a pound of hair?

Wednesday, 23 February 2011 01:46 am
seryn: dew drop on leaf (each step)
The haircut is working.

I'd been holding steady at 208-209 for 8 months. I gained a couple pounds right before the gum surgery and then lost that and more down to 205-206. It held steady there for a few weeks. At the doctor's I was down to 204 barefoot. Today I was 203 in shoes.

That's after a week of not going to the gym.
seryn: dew drop on leaf (each step)
I have made some progress this year. I'm now down to being a bit below the size 18... Read more... )
seryn: dew drop on leaf (each step)
I seem to be sort of stalled on my weights. Both my personal weight, and the weights I can lift at the gym. Read more... )
seryn: dew drop on leaf (each step)
I'm back from the gym. Yay me! I only did a mile today, but I'm pretty consistently getting to that mile in 16 minutes without pushing my heartrate into the red. I just didn't feel like biking so I went to the weight room and figured I could bike afterward. Only I forgot that the gym closes early on Sundays so the cardio room was jammed afterward.

why that really irritates me, a semi-rantish tirade )

been busy.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010 11:32 am
seryn: flowers (Default)
I took a pilates class today and really enjoyed that. I'm not exactly good at it, but it's definitely something I need to do. This pilates class concentrates on non-abdominal core muscles as well as the ab ones. Since I've been specifically working on strengthening deep hip muscles, this was extremely useful.

It's been dreadfully hot, so I haven't really been exercising.

I also have a sore shoulder. It's right under my bra strap, so maybe I tightened some bra straps too much and bruised it. Or maybe I should hold off on those weighted squats. Either way, it didn't hurt at all when I was slovenly and wore no underwear at home.

Years ago I ended up admitting that I frequently wore socks several days in a row. I just didn't see the problem. Now that I go to the gym, I find that I often wear several pair of socks in the same day. I don't want to wear decorative socks to the gym; I don't want to wear gym socks after coming home because when I stop sweating, they get clammy and gross. And when I'm sleeping I prefer socks that don't leave marks, so the socks where the cuff elastic has died are great for sleeping but they'd get eaten by my shoes if I wore them during the day.

Happy today. I've gotten a ton of stuff done. I made breakfast (toaster waffles, but these are not the fake food kind, they're locally made and list only real ingredients), I drove my SO to the train, I went to the grocery store, I put the food away, I went to the gym.

Yesterday I booked our nearby trip and sent out another loom inquiry. I don't understand why people bother saying they sell something when they don't want you to have it. It's incredibly frustrating.

PS. Can someone explain the difference between enquire and inquire? It looks like there's a formal usage which says inquire is for things related to an inquest. So everyone else uses enquire. *shrug* I tend not to use enquire because the only ambient usage I see is for the tabloid.

I need to return the cable box today or tomorrow.
seryn: dew drop on leaf (each step)
They really need to have basic dance classes. And those classes shouldn't presume anything.

Today's class said, "this is the ribcage slide, move using your obliques". I don't know which muscles are the obliques I happen to know they're somewhere on the sides and are exercised with catty-corner situps but fuck-me if I know exactly which things those are, nor how to use them by themselves to move fucking half my body without moving anything else. But I don't think most of the other people there knew what obliques were at all, not even in terms of "side tummy".

This was the introductory class. I guess the normal class is full of people who can do anatomical surgery? Certainly you must have been taking the advanced classes for several years before you'd be able to keep up with anything harder than this.

You know what they really need? Someone needs to stop and explain how the fuck you can hold your arms up for a bleeding hour and not be screaming from tortured muscles.

Actually I needed that when I took band in middle school.

After 6 months of going to the gym, and weekly tai chi classes, I can actually "hang my arms like they're weightless" but there was a lot of instruction on how that should feel, how to arrange it so the skeleton takes the load instead of requiring muscle action. Plus I have spent a lot of time in the weight room building shoulder muscle, building arm and back muscle, conditioning tendons and re-orienting my posture. But if it's going to take 6 months of pre-requisites before people can even stand correctly, they need to have a class for moronic idiots.

There really is nothing in the world for people who fall between "sudden-amputee who gets great physical therapy to learn how to move" and "is already dexterous, fit, and coordinated enough to dance competitively". You have to take yourself from couch potato to "doesn't need classes or a gym" on your own before you can keep up.

