I Have an Exercise-Related Injury?!

As a successful lifestyle blogger who regularly updates her blog, it’s my duty to make sure I’m bringing my loyal readers the best lifestyle-based content. So, I recently started working out. My previous exercise attempts have been questionable at best, but this one is the real deal.

Because now….I’ve been going to a jazz dance class. Often. A real one, where everyone is more flexible than me, the choreography is hard to follow, and I sweat a lot. It’s been challenging and rewarding. And I know it’s paying off because after just a few short weeks of regular exercise, my left foot hurts when I put too much weight on it!

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I can tell this new workout plan is for me, because I’ve seen immediate results at getting a legitimate but mysterious injury. People might tell you that it takes time for your hard work to pay off, but those people just don’t break easily enough. If you jump into a new activity with no idea what you’re doing, you too can hurt yourself right away!

I’m looking forward to my future as an exercising person. I think this injury means I don’t have to exercise anymore, or maybe that I should start working out more often because of stretching or something. I’m not even sure what’s wrong with it – google says it could be a lateral sprain or a maybe a bone bruise or maybe nothing at all – but I’m not going to worry about it. Because like all miracle cures and mystery lifestyle programs, it doesn’t matter how it works, it only matters that it works. And what’s working for me is hitting a fitness milestone really quickly. I’m a real dancer! I possess athletic tape!

How should I get my next workout injury? Tell me in the comments!

Yoga Class Breakthrough: I Hate Yoga


As a successful lifestyle blogger, I’m required to go to at least one yoga class per year. It’s a requirement I take very seriously.

Yesterday as I stretched in a frighteningly quiet room, a calm woman who was not stretching told me that I could replace my negative thoughts with positive ones, and that my struggle was my choice. And I had a huge breakthrough: she was right.

I can choose not to go to yoga anymore. It gives me panic attacks. I spent an hour trying to vaguely mimic what everyone else was doing, but my breathing wouldn’t fall in line. It’s hard to do yoga poses during a panic attack. Nobody should do that. I should not do that. Why would I ever do that?

One of the most important things to learn from yoga is “be where you are.” And I am not at yoga. That, my adequate friends, is what I call a fitness success 🙂

 

Photo Credit: Inae Bloom

I’m Not a Supreme Court Justice, but I Can Work Out Like One

Even a successful lifestyle blogger isn’t immune to the turning tides in the world around her. I haven’t been operating at maximum adequacy for the last couple months – if you want to pick a totally arbitrary date, let’s say since November 8. Sometime in the late evening if we’re going to get very specific. But again, arbitrary.

As a result, I’ve been a successful lifestyle blogger in name only. By which I mean, I have not blogged. I’m very sorry. I know my inherent successfulness will only carry me so far in life. But I’ve returned, and I want to use my adequacy to make the world a better place.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg does twenty pushups a day. She’s 80 years old and very small. Plus, she’s incredibly busy being on the Supreme Court, which I guess is a pretty demanding job. She also has the advantage of working out at the Supreme Court-only gym, and I might stop being a successful lifestyle blogger to produce the reality series Justice Gym.

Anyway, if Ruth Bader Ginsburg can handle twenty pushups a day, surely I, a successful lifestyle blogger in my late 20’s, in peak physical health, can do it too.

So I did.

Ruth does two sets of ten, so that’s what I set out to do. Ten is easier than twenty, and I could take a break between sets. No big deal, right?


Pushups are very hard, it turns out. My arms are small spindles that cannot support my dense body. How does that tiny octogenarian do it?

You might have to do modified pushups. After struggling with regular pushups for a few days, I switched to modified for a while. I think my form was better with the modified ones. How am I supposed to know if my form is good or not? I don’t have a trainer. (Ruth has a trainer.)

But! If you’re lenient on yourself about what constitutes a “pushup,” it’s totally possible to do twenty of them.

Then, to make it a really ceremonious workout, I look off into the distance and proclaim, “I am Ruth Bader Ginsburg.” It gives me something to look forward to while I tolerate an entire minute of exercise.

I’ve been doing my RBG’s for almost a month, which is by far my longest run at an exercise program to date. The pushups are civic-minded in name only, and do nothing to enrich the world, but I do feel ever so slightly stronger, and at this moment that feels like a victory.

I am Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

I don’t know if I’ll continue my career as a successful lifestyle blogger next year. For 2017, we might need to be better than adequate.

 

Photo Credit: Tiffany Smith

I Hiked Alone and Didn’t Die!

Hiking is so popular in LA that even I have done it a few times. It’s an activity that involves nature, strenuous activity, and general discomfort, but sometimes I’m forcibly dragged on one anyway. So I whine a lot and try to make the other person turn around and get ice cream after ten minutes. Usually that doesn’t work thought, and I go on a hike. But never alone, until now!

