Tag Archive: moksha


New Beginnings

End of March, start of April.  March has been a tough month:  the 6 am cardio sessions, weights 6 times a week, I cut all bread and rice and pasta and potatoes out of my diet!!  It has been grueling, I was very eager to see March say bye-bye.

So April 1st I was scheduled for a weigh-in.  Luckily today was a holiday Monday, so I could schedule in my gym time as desired.  Sadly, due to me being up late watching Game of Thrones and Walking Dead and geeking out… I slept in past 6 am spin, hahaha.  Undeterred, I headed down to hot yoga.

This was my first time doing hot yoga in 4 months!  I wanted to make sure I had built up my shoulder first.  April just seemed like a good time to jump back in.

It was a full class for the middle of the day!  I guess other people had the same idea as me.  75 min “mix” class, the teacher will deviate from the usual set of hot yoga moves, and mix it up however they see fit.

For 4 months away, I gotta tell ya, I felt pretty strong in that class!  I am sure it wasn’t geared to be nightmare difficulty, it seemed like a big group of casual people burning off their Easter chocolates, but I was worried I was going to get my butt kicked, and you know?  It turned out ok.  I wasn’t awesome or anything, my balance was a little wobbly, my hamstrings were tight and I skipped the abs part (I did abs yesterday, and will only do ab work every other day, sorry hot yoga), but I still feel like I moved confidently and gracefully through all the postures.

One thing I did notice lacking though, my patience.  Despite moving through the class with such confidence, my focus waned around the 45 min mark, and I found myself wishing for the class to be over.  Maybe it was the heat, maybe it was the slow pace, but my patience was not quite there.  That is my biggest take away from that class – yoga can help me work on my focus and mindframe, to “be in the moment”.

Then I headed home, had some fluids and a little snack and a nap, then headed to the studio for a session with Les!

But first, another acupressure session.  He worked on my shoulders, some tendonitis in my forearm, and a tight Achilles tendon.  And let me tell you, it hurt like a mofo!  I hate those acupressure sessions, but I love them.

And then my weights session!  First things first, Les checked my measurements.

*drum roll*…. I am down 16 pounds!!!  I lost 16 pounds in March, isn’t that great!  I also dropped an inch in my chest, waist, arms and legs.

You know what’s crazy?  When I first heard that news, I wasn’t even happy.  4 pounds a week and I wasn’t happy.  To be honest, I was SO sure I wasn’t going to lose any weight, I had psyched myself out to be ready to handle seeing no progress on the scale, I was so prepping myself to throw a tantrum in the middle of the gym… that when I DID lose weight, I didn’t know how to react.  I was so prepared to do all the work, but I was unprepared for any success.  Isn’t that crazy?  It’s like running a race with blinders on, and missing out on all the good stuff along the way.

As the news sank in, I gradually became more and more happy throughout the workout.  On that note, time for the workout!

Back & Biceps: (30 sec rest b/w all sets)

assisted pullups:  widegrip X 15,12; underhand grip x 15; hammer grip x 12

widegrip rows:  240 x 12, 12; 280 x 12

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narrow pulldowns:  120 x 15, 15, 15, 15

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hyperextensions:  45 x 12, 12, 12

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bicep curls:  EZ curl 70 x 8; cable 100 x 12, 12

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concentrations curls:  (no rest, back and forth arm to arm) 20 x 15/15, 15/15, 15/15, 15/15

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notes:  widegrip rows on that machine feel really good right now, I have not hit my ceiling on that one yet.  But each stack only goes up to 210, so we decided to do the closegrip pulldowns on another machine, and WOW did it suck, lol.  the cable feeds through the pulley system like it’s being dragged through glue, that machine needs some oil like nobody’s business.  As a result, I could only do 120, and VERY slowly at that, no explosiveness possible without the machine clanging like a giant bell.

The bicep curls made the tendonitis flare up right away in my forearm, I think it was sore from all the heavy acupressure I had gone through.  So we switched to the cables, which has a different weight dynamic (the EZ curl bar presses straight down on your forearm at the top of the curl, which is when it hurt, but the cable is always pulling back towards the machine), and so I could do a bit more weight, but it still hurt.  Just to be safe, we lightened the weight on the concentration curls and I pumped them out.

 

And that was my workout!  So what are my plans for April??  I guess I have short and medium term plans already keyed up.  First things first, tomorrow is legs and shoulder day, and I have spin class at 7, gotta get ready for that insanity that is leg day.  I also want to reweigh myself at the end of this week and see if I can drop just a FEW more… maybe work on a major milestone??  Stay tuned on that one.

For April, now that I am more or less comfortable with morning spin and weights 6 days a week, I want to get serious about hot yoga again, see if I can juggle all 3 fulltime this month!  I think it will help me shock my system into dropping more pounds, keep my pores clean and help my focus!  If I can make spin, weights, hot yoga and tight diet a daily thing, I will be full on beastmode!  Cross your fingers.  I am already getting scared, haha.

I guess what’s important is you set a new goal and keep pushing.  It is too easy to stop, take a break and reward myself and lose the tempo.  I don’t feel like I am unable to keep up the pace, I feel strong and dialed in, so why not keep going?  See what my potential is?

