I returned to the place of my people, Arkansas. I sought breathing space in the place where I always find it to prepare for what lay ahead.
On an overcast Sunday morning I set out from Pickthorne onto a winding, flat trail, with overgrown trees that did not allow any vision of what lay between or behind them. This overgrowth required me to be extra mindful of the surroundings so photographs were not taken in order to move quickly through this section. Fortunately nothing happened other than my heart and mind racing and I was able to turn back to see what was behind me and look forward to what was ahead.
The trail from Pickthorne Park connects Henson Tennis Center and Devon Park and has stream running along side it. There is also a bird sanctuary according to the website, which I did not see.
The end of the paved trail had these interesting rock sculptures that I imagine have taken many shapes as they have been reformed and reimagined by the people passing through.
Though eery at the onset, Pickthorne Park is recommended if accompanied by others. For more information on Little Rock or Sherwood parks, click the links.
I have written in journals my entire writing life though I only have about 20 years of them that have survived. Early this morning I began writing with a neon green pen on paper that was not a good look, too light and dreadful looking on the page.
I tried another green pen, a recent reject that I thought was so bomb months ago, but was recently added to the reject bin due to it turning into Count Blobula. So, on to the next.
I knew there would be a chance that pen #3 wouldn’t last. I love the color and love the line but these bad boys dry up and stop writing out of nowhere, then write again, then stop again, then write again. This morning low and behold I got about four sentences in and it was caput, then restarted again.
I finally settled (note the word choice) on #4, old faithful, and guess what happened? She worked like a champ. As I continued writing it dawned on me that what happened with those pens was a very LOUD message. This is what I received:
I was trying to make do with the first two pens even though I knew the results would be unsatisfactory. This says to me that I was reaching for what was convenient, even though I KNEW from experience that convenience and proximity don’t necessarily yield the best results.
The third pen was like a former lover – the thrill was there, I was hopeful that it would last this time but once again, the experience ended in disappointment.
The fourth pen was the truth – It was inconvenient, not the closest to me and was not glittery, shiny nor new but it was real, stable and reliable which made it beautiful.
Life is like that for me anyway. I’m always chasing after the next big thing, thinking that this thing is IT, IT IS THE ONE and baby it almost never is. What I already possessed is good enough, it is:
It has to be one of the most uncomfortable feelings in recent memory for me, as I sat there suffering in silence thinking of the regrettable choice that I made in attire. Though not a problem on previous trips, it most certainly was one now. I loathe a warmup or shorts on flights, I’m old school. I’m just now really traveling in jeans or khakis having given up the old school notion of “dress to impress” for a flight, but right now these jeans ain’t hittin.
I wore the jeans sans belt because I don’t have that TSA pre-check (#$;#$$) meaning I have to pass through regular security and place my whole life in those bins. Wearing a belt was not a priority. However, the lycra in these bad boys have reached their outer limit. What formerly was comfy and roomy has become the binding for my shame. I made it just fine to the airport and to the gate but when I strapped into my teeny economy seat the unthinkable happened and thank God no one could see.
I felt air hit, I pulled my shirt down and pulled my hoodie down in the back, lest I reveal to no one and nothing but the seat I was sitting in my issue, my shame,
my plumber’s crack.
I don’t know that the belt could cover the sins of my diet the last 18 months or so. My a@$ is fat to the tune of +45 lbs in the brief aforementioned timespan. So I sat and suffered in silence while plotting how I would leave my seat and reach for my bag in the overhead without revealing my whole a@$.
The day after Christmas I start seeing those ads, you know the ones from the big brands selling you a plan to lose weight, join a gym, buy the hottest home fitness machine or the newest wearable. Seeing these commercials again and reading this article got me amped about the cost of “wellness.”
Worldwide revenue for 2018 was $94 billion according to the International Health Racquet and Sportsclub Association ( IHSRA) and is expected to increase as health clubs/gyms enter emerging markets. What is driving this?
In an article from Forbes, Crunch Fitness Franchise CEO provides six reasons as to why there’s been such explosive growth in the industry ranging from decreased costs to employers who incentivize healthy living, availability of biometrics at one’s fingertips through wearables and lower priced gym memberships. All this is fine and dandy for the wellness/fitness industry but circling back to my original beef, why in the world are we paying all this money to be healthy? Here’s my unscientific opinion.
Prolifieration of certain beauty standards in the media – This is as old the first ad for a beauty cream. Buy a thing, achieve a look, unlock the secret to the fabulous life.
We spend money on stuff, period – Looking at the time period immediately following the Great Recession, folks in the United States, still spend money on personal consumption items even in periods of increasing prices.
