the quickest. I'll admit I was slow, but I moved and did as much as my poor sore quads and hammies allowed.

Burpies- I don't know who invented this, but I think even the Devil would be appalled by such torturous actions!

TJ was my instructor again today, I really love the instructors philosophy and ability to cheer people on and help anyone out. It really helps you pull out that last rep and keep going when you feel you can't.  Another thing I thought was really cool was that two other instructors were there participating in the class. One of them actually put the routines together for the day. Now I have to say I was impressed to see them take part and 'feel the pain' with us!

My lower back was the one screaming during today's workout. Everyone kept telling me the pain will pass, and honestly most of my weekend screaming muscles are feeling better- relatively. I did the best I could for as sore as I was and kept telling myself I'll get better and better. Here's to hoping that pain will equal gain in the days to come!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

"Your Butt Looks Good in the Future": Inspire U Day 2

Hybrid Stack Cardio....what the what?!

Hybrid Stack Cardio I said.

A total body, super-cardio workout. This workout uses speed, agility and power, and combines punches, upper cuts, and hooks of boxing with various powerful kicks used in martial arts. We will incorporate the use of bags, kettlebells, and the TRX suspension system in this unique cross training kickboxing class. - Inspire U website

That's right today's workout was a total body, super cardio workout. Which makes perfect sense, because MY WHOLE BODY IS SCREAMING!

I'm not going to lie, I woke up this morning and I was in some serious pain. I took a warm bath around 1am because I was so sore and couldn't sleep. But later this morning I could feel every muscle from my butt down. OW! Normally growing up whenever a new sport would start up after having a few weeks or month off, I was pretty sore. Generally I always know I would be really sore for a day or two. So I got myself up and headed off to class this morning.

Back to that Hybrid stuff. Today's class had 6 sets of four minute routines. For example 1 minute jump rope, 1 min right hand punches (with the punching bag), 1 minute jump rope, 1 minute left hand punches. And so on with kicks, sit-ups chops, alternating punches, donkey kicks, roundhouse kicks. Sounds pretty tame right?!

Say Hello to my little friend- actually they aren't so little and let you take out all your frustration on them, yet they never complain!

I don't remember the last time I jumped rope, its been awhile seriously. Have you ever jumped rope after you just spent a minute or two punching or kicking a bag as hard as you can?! Not as easy as you would think- at least if you're not used to do doing this sort of thing. Let's just say your hand eye coordination starts to fail and your legs just stop responding the way they should. On top of being extremely sore from the day before this started go get really rough around the 5th set.

"Jump Death Ropes"- Along with the TRX straps, meet my new nemesis. Who knew jumping rope would be my latest piece of equipment to conquer?!

Then came the cardio rounds! 2 rounds of 4 minute sequences made up of 1 minute exercises like running in place and jump turns, jumping lunges, mountain climbers and running in place and dropping to plank position. AHHHHH!!!

MENTAL NOTE: Bring inhaler next time!

TJ was our instructor today, and while I was nervous having a male trainer - mostly because I figured he'd way more aggressive, in your face, RAWR! But he was very cool, cheered you on and encouraged you to push it further all with a pretty big smile on his face. I probably would have liked him more if he wasn't making me lose feeling in my legs and my lower half in general.

Then- yes there was more- the last thing, it was time for pull-ups! PULL-UPS?! I don't remember the last time I did a pull up. In fact I'm not even sure if I have ever accomplished a fully correct pull-up. Luckily TJ brought out boxes and stools to stand on and all these colorful bands tied to the bars. I watched as others put one foot in the band and pull themselves up and start doing reps. Ughhhh, I'm not great with heights and this sort of freaked me out. Before I knew it was my turn and as I stepped into the strap and pulled myself up the strap bounced me up far enough to do a pull-up! WHOA! I got to the 20th rep and my arms were burning. Even though the straps were there to help give you a boost, you still had to use your upper body. I think the scariest part was getting into the straps and pulling up and getting back onto the box and out of the strap- kind of like mid air splits. Needless to say I felt pretty Badass after doing some pull-ups...

Supposed Badass Jason Statham trying to do a pull-up- looks like he can't quite get his hands in the correct form, Sorry Statham, I'm not impressed.

Awww George Clooney, looking like a sad panda, he's got his hands correct but just can't quite pull it off. Suck it up George!

Here's Mr. 'I don't like wearing shirts' McConaughey attempting a pull-up, once again poor form Matthew. Maybe you should pull out your earbuds and listen to your trainer more.

We were finally done for the day and I felt pretty great honestly. TJ was a great trainer, and I talked to some of the people in my class that ended up being newbies too. I was exhausted, but my body was feeling good and I was excited for the next class on Monday.