 

Full shout out to my trainer, Leslie.  She has been a major source of support and has gotten me completely on track to being in the best shape of my life!  I have never been skinny, I was always the fat kid.  So I admit that I don’t know what being in shape feels like.  With Leslie there giving me little nudges, a pat on the back when I am not ready to pat myself, a kind word here and there, and a helping hand, I have come so much further than I would have on my own.  Thanks Les!

And after our workout, you know how we celebrated?  Les went shopping with me at the supplement store and the grocery store!  Isn’t she awesome?  I have the best trainer!

 

See you tomorrow!  April is here!

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Day 24 – be patient

I have to type this quick because I got home at 11 pm and I have to be up at 5 am, lol.

Some days, life conspires against you.  It wants you to fail, it takes all your plans and squeezes them hard.  That sounds way more dramatic than it is, but thats what it feels like when you are in the middle of it and getting frustrated.  You just have to be patient, and do what you can.  Some days it rains, and you just have to weather it until the sun comes back.

For the next few days at work, my bosses decided it was time for our annual meeting, where we all get together and everyone makes a presentation, every workgroup gets their turn.  This works out to 2 or 3 days of pure talking.  Death by Powerpoint!  They also decided we needed to have this meeting out in the middle of nowhere.  Plus not catered.  Well, not REAL food, just cookies and coffee.  Bleh.  You cant live off cookies and coffee all day, that sucks.

So when you factor in the commuting there and back, today (and tomorrow) turn out to be 12 hour days… I leave around 6:30 am and get home around 6 pm, starving.  (I should have brought lunch, when we got our lunch hour, I walked for 15 min to find somewhere to eat, each way, haha)  So yeah, lesson learned, bring something, ANYTHING with me to eat tomorrow.

So, I got home at 6, ate something.  I need 2 hours to digest so I can go to yoga on an empty stomach (all that twisting, full tummy would be a bad idea).  Add up the need to hit the hay in good time… and it means I literally have no time to lift.  No time for weights.  Once I realized this on the way home, I got really irritated.

I just feel the need to lift, I had done so well next week, and now I am getting shut out.  I took 2 days off from lifting because I needed the rest, and now it looks like shut out for 2 more days.  I have just enough time to either lift or yoga.  And I dont want to quit the 30 day hot yoga challenge, so I need to pick yoga.  Which is a hard lesson for me, because right now all I want to do is push some iron.  Its addicting 🙂

But maybe this is the lesson, be patient – be patient even with less than you want or need.

So I napped, digested, headed out to a 9:30 pm hot vinyasa flow.  Gigi was teaching.  No pic tonight, but there are MANY pixx of Gigi on this blog, just look around 🙂  60 min vinyasa style, room barely half full (so darn late!)  It was hard of course, but it was also very shoulder-heavy, lots of 3 legged dogs and 2 legged dogs!  My shoulder is still building itself up, so I had to sit about half of those out, but I gave them a try a few times 🙂

Gigi was SOOOO enthusiastic this class!  It almost bordered on self-parody.  If I didnt know her better I would think she was mocking us with her enthusiasm, but I know she was just in good spirits.  Just lots of glee in her voice, (one more breath!  hold onnnnn!  hooooold onnnn!! lift your knee highurr!  one more second!  aaaand, downward dog!)

Dont take it as a criticism, Gigi is awesome, and I love her classes.  I was just amused by her unbridled glee.  It almost broke the tension on my crappy day and I chuckled to myself a few times during class.  So you can say that, yeah, yoga was the best part of my day.  Every other part was irritating and stressful, but yoga was my warm little moment of silliness 🙂

 

Day 24 down!  a lesson in patience and laughing at yourself!  bye!

Day 23 – recovery

Finally!  A recovery day!  Not a day off per se, but no resistance training, just a yin class, just some stretching.  I needed a low tempo day.

Slept in, did a day of work, came home, and napped for a good long while.  Woke up, headed to the studio for some late-night stretchy.

festive Katie

Katie was teaching this Yin, and posed by the Xmas tree for a shot or two.  Get it?  Tree pose.  Xmas tree.  Decoration hanging from her hand.  Decorations hang from Xmas trees.  Christmas.  Tree.  Plus her top says Roots.  Trees have roots.

 

Got changed out, stood by the hot room waiting for it to get cleaned.  Dude leaning against the wall, looks like Joss Whedon.  Stares at me.  I stare back at him.  nonverbal dude communication ensues.

me – “No, you don’t know me, what now Chief?”

him – “Just now waiting to see who will look away first”

me – “Underneath my pleasant public demeanor lies a lot of unresolved anger issues.  So don’t push it.”

 

As a guy, I both accept these male dynamics and am amused by them.  Are women aware of how many staredowns the average man goes through as he walks down the street?  It would blow your mind, you get sized up multiple times a day.

But I digress.  Back to Yin.

60 min class, lots of free space, I’m in luck!  We did child’s pose for a while (the deep kind, where you stretch out your hips, not recover), then we did cat/cow, then pigeon then a seated twist then a half shoelace then supported fish then wind relieving pose then a prone spinal twist.  I think that was it, time flies!

