Working On It, Week 12: There’s No Crying In Baseball

feature image modified via shutterstock

This week in my ongoing effort to transform into a healthy human, I started the 30 Day Yoga Challenge from the beginning. Are you sick of me talking about this challenge? I feel like I’ve been talking about it for a damn age. I think it’s because I’ve only been talking, not doing. This week I finally started doing.

I feel like a giant klutz. That’s my #1 feeling re: yoga. It’s making me super mindful of precisely how uncoordinated and inflexible I am. Is anyone else finding it difficult to do any poses that require straight legs? I cannot extend my legs straight in any position that’s not ‘standing.’ Even then, my posture is shithouse. I’m assuming the coordination and flexibility will improve over time. I’m not too worried. I just feel like a giant wearing concrete shoes.

Yoga is testing my patience in what I assume is a positive way? I don’t know. I’m impatient. Sometimes it’s frustrating to take several minutes to do something that could be done in five seconds. So I’m trying to slow myself down and right now it feels like forced relaxation but I’m hoping that will feel less forced in the future.

Here are some things that have been working for me:

Aqua Aerobics

I DID IT. I went to a group fitness class all by myself. Specifically, the Saturday morning Aqua Aerobics class at my local gym. I really wanted to conquer my fear of group fitness classes and the general consensus from y’all was to ease into with something low impact like yoga or aqua aerobics first.

I chose the aqua aerobics purely based on convenience, schedule-wise, and because I was unsure whether I had to bring my own yoga mat. I slightly regret not choosing yoga but that’s mostly because 12 hours and two showers later, I still reek of chlorine so bad.

Overall, it was a good time! I spent 45 minutes running around a pool with some elderly ladies, all of whom gave me encouraging smiles and helpful information on which floating apparatuses I needed to have lined up poolside for class.

The instructor was fine, although she probably could have been more descriptive. She’d yell things like, “NOW TRANSITION INTO A ROCK & ROLL, YEAHH! CAN YOU FEEL THE BURN IN YOUR DELTS? PUNCH IT OUT! WOOOOO” but never stopping to demonstrate what a ‘rock and roll’ is, or to remind me where my deltoids are so that I can feel for the burn. I had to make up quite a few moves.

I didn’t feel like the class pushed me very hard aerobically, although my feeling is it’s probably not supposed to. That’s fine because being challenged still terrifies me. I’m happy that it was a super non-intimidating experience and am already hoping to make it back next week.

Batting cages

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I’ve started saying ‘yes’ to all the sporty activities that my friends sometimes invite me to. First up was indoor rock-climbing (which I loved and have done three times since!) and then there was the batting cages.

I leapt at the chance to do this one because I played softball for a few years in high school. I was the team captain, even. So I assumed that I wouldn’t be completely terrible. I was wrong! Batting cages don’t come with the slow pitches of fifteen year olds, or at least ours didn’t. I only managed to hit roughly 1 out of 6 balls, and only half of those would’ve gotten me to a base. Still, it was such a rad time. I started getting better and hitting every second ball, right up until my arms died or I got bored. I don’t remember which came first. 

What I got the most from this activity was the realisation that it’s actually really nice to socialise in the fresh air and sunshine? Which makes me sounds like a cave-person, probably, and maybe I am. Usually socialising means going out for drinks and dinner after dark. I walked away from this day feeling so much healthier, even though I’m sure I hardly burned any calories or lifted my heart rate at all.

Also, I liked it because it made me look cool.

Peaches

What have you been up to this week? Is there something that has or hasn’t been working for you? Have you said ‘yes’ to any more things? Did you listen to the playlist? Tell me everything.

Crystal is a 33-year-old Australian living in Chicago. Founding member, does HR stuff, writes now and then.

Crystal has written 329 articles for us.

54 Comments

  1. Rock climbing is the best. I just bit be bullet and bought a membership to the rock gym nearest me, and although it’s not cheap it’s so nice that I’ve been extra motivated to go and to do yoga/running/lifting as a support.

