Working On It, Week 14: Easy As Falling Off A Paddle Board

This week in my journey to better health and more wellness, my sugar consumption is back under control! I haven’t done candy or chocolate in eight days now and I’ve survived, the cravings have gone away. I’ve been hitting the office fruit bowl instead, which is not as delicious as a handful of Allen’s lollies but kiwifruit is still pretty tasty, hey.

My fitness activities have slowed down a lot since I’ve started packing up my life so today I’ve only got a couple of things to talk about that’ve been working for me.

Working: Blogilates

A few of you recommended Cassey Ho’s Blogilates after I mentioned my blossoming love affair with FitnessBlender.com for workouts that can be done (quietly) at home. I still feel like I don’t know much about pilates as an exercise form but I’m very into these videos, so thanks for the tip!

What I’ve been loving about Blogilates:

  • Cassey Ho as an instructor. She’s so cheerful! She says a lot of funny things and describes the movements in a unique and endearing way, like to imagine there’s a zombie pulling on your stomach or a penny in your butt. When I’m puffed and hating life, a bit of personality goes a long way in motivating me to finish the workout.
  • There’s a lot of gentle encouragement, including reminders to not be ashamed if you’re a beginner and terrible. It’s important and not something that I’ve seen other workout videos mention much.
  • This 17-minute beginners workout, which seemed super easy at first but had wrecked me by the end. There have been a few other Blogilates videos that I’ve attempted but I’ve mostly just been focussing on nailing this one.

And a couple of things that I’m not super in love with:

  • Most of the videos are fairly short? Between 3-8 minutes. Maybe that’s standard for this kind of exercise? I’m not sure. 30-45 minutes is my personal ideal workout length. Maybe there are longer videos hiding somewhere in the archives; the website is a bit of a mess.
  • A lot of the videos are titled things like, “six minutes to a sexy little waist!” and “muffintop massacre!” which is just, no thank you. That kind of marketing that makes me feel like I should be working out to achieve a particular body shape and I get enough of that pressure out in the world, I don’t need it in my bedroom as well. Thankfully it seems to be limited to the titles only; I haven’t experienced any of that shit in the actual video content.

Crystal-Pilates

Working: Paddle-boarding

I don’t particularly enjoy sea water, or sand, or being in the sun. It’s very un-Australian. When my surf-loving mate Ben offered to show me how to paddle-board I wasn’t super sure that I was going to have a good time. The thought of standing on a surfboard and rowing myself around just seemed a bit weird. I said yes anyway, ‘cause he was so enthusiastic but also I’m trying to do this personal growth thing where I try not to write off an activity without giving it a red hot go.

We went to a beach which was thankfully as calm as a lake. It was the end of winter and so fucking cold, the sand was like shaved ice. Ben did a demonstration first and then held the board while I climbed on. It wobbled, fast, but then when he let go, my abs took over and it was gold. I padded around and around and around until eventually I got bored.

There’s not much to say about this experience. Both Ben and I assumed that I’d be totally terribly and that would at least make for some laughs and a good story online. To our collective surprise, I was really good at it. I didn’t fall off once! Thanks, 30-day ab challenge! So I had a great time. I’m really passionate about being good at things and staying dry.

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How’s your past week been? What’s been working for you? Is anyone still doing the yoga challenge? Do you have an healthy recipe that you want to share? I’ve started a Google doc of healthy meals which can never be long enough, so please do.

Coming up next week: Hiking, and other activities that I thought would be A LOT easier than they are.

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.

24 Comments

  1. Way to go on the snacking and paddle boat stuff! Perseverance and bravery all in one week – who could ask for more?

    As for myself, I’ve been recovering after a series of tragic accidents (I fell off my bike and before that I sustained a weird leg injury and also I fell down the stairs) and I am just now getting back into my exercising. It’s really nice. This past week I ran 15k and biked 43k.

    Personally the challenge has been the gym locker room. What exactly is the etiquette here? I feel like there is some sort of secret etiquette I am not understanding at all.

