Another Wicked Night Out (or Seeing A Show From Up High)

With this season at the Pantages, I’ve mentioned that there are a bunch of shows that I have seen before. It’s still a novelty to me to see a show more than once so it’s exciting to see shows again. I can pay attention to different details when I’m more familiar with they show and it always brings a new meaning to it. And while I love when something in a show surprises me, I love it just as much when those surprises are now expected and I can enjoy other aspects of the show.

This past week was another repeat show for me when we had tickets for “Wicked”. It didn’t seem that long ago that I had that show as a part of my season, but when I looked back at my blog post about it I realized it was almost 4 years ago! I couldn’t believe it’s been that long since that season, but I guess I’ve been doing season tickets for a lot longer than I feel like I have. All of us in my group were excited to see the show and I love when we are all as enthusiastic about a show as everyone else.

But because of holiday stuff and travel schedules, it was tough for all 4 of us to get together for the show. We can change our dates on our tickets, but we can’t always get them in the same price section as the original tickets. So sometimes if we change the date we have to pay a little bit. Since I could keep my original date and didn’t want to spend a bit more on tickets, I decided to go the night we were scheduled to be there. And Grace decided to keep her ticket the same too so it was the 2 of us out at the show that night.

Even though these tickets were a part of our current season tickets, they were an add-on show so we weren’t in our normal seats. While I love our normal seats and being so close to the stage, it can be fun to watch a show I’ve already seen from a different viewpoint. We were up in the balcony this time, but we were the first row behind the aisle so it felt like we didn’t have to be right behind a bunch of other people.

Grace had mentioned to me before the show started that she hadn’t seen the show before, and I was so excited for her to see it. But I didn’t realize she didn’t know the story that well and she had a bunch of funny moments where she was very surprised by how characters in the show connected to characters from the “Wizard of Oz” movie. I tried not to laugh when she was totally shocked, but we both had a good giggle when she was blown away by a plot point. It’s so fun to get to watch a friend experience a show for the first time and see their reactions. 

The show was just as good as I remembered it. The songs are always fun songs and the actors were amazing. The woman who played Elphaba has played the role on Broadway and currently is the actor who has played the role the longest. The Glinda we were supposed to see was also from the Broadway cast, but we saw the understudy that night. Being an understudy is a tough job since you don’t get to rehearse the part as often as you’d like, but the understudy did an incredible job. She was so fun to watch and made the role her own. And all of the rest of the cast was just as impressive.

I did miss being so close to the stage and being able to see more reactions on the actors’ faces, but being further back let me see the show as an entire piece and not just a part that I focused on. I got to see the show framed by the stage in a different way and it was interesting to see that. I’ve only sat in the balcony a few times compared to the dozens of times I’ve been in the orchestra. So I tried to enjoy the experience for what it was and enjoy having a new view of the show.

The one advantage of our seats in the balcony was that it was much faster to get out of the theater than it is from our normal seats. So within minutes of the show ending, Grace and I were outside and saying goodbye so I could drive home and she could catch the subway back to her place. But I had to take one more look back at the theater because it was so beautiful being decorated for the holidays.

Our next show is next month and I’m hoping all 4 of us can attend the show together. So far, for the 3 shows we’ve had, we haven’t all been able to be there together. I understand that all of us have slightly crazy schedules and it can be tough to coordinate things. But one of the things I love about having season tickets with my friends is getting to be with my friends. We’ve still got a bunch of shows this season to make that happen, and I know it will.

Another OTF Hangout (or Discovering A New Local Wine Bar)

There have been so many organized outings coordinated by Orangetheory that I haven’t been able to go to over the years. For a long time, it was just tough for me to go to anything organized by the Brentwood studio since I didn’t drive over to Brentwood other than my workouts. I didn’t want to go there to work out, drive home to shower and change, and then go back that way for a happy hour. It was sad I never really could make it, but I knew that it just wasn’t meant to be for those.

But since the Culver City studio opened, I’ve been making more of an effort to attend the different events that they do. And I have felt such a part of the community at that studio that I am more motivated to try to go. I’ve been able to make friends at the Culver City studio much faster than I could in Brentwood, but I think that is mostly because of how comfortable I am in the workouts. I’m not so terrified or feeling out of place that I can’t focus on who is in class with me. I’m still in my own head a lot and don’t notice who is always in class with me, but I’m trying to get better about it.

So when I found out there was going to be a fun Saturday evening hangout at a wine bar for the Culver City studio, I put it on my calendar. The day of, I was feeling a bit nauseous and debating about not going. But one of my workout friends texted me about an hour before to ask if I was going to go. Since she was going to be there, I decided that I could do my best to ignore how yucky I was feeling because it was going to be worth it to be hanging out with people I usually only see in workout clothes.

This hangout was held at Stanley’s Wet Goods, which I hadn’t been to before. My favorite wine bar in Culver City closed a little while ago and I hadn’t found a new place to go. So when I saw that this was a wine bar, I was excited to see what they had to offer (even if I really don’t drink). 

