Breaking old patterns + returning to an old fitness friend

When it comes to working out, I’m a quitter. Perhaps that’s something you may have picked up on since I literally went years without writing on this here blog.

I’m the type of person who can get really into a routine of exercise, only to allow myself to be derailed by pretty much anything. Stressful week at work? Skip the gym, and eat that bag of chips! Pissed at my commute/loud AF neighbors/etc? Don’t work out — eat your anger! Feeling sick? Curl up on the couch and say goodbye to the gym forever!

As I’m not getting any younger, I’m really — like really really — trying to break that pattern this time around, especially now that I’ve made a commitment to #C25K.

Speaking of, I had a really shitty #C25K workout Thursday morning, when I started Week 2. I hadn’t been sleeping well all week and was feeling sore and achy as New York had seen nothing but rain for days on end. My body felt like lead, and I really struggled with the extra 30 seconds of running time.

When I got off the treadmill half an hour later a hot, sweaty mess, I told myself that while I didn’t make it through every full 1:30 run time, what mattered is that I kept going — and that I needed to keep going to the next workout.

But even as proud of myself as I was for actually sticking with the whole #C25K workout, I avoided the gym the next two days as I fought feelings of discouragement brought on that day’s bad workout.

Revisiting Winsor palace again

With Kona, though, it’s not like I can be the gym-avoiding couch potato I once was, so I went on tons of walks with her in the interim, and the fella and I took a huge walk home from dinner in Astoria last night. We followed that up with her night walk, and I started my Sunday with a hot and slow long walk with her as well.

After I brought Kona home, I put my gym sneakers on and took myself downstairs, where I had a truly great #C25K training workout. It’s like my body needed those few days of nothing more than pup walks recharge and be ready to, well, run.

Since it was the second of Week 2, there were four minute-and- a-half running sessions followed by two one-minutes, and unlike the first workout, I did them all! Please, please, hold your applause.

Not only did I not feel like lead or too wiped out, I felt so good and amped up on endorphins that I actually wanted to do a little more. So I came back home and dug around on YouTube until I found the 20-minute Winsor Pilates workout I used to do on the reg when I lived in Pennsylvania.

winsor pilates

A clip from the 20-minute Winsor Pilates workout. (YouTube)

While I am so not as flexible as I used to be, the familiar poses and stretches felt almost as good as the sheen of sweat and accomplishment that covered me by the time I was done.

I’m so glad that I found the workout because the magic of Mari Winsor really helped keep me limber and toned before I let myself go all those years ago.

In fact, as I was feeling sore and achy last week because of the weather and my previous workouts, I had, without even realizing it, turned to two Winsor Pilates moves — the saw and spine stretch forward — to stretch myself out.

As I used to have a big folder of exercises I ripped out of magazines that I used to rotate between, I couldn’t remember where I had learned the two moves until I became reacquainted with them today.

It must’ve been a sign from Mari that I needed to return to my old standby!

The reigning Weekend Warrior

For the past few weeks, I’ve been joining every Workweek Hustle and Weekend Warrior Fitbit challenge I’ve been invited to as a means to start making up for my Summer of Inactivity.

At first, just as I knew I would be as my body got used to walking frequently again, I was regularly in the bottom percentile of the challenges, especially the Workweek Hustle as I’ve been working from home the past two months.

While it was tough not really being a true contender as I’ve slowly (oh-so slowly) been getting back into walking, I’ve finally made enough strides (pun intended!) to finally win my first challenge in a long, long time, this past weekend’s Weekend Warrior with 29,028 steps.

weekend warrior

I’d like to thank the late-night walk the fella and I took from 42nd Street through Central Park up to 110th Street Saturday night. It had been so long since we’ve been on one of our “bender walks” as I like to call them, and it felt so good being out in the finally-cool air in the almost-deserted park, where we could walk at our own pace and not worry about having to dodge slow walkers or sudden stoppers or walking texters.

The great thing about these challenges is that you get updates whenever someone is close to you or passes you, and I found that this weekend’s notifications really pushed me to move more than I wanted to yesterday, despite being super sore from Saturday’s jaunt. I was thisclose to winning, and I didn’t want to give up my lead for anything, so after getting home from my walk to the store, I did laps around the house while the fella watched TV and danced around the kitchen as we made dinner and by golly, it worked!

