Biking and Burpees (or Some Nauseous Workouts)

This past week of workouts were pretty tough for me. I was dealing with some of the worst nausea I had ever experienced (although I was fortunate that the worst day was on a rest day) and I figured that was what made these workouts so hard. But after almost all my classes, the coaches were saying how tough these workouts were. So I guess it wasn’t just me. Since Hell Week is coming up soon, a bunch of us thought of these classes as preparation for it. But knowing that it wasn’t just me struggling didn’t make these workouts any easier!

Monday’s workout was an endurance day, and right when I got to my workout I started experiencing some bad nausea. I took medication right before class, but I knew it would take a bit of time to kick in. So while I was on the bike for the cardio part of class I was battling how I was feeling.

The idea for the cardio workout was a 23 minute distance run, but it was coached with different push to base paces. I tried to follow the coaching and use the resistance levels on the bike that I normally do, but when I was feeling off I brought the resistance down and just focused on not stopping. I wasn’t doing too bad during the bike considering how I was feeling before class, but I also know that I wasn’t doing my absolute best either.

On the floor, it was one long block that had two parts. The first part was regular floor work and the second part had rowing and squats. The regular floor work included dumbbell swings, lunges, uppercuts, and plank leg lifts. At first, we did 3 rounds of that before moving to the rower for a 150 meter row and 8 squats. Then we went back to the floor and did 2 rounds of it plus 2 rounds of rowing and squats. Finally it was 1 round of floor work and 3 rounds of rowing. I made it through the doing just 1 round of floor work before class was over. I was using slightly lighter weights than normal and my rowing wasn’t quite as fast as I usually go, but consider the issues I was dealing with I didn’t really care.

Wednesday’s workout was a strength workout and my nausea was even worse. Not only was I dealing with nausea, but I was in a lot of pain from cramps and I was very bloated. All of those things didn’t make me too excited to work out, but I also knew doing it would help me feel a bit more normal.

Each of the cardio blocks had a similar format with a long push pace, a base pace, a base pace at an incline, a base pace back on a flat treadmill, and an all out pace. I was on the bike and tried doing what I could with my resistance levels. I managed to get pretty close to what I normally do, but I was pedaling much slower than normal. Compared to other classes, I only did about 75% of the distance on the bike. I was a bit surprised how much less I did when it felt like I did more effort. But I think the effort was from overcoming how I felt that morning.

On the floor we also had 3 blocks. Each block started with a 200 meter row. We were supposed to do stroke counts and work on increasing our wattage, but I just tried to do it without stopping. All of them took more than a minute which is pretty long for me. Then we had one row type exercise with weights and one core exercise each block. For the row type exercises we had split stance low rows, split stance high rows, and upright rows. And for the core work we had double crunches, plank pull throughs, and half get ups. I was using some good weights for all the weighted work which helped me feel better after doing less than what I hoped on the bike.

I got through the worst of my nausea on Thursday which was a rest day, but I was still not feeling that great on Friday. But I was happy that I got through the worst part and that I might be able to do some better work in the workout. But then I discovered that this workout was a special one for World Burpee Day and it wasn’t really designed for someone who couldn’t bounce around too much or be parallel to the ground without being nauseous.

Fortunately, that class was a 3 group one, so I was at each section of the room for about 15 minutes. I started with cardio on the bike and we had 3 blocks that were each 4 minutes long. We had a 90 second hill which had decreasing inclines every 30 seconds, a flat base pace, a push pace at an incline, and an all out pace (I don’t remember if this was at an incline or not for the treadmills). I worked on trying to do my best with my resistance levels on the bike and I actually did a bit higher resistance levels than I had to with the 90 second hills because I used the same resistance pattern each time when it was supposed to be a bit less each time.

On the rower, we had rounds of rowing with mini band arm raises between each row. We started at a 700 meter row and we were supposed to decrease by 100 meters each time we got back on the rower. My only goal was to try to row as long as I could without stopping. I managed to do that for the 700 meter row, but that might have been a mistake because that was the only row I could do without stopping. For the 600 and 500 rows, I was only able to go about 45 seconds before I was having waves of nausea and needed to pause. I didn’t get as much rowing done as I would have liked to because of the breaks, but I did my best.

And then I was on the floor for all the burpees. We had 5 types of burpees to do in the workout. We had regular burpees, burpees with a plank jack, rolling burpees, burpees with step ups, and ultimate burpees. Between each type of burpees we had crunches and the goal was to make it through all of the burpees before class was done. I knew that I’d have to do modifications for every single type because of my nausea. I had to use the bench for my hands for all of them because I didn’t want to be flat on the ground. Normally when I use the bench I can jump my feet back and forth, but I had to step back and step together again. I also can’t do step ups so I do lunges instead (and I had to split it up so I did all the burpees first and the lunges after). Even with all the modifications, I still needed to take a lot of breaks. But somehow I was on the last round of crunches when class was done so I did make it through all 5 types of burpees.

Saturday’s class was a mix of endurance, strength, and power. I was a little sore from the workout the day before (and Friday night I was at Disneyland but I’ll write about that tomorrow) and I was still getting over the nausea. But it was one of the lighter nausea days so I knew I’d be able to do some really great work on the bike.