When I got there, I was a little bit confused at first. The space looks like a wine store with a side section with tables where you can order wine. I didn’t recognize anyone at first, but everyone else was looking as confused as I was and we realized we were all there for the Orangetheory hangout. Then we found out that there was a back room that was reserved for us so we all got our things to head back there. And just as we were going to the back room, my friend arrived. So I was feeling much better about knowing people and not feeling alone.

Once we got to the back room, we all sat down at the tables there. We were trying to figure out if we were in the same classes or not (I really think the name tags we get need to include a section for us to write down when we go to class). I always feel bad when someone recognizes me from class and I don’t recognize them, but everyone seems to understand that when you are super focused on your workout you aren’t always looking to see if you see the same faces each week in your class. But it didn’t really matter if I recognized someone or not because everyone was introducing themselves to each other and I never had to feel embarrassed that I didn’t know someone that I should have.

For most of the evening, I was sitting at the same table because it was pretty central in the room. I was sometimes sitting the people seated on the other side of the table and sometimes I turned so I could face the other table. It wasn’t a huge room so it never felt like I was really missing seeing anyone. And I was getting pretty involved in a couple of different conversations so I wasn’t really thinking that I had to find other people to talk to. It was nice not having moments of feeling left out or wondering who else I could talk to. I always felt very much in the middle of conversations and I loved all the randomness that we were all talking about.

We talked about coaches we love, people were asking me about the Brentwood studio since many of them haven’t been there before, we talked about people we see in class and don’t know their names (and they weren’t at the bar), and as it seems like so many conversations go to we talked about dating in LA. It was funny to hear the crazy stories that other OTF people have had dating and of course I had to share a couple of my best crazy ones.  It’s nice to have people to talk to who are going through the same issues with dating that I have because it helps me not feel like some of the issues I’ve encountered are due to me. It might be due to being in LA or the guys that we are meeting here, but it’s not something I’m bringing onto myself.

By the time I was heading back home, the room we were in cleared out. I didn’t realize so many other people had left already because I was focused on who I was talking to. But it did help me feel a bit less guilty for leaving because it seemed like the night was winding down.

I’ve said this before, but it’s so hard to make friends as an adult. There aren’t as many opportunities to make new friends once you are done with school, so I am always grateful for events like this that help me meet people I already have something in common with. And hopefully I’ll start recognizing more people in class with me (or they will remind me we met at the outing) so I can have even more friends with me in class.

A Week Of Tough Workouts (or Frustration As Motivation)

This past week of workouts weren’t my best. I had issues with the weather affecting how I was feeling plus I had to deal with nausea. These issues are frustrating to me, but I really tried my best to not let it get to me too much.

Monday’s workout was an endurance day, but it felt a bit like a power day with how the treadmill section was formatted. I was on the treadmill, but my hips were a bit off so I was power walking the entire time. I tried not to be frustrated since the format would have been a great running day, but I am struggling with feeling ok with not being able to run sometimes.

On the treadmill, the first block was a 1 minute all out pace followed by a walking recovery. Then we had 3 rounds of a 30 second push to 1 minute all out pace. The next block was 2 rounds of a 2 minute push pace followed by a 30 second all out pace with a walking recovery in the middle. And the last block was a 4 minute progressive push followed by a 30 second all out pace. And we ended with a walking recovery and one more 1 minute all out pace. I was keeping my inclines on the treadmill at the inclines I usually do, but I was having to take more breaks than I normally do. My hips were just feeling tight and off and I wasn’t sure how to fix that.

On the floor we had 3 blocks and each of those blocks included a 1 minute all out row. I was able to get better every time I did the row so that made me feel a bit better after the treadmill. In the first block we also had lateral lunges and squats, in the second block we had lateral lunges and regular lunges, and the last block was a core blast. The core blast included plank work, push ups, and sit ups.

Wednesday’s workout was a power day. And I thought I had been frustrated to not run on Monday, but Wednesday was even worse for me. We had rainy weather and that always makes me hurt. So I had to use the bike and it was hard because this was another perfect workout to work on my running if I could have done it.

On the cardio side, it was a timed run/row format. All of the runs were 90 seconds long with a 30 second push pace, 30 second base pace, and 30 second all out pace. For the bike, I tried to go 1 or 2 resistance levels higher than I normally use since it was so quick. And after those 90 seconds we switched to the rower where we had 3 rounds of 30 second all out rows with 15 seconds to recover between for a total of 2 minutes. We did the treadmill/bike part 5 times and the row 4 times before switching to the floor.

On the floor, it was timed as well and it matched the cardio side. Whenever it was a 90 second round, we were doing a form of burpees. Whenever it was 2 minutes we had ab work following the same pattern as the rower with 3 rounds of 30 seconds of work and 15 seconds to recover. I pulled the bench down to use it for my burpees, but I still had to do some of my burpees stepping back instead of jumping back. The burpees started basic and we added on every round to include things like using weights, doing bicep curls, doing shoulder presses, and doing ultimate burpees. The ab work switched between sit ups and weighted double crunches.