And this morning, I met a friend who was in town for the day, so we walked from her hotel on 39th Street to Central Park with her two little girls, and I met my 10K step goal by noon as we walked back, which was a great feeling, especially on such a gorgeous day as it was today.
Never mind that the second I’m done with this blog post, I’m probably going to crash on the couch until the fam gets home.

And I plan to walk tomorrow and the next day and the next day and … because just because you’re a Weekend Warrior doesn’t mean you can’t be a warrior on the weekdays, too, challenge or no challenge.

Nikki

Walking with Gojira

Despite not moving my ass (or my legs, for that matter) this summer, I somehow walked enough to earn another one of Fitbit’s super-cute badges, and this one, the Japan badge, is, hands down, my favorite.

I mean, just LOOK at it:

japan badge

I love love love all things Godzilla, or Gojira as I like to say because that’s how the fantastic green monster is known in Japan. I wish this was a tangible badge because I would wear it proudly every dang day. And those of you who know me know that is totally true.

Anyhoo, I got this badge yesterday because I’ve now walked 1,869 total miles — equivalent to the full length of Japan — with my trusty ole Fitbit.

I’ve taken a few quick little walks and one big one since I wrote about my summer of inactivity, and we recently rearranged our living room and bedroom so I now have better space to use my Air Climber on those days when going out into the Sahara-like temperatures of Manhattan just aren’t going to happen, which seems like it might be just about every day as this heatwave just. will. not. let. up. Heard tell we might just go straight from sweltering to frozen this year, and I totally believe it.

I’d be OK with that, though — I love bundling up and walking on cold (and blessedly empty!) sidewalks, so the sooner that happens, the better if you ask me.

Nikki

Oh, Hello, Great Barrier Reef — and The Next 40

No, I’m not writing this blog (my first on this site in more months than I care to admit) aboard a boat off the northeast coast of Australia (though, of course, I wish I were!).

Instead, I’m hunkered down in front of the AC in my New York apartment excited to report that I just received my latest — and best — Fitbit badge, the Great Barrier Reef badge.

badge_lifetime_miles1600

My best Fitbit badge yet!

 

Since strapping on my Fitbit exactly one year ago this week, I’ve now walked 1,600 miles with it, which is the length of the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral reef system.

You’d think I’d be a skinny Minnie by now what with all that walking, but alas I’m not. Alas I’m still struggling with the whole eating-healthy thing. Alas, that’s why you’ve not heard a peep from me on this blog since January.

But as I am nearly two years out from the big 4-0, I know I need to make some changes — and how — before the diabetes that runs in my family takes me over as it did my parents in their later years, before my body gives out and can’t walk another 1,600 miles, before it’s too late to be the captain of my ship (even though I know I’ve been doing a shitty job of captaining thus far).

I see my mom in so much pain and poor health, just as her mom was before her, that I’m going to be in big, big trouble if I don’t do this for real starting now.

I’m going to transition Run, Nikki, Run into something more suitable to the Nikki that I am and the one that’s on the horizon because, let’s face it, this Nikki is never going to be a runner. Maybe a jogger with a soft J on occasion, but a runner, nope.

yogging

But I will tell you that before I turn 40 in 2017, I will be healthier and happier because of it — I’ll stay that way through The Next 40, which I just changed the name of this blog (but not the URL) to.

Join me on this journey, won’t you?

Nikki

Killing my Nikes and other thoughts on resolutions

I know, I know.
“Here she comes out of the woodwork with the rest of the bandwagon resolution makers.” 
Well, kinda, but not really.

I’ve changed, you see, since I last wrote back in September and even more so since my last annual resolutions post a year ago today. You see, I feel like I’ve finally come into who I am in, like, who I really am.

I’m never going to be 17-year-old Nikki ever again.
Nope, I’ll never be the 130-pound Nikki who wore her super-long, super-curly hair on top of her head in a big fat bun all the time.

The hair doesn’t grow as fast, and the weight, well, it doesn’t come off so fast these days, and while there will, I’m sure, always be part of me who’ll yearn to be the size of that skinny and sparkling teenager again with that fabulous hair, the Nikki I am today, 20 years later isn’t half bad, even though she has some — OK, a lot — of extra baggage.