I took the day off work for a thing that ultimately got cancelled, so I found myself with a rare free morning. I thought a calm, solo hike would be a great way to break my routine and re-center. And because I love failing at things, I chose the Wisdom Tree. It’s a short but rugged hike that ends at the top of a peak where there is one lone tree. It’s awesome! But usually I don’t make it to the top, because I’m out of shape.

When I was alone, I whined less. I whined to strangers on the trail a little, but mostly I was quiet. The walk from my car to the start of the hike was already a steep hill, so I was tired before I began. Then my legs grew heavier with every step. But I kept going! I climbed and climbed until…

VICTORY!

….I got tired and gave up. I didn’t make it to the top. But I probably made it over halfway up, and then I went to get a breakfast burrito, so I still consider it a huge success 🙂

My Favorite Apps for Changing Nothing About My Lifestyle

It seems like these days, there’s an app to improve just about every part of your life. A lot of them look time-consuming and stressful, but not these. Here are some apps I love for creating the smallest illusion of life change.

I’ve been trying to get more sleep, so I downloaded Sleep Cycle a few months ago. It’s an app that runs during the night and, like magic, tracks your sleep patterns (based on breathing I guess? Technology is scary). I love it because it “reminds” me to pay attention to how much sleep I’m getting every night, even though I’ve made no effort to improve my habits at all. It also tracks my sleep quality, which is generally poor.

SworkIt is an app where a small person leads you in five minute workouts. “Stretching” is pictured above but “yoga,” “strength,” and “cardio” are also available workout options. What’s great about this one is that you can watch the little person do your workout and still feel as if you get some of the benefits. Plus it’s only a five minute investment of your time, so how hard can it be to keep up with it? Also I use it rarely.


5 Every Day is a fantastic resource for all Los Angeles folks. It was made by some sort of public radio station, maybe? Anyway, it’s my favorite way to learn what’s going on around town so I can feel bad for not going to even more things. Until I got this app, I had no idea what gallery openings and concerts I was missing out on every single day of the week. The simple interface makes it easy to think “ooh, I should check that out!” every day, and then sit at home with Netflix.

Exercise Hack: Develop a Habit

I get it. It can be really hard to stick to an exercise plan. I had the same problem, until I finally found something that matches my life and motivation levels.

Every day, I put on my workout clothes. That’s it! That’s the plan. Sounds easy, right?

But usually, when I put on my workout clothes, I at least feel guilty enough to run around the block or do a couple sun salutations. And getting started is half the battle. The other half is quitting immediately.

My Competent Guest: Office Fitness

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Camille does her exercises.

I’m extremely adequate. But that doesn’t mean I can be adequate at everything, all the time (I’m only human!). Sometimes, I need to seek the help of someone who is just as adequate as I am. So I’m pleased to present my first interview with a Guest Competent Person!

Work days are long, and sitting kills people. So when I wanted to learn about how to get more exercise at work, I talked to my friend and fellow blogger Camille Campbell.

Camille has been a dedicated assistant since she graduated from college (she declined to say when she graduated). When she started life as an “office drone” she was worried that she would have to sacrifice her physical well being in order to earn a paycheck, but then she created a revolutionary ‘stay fit at work’ program. I met up with her at her favorite donut shop to discuss her body goals and office fitness, or as she calls it, Offness™.

Julie: Tell us about your Offness™ routine.
Camille: The core of my practice revolves around breakfast. Every morning I have breakfast at my desk, usually some Lucky Charms and then two hard boiled eggs with 5 tablespoons of Cholula, and to carry all that food involves a lot of delicate balancing, shifting weight between arms, while engaging my core. Then once I make it to my desk, I don’t get my coffee until later. That way I’ll get up from my desk to get my coffee. That’s the beauty of Offness™ – it’s subtle and smoothly blends in with your day.
J: I don’t think I could commit to anything that makes me delay coffee, but maybe I’ll get there someday. Besides breakfast, what are some other ways you practice Offness™?
C: There are so many ways to creatively enjoy Offness™. Yesterday, I printed all the reports I needed at a printer in another building. Then I went and looked for them. Took me twenty minutes, so that’s almost one of the three recommended 30 minute workouts doctors suggest you do every week. To get those other two workouts in, I’ll drink a lot of water to increase my trips to the bathroom. People think I’m speed walking to the bathroom because I really have to go, but it’s just a part of my program.
J: Wow. I’m lucky to get five minutes of cardio when I’m running for the bus! What about strength training? Flexibility?
C: My desk is in a very public area, so there’s a limited number of socially acceptable movements I can do. I tend to do hourly leg lifts under my desk. I just lift one leg up and then the other. It keeps the blood flowing in my legs. Or I’ll print out copies of my favorite gchat conversations, so I’ll need to refill the printer more. We keep our paper on a bottom shelf in the supply closet, so that’s one squat, and the paper acts as a three pound weight, more if you take two reams. Exercise is all around us once you look for it.
J: Thats a beautiful mantra. Do your coworkers support your efforts?