Friday’s workout was a 3 group workout and I was starting to deal with nausea that morning. I used the bike for my cardio to keep the nausea to a minimum. It wasn’t that bad when I started class, but I knew it was probably going to get worse as the morning went on.

We switched between the blocks so I had 2 rounds on the bike, 2 rounds on the rower, and 2 rounds on the floor. On the bike, I wasn’t thinking too much about what I was doing. I just didn’t want to feel sick. I used my normal resistance levels for my push and all outs, but I wasn’t pedaling as fast as I know I can go.

On the rower, we had sprint rows with half squats between each row for the first block and slightly longer rows with calf raises between each row for the second block. My speed on my rows was within the time we were supposed to be at, but they weren’t my best. But I was able to get through my half squats and calf raises quickly so I got a lot of rounds on the rower done.

And on the floor, we had mini-blocks within the blocks. The first block had push ups and plank reaches as a mini-block, pull ups on the straps and triceps on the straps as a mini-block, and plank low rows and pop jacks as a mini-block. And the mini-blocks in the second block were the same but we had them in the reverse order so we didn’t miss out on doing any exercises. I struggled a bit with some of the plank work, but it was much better than I expected I could do.

Saturday was a strength day and a day that my nausea was a bit worse. I was pretty happy to be on the bike because I do know that even with my nausea being bad sometimes I can do some great things with my resistance levels.

And that’s exactly what I did. I was usually higher resistance levels for almost all of my hill work on the bike. I was trying to push myself more than I normally do and there were a few moments that I could do exactly that. And when I was using the resistance levels that I’m used to, I was working on pedaling faster than normal to make up for it. I did have to take breaks to let the nausea pass, but I used those as my regular breaks and then tried to go harder when I was working.

On the floor, we had 2 blocks and the big focus was on doing single arm clean to presses. We had so many of those to do and then we had other exercises between. In the first block, we had 3 rounds of single arm clean to presses with bench overhead extensions, bench sit-ups to jump squats, and a 200 meter row. I had to split up my bench sit-ups to jump squats to crunches and then doing squats because I couldn’t take going from laying down to standing that much. And the second block had single arm chest presses, plank work, and a 200 meter row between the single arm clean to presses. I had to do my plank work using the bench, but it wasn’t the worst workout for me to deal with my nausea.

I know that I probably sound like a broken record because I am always trying to figure out how to tolerate my nausea in my workouts. It’s not something that is easy to figure out, even 2 years into the process. But I am trying to use the 1-2 weeks a month that I have it as a motivation to try to find where I can do better work. I think I accomplished that a bit this past week and I’m looking forward to trying to do that even more this week.

“Life…In A Word” (or A Wonderful Holiday Giveaway)

I’ve written about my friend Kevin E. West before on here regarding the amazing actor group he created, The Actors’ Network. When I started at The Actors’ Network, I didn’t know Kevin but I got to know him over the years that I’ve been a member of the group. We had become friends and our friendship has only grown stronger over the years. He is one of the leaders of Union Working so we have continued to work together through that group (and I’m an admin for the Facebook group for The Actors’ Network). He is such an amazing friend and I love that we can be brutally honest with each other and I know that the honesty comes from a place of love.

Kevin has written some books on acting in the past and they have always been very helpful and full of great knowledge. I always recommend them to actors or people looking to buy books for actors. But more recently, Kevin has written a book that is not about acting and I highly recommend for everyone!

“Life…In A Word” is an amazing book that is like a dictionary for a selection of words. Each page is a different word with a short story that is an example of the meaning or definition. I loved that the stories weren’t a straightforward example and you sometimes had to read the entire short story to understand how it relates to the word. It made the book feel like a journey and exploration of what words really mean.

I love books like this that I can open up and just read a section of when I need inspiration or a mood booster. It’s something that I can turn to when I need a quick pick me up or want to escape whatever is happening and be in another universe, even if it’s just for a moment. And I can see this book being a wonderful conversation starter or self-help tool. I knew that Kevin is an amazing and insightful person, but this book really brought that to a new level for me. It really was an incredible read and my only wish was that it was longer (but I do believe there will be more books like this coming from him in the future).

And I’m so excited to share that I have a copy of “Life…In A Word” to give away to one reader on here! Not only do I have a copy of the book to give away, but it’s a signed copy!

As with my other giveaways on here, you can enter to win through the Rafflecopter section below. The required things to enter are to comment on this post if you want this book for you or if you want this book to give as a gift to someone else, to follow me on Twitter, and to follow Kevin on Twitter. You can also earn extra entries for follows on social media as well as bonus daily entries for tweeting about the giveaway!