The brain – this is really number one. There are things that happen inside the brain that transmits to our bodies that causes actions whether they be physical or mental. We think, we act in simple terms. Scientists please weigh in, because I’m really saying is:
In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve been buying it, FOR YEARS. I’ve had gym memberships off and on since the 80s. “Donated” to Weight Watchers once because I couldn’t stick with the program, own 3 Fitbits, stream paid fitness classes and have so many freaking shoes, weights and things that you’d think I’d be buff like a mug, but I’m not. It should not be this way. It should not cost to be well, to be healthy. Yeah we certainly have choices. I made a choice to buy all the things, chasing that fit dream but now it’s not sustainable, it’s wasteful almost obscenely so. That said, I’m rethinking my personal wellness plan. I shouldn’t have nor want to give up a bunch of cash to healthy.
How about you? Is the cost of wellness on your last nerve? What low or no cost things you do for your health, Let me know in the comments. In the meantime I’ll be doing some free stuff utilizing what is already in my arsenal, eat well, exercise, sleep.
When sleep will not be so evasive for ye olde broad. Part of the poor sleeping is due to:
The Men O Pause – nature and nothing more I desire to do about it but let it run its course
Snackmaster Flex – my alternate ego who makes questionable food choices at night. Cheez-its anyone?
Drugs – not of the illicit kind, chill! The normal culprit for me is prednisone.
Now, 2 and 3 are both within my control. Both actions are a result of choices I made. I will cop to that. There will come up a time, hopefully before the permanent move to the upper room, that I will get some sleep.
I love summertime. School is out, daylight hours are longer, folks relax, take vacations and all of those good things. As an adult the same good feelings come to mind albeit a bit differently. School is out, so the traffic is better, I’m less ragey because there is no traffic and I can get off the treadmill and head outside in my neighborhood or a park to walk. I mean, I get all Bart Scott about the prospects of watching squirrels, hearing birds chirp and seeing the spring and summer color. This spring though, a funny (not funny) thing happened that cancelled my summertime fun. Ye olde broad got injured and ooh chile the aggravation of it all.
Now I have some level of vanity, I get it from my daddy 😉, and some level of toughness from my mama, so even after it occurred, not only did I continue to wear my fave pumps and other non-supportive type shoes, I continued walking, until the pain became a little too much to bear so I finally got an x-ray, that showed nothing. This was followed by more pain and finally a trip to the podiatrist. Boy did I pick the right one. Dr. M. was straight no chaser. She said that there would be no negotiations as I had an ankle sprain on the right and tendonitis in the left foot. The orders? No exercising with the exception of a rower which I do not own nor have access to, RICE, and wearing the hideousness below.
Now any readers who’ve followed this blog over the years is familiar with the aches and pains my past. At the time of the injury, I was already on the way to be mummified because I was wearing some combination of all the contraptions below. My joints just weren’t having it from the weight I’d put on. The ankle/foot thing was just another bump in the road… maybe.
From June through August I wore the ankle braces and followed a slow incorporation of exercise back into my life per doctors orders. Mid August I went home to see my mama for her birthday and by the time I got back to the durty I was FREEEEEE from those braces. Having been confined to indoors all summer, y’all know I couldn’t wait (again). The thing is, I should have. I walked outside 3 days in a row the week I came back in town. The third day the pain started. By September I’m emailing the doctor whining and she advised me to put the braces back on and to get an MRI. I wore the braces for about 5 days and stopped. This was yet another mistake. My follow-up showed the nastiness I did not want to see, a contusion, inflammation and arthritis. The issue was the former two, note the latter. I asked what’s next? She tried to be easy but kept it real. A boot, crutches and another contraption to even my gait, RICE, NSAIDS and the same no-exercise regimen except for the pool or a rower.
No lie kids, ye olde broad was depressed behind this s#*t even though it is all temporary. As of this writing, I’m feeling alright. So here’s some parting wisdom for fellow tough guys and hard heads out there. Listen to your body. If something isn’t right don’t try to push through it. Stop and head to a physician if you have the means to do so and let her/him diagnose you and do what they tell you to do. Trust me, the older you get, the longer it takes to recover and baybay you wants noooooo parts of this.
Until next time, see you at physical therapy, which is likely my next stop.
I was in the gym on the treadmill and I saw these two dudes. They were on some equipment along the mirrored wall. You know what they were doing right? Flexing. Watching dudes flex in the mirror is right up there with watching people nod off, I can’t see it without cracking up. Anyway, they were flex worthy I suppose but watching the gun show got me thinking about the chicken wings that are my arms, the donut around my mid section and the jello thighs o mine. If you notice all these parts are named after FOOD GLORIOUS FOOD of which I have partaken much of since my birthday which was, gulp, 3 months ago.
See what had happened was…..