    I totally feel you on the social thing too- last weekend I spent Friday night climbing for a couple hours with three friends, didn’t waste $20 on alcohol, and felt good and tired by a reasonable hour. It makes scheduling workouts easier not to feel like I have to choose between spending time on myself or spending time on my friends.

  2. I just started a small group personal training class, since the boxing class I wanted to take got cancelled. That sounds fancy, but it was soo cheap. Thank you Chicago Parks Department! Anyway, the instructor was very disappointed in our level of fitness, so it’s going to be intense. I think it’s going to be fun and awesome, but probably my body is just going to hurt for 6 weeks. Pretty much I’m the opposite of Crystal because I hate doing physical activities with friends, but really enjoy it with strangers.

    I’ve also been doing some relaxation yoga some nights, and that has really helped with falling asleep and keeping my sleep schedule reasonable.

  3. so in the past few weeks I’ve said yes to kickboxing at a martial arts place – so incredibly intense, but loving it in a “I hate this and I feel like I’m about to die” type of way (joy of being an asthmatic).

    I’ve also said yes this week to signing up for classes at a totally cute womens only yoga/dance studio at the end of my street, they have a huge variety of yoga, pilates and dances classes, so I’m going to start with the gentle relaxing yoga to balance out the kickboxing and life stresses and ease into seeing what the other classes are like, and maybe joining in on a dance one when I feel a little less ridiculously unco. Slowly working my way back up to hopefully join a hockey team next season!

  4. I have been sort of keeping up with the 30-day challenge, though, I have skipped a few days. Today will be day 17. I like her videos. I do feel stronger than I did on day 1, my planks have gotten a lot better/easier.

    I have been saying yes to things, but mostly they aren’t physical activity related. I did a drop in improv class for the first time last night! I was very nervous to go, but I was meeting up with a friend I hadn’t seen since A-Camp so I forced myself into it and it was a lot of fun. Also I got unsolicited praise from a stranger who said I was good and should take more classes.

    My goal for the week is to pump up my bike tires and ride around my neighborhood and try to use my bike more to explore this new city.

  5. Now that it’s cooler, I went for a run outside instead of on the treadmill. I know folks generally prefer outside (?) but not yet for me. It was harder somehow, I didn’t know how far or fast I was going and I had to worry about intersections and pedestrians. Oh well. I’ll keep trying it though as it’s easier to fit into my schedule.

    I am on day 6 of the yoga challenge. That is, in the last few weeks I’ve been able to do 6 days. I like Adriene. I like the poses. I feel like a beginner. I have a friend who does #acroyoga and he is always posting pictures of himself doing headstands outside or lifting people up and it’s so cool. That’s my new goal: strength and balance enough to start acroyoga. And seeing his pictures is motivating. Maybe I’ll see if I can work up courage to go to a class with him…

  6. Very cool!
    I went indoor climbing on Sunday as well!
    It was a very reflective experience that made me realize three things:
    1.I really am afraid of heights.
    2.I have really short arms.
    3.Women who boulder have really great arms and backs.Just wow.

    I hope to be making it back once my shoulder stops hurting like a M………. because what it boils down to is that this is a gym, where there are leather couches to hang out on in between sets. Perfection.

    • Kudos for going climbing when you’re afraid of heights! I tried climbing once for physio therapy and quit as I couldn’t manage it at all(full disclosure: I’m also rather tall, so I would freak out being not very high up – at least my feet weren’t really high up.. my head sure was.) Yay for overcoming fear!

      • Ha ha ha! I just snorted at your comment, because I thought I was so scared because I’m so SHORT! You see, as a short person, I’m not really used to having my head at a distance that would only be a little bit more for tall people. Thanks for disqualifying that theory;-)
        And I’m not heroically overcoming my fear, I’m just using the very easy and unadventorous to reach holds and I am climbing back down, step by step instead of jumping. I will not jump back down, no mattr how much my arms hurt, and I will also not look down.
        All good:-D

      • I will just not wear my glasses next time;-) And thanks for the get wells, but I was just really, really sore.
        Don’t know why I seem to be the only one who associates climbing with excruiating pain the next few days.
        Maybe that’s a sign that I need to drop a few pounds:-D

  7. Your picture reminded me of the unsucessful attempts at cricket I had to endure during school days. Needless to say I suck at hitting anything that comes flying towards me at high speed. Congrats for hitting anything at all! That’s actually really good. Also giant kudos for going to a group gym class and enjoying it – and double the amount for it being a class where you have to wear swimwear (because that’s really brave. For some reasons wearing swimwear in public gives me the creeps, and since I can’t always appear in full neoprene I try to cut swiming-with-people to a minimum. Totally fine in neoprene, though. Yes, I’m weird.)