I can’t wait for one of you to win this book! I’m sure you will love it as much as I do and I hope that for those of you who don’t win that you go to buy a copy of the book. It really is something I think everyone should read and that everyone will love it. There is so much variety in the book that everyone will find something that they connect with and will make it such a special addition to their personal library.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

My Dad Is A Trendsetter! (or A Martha Stewart Menorah)

My dad is a very crafty person. I’m not sure how long he has been making things, but it’s been as long as I can remember. I remember when I was little my dad made ski boot holders for us out of PVC pipe and they all were customized with our names (I still have it). He has also built planters for me out of bark, made a special shelf to cover the sink in my utility room that doesn’t work (so now I have a counter there to store things), and has helped me build countless things that we have gotten from furniture stores.

I try to be as crafty as my dad, but he’s just really good at seeing something and finding a new way to use them. For example, after a project he did years ago, he had lots of paintbrushes that weren’t going to be used again. Instead of throwing them out, he dipped them in pain and put them upside down in a flower pot. Now the paintbrushes look like flowers! I’m not inspired like that, but I do try to recreate things I see online even if I’m not successful all the time.

Most of the things that my dad has made have been very unique and I’ve never seen them anywhere else, but earlier this week I was shocked to see one of my dad’s crafts on tv!

I was watching Martha Stewart on the Ellen Show and she was doing some holiday drinks and decorations. I wasn’t paying too much attention because I was also going through my mail, but all of a sudden I had to stop what I was doing and looked up at the screen. Martha Stewart was making a menorah out of a branch. She painted it and added holes to put the candles in before decorating it. I know this isn’t the best picture of it, but you get an idea of what the finished product looked like.

Well, I guess my dad is a trendsetter because the custom menorah that he made for me 3 years ago looks very similar!

Mine isn’t painted or as decorated as the one Martha Stewart made, but it’s pretty close! I know that there’s probably other people who have done the same thing, but it was still the first time I had seen one of my dad’s projects made by someone else.

Of course, I had to tell my dad all about it. I didn’t want to just take a screenshot or video and send it to him. So I made a FaceTime call to him so I could play him the clip of the menorah being made. And I think he was just as surprised as I was that his menorah was being made by Martha Stewart. And of course, we both agree that mine is better. I like that you see the wood pattern on mine and that it looks very natural. The painted white look is nice too, but it’s not the style of most things I have so it wouldn’t fit in with my decor.

My dad and I got a really good laugh out of watching the clip and joking how Martha Stewart somehow stole his idea. I called him a trendsetter and we were wondering how many people might make a custom menorah now that they have seen it done on tv. I’m sure a bunch of people will do it, but I doubt any will look like mine. And I love that I have something so special and one of a kind that was made for me.

Now I’m wondering what other crafts that my dad has made are crafts that other people have made and posted instructions for online. There are too many things for me to try to search for them, but maybe I’ll discover something else on tv or randomly online that matches something my dad has done. And I’m sure if that happens, my dad and I will get just as much enjoyment out of it as we did from watching this Ellen Show clip.

A Hanukkah Dinner (or Sharing Some Traditions With A Friend)

I’m Jewish, but I’m not really religious or celebrate most Jewish holidays. That’s just how I was raised and it’s not something I think about much. When I was little my family did do Hanukkah and sometimes Passover, but we really didn’t do other holidays or celebrate every year. When people ask me about being Jewish, I say that I’m much more culturally Jewish and religious. But whenever a friend wants to celebrate a Jewish holiday with me I’m always happy to share what limited knowledge I have about the holiday.

My friend Christopher (who wrote the short film we starred in together) asked me very early this year if I wanted to have a night of Hanukkah with his family. They are not Jewish, but they wanted to celebrate it and to have their kids learn about holidays that other religions celebrate. I loved that he asked me very early so I could put it on my calendar before other events were filling up my time. So of course, I said yes and we figured we’d talk more about what they wanted to do closer to the date.

Christopher started to text me questions about Hanukkah because he wanted to make it exactly how I would celebrate it. I told him that I don’t really celebrate, but I let him know different things that I think of when I thought of Hanukkah. I told him that latkes or donuts are traditional foods since you usually eat things that have been fried in oil. And I gave him my mom’s brisket recipe since he was asking for a good main dish options, but I knew that since that recipe takes a long time to be made that he probably would just save that one for another day.

Christopher also did a bunch of research on his own and decided to make dreidels for his kids! I was just going to buy some at the store, but he’s really great at making things so he took a look at some and made plans on how to make them from scrap wood. I was very impressed when he sent me a text with a photo on how they came out!

I also wanted to bring things with me to help celebrate Hanukkah. I was going to bring the menorah my dad made for me but I also wanted to bring little gifts for the kids. I went to Party City where I was super surprised by how many Hanukkah things they had! I don’t know if I’ve ever seen such a wide selection of Hanukkah stuff. Even though it’s still a fraction of the Christmas stuff, it’s still a big improvement over what I’ve seen in the past.

I went over earlier this week to celebrate with Christopher and his family. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to get to their house at sundown (when you are supposed to light the menorah), but since this was a casual thing I was fine with it and told Christopher that it didn’t matter if we were doing things the traditional way. I got there just in time for dinner and that worked perfectly.