I got my butt in gear around March of last year. I didn’t like the way I looked but more so the way I felt. Yeah I was working out, but I was still mad sluggish, combine that with my age and all of the lovely (horrible) things that come with menopause something had to give or be given up. So out went all the chips and cookies and in came the salads and fruits. Out went the cardio only and in came the HIIT and strength training. I was well on my way to losing some of the jiggle and gaining some energy, then a funny thing happened. I got sick. Not just me but several of us who vacationed in celebration of my dear friend and soror’s birthday. Now I’d lost about 20 lbs before then. By the time that pplague of an illness was gone I dropped 15 more in the months following. It was AWESOME. Yes yes y’all I was back in my “skinny jeans” , until I wasn’t.
From 10/2 on I ate, drank and was merry oh, and I worked, A LOT. Before I looked up, I was right where I was before the illness. I got sick with something else AND my back started cutting up, which meant more downtime, more eating and sparing exercise. Top that with a cherry of exhaustion and you get marshmallow woman. My only flexing has been fork, wine glass and cake to mouth. So, what does this have to do with Hans and Franz from the gym?
Well, strength training isn’t my strength, its well documented but there’s a few things I know for sure.
Strength training is good for older folks to maintain bone density
The stronger I am the fewer issues I have with back pain
I know I took the long way home, but I made it back. I’m picking up more dumbbells and eating less cake these days because it’s good for me and everybody around me. Because trust me an exhausted, grouchy old broad is no fun to be around. Plus, I want muscles.
It’s January 12th, in the Year of our Lord 2018, do you know where your goals are? Some, and I hope many, are crushing it right now. The rest of us mere morals may have already faced tests. Let me know if any of these scenarios are familiar.
It’s the 1st, no one really starts today anyway.
Is that you? If you’re off work on 1/1 you may be hungover and don’t have the head nor the stomach to do anything other than get past it. If you’re not hung over and at home you may just be feeling like a lazy snack monster and munch all day, throw in some college football and it’s a wrap on the diet tip for the day.
It’s the 2nd, you go to the gym and it is packed!
If you are a consistent gym goer, you know the deal. All the resolution folks are there. On top of it these noobs are using “your treadmill, your leg press etc., ” so you’re out of your routine. Your attitude is now stank and the subsequent workout is trash, because you’re focused on them using “your” stuff.
The holidays are over except at your job. It’s your co-worker’s birthday, cake and ice cream are being served.
You just got back to work, ready to roll on your new program, or restart your old one and of course without fail, here comes the birthday cake. There is always a birthday at work or some event that first week that involves food. I’m not talking about nuts and berries and salad but cake and ice cream and other sweet/salty/rich delights. Whatchu gone do? Eat the cake/chips/enter junk food name here of course.
I’m here to tell you that it will be okay. The universe is not out to get you and your love handles, this is just life. As a HUMAN we are always tempted by the stuff we are not “supposed to have.” Also as a human, you have choices and there not either or, nor punitive just be flexible. Hungover? Yeah you should probably take it easy. Noobs filling the gym? Celebrate the fact that they made a decision to get moving. Use their addition to the gym as an opportunity to do something different. Try some different equipment. Take your workout outside (weather permitting OR workout at home. There are tons of videos on-line for FREE that will do you just fine.
Don’t throw in the towel folks. Keep up the good work and if you fell off, get back up and try it again. Being healthy and fit isn’t a one day affair, it’s a lifetime of healthy habits. I know I’m going to keep it pushing.
Until next time, see you at the gym, the trail or somewhere else, because there ARE options.
November 30th was a good day, it started off that way anyhow. Worked out with my fave, had breakfast and got to work on time, but it was all downhill from there. By the time he afternoon arrived that sinus pain had me jacked up so bad I couldn’t see straight. I shut it down, headed home and got in the bed, which I never do.
After a weekend of pill popping, nose blowing, hacking and coughing I was at Kaiser on Monday like yooooooo I can’t take this anymore!!!! I visited with a really nice NP who proceeded to tell me it was viral. Yeah those cooties were going around the office and evidently it was my turn. I was instructed to continue my regimen, added some steroids (again) and sent me packing. You can guess what ensued next,
lots of eating and NO EXERCISE WHATSOEVER.
I eat a lot on the roids because allowing hunger to set in is the worst, I feel sick to my stomach. So in order to not add on to the grossness that was this cold, I ate and ate and ate. Two weeks after its start I attempted to work out and was still coughing and too congested to do anything of substance. By week three, the symptoms had mostly dissipated so I hit the weights first with this young lady. Needless to say, the weakness was real and expected, however it was good because I got through without collapsing and got in two more workouts, the week the last of which was quite comical. Remember this? There was a guy who DID NOT MOVE. I did the 6 stations after him and had to improvise the rest on the floor with the regular equipment, but I digress.
Flu season is no joke, I take a flu shot every year. As an asthmatic I don’t fool around. Fortunately what I had, was the common cold. Telling the difference for me is easy, since I’ve had horrible flu before I knew this recent illness was not that. However, in case you aren’t aware, here’s a great source for telling the difference.