    The 30-Day-Yoga-Thing is really something I have to start doing. Like, tomorrow. Because today I’ll return to my usual dance schedule, and I’ll be dead tomorrow. But I do hope that doing some stretches and some balance things (isn’t that what one does in Yoga? I think I only have a really rudimentary grasp of that.. ) will help with the pain I’ll without a doubt be in tomorrow. Good pain, though. Real’ good pain.

    • Thank you! I do feel weird wearing swimwear, for sure, but I think my nervousness about the group participation commandeered my brain and I forgot all about it ha.

      I hope you enjoy the yoga challenge and that it helps a little with tomorrow’s dance pain!

  8. Well that is positive news about the aqua class. I wish I could do more aquatic based activities as it’s suppose to be good for the posture.

    I was at a relative’s house last night and one doctor(who is new to the family) gave me one advice for healthier eating; while, later on another doctor(who I trust more) said the first doctors advice was bull. Both however, did say that breakfast is the least important meal, and that lunch and dinner are more key to being healthier. I was for years skipping breakfast, but as of today I am going back to skipping breakfast and eating lunch higher in veggies, and lower in carbs & sugar. Plus, I plan to do more dead lifts(but keep it at a lower weight).

    On a side note, the first doctor didn’t like the idea of eating more estrogen based foods(like soy), and less testosterone based foods. Said it would increase my breasts & to lactate more(like how do you know I don’t want breasts?). I wanted to blurt out I am trans, and I want higher estrogen, but said I want fuller hair as a reply, which is true. I have no reason to tell people I am trans(straight-cis people never have to come out, so why should I?).

    • In generally relax about their advice section:

      – doctors in the US often have minimal nutrition training, not sure about other countries. They just read the newspaper and the occasional meta-analysis unless they have some specialty-related training or have pursued continuing ed.

      – those studies about plant analogues use massive doses in mice. Some epi studies find small small effects across 40,000 people. It’s exceedingly rare for someone to actually achieve those mice-like doses in a human unless they are tasking astonishing amounts in supplements and/or eating a highly monotonous diet. We’re talking eating a kilo or more of tofu a day for six months. If you’re doing that, you are likely to have other concerns.

      – ignore them both, and eat breakfast if you are hungry. Skipping breakfast is generally bad for children and some adults, bad if you are trying to maintain weight, can work for some trying to lose weight, but for many people it is an easy meal in which to get nutrient-dense high fiber/protein/calcium foods like fruit/oatmeal/eggs/milk/yogurt. Sort of depends on your life, y’know? I hate the breakfast dogma. It’s not bad, it’s not good. It’s a meal. Stop taking sides on a meal. (Much the whole deal is about obesity/bodyweight, anyway, which is an awfully complex topic to tie to a single eating occasion.) And now I will stop my ranting.

      – I heard your feelings.

    • I’m sorry that you’re getting conflicting advice! That must be frustrating. I know very little about nutrition but for whatever it’s worth, I’ve also heard that there’s not much evidence to support breakfast’s supposed importance. The advice above to eat it if you’re hungry seems pretty solid.

  9. The batting cages are awesome because you work lots of different muscles. I’m not a big fan of things that feel like forced relaxation but more challenging yoga poses solve that, you just gotta get there. I haven’t figured out how to get past it with the meditation thing yet.