We had a switch class where all the blocks were 4.5 minutes and we switched between cardio and the floor every block. All the cardio blocks were the same with a 30 second push pace, 1 minute base pace, 2 minute push pace, and 1 minute all out. For the first block I used my normal resistance levels on the bike, but I realized I could do more. So for the other 3 blocks, I had my base, push, and all out resistances 1 level higher than I normally use. It was a bit tough doing that for all the 2 minute push paces, but it felt really great each time when I completed the block and moved to the floor. I felt really strong and fast and I needed that little victory.

On the floor, we had 3 floor blocks and 1 rowing block. For each of the floor blocks we had 1 Bosu exercise and 1 other exercise. The Bosu exercises were single arm chest presses, back extensions, and pull overs. I had the do the back extensions on the ground because of my nausea, but for everything else I used the Bosu and had some good weights to use. And the other exercises were single leg V ups, single arm power jacks, and single arm clean to presses. Again, for the weights I was using what I have been using lately so that was great. And for the rowing block, we had a 600 meter row and then 20 seconds to recover. We were supposed to do a 300 meter row next followed by a 150 meter row, but my 600 meter row took so long that I only had time to recover for 20 seconds and then do just under a minute of rowing to finish class.

I’m really hopeful this week I won’t have any bad nausea days. I might have some mild ones toward the beginning of the week, but I know that it won’t be as bad as what I had this past week. And I’m so glad that for Hell Week it should be a good week too because I can’t imagine how it would be doing those workouts feeling how I did this past week. Of course, there is always a chance that I might have some nausea during that week, but hopefully this week prepared me for how to make it through!

Some Highs And Lows Of My Body (or I Found One Possible Benefit To My Nausea)

I feel like a broken record writing about my nausea on here. And my body feels like a broken record too because this just keeps happening over and over again. Fortunately, it’s decreased in length a bit. When this started up again 2 years ago, the nausea was about 2 weeks a month so it was 2 weeks on and 2 weeks off. Now, its between 7-10 days long so sometimes it’s 1 week on and 3 weeks off. And I’m always grateful for the time that I’m not feeling poorly, even if it is limited.

But while the length has gotten better the actual symptoms feel like they are getting worse each month. I need to be better about tracking this because I know it hasn’t been a steady increase in pain, but I think overall it is much worse. And this cycle things are worse than they ever have been for me. I hate complaining, but with the way my body feels right now that’s just where my head is.

As I am typing this, I am using so many different things to try to keep the nausea and pain low. I am wearing my anti-nausea bands, I have a heat pack on my stomach, I have KT tape on my stomach (a newer thing I learned that helps with the cramps), I’m staying as hydrated as possible, I have taken painkillers, I took anti-nausea meds, I look menstrual pain relief medications, and I’m keeping anti-nausea lozenges in my mouth. I don’t know what else I can do and I know my doctor and I have been working on any other options for me.

Normally, I am in pain and nauseous but it is lessened by just a few of these treatment options. This time, it doesn’t even feel like the edge has been taken off. I’m so glad I work from home because I want to have all my things around me, but I also know I’m not working at my best right now. I did get some new suggestions from people online for things to try (if anyone has personal experience with a TENS device I’d love to know about it!) but I also know that without hormonal treatments I am limited.

I have been telling myself that in 2 years this is the first time it’s as bad as it is. So many it will never be this bad again for another 2 years. I still would prefer to never feel like this again, but I also know that I need to be realistic and prepare for when this does happen again. I don’t want to be caught off guard and not have things in my home to make this better. I don’t feel safe driving when I’m in this much pain (some of the cramps are giving me white outs in my vision) so I don’t want to have to leave my home for any remedies.

I know this all sounds really horrible and awful, but I also know that there are so many people who have things worse than I do. At least I have options that work most of the time and have a doctor who is more than willing to help me find something that works. My doctor believes my pain which sadly isn’t the case for so many people. I couldn’t imagine what I would have to do if my doctor thought the pain couldn’t be this bad or that it was all in my head. She knows it’s real and she wishes she could make it stop for me.

I did randomly find one possible benefit to my nausea this week though. I had to get blood work done because I am having a liver MRI this weekend. Before any MRI that uses contrast dye, you have to get blood drawn so they can test kidney function. This makes sure that your body will be ok with the dye. The dye can cause issues for people with kidney problems so they always check before every MRI. I got mine done on Wednesday after work and was wondering how getting blood work done while feeling horrible would be.

I don’t really faint the same way that I used to with needles, but I still have these weird blackout moments. When a needle goes under my skin, my entire body tenses up and I hold my breath. It’s weird and I can’t seem to stop that part, but I’m just glad I’m not passing out completely. And when I have these blackout moments, I’m still conscious and aware so I always hear medical staff talking to me and telling me to relax or breathe. I can’t in the moment, but when it passes I relax and my breathing is normal again. While I do always warn any medical staff that I do this, I think they are always surprised by it. But I feel glad that this is a minor reaction to a needle and I feel totally fine when it’s over. I’m not shaky or light-headed. I can just go on with my day. It was a little different when I got Botox, but I think that was because the needle was only a part of it and feeling the Botox go into my skin also freaked me out a bit.