I was much happier with my pigeon tonight, much more serene.  This I took as the barometer of my recovery, I am closer to feeling better.  Now, shoelace… shoelace I find quite hard, but half-shoelace?  I felt nothing…  Katie came over and made some suggestions, but I still felt nothing.  Maybe half shoelace isn’t where my edge lies.  Next time I might do some monkey splits instead (not full ones, that is beyond me currently).  Just like how double pigeon is more restorative for me than stressful, I feel pretty much nothing.  Like how now instead of doing “thread the needle”, I do dead pigeon instead.  Your practice is your own, it won’t look like everyone else’s, and it is a sign of your experience that you don’t feel the need to conform.

Day 23 down!  Looks like it’s back to the weight training!  The break is over!

Brrr, it was cold last night!  I was shivering.  Had to throw the longjohns on.    When I woke up this morning, I realized why – a fresh layer of snow had blanketed the ground outside.  I think it might be our first serious snowfall of the year, not flurries that melt a few hours later.

The plan for today was get as much rest as I could, and head out to some Monday night hot yoga.  I knew I was beat up from the weekend madness, so I lay in the cut as long as I could.  I lazed around the morning, watched Dexter, headed into work, work was a mix of rushing around all morning and then sitting in on a 3 hour meeting in the afternoon.  Went to the grocery store after work, picked up some fresh eats, came home, cooked a steak, ate some beets tossed with a little olive oil and balsamic.  then buried myself under the blankets for a power nap 🙂  Slept for 45 min, woke up felt great!  Headed out to hot yoga (I made sure to reserve a spot, haha).

It was going to be a 90 min class, and once again, TOTALLY packed to the brim, waiting list, people stacked like firewood, pure pandemonium!

me, Tracy!

This is Tracy!  She wasn’t teaching the class, but I never see her around the studio any more, so I needed a pic!  So happy!  Tracy co-owns this studio and another one on the other side of town (Stittsville), and she usually holds down the fort there.  Tracy is great.  Another reason I was thrilled to see her for the first time in months, she is expecting again!  She is about 4 months along now, just starting to show, and seemed rather glowy to me 🙂

I caught up for a bit, then rushed into class, found a spot near the front (coincidence, I wasn’t making a statement, haha), and then we were underway.

I admit, this class was VERY tough on me.  I don’t know if it is the low carb diet, the sore shoulders from the workout yesterday, or a combo of both, but this class kicked my butt so hard I wanted to run for the door.  It wasn’t any pose specifically, but the time the heat and pose after pose got to me.

It was a 90 min Moksha sequence, basically the foundation of the whole studio, I knew the whole sequence quite well.  We were packed so close, there wasn’t a lot of room to move.  When we went into seated prayer twist and also into the twist on the crescent lunge, I kept my arms bound around me.  I could have propped them up into a prayer mudra (barely, I have big arms and a big stomach, it ain’t easy), but I quickly realized doing that would be causing sweat to roll off my arms onto my neighbour’s mat, so out of courtesy, I kept the bind around my torso, which makes the pose a little easier.

Yeah, it was probably my tired shoulders making me cranky, that has happened before.  I could barely hold pigeon, and I am usually able to fall asleep in that pose.  I wanted to beat my head against the ground, I was getting so frustrated.  A lot of negative emotions were welling up.

After pigeon we went into more seated twists, and I was getting all huffy, breathing angry and exasperated, frustrated, rolling my eyes.  Just being cranky!  When we went into final savasana, I couldn’t even lay still or close my eyes, I squeezed my face in my hands and started up at the sky for a while.  Just worn out and raw.  I think maybe I needed more rest, maybe even a day off.

This 30 day challenge, hot yoga every single day, 4-6 hours of pure weight training every week, plus another 2-3 hours of extra cardio every week, this has been one of the hardest training months of my life, no joke.  I have been training really hard for a man who is essentially 35% dough, ROFL.  This schedule would be appropriate for a UFC fighter or perhaps Batman, not for little ‘ole me.  I knew I was signing up for hell month, and I can make it, but I admit my feet are dragging every day now, and I look forward to taking a wee break real soon 😛

When I left the hot room, my yoga mat was saturated soaked drowned dead wet game over.  This is rather gross, but by the end of class I could slip & slide on it.  When I rolled it up to leave class, I had to turn it sideways or it would dribble all over the hot room floor.  I’m talkin shamwow levels of perspiration here, people!

My feet dragged hard in the change room, when I walked past the front desk staff, I shambled like a zombie, I shuffled home half dead, am typing this up, then I am going to go sleep for as long as life lets me 😛

 

Day 22 down!  pray for me!

Day 19 – Stepping Up

The plan was to do some back & biceps, and then some Friday night hot yoga.  And then Thursday night I had a massive bout of insomnia.  that giant post yesterday, Day 18?  Yeah, that was me staying up past 1 am.  Hard to wake up at 5 am when you went to sleep around 2, haha!