There must be something we can do collectively as a society to bridge that gap.

But so far, the best belly dancing lessons have been the free video on Netflix streaming. I keep thinking taking classes from a live teacher is going to help teach me what I'm doing, so the things that look similar but are called different things can be explained how one implements them. But no one teaches any of that shit, it's all "follow along as best you can." If that's all I'm doing, I'll stick with the video.
seryn: dew drop on leaf (each step)
I made it 9 days in a row at the gym before I took a day off (yesterday).
this goes on for a while, research, plans, etc )

Feeling Blue

Wednesday, 15 September 2010 08:22 pm
seryn: dew drop on leaf (each step)
Today was the opposite of yesterday in terms of how I felt about stuff.

My SO ordered a remote control for the laptop. It's by Lenovo. I ♥ Lenovo. (Mostly because one of their muckymucks wants to stop wasting keyboard space on CapsLock... and seriously, for laptops? there is absolutely no excuse for CapsLock being its own key. The 2 people in the entire country who actually need CapsLock on their laptop can hit Ctrl-Alt-PrtScrn to toggle it. Everyone else can turn on sticky keys or get a fucking macro program. Currently 99.9999999% of people using laptops have to find a macro program to turn the CapsLock key off and most of those don't repurpose it. I hate that key so much. Therefore I ♥ Lenovo for even saying that they're looking into getting rid of it.)

Anyway. The remote control has sat in the shipping envelope for weeks now. Finally I wanted to watch Lie To Me on the bigger screen so while the intro ads (hulu) were playing I read the directions. It was, "remove battery cover. remove USB dongle from battery compartment. install batteries (provided, AAA), plug dongle into any USB port, turn remote on (switch on underside)." I did this. There was a small chime while windows acknowledged the new thing. It magically works. I now have a palm-size keyboard and trackball thingy that is actually more adroit than the laptop keyboard.

AND! The mute button works!

I was so stoked that I went out to Best Buy to look at TV antennas in person. We have one of those laptop-does-TV adapters but it needs an antenna. I found a faster and easier way to get to the store from here (also awesome). I went to lunch. I shopped for antennas. Best Buy doesn't have anything from the most recent 2 years model-wise. And they're hella expensive. So an antenna model from 2005 is $90 at BB, but the 2009 model (same brand, higher ratings) is $40 on Amazon. So even though if I hate the antenna I will have to pay return shipping, I'm getting a much better deal ordering. So I came home and actually ordered it. Free shipping.

My lunch was a club sandwich with fries. Totally awesome. I ate half plus all the fries and took the rest home. Which I ate this evening after going to the gym. It was a slovenly gym day, but I was thinking about skipping. This makes 8 days in a row! (Yesterday was tai chi for an hour.) .6ish miles elliptical, 1 mile biking. (13.5min/5min). Lat pulls: 60 lbs (3 sets: 15, 15, 10); Row: 50 lbs (2 sets: 15,15); tricep underhand: 70lbs (2 sets: 15, 15). Breakfast was an egg scrambled with cheese and cream divided over two warmed corn tortillas. Dinner's going to be ravioli with meat sauce. Total water consumed: 1 glass plus half a liter. I was also outside today because I was laying out the towel with the blocked scarf. (I'd pinned it last night and rolled the towel up, so I took the whole roll out and spread it to dry in the sun.)

no progress.

Monday, 13 September 2010 08:10 pm
seryn: dew drop on leaf (each step)
gym stuff and diet stuff )
seryn: water drop  (green drop)
My landsend catalog apparently was misprinted. It claimed there was a sale on jeans but the price isn't actually available.

I learned this because... duhn duhn duhn... I went down another pants size!

(Though I shall call Lands End on Monday and see if they can sort it. I'm sure they're open tonight, but a catalog misprint won't be something the all-night operators can do anything about.)

I can also wear rings that had been put away as "never going to be able to get that off without removing the finger."

Celebrations tonight include a glass of 1999 Viognier (Cosentino), which despite the wikipedia warnings is actually excellent this far aged. I like it better than chardonnay because of viognier's intense bouquet which is absent from most low-price chardonnay wines. It's hardly fair to compare hand-selected-by-the-vintner bought-on-vacation wine with $8 supermarket grog, but you know, I have to say, the vacation wine is vastly superior.