When I went in for my blood work on Wednesday, I warned the lab tech the same way that I always warn people. I don’t want them to be scared when it happens or think that I need medical help when it’s done because I’m sure it looks scary in the moment for them. Most people don’t tense up or hold their breath when getting blood drawn, so they aren’t used to it. I didn’t say anything about already being in pain or nauseous because I didn’t want to worry them more nor did I know what it would be like this time.

To my surprise, somehow things were actually a little easier for me! I still tensed up and held my breath, but it was much shorter than normal and it didn’t feel the same way it had in the past. Usually I can feel a bit of soreness from where my muscles tensed up, but this time I didn’t have any feeling after I relaxed. It was a nice surprise and I was glad that it wasn’t worse than expected. The blood draw is only for one test so it’s super fast. Pretty much right after I was back to normal the needle was out of my arm and I was on my way to do other things I needed to do after work.

Of course, I don’t want to wish to be more nauseous whenever I need to do blood work. While it was easier this time, it was not that much of a difference so the added pain and annoyance of the nausea didn’t outweigh the benefit. But it did make me feel a bit better about how my MRI will go this weekend. I am not looking forward to the IV being put into my arm, but maybe it won’t be as bad as all the other times because of the nausea. I would prefer for the nausea to be gone today so I don’t have to worry about it during the MRI. I’m still nervous about being in the machine for all that time without being able to move if I have a bad cramp or if I feel like I need to throw up. But I’m trying to stay optimist about it all.

Ideally I won’t have to deal with this pain and nausea every month for that much longer, but realistically that’s not going to happen. But at least I found a small silver lining to the cloud of all this stuff I deal with every month.

World Mental Health Day (or Seeing So Many People Be So Open)

Yesterday was World Mental Health Day. Throughout the day, I saw a lot of posts on social media with people sharing their stories of mental health struggles or trying to get treatment. And for the friends who don’t have personal experiences with mental health issues, they were sharing notes of support or saying that they could be there for anyone who needed it. It was really amazing to see it all.

For so many years, it seemed like nobody was talking about mental health. It was a private thing someone dealt with and a lot of time that also meant that there was shame as well. But people have been more and more open about their own issues and I feel like the stigma of mental health issues is not nearly what it used to be years ago. I know that some people still are embarrassed that they need help with something that others don’t think twice about, but almost everyone I know has said that things felt more normal when they shared their story and realized that so many people have the same issue.

I haven’t been shy to share my issues with mental health. I went through a long time of being misdiagnosed and I think that made my situation worse than what it was on its own. And now that I’m in a better place with treatment and working on self-care, I’m doing better than I ever remember feeling. But I also remember how dark it can feel when you feel alone or misunderstood. Or when you are being told you should be feeling better and you aren’t. I remember wondering what was wrong with me when I was being told that a medication would make me feel better but in fact it made me feel worse and more upset about the little things in life.

I try to be there for as many of my friends as possible. Sometimes that means just being a supportive ear and listening and sometimes that means forcing a friend to get help. I have learned that I can’t be there for my friends 24/7 because that actually makes things harder on me, but I try to be there as much as I can. My phone is always near me and I’ll pick it up in the middle of the night if someone calls and I hear my phone vibrating (I don’t leave it on to ring since that means all other notifications would make noise too). And if someone needed to come over to not be alone, I wouldn’t hesitate to tell them to come over.

I have put a bit too much pressure on myself to be there as much as I can be for others, but just like with other mental health issues as soon as I was public about that others told me that they had the same problem. That’s why I’ve been doing more self-care things and trying to prioritize myself. I’m still working on finding the balance between being there for those who need it and being there for myself, but it’s getting there. But I’ve also learned to help my friends find others who can be there just like I can and so many of them have created their own mini-support groups with different friends so they have a bunch of people they can reach out to when they need support of any kind.

I think that while it is still important to have a day like World Mental Health Day so that people are sharing their stories, since so many people talk about mental health year round that it feels like it’s just World Mental Health Day every day! And that’s the way it should be. People need help and support every day and it’s important that when that happens they don’t have to feel alone. So by sharing stories year round when they happen it will be helping someone out there who needs to hear that story that particular day.

Laziness As Self-Care (or Grateful For The Slow Season)

The busy season at my day job should have started a few weeks ago. When it’s the slow season I might only have a few customers over an entire shift. But when the busy season kicks in, I can be on a phone call, have 2-3 customers in the chat system, and still be missing a call so I’ll have a voicemail to return later. When it’s the slow season, I feel bored sometimes and miss the craziness of the busy season. But when it’s busy, I can wish that it just would calm down so that I can catch my breath.

For some reason, we aren’t having the same busy season that we normally do. Ticket sales are similar to past seasons, but I think more customers are using the website and not calling in to ask things that are on the website. We do still get customers calling in and sometimes we get funny questions. My favorite recurring funny question is when a customer calls and says “I see the show this weekend is sold out. How many tickets left does that mean?”. There are only so many ways I can say a sold out show means that tickets are sold out. But I think more customers are realizing that our website is very accurate so they aren’t calling in to ask that as often or they see that our website has the menu and location so they don’t call us to ask.

It’s been a bit boring with the slow season continuing later than normal, but this week I’m actually grateful for it. I knew this week would be the week that I’d be nauseous, but it’s taking it out of me more than normal. My nausea isn’t necessarily worse than other months, but it’s affecting more parts of my life. I’m dealing with bloat which makes clothes not feel right and just makes me uncomfortable. And I’m very fatigued even though my sleep hasn’t changed from my normal schedule. I’m just feeling off and not like myself. So I’m happy that I don’t have to stay upbeat while juggling multiple customers.