So I slept in pretty hard, then rushed to work, all unshowered and bummy.  I just hid out in the cube at work, preparing work and emailing it out, I was not ready to jump to the front stage and be an office hero today.  I felt sooo tired, I didn’t even want coffee, I was past that.  I have gone hard on the coffee this month, but I am feeling this growing sensation inside that I want to cold turkey for a bit, detox all that mess out.  Must be the yoga side of me getting assertive 🙂

After work, I headed home and napped for a bit.  I decided that if yoga went well, maybe I could find a late night gym and lift after.  That might have been a pipe dream, but w/e.

It was Friday night hot yoga, meaning all proceeds go to charity, and the class fills up with a more casual crowd.  Not to say they aren’t good, lots of great looking practice in this group, but they aren’t as formal, they have to be shushed occasionally, they leave their phones on, that sort of thing.

A funny thing happened to me tonight.  For most of the month I have stayed at the back of the class.  I don’t feel like my practice is any good, I feel rusty and OUT of practice, I don’t feel like I have “earned” a spot up front, don’t want people to see me, etc etc.  I just wanted to sweat and toil in the back for the most part.

And then tonight, I walked in early, I had the whole room to choose from, and I felt like moving up.  I wanted to be in the lights, with everyone looking at me, I wanted a strong and proud practice.  I found a spot to the right side but in the middle.

I wasn’t breathtaking or anything, but I was controlled and confident the whole class.  Sure there was a guy to my right popping up into a full back bridge when I was merely lifting my pelvis up, and there was a woman to my left popping out headstands while I was doing wide leg forward folds, but that didn’t matter.  I just wanted to be at the front of the pack tonight 🙂

As it turns out, I think the class was maybe a little TOO confident.  When we were in Warrior 2, and the teacher told us to flip our palms over, half the class was already leaning back into reverse warrior.  And when she said “trikonasana” (aka triangle pose, aka bend forward, not backward), the majority of the people leaning back kept leaning back!

Class grinded to a brief pause as she gently reiterated she wanted them to bend their torsos forward… “you guys are on yoga autopilot tonight”.  That might have been part of it, they might have done the same sequence so many times they were just going through the motions.  Meaning they weren’t moving mindfully.  It could also be that they were agitated and anticipating moving into reverse warrior because warrior 2 was unpleasant, or they wanted to speed through the practice.

At any rate, it can be hard to wait for the verbal direction.  I know sometimes in yoga class it seems like the teacher is just… talking… so… darn… slow!  We have all cursed under our breath, “hurry up!”  But in this case, the teacher was not prolonging the agony, the class was just being a little sloppy.  Not me of course! *pats self on back*  I waited for the verbal cue, went into triangle, and cocked my head quizzically as everyone around me did something totally different.

Inspired by this turn of events, the teacher threw a few different wrinkles into the practice, to keep us on our toes, so to speak.  Breaking up the pigeon on each side with some wide leg forward folds, for example.

And the best part about this practice?  I came out of it feeling strong, like I was ready to do more!  I haven’t felt that in a while, and this was a fairly forgiving sequence tonight, but still!  For once I walked out feeling energized 🙂  I hope I have more challenge days like this!

I was ready to go to the gym to do some late night lifting, but as if on cue, my neighbour texted me, asking if I wanted to go to an early morning spin class tomorrow 🙂  So I put back and biceps on the backburner, and came home to get some sleep!

Plan for tomorrow is spin, back, biceps, hot yoga!  Eek!  Full day!  See you then!

The plan for today was do chest and triceps in the morning, go to work, come home after work, nap, do an evening yin.  ‘Twas a fair plan 🙂

My butt was really dragging this morning, I almost psyched myself out of going to the gym, but I finally made it at about 06:40.

chest & triceps:

warmup presses for a few sets with the 30s

flat DB presses (2 min rest b/w sets):  110×20, 130×12, 150×9, 170×5, 150×8, 130×11, 110×11

machine press (90s rest):  150×12, 12, 12

incline DB flys (90s rest):  80×12, x6, x7

DB skullcrushers:  70×3, x3; 50 x10, 9, 9, 7, 7, 7

seated 2 hand tricep extension:  65 x7, x5; 50 x8, 8, 7, 7

 

notes:  I wasn’t entirely happy with this workout as a whole.

I was cruising along with the flat presses, and my left shoulder gave out 5 reps into the 85 lb DBs, so I climbed back down the ladder, each time my left shoulder stayed tired.  I couldn’t really get anywhere on my 7th set with the 55s either.  I like doing all those sets at all those different weights with the dumbbell presses, it helps me build up strength in my shoulder, which right now is clearly lagging behind my chest.  It is less stressful than pushups on the joint, and I can obviously tinker with the resistance much more easily than I can with pushups.

I wanted to give my chest more work to do, but I also wanted to see how done my shoulder was, so I went to the machine press, but I went fairly light, and just did a few sets of slow reps.  My shoulder felt fine and my chest was able to get some more good squeeze in (would have been better with free moving handles), so I felt confident going on to the flys.

Flys went sort of poorly, unfortunately.  I got through the first set, but either my shoulder was really tired, or I was psyching myself out, and I kept failing out of the next few sets.  The weight isn’t THAT much diffrerent from what I do with Leslie, only slightly more.  HOWEVER, when I do incline flys with Leslie, they are my working sets 4-6.  These flys today were working sets 11-13, LOL.  So maybe I should have gone lighter and respected the volume.