I didn't realize the final challenge was waiting for me at home...the stairs to our apartment. As I started up them, I could barely put one leg in front of the other- the pain and stiffness was setting in! I started walking funny as soon as I walked in the door and sitting down made me scream!

After watching me walk around like I was experiencing an inner ear disorder. Bob coined the term 'workout drunk'.
Workout Drunk - adjective - description of one whom has worked out so much they walk off balance and awkwardly around as if drunk. 

I was definitely 'workout drunk'. As the day has gone on my muscles have locked up so much I can barely move, sitting down on the couch was excruciatingly painful, getting off the couch required assistance, coughing hurt. EVERYTHING HURTS!

Like I said earlier I knew I would end up being sore, but this was MEGA UBER ULTRA SORE! My arms and back have slowly started to tighten up as well as my lower half. So I've spent most of the day taking advil, soaking in a hot bath and hanging out with my handy heating pad. This is probably the worst pain I've had from working out in quite a long time. But honestly I have to say I had a helluva workout the past two days, so I guess it goes with the territory. I'm hoping my muscles will heal quickly and I can get over this initial hump in the next few days!

But on the upside- all my muscles may hurt...but I can FEEL all my muscles again, that means they are alive and well and ready to come back for more!

Thank goodness tomorrow is a rest day! Whew!

Friday, March 18, 2011

"Your Butt Looks Good in the Future": 1st Day at Inspire U

After my first class at Inspire U, I cried I survived....

Today was my first class at Inspire U, a fitness facility that opened up at the beginning of this year. If you live around the Des Moines Metro you have probably heard of Kosama and Farrell's. Both are 10 week fitness programs you can join to get back in shape. What's different about Inspire U you ask? Well you can check them out here, but basically they are similar, yet different. Inspire U is a customizable fitness program for 12 weeks. Most programs you have to wait till the next cycle to join in, but at Inspire U you can jump in at any time and start. There are 6 days of different workouts and no matter if you are a beginner or advanced you can do the same class (with obvious alterations for each). The thing that caught my eye about Inspire U is their approach to customizing and figuring out how your individual body works with nutrition and working out. Not a "one size fits all" program. Plus it's cheaper than a 10 week program and by my math that worked out to a whole lot more bang for your buck.

The Inspire U Gym
I emailed Inspire U on Wednesday and by the afternoon Leah- one of the people that started it all- was on the phone talking to me. She outlined the whole program: initial assessments, your life coaches, the classes, nutrition programs, etc. I told her her program sounded a lot like the philosophy of a book I had just read "This is Why You're Fat" by Jackie Warner. Leah immediately knew what I was talking about and started pointing out similarities behind both the book and her program. At this point in the conversation I was excited. She told me the best thing would be for me to come down and try the classes for a week, before I even paid to start the 90 days. Seriously?! I can just try it out?! Now I was really excited!

This is Jackie Warner, I'm not even going to pretend like she couldn't kick my and everyone I know's ass.

Jackie's Book- A great guide to eating better and getting in shape. I highly recommend!
So today was my first day, I was nervous- I had no idea what I was in for or how hard this could be. I went to the noon class today since I had the day off. I walked inside to see some women standing talking to each other and one turned to me and greeted me with a huge smile. I told her my name and said I was here to try out the program and I had talked to Leah on the phone. This lady, Karen, was super excited I was there, then Leah walked out from behind the office and greeted me with a huge smile. The other women started talking to me and Leah told them I was getting married on St. Patrick's Day next year and here to get in shape! Before I knew it Karen was taking me back to the locker rooms ready to show me around. At this time I had been there 5 minutes and people who had no idea who I was, were already excited to see me!

I followed them to the class area and I had already started meeting more of the people and hearing how long they had been working out with Leah/Inspire U. For every class there is a white board with a warm up and that day's workout. And each workout is customized for beginners, mid level and advanced.  Today we were doing dead lifts, press squats, kettleball squats and the TRX (more on that beast later). Crap, I thought, even the beginner weights looked intimidating! Leah set everyone up with weights they could handle and introduced me to the class of 7. I was definitely the Newbie.

And off we go! I did pretty well with my dead lifts, then during the press squats my quad muscles started yelling at me, and the kettleball squats really took it out of me. Holy Crap, I was out of shape! This was a lot of work! If you have ever seen the Biggest Loser, you know how Jillian and Bob walk around and yell/cheer on the contestants. Leah did this to an extent, I would say she was way nicer than Biggest Loser trainers, but she was there cheering us on, checking our form and counting out those last painful reps.