I’ve gotten very into working on self-care lately and I have noticed so many positive changes in my life. But normally self-care feels like I’m doing something for myself like reading or doing different beauty routines. But right now, self-care for me is literally to do nothing. Being lazy and napping if necessary is my self-care this week. I don’t necessarily want to be in a habit of being lazy because I have worked hard to beat that in the past. But I also know that right now this is the right thing for me to do for my body and mind.

I know that I need to take advantage of this right now because any day the slow season can switch over to the busy season. I have noticed it has picked up a bit in the past week, but it is still much slower than I was prepared for. And hopefully I don’t need to be lazy for that long. I know when my nausea typically ends and I would expect these other issues to go away at the same time or sooner. I’d love it if I was only dealing with nausea by the end of the week. I never thought I would be hoping for nausea, but I guess it’s the lesser of two evils right now in my life.

I do have a bit of guilt because I know that I should be doing other things, but I’ve been working on understanding that maybe a bit of guilt is going to be a part of my self-care. I have other friends who struggle with self-care because they have that same feeling and knowing that has actually helped me. I thought it was a problem for just me and that maybe it meant that self-care wasn’t doing what it should be doing. But knowing that other friends feel the same way made me realize that it might just be something that many of us will deal with. Girls are raised to be accommodating and pleasant (which can bring up so many other issues), and taking time for yourself almost goes against that. But so many of us are retraining our minds to think differently about it.

So for now, my self-care practice will be a lot of doing nothing, and that’s absolutely fine and perfect with me.

Such An LA Night (or Just Having Some Fun With A Friend)

I usually write about the SAG-AFTRA Film Society at the beginning of the summer because that’s when the season usually starts each year. But this year, there were some delays with the theater and the season had to start late. But since we are going to have a shortened season, we also had reduced pricing so I’m not too mad about it! And finally this past weekend we had the first screening season!

The first weekend had 2 screenings but I was only able to make it to the first screening. And the first screening was “A Star Is Born” and I was so excited to see it! I had heard so many great things about it and the screening was going to be on opening weekend which is a rare treat!

More often than not, I go to screenings alone and that’s fine with me. But I always ask around to see if anyone wants to go with me because it’s always fun to see a movie with a friend. Plus, since I pay for the season, I like to invite friends so they can get a free movie! It’s one of the fun things I get to do and share with others and it always makes me happy when someone can come with me.

This time, my friend Dani wanted to come along. She has never been to one of these screenings before (although she has been to screenings through other ones) so I think she was excited to see what the Film Society is all about. We got there pretty early since the first screening weekend is usually crowded. The way they had us line up was different from the other years I’ve done it so it looked like there were so many people in line, but I reassured Dani that it always looks like that but then when you get inside the theater I can almost always find seats in the center.

While I still have moments of realizing that I’m talking to someone I recognize from tv or movies, it’s seeming more normal to me. But when Dani and I lined up for the movie, she had a look on her face like she was trying to place someone she thought she knew. She told me a bit later that a woman behind us in line was in one episode of “Friends” and she remembered her from that one episode. I love when friends get excited about stuff like that because it’s one of those “only in LA moments”.

When we got inside the theater, I was right and we were able to be seated almost exactly in the center of the theater. We had some time to kill before the movie started, but we used that time to catch up and discuss lots of random things.

My quick review of “A Star Is Born” is that is was amazing! The story is pretty similar to the past versions of it so nothing was super shocking or surprising. But it still seemed to feel new and fresh. And when it was one of the dramatic scenes toward the end (if you know the story you know what I’m talking about), I felt like I couldn’t breathe. And Bradley Cooper did a wonderful job directing it and making the film look beautiful. For his first time directing, he did an incredible job and I have a feeling there will be a lot of award nominations for the movie.

After the movie, Dani and I decided to get some dinner. We were looking at different restaurants near the theater and nothing seemed to be what we wanted. But then Dani asked if we could go to Pink’s Hot Dogs since it wasn’t too far away. She had never been there before and wanted to check it out. I really enjoy Pink’s and don’t go that often so that sounded perfect to me! I prepared her that there may be a huge line, but when we got there the line only had about 10 people in it! It was fate that we went there!

We both enjoyed our hot dogs and just hanging out and chatting. It was also such a nice night outside so it felt good to be sitting outside and not feeling too hot or like the humidity was stifling. Even though we just had hot dogs, Dani and I decided to continue our night out and get some dessert. We were trying to think of a very LA type of dessert and decided to go Milk which is an ice cream shop and a bakery. I had never been there before but had heard amazing things about it so we got in the car and headed over there.

So many of the things on the menu sounded great and neither Dani nor I could decide on what we wanted. So we decided to get 2 different ice cream sundaes so we could try a few types of ice cream plus the brownie and blondie.

Those desserts were so good, but they were so giant! We each tried both sundaes and I think we both agreed that the blondie was the better of the two. But even with us both eating that sundae it seemed like we didn’t even make a dent in it! But we were both so stuffed and the store was closing so we only finished a portion of each before heading back to my car to head back.