The hardest thing for folks who lead an active life is shutting it down to recover. The good news for those who are not old and skittish (moi) is that you don’t have to. The rule of thumb is for above the neck symptoms moderate exercise is cool, below the neck, not so much. Your body is a wondrous piece of work, it will let you know if you’re doing too much. Also to lower your chances of getting sick in the first place, practice good hygiene, stay away from sick folk etc.
Hopefully you and yours will make it through the holidays and the remainder of winter without cold or flu. If you do get caught, this is no time to try to set a PR in anything. Focus on getting well.
Until next time see you at the gym, but if I see you sneezing, I’m going the other way.
Let me tell you what an old broad hates about the holidays. People and their cars. Yeah mugs are generally all ’tis the season to be jolly” and such, there’s just too many of them. During this time of year I generally avoid retail establishments other than the grocery store like the plague and even that can be dicey. Now I do happen to be fortunate to a) have a gym that’s not close to popular retail establishments and b)an old broad body that wakes up early sans clock most days to get to the gym, allowing me to avoid said people and cars. However some of you may not be as fortunate. Your gym may be next to the mall or worse, Wal-Mart and you just don’t want to fool with all the hoopla. Well guess what? You can skip the gym and get those reps in…
AT HOME. Surely you didn’t think you were going to get a pass did you?
Believe it or not gym rats there are tons of fitness channels on YouTube. (Now if you already know this, this post is not for you, but feel free gift this to someone else). I’ve been working out with YouTube folks for maybe 5 years now and enjoy the convenience of rolling out of bed jumping in clothes and getting it in right at home. Any type of workout you want can be found there, strength training, cardio, HIIT, kickboxing you name, as well as the more centering practices of Yoga and Two Chi. So to help some of you nOObs along, here’s the YouTube trainers I currently workout with now as well as some of my tried and true faves.
HASFit – Coach Kozak and Claudia are the dynamic duo behind HASFit. They have over 1000 FREE videos on YouTube and a variety of them, HIIT, Cardio, Strength you name it. Kozak usually does the high intensity moves, Claudia the lower intensity. These two are not the “HEY C’MON LET’S GET IT” types, they are quiet assassins. They calmly whoop your tail and you’ll love it. I do most of my strength training with these two, most recently this.
BodyFit by Amy – I came upon her by accident, looking for a Kettlebell workout. I had done most of the ones that I like with my old standbys and was looking for somebody, anybody else and Amy fit the bill. She has a wide variety of workouts by type Cardio, Strength etc, but also specialty workouts like her prenatal series. I did one of her prenatal cardio kickboxing workouts on a day when I was really sore and it was great to for getting in some light cardio. I generally do Kettlebell and strength training with her, most recently this.
Lumowell – My standing workout schedule includes 3 days of walking per week. Some days, due to work, fatigue and downright laziness I can’t make it out of the bed at 0 dark thirty to go to the gym. Instead of wearing out my carpet with household laps, I looked for walking workouts on YouTube, found a few that were good but a few years old, then Lumowell popped up. I was like whaaattt is this???? Well the trainer is an animated lady or gent (haven’t done one of his yet), with voiceover ques. The exercises are great and include modifications. For the workouts I suggest turning the sound down and using your own music if you like exercising to music. I most recently bumped some House doing this one.
Now for my faves, my tried and trues, the ones I ALWAYS go back to week after week after week
Yoga – Yoga by Candace, Fightmaster Yoga, YogaTX, Yoga with Adriene – I’ve been ALL over YouTube trying various Yogis, subscribed and unsubscribed to many, but these 4 I go back to every single time. I can’t tell you why but these are the ones that are best for me and the way I wish to practice right now.
Favorite HIITMAN – Millionaire Hoy. This dude is non-stop work, energy and talking! I have never seen anyone do what he does and talk like that at the same time. What I like, is that he doesn’t hide the fact that he’s working as hard as the viewer. Every now and again he’ll let out a little scream which is HEEEEELARIOUS to let you he’s feeling it. I dig him so much and believe in what he’s doing that I joined the BOOM Fist Bump family on his Patreon. MillHoy has incredible HIIT workouts, cardio, targeted body area workouts, themed workouts and as of late a lot more strength training which, if you can tell I’m starting to ALMOST enjoy. Check him out, his energy is contagious even at 5:00 am in the morning.
Do you have enough tools now to skip the gym but NOT skip your workout? I hope these resources help and that you find the right trainers for you and your lifestyle. If you have tried any of these folks or would like to make some recommendations, I would love to hear from you in the comments and in all the usualspots.
Until next time, enjoy time with your family during the holidays, but don’t forget about yourself, put in that WORK!
Photos: YouTube screenshots of trainer pages and MsThorns