But luckily, I have a fella and a family that loves me, just as I am. And I’ve finally realized that that’s enough.

Oh, Mr. Darcy. Le sigh. (Credit)

Oh, Mr. Darcy. Le sigh. (Credit)

But, having said that, that doesn’t mean I’m going to just rest on my laurels until I have to be moved out of our fabulous apartment by a forklift amid the rustling of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup wrappers and takeout burger-and-fry containers from our corner bodega. No. Oh, no, no, no.

You see, I’m still going to try and be healthy not just because I need to or because I should. No. I’m going to still pull on those workout clothes or, even if I’ve had a hellishly busy day, I’m still going to walk from my office to the fella’s after work most nights because I want to.

2015-01-03 14.54.52

I know I won’t be able to wear you for a few weeks, but your days are numbered, Nikes.

I want to kill my new Tiffany-blue Nikes, you see. I want them to smell and rip and tear just like my beloved purple Reeboks did this year because then I’ll know, I’ll really, really know, that I moved. That I made the New York pavement and wherever else these sneakers will tread upon this year my bitch. That I breathed and lived and walked and was happy.

Those Reeboks took me all around this island of Manhattan, on the country roads of Northeastern Pennsylvania, to Ireland and everywhere in between. By the end of the 2014, I had walked more than 950 miles with my Fitbit, plus another 400-plus miles using Map My Walk before I started using the Fitbit, so I think it’s safe to say that these feet of mine walked at least 1,400 miles in ’14. Wow. Wow.

My favorite moment of 2014 was actually almost an entire day. A day that was just a moment in a year’s worth of days, but when I was in it, basking in the sunshine, in the fresh blend of Irish air mixed with an Atlantic breeze with my family, I knew that this was the moment that would define my entire year, define my very existence.

Standing in the middle of a country lane on the Aran Island of Inishmore that was buzzing with crazy tour-bus drivers, polite bikers (who could teach New York bikers a thing or 10) and more cows than tourists like us as my family and I took photos and reveled in beauty the likes of which I’d never seen before, I knew that as long as I had the fella and my family beside me and comfortable sneakers on my feet, that’s all I’d really need in this world — to make the best of this world.

So, that’s my resolution: Walk. Live. Breathe. Take it all in. Exist. Kill my Nikes … and any other pair of sneakers that may follow.

Nikki

Walking California (almost)

On May 26, I started using my Fitbit. And now, four months later, like, just four months later, I hit a huge milestone with this fantastic fitness gadget.

Fit Bit 750 miles

I’ve walked 750 miles — in four months.
That’s just 50 miles short of the length of California.

And oh, what wonderful miles they were, through the streets of New York, the beautiful landscapes of Ireland and anywhere and everywhere in between. The soles of my Reeboks have worn away, same thing for the gray Skechers GoWalk I usually wore to and from work during the week; the latter are now retired and replaced by an obnoxious neon yellow pair, while I’m in desperate need of replacing the Reebok RealFlexes I fell in love with two years ago and am on my second pair of.

Now, had I been eating the way I should, or the way I did when I lost 20-plus pounds earlier this year, I should probably be skin and bones right now. However, that wasn’t the case. I’ve been weak. Like, real, real weak. Luckily, though, with all this walking, and logging more than my required 10,000 steps a day, I’ve not gained anything, so at least there’s that.

But I can do better. I know I can. And, much more importantly, I know I have to, so I’m making a pact with myself to lose at least 10 pounds by Christmas. That’s 10 pounds in three months, which really is nothing, but it’s not too large a number to make me quit when the going (read: temptations) gets tough, as it oh-so-often does.

So, here’s to the next three months — and the next 750 miles. I have to walk back up California, you know!

Nikki

The first 250

On Friday, there was an alert in my in box from Fitbit that told me I’ve hit the 250-mile mark with the device, after having it for just under two months.

250 fitbit

Two-hundred and fifty miles in less than two months? Surely, that’s some kind of Superwoman record, right?

Well, that’s what I’m going to keep telling myself as I pat myself on the back. Here’s to the next 250!

Nikki

100K with Fitbit

2014-06-30 21.51.42It’s not just the fact that, for the first time, I’m killing the fella on Fitbit … OK, it kinda is since we’re so highly competitive and motivating toward each other.

