So why am I a lazy personal trainer?



I'm trying! Follow my quest to OVERCOME LAZY!

Monday, October 8, 2012

I Am One Tough Mudder Fudder!

We be tuff!
Hey, with the team name, “Fuddmudders,” I can’t not make that joke.

So, how would I describe the Tough Mudder experience?  By stating the obvious:  It was tough and it was muddy.  They definitely named it right.  Never before have I been more deserving of a beer!  Okay, okay, I didn’t drink it but I could’ve used a good buzz after that experience!

The pre-race wall that separates the mice
from the mudders!
Here are the hard facts for my Las Vegas Tough Mudder 2012:
  • 11 miles
  • 20 obstacles
  • 5 team members (4 boys, 1 girl)
  • Total time:  3 hours, 50 minutes (they don’t time you, but I had my stopwatch going)

My experience could be summed-up (but not limited to) these four words:  crazy, awesome, torturous and exhilarating.  Read on....

First of all, they make you climb a stinkin’ 15-ft. wall to even get to the starting line.  It was like they were telling you: “If you can’t even handle getting over this wall, just turn around and go home, loser.”  I would’ve been so ticked if I’d gotten injured on that thing before the race even started!  But it was a good taste of what was to come.
Jammin' through some logs.  Grrrrrr.

The first 5-6 miles had more running than obstacles.  It’s the 2nd half where they really hammer you with a heavy concentration of challenges, when you’re most tired and depleted of energy!  It was interesting to see all the different shapes and sizes of people, which goes to show that just about anybody can do this, but I was certainly glad I had taken the time and effort to put some mudder-specific training into the months preceding the event.  My team was usually running between the obstacles whereas most others were walking – especially toward the end.

What I loved best about the Tough Mudder is the emphasis on teamwork.  I had great teammates that expended a lot of their precious energy in helping to haul my arse up and over several of the obstacles.  I couldn’t have done it without them.  Even complete strangers came to my aid several times and the entire atmosphere was totally charged with enthusiasm and encouragement.

Some memorable moments:

Did I mention there was lots of mud?
Artic Enema obstacle:  they fill a huge dumpster with ice, ice, ice-cold water and make you dive under a wall to get to the other side.  Holy cannoli.  I didn’t know hypothermia could set in so quickly.  I was almost too paralyzed to hoist myself back out of the water. None of us could feel our bodies for at least a quarter mile afterwards.  We could’ve been running on bloody stumps for all we knew.

Walk The Plank obstacle:  this requires jumping off a 15-foot platform into water.  This was the obstacle that I was fearing most.  I’m not a fan of heights and I actually did force myself to do some cliff jumping this summer to prepare for this obstacle, which I am soooooo glad I did.  However, at the top of the plank I still totally froze for several seconds.  Thank goodness my teammate Brady told me to stop thinking and just jump.  Which I did.  And I lived!
Real Tough Mudders plug their noses.

The albino thong dude:  there were definitely some fun outfits and accessories that people had on.  Many tutus, some superheroes, plenty of funky socks and t-shirts.  But the guy that stole the show was the albino dude wearing a white thong.  The sight of his alabaster skin and his surprisingly mud-resistant white banana hammock was quite a shock after gazing at mostly brown mud for miles and miles.  Unfortunately for all of us, this guy was NOT Chippendale’s material!  I really hope he was wearing sunscreen.

The cold water:  I already mentioned the heart-stopping Arctic Enema, but I was also surprised at how cold they kept all the other water obstacles.  They had us trudge through endless mud trenches with water depths anywhere from thigh to chest-high.  We also had several deep water swims, some requiring diving under barrels and pulling ourselves along a cable.  This is all while fully dressed with sneakers, just to remind you.  But what got me was how cold the water was, especially considering that the weather was fairly warm – probably in the 90s somewhere.  In smaller doses, the coldness was refreshing but the longer swims were definitely energy-sapping.  Even the lifeguards were shivering in their wetsuits!
A nano-second after this picture,
I was in the water.

Why I will do the Tough Mudder again:  I can’t say with enthusiasm that I want to repeat all of the events I’ve been involved in:  The Ragnar Relay – not if I can avoid it.  Half marathon – maybe, but I’m in no hurry.  Marathon – I haven’t done one yet but if/when I do, it’ll probably only be once.  The Tough Mudder, however, I will repeat.  First, it was FUN!  It really did make me feel tough and accomplished and like I can take on (almost) anything!  It was so much more interesting than simply running mile after mile with little else going on.  Also, I’m unsatisfied with my performance on a few of the obstacles – namely, the monkey bars, hanging rings and Mt. Everest – so I want to improve my grip and upper body strength to do better next time.