  10. Ha! Aqua Aerobics! Now that you’ve put that on the table I feel less embarrassed to share the fact that in a couple weeks I’m moving to a new town and going back to one of my old careers as a group fitness instructor…with a focus on Aqua Aerobics! Hopefully I can do a better job and not have the people in my class wondering what in the world I’m talking about.
    As for staying on track…the majority of my extra exercise time has been focused on running as I have a big race that is just around the corner…in less than two weeks! I’m excited, and fortunately I think I’ve passed through (or at least am on the tail end) of the neurotic planning/preparation phase that I tend to go through before bigger races. It should be gorgeous and a fantastic time, no matter what.
    I’m glad you’ve tried new things and are finding ways to enjoy the weird social world of exercising with people!

      • Um, sadly i DO know what that is. Basically you are rocking side to side on your legs and you alternate moving your arms out side to side (often while holding dumbbells) So, when your weight is on your right foot, your right arm goes out and your left arm curls into the side of your body, then you alternate to the weight on you left foot, left arm out& right arm curls into your right side. Explaining this stuff is always kind of awkward, which is why i tend to teach from the deck, so everyone can see what i’m doing & its guaranteed i look like a total goofball. Hopefully this helps you feel like you have the proper tools to rock n roll in the aqua aerobics world!
        And thanks for the race wishes!! Its sure to be a long day, but lots of fun.

  11. Aqua aerobics is pretty cool Ive been told. Yeah chlorine is terrible. When I used to swim more often I would wake smelling like chlorine. I had to buy swim shampoo because of my hair.

    Batting cages seem so cool too! Idk where theres one nearby me? Haha. I went running yesterday while listening to the playlist which was great. Its really really good.

    I tried yoga. I feel like im a bit stiff so Ive been slowly stretching more and more before lifting these past days.

  12. I went to a dance class this summer with my mother that was much like your aqua aerobics class, where nobody really explained to me what I was supposed to be doing when they said “—-” because they all knew the moves. Because they all went to the class at the Committee on Aging every week and knew it, or enough. It was difficult, but I kind of just twirled with them and it worked.

    I tried a group fitness class as well, and will not be returning (’twas one of those things with beats, and hand weights, and went because other people were going…). But I tried it! I, btw, have stickers that say i tried it if anyone really needs one.

    • Wait, did the instructor/gym actually hand out stickers saying that you tried a new thing? Because that’s pretty amazing. But it’s even more amazing that you did it! Good on you for trying something different. Hopefully the next class (if there is a next class) will be more your style.

  13. I said yes to biking to work! It’s only 4 miles and I’ve only been two days, but I’m feeling inspired. My work has a drawing that you can enter every day that you bike in, so here’s hoping I win that amazon gift card.

  14. Your toe must be getting better; hooray! Oh to recover as fast as you. I am still plagued with being overly tired after workouts, like just eating and sleeping for the rest of the day or even 2 days, though the workouts are very mild now (like gentle yoga and some 5 lb hand weights). It’s so bizarre and unlike my normal exercise stamina, so I’m frustrated and confused. I’m also newly vegan as of a few months so I wonder if it’s that (I’m eating all the necessary vitamins), but it’s so specific to only when I exercise, I really don’t think it’s my diet.

    On the other hand, i am still making progress, however slowly, with strength and muscle gains. After a few weeks of only being able to do modified push-ups, I finally cranked out one single regulation pushup YESSSSSS. Also my progress to my first pullup is going well. I started with just lowering myself from the bar slowly; then went to lowering with 5 pauses at equal distances on the way down, and now I’m working on pulling back up at each pause before going down to the next pause, if that makes sense. I think it’s really helping maintain and build strength to just do those few things every day rather than only when I have time to hit the gym (2x per week). Plus I really enjoy it.

    • My toe is better now, thank you!

      I’m sorry to hear you’re struggling with such bad fatigue. It might be worth going for a medical check up if it persists and you have access.

      Also, CONGRATS on that upper body strength! Such a great effort, I’m glad you’re seeing progress.

      • Thanks! This weekly column is a nice motivation and inspiration so it helps. When/if I ever manage to do a pullup, I will reward myself with a trip to the climbing gym.

        Yeah I should probs get a blood screen at least. Not fun but at least there’s good data from it.

