Archive for the ‘Fitness’ Category

This post is about 6 weeks overdue, but I think it’s worth it…12 in 12

As the calendar flipped over to 2012, I was resolved not to resolve; no resolutions for me! I haven’t had a successful New Year’s resolution since I was about 8 years old and resolved to stop biting my nails. But then I came across a brilliant idea from Fitarella: 12 in 12. Basically, take on just one goal (or resolution, if you prefer that term) each month for the year, 12 goals in 2012. Focusing on something each day for a month is likely to make it a habit, yet you’re making your goals much more manageable by taking on just one thing at a time. At the end of each month, you can choose to continue that goal while you move on to your next monthly goal, or not. Your choice. Either way, at the end of the year you’ll have completed 12 resolutions…when was the last time you can say you did that?

I haven’t planned out my entire year’s worth of goals yet, but I did complete January (floss every day) and have begun February (clean/organize for at least 15 minutes a day). I plan to also have months where I journal every day, go completely vegan, workout every day, etc. I love the variety, the possibility, the feasability. I think ahead to my month and choose a goal that I know I can achieve, regardless of my travel schedule, holidays, etc.

How are your goals for the year coming along? Would you be more likely to succeed if you break it down into smaller segments (monthly, weekly, quarterly)?

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The Metropolitan Building

Do you have what it takes to climb 42 flights of stairs as fast as you can? The American Lung Association’s, 2010 Fight for Air Climb · Master the Met, will be happening in downtown St. Louis next Saturday, March 6, 2010. People of all ages will have the opportunity to challenge their legs and lungs as they make their way to the top of the Metropolitan Square Building. All funds raised go directly to the American Lung Association to help fight for cleaner air and prevent lung disease. Check out the event website here to see pictures from last year’s event and take a sneak peek at the training plan developed specifically for this event.

Do you think you could make it to the top? This year’s climb is full, but it’s never too early to get fit and start training for next year!


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Your confidence level should be high right now. Really high.

My spin instructor this morning was giving us a way to gauge our ride, about 2/3 of the way through.’ Hmmm,’ I thought, ‘My confidence level is really high. Okay, bring it!’ Amazing how his words made me realize I actually did feel pretty good and was ready to amp up the intensity.

If you’re going to hang out at this level, that’s a perfectly sane and reasonable choice. Or, if you’re feeling strong, go for it and really take it all the way.

His euphemistic way of daring me to give a little more and not be a baby worked; I increased my resistance, sped up my cadence, and mopped the sweat off my brow.

This is when it starts burning.

Oh, okay. I’m supposed to be feeling that. In that case…

You can hang out here if you’re taking it easy today. But if you’re ready to go for it, take it all the way and just getcha some!

After class I wiped off my bike, layered my coat and sweats on over my bike shorts, and trudged through the dark snowy parking lot to my car, but all day long all I can think is “Getcha some!” Like I have the power to take on the day and get whatever I want from it. And don’t I?

– albledsoe

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Burn, baby, burn!

Here’s my new favorite gym workout. It’s a great way to get an intense burn when you’re pressed for time, and I always feel it the next day!

  • 10 minutes on a StairMaster (not a stepper, the machine with the actual revolving stairs). If you don’t have access to a stairmill of some sort, walk on a treadmill fast at a high incline…I’d say level 10. Go hard, it’s only 10 minutes!
  • Weight circuit including: chest press, upright row, shoulder press, tricep press, alternating bicep curls, hip hinge, and wall squats using a stability ball. Try 20 reps of each exercise, using a weight that is uncomfortable but not too too heavy.
  • 10 more minutes on the stairmill. You should really start sweating right about now.
  • Repeat weight circuit with at least the same number of reps as the first set…add 5 more if you’re feeling frisky.
  • Finish up with 10 minutes on the stairmill (no slacking!).
  • If you still have time, do some sort of ab work; I usually do center and side planks.

– albledsoe

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Run Report: San Francisco

An impromtu business trip to San Francisco last weekend luckily turned into the beginning of vacation week for Adam and me. We trekked all over and around the city, but before we returned home Monday, I had a few sites left to check out. And I still had to get my long run in, so I took off as soon as the sun started coming up for a 6.25-mile run around San Francisco. Sara recently reported on a fun iPhone app for running routes, but I don’t have an iPhone, so I relied on my trusty MapMyRun.com, some RunnersWorld.com suggestions, and tweaked it with some advice from an entry on IGoUgo.com. The result was an excellent (hilly) run that incorporate some of San Francisco’s greatest sites as well as a gorgeous view of the sunrise from Telegraph Hill, outside Coit Tower.