  2. I feel that avoiding that like “fat-blaster” bullshit is always a key goal, and am glad you said there isn’t any in the actual videos because otherwise I would be avoiding it like the fucking plague. As you say, literally no one needs to bring that nonsense into their own home when it is over-whelmingly elsewhere. Thanks for this excellent read as per!

  3. In regards to the Blogilates stuff, Cassey makes a calendar every month with a workout schedule for every day, where each day includes between 3-4 videos. So I get the impression the videos are meant to be building blocks so you can make the best workout for you (or for what she says is best. Each month has a theme, etc.). I think if you subscribe to her YouTube channel, her “workout of the day” comes up as a new playlist every day. If that’s annoying, though, I think some of her older videos (like 4 years old) are closer to 30 min. long, though I don’t know about their quality.
    Congrats on killing it on the paddleboard!

  4. My little queer dancer heart here on Pilates:

    Pilates main focus (at least historically…it’s become quite trendy now so the purpose is changing) is centering and alignment. It requires a very deep focus and clarity of how you’re using your muscles. It’s not meant to be fat burning or super high cardio. But challenging nonetheless! Congrats on trying new things. 😉

  5. I’m excited to hear about hiking next week. I tried my first hike in the mile high state this week to view the super blood moon. I was surprised how quickly my body was done hiking.

    The titles of those workout videos are a huge no go for me.

    I fell off of the yoga challenge. But I got a puppy and we enjoy being outside together. Though he doesn’t understand the leash yet.

  6. So, after months of not touching my mountain-ish bicycle I went on a light mountain ride. I did work up a decent sweat(partially due to broken gear on the bike making going up hill a bit of work). I also realized that it makes taking wildlife shots harder. Then again having a heavy-ish lens from the 70s(which I take with me hiking all the time), adds to calorie burning.

    Good luck with the hike!

  7. I finished the 30 day challenge and started Adriene’s Yoga For Weight Loss Videos which HOLY SHIT I AM SO SORE but in a good way I guess. It has rained here for five days straight and is due to continue for another week so I’m kind of losing it not being able to skate or otherwise exercise outside. What keeps y’all sane when Mother Nature ruins your routine?

  8. Yay! Congrats on paddle-boarding!

    My fitness week has been great so far – I did a circus class last night, where we did hooping, plate juggling and acrobalance. It was amazing! Acrobalance was my fave because you get to stand on people (safely) to create beautiful shapes.

  9. COOL PADDLE BOARDING! YOURE SO COOL! Last week it was ice skates now paddle boarding! They have it at the beaches here but I’m kinda scared of open water even if I already know how to swim. I think I still need a life vest when I’m in the ocean. JAWS ANYONE?

    I had my two upper wisdom teeth taken out last Tuesday so there was definitely no lifting and running or any strenuous thing for like 2 or 3 days. Which was kind of disappointing and sad and lonely because 2 weeks leading up to my surgery I was running pretty much everyday and I had improved my mile time. It was frustrating to know that I couldn’t really do anything for like 5 days because I could feel a lot of pressure on the gums and really worried about re-opening the site.

    Now I’m back in the gym….2nd day today! I feel so out of shape!! I can barely keep up on the treadmill. And I have the Aloha 5k on Sunday! EEP!

    Also where can I see the Google doc?

  10. Stoked to hear the sugar shift has been working for you. It’s kind of crazy how the cravings just go away after a while, and then when you do eat something like a candy bar or whatever, it seems insanely sweet. Best of luck with all the moving prep. I’m in the midst of the same!

    My fitness challenge for the last week was running the race i’ve been training for- which i did, and i finished, and i’m happy to have done it and to have a time i can improve on next year. The whole thing took me 12hrs, 11min and 33seconds to run 50miles. So next year, my goal will be to come back to this race and run it under 12 hours. (maybe even under 11hrs!!)
    But, it was my first race coming off of an annoying ankle injury, so I feel pretty great about all of it.
    Hope everyone is having a nice week so far.

