Me, immediately after this morning's Vertical Plyo workout from The Asylum, the workout series from Beachbody.com. Yikes.
Note that (a) except for my flushed red scary face, the rest of me is pasty Vermont-winter white and (b) I'm not dead.
Part (b) is important. I just came off a 12-week stint with TurboFire, a different Beachbody workout, and here's the deal. Insanity was a killer, The Asylum was a killer, TurboFire was fun and dancy. But not a killer. It's basically high-impact aerobics you might remember from the 80s and early 90s. I liked it. I didn't dread or fear it the way I do The Asylum (especially Vertical Plyo, 38 minutes of hell). But I also didn't get much out of it.
In fact, I lost some aerobic capacity and muscle tone. I know this not just from the flushed red face above but from the fact that on day 4 of Asylum (my third time on this program) every single muscle in my body is sore. Like when I smile, I can feel it in my abs. That kind of sore. I used to be able to do this program without thinking I might die. Again, refer to the picture: I didn't die. But it was touch-and-go there for awhile during the "one-legged squat jumps." Phew. Also, it appears over the last 12 weeks I forgot how to jump rope. Hm.
So here's my thoughts on exercise: Just do it. (Someone else may have suggested that first.) I am possibly the least athletic human on the planet but I have discovered with the onset of middle age that exercise is the key to everything: mood, health, weight control, self-image, energy levels, blah blah blah. You can't get all that from a pill, or a diet, or anything else alone. You have to exercise. You have to.
You don't have to kill yourself with The Asylum or running a marathon if you don't like that kind of intensity. I have found for myself that I NEED vigorous exercise as a way to release stress and deal with the parts of my life that are hopelessly sedentary. If I don't exercise I feel like a caged animal. (Not a tiger, a hamster maybe, but still.) I know there must be some people reading this who want to improve their health and their emotional state who just won't exercise. I don't get it.
Find the thing you like: walking, the gym, yoga, classes, Zumba, hiking, or, like me, DVDs. Do it. Every day, or almost every day. Watch YouTube videos of before-and-after transformations normal nonathletic people have made; it is truly inspiring. Here's a mother of five who did TurboFire. The thing I like about this video is that it's as much about her emotional improvement as it is her physical improvement. That's what I'm talking about.
I personally like the DVD programs because I can do them in the morning right when I wake up and not have to worry about fitting in a trip to the gym, and because they come with calendars that tell me what to do when. I don't tend to push myself hard enough if I'm the one making up the schedule.
Other people do better outdoors or at the gym. My husband lost over 50 pounds doing Insanity and P90X and he has kept it for for two years. He goes to the gym now, because he likes to lift weights and he likes working out with his son there. I lost 15 pounds two years ago and I have gained back 4-5 pounds over the winter. But I am determined to work it off. I'm still a size smaller than I've been for most of the past 10-15 years. We just got new life insurance policies and our blood test numbers are across the board in the optimum range. I totally credit exercise for that.
Bottom line: Get off the couch. Just do it. And yes, you have time; you may not have the habit of making exercise a priority but once you commit to it, it will become as much a part of your daily life as brushing your teeth. You won't be so tired, your back will stop hurting, your clothes will fit better, you'll feel like you look good, your blood pressure will go down, your sex drive will go up, you will see yourself differently. No excuses.
END SOAPBOX ALERT
Moving on: It's been a month since I've blogged, mostly since we've had three two-day basketball tournaments for my daughter on the weekends, all out of town, and I work during the week. That's pretty much how it's been. I did finish a baby sweater for my niece a few weeks ago, and that's it on the knitting front.
Spring is coming to Vermont but it's been so dry that not much has changed since that early warm spell. The animals are certainly in the springtime groove, as the deafening pre-dawn gobbling and crowing at our house proves.
I know people hate starlings but how cute is this one gathering chicken down-feathers for a nest?
If you think starlings are a nuisance animal, check out the non-bird at my bird feeder:
That explains where all that seed is going while I'm at work.
I got those pictures while having coffee on the porch this morning, and I also got this shot, which is notable mostly because it contains such a variety of animals all clumped together.
That turkey isn't supposed to be in the goat pen. He is like the turkey version of Bill Murray in "Groundhog Day." Almost every day he flies from his roost high in a tree right into the goat pen and then spends a few hours pacing the fence line until he remembers he can fly right over it. It's been several months with no signs of growing intelligence on his part. Stupid turkey.
Today, my first free Saturday in many weeks, I'll go to the garden store and buy tomato seeds, which I forgot to order from Seedsavers or Seeds of Change earlier. We haven't rototilled the garden. My husband hasn't built the new raised bed I really need. My gardening goals this year are pretty simple: 1. Grow and can even more tomatoes this year (we made it until February, but that's not good enough), and 2. Plant lots of potatoes and pray they don't rot in the ground like last year. Is that so hard? We are hoping to get our first decent harvests of asparagus, strawberries and black raspberries pretty soon, which would be nice.
And then there are these:
Leeks. I discovered leeks last summer and was given many by a friend. They are the secret ingredient to the best chicken and beef stocks ever. I keep leftover beef bones/chicken carcasses and veggies in the freezer for stocks. When I get enough, I roast them all together and then use them for stock (adding frozen potato water, leftover gravy, etc.), deglazing the roasting pan and using the resulting juices for rich, dark stock.
Well, leeks rock the stock. I never knew. But they cost a fortune! I paid $6 for two big leeks not long ago and it ticked me off. I planted seeds already this spring but I also read (on Ravelry) that you can plant the root ends of storebought leeks. So I did, above. These will go into the garden and not do anything this year except, hopefully, flower and re-seed and I'll have a bed of leeks next year in my new raised bed.
Which isn't built yet. Soon, I hope.
Now go put on your sneakers and Just Do Something. No excuses.