Christopher went all out with the food he made! He got brisket from a BBQ place (which was delicious), but that’s because he made 3 types of latkes and 2 types of donuts! He made traditional latkes, sweet potato latkes, and French onion latkes along with sour cream and applesauce on the side (I’m partial to sour cream on my latkes).  And he made regular donuts and blueberry filled donuts. I wish I had taken a photo of the food, but we were all enjoying it and I wasn’t thinking about documenting it all. But I think that’s a good thing since I don’t want to live my life through my phone, I want to be more in the moment.

One of the biggest memories I have about Hanukkah as a kid is what the holiday smells like, because it always smells like oil. I don’t make latkes at my house because it would make everything smell like oil and my house is so small that all my clothes in my closet would smell that way too. But when I walked into their house, one of the first things I said was how much it smelled like Hanukkah and I think they loved it. And I’m so happy that not only did it smell like the holiday but it tasted like it too!

After we were done with the food, the kids started to play with the dreidels and I was teaching them how to spin them. We didn’t play the game with chocolate or pennies, but I did bring them some Hanukkah gelt to enjoy anyway. I just didn’t want to complicate things with them on trying to teach them how to play when they were just enjoying trying to spin them. And while the original plan was to light the candles on my menorah, it was getting late and Christopher and his wife found a wood menorah with stickers to look like candles. So I showed them what order the candles go in so they could “light” it properly.

And of course, the kids had to open the gift I brought for them. I tried to find little things they could share so I got some Hanukkah stickers, temporary tattoos, and a puzzle (which is a bit more of a family gift since it’s not a super easy puzzle). And whenever you give kids temporary tattoos, you know that you are going to have at least one of them on your skin.

By the way, I discovered that nail polish remover does a great job at removing temporary tattoos!

After the kids went to bed, I had time to chat with Christopher and his wife. It was fun getting to chat and catch up and talk about all the randomness in life. They are doing a holiday party soon that I am hoping to attend, but I know at parties like that it’s not always easy to talk to the people hosting it. So it was fun getting time to talk when they weren’t worried about being good party hosts or they were distracted by tons of different things.

Time seemed to fly by and before I knew it, it was much later than I was planning on being there. I wanted to get home at a decent hour to get some sleep before my early work shift and it was already pushing that time. So I said goodbye and headed back home.

I don’t know if I’ll really be doing any other nights of Hanukkah this year. I’ll probably light my menorah at least once, but I’m not planning on doing anything big like I did at this dinner. So it was nice to have one night feel special and like I was celebrating it instead of just acknowledging the holiday and not doing anything for it.

Recapping A Few Challenges From Last Month (or Getting Ready Stop Going Easy On Myself)

I usually would just be doing my monthly challenge recap in this post and then announce my next monthly challenge, but I’m going to do things a bit differently this time. I’m going to recap 2 challenges I had last month and that will lead into what my challenge will be for this month.

First, last month I challenged myself to work on getting back to feeling like myself. I knew that I was feeling a bit lost and not like myself and I wanted to find what I needed to do in order to feel that way again. It was another challenge that wasn’t easy to track so I looked at it as a goal for the month versus a challenge.

I’m almost embarrassed to admit that in the middle of the month I actually forgot what my challenge was. It wasn’t something I had to think about every day or had a reminder to do, so it was easy to forget about it. I tried to put a positive spin on it and say that I must be back to myself if I wasn’t focused on doing that anymore. And I do feel like I’m back to being me and I’m very happy about that. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that I really didn’t have to do much for this challenge and it really was kind of a wash.

I also had a challenge last month to participate in NaNoWriMo again and to get up to date on all my online dating stories. I hadn’t done a lot of work on the book since last year and I had a lot of stories to add. I started off on a great note with getting chapter names for all the new stories, writing a few of the stories down that I hadn’t done yet, and updating the few stories that have had changes or new updates. I knew that I wasn’t going to hit the word count goal for NaNoWriMo since my stories aren’t necessarily that long, but I wanted to work on the book until I was current on it.

But after that initial motivation and got a few things done, I did nothing else with it last month. I am glad that I wrote down the stories that I want to write because there were a few that I had forgotten about. I plan on writing more stories than I probably would actually have in a book so I have options. It’s better to have to edit a book and stories down than to need to find more to add because it’s too short. There’s no real good excuse for why I didn’t work on my book more other than I was lazy and just didn’t do it. I had the time between my customers at work on work on them and it wouldn’t have taken that much time. I just didn’t do it and I am a bit upset with myself that I just let that go and didn’t work on it like I planned to do.

From both the book and my monthly challenges being kind of a fail and I went easy on myself for not really doing much, I knew I needed to make a change. My monthly challenges used to be real challenges that pushed me and made me work toward a change in my life. I haven’t kept all of the monthly challenges as a part of my life, but many of them are still daily habits that I enjoy and know benefit me.