Next up triceps!  Lately I have been giving arms their own day, but I wanted to experiment with the split, and see how I liked it.  Long story short?  I didn’t!!  I was doing 30s last time for the skullcrushers, and it went really well, so this time I moved up to the 35s… I failed out right from the start!  So I took a few breaths, composed myself, went again, failed right away again!  So I gave up and went down to the 25s.  They started out fine, but by the second set with the 25s, my arms were not able to go the distance, they started to fail out around rep 7 every time.  This made me sad.

Again, there are a few factors at play.  I was doing triceps first, and now they are second in the rotation, energy not peak.  Also, triceps get work doing the chest presses, so they weren’t fresh when it was time for the skullcrushers.  My shoulder was also getting tired, so more of the pressure was getting transferred to the elbow, just less helpers available to assist the tricep when it fatigues.

Once you fail out of a few sets, you also start to psyche yourself out, which was happening to me because I kept losing my focus.  There was an old guy right next to me doing dumbbell presses while fluttering his legs in the air like he was riding a bicycle… WTF??!?  DON’T DO THAT.  You make me think you are losing control of the weight and panicking, and now I’m forced to keep an eye on you to keep you from killing yourself.  If you want to work your core, do presses on a stability ball, don’t flail your goddamn legs around like a drowning man.

If I see you combine these 2 moves, I will seriously consider taking the weights away from you.

So, THAT was genuinely distracting.

I moved on to the seated extensions, and the weakness in the triceps continued, I got some mediocre sets in with the 65s, and dropped down to the 50s, and still couldn’t bust out full sets.  My arms were just torched.

In retrospect, given what I have observed, chest work wears out my shoulder, and I have nothing left for arms.  Back work doesn’t seem affected, I have done massive chest/back days and been none the worse for wear.  So I think I will keep up a chest/back & legs & arms & shoulders split, it seems to accomodate my situation the most, aka building my shoulders back up.

I was worried my triceps got a raw deal today, but as I sit here typing this, they feel pretty sore, so maybe I worry too much 🙂

 

Also!  It has been a few days since my legs workout, and it usually takes a little while to see what the DOMS were like, kind of like an autopsy of the workout.  Normally when I get railed by Leslie, my DOMS center around the rectus femoris, which is a direct antagonist to the hamstrings.  This is probably reflective of all the heavy lunges we do (as a consequence of me being heavy).  Basically I feel DOMS in the middle of my thigh and the back of my leg, making walking difficult.

As for these particular DOMS this week, I felt it yesterday much deeper than the rectus femoris, possibly even the vastus intermedius, although I couldn’t be sure, and that isn’t a muscle you can really isolate anyways.  However today, the soreness settled squarely into the outside of my thighs, the vastus lateralis.  I didn’t feel the soreness when I walked, but I felt it when I straightened out my legs.  This means it was the FST-7 sets of the leg extensions that did the microtrauma, which is fine with me.  Possibly also the one leg presses followed by the extensions, both likely suspects.

It could also well be affected by the yoga.  You can hit the vastus lateralis with leg work on closely placed feet, and while I was recovering from the leg training, I was still doing chair pose and eagle squat and flexing my quads in mountain pose, and all those asanas that require you to keep your feet closer than hip width.  So they all came together in a really beautiful way to make my legs sore 🙂

 

Can you tell I have been really inward focused today?  LOL  As the yoga challenge goes on, my attention is squarely set on how I feel inside.  How does my shoulder feel?  How does my elbow feel?  Where do I feel the DOMS in my legs?  Did I hit the triceps on those sets?

My awareness has become very very inward, very introspective.

So when I headed out to Yin tonight, that introspection continues.  I felt detached from everyone else on the bus, like they were moving slowly and clumsily and they all felt like they were getting way too close to me when they walked by.  None of them seemed to be moving mindfully.  At the same time I felt deeply the space caused by the detachment from them.  It reminded me of a passage from the Dao De Jing (translation D C Lau)

Everyone is joyous,
as though feasting at a great sacrifice
or climbing a terrace in springtime.
But I am quiet, not giving any sign,
like an infant who has yet to smile;
aimless, as though I had nowhere to go.

Everyone has more than enough,
I alone seem to be lacking.
I have the mind of a fool, vacant and dull.

Most people see clearly;
I alone am in the dark.

Most people make fine distinctions;
I alone am muddled and confused.
As vague as the ocean,
As unsettled as the wind.

People have their intentions,
I alone am as dull as a yokel.

Everyone else seemed amused, distracted, clumsy, purposeful.  I was just sort of… observing and drifting.  My attention was still focused inwardly.

 

When I got to Yin, Gigi was teaching!  A 60 min late night stretchy session 🙂

ahhh, so fuzzy!

We went through some hip work followed by restorative work.  wind-relieving pose then dragon then twisted dragon then seal then double pigeon then waterfall.