I didn't drink it with dinner because dinner was pasta with parmesan cheese and honestly cheese and wine are terrible together. The dairy and fat in the cheese mask the subtle tastes of the wine and the wine is usually sharp enough to make the cheese taste flat in comparison. I don't mind drinking two-buck-chuck with food. And I like paired wines at fancy restaurants. But excellent wine with homemade pasta makes the pasta taste like spagetti-Os and makes the wine taste like pickles.
seryn: dew drop on leaf (each step)
Shockingly tai chi only has one form. I've read enough fantasy novels with sword fighting to know that most arts martial have several set "dance routines". Tai chi does have variations, stylistic variations about whether smoothness or angles are of primary importance, and length of form--- there is a 100+ posture so called "long form" and a shorter form of about 35 postures and an extremely short form of about 20 postures.

Most of the time you see a tai chi class, there is some amount of time devoted to chi gong. I'm completely unclear on what the difference is. Chi gong has a slew of different "dance routines" and the one selected for class focus seems to be chosen randomly--- or at least the parameters are unclear to the amateur. The first one we did was extremely athletic involving a lot of up and down and touching behind our backs and the ghastly pivoting. The current one is a lot of mock anger being released with fists and stomping. They all have names that are wildly unrelated to anything anyone might see in them.

What disturbs me, having done this for several months now, is that there is a fixed, permanently fixed, shortest form and I don't know it. I found some videos online so I can watch and practice at home. But when I took ballet, you were expected to learn the vocabulary and practice at home because nothing was going to be taught again. (I sucked at ballet because there wasn't really any hope of practicing at home.) I understand that this is a rotating class, but there's really no excuse why we cannot (as regular attendees) learn a single 4 minute dance routine meeting weekly in 3 months. That's just stupid.

So I looked at the videos, I wrote down posture names (where they were specified) and made flashcards. I can keep all the named postures straight in my mind now. I'm working on writing descriptions of what those mean so I have a mental picture and can replicate it with my body's movements. I can see this taking a lifetime of daily repetition to truly master all the nuances of it, but I can't understand why it's taking a lifetime to understand what the fuck I'm supposed to be doing with my feet.
seryn: dew drop on leaf (each step)
How does one get accredited as an aerobics instructor? Moreover, how does one get "defrocked"? The instructor I hate at the gym is now teaching the beginning step class--- step classes already look like an orthopedic surgeon's jizz dream, but this would give a knee doc wet emissions for several waking hours. OOOhh oh oh oh oh oh my BOOOOAAAT payment! Ah ah ahhhhh my kid's going to Princeton!

I think I should probably do my own choreography because I know what hurts me. I also know what kind of music I like. Maybe there's a website somewhere that lists the kinds of moves that are "aerobical" so I could specifically incorporate things which encourage a well-rounded musculature. I know I could come up with an actual routine coordinated with the music better than the idiots that the gym hires.

Although it would be weird to be standing in the mirrored studio room and dancing to music only I can hear, the gym does allow people to use the room whenever it's not scheduled for classes.

Anyway. I went to the gym. I elliptical'd for 10 minutes which was a half mile. Then I biked to nowhere for 7.5 minutes and 1.65 miles. Then I came home. No weights. My arms are still giving me twinges from the be-damned yoga. I've been feeling bad this week for other reasons, so it's been a light week. I'm still within my 5/7 ratio, but my two byes came early in the week and today was just the half workout. I might just do the half again tomorrow, I'm going to see how I feel.

I'm still not sleeping right and mornings are almost painful. So I have been going back to bed after breakfast... then I get up at 11am or so and it's been difficult to get everything into my day.
seryn: dew drop on leaf (each step)
I'm feeling really dejected over this whole exercise thing. Normally I do well at providing my own motivation, but now I'm not.

Some of it has to do with the failed yoga experiment. I did make it to the gym today but my knees really hurt! Thankfully it's not in that joint damage way but more in the "knelt too long" way. I was forced to backpedal on some of my weight lifting exercises due to tendonitis twinges. That fucking yoga really did a fucking number on my wrists. It's fucking evil. Finally I gave up doing anything productive and when a good song came up in the rotation I took one of the seated lat-pull slots at the cable station and did 4 solid minutes of 30 pounds. (Since I can do 70, the 30 feels like nothing. I could do it forever.)