So technically my challenge for this month is another one that will be easy to slack on, but it will be better for me in the long run. My challenge this month is to plan my monthly challenges for 2019. I would love to have a list of at least 16 challenges so I have some options to use next year. I want to pick things that can be tracked and measured so I am held accountable to them. And I want to pick things that will truly challenge me and hopefully make me a better version of myself. I’m hoping I can find a good mix of physical challenges (like stretching and yoga), educational challenges (like how I’m working on learning French), and mental challenges (like my meditation challenge that I’m over 900 days into). I know having a mix will be the best thing for me and will help me not feel too overwhelmed.

I know that this month is another challenge I can slack on and not make an effort every day toward, but it’s the first step in making sure that I break this bad habit and have some amazing challenges in the new year!

Back To My Normal Workouts (or Another Challenge Switch)

After having a shorter workout week the week before, I was happy to be back to my normal workout schedule this past week. My workouts are one of the few super routine and regular parts of my life and when things switch up it feels weird. I know that normally happens around the holidays, but I’m still not used to it. So getting back to my regular schedule was really nice.

Monday’s workout was a strength day, but the inclines on the treadmill were going to be pretty limited so I was going to use the treadmill. I had such a great running day on Saturday the week before and I was excited to keep that going. But I don’t know if it was being of my great running day, the heavy weights I used for squats, or something else but I was seriously struggling on the treadmill. My legs felt like they were so heavy and I had a hard time moving as quickly as I needed to. So I jumped off the treadmill right after the warmup (when I was taking breaks every 30 seconds of so) and went to the bike.

All of our blocks had push paces at no added incline/resistance, push paces at added incline/resistance, and all out paces with no incline for the treadmills with base paces in between. For the base, push, and all out paces with no added incline I used my regular resistance levels on the bike. But for all the incline work, I went to the new higher resistance levels that I had been using recently. Even though we had recovery between all of the all outs, this felt almost like an endurance workout and I was working hard!

On the floor, we had 1 long block but we also had rowing. When we started, we had a 250 meter row and then went to the floor to work on skier swings, uppercuts, deadlifts, high rows using the straps, bicep curls, and plank low rows. The exercises were grouped into 3 mini-blocks each with 2 exercises and we did 3 rounds of each mini-block before moving on. But every time the treadmill had an all out we went back to the rower for another 250 meter row so we did a total of 1,000 meters in the workout. I was using medium heavy weights for all the weighted work and made it through all the exercises by the time class was done so I was very happy with my floor work. Plus, I was able to get my 250 meter row faster every time I did it.

Wednesday’s workout was a signature workout. It’s called Go Row and it is all about timed rowing. Even though I started on the treadmill for my warmup, my group went to the floor first. But since it was a switch class I didn’t feel too weird doing my rowing and treadmill work second with each block.

For the rowing/treadmill blocks, we started on the rower every time. The first block was a 4 minute row, the second block a 2 minute row, and the last block a 1 minute row. The goal was to do at least half of what you did the previous row, and I did much better than half every time. After the rows we went to the treadmill for a quick treadmill workout. The first block was just a push to an all out, the second block was a longer push to a base to an all out, and the last block was another longer push to a base to an all out. I walked my base and push paces but did run all of the all outs. There was so little time on the treadmill that I did want to maximize my time on there so I’m glad I got some running done.

On the floor we had a lot of work using the Bosu. The first block was supposed to be plank leg lifts and knee tucks using the Bosu and I tried doing those at first but it wasn’t working for me. So I did my plank leg lifts on the ground and did sit-ups on the Bosu instead of knee tucks. The second block was running men, hip hinge tricep kickbacks, and single leg V ups on the Bosu. I switched the single leg V ups to sit-ups again due to my hips. And the last block was lateral shoulder raises while kneeling on the Bosu and back extensions on the Bosu and I was able to do both of those exactly how we were coached to do them.

Friday’s workout was another strength day, but it was a 3 group class and the format looked like a good one to do on the treadmill so I skipped using the bike. On the treadmill, we had 3 blocks and they all had a push pace that was supposed to be at an incline and then an all out pace on a flat incline. So I decided to do all the push pace incline work as a power walker and the all out paces as a runner. The 1 minute all out paces did feel a bit long to me, but they were doable. And not worrying about using incline work while running was helpful. Even though I have done a lot of 3 group classes, this seemed to be the quickest 3 group treadmill block I’ve ever had.

On the rower, we had 3 blocks as well and each block started with a distance row. The first block was 200 meters, the second block was 400 meters, and the last block was 600 meters. After the row we had squats using the medicine ball and then we rowed until the block ended. I did make it back to the rower every time and did about a minute of rowing at the end of each block. It was a lot of rowing which was helpful to finish my Orange Voyage challenge (I ended up rowing 24,854 meters in November).