We joked that this night was such an LA/Hollywood night. We went to a screening, we went to Pink’s, and we went to an ice cream shop that is known for Instagramable foods. It was so silly but so awesome at the same time! Whenever I have these low-key hangouts with friends I always say how much fun they are, and this one was no different. And hopefully I’ll be able to have more nights out like this with some more of the screenings this season!

Working On Some New Challenges (or It’s A Partner Month)

This past week of workouts was a really good week for me. October has a lot of fun things happening at Orangetheory and I’m excited about them. Of course, there is Hell Week coming up at the end of the month. But there is also a triple buddy challenge happening for the entire month. I’m a part of a team of 3 and we need to complete 45 workouts this month as a group. I’m pretty sure this will happen no matter what with my group since we all go so often, but I also know not to slack off on things.

Monday’s workout was an endurance day with a benchmark challenge. It was the 12 minute run for distance and I knew that I couldn’t focus on the distance part of the challenge. In the past, I’ve been able to run the entire 12 minutes and that wasn’t going to be how this attempt went. But I tried to just focus on seeing what I could do and not what my distance was going to end up as.

For the 12 minute challenge, my original idea was to do 1 minute running/2 minutes walking intervals. I was able to do that for the first 4 minutes, but then I realized that running for a minute was just a bit too long for me. I was feeling a bit defeated because I did think that I was taking it easy, but my body was telling me that I was still going too hard. So I switched to 30 seconds running/90 seconds walking until the final minute. And for the last minute I ran and I knew that it was probably not the right choice but I still did it. Even though I told myself I wasn’t worried about the distance, I did have a goal in my head to try to be at least at .75 miles, and I was so happy and relieved that I was able to beat that.

Next I was on the floor where we had increasing rep counts. Our exercises were chest presses, tricep extensions, hip bridges with weight, crunches, and plank work. Since the rep counts were higher than what we had during the Orange X workout, I did go a bit lighter on my weights and used 25lb dumbbells.

Then it was back to cardio where technically it was a row challenge with running for distance when we were done. The idea was to take the distance we got on the treadmill and used that as our meters for the rower. And power walkers had to double theirs or they could do 1500 meters. Since 1500 meters was less than double my distance, that was what I was supposed to do. But we only had 7 minutes in that block so I was just on the rower the entire time. Very few people made it to the treadmill, but I think everyone was happy rowing after a tough treadmill challenge.

I ended my workout on the floor where we had decreasing rep count work. We had chest presses using the straps, plank alternating reaches, and more crunches. The 7 minutes for the floor work seemed to go by really quickly and I made it through 2 rounds before the workout was done.

Wednesday morning was a weird morning for me. I woke up to some texts from someone I didn’t care to hear from that really put me in a bad mood. I also slept funny and my shoulder was bugging me. I really wasn’t in the best mindset when walking into Orangetheory but I also knew a workout would help to improve my mood.

But because I was in a bad mood and a bit punchy, I didn’t want to use the treadmill. When I am in those moods, I know that sometimes I push myself too much to try to make something better in my day. So I did a bike day instead. It was a power based workout but it almost felt more like an endurance day. All of the blocks were either 4.5 or 5 minutes long. For cardio we did the same thing for the first and third block and then had the same thing for the second and fourth block. All the blocks had a push pace, base pace, all out pace, walking recovery, and all out pace; but the timing of the pushes and all outs changed between the 2 different formats. I stuck to my normal resistance levels on the bike but tried to increase how fast I was pedaling. I definitely felt like I was working hard and like I expected it did help to improve my mood.

The floor was also 4 blocks and they had an interesting format. Every block had 5 exercises. The second exercise in every block was always an ultimate burpee and the fourth exercise in every block was also a pop jack to squat. But the first, third, and fifth exercise (which was the same thing within a block) changed. In the first block that was a sumo squat, in the second block it was a pop jack, in the third block it was a plank jack, and in the last block it was a sprinter sit-up. I did have to do some modifications for several of these things. For the ultimate burpees, I started doing them the normal way but I never do the push-ups while holding the weights (I put my hands on the ground). By the third block, I switch to splitting up the moves so I did the burpees and then the bicep curl to shoulder press after. For the pop jack to squats, I started with them normally but switched to frogger squats after the first block. And instead of doing sprinter sit-ups, I did regular ones since the rotation is tough for me to do.

The floor work was tough and felt like we had endless burpees and squats, but I was glad to not have to worry about my should hurting too much. I did have to be careful with the shoulder presses, but the soreness and pressure I had in my shoulder wasn’t happening while working out. And I was right that being at the workout put me in a better mood for the rest of the day.

Friday’s workout was 3 partner workout. I got to work with one of the people from my triple buddy challenge and it was a really interesting workout. Even though there were 3 people in each group (one on the floor, one on the treadmill, and one on the rower), the pacer was always either the treadmill or rower. There was a distance to do on each and whoever finished first initiated the switch.

The treadmill distances were between .2 miles and .1 miles (each block got shorter) and the rower distances were between 650 meters and 350 meters (again, each block got shorter). When I was the person on the treadmill, I always finished before the rower person so I started the switch. And when I was on the rower, the treadmill person finished first so I never did the full row that we were supposed to do. But that’s ok because I was working so hard and didn’t mind missing a little bit of the distance on the rower.

