Healthy living at 40

Right now in my life I am the healthiest I have ever been in my whole entire life.

And I’m 40.

I’m at a healthy weight. I eat pretty healthy. I drink alcohol in moderation. I rarely have soda. I exercise regularly. My stress levels are fairly low. I drink a lot of water. I practice yoga almost every day.

I teach five cycle classes a week. That means I do about an hour of cardio five times a week. I have a home yoga practice where I practice the sequence I teach four to six times a week. (I squeeze in a yoga class as a student myself occasionally. Wish it was more often.)

I am not the lightest weight ever in my adult life. (I am about 35 pounds lighter than when I first started my quest to lose weight in October 2006.)

But just because you are skinny or thin doesn’t mean you are healthy. Ever heard of skinny fat? I believe I could have been skinny fat, when I could eat and drink whatever I wanted and not gain weight.

I wrote about skinny fat in the past titled, Skinny doesn’t mean healthy.

Skinny … Continue reading

Momentum is not a muscle

This is gonna be a smorgasbord of a post …

First, I am now an LA Fitness employee, a yoga and cycle group fitness instructor. Starting soon I will be teaching three cycle classes and one yoga class with the hopes of adding some more yoga classes.

I’ve been taking yoga classes at the town house community fitness center. And I have had the opportunity to sub three of those classes already. I subbed a yoga class at another gym near me.

I took a body conditioning/body sculpting class on Wednesday. I have the possibility to teach this class as well after some training.

I haven’t taken a class like that in more than a year. Wow, two days later and I am still sore.

As we were working our weights the teacher reminded us that momentum is not a muscle. That really stuck with me.

Sometime back I wrote a post about how it is important to use form and not momentum when weight training.

I just might have to steal that phrase and remind my students one day that momentum is not a muscle.

Yoga anatomy

Last night in yoga teacher training class we learned about bones, muscles, joints, connective tissue, etc.

It was fascinating and I learned so much.

It’s A LOT of information. But Baxter broke it down and made it easy to learn (and hopefully remember).

We had Pat, our skeleton, along with two huge diagrams on the muscles and skeleton.

We also had us. Baxter used markers to draw on feet and legs to show us where muscles and bones are placed. We also would feel around our own bones and bodies and feel things move or where something is placed.

I learn best when what I am learning is visual and I can also read about it. The dual learning works best for me. However others learn, all aspects are being used in class and in the readings we are assigned (lots of pictures in our books).

There are so many cool things I learned and I am still struggling with what I am going to share.

Did you know that we have 206 bones in our body? And 52 bones in our feet? The bones in our feet make up almost one-fourth of all the bones in our body.

There … Continue reading

Is there a benefit to stretching?

The other day on the radio I heard about a new study, which recently came out saying you shouldn’t stretch before exercise.

I guess I had never given this much thought. I don’t normally stretch before I exercise. But whether I am spinning, practicing yoga or in a body conditioning class we start slow and warm up and then build the intensity.

Experts differ on whether you should stretch before or after or even at all.

This WebMD article quotes a few studies along with the American College of Sports Medicine, which says: Regular flexibility exercises are “crucial to maintaining joint range of movement.” … Some studies have shown that regular flexibility exercises help maintain your range of movement as you age. … Studies also show that regularly stretching the muscles that are constantly shortened through your work posture or daily routine can ease and prevent chronic pain.

Also in the same WebMD article,  there is not substantial evidence that stretching before exercise lowers risk of injury, decreases muscle soreness after exercise, or improves your performance.

A dynamic stretch can get your body moving before a workout. A good example of a dynamic stretch is standing Cat-Cow pose.

I … Continue reading

What kind of muscular development do you want?

It’s a good thing I pre-wrote some posts over the weekend in anticipation of a busy week.

Between work, working on the shuttle bus on the way home, coming home and working, getting exercise in, visiting friend’s cat while she is away, being dressed suitably for work each day and still eating healthy I really had to do some planning over the weekend.

And it helps that I stole this directly from a Facebook post from In-Shape City (my gym):

 The amount of weight you lift should be dependent on your desired muscular development goal. What does this mean?

If you want to build muscle size and strength–heavy weights, which you can properly lift approximately 6-10 times is the most effective, resting at least one minute between each exercise set.

If you want to tone your muscles–lighter weights, which you can properly lift approximately 12-20 times is the most effective, resting less than 1 minute between each exercise set.

Remember! Mix things up to prevent plateaus: light weights, heavy weights, super-sets, stability balls, boss ball, kettle-bells, etc.

I feel like attending classes really helps me mix things up. Sometimes I work … Continue reading

To live, to breathe

Breathing is important. In order to live we have to breathe, right?

