Posts Tagged ‘Fitness’

Long time, no post

Hello everyone! It’s been much too long since our last post. We’ve missed you! We have a lot to catch you up on and we are looking forward to picking back up where we left off.  There have been big life changes for both of your F2BT gals!

It’s the holiday season – which means you are probably on the go, headed to parties and gatherings to spend time with family and friends. Also, it means we’re all doing our best to come out of 2010 without too many extra pounds and not find ourselves in a sugar coma for the next month. So gang, here’s to squeezing in some calorie burns in the midst of the baking/shopping/partying and trying out a few new treats this year that won’t require you to only resort to elastic waistbands by the time 2011 hits. Cheers!


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Review: Wii Fit

I tested out the Wii Fit tonight with Adam after a friend at work loaned it to me. We just tried out the basic features to see what we thought. I have to admit I was very skeptical…fitness in a video game? Really?

When you are a first-time user on the Wii Fit ($99.99, Wii not included), you set up a fitness profile complete with weight, BMI, balance test, etc., and the system gives you your fitness “age.” You also get several tips and facts about fitness. The system emphasizes setting goals, and gives you fun little ways to keep track and meet them.

The “workouts” are divided into several categories: yoga, aerobics, balance, strength. We tried a few from each, and since I scored pretty low on balance during my assessment, I focused on the balance games. I’m pretty terrible at video games, so it took me awhile to get the hang of things, but some of the exercises were better than others. I enjoyed the yoga, but was frustrated that it was one pose at a time instead of a series.

Neither of us really worked up a sweat and it took way too long between each activity to get to the next, but I liked how it helped you keep good form because you could see where your center of balance was. It was fun and tracking weight and goals is a good method for motivation. For people who never workout, I think the assessment could be a good wake-up call and maybe encourage them to get moving.

I would be surprised if anyone had remarkable results just from using Wii Fit, but I think it’s a good option to have for families and rainy days, maybe to change things up a little.

– albledsoe

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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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My brother sent me this info that Microsoft has applied for a patent for video game avatars that are individualized by a person’s physical characteristics. Interesting, no? That means a player’s abilities in a game would be determined by their actual physical traits. More unfit players wouldn’t be able to reach certain levels until they shaped up! The claim is that gamers would be encouraged to be fitter in order to continue competing in the games they’re hooked on. From the patent app:

Physiological data that reflect a degree of health of the real person can be linked to rewards of capabilities of a gaming avatar, an amount of time budgeted to play, or a visible indication. Thereby, people are encouraged to exercise. Physiological data that reflect the health and perhaps also mood also improve social interaction in virtual environments.

Do you think this would work? With more people, including kids, spending more of their time with electronics, should this type of incentive be the norm?

– albledsoe

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Running off the Turkey

Actually, the run was before I ate the turkey, but I think it still helped. My running partner Valerie and I met up early on Thanksgiving morning for the Iroquois Hill Runners Thanksgiving Day Run. I like this race because the t-shirts have turkeys on them, hehe. It’s 5 miles, but the first two are straight uphill. Great warm-up!

I’ve always thought of running as therapy because the sweating helps ease stress and frustration and the monotony is conducive to thoughtful prayer and problem solving. And running with a buddy makes it even better because you get to talk about whatever is on your mind. This Thanksgiving run was a great way to get in the holiday mood since Valerie and I discussed family, traditions come and gone, and our favorite dishes.

As we headed into the downhill around mile 3, I also thought about how much I have to be thankful for as I pursue a healthier lifestyle. The people and opportunities that have come into my life make it a fun adventure, and even when my body doesn’t want to cooperate, I appreciate it nonetheless for carrying me through this crazy life!

I’m obviously lucky to have Valerie, the ultimate training buddy. We keep things on our calendar, hold each other accountable during training, and cheer each other on during races. I’m very fortunate to have a great friend and athlete who complements my style perfectly.

Iroquois Hill runners thanksgiving run 2009

Valerie and Amanda at the IHR Thanksgiving Day Run. Action Shot:)

My husband, Adam, is the best support team ever. Even though he thinks I’m insane for taking on some of the things I do, he not only cheers me on throughout training and at races, but he also puts up with my fatigue and crankiness when I’m sore or tired from training. Not to mention my weird eating restrictions and the seemingly crazy stuff I have to spend our money on (Gu? Body Glide?). He was my hero when I was training for the Memphis St. Jude marathon; every week when I came home from my long run, he’d greet me at home with one of my favorite recovery foods (usually thin crust cheese pizza or homemade guacamole).