And on the floor, we also had 3 blocks which focused a lot on lower body and abs. The first block had lunges, sit-ups, crunches, and leg raises. The second block added deadlifts to the exercises from the first block. And the last block skipped the abs but we added weighted squats to the lunges and deadlifts. The number of reps for each exercise was pretty low so we were encouraged to go very heavy with the weights. I didn’t go as heavy as I knew I could go because the heavy weight that I usually use for deadlifts was being used by other people and I didn’t want to go even heavier than I’ve ever done.

Saturday’s workout was a power day and the treadmill half of class was really fun! It started as a run/body weight exercise and then switched to a run/row. And it gave me a lot of opportunities to work on my running!

The first round was a .1 mile run and then squats. I ran the entire thing (even though it’s a bit longer than I have been running lately) and that felt awesome. The next round would have been a .2 mile run, but I did it as a run/walk with 45 second intervals and split the difference between the run distance and the walk distance. Then there were more squats. Next was another round where I did it as a run/walk and split the difference between the run and walk distances with more squats after it. Then the distance got longer and I switched to power walking only. After that round we had more squats and then the longest distance we had on the treadmill followed by 200 meters on the rower. I made it back to the treadmill to work on the next distance, but we switched before I finished the distance. I did 3 rounds of running (or run/walking) and 3 rounds of walking which felt pretty good!

On the floor, we had a very unique format. The first 12 days of December are a new challenge with themed workouts at Orangetheory and this one was all about working our way down from 12 reps to 1 rep. We had 4 blocks and each block had 2 exercises. We did exercise 1 for 12 reps, exercise 2 for 11 reps, exercise 1 for 10 reps, and so on. If we made it all the way down to 1 rep, we then held a plank until the block ended. The first block was plank shoulder taps and pop jacks. The second block was squats and hip hinge reverse flys. The third block was lunges and weighted triceps. And the last block was palms to elbows (which I did as plank shoulder taps) and sit-ups. I made it to doing the plank at the end for the second, third, and fourth blocks which is much more than I expected!

I’m excited for this week to see what the challenges will be in the workouts. I know they will be tough, but they aren’t as bad as Hell Week so I know I can do whatever they are!

The First Holiday Party Of The Season (or A Meeting And A Mixer)

This week was the last Union Working meeting of 2018. With the holiday season starting, it’s tough to plan for a meeting in December because so many people have travel plans or other events to go to. And this meeting wasn’t a regular meeting, it was part meeting and part holiday mixer. But it was the perfect way to kick off the holiday season and the parties I’ll be going to.

I got to the meeting early so I could set up the Facebook Live things. I know that the team at Union Working appreciate that I do this for the meetings, but I always feel like I should be doing more because it’s not that hard for me to do. But if that’s what they need me to do, I’m glad I can do it! When I got there, a lot of the things for the party were already set up. There was a table full of amazing food and a bar area set up and I know that we were expecting a lot of people to be there (actors love free food and drinks!).

People arrived in waves since it was more of a party so I felt like I was always seeing someone I knew and getting to say hi and catch up with them. It was nice to not have to worry about getting everything ready for a meeting to start and to just enjoy time with those who were there.

About an hour into the party, the meeting portion of the evening happened so I got the Facebook Live video ready. It was a very brief meeting with the premiere of a new video that will be released soon regarding keeping the union strong, some notes about how we have merchandise for sale for those interested in representing Union Working with a hat or key chain, and then the leaders of the group were sharing their appreciation for everyone else. It was really nice to see how passionate the leaders of the group are about working hard for all actors. We see that passion when they are running the meetings, but seeing them be grateful for what we have accomplished was a different type of passion and it made me even more proud to be a member of the group.

After that was done, it was back to the party. I kept the Facebook Live running because we wanted to give people the opportunity to come over and say things to those watching in other parts of the country. A few people did come over to say thank you to those in other markets for working hard, but most of the time I was running it there was nobody there and I was just looking at the step and repeat.

Even though people weren’t coming over to talk on the video, I wasn’t by myself at the party. Friends were coming over to hang out and talk with me throughout the evening. And it actually worked out a bit better since where I was wasn’t as crowded as the area by the food where most people were hanging out. I liked having my own party area so I didn’t feel as overwhelmed or like I was in the middle of a crowd. I did go over and get some food (which was delicious!), but most of my time was over by the step and repeat.

And even though I always tell myself that I want to get a picture in front of the step and repeat, it usually is taken down before I remember or get a chance to do it. This time I wasn’t going to let the opportunity pass so I finally got a fun selfie in front of it.

Most people were taking advantage of the step and repeat being out of the way and available and were taking photos too. There were so many selfies taken and a lot of fun group photos. I thought about doing some group photos with my friends in front of the step and repeat, but because so many people were busy talking I didn’t want to interrupt them. And I loved watching everyone talk because there were lots of conversations about union related issues and lots of new people meeting each other and becoming friends. It was kind of fun being able to sit back and just enjoy the people watching.

But since everyone has a camera and was taking photos, I did get one group photo with my friends when the party was winding down. It’s not in front of the step and repeat, but at least I got one photo that proves I was there with other people!