I asked which yoga classes were for beginners and was told they all are but you have to talk to the instructor at the start of the class. Um. well, actually no. Even the modifications for beginners hurt like blazes today. It got a lot worse for having exercised. I felt okay until I went. Now I'm dreading washing my giant ceramic salad bowl.

I think I need to stop doing the really shitty exercises the trainer likes. I think I need to stop competing with myself for maximizing weight in each exercise. I'm supposed to be doing this because it's fun. And it has completely stopped being fun when I know I have to go do ab crunches next or the stupid rowing thing. All those things the trainer suggested suck to do. They're completely un-fun.

I'm not losing any weight. So fuck it. I'm not going to do the things I hate. And even just thinking about that idiotic step up exercise makes me want to call and cancel my membership.

How on Earth do they sell personal training when all they do is demotivate people?

I'll go back tomorrow because there's tai chi. But if that sucks, I really am going to cancel and find something else to do instead.
seryn: water drop  (green drop)
I'm more than vaguely looking for a movement-based fitness class.

As much as I enjoy the weightlifting and being stronger and the size reduction, I do want to be able to move and flex and live in the body I have as well.

I am not looking for an intense cardio burn class. Let's not be idiotic here. I'm still struggling to make it through an hour of tai chi class.

Yesterday I attempted yoga for the first time with an instructor. I am pleased with the instructor but not at all pleased with the class. I chose this instructor because she seemed to have classes which were a-religious and she seemed to speak English understandably. I chose this instance because it was the long-form class and everyone I asked said it was slower and less rushed. I got extra attention when there was a chance to offer alternate forms, but the overall class is far far far too advanced for me. (I have attempted yoga a few times from a video and there isn't anyone that can offer alternatives when I cannot do something. So I end up just watching.) I found that even with the modifications, I am sore in places that indicate potential injury--- specifically the wrists and knees.

There was a documentary-ish program about old people doing yoga on PBS. It talked about how yoga doesn't have to be about contortionism and getting up and down off the floor a bazillion times. It talked about how one can teach people to have improved balance by offering supports (a chair for holding on when standing on one foot) so they don't feel afraid to try. (Old people really cannot afford a fall, so there needs to be a stepwise path to success.)

The gym yoga is obviously intended only for people who have no fear of injury, who are already good at it. I need something like that PBS program.

I wouldn't mind if it was a dance class where one is expected to learn and improve. But if I am doing that, I need to have a beginner's class.

Overall my experience has been that fitness classes at the gym are way too advanced for me. They require skills I do not have. They require athleticism on par with marathon runners and decathaloners. The gym does not hire people based on their ability to provide cogent instructions. They offer space and mirrors, but you'd be getting a similar experience watching a video and attempting it on your own.

I talked to my SO last night and he said I should not go to classes at the gym. He said I should buy classes elsewhere. I questioned whether it was worth it to have both a gym membership and to pay for other classes. "If I'm taking classes somewhere else, I should cancel the gym." Then I got to thinking how annoying the gym people are with their food police attitudes and their "cardio is everything" attitudes and their "what you do isn't good enough" attitudes and I'm wondering why I thought this was a good idea at all.

I like the idea of gently moving my body around and being active and stretched and warmed through. I don't want to wake up an hour before dawn because my wrists hurt too much to sleep anymore.

There should be fitness classes for regular people, not just people who think it's some sort of career. We offer dumbed down physics classes for liberal arts majors. We offer dumbed down math for everyone. But even as an adult paying my own way, I have yet to find anyone doing any sort of fitness thing that accepts a half-assed, "I showed up and I'm sort of doing something." Why is it okay to be stupid and not okay to be lazy? Especially why is there no path to recover from lifelong laziness once you're actually trying to do better?
seryn: frozen water drop (ice drop)
Okay. Clearly I need some sort of remedial dance class. I have demonstrated beyond any doubt that I have no sense of rhythm. I am also completely sure that no one's hands/arms and feet/legs move independently and in perfect mimicry just from having watched someone do it once. I can, with some concentration, move my limbs at the same time but it has to be coordinated. There is no way my arms and legs can move syncopatedly.