Getting to Telegraph Hill was simple, but not easy. The hill is steep and my legs and feet were already sore from our weekend of walking the city. But I made it to the top and let myself take a break to snap a few pics on my phone. I comforted myself by remembering that Louisville was under a blanket of snow, but I was in California running in cropped tights and a light jacket. It was my first glove-less run in ages!

sunrise from telegraph hill

Sunrise at Telegraph Hill, San Francisco

Coming down from Telegraph Hill, I took a detour on Filbert and fond myself among gorgeous wooden-plank steps leading down a steep cliff that was very Secret Garden-esque. It was weird to be in people’s yards, and felt very out of place in the middle of the city. Everyone talks about Lombard Street, but this pedestrian section of Filbert was more enchanting in my mind.

I reached the bottom and crossed the street to the Levi Strauss campus (Levi Plaza), which looks like a pretty fun place to work. Then I headed back to The Embarcadero, past the Ferry Building and under the Bay Bridge, and around AT&T Park.

On the way back to the hotel, I passed Yerba Buena Gardens (the auditorium there is where Steve Jobs had announced the release of the iPad just a few days earlier). One of my favorite things about San Francisco is the presence of green spaces all throughout the city. They may be tiny, but they’re everywhere, and it makes the city seem homier, livelier, and fresher.

filbert street steps

Filbert Street Steps

All the hilliness was at the beginning of my run, so I felt pretty good as I made my way back to our hotel and consider the run a success…not always the case when you’re traveling in an unfamilar city.

– albledsoe

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I’m really getting excited about the upcoming winter games. Only nine more days! I caught part of 60 Minutes last Sunday that featured, Shaun White, aka “The Flying Tomato.” I can’t believe the stunts that guy can pull off, a-mazing!

I’m in awe of all the athletes who will be competing in Vancouver this year. You can see their passion and intensity come through every time they compete. They eat, sleep and breathe the sport. Can you imagine going through the years of training and preparation for this huge event that the entire world watches?  I’m sure these athletes have mastered the art of mental toughness. Take a look at this clip to grab a glimpse of how they train for the big game.


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Girls on Wheels

The teams rounding the corner of the track.

Have you ever been to a roller derby? I attended my first bout last weekend, and it was awesome. Roller derby is a full contact sport on wheels. It showcases the skills, spunk and attitude of each participant. St. Louis is home to the Arch Rival Roller Girls, (ARRG) and they kicked off their first bout (game) of the season last Saturday.

I am in awe of these women; they are incredible athletes. Not only can they skate at a 5 lap/55 second pace, they have the skills, focus and strength it takes to stay upright amidst blocks, grabs and pushes during each jam. These ladies can skate like pros through a pack of nine other women. They skate fast and hard. I’m pretty sure they have all mastered the art of mental toughness as well as being in great shape.

Oh yeah, they are that fast.

The members of the ARRG are women of varying ages and backgrounds, but they all share a passion for the sport. By day, these women are lawyers, personal trainers, bankers and moms. By night, they are endurance athletes. Three hour practices are held 4 days per week, and each team member is strongly encouraged to do their own workouts in addition to the time spent in team practice. I don’t know about you, but if I spent three hours on skates I might not be able to walk the next day!

Rockity Roller, the lead referee before the bout began.

I found out about ARRG through a coworker who is a new to the organization this season. She made it through tryouts last October, and she is a part of the ‘Newbie’ team that will be eligible for drafting this March. She has spent the last three months practicing drills and completing her skills testing so she will be ready to roll in February for some intense scrimmages with her teammates. In addition to introducing me to this cool sport, Cari gave me the lowdown on how a mom-of-two with a full-time career became a part of the roller derby. You will get to hear more about her story on Monday.

Until then, do a quick search for roller derby in your area. I bet you’ll be surprised how many teams you might find right around the corner. Get out and support these women at their next bout, it’s an action packed sporting event you won’t want to miss!


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Remember the story of the little engine that could? I think I can, I think I can…

That mantra is not only for locomotives. Our bodies and minds work in the same way, in that with determination and mental toughness, our bodies are capable of a lot. Think you’ll never be able to run a marathon? I can pretty much guarantee you won’t. But make up your mind that you can do it, and chances are you’re going to finish.

The second episode of Biggest Loser (Season 9) is on tonight, and I thought it would be appropriate to include this quote on mental toughness from one of the contestants, Tongan cousin Koli Palu:

“As a coach, I know our bodies are amazing things,” said Koli. “That we don’t know the capablities of our bodies. I need my football team to know that you can go that extra step. This is more of a mental game, a mental toughness. As long as you push yourself, the physical part will be there.”

Ever since I ran my first (and only so far) marathon two years ago, I’ve been on the mental toughness bandwagon. I started the race injured, but managed to finish despite my body begging me to call it quits. I’ll always have that, and now it inspires me to get through any other discomforts.