The Tough Mudder might not be everyone’s cup o’tea, but it is definitely right up my alley.  I am so thankful for the healthy body that I have right now and I figure, why not test it every now and then.  Stuff like this is a great way to realize how amazing I can be… yet it’s also a humbling reminder that I’m not invincible, either!
I'll spare you any pictures of my bruised and swollen knees and elbows.  Let's just say I won't be wearing any mini-skirts this week.
Now off to take a terapeutic mineral mud bath!
Done and dirty!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Emergency Neck Pain Blog Post!!!

I am declaring a cervical state of emergency!

All those who have suffered... are suffering... or will be suffering (hence, everyone) from neck pain of any kind must read this post!!!

Lately there has been an astonishing onslaught of neck problems amongst my family and friends.  Trust me, I know first-hand – thanks to my 2011 Neck Incident – just how heinous serious neck pain can be.
In response, I’ve been sending all my cervical sufferers a link to an old blog post in which I demonstrate the best neck stretch in the world, but I now see the need to update that demo and add a few more therapeutic techniques that have rocked my world.  It’s been over a year and I have yet to have another neck attack of such severity… and I credit these 3 exercises/stretches with keeping it that way.

Beach ball boon*.  And you thought taking a beach ball to a high school graduation was being creative! This is a great one for when the pain is so intense you can hardly move it in any direction.  The barely inflated beach ball positions and supports the head in a way to allow for movement not otherwise possible with severe neck impairment.
Start by barely inflating a beach ball with just enough air to keep your head from
touching the ground when you lay back on it.
Slowly turn your head to one side just until you reach the point of increased pain/tingling.
Then the other side, of course.  You might not be able to get much movement at first, but
you will improve over time.
Then tilt one ear toward your shoulder...
And to the other side.

Occipital release*.  It surprised me how effective the occipital release technique was in improving my neck pain.  Position two tennis balls at the base of your skull where it meets the top of your neck and try to relax.  Usually in the first moments, this KILLS me, but a few minutes into it, I start to relax and the tension in my neck decreases considerably.  Maintain position for about 10 minutes or so.
Start with a rolled-up towel and a couple of tennis balls in a sock...
Lay back so the tennis balls are on the sweet spot.  You may need to adjust the towel height accordingly.
Try to relax for a good ten minutes or so. Let the tension just slip away...

Smelly armpit stretch.  And, finally, the best neck stretch in the entire history of neck stretching.  I do this almost daily and it has been a life-saver for me.  I do not over-exaggerate when I say this stretch could likely bring about world peace if everyone would just spend, like, 2 minutes doing this every day.
Start by angling your nose toward your armpit as though trying to take a big whiff.
This is how my physical therapist described it. He said it would be memorable this way.
Slowly start to look away and forward while keeping your ear close to your shoulder.
Finally, end up looking completely forward in a side bend with ear as close to
shoulder as flexibility allows.
Neck pain to any extent is nothing to take lightly!  I discovered the hard way that a person can pay dearly for participating in neck neglect.  I haven’t found it necessary to do the beach ball exercise since the incident but the other two, along with a doorway chest stretch, I do regularly and it’s always the best 5 minutes of my day.

*I have to thank my wonderful friend who, while possessing political views that are completely upside-down and backwards (sorry, P - I couldn't resist... it's that time of year!), has magic hands and acquainted me with the first two techniques... along with many other helpful treatments over the years!  Everyone needs to have a physical therapist as a friend!  Now if I could just buddy up with a plastic surgeon...

Oh, and read the disclaimer at the very bottom of this blog page, would ya.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


The cool people know that SUP stands for Stand-Up Paddleboarding.  And the extra cool people have either tried it or are going to try it… soon!
I have now tried SUP twice and consider myself hooked.  This is absolutely going to be an annual summer activity.
I, personally, love activities on the water that don’t involve actual swimming (Allison Schmitt I am not!).  For me, being near or on the water is both invigorating yet calming at the same time.  That’s exactly how I would describe the SUP experience:  stimulating yet soothing; energizing yet lullifying; exhilarating yet pacifying.

In a word (or four)… really, way COOL, dude.