      • @rebcalle Hey thanks!!
        I’m sorry to hear that you’ve been having a rough go of things. I hope that you continue to find ways to work through the struggle. Try just giving yourself credit for all the things you’re doing right, and worry less about the workouts you’re missing and things like that. Dealing with depression and getting down on yourself about missed goals can be really daunting/overwhelming.
        I hope your weekend gets off to a great start, and hopefully next week will be easier!

  11. Count-down to Chi-town is getting closer. Exciting!

    To the fans of this column I wanted to share that I am struggling with being depressed a lot (only temporary; my life sucks right now but next year will be better). But even though I skipped a bunch of workouts lately and haven’t been eating well, I am working through my roadblocks and doing what I can and today I did two regulation push-ups (twice as many as I could do last week heh).

    So it helps me to know that setbacks and delays are part of being human but we can still make progress by re-engaging in our goals when we can. So my dream of being able to do a pull-up by spring time is still alive!

  12. Is red beans and rice even a recipe-recipe?
    I mean it’s healthy, filling and pretty nutritious if you go low sodium and use brown rice, but I dunno how to recipe-ify it.
    Take it as a suggestion with the suggestion of spicing it with garlic in some way, I guess.

    I’m keeping up with my regimen (free weights, push ups, leg lifts) nothing to report other than now that I have boxing wraps I can’t seem to wrap my mind around how to wrap my hands just right. I either get them way too tight or too loose, tried 2 different methods. It’s aggravating but I’m not going to endanger myself. The old me would have and I’m proud to not be that person anymore. Okay more relieved than proud.

    • Are your wraps elastic? Do they even sell elastic wraps? Those usually tend to grow too tight however you wrap them.
      I usually wrap mine, non-elastic, firmly, but not tightly, so that they don’t hang loose, but don’t cut off circulation anywhere either. Always make sure that they don’t fold in on any place or form creases.
      I’m using a technique where I wrap each finger individually, that way I can’t wrap too tightly if I don’t want creases to form while I wrap, and my hands still be able to form a solid fist once I’m done.
      As far as I’m concerned wraps are just there to keep your hands covered so you don’t bust them open on the bag(and look like Buffy after she punched her way out of that coffin) or to cover your hands so your gloves won’t smell like the cage of a heavily urinating mammal.
      Maybe if you focus on not letting creases form, because creases might also not look pretty on your skin once you’ve hit the bag a few times, and let go of the notion that wraps can greatly stabilize your wrists and give you great form, just by being wraps, you might not wrap them too tightly or loosely anymore.
      Also, if you’re hitting a bag, and you’ve been doing push ups and free weights, hit it lightly at first, slooowly introducing force, and concentrate on technique, like lining your fist up perfectly with your wrist and lower arm, not straightening your elbow all the way, etc., because your joints and muscles will need a few rounds to get used to the impact and will need to body memorize the movements first.
      Also, it will help you to see what you want and need from a wrap, I’m wrapping my hands differently now, because I do have issues with busting up the skin on my fingers.
      Yeah, sorry about the lenghty comment on hand wraps..I’m home sick and WISH I could go to the gym and hit a bag right now.
      It’s really therapeutic.
      Also, I’m rather done with being sick.

      • Oh man anybody apologising to me about a lengthy comment is hysterical. I’m long comment monster.

        I don’t think mine are elastic, they have a synthetic scent stuck to them but could be from the packaging or the velcro end things. The ones with elastic are called mexican boxing wraps in the States, I have no idea way. Both the techniques I’ve tried do sorta wrap the fingers individually.

        But thank you for the reminder to focus on form and not try to depend on something to just give it to me. I haven’t done boxing in a very long time, but logic from ballet dictates starting out full force with no acclimation or studious attention to form is no bueno. Also a bag=/= an engaged hostile.
        The suggestion to focus on form to figure what I really need from a wrap also very helpful.

        Being sick is aggravating.

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