On the floor, each block had its own exercises and we just worked through them whenever we were on the floor. The first block had lots of ab dolly work with push ups to knee tucks, rollouts, pikes, and hamstring work. The second block was mainly exercises on the straps with full body pull ups, tricep extensions, lunges into Y raises, jump squats. And the last block was mainly core work with double crunches, toe reaches, torso rotations, and plank pull throughs.

Even though the treadmill and rower distances were different each block, we seemed to pretty much do 2 rotations through all the stations for each block. These types of partner workouts are tough, but they are also so motivating because I don’t want to let my partners down. The only time I was taking breaks was on the floor, but I didn’t do that too often because I wanted to make sure I was doing as much of the floor work as possible to not slack off. Sometimes it’s annoying to do my workout and then be stuck sitting at my desk for several hours to work, but this time I was grateful for the break.

Saturday’s workout was a strength based class and I was feeling a little bit nauseous. I’m not sure if this was due to hormonal nausea or because I splurged a bit too much with food the day before, but whatever the cause was I knew that being on the bike was the better option. I think I’m starting to like doing strength based classes on the bike because I can do more work with the resistance levels than I can with inclines on the treadmill.

There were 3 blocks that all had similar patterns. We had some push and base paces at inclines (or higher resistance level for me) and some moments where everyone was a power walker with a really high incline. The first time everyone had that power walking moment, I decided to really go for it with the resistance on the bike. Normally I don’t go that much higher than level 10, but this time I went to 15. My legs felt like they were moving through jello, but I managed to do the work at that resistance. Each block the incline (or resistance) went down so I didn’t have to do anything that hard again. But I did still keep some of the minutes at higher resistance levels than I usually would use.

On the floor, we had the chance to do an interesting challenge. For the first 3 blocks, we had 2 exercises. The second exercise was always some type of core work. But for the first exercise we did it twice in a row. The first time, we only had 5 reps so we were encouraged to go really heavy with the weight. The second time, we had 15 reps and used a weight that we normally would use.

The first block was a hip hinge low row and I know that my challenge weight is usually 35lb. But when I do that, we have 10 reps so I went up to 40lb. It was really hard and I couldn’t do 5 in a row without taking a break, but I did it. And for the 15 reps I did 20lb. The next block was an overhead shoulder press, but because I’m dealing with some shoulder pain I just stuck with 20lb for 20 reps because I couldn’t go heavier without causing pain. And the third block was hammer curls and I went with 30lb for the 5 reps and 20lb for the 15 reps. The last block was just doing the 5 rep exercises over again and I kept the same weights I had used before.

I feel like this week of workouts gave me some fun opportunities to push and challenge myself and I really went for it! I also figured out when I might have been going a bit too hard, but understanding my limitations is a good thing too. I didn’t necessarily improve on all the challenges I had, but I did on many of them which is always nice. And I also know that I’ll have a chance to do these again and hopefully I’ll have improvement by that point.

A Bit Of A Brain Dump (or Not Much To Write About)

I usually have some really fun things to write about each week. It’s not necessarily every day, but I usually get some inspiration for the days I don’t have something awesome to write about. This week has been one that was pretty much figured out since last week with the exception of today’s post. That’s not unusual and I was expecting to have something figured out to write about. But that inspiration never came to me before I needed to get this done so I’m doing a bit of a brain dump.

I’m wondering if I haven’t been inspired because the political situation going on has been taking up too much brain power. I know that I’m probably paying attention to too much between podcasts, news online, and tv; but I also don’t want to be uninformed. I’ve said before how I’ve never been as politically involved as I am now and I do feel a bit of pride in that fact. But I also know that it has been overwhelming and affecting my mood a bit. I have been trying to add more frivolous podcasts in-between the political ones so my mind isn’t on politics 100%. And I’m doing the same thing with my reading. I have gotten some books from the library that are about politics but skipped reading them because I wanted to read chick-lit. I’ll eventually get back to those books, but I knew I needed to read something else at that time.

Another thing that I have been thinking about a lot is traveling. It’s been quite a while since I’ve traveled. And most of my traveling recently has been for family things. And I know that it counts as traveling, but it’s not the same as planning a trip and exploring a new place. The last time I was on a plane was 2 years ago to see my parents. I’ll be on a plane again next month to travel to Thanksgiving. And I know that not everyone gets to take a plane on a trip and that it is still a bit of a luxury, but it’s weird to think about for me. When I was growing up I traveled a lot with my family. I want to travel more and my list of places I want to go keeps growing. But I don’t have the money to travel (or the savings so I can take time off of work unpaid to travel), but there are some ideas I have that won’t be too expensive that might be able to happen next year. But I still wish I had the funds to do more exotic travel and to go to places I’ve been dreaming about going to.

It’s the fall tv season and I’m back into watching all the new shows. I don’t know if it’s because of all the time I’ve been spending on paying attention to politics, but I haven’t really been connecting to many of the new shows. I am trying to not make a decision if a show is going to be one that I watch regularly or not right now because I know that in a month I might feel differently about it. But it’s still something that is so weird to me because it seems like every other year I am overwhelmed by how many new shows I’m loving!