Speaking of the marathon, I’m very thankful that I am a marathon finisher. It’s one of those things that I’ll always have, and can always think back on when things get tough. I mean, I made it through that, as painful as it was both physically and mentally, so I know that now I can handle just about anything.

I’m thankful, especially at a cool, damp November morning race, for great running and fitness innovations like disposable hand warmers and sweat-wicking ear covers. Genius!

Of course, I’m very blessed to have the greatest blog partner on the planet in Sara. Her smart, funny posts make me laugh, I admire her work ethic and creativity, and I appreciate her support in life in general. We’ve been great friends for years, and it’s fun to have this new adventure to share, too!

Mostly, I’m just thankful that I have the ability and desire to push myself. Our bodies are fragile and not everyone gets to use theirs fully, so if we’re blessed with good health we should fight to maintain it. I love feeling strong, feeling like I have some power over something. For that, I give thanks.

– albledsoe

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As soon as I hear that cough and sneeze from the gym-goer next to me, I cringe. Thinking about their sick germs latching on to that treadmill makes me want to run right out of the gym for the entire cold and flu season. But, we all know that’s not an option. You have to find a way to fight the germs and keep your immune system up.

Towel, please! Any towel will do, but in there is a fancy new gym towel available just in time for the holiday season. What’s so special about it? Well, it is designed to help keep all of those funky gym germs off of you. One side of the towel says face and the other says gym. So you always know which side is mopping up your sweat and which side is mopping up everyone else’s. Very clever, but it’s also a little pricey. It comes in around $15 plus shipping. I’m not totally sold on this miracle towel, but it did make me think about how to avoid the dreaded gym-to-face contact.

Three solutions:
– Use the free towels you get in swag bags at races or conferences for your workouts. They usually feature the logo of a vendor on one side and have no writing on the other. Perfect for knowing which side is for your face.
– Mark your territory; summer camp meets your gym bag. Buy your gym towels on sale, and break out the Sharpie. Just write your initials on one side of the towel and you’ll be in good shape. You won’t have to worry about confusing one side from the other.
-Better yet, bring two different colored towels to the gym. One for the machines and the other for your body.

Lather, Rinse, Repeat. Since sickness-causing germs and bacteria can live on gym equipment several days, it’s very important to minimize your risk. In addition to the towel trick, keep a bottle of hand sanitizer in your gym bag and always wash your hands thoroughly before and after a sweat session. This time of year instead of singing “Happy Birthday” in my mind while washing, I usually go for a Christmas tune. One verse of, “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” will help you to get a good 20 second hand washing in and fill you with holiday cheer.

BYOB (water bottle, that is). Avoiding water fountains at the gym can help eliminate the spread of cold and flu germs, so please arrive armed with a water bottle of your own. You know how important it is to stay hydrated, and this allows you to do so while avoiding the germ-fest happening at the water fountain.
– Make sure you are washing your refillable water bottle after each use.
– Avoid refilling your water bottle at the water fountain.
– Don’t toss your water bottle in with your gym bag. Remember, that’s where you keep your shoes…

Do you have any tips/tricks you want to share about how you stay healthy during the winter workouts at the gym?

On a side note, my lettuce has sprouted! I’m a little concerned that it’s not getting enough sunshine, but I’m still hopeful that I’ll get a homegrown salad before we get snow in St. Louis.


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Hotel Fitness

I was back on the road last week for work, this time to San Diego. After trying airplane exercises and hotel running maps on my last trip, I wanted to mix it up a little this time. It was my first trip to San Diego, and it was a quick one. Luckily, the weather was great for walking, and the hotel had a great complimentary fitness center (and I did grab a running map from the concierge, but didn’t end up using it). There was a beautiful outdoor pool as well, but it wasn’t quite that warm!

Turns out, the Omni San Diego also offers a Get Fit Kit for guests, which they bring right to your room (they’ll even bring a treadmill to your room for a “nominal fee”). The kit was delivered to my room while I was at the conference Monday; it contained resistance bands, light weights, an exercise mat, towel, bottle of water, and a brochure with suggested exercises. Although I really enjoyed my workout in the fitness center, it was nice to be able to use the kit to get a workout in without leaving my room. The bottled water was also nice, because I always seem to have trouble getting enough water when I travel.