I don’t mind dragon, as I have said before.  But the twisted dragon was rough!  I really felt it on the inside of my thigh, at the hip.

this is the version of twisted dragon we did

Conversely, I LOVVVE winged dragon, aka gecko.  But we didn’t do that 😛

I was also really glad we got to do waterfall, it helped me flush a lot of fresh blood into my sore legs.

 

Day 18 over!  This was a really long entry, but I had a lot to say 🙂  See you tomorrow!

Day 17 – working through tired

So the plan was to do chest and triceps in the morning, then work, then do some Forrest yoga at night.

Then I decided to stay up to watch Sons of Anarchy, haha.  Then I slept in the next morning.

So now the plan was to do yoga after work, then do some late night lifting.

All day at work, I felt a creeping fatigue setting in in my legs.  Looks like the workout yesterday might pay off some microtrauma dividends after all.  But it also sapped my energy further, and I never felt like I got that full night’s sleep.

Work went over by about 15 minutes, so I was rushing out the door and onto the bus to make it to the 5:30 class with Lisa.  I decided that since for weeks now I had been doing the 90 min Forrest class at 7:30, why not this week do a 75 min power flow class at 5:30?  You have to mix it up, can’t let myself get too comfortable.  Plus, I thought an earlier class afforded me the best shot to do some lifting later.

Class was pretty packed.  I settled in between two guys – one of which just placed his mat wherever he felt and not within the handy tape markings, and another guy who got all offended when I squeezed in between them.  Maybe he assumed he would be getting more personal space in a November hot yoga class?  Suck it up, buttercup!

Anyways, offended guy squeezed to the right so now his mat was out of whack.  Even before the class, I noticed that both of them had very aggressive breathing.  They were NOT relaxed.  I wondered if either they were both genuinely stressed out, or both just being affected greatly by the heat.  They both looked to be in decent shape, so why so serious?  I decided that this class I would make an extra effort to make it look effortless, I would be a calm moment of zen in this heavy breathing corner of the hot room.  If I felt I was getting sloppy and panting, I would back off, even if that means I wouldn’t look like an athlete.

As the class got underway, we were doing a series of planks, and I felt a pinch in my wrist.  So I backed off for a few minutes and did some wrist-stretching exercises on my own.  I missed a few side planks in the process, but oh well.  After that, my wrist felt better for the rest of class, so I was glad I did it 🙂

Even with the occasional break, the class was hard.  It was hot, sweaty, taxing.  Very quickly into class I realized that my energy levels were not very high, and I also guessed that if this class drains my battery any further, I would be headed to the gym to lift while I was totally worn out.  I don’t want that, I want to lift while my energy is high, I want to overload the muscle, not just go through the motions and burn calories.  So by about 40 min in to class, I resolved this would be my only workout for the day and chest gets pushed to Thursday.  so make the most out of this hot yoga class!

And the class was pretty challenging.  I rather enjoyed though when we were told to flip our dogs, which means you gotta step onto someone else’s mat… normally I don’t do it if the person beside me doesn’t do it, I don’t want to get all up in their bubble.  But then Lisa said, “maybe just do it tonight and introduce yourself to your neighbour”, or words to that effect.  I had a twinge of caprice, and decided that NOW was the perfect time to get into the space of huffy guy who got offended before class; so even though he wasn’t flipping his dog, I flipped over like a crab, planting one foot on his mat, arching my back and stretching my hand out.  hahaha, consider his world ROCKED.  I’m such a rebel 🙂

(I am probably imagining it, he is probably very nice and I am inventing drama, don’t take me seriously)

As the class wore on, and I was getting my butt kicked, I wondered, “wow this grind is getting to me.  I can’t remember the last time I came to a yoga class and just rocked it out, like it was no big deal.  every class feels greater than me.  my energy never feels like it has time to recover.  I haven’t been a yoga superstar in maybe over a week.  I am sitting out of stuff way too much, these moves are just wearing me down.  this 30 day challenge is just pulverizing me.”

And the class kept going, more cues, more poses, more stuff.  And then a funny thing happened, I started to just let it go.  I started to shed my attachment to looking pro, or sticking crow, or a perfect vinyasa flow.  I just did every pose I could because I just liked doing them.  And I started to feel really HAPPY.  It almost became joyous.  I was sweating my guts out, but enjoying the moment.  For the next half hour or so of class that was left, I just enjoyed the moment, like there was nowhere else to be.  I had finally worn out my stubbornness and ego through hard grinding practice, and suddenly felt REALLY GOOD about myself.

I think this 30 day challenge might be starting to work its magic on me!

After class I grabbed a quick shot of Lisa, and thanked her for the great class.  Lisa gave me a great shot, she tried to recreate her Lululemon poster, haha!

pretty close Lisa!

My tank was still pretty depleted, so I left the chest and triceps for another day, and came home to just relax, eat some good food, listen to music, type up this blog, and get to bed as early as I could!  I was dead tired today, but worked through it, and found some joy in the process.  Great Day 17!  See you tomorrow!

Day 15 – You are not prepared!

Showed up for a 90 minute Moksha sequence tonight.  It was packed!  I am glad I took a chance on reserving a spot, I barely made it in time though.  I wanted a pic before class, but all 3 of the staff were trying to process the blitz of hungry yogis.