K and I tried SUP for the first time back in May and it was nice that we were kid-less because it was new to us and we could set our own pace; do our own thang, y’know.  But, it is definitely a family-friendly activity.  We took the girls this second time and also saw several kids out on paddleboards with their parents.  The winner was the dad with 4 kids on one board!
I’m convinced my girls will love it, too, once they can get over the idea of swimming with the big carp in the lake.  R FREAKED out at the sight of them and that kinda put a damper on their SUP experience.  We forced them to paddle around for some pics but K had to appease them by renting a paddle boat, which they ended up totally loving.

I left K with the crybabies and caught up with a couple of my girlfriends that had zipped by us earlier and we spent the next hour just paddling and cruising and periodically jumping into the water to cool off.  It was just awesome. 

I found that I liked doing a combination of some standing and some kneeling and have a feeling that I’ll get a little more confident and adventurous each time I go.  I’m even planning on trying the yoga/Pilates-on-the-water class they have some day!  I didn’t have time to this outing. 
 I love how it is a sport that is accessible to pretty much everyone.  Old, young, fit, flabby.  You can dig in deep and get a great workout out of it or just piddle-paddle and cruise around.
Some suggestions I have from my perspective:  If you can avoid paying for a lesson, do so.  This was on a very calm lake and all they told us for the 30-second “lesson” is, basically, face your paddle this way, switch sides about every 3 strokes and keep your leash on at all times.  Hmmm.  All things I figured out on my own within minutes the first time we went out. 
Also, wear a hat, sunscreen and definitely take water with you.  And take a waterproof camera, too, because EVERYONE looks cool on a paddleboard!
Nobody should die without having first tried this!


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Post-Workout Recovery Snack... Lazy Trainer Style!

What in the world is that?! you may ask.

That, my friends, is the Lazy Personal Trainer's version of some all-important post-workout recovery grub.  After finishing 30 minutes of an intense cardio circuit I made sure to nourish my body with some right proper nutrition. 

Unless you've been living under a rock, you should know that you're supposed to refuel within 15 to 45 minutes after you exercise in order for your body to lose more fat and build more muscle.

And you should further be aware that it's recommended that that post-recovery snack or meal should consist of a 2:1 ratio of carbs to protein after a strength workout and a 4:1 ratio after endurance exercise.

So, do you think  a 1/2 cup of Ben and Jerry's Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream fits the bill? 

Well, check this out... I sprinkled a tablespoon of ground flaxseed meal to make it come a little closer!  Hmmm, curiously the fat component is not mentioned in the aforementioned nutrient ratio guidelines.

Hey, I'm trying to overcome Lazy, folks!  I have been known to polish off an entire pint of that stuff in order to refuel my exertion from clicking the remote with my thumb.  So this can be considered an improvement!

Next time.... TWO tablespoons of flaxseed!  I wonder if the peanut butter cup flavor has more protein in it....

Monday, July 23, 2012

I Am a Sponsored, Competitive Athlete!

I guess I should complete that thought.  I am a sponsored, competitive athlete… in my own little magical world.  And as crazy as it makes me sound, it also makes me overcome Lazy.
In fact, I had a biking competition on Saturday.  My first rival was easily passed as he was having trouble clipping in or something.  Yeah, having clips (I don’t) are supposed to help you bike better and faster, blah, blah, blah.  Well, they certainly weren’t helping him!  Hahahaha, sucka!

I didn’t encounter my second and more serious adversary until I’d turned around and was heading back.  She and I both had pulled out onto the main road from the same turn-out at almost the same time with her being about 25 meters ahead of me.  We were on a very slight decline before we were to hit the gradual incline which leads into a serious hill.  It was evident that I was taller and heavier than she was, so I knew I had to make the most of my momentum advantage while I could before the climb turned it into my disadvantage. 

I zipped by her and almost uttered, “see you on the hill,” but decided to save my energy.  It did me no good.  She smoothly passed me a few minutes later and this was before we’d even started the major hill ascent! 
Oh well, as I was bad-mouthing the basic laws of physics (curse you, second law of motion!) – not to mention her obvious superior physical fitness - I consoled myself by remembering that my abundant height does has its advantages in certain situations.  Like at the grocery store.  Sometimes people will ask for my help in reaching something on the top shelf.  I’m always happy to comply…. Although sometimes, I admit, I have a little fun with them when I innocently ask them over and over, “This one? Oh, this one?  So, this one, then?  No?”

In my competition today, my plan was to keep my new frenemy within my sights up the hill and then let my heavy duty frame (body and bike) overcome the petite waif as she ineffectively pedaled her skinny little tires. 
Well, it didn’t quite play out that way.  She kept her speedier pace consistent enough to stretch the distance between us to a good 150 meters or so.  Hmmph.