This woman is a fraud, not because she looks good while "working out". But nobody and I mean NOBODY wears their hair down like this while working out. This same goes for any action movie with woman fighting with their long hair in their faces- 'Put your hair in a ponytail God Dammit! Is it that hard?!'
Then came the part of the workout that I had never encountered before- the TRX straps. I'd seen these, but never tried them and figured this would be easy....WRONG! Leah had cards with different exercises on them that she would randomly draw for us to do. With TRX you are basically using your own body weight and depending on where you stand vs. the straps and the angle could make that exercise harder or easier. About halfway through as I was struggling, Leah came up to me and told me how she never puts beginners in these things, but she could tell I was strong enough to handle it. She was constantly there telling me how awesome I was doing and helping me alter moves that were a bit hard for me. I also had people in the class cheering me on and telling me "It gets better!" "It will feel great when you are done." "You're doing great!"

TRX- TRX Suspension Training or "The Devil Straps" as I affectionately refer to them now, were apparently invented by Navy Seal. And after trying them out, I completely believe it. If you think these things are easy, I Double Dare you to try them, no scratch that, these are definitely a physically challenge.

I had so many different emotions while doing the TRX, sometimes I felt like I was seriously going to fall over and pass out. Other times I contemplated where the best place to go throw up would be. I drank my water and took breaks but I tried everything. Mental Note: BRING MORE WATER! I wanted to cry, I wanted to stop, but I wouldn't let myself. At some point after doing some reverse crunches, I laid on the mat face down and thought "THIS SUCKS HARD! But I need this." It was frustrating at times because I knew my body was capable of more. I'm not saying that in my peak I could ever not break a sweat and all of this would be easy. But it was upsetting to me to realize how far my body had fallen out of shape.

I found this photo searching for cheesy workout pictures. I had to include it because its so vintage. And at least this chick has short hair and its out of her face- sheesh! Take some notes push-up girl!

After spending the later part of class telling myself "Don't throw up, Don't throw up, Don't fall down, Don't fall down, Stop don't pass out, Breathe, BREATHE!" We were finally done. As we were stretching Leah came over and sat with me and asked me how I was. At this point I was telling myself "Don't cry, Don't cry, DON'T CRY!" Side Note: I'm a cryer, I'll admit it, tons of things make me cry and I've always been this way. Commercials make me cry, animals make me cry, being extremely happy makes me cry, even greeting cards make me cry- hence why I usually pick out cards by myself! Hell, recently I started over the first episode of Band of Brothers- before the show actually started, just hearing the vets talking about it made me cry. I don't get it but old men, especially veterans, make me want to bawl. I cry, I've accepted it, BUT I don't like crying in front of people and especially in front of strangers.

I told Leah, that I felt like jello, and then as the flood gates opened I told her it was upsetting that I was this out of shape. And how I have looked at pictures of me trying to determine when this all happen, but it's hard because it was so gradual. She immediately told me how awesome I did, and reminded me that she would never normally put a beginner in the TRX but I was doing great. She said you didn't stop, and you didn't leave, you did it all as best as you could. Karen came up to me at this point and told me how she struggled at first, and could barely even do a sit up, now she was kicking ass and she's in her late 50's. She told me the first day sucks but its about the second and the third days, etc. She said "We'll see you next time right?" I told her "Definitely!"

Leah asked me how long it had been since I worked out. I told her really it had been maybe August, I had been doing yoga but nothing like this. I talked to her about my knee and foot surgeries and every time I felt like I was getting back into things I got hurt and subsequently gained more weight. I told her about how I finished school and had all this stress still that was misplaced now. I told her how I was scared I wouldn't be in shape for when Bob and I had kids, and if they had MD, I needed to be able to help them and be physically able if they couldn't be. (I'm practically sobbing at this point, and I never even got into all the pain and stress with my Dad getting sick a few years ago.) Leah was amazing and every time I apologized for crying she told me not to be sorry. She sat there with me and gave me one of the best pep talks ever. She told me I stress about things I can't control and I have to stop and give it up to God, the universe, or whatever I believe in and let go. I can only stress about things in my control and happening in the present. And we talked about how overly stressing makes it hard to lose weight, and working out like this will be a great stress reliever for me.

She could told me she could tell I'm a Type A person that has to be driven and we need to make goals for me to accomplish even before my wedding. She said "You're a person that tries to be strong for everyone and when someone asks if you are ok, you say 'of course I'm fine' because you want to be strong." (Jeez, this woman had me pegged.)

She told me I'm gonna hate some classes/days and it will be hard but it will get better. And before I know it I'll be doing more and more each time. She told me to go home and write on a note card, 10 things I love about myself and if I couldn't think of 10 call her because in knowing me for an hour she could rattle off 10. She told me to post things where I could see them everyday, sort of my own mantra. She's very big into positive thinking and how it can make someone working out that much more successful and if I can make myself think healthy, fit, thin, beautiful. I will feel it and live it.