But either way, even if I did come in second, which, as you can see I most certainly did not, yesterday I broke 100,000 steps for the current seven-day period. One hundred thousand steps. In a single week.

You have no idea how good this feels, and how much my love for the FitBit has grown. If you don’t have one, get it. Stat. It’s a life changer. Now let’s keep the momentum going, self!

Nikki

Getting fit with Fitbit

A lot sure has changed since my last post.

For starters, I’ve gone back to work full-time, which has been really, really great. And with that, of course, there’s been some bad.

My foot started acting up soon after I started, so in addition to not being able to log those five-plus mile walks every day like I’d been doing prior to getting hired, I wasn’t even able to do much more than walk — more like painfully limp, actually — to and from the subway to work and home.

It killed me, it really did, going from being so active to just doing the bare minimum. I know I’ve changed, and I like the body that all that walking over the past several months has given me. It’s not my best, nor my goal, but it’s better than it was when I started this journey, and that’s all that matters to me.

Luckily, my foot seems to be getting better (knock wood!), so the fella and I took a decent walk last Monday before doing our grocery shopping. And I cannot tell a lie: This came after a horrible, horrible weekend of eating. We’d gone back to my parents’ for the holiday weekend, and, like I’d written the month before, the food was plentiful — and not very good for us.

Wings and beer at our favorite place. A secret hot dog run. The biggest grilled steak I ever did see (and eat). A nice, big slice of an amazing early birthday cake and then an absolute massacre of a NEPA delicacy: Victory Pig pizza, which we bought frozen and ate when we got home Sunday. All 12 cuts. Gone. In one sitting.

We felt disgusting the morning after, so Monday was a total detox day, which gave a really great start to our mindset for the rest of the week. I’m happy to report that, by Friday, I lost the pounds I gained on our “Lost Weekend.” Most of it was thanks in part to being able to walk more — and the latest addition in our fitness regime: the Fitbit Flex band, which the fella’s parents gave us both as an early birthday for me and Father’s Day for him gifts.

In case you’re not familiar, Fitbit is a rubber bracelet-like device that wirelessly tracks the number of steps you take, sleep patterns, calorie burning, etc. While ours are black, the device comes in several colors, so it can be changed up to be more of an accessory to your outfits. Getting Fitbit was the fella’s idea, and he was almost to the point of annoying with how excited he was about getting one. I, on the other hand, took some convincing.

Photo from techgirl.co.za

Photo from techgirl.co.za

I’m not a big wrist-jewelry wearer. I loathe watches and have one bracelet I’ve worn for years now, so I’m used to it, and I love it … but, I take it off the second I get home because I can’t sleep in any jewelry. When the fella snapped the Fitbit on me the first time, I immediately felt constricted. Compared to my bracelet, the Fitbit was ginormous. Bulky. Uncomfortable, especially to sleep in. Every time I moved, I felt it. Worried that I would turn it off or screw it up. So that first night, I didn’t sleep very well.
Plus, it’s always with me. Sleeping, in the shower, should I ever find myself swimming in a pool or ocean, there it will be. That’s a commitment I don’t even make with what little jewelry I do wear, and they’re Tiffany pieces for God’s sake!

I grumbled about it the next day, tried wearing my bracelet on my left wrist since the Fitbit had to be on my non-dominant hand and felt so off-kilter I could’ve screamed. I’ve since put the bracelet back on my right wrist with the Fitbit and feel much better, thankyouverymuch.

As the week wore on, and my foot felt well enough to walk up to the fella’s work after I got out as well as some lunchtime strolls and I started looking at my Fitbit dashboard online and on the app, I started to come around. It got easier to sleep with, and the first time my wrist vibrated because I met my daily step goal, I first jumped because it startled me, and then I felt very accomplished.

Then a funny thing happened, which is what makes the product so great: I got competitive with myself. Each day I wanted to — I needed to — beat my step count from the day before and/or beat the fella, who sent me a taunt on the app, which looks similar to a Mr. Yuk sticker.
Oh, hell no, fella. Hell. No. 