Get Fit Kit at Omni San Diego

Get Fit Kit at Omni San Diego

I did a combination of the suggested exercises and some of my own, and that seemed to work pretty well. I haven’t had a lot of experience with resistance bands, so I appreciated the recommendations; my favorite workout was side leg lifts with the band looped around my knees. Quite effective!

It’s nice to see that more and more hotels are considering the needs of guests who want to continue their healthy lifestyles when they’re on the road. I tend to judge hotels by their fitness centers these days, and an in-room Get Fit Kit was a nice bonus. Have you stayed somewhere that has great fitness options?

– albledsoe

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Adventure Race Day! It was very exciting to finally be starting the NSAAR. It was a cold morning–I believe high 30s–but in all the hustle and bustle we stayed pretty warm. My team grabbed a prime spot in the transition area near a tree. Easy to spot, built in bike rack!

An adventure race bike rack

An adventure race bike rack

If you’ve done triathlons, the transition area for an adventure race would crack you up. It’s really just a marked off area where you stake your claim to piece of ground. No bike racks, nothing marked by your number. We had large garbage bags to mark our spots. I was glad we didn’t have to throw our bikes on the ground, but that’s what most teams did, and I guess it wouldn’t have been that big a deal.

We were given the maps and clue sheets one hour before the 8 a.m. start. We immediately began marking out our first few steps. It was a bit confusing, because there were several maps (we were expecting just one). Now we know!

All along, we’d been wondering how the event planners manage to keep everyone from just following each other the whole time. Did you get different clue sheets so you visited checkpoints in a different order? We’d heard from repeat racers that sometimes you start in the canoe, which naturally separates teams, or they’ll do a running challenge to spread out the pack. Ours was a hide-and-seek! The race director announced that one person from each team would take a tire of their bike to be hidden by the race staff. Tricky! Before the race began, they revealed that the tires (which had been marked with tape and the team number) were at “the barn.” So our challenge was to locate the barn on the map, run as a team to retrieve the tire, put it back on the bike and have it inspected by race staff, and THEN begin the race.

Marcia studies the clue sheet before the race

Marcia studies the clue sheet before the race

Team Smarty Panties made it to the barn pretty quickly, especially Marcia, who is tall, leggy, and pretty quick. All three of us had laid eyes on every tire there, and none was ours. Um? We had to wait until every single team had retrieved their tires and only one was left, and we finally realized another team had grabbed our tire instead of their own. So we immediately began the race in last place, and a little wary of how the rest of the day would go…

– albledsoe

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After about two months of training, team meetings, and gathering supplies, the day of my first adventure race was here. Although we had very little idea of what to expect (despite our best attempts to weasel information out of the race coordinators via e-mail), my Smarty Panties teammates and I practiced our mountain biking and orienteering and prepared as best we could to take on a brand new challenge. We were only slightly concerned about what exactly bushwhacking is, and what we might need precisely 3 yards of duct tape for.

The No Skirts Allowed Adventure Race (NSAAR) is held outside Indianapolis and is for women only. This was the third year for the event, and it doubled in size from 2008. The 2010 race is already scheduled for October 9 “somewhere northeast of Indy,” so check it out if you’re interested.

Departing Louisville for NSAAR

Departing Louisville for NSAAR

We arrived at Jameson Camp on Friday night in the pouring rain, and checked into some pretty nice cabins (I grabbed a top bunk, as always), and then headed to the nicest campground lodge I’ve ever seen for registration and meetings. As the women congregated, the buzz and excitement grew, and I almost forgot I’d been sick all week. The event staff remained quite adept at dodging our questions and left us clueless about any details of the race. We did have a required ropes clinic, where we learned fun tidbits like “if you see red (on the harness buckle), you’re dead.” The group was amazingly attentive during that session…

My Smarty Panties team of Marcia and Valerie were joined in the cabin by four other ladies from Louisville, most of whom know Marcia and her husband through their Rogue Racing Project. More on that (very cool) topic another day. We were all bunked in the same room, and spent the night trying to set out all our supplies and make sure each individual and each team had all the required gear. Luckily, everything worked out and we were all good to go with few complications. Bags were packed for the following day, clothes were set out, food and water were gathered, and we settled into our bunks.

NOTE: Trying to figure out the concept of 3 yards of duct tape and how that would work? Some smart gal figured out to wrap it around a water bottle!

None of the seven of us had any adventure racing experience, so there was a lot of unknown. Luckily, the forecast was clear for Saturday, and we were prepared to have fun, learn some new things, and, if all went well, spend as little time bushwhacking as possible!

– albledsoe

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