Since it seems like the previous 3 things in this brain dump aren’t the most positive things, I’ll end on a high note. I’ve been getting more and more comfortable with prioritizing my needs lately. I’ve been working on more self-care things even if I know they are silly. I have been using sheet masks regularly because they make me happy. I have no clue if they are helping my skin and I know they don’t benefit anyone but me, but they bring me joy so I do them. I’m also not worrying about attending every event or pleasing other people if it makes me stress too much. I don’t get mad if a friend can’t do something and I know that they feel the same if I can’t do something. But I still have always stressed on myself that I need to be more available to my friends and I know that it’s not the truth. I’ve been doing more nights at home reading or watching some tv and not feeling guilty or that I’m missing out. It’s nice to be comfortable with putting myself first, especially since that was a recent challenge of mine.

So that’s a bit of a brain dump for me of things that are taking up my thoughts. Sorry if this post wasn’t the most interesting one, but I hope to have some more fun posts about awesome things next week!

Am I In A Rut? (or Not Sure What To Do About Work)

I’ve had several friends that have been in ruts lately. Sometimes they realize this on their own, and sometimes they have something dramatic happen in their lives and then they realize they can’t just keep doing things the same way anymore. Either way, I’m always so proud of my friends when they are able to make positive changes for themselves. They always seem so much happier and all I want for my friends is for them to be happy.

I’ve been in a couple of ruts in the past before. Sometimes it’s a rut with my day job and sometimes it’s a rut with my fitness or health. It’s not easy to change things up, but when I do I always feel so much better and I feel like the change was necessary. These ruts have led me to some new and fun things and I’ve never really had any regrets. I just see these changes as positive moves in my life and even if they don’t work for me I am glad I just tried to see if they would.

I don’t necessarily feel like I’m in a rut right now, but because I have so many friends going through them I’ve been questioning it. Things have been pretty stable and boring for me lately, but I like that. I have things in my life that are hectic or dramatic, so I like having other aspects of my life normal and routine. But I also know that sometimes when I feel this sense of comfort in my life that means I do need to make a change.

The main thing I have been debating about is my day job situation. I’m fine with my box office job right now. I would love if I got paid a bit more, but I should be getting a small raise around the new year. But my other day job hasn’t been able to tell me yet when they can bring me back. I haven’t worked for them since the end of September. I thought a month or two off wouldn’t be too bad since that job didn’t pay me that much. But even missing that little bit of income is affecting me and I know I need to figure out something.

I’m going to try to wait it out a bit more because I do want to keep working that job. It’s really an ideal situation because I can do it between the customers at my box office job and my boss knows me well so she doesn’t have to micromanage me. Plus, I actually enjoyed the work. It wasn’t that tough to find events to add to the calendar, but it was fun seeing what different things were happening around LA and different organizations that I might be interested in doing things with in the future.

I think waiting it out really is the right choice because I’m so unsure if I need to make a change. I don’t want to stress too much about when I will be working with them again, but I also know that eventually if they can’t add me to a new contract that I will need to find a new job. So I have casually looked at jobs online to see what is out there. It’s tough because I have requirements that aren’t always compatible with all jobs, but at least I’m not under a time crunch right now.

I think that this uncertainty with my job is just something that I feel from time to time. I have felt it with almost all jobs I’ve had as an adult. I wonder if I am doing what I should be doing or if I will be blindsided one day by losing my job. I want to be a step ahead so that if I do lose my job I am not at a disadvantage. I’ve been in jobs where I had no clue I was going to be let go and I hate that feeling. But I also know that this situation I’m in now isn’t that. As soon as my boss has a better idea of what will be happening she’ll let me know. It has nothing to do with me or my job performance. It’s just the downside of working a contract gig that depends on government funding.

I have said this a million times before and I’m sure I’ll say it again, but just getting all that out has made me feel so much better. I needed to rant and typing it out has helped me get into a better mindset. This blog seriously is one of my best forms of therapy.

Finding Felicity (or Being A Total Fangirl)

I watch a lot of tv now. It’s basically my job to know what is on tv. I am trying to not watch everything for the entire season, so I’m starting to get pickier about which shows I choose to follow. But when I was growing up, I didn’t have unlimited tv time so I was very selective. I had a couple of favorite shows, and one of those favorites was “Felicity”.

I’m not exactly sure how I knew about “Felicity” when the show premiered, but I started watching right from the beginning and was pretty obsessed with it from the very first episode. My obsession was so strong that when I heard about a contest to find the biggest fan of the show, my best friend (who was equally obsessed) and I had to make a tape so we could enter.

We were so upset when we didn’t win the contest, but that didn’t stop how much we loved the show. It was only 4 seasons long, but I still think of it as one of my favorites of all time. I’ve rewatched the series a few times and it still holds up and I always enjoy it each time I watch it.

So when my friend Teresa posted an idea about doing a podcast about the show, I immediately told her I had to be a part of it! Teresa never watched “Felicity” so she is doing a podcast about watching it for the first time and she is having guest co-hosts each episode who watched the show when it was on. I was so excited that she invited me to be a part of it and this week I recorded my first episode of Finding Felicity with her!

I’m not a huge fan of hearing my voice because I always think it sounds weird, so I was a bit nervous about doing a podcast. But as soon as we started recorded, I couldn’t shut up because of how much I love the show! I actually was talking too much (sorry Teresa!) and I know they are going to have to edit a lot of what I was saying down so the episode isn’t too long. But I couldn’t help myself! I have so much to say about this show and how much I love it!