Though I am still getting used to wearing the Fitbit, which really isn’t as bulky as I made it out to be with my set-in-my-ways way, I really think it’s revolutionized the way the fella and I look at fitness. We’re still using My Fitness Pal to track our calories (Fitbit syncs with MFP, which has been great), but after having some issues with Map My Walk, which told me on several different occasions that I walked two miles in two seconds (even though the distance from the subway to work is less than a mile and takes about five minutes), it’s been awesome to see a much more accurate measure of distance. I chalk some of my issues with MMW up to me being back in the Financial District, which, despite being the center of the financial world, is a huge reception dead zone most of the time.

While I do miss the mapping MMW did, I don’t miss having to end a workout before I go down into the subway station, meaning that the many steps I take underground through stations and on platforms go uncounted. The Fitbit counts them all, and its accuracy showed me that I really wasn’t burning as much as I thought I was, as much as MMW led me to think I was — which might finally start showing me some substantial loss on the scale now that I know my true caloric burn.

If you’re looking for something that could take your fitness/health goals to the next level, you might want to look into a Fitbit. I’m not being paid for this little write up (though if the company wants to, I won’t object, haha). I’m just a girl looking to be her healthiest self and using a product that I think makes a big difference in my life. We all know we should aim for 10,000 steps a day, and this product is helping me blow that minimum away — and helping me become the thinner, fitter person who’s getting closer and closer every day.

Nikki

Jump to it

Inside the JumpLife studio (photo from jump-life.com)

Inside the JumpLife studio (photo from jump-life.com)

Tuesday night, with a bit of trepidation, I walked into 404 Broadway in TriBeCa and up two flights of stairs to a room filled with trampolines.

It was my first fitness class at JumpLife, which I signed up for via a LivingSocial deal in January. Because of the old foot problem chestnut, I needed a workout that was low impact, yet I still wanted something that would kick my ass.

JumpLife did just that.
Actually, I guess you could say JumpLife bounced my ass.

There are two types of classes at JumpLife, Jump Dance and Jump Gym. My first class was Jump Gym, and we were encouraged by our friendly instructor to grab some dumbbells, but to choose lightly because we were in for a lot of reps. I grabbed a set of two-pounders, smiled shyly at a girl who looked as nervous as I felt (which probably means I looked just as nervous, too), and tentatively stepped on the large, octagon-shaped trampoline, gripping the attached handlebars to get my bearings.

The music started to blast, and we began jumping up and down, side to side, doing various arm moves at the same time. Being a non-coordinated person when I’m standing still, I won’t lie and say I didn’t have a problem keeping up with the class because I did, but I was able to follow along at my own pace, and the sweat still poured off me five minutes in, and isn’t that all that matters?
Never you mind that I was constantly going left when everyone else was going right, or had to hold on to the bars more often than not.

It was fun. Like really, really fun. And it was darker than most fitness classes I’ve been to, so there wasn’t that, “Oh, God, everyone is seeing my jiggle.” I’m sure they could still see it, but they, too, were too busy huffing and puffing – and bouncing, of course.

We soon dropped the weights, and did many series of leg kicks and side-to-side jumps. When my foot started to hurt, I’d slow myself down or just jump up and down, feeling like a kid again (but  thankfully not hitting the drop ceiling in our family room like I did jumping on our little trampoline when I was young), and feeling in my core that I was doing something good for myself and my body.

My favorite move was when we pretended to be on a spin bike, where we sort of ran in place like Jennifer Beals in “Flashdance” (remember that scene? “She’s a maniac, maniac on the floor …” OK, sorry). We moved all around the trampoline like that, and our instructor kept urging us to go faster, faster, faster, and it was so exhausting, yet so invigorating, and I loved every single second.

Before I knew it, we were told to lay on the trampoline to do our ab exercises, which were killer, and then we did some stretches laying down, and then stood up to do the last batch of stretches. I really couldn’t believe how fast the 45-minute class went by.

I was sore leaving the studio – and thirsty as hell, which is why I’m glad I listened and brought a huge bottle of water as instructed when I called to sign up. Going down and up the subway steps on the way home were slower than normal, and getting out of bed the next morning was … interesting … but it was also empowering because I felt amazing. And still do.

JumpLife was so much fun – and I can’t wait to go back on Sunday afternoon to try out the Jump Dance version.
And report back, of course!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to … ahem … bounce.

Nikki