Your abs look good in the future too.

She gave me a great big hug and told me I could talk to her anytime I needed too, and that I did an awesome job today. I was so overwhelmed at this point, part of my emotion was from the rough workout but I think part of it was that I had felt that maybe just maybe I had found a place where people would be supportive and I wasn't alone in this journey. I have great family and friends to talk to, but there is something unexpected and pleasant about finding a place with people that don't really know you yet, but are ready to help you and cheer you on. I talked to more of the women as I left, and they told me I did a great job and were talking to me about the classes and the dynamic of the place. Everyone kept telling me how great I'm going to look in my wedding dress (they were all helping me debate green or white wedding dress for St. Pattie's Day).

The positivity of this place was very genuine and like I said before, overwhelming, in the best way possible.  Walking out of there I was already stiff and sore, but felt great, like my body was re-awakened. I knew as the day went on I would feel more stiff and sore, but I was ready to go back the next day and do more. This was more about looking good in a wedding dress in a year, but about a lifestyle change. I may never be able to determine when my body started down that slippery slope. But I have spent the last year slowly climbing back up it, and today was another turning point and milestone in my journey to be fit and healthy.

Wedding: T-minus one year.

St. Patrick's Day 2011
So the date is set...the venue is set. We will be getting married March 17th 2012 at the Marriott in downtown Des Moines. We were thinking about throwing an end of the world wedding (December 21st 2012...its a Friday!) but we figured we didn't want our wedding completely steeped in Mayan superstition...only sort of, so...St. Patrick's day 2012 it is!
We decided to take the day off to go and put down the deposit at the hotel, and check out the parade.
The Parade - I have lived in Des Moines my whole life (minus the 5 years in Iowa City) but I've never once been to the St. Patrick's Day parade. It's during the business day, so I've never really had the chance. It was the typical fan-fare of a parade you'd expect. We got pelted with beads, and the occasional tootsie-roll. We were surrounded by old people and children. I felt bad for the old people sitting next to us on the curb in their fold out chairs. I overheard them saying they'd gotten there an hour early for a good view...only to have that view completely blocked by a bunch of attention-whore high school girls decked out in multi-colored tutu's...none of the colors actually being green!

I think I'm officially old myself...I have a 401K, I frequently listen to talk-radio in the car, I occasionally take a dose of Metamucil...and I realized how shitty kids are nowadays. Christy and I could not stop complaining about the kids next to us. There were 2 probably 9 year old boys each armed with a can of silly string...a can that NEVER seemed to run out. I know, I know, 9 year old boys with silly string at a parade, nothing to get worked up about...but it was the blatant disrespect these two little heathens showed to everybody around them. They'd spray it in strangers faces, run up to people in the parade, and nail them in the face, talk back to all the adults around them. I was secretly hoping one of these little punks would hit Christy or I with some, so I could get up and yank the can's from their little bastard hands. Speaking of bastards...their mother seemed like she could care less. She actually sat there and laughed the whole time, even while other adults around her were telling the kids to knock it off. Our kids will understand that there is a difference between good and bad attention, and they're gonna knock it the F-off when they're creating negative attention. This "mom" is truly whats wrong with the country. Blame MTV and Xbox all you want, but its really just crappy parents, being crappy parents....but I digress...and will get off my soapbox. This was our pre-wedding anniversary, not a day to complain about bastard kids!

We had to bail on the parade before it finished because it was like 10,000 miles long, and we had already planned to meet with the Marriott event coordinator at 1:30. We settled on the Marriott after deciding it would best work for our attitude toward the wedding; the less stress, the better. Everything will be confined to the hotel, the ceremony, the reception, food, and where we'll spend the night (we get the presidential suite!) The hotel is right in the heart of downtown, and connected to the skywalks, in case it's bad weather or something. 
We checked out the rooms again, and decided on most likely having the entire wedding in the "Des Moines room" it's a room that can hold over 400 people (much bigger than our intended wedding) but can be arranged to accommodate the ceremony, and then be flipped for the reception. I think it's going to be great, but we still have to plan how we want everything arranged, and all the details of what will take place during our ceremony. We're going for a very non-traditional service, and need to figure out all the details.

We got some lunch after our meeting, and came up with a list of things we have yet to determine. I need to get myself a suit. I don't really want to do a cheesy tux, with plastic shoes. I'm planning on finding myself an awesome "Mad Men" style suit. Christy is still trying to determine what she'll do about a dress, and we need to get rings figured out. We have over a year, and already have a few things settled upon; the venue, food, and photographer are down. Thanks to Brad Stebbins for recommending his cousin to do our photography. We feel like we're gonna have some great pictures, might even venture over to the parade...hopefully we can just avoid those bastards with silly string!