But I’ll tell you what, I worked notably harder because of this imaginary contest I had going on in my head.  So, I thank you, Anonymous Biker Chick.  You had no idea this major rivalry was happening on the road behind you, but I was waging a full-on war!  And, as a result, I got a killer workout because of it.
Anyway, I got the last laugh as we came back into town.  It didn’t take me long at all to finally catch up to her and pass her like she was standing still… because she was.  She’d stopped at a red light to go straight and I barely yielded as I cruised by her to turn right.

Yeah, baby.  How do you like them apples?!  Eat my dust!!!
That grand finale kept me smiling all the way home!


Sunday, May 13, 2012

My New Fitness Crush: The Rope

With a little plyo action, this thing is
Shhhh… Don’t tell the Bosu, but I’ve got a new fitness crush:  The rope. 

I’m not talking about the ubiquitous jump rope that we’ve all known since childhood, I’m talking about, The ROPE!

Fitness rope, undulation rope, heavy exercise rope, battling rope (my favorite – how tough does THAT sound!) ….  Known by various names, the rope is another ingeniously simple item that has emerged as a seriously effective and satisfying piece of workout equipment.
Serious core workout!

I caught wind of this serpentine sensation about a year or two ago and have been interested in trying one ever since.  I wanted to do a test drive to see if it would be a worthwhile purchase but never ran across any ropes to try.  My interest in them spiked when I started my park boot camp class but I still hesitated on committing to a buy until a recent incursion of lower-body injuries among my boot campers and friends – plus myself! – made it a necessity.

While my boot camp classes are a diverse mixture of activities, they almost always include some sort of running, hopping and/or burpeeing.  However, this suddenly was not a safe option for many of us, so I knew we needed another alternative. 

Hence my impulsive leap into rope training territory.  Actually it wasn’t that impulsive.  I’d seen a ton of videos and had been mulling it over for some time, so I just went for it!

And, WOWEEEE WOW WOW, am I glad I did!  This thing is awesome!  We played around with my new rope (it’s 50-feet, 1.5 inches) at boot camp and since then I’ve created some kick-ass (hey - ass is in the Bible) workouts at home and can’t wait to keep unfurling more of this slinky sweetie’s secrets.    I love how it’s about as uncomplicated as workout equipment gets, yet can effectively work the body out from head to toe.  It has a primitive, old-school-tough kind of feel to it, yet it’s refreshing, invigorating and accessible to most everyone – even those with lower-body ailments!

So I guess I suffer from gym equipment infidelity.  Just when I think I’ve got enough fitness goodies to keep me satisfied, something else comes along to entice me and test my loyalty. Trust me, I am picky.  I don’t just let any ol’ thigh master or ab roller-type seduce me… and I still love you, my dear Bosu.  You will always hold a prominent position in my workouts.…  It’s just that I think there’s plenty of room in our relationship for this new rope….  Ooooo, and maybe one of those land paddleboards (a.k.a. skupboards) I saw someone on the other day….

Monday, May 7, 2012

A Dozen Years of Bliss (Sorta)

and the handsome stranger wooed the fair maiden with his wit, charm and bottomless bank account.  They married and rode off upon their ATVs into the sunset never to have a sour word pass between them nor have a moment’s stress longer than a nano-second ever cross their path… and they lived happily ever after.

If you believe that, I’ve got some oceanside property in Arizona to sell ya!

Really, I did marry my best friend.  My soul mate.  My other half.  Does that mean I’ve never wanted to bash my fist into my bestie’s face after an episode of pure, unadulterated aggravation?  Not even.  But, thankfully, I’ve more often found myself marveling at what an incredible blessing it’s been to have found a companion who has brought into my life such a dimension of enjoyment and inspiration that I don’t think I would have know otherwise.

We just celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary.  Our gift to each other was a stand-up paddleboarding outing (I will report about that in a post very soon.  Awe.Some.)  followed by some serious chowing on some southern style BBQ which fueled us up for our midnight hike to see the Supermoon. 

THIS is how I want to be living life.  With an adventurous partner, raising adventure-loving kids, overcoming Lazy every chance we get.

