Tuesday, June 23, 2009

In Which I Become A True Body Nerd

I went off the deep end today.

I invested in a bottle so I can shake my protein/fruit shakes before running out to catch the bus or hit a meeting. And so, the transformation is complete. Who cares what my body looks like? Who cares how many reps I actually do? I'm now a body nerd. Jane Lynch shows it best as head cheerleader coach in Glee. Let's let her show you how it's done.

Now, if you're wondering (as I'm sure you are) what the experience was, I will tell you. I bought the Zyliss Quick Blend Shaker in Red (pictured above). I have never been a protein shake kind of gal. I'm a coffee shop chick! But I've seen the changes in my body. So I bought the thing to make my life a little easier.

Tonight I added the 200ml of fat-free milk, the spoonful of protein shake. And I shook it up. Before now I've been stirring with a spoon. Those days are over! No more chunks!

{Mercy. What have I become?}

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A New Experience in Yoga: Floating

I think I approach this project differently than Patrick did/does. I remember a particularly vivid conversation I had with Patrick about some extreme stretching he was doing that had him in tears. I told him I thought he was crazy to do it. He told me he was "releasing" pent up energy. I told him that if it needed to be released he could do so without pushing himself past his boundaries. We fought.

I still maintain that your body knows its limits. I don't think that's an excuse to stay well within the limits. It is our work as body nerds to get to know what they are - to explore those edges. If a stretch has you in tears, back off. It isn't worth it.

Another piece to this project is that I haven't been gung ho, trying to convert everyone I know to do the program. I realize people will find it when the time is right for them. I've had a number of folks shoot me emails or direct messages on Twitter asking about how they can get started - I would point you to Patrick and get him to set you up.

Yesterday in yoga I experienced a lightness in my upper body that had my teacher, after class, high fiving me saying, "well, now I know it's not all just for show!" referring to my upper body strength. Jumping to chatturanga from crow is still challening, but I feel the "floating" element that I never did before. I honestly thought it was a myth. There is a lot I still can't do: I can't float up into a handstand from standing forward bend, for instance. But I'm not focused on what I can't do, I'm focused on what I can.

The photo sequence shows a posture I've been able to incorporate into my practice since I started the peak condition project. I could do it before, but it felt heavy or flat. Now, it feels weightless. And pleasurable, actually. In one shot you can see the emerging six-pack (w00t!)

I remember attending a workshop with David Swenson in Tokyo (pictured above). It was called the Physics of Flight. We practiced jumping through our Sun Series and held one another to practice jumping through straight-legged, hinging at the hips. I laughed at the time. I thought David was kind of a show off. I don't want this to be taken that way. I see now that he was (probably/hopefully) just trying to inspire us to discover weightlessness in our practice. It is possible, I now see.

Floating is fun, but possibly the most important things I've learned over the past 60+ days doing this is are food related. I've learned that I can (and should) leave the sugar alone, caffeine is almost as bad, chocolate is much better when you hold off from having it for a while, and it's better to just do it than to talk about it. Seriously. Nobody cares how much you work out. The results matter more than the plan to do it. Or the post about having done it. The only reason I'm writing this post is that if I don't Patrick will be mad at me if I don't. So, there you have it. Peak Condition. Final month. Let's rock this shizzle.

(To see how to practice this, step-by-step, check it.)

Monday, June 1, 2009

Despondency. The Kiss of Death.

Image: CA Parks

I've reached the halfway point with the Peak Condition Proj. And two days ago I thought Patrick was going to bring the smack-down.

Here's what happened. I went to Orlando. I took my equipment. And I worked out exactly zero times. Home, didn't get back on track. Talked to Patrick and he wigged out on me. "What are you doing? Get back on the wagon! Blog about it!"

Well, here I am, blogging about it. I fell off the wagon. Sadly, I grew despondent. Good news, I'm back on the wagon. But I have zero interest in the mid-way point indulgence. Weird, right? I look at all the desserts and think, "why would I waste my indulgence on this?" (You get three indulgences during the course of the project.) I have my partner taste-test things for me, "what is it on a scale of 1-10?" I ask. He says, "6-7." I'm like, "meh." And that's it.

But really, an exquisite mango with some honey? Or a loaded chocolate chip cookie cake with a side of fudge? I guess I'd take the former. Weird.

This is a busy time of the year. I'm finding myself wanting to be outside more, wanting to bike more. Wanting to have a camera in my hands wandering around town more. It's good. I think this is the best time of year to start a peak condition project. Your body is encouraging you to do the things you have to fight to do during the winter.

Anyway, those are some miscellaneous thoughts. Consider who you'll go to when you hit the Despondency Wall. You will hit it. Make sure you have a trusted friend who can help you up onto the wagon. Whatever you do, don't have "no plan," thinking you won't hit the wall. And also, when you feel it coming on, do something sooner rather than later. Or you might make Patrick very, very angry. So find that friend who'll bring the smack-down, as Patrick did for me.
Yeah, Patrick. What are you going to do now?

It has been broughted.