This episode of Finding Felicity is about the second episode of the first season, so I had to try to remember what happened in the first two episodes and what happened after so I wouldn’t spoil anything. I did rewatch the first two episodes again just to be extra familiar with those episodes specifically. I think I didn’t really reveal too much that happens in future episodes and when I did refer to things coming up (like characters that haven’t been introduced), I was pretty vague. I was proud of myself for not spoiling things for Teresa because I really want her to experience watching the show with as few spoilers as possible for a show that is 20 years old.

I had the best time recording the episode with Teresa. We had some fun stories to share that weren’t necessarily about the show (those may or may not get cut) and I loved being able to do some personal reflection as we talked. Teresa asked me about my thoughts on the show when I watched it 20 years ago and what my thoughts are watching it now. It did give me a lot to think about and I liked having a new way to think about how my life has changed.

My episode will be available to listen to on Friday, and each Friday there will be another new episode. There will be a rotating cast of guest co-hosts and I will be coming back on for another episode toward the end of the first season. But I know I will be listening to every episode because it is such a fun podcast idea! I love when someone else is becoming a fan of something I am such a huge fan of. And I also love when I have another way to share my fandom for a show that is one that I have honestly loved for decades!

Building Upon My Monthly Challenge (or Continuing To Work On Shopping)

Last month, I said my monthly challenge was to not do any online shopping. I did allow myself some exceptions to the rule if necessary, and I’m happy to say that I only did that twice. Both times I shopped online this past month was on Amazon, but only one of those was for me. The first time was sending my friend some supplies they needed after getting home from inpatient treatment. I would have preferred to bring it in person, but I knew I wasn’t going to be able to do that soon enough. And the second time I did online shopping was for some household goods (batteries, paper goods, office supplies). And I did do price comparisons to make sure getting them online was the right choice.

Even though I didn’t completely eliminate online shopping, I feel like I did reduce it a lot. And it changed my shopping habits as well. For the stuff I ordered online for myself, I didn’t buy things right away when I needed them. None of the things I needed were urgent, so I just added them to my Amazon cart and saved them up until it was the end of the month. It was much more mindful than I have done online shopping before and I really did notice a difference in what I was considering buying when I knew that I wasn’t necessarily going to be getting it soon. While my shopping wasn’t out of control, I knew I needed to cut back and I’m happy that I was able to accomplish that in September.

I’m going to continue working on limiting my online shopping. I know it won’t be completely eliminated, but I can work on making sure that I’m not ordering things whenever I think of them. I think adding them to my cart and waiting a few weeks was the right choice. I do have other gifts for people I need to order online this month, but it’s really not the same as ordering for myself so I’m not as worried about it. And since they are gifts, I’m just getting that one thing and not seeing what else is something that can be bought.

And going off of that idea, I was inspired for this month’s challenge. I have become so much more mindful of my shopping online. Now I want to be more mindful of my in store shopping as well. And a majority of my in store shopping is for groceries and household things, so the easiest way I think I can be mindful is to always have a list.

I’m actually pretty good at making lists when I’m shopping for household things. I usually shop at CVS and I have been taking advantage of their coupons for a long time. But I have learned that I can combine the coupons you get when you shop along with coupons that various brands put out and with the overall discount coupons I get in the mail (like when you get 30% your shopping trip from CVS). I’m not a crazy coupon person, but it does make me happy when I see the percentage of savings on the bottom of the receipt and it is over 50%. It happens more often than not and it’s nice to know that things I am buying are cheaper than what others may be paying for them.

And I used to do grocery store lists and still occasionally do them. If I’m making something new or have food planned out, I make a list because I hate forgetting one thing that I really need. But I don’t always have a plan and do a lot of routine shopping. I know that I will eat certain things each week and I usually don’t even think about it as I pick up those things each week. But then I also know that there are plenty of times that I just get those things and don’t necessarily think about different meals or what my schedule will be like that will make my meals a bit weird.

I don’t necessarily want to make this about meal planning, although I do think that will be a bit of a side effect of doing this. But I do want to write down what I am going to buy even if it is just stuff I usually get each week. I want to think about what I’m going to do before getting into the store. I can’t guarantee that I will only get the things on the list because sometimes I see something that is new or inspires me. But at least it will give me a plan to try to follow.

In a perfect world, I will make the list for shopping for whatever I am getting before I leave my house. I do try to do that when I can, especially when I’m doing multiple errands back to back. I’ll make a list of each place I’m going to and what I will be getting at each store. I think writing it down really is the best for me because it does help me remember it. But if I’m out and going to do some shopping, I can just make a quick list on my phone. I do have some list apps, but it’s also easy enough to do it as a text or email to myself.

I’m also planning on using this for shopping for clothes and other goods too. When I need to go to a store to buy some new clothes or replace something, I also end up doing a lot of wandering around the store and seeing what else catches my attention. I’m doing much better not buying things that weren’t a part of the plan, but maybe making what I need to buy as a list will help me not waste the time wandering around. I still want to give myself the freedom to do window shopping and see what inspires me, but I want to also make those moments more mindful and for me to be aware that I am choosing to do that.

I’m so glad that I’m going to continue working on my shopping habits this month. I was pleasantly surprised by how last month went and how easy it ended up being. I only hope that this month goes the same way.