    • Maybe you’d like to check out your iron levels? Iron deficiency usually appears first in the form of severe fatigue, especially when working out. I had that problem for about half a year until someone tipped me off and I got checked. Not sure if that’s even remotely an issue for you, but better safe then sorry? Hope you’ll be fine soon!

      • That makes sense. I have been taking high-quality iron pills every day since becoming vegan but the symptoms match, so maybe there’s an absorbance issue. Thanks for the tip; hope you are doing well these days.

        • I’m keeping my fingers crossed for you that you’ll find your issue and can fix whatever it is easily! 🙂 I’ve been taking iron, and it helped a lot. I’m a vegetarian, so sometimes I just don’t get enough iron in my food, and generic iron supplements just didn’t cut it for me. But now I deal with it quite well, thanks!

  15. I’m curious about rock climbing, I’ve always wanted to have a go at it, but have been scared that either my arms? or legs? wouldn’t be strong enough? Did you find it hard? And is it more leg strength in the climbing, or the arm strength? Or does it just make everything hurt?

    ^ literally every sentence there ends in a question mark. Sorry mate!

    • It’s definitely more leg strength than arm, although I won’t lie and say your hands will be working normally after your first few sessions…haha. Climbing is all about learning how to balance your body and move smoothly and efficiently so after a while you might notice yourself relaxing your grip on the holds because you have a better sense of how your body is weighted and how it moves. And if you are top roping, you won’t even fall!

      But seriously after climbing hard it is hard to close your hands, you will feel like a lobster. Just try it- it’s a ton of fun and you might surprise yourself.

  16. I am still impresed by all the people taking this particular yoga challenge. It is not easy to take.
    Reading all you wrote about taking it was like listening to my GF about yoga classes. She is one of this amazingly fit and slim people who love sports. But yoga is a real challenge for her – it takes lots of time to see real change, you can’t make faster progress, have to listen and stay focused all the time, there is noone to compete with. And worse of all – it realy make whole body work, can’t cheat…
    I take indoor climbing from time to time. It’s worth every penny.
    And with both – climbing and yoga – you don’t have to repeat yourself ‘stop staring on this girl’s ‘.

  17. HOW TO NOT SMELL LIKE CHLORINE FOREVER: THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE

    1. Rinse off immediately. If you don’t have time to take a full shower, that’s ok – just rinse your body and rub your skin vigorously. But definitely take a full shower at home!
    2. Exfoliate. You can just do this with a wet washcloth, or you can make a sugar scrub using household items that are already in your kitchen. (Doesn’t need to be any fancier than olive oil or sunflower oil + sugar.)
    3. You’ll look dorky doing it, yes, but if you wear a swim cap, it will partially save your hair from chlorine damage. (Side note: nothing ruins a dye job more quickly than chlorine.)

    • #ASswimteam Go Sea Otters! :^D

      This is a good idea to share anti-chlorine hacks, Dina.
      I heard some good advice about chlorine that works pretty well too:
      put conditioner in your hair / lotion on your skin before getting in the pool, and take advantage of the ol’ pre-pool shower. Reasoning is that wetting your hair/skin/suit with product and/or tap water will saturate it, and therefore keep it from absorbing the pool water as much, compared to jumping in the pool with dry skin/hair/fabric which would soak up pool water like a sponge.

      Also all the fastest kids wear rubber caps and it definitely helps to protect hair. Cloth caps don’t though.

      • Yes, cloth caps are crap. Latex or silicone is the way to go. I prefer the silicone ones, personally, but that’s a matter of preference.

        As far as lotion goes… it might be better for your skin in the short run, but it plays havoc with pool chemistry, so it’s basically worse in the long run. Pre-swim shower is important for the reason you said, but also to wash off sweat and skin products so they don’t mess up the pool chemistry.

  18. That batting cage photo is great 🙂 And your description of the aqua aerobics class was hilarious and adorable. Maybe you’ll find a more challenging class in Chicago!

    I haven’t listened to last week’s playlist and it’s bumming me out so I’ll have to do so at some point this weekend. I bet it’s also great music for cleaning/organizing.

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