And since I visited San Diego on a business trip in October, where the Navy SEALS train, that’s been reinforced. I signed up for a NAVYSEALS.com e-newsletter, where mental toughness is the ongoing theme. The message of one email was that mental toughness means five things: discipline, clear thinking under stress, calmness amidst chaos, suffering in silence, and familiarity with discomfort. Bottom line: “Quitting is not an option for the mentally tough.”

This keeps me going when I’m feeling whiny and puny and sorry for myself. There are soldiers who put their bodies through unimaginable things. There are people who survive cancer treatments or lost limbs and go on to complete an Ironman. All I did was sit in my office all day and I’m whining about a workout being too hard? Those people are in human bodies, just like me. The only thing that makes them capable of doing more is that mental toughness…they think they can. And they will not quit.

– albledsoe

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Ah, the winter months. There’s no way to sugar-coat it; I’m sour grapes about winter weather as soon as the holidays are over. I have no patience for it. January hits and I just want fun in the sun. Unfortunately for me, that’s when things really start to kick up and in the midwest.

Last week we had our first real snowfall of the year with a side order of single-digit temps. I knew we were expecting some snow, so I set the alarm an hour early to ready my brain and body to deal with the snow, traffic issues, etc. First things first, shovel the drive and clear the snow off of our vehicles. So, I bundled up like little Randy on The Christmas Story and headed outside, shovel in hand, ready to tackle the driveway.

As I was diligently shoveling the driveway that morning, trying to remind myself to be thankful for having a driveway to shovel, it clicked. My early morning rendezvous with the snow shovel probably gave me a pretty significant jumpstart on my calorie burn for the day. As soon as I came inside and thawed out I checked out the handy calorie burn counter over at SparkPeople.com. My reward for 40 minutes of shoveling: 288 calories. Not too shabby for 6 a.m.!

The truth is, there are some everyday activities that really do add up quickly. Yardwork and other outside chores are at the top of the list. I’m not saying that you should ditch the gym for the snow shovel until the end of winter. But, during this time of year when it is much easier to snuggle under the covers instead of exercise, any extra “workouts” you can sneak into your day deserve acknowledgement. Just think about the easy things you can do to lead a healthier lifestyle. It’s as simple as saying goodbye to the elevator and hello to the stairs. Once I realized I started my day off with a mini-workout (I log most of my sweat sessions after work), I felt great about staying on track with my food and exercise goals for the rest of the day. Is it actually possible that my snowy encounter put me in a good mood for the day? That sounds like crazy talk…

Since I’m sure we have several more snowfalls ahead of us (at least the midwestern F2BT readers) before we get to check the calorie burn on lawn mowing and leaf raking, grab your shovel and make the most of that snowy driveway. It just might be the jumpstart you need to point your day in the healthy direction.

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Ready to Run

I am signed up and ready to train for the St. Louis half marathon in April! I was nudged in this direction (ever so gently) by my dear co-blogger, Amanda, who assured me that this would be a fun adventure, and by the encouragement from my husband to take that next step as a runner. He knew I had been tip-toeing around the idea for the last couple of months, so he treated me to some gifts on Christmas that gave me that final push I needed to take the plunge and sign up for my first real endurance event. In addition to the new gym bag I had my eye on, Seth gave me Tom Holland’s Marathon Method. The combination of Amanda’s encouragement, Seth’s support, Tom’s realistic training plan and, oh yeah – listening to my heart, I signed up for the GO! St. Louis half marathon.

I’m telling all of you not only because I want to hold myself accountable, but because I want to challenge you to consider tackling a fitness goal that might be just a bit outside of your comfort zone. You don’t know what you can really accomplish until you dream big, and push yourself harder and further than ever before.

Sure, it’s going to be 2010 in a few days, but this doesn’t have to be a resolution; it’s a goal. The beauty of a goal is that when you make one, you get to take baby steps to help you accomplish it. We all know that a woman with a plan is unstoppable! F2BT readers, if you have learned anything about me, it’s that I love having a goal. If I can plan it, I can do it. And, YOU can too!

Maybe running a half marathon or full marathon isn’t up your alley, but what else really speaks to you? What else have you dreamed of doing, but just haven’t given yourself the opportunity to try out because you are:
– too busy
– too tired
– too scared
– too lazy

I know, those last two hurt a bit. But, the truth is, these are all excuses. Everyday we make the time in our lives to do the “extra” things we want to do. Catch up on the tv shows from the day, attend a happy hour after work, etc. Shave off 30 minutes here and there, and you have an hour or two to spare before you know it. Use that time to focus on yourself, your goals and the plan you are going to use to accomplish it.

So, are you ready to run (bike, hike, swim, get fit)? I’m excited and also a little bit nervous. But most of all, I’m looking forward to trying something new and giving it my all. I am ready to run!


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