Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Help by Kathryn Stockett: Categorizing Others

"There is so much you don't know about a person.  I wonder if I could've made her days a little bit easier, if I'd tried.  If I'd treated her a little nicer.  Wasn't that the point of the book?  For women to realize, We are just two people.  Not that much separates us.  Not nearly as much as I'd thought."  -The Help, Kathryn Stockett, p. 492

We judge based on what we perceive, what we think we know.  We set boundaries based on these abstract concepts.  We separate others, group people and things where they "belong" in the categories that we create.  
Cheap.
Classy.
Smart.
Dirty.
Weak.
Sexy.
Executive.
Kind.
Blue collar.
Creative.
Rigid.
Annoying.
Compassionate.
Awkward.
Abrasive.
Humble.
Patriotic.
Proper.
Simple.
Mature.
Beautiful.

And the list goes on.  

But in doing so, we separate ourselves.  We think we belong in certain categories.  We draw invisible lines.

It's been a while since I've read a really good book (Modern Library's Top 100 Novels has had some let-downs), so I took a break from my reading list to read The Help by Kathryn Stockett.  Someone had left the book (willingly) in our apartment mail room, so I picked it up (and will return it now that I've finished).  Nothing better than a good free book!  I can't speak for the movie, but if you haven't read the book, you must.  It really is excellent.



I challenge us all this week to remove one invisible line.    

When you read the above list of adjectives, what or who came to mind?  Why?  Is it fair to categorize them that way?  Where do you belong?

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Quick Circuit Workouts

Today's workout was a combination of 2 circuits:


Explanation of Exercises

Push-Ups: self-explanatory
Make it easier: push-ups on your knees
Make it harder: add a clap as you spring off your hands

Mountain Climbers: read about my version of Mountain Climbers on a previous post.  
Make it easier: no jumping, just do alternating forward lunges
Make it harder: add ankle weights, add 3 small pulses at the bottom of the lunge

Rolling Tuck-Opens: read about normal tuck-opens on a previous post.  Do one normal tuck-open and then do one full log roll (roll from your back, to your stomach, to your back) and do a second tuck-open.  Then, log roll back the other direction.  Each tuck-open is one rep.  During your log roll, try to keep your feet and arms elevated so they never touch the ground; you should pass through a superman position.  The benefit of adding the roll is that it forces your entire core to be engaged, including your back (which we often forget about).   
Make it easier: do a normal crunch instead of a tuck-open
Make it harder: switch from a tuck-open to a v-up

Vertical Push-Ups: any modification of a handstand push-up that you like so that the top of your head always gently lowers to the ground (not your chest).  Options include the following (in order of difficulty): a full handstand push-up (most difficult), a piked hand-stand push-up (feet are elevated on a bench so your legs form a 90 degree angle with your upper body), push-up with your knees on a stability ball, pyramid push-up so that you are in a downward dog-like position (butt sticking up in the air).

Sumos: legs spread wide (like a sumo wrestler), feet turned out.  Plie (deep squat).  As you stand back up, lift a leg as high as you can to the side, so you end balancing on a fully extended stance leg and your other leg is out to the side to work your glutes.  Return to deep squat and repeat on other leg.
Make it easier: wait to lift leg until you have stood up completely, use a chair for balance
Make it harder: add a hop, add ankle weights

Plank Hold: self-explanatory
Make it easier: decrease the time
Make it harder: increase the time, add alternating knee-to-elbows, balance on one leg (switch legs half-way through)    

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

2-Exercise Full Body Workout and Spinning Workout

Alright, it's been ages since I've updated this blog.  The past few months got a little hectic with the end of wedding planning, and now that the wedding is over (it was beautiful, but more on that another time), I'm ready to get back to my fitness.  I kinda let things go in those last 2 months of wedding crunch time.  

I am happy to report that I can check running a 10k off my bucket list!  Despite not having trained as I was supposed to, I was very pleased with my final time of 57:03 (9:12/mile) in the Novi Memorial Day Run.



Since we've been back trying to adjust to "normal" life again, Nick and I have been hitting the gym pretty regularly, motivating each other.  Here's a sample of 2 workouts I've done this week:


I used a pull-up assist machine (30-40 lbs assistance), and boy am I still super sore!  For burpees, make sure you do the full thing including the push-up (go on your knees if you need to), otherwise, you will not be getting a full body workout.   


I think I took this spinning program from a magazine a while ago.  I have a cool free app on my iPhone called "Spin Class."  It allows you to program your intervals so it keeps time for you and tells you when to switch to the next activity.  Below is a screen shot of what the app looks like when you've entered a program:


Let me know how these workouts go for you!