Which brings me to my real-life fairy tale which goes more like this:

and after the handsome (albeit short-ish) stranger narrowly avoided a fist fight on their first date, the fair maiden miraculously agreed to see him again, thus starting them down a bumpy path of deep love, massive annoyance, fun adventure, scary adventure, absolute joy and delight, definite frustration and anger… all while riding/cycling/jogging/paddling off into many sunsets and sunrises together which all culminates into them living pretty darn happily ever after.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Healthified Mac N Cheese

Mac N Cheese. My girls love it. It's easy to make. It's cheap. But I feel guilty every time I serve it to them because it's not a nutritional all-star.

But, I've found ways to adapt it so I don't feel nearly as guilty when I cave in and fix it for them.

First, while the noodles are cooking, I will throw in some frozen veggies. Usually peas because it's always fun to say to them (EVERY SINGLE TIME), "eat your mac n cheese n peas.... please." Then, when I make the sauce, instead of butter or margarine, I use Brummel and Brown spread. It has 50% less fat and calories than butter and tastes great! For the milk, I will often just use our skim milk but I will usually use Almond Breeze (or Silk) unsweetened almond milk when we have it on hand. It has way less calories and sugar than milk and, again, tastes great!

Well, we certainly know her version
ain't exactly healthy!
Lately, I've made another addition because it always bothers me that the pasta is not whole grain. So I tried sprinkling in some ground flaxseed into the sauce. This boosts the fiber and protein plus gives you the bonus of those healthy Omega-3s. I started off with just a tablespoon to make sure the girls would be OK with it and they didn't say a word! Gobbled it up like usual, so I've bumped up the amount to about 2 tablespoons.

With these changes, I'm convinced that this is a pretty well-balanced, decently healthy meal. And the modifications are so simple, it's still super quick and easy!

Healthy convenience. Love it!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Fitness is FREEDOM... and POWER!

Trying to keep up with the kiddo!
Not so easy when I'm on foot
and she's off training wheels now!
As I launched out on a spontaneous run with R the other day, I realized what an incredible, amazing blessing it is to be able to be fit and healthy enough to just jump into the moment - specifically, an ACTIVE moment.

A few days ago, it was spectacularly gorgeous outside.  Suddenly, R wanted to ride her bike, and I wanted to go on a run and next thing you know, we're out doing just that!

Last week, the girls begged me to join them jumping on the trampoline.  I thought, why not?!  I can, I should, it feels great and it was FUN!

Lately, I could give you a ton more examples of instances along these same lines.  But you get the idea.

Not much thinking or convincing myself wen into doing these workouts/activities.  I WANTED to do them, so I did.  That's FREEDOM!  That's POWER!  That's how I want it to be for the rest of my days on this earth...

Fitness gives us the freedom and power to...
Reach new heights!
(That's R, waaaaay up there!)

Weather the seasons.

Navigate some pretty tough terrain...

Keep the simple things of life just that:  simple.
(Like a back yard game of hopscotch)

Get Fit.  Overcome Lazy.  Empower yourself.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Happy Groundhog Day! I Ran From My Shadow, Too!

Lately, my clothes have been tight.  Uncomfortable. Unflattering.  I mean, I can still wear them.  I haven’t gotten THAT far off-track, but, they tell me that I am not currently in possession of my desired physique. 
I do not own a scale.  Not that I’m against them, but I just haven’t ever felt the necessity to own one.  My clothes and the mirror (and my husband – he is brutally honest) are what I personally use to keep track of my body composition fluctuations.
Well, when I was home at Christmas, I stepped on my parents’ scale.  Just out of curiosity.  An’ it weren’t pretty.  I was about 10 pounds heavier than where I like to be when I’m feeling and looking my best.  It was no surprise, really, but disconcerting, nonetheless.
With today being Groundhog Day, it reminded me that I’ve been acting like a scared groundhog.  At the end of December, I curiously and tentatively stepped on the scale (the groundhog pokes his sleepy head out of his hole), I glanced at the digital read-out in shock and quickly jumped off (he sees his shadow looming and scrambles back into his burrow) and I continued my unhelpful behavior  for, roughly, six more weeks – too reluctant to make a commitment just yet to get the body composition changes that I need and want (the skittish groundhog hides out underground for six more weeks thinking he’s better off delaying the inevitable end of his hibernation).
Well, I’ve had it!  I’m sick of running away from hard work and discipline.  I’m sick of hibernating and postponing my day of reckoning.  The time has come to stop mindlessly stuffing my face and to become more consistent with my workouts.
It’s time to start casting shadows of a different kind:

If this is what 6 more weeks of winter looks like in Vegas,
then I'll take it!

Just had to throw this one in:  Those are our shadows being cast
from no other light than the bright moon!

What shadows are you going to cast this year???