C: I was questioned about my use of office paper. But I just let our Office Manager, Jared Krakowski, know that it’s part of my fitness plan, and I have every right to take care of myself. He was very understanding. He’s been trying to walk to his car in the parking lot more, and I can tell it’s made a difference for him. This is why Offness™ is the best kind of fitness – it forces you to express who you are and fight for your rights in the workplace.

J: What about diet? I notice you’re eating an apple fritter right now.
C: Offices are not known for their healthy food, so if you’re going to adapt and thrive in an urban office fitness environment, you have to be able to eat whatever and whenever. This donut keeps me training on a Saturday.
J: Yes, speaking of Saturdays, how do you practice Offness™ on the weekends?
C: This is one of my two rest days. All fitness plans have rest days.
(Camille then stared at me for an uncomfortably long time.)
J: I see… Well, how many calories do you estimate that you burn per day practicing Offness™?
C: Offness™ isn’t about burning calories. Because when you turn the whole office into your gym, it’s impossible to count how many calories you’re burning. I mean how many calories do you burn typing? Your fingers do a lot of lifts and crunches, but how do you measure that? No one knows, so we don’t count those calories, which is a sizable loss if you’re trying to count calories. So you can’t measure Offness™ with calories. You have to measure it with results – how does it make you feel.
J: I like feelings. How does Offness™ make you feel?
C: Before I started Offness™ I never moved – I just sat, counting the hours until I could go home and sit and watch “Call the Midwife.” Now I feel alive and filled with zest, and I’ve done that without disrupting my life with jogging, yoga or any other aggressive form of exercise.
J: Has your body changed since you started practicing Offness™?
C: I think it has, but until Jared agrees to buy scales for the bathrooms I won’t really know. And on one level I’m okay with that. Because like I said, Offness™ isn’t about results. It’s more about surrender and compliance.

A Quick, Breathless Workout

As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, I’m trying to exercise more. It can be really tough to carve out enough time for a solid workout. If you’re like me, living an active lifestyle needs to be efficient. TV doesn’t binge-watch itself, after all.

Yesterday, I biked to the neighborhood ice cream place with my roommates (I follow my own advice). It was a nice day, and a short ride of about a mile each way. Biking is great exercise, but I abandoned it when I was ten – it seemed too much like a sport and I didn’t like those. I’m just getting back into it, and this was my first ride in traffic. Ever. What a rush! Cars are so much larger and faster than bikes!

I just can’t wait to get back on this bike.

The hills in my neighborhood helped to keep the short ride challenging. And the more cars passed by me as I rode, the more my heart rate accelerated. Wrangling left turns made all my muscles tighten up so that using my legs was nearly impossible. While trying to get across a busy street on a short green light, my vision turned blurry and reality started to feel hazy. Before I knew it, my breath had quickened and I was having a panic attack, right in the middle of my workout! What a happenstance!

The more nervous I got around the cars, the more embarrassed I got at being nervous – which just made my breathing more shallow. Better still, the very last hill by my house was enormous. I thought my legs were going to fall off as I desperately tried to take in enough oxygen to keep pedaling. What an opportunity.

Afterwards, I wobbled inside and hyperventilated into the couch. My lungs felt like they were going to explode – the surest sign that I exercised effectively. I’ve never felt so physically and emotionally spent in such a short period of time. Plus, I now know what it’s like to be so shell-shocked you can’t taste ice cream. That sounds like a diet tip to me!

So if you need an efficient way to get that heart pumping really, really fast, be like me and be very anxious!😬 🚴

 

Exercise Better: Find Your True Motivation

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I have a hard time with working out. Gyms make me anxious, yoga class makes me more anxious, and I hate sports. But I don’t like feeling lethargic and imagining my arteries turning into marshmallow fluff, so I’ve been trying to start a regular exercise practice.

Walking is a great workout that doesn’t feel like “exercise” (or burn that many calories). But finding the motivation to go for a walk can be difficult. Sitting is just easier. 

Bribe yourself to go for a walk by going to get a fun snack. I walked to Scoops for ice cream. I walked to Cafe Tropical to get a truly unreasonable piece of apple pie (fact: the tirimisu is better). Walking is good. Dessert is delicious. I win double. And you can too! You don’t have to walk that far to justify consuming three times the calories you burned, and you can ride that high – and sugar crash – for days.

It might look like a cop out, but I guarantee it will feel like a sweet success 🙂