I love to share things I learn in yoga. I feel like I am always learning something new about yoga, my practice and my body.

Months ago in Vickie’s class we learned about breathing into our intercostal muscles. I wrote about this new discovery back then.

We worked on it tonight as well. What Vickie also had us do as we laid on our sides was to feel our ribs. I didn’t realize how high up the ribs go. Do you know they go up to your armpit?

When in a challenging yoga pose instructors really have the class focus on breathing. They want us to breathe through an uncomfortable situation. Breathe through that burning thigh or crazy twist. Breathing into a pose can also help you get deeper into a pose.

We are reminded that life is uncomfortable and we can’t always straighten our leg or unbind. So we must learn to deal with uncomfortable situations with our breath. It is a pretty amazing practice to learn.

Whether practicing yoga or stretching before or after a workout I notice the more I focus on inhale … Continue reading

Connecting to benefits of massage

As I have mentioned in recent posts work has been exhausting and overwhelming lately.

So today after work I treated myself to a massage. I have been going to Bellissima Day Spa for seven years. And probably for the past 3-4 years Thanh has been taking care of me.

And Thanh does an awesome job of taking care of me. She does amazing work with her hands and I can tell she cares about me.

We chat a lot during most appointments (though I don’t like to chat while getting a massage) and I always get a hug before I leave.

I noticed she changed things up a bit today. Sometimes Thanh will ask me how I am or what is going on and that helps her determine the type if work she will rub into my knots and muscles.

I have never been disappointed with Thanh’s work. And today was no exception.

I actually feel asleep briefly a few times. I don’t want to miss out on enjoying the massage during it so I don’t want to fall asleep. But I was really tired.

This Mayo Clinic article states some of the many benefits of massage:

Sore, tired body

This will be a short post as I am tired and well, just bleh.

Tuesday night Jenn and I did some weight work on our back and shoulders (among other stuff).

Yesterday I worked from home so I attended the Power Vinyasa yoga class at the studio in my neighborhood. Naushon really had us focus on doing upward dog properly, by pushing our chest forward and our shoulders down.

Between the work on shoulders/back Tuesday night and the yoga class yesterday and the crappy sleep I have gotten the past FOUR nights I woke up today with super sore shoulders and upper back.

I know being sore like this is a good thing as I am working my muscles and getting stronger. But it still is not that comfortable.

(Tonight at the gym I did intervals for spin and a little ab work. I did some stretching of my back and shoulders as well.)

After I got home I took a nice hot shower. Then I slathered my refreshing gel on my shoulders and upper back. I am feeling a little better. I am relaxing while blogging, watching TV, drinking wine and having a dinner of leftovers.

(This is … Continue reading

Be kind to your knees

 

 

 

I took Baxter’s Monday night Hatha class. Normally I take Baxter’s Wednesday night class. But I have a work team dinner this Wednesday. And I missed last Wednesday’s class.

Tonight we focused on knees, placement of feet, ankles, hamstrings and calves.

Baxter reminded us to be careful if we are prone to hyperextend–too much opening at the back of the knee. I hyperextend my knees and elbows.

It was interesting doing the full forward bend and then rising up with our knees slightly bent. It was definitely a challenge. But it was good practice, especially for me since I hyperextend so easily.

Baxter also had us do some work against the wall. I really enjoy working against the wall. I feel I can get into a pose much more deeply without feeling afraid.

Such as Downward Dog up the wall. We had the option to do one leg at a time or both up at the same time. I choose to do both. This was the closet I have gotten to a headstand or handstand. I have always been afraid to attempt either. I don’t feel like my arm or core strength are strong enough. Tonight I … Continue reading

Dragging myself to the gym

I really didn’t want to exercise today. But with the way I have been eating lately …

Today was a busy, but productive day at work. I had a lot of meetings. But I also managed to get a good amount of work done.

I was trying to catch up on a few e-mails when I realized it was 4 p.m. I try to get to the gym at 4 so I can do 45 minutes to an hour of cardio and then 20-30 minutes of weights, abs, stretching, etc.

I ended up getting on the bike a little before 4:30 and did 45 minutes of endurance. That’s about all the endurance routine I can handle.

The endurance workout on the espinner is moderate resistance and moderate speed all in the saddle. It’s a lot of work on the glutes, quads and hamstrings.

I definitely feel a sense of accomplishment when the routine, class, etc. is over. The espinner guy talked about how he looks forward to end of the spin routine because of the endorphin rush, the release and, as I said, the sense of accomplishment.

Seriously, I am just glad it is over with.