I got everything from the Facebook Live cleaned up before the party was done so when cleanup was happening I asked if I could help in any other way. We had some amazing volunteers who were doing the cleanup and they didn’t need me. And that was ok since it was getting late and I had to work early the next morning. So I made my rounds of goodbyes to my friends and headed home.

Even with being over by the Facebook Live setup for most of the party, I never felt like I was alone or separate from everything going on. I loved having my own area to talk with my friends and to meet new people at the meeting. I know that next year is a big one for our union with elections happening again along with contract negotiations, so it’s going to be more important than ever to be as involved as I can with Union Working. And that’s exactly what I plan on doing!

Having To Defend Myself (or My Eating Disorder Isn’t Taken Seriously By Others)

My eating disorder is still a big part of my life. I don’t think about it as often as I used to, but it’s still a major factor in multiple aspects of my life. I’m so grateful that I’m on medication that does help make things easier to manage at times, but it’s not a cure. But I do still have to do a lot of work on my own and it’s not easy. I struggle most days at least for a part of the day and there are days where I struggle the entire day. I often wish that this wasn’t how my life had to be, but it is the way it is and I can’t change it about myself. I feel very certain that I was genetically disposed to have an eating disorder and all I can do is work on managing it and trying to get into recovery.

I’m very open about having an eating disorder (possibly too open at times), but I find that being open is helpful to me. I don’t have to hide something about myself and when I try to explain things that my eating disorder affects it’s much easier than just speaking around it. One thing that is easier to explain is why I look the way I do when I workout 4 days a week.

If I didn’t have an eating disorder, I’m sure that I would look amazing. I don’t know if I’d be as thin and muscular as I’d like to be, but I would be in normal sized clothing and nobody would question me if I worked out or have other people in my workout class who don’t know me treat me like it was my first class ever and come congratulate me on starting to work on my health. I know that I’m much stronger than I look and I’m probably in better cardiovascular health than people who are naturally thin and don’t work out, I just don’t look like that.

And I’ve had people question me about if I really work out or if my workouts are worth it lately. Whenever I go to the doctor they do the intake questions which includes if I work out. I always say I do 4 days a week at Orangetheory and the person doing my intake usually looks shocked and tells me they are proud of me. I hate being talked down to like that, but it’s not worth me saying anything back. They don’t know me and I don’t need to explain myself because it will just happen again the next time.

But more recently I had someone who I know well ask me if my workouts were worth it because I look like I had gained weight (I haven’t, but maybe I look like I have?). They didn’t question if I was working out, but they questioned if I was wasting my time and money on something that they felt was not worth it for me.

I was speechless when that happened and I could only mumble that it’s hard to show progress when I still am battling my eating disorder and quickly changed the subject. I really couldn’t think of anything to say or a good comeback and just wanted to move past that discussion. I knew that if I had to hear them dismiss my workouts or effort any longer that I would probably start crying and I didn’t want to deal with it.

But the more I think about it, the more that conversation angers me. Beyond it just being rude, it’s disrespectful and if I was in a worse mental state it could be harmful to me. If I wasn’t feeling so good about my workouts, maybe hearing from someone else that I am wasting my time would make me stop working out because it isn’t making me lose weight right now. I might have a binge episode because I felt like all my work wasn’t worth it. Fortunately, I didn’t have either of those reactions and I almost used it as motivation to just keep trucking along.

I know that binge eating disorder isn’t as well understood as other eating disorders, but that doesn’t give anyone who knows I have an eating disorder an excuse to downplay the seriousness of it. Imagine if I was someone with anorexia and was trying to get into recovery but was still very thin and unhealthy looking. And if the person who talked to me said that clearly I was still sick looking so working on eating food is a waste of my time and effort. I don’t think anyone would ever say that to someone battling anorexia, but binge eating disorder isn’t taken as seriously by many people. They see it as a lack of self-control, lack of willpower, or just being lazy. And that’s not the case at all.

I think if this was all about willpower that I would probably have already gotten into recovery and this wouldn’t be anything I would need to worry about. But there are so many factors that make this so tough to get over and it’s not just eating less and eating healthier. Whenever I have a binge episode, it’s not something I want to do. And I always regret it immediately. Sometimes that regret happens in the middle of an episode so I can stop myself, but sometimes it’s not until it’s over and it’s too late to make it less severe.

I know that I can’t expect others to change how they treat me and that when people treat me and my eating disorder with this lack of respect that it has nothing to do with me and everything to do with them. But it does still hurt because I work so hard every day to get into recovery. I hate having my efforts being dismissed like this and I have to remind myself that they don’t know my life or my situation. I’m just grateful that I am surrounded by so many people who treat me the way I should be treated and they have helped me realize that I am working hard. They show me that they are proud of me and I use that when I am feeling down. I’m lucky that most of the people in my life are people who work to help me and it’s only a few people who seem to want to bring me down.