I know it’s blurry, but I only had half a sec before the space filled up again with people.

The class was brutal!  I walked in 15 min early, like normal, and it was already PACKED.  I felt claustrophobic.  When you are laid out like sardines in the hot room, I always show a great deal of “restraint”.  I want to be harmonious with my neighbours, so I don’t go for a move if I sense I will be bumping into them; or if I feel myself getting sloppy, I immediately stop to recompose.  I want to keep my movements tight and graceful at all costs when there is no room for error.  Generally I take more breaks in a fully packed room.

Already in the first 15 min, I knew I was in trouble.  We were using planks as a transition between poses, and the planks were hitting me hard.  My core felt tired.  Maybe it needed more rest?  I did a bit of core work with Leslie on Sunday, a few planks and side planks, and more core work on Saturday, whereas normally Sunday is a day of purely Yin, so my core might not have been ready for more planks.  I was definitely not prepared for a 90 min moksha sequence with no core to support me.

I pushed through the planks when I could, took a few breaks.  But when my core goes and the moves keep coming, I start to get frustrated, and then start to get grumpy.  It was just one of those classes where I take a beating, and get grumpy, haha.  Various thoughts started to flow through my head:

“Why does the teacher ALWAYS ask us to breathe in together when I am in the middle of breathing out?  Always??!?”

“We normally END with pigeon and now she has us doing like 6 poses after pigeon? what is this??!?”

When we were doing back work, I was starting to grunt with strain during the locusts and half-locusts.  I was losing my breath.  So I bowed out of the vinyasa flows and sat in seiza, occasionally flexing my quads in sort of a proto-sissy squat.  And then the class was told to do sleeping hero, which I had sort of already been doing, so I went into a resting pose.

And man did the sweat flow.  Once my core told me it was phoning in sick, the sweat flowed like crazy.  During the second half of the class, for about 40 min straight, sweat was in my eyes, stinging and blinding me.  This did not improve my mood, haha.  Whenever I would go into child’s pose and tilted my head down, the stinging would get worse and I had to squeeze my eyes  shut to push it out, which gave me a bit of a headache.  Needless to say, I was not a picture of cool and composed.  More like a hot mess.

But those are probably the classes I need yoga the most.  Life gets hard and inconvenient sometimes too, you just have to grind those times out.  It’s called grit 🙂  My goals are greater than my sense of self.

After class I went back for a better pic

Katie and John!

Katie was teaching the class, and John worked the front desk.  I should mention John is growing a moustache for November, haha!

I dragged my butt home in a sling.  I should be sleeping pretty hard tonight!  Day 15 down!

Day 12 – good & bad heat

The plan for today was an upper body workout and then one of the more active hot yoga sessions.  Get all my resistance training going.

Showed up for an upper body session with Leslie, and noticed very quickly the burning sensation in my left thigh.  I have an inflamed IT band, it has happened before.  When I first got it, I didn’t know what it was and kept pushing until the burning became very intense, like pressing up against a hot cooking pot.  It is a sign for me when I feel it to ease up on the leg work, get a massage, take care of myself!  Luckily this wasn’t leg day, so I pressed on (get it?)

warm-up with the battle ropes for 2 min

flat bench press w dumbbells:  warmup, 150 x10, x10, x9

incline dumbbell flys:  70 x12, x12, x12

pushups:  12, 15, 15

BREAK:  foam roller massage

Australian pullups:  10, 10, 10

t-bar row:  125 x12, 135 x12, x12

try not to sack yourself!

widegrip pulldowns:  200 x12, x12, 220 x12

cooldown:  5 min on elliptical

 

notes:  the ropes reminded me that my biceps were sore 🙂  Somewhat the biceps, moreso the forearms –> the brachioradialis.  Curse you, zottman curls!  Right at the tendon where the brachioradialis connects to the elbow, that was sore.

The pushups were a mix of real ones and knee ones.  I started off with ones from my toes, and as Leslie saw my back sag, we kept going with ones from my knees.  That is a good point to note for my yoga, as Leslie noted I still sag a lot during chaturanga, and put too much pressure on my shoulders. (She came to yoga with me on Monday, and observed.)  This is common, lots of people have saggy backs in chaturanga, but if I want to rehab my shoulders, I need to tighten up on my form, or just do chaturanga (and pushups) from my knees.

After pushups, we took a break from resistance training to apply the foam roller to my IT band.  It was needed, even getting up and down was sore in my left leg.  The rolling hurt, but hurt in the way that makes you laugh.  Well, it makes ME laugh.  After about 5 min of that, I felt loosened up, so we continued.

My mind waqs still occupied with my IT band, and thinking ahead to yoga, so I sort of went through the motions with the Australian pullups.  In retrospect, my feet should have gone out further, and made it harder.  As fallout from that, I was nudging Leslie towards adding a little bit more weight here and there on the rows and pulldowns.