With enough practice, I can get to the point where there is a double-speed count where arms move, then legs. But even then it looks slovenly.

They have classes for adults to learn to read. There are classes for basic financial skills. There are beginning cookery classes. I need a very basic class on how to move in a coordinated fashion that looks coherently like how I mean it to look and without hurting myself in the process.

I took ballet classes when I was 8. For like 4 months. They actually taught us what the moves were called. They taught us that when making a turn, you hold a focal point with your eyes then snap around back to it because it decreases dizziness (and collisions). They taught us which foot goes first when doing something that involves multiple steps. I did okay with that level of instruction.

I also did pretty well with dance routines where there was a bunch of stuff to remember and we did it the same way every time.

Perhaps a gym is not the right place for taking dance classes since they presume a level of auto-body familiarity that I just don't possess.

When I was first learning to spin, I thought I was going to die. It was so hard. At the end of the day I felt like fried calamari with floppy arms and legs that went everywhere. I hurt all over. In the hands and the arms and the legs and the feet and the brain. I couldn't even imagine getting better. Finally the instructor came over and did the feet for me while I did the hands. Once I was able to feel it (think Helen Keller at the pump) I could tell when I was doing it right. After some practice getting my hands to do it right most of the time (not continuously, and not consistently, but it wasn't solid failure either) I was able to add the feet in (the feet were easy).

I really need something that's about me learning to look human while moving my human body.
seryn: dew drop on leaf (each step)
gym rat )
seryn: dew drop on leaf (each step)
I really suck at Tai Chi. Just so you know. Of course today I was there in new pants and I feel like on of those dolls with interchangeable parts not just dressable parts... so it felt like new pants meant new legs and nothing worked right.
Read more... )

workout stuff

Thursday, 29 April 2010 12:07 pm
seryn: water drop  (green drop)
I took yesterday off. If you got a comment or email from me, feel triply honored.

Today I went to the gym. I am demonstrably stronger. Read more... )
seryn: water drop  (water)
This was the morning of the personal training session that came with my membership.

I started with a class. They have an easy aerobics type class for seniors and such. It's HARD. Not necessarily to do, but I think it's very joint intensive. There's too much bouncing and hopping. Too much time on the balls of the feet, and WAY too much twisting and turning. Plus when I introduced myself to the instructor, I was told that my 10 minutes a day of cardio isn't enough, and it's so low as to be worthless. Fuck that, if 10 minutes is worthless, I'll do none and be happier about it. Definite mismatch there.

Then after a 15 minute break, I met with the trainer. I have to say that as far as I can tell, personal trainers suck.

There is some utility in having someone there who can help you learn to move the correct muscles correctly, but the majority of it is pretty obvious.

Read more... )
seryn: water drop  (water)
I'm pretty unclear on the whole personal trainer thing at the gym. Obviously if I have specific issues, or I need advice on how to work with my body compared, I would think that would be something I would expect to pay for as a personalized service.

I was told today that basic instruction on how to use the machines is not a staff function, but is something that is covered in personal training. I understand that they don't want to be constantly hovering, but every machine should have clear diagrams for use and coherent instructions and anyone should be able to get a demonstration of the basic premise. I was told it matters what order one does one's weight training in, but was not told what those parameters are.

There should be information online (as part of the gym's website, not random wikis) about what kinds of workout order is best generically. I was told that one should work bigger muscles before smaller ones, but when I asked if there was reference material, I was told that my trainer would teach me. I'm not an auditory learner. I need to focus and keep good notes if there is a lecture. My information retention comes from reading. For a physical action I can learn by doing, but as far as muscle groupings, it makes sense that there is some sort of written material one can study externally.

I can understand wanting to sell extra services, but I believe gym equipment should be self-service. Most megamart grocery stores have more people working who are happy to help than I have found in the gym. There are proportionately more staff people working, but they are all assisting other people who have paid more for the privilege.

It doesn't seem like I should need a personal trainer at my current level of (non-)fitness. I am providing my own motivation. I have found things I enjoy and personal rewards that encourage me to do the less fun cardio parts of my workout.

So, today, while I'm doing laundry (which is surprisingly easier now that I am stronger and can hold more baskets of laundry at once) I'm going to research online to see how much of the basics of fitness training are available. I'm certainly not going to pay someone to summarize wikipedia for me.
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