Then I showered up, hopped on the bus, grabbed my yoga gear and headed to hot yoga!  Friday night, typified with a full room of newer people.  That means being mindful of your neighbour, it means the room heats up an extra degree or two from all the people grunting and sweating (like I do, but even moreso).  New people tend to heat up the room more than crafty old vets.  But this kind of heat is the “good heat”, all those hot hairy water bottles surrounding you, steaming up the air, help open your pores and dilate your bronchials.  I resolved to take the class mindfully, to keep an eye out for my left IT band, aka the “bad heat”.

I found a spot next to the wall so I would only have to watch one side for flailing limbs and stumbling bums.  It was a 60 min class, leading us through the basic sequence.  Kelly was teaching!

sweaty shot after class

The class itself was quite forgiving, with lots of 5 second downward dog “rests” in between the juicy poses.  To my open side was a young woman and her 2 male friends.  I think she might have been new, because she was getting hammered by the class, to the point where she kept muttering, “jesus christ” to herself under her breath.  I smiled to myself, we have all been through the “trial by fire”, where the hot room just makes the awkward exercises and poses just THAT much harder.  Before you first went to yoga, did you EVER do dancers pose or half-moon balances?  exactly.

At one point she lost her balance, and fell forward, instincetively grabbing my buttcheeks for balance!  She profusely apologized, I told her it was ok, and chuckled.  I wonder if this was the middle of the room… could she have created a domino effect?  Have a bunch of yogis in a packed room ever toppled like dominoes?  Could I stumble forward and grab a yoga girl’s butt without a write-up from the front desk??  hahaha

My leg didn’t hurt too bad, my shoulder held up ok (why is it always my left side?), and then headed home.  Day 12 ovah!

Day 8 Legs & Hot Yoga!

Woops, haven’t posted Monday yet!

Whenever Legs come up, it is a tiring workout.  Now that I am on the 30 day hot yoga challenge, it gets even more scary.  Make it so I can’t walk, THEN go do lunges and squats in yoga.  Brilliant, Jeremy!

Monday Legs:

BW Sissy Squats:  10, 10, 10

you sissy!

squats:  135 x10, 155 x10, 10, 10

CX strap-assisted one leg lunges:  12, 12, 12

Walking Lunges w 20lb DB:  20 (both sides)

stiff-legged deadlifts:  75 x12, 12, 12

girl scopin the wet t-shirt contest

vertical leg press:  360 x12, 12, 12

legs feel less tired when I hang them in the air

single leg elevated calf raises:  15, 15, 15

 

notes:  I had never done sissy squats before, and so I requested them.  My instincts proved correct!  They look awkward as hell, but didn’t feel too awkward when I did them, and I felt it right away in my thighs!  Dodge stuff like the Matrix!  There are times in yoga when everyone else is doing sleeping hero on their knees, stretching out their quads, and I just flex and raise and lower myself using my quads.  So I know I like the feeling.  Doing these right at the start of the leg workout pre-exhausts you pretty good, my quads are feeling extra tired and sore the next day (right now as I post this), and I know the big difference is doing these in my workout!  So try the sissy squats, you will feel it right away.

The sissy squats and then the regular squats tired out my lower back, so I stretched out with some forward folds:

And then I did some garland pose, just a deep deep squat, and keep your knees wide.

While we were doing the one leg lunges, I was sweating a lot.  Leslie came in and used a wet Swiffer mop on the floor in between sets.  Naturally this means I slipped on the next set and almost went into the splits, haha.  While we waited for the floor to dry, I did some walking lunges instead.  Sorry, no pics of me almost doing the splits hanging from a nylon strap, lol!  If Leslie had stopped to take a pic instead of rushing to my aid, I think I would have been upset 🙂

Following that slight pull in my inner thigh, we went on to do hamstring work!  Stiff-legged deadlifts, still working on my form and my comfort levels with this exercise.  On another note, check out why wearing a thin cotton T is not a good idea.  Wet t-shirt contest left me with a mostly nude back!  See the female client in the back checking out the topless guy wearing a shirt while doing exercises?  hahaha

 

After wrapping up, I had to head home to rest up before hot yoga.  My legs felt wobbly as hell!  Came home, ate some food, too excited to rest.  What was so cool about this yoga class?  My trainer Leslie was going to join me for this class!  Isn’t that awesome?  I love getting to do yoga with a friend any time, but with my PT going, she gets to see how much I am getting thrashed by this 30 day challenge 🙂

On the other hand, Leslie also teaches yoga, so I had to come hard this class, no wimping out!  Gotta put my best foot forward.

We showed up for a 90 min Moksha sequence, which meant a robust standing series, haha.  My legs quivered with fear.  Group photo before class!  Me Leslie and Katie, the teacher for this yoga class.

Katie, me, Leslie

The class was awesome!  It is so much fun having a friend next to you, doing the poses.  As a guy, I have problems getting guy friends to go with me, so I am usually solo.  I didn’t wimp out during the standing series, even though my thighs were on fire.  I didn’t keep up during abs, but w/e 😛

Came home, ate some chicken, relaxed, sleep.  I would say it was darn near a perfect day, all work, all fun, no regrets, no junk food.  Don’t you love one of those days when your head hits the pillow knowing you did everything you wanted to do?

See you next time!  Day 8 over with!