Day 6 of March Workout Plan: Miss My Alarm and Cleo’s RLNA

Last night, I made the unfortunate choice of taking a Zyrtec before I went to bed. That plus losing an hour because of day light savings made me completely miss my alarm in the morning. I usually get up at 6:00 -6:15am and today I got up at 6:50am…there was no way I could make it to the gym on time. 😦 So today, I just did Cleo’s RLNA, Ch. 1,2, 3 and 8.

As always, Ch. 2 kicked my butt…but I was able to get through the 1st 4 “Jane Fonda” exercises without stopping which I was very proud of! Now that I’m doing more of the workout because I can handle the burn/ firing in my legs a bit better, I’m sweating more during my workout which is good. For Chapter 3 (the Abs chapter), I realized that for me to get my abs engaged, not only do I have to lift my shoulders off the ground for crunches (while keeping my back straight), I must also lift my shoulder blade and middle back while focusing on just using my abs. It’s great! and it’s something that I don’t see Cleo or her back up dancers do either. I’ll keep working on Chapter 5….it’s definitely my Mt. Evert.

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Compared to last Monday, I look about the same. Compared to Saturday, I look a bit bigger. Either way, I like it 😉 Right now, I’m still debating on integrating Get Bent or Bendy Body into my workouts. I was looking to try it out this evening, but ran out of time. 😦 Hopefully, I will get a chance tomorrow to work on it….until then, good night! 😉

Day 5 of March Workout Plan: Cleo’s RLNA (Saturday Workout)

I did this workout on Saturday Morning and I’m finally writing about it today (Monday). Saturday is my rest day for running so today I only did Cleo’s RLNA DVD. For Cleo’s RLNA Beginner workout plan, Saturdays include Ch1, 2, 5, 8 and 9 which I did. Overall, I really enjoyed this workout. I’ve realized that the most challenging chapter for me is Ch. 2. I can’t wait to get better with it, but right now, I can’t make it through the entire sequence without taking a break. What I will do now is make smaller goals for myself. For example, for the start of Chapter 2, I must make it through 30 seconds, without taking a break. The next time I do chapter 2, I will make it an entire 1 minutes without taking a break etc. Ch. 5 is the least challenging for me so I will be doing Chapter 5 in heels next week, which is exciting!!! 😀

For Chapters 8 and 9, I realized something new! The huge benefit about using a DVD, especially for stretching exercises, is that if I really enjoy a stretch or feel the need for me to train my weak side longer than my other, I can PAUSE THE DVD!!!!! which is wonderful. I can’t do that at any pole/dance studio. At pole studios you essentially have to go with the flow of the class and they try to stretch the right and left sides evenly. The problem with that is that everyone’s body is different especially when it comes to flexibility and stretching. Some people have a flexible left split but a tight right split, so they MUST stretch their left side twice as much.** Some people experience intense lower back pain because their hip flexors are too tight which means they have to stretch out their hip flexors more than their classmate next to them. Some people have very flexible hip flexors so they don’t need to stretch it as much.

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Here’s a photo of me practicing to get my middle spit along the wall. Small beginnings. Hopefully I can get my middle split in 3 months or so. Practice makes perfect! I won’t push my body too far though….it’s not worth the potential injury 😉

On Saturday, while I was working on my middle splits, it felt reaaaaaaaaaally good. So I paused the DVD, stayed in my straddle pose and while I was straddled, I went on my phone, checked my Facebook, texted some friends….and before I knew it 30 minutes went by fast! I’m looking forward to continuing Cleo’s RLNA DVD. I will write another post later this evening to let you know how my evening workout goes.

**On Sunday, I attended a Fit and Bendy Google HangOut with Kristen of Fit and Bendy. She’s awesome and smart! 😀 I purchased her DVDs online and I may be substituting her workout DVDs for running the morning. I haven’t decided completely, but as soon as I figure it out, I will give you an update.

Day 2 of March Workout Plan: 2.0 Run + Cleo’s RLNA

It’s Day 2 of Reconditioning and I’m sad to say that I’m pumped!!!!……but not pumped lol? Meaning, I’m excited to be in a consistent work out regimen, but for me getting started/waking up is always the hardest part. I want to briefly re-summarize my goals for my March Workout Plan:

1) Maximize my body: Which means condition my muscles to lift my bodyweight effortlessly… so that I can do more advanced pole tricks

2) Become more flexible: So I can do more pole tricks

3) Build up stamina/ improve my breathing: So I can do more pole tricks

Above all else, I want to take to time to actually listen to my body. I want to hear when my body feels good about something. I want to listen when my body absolutely hates something I do.

Three years ago, when I was in a normal pole workout routine, I NEVER listened to my body. It was always PUSH PUSH PUSH, GO GO GO! Now, I know better and I want to approach my workouts in a more holistic/ healthy way. I want to know that my body is changing/ getting healthier without forcing it to. I know that there is a way. This is specifically why I did not include BMI, Body Fat Percentage, height and weights. I think that’s all bullshit.

Once your body becomes more conditioned, your body will know (and even your body is conditioned, it does not automatically mean that your body is healthy…..it’s a delicate balance.) For this March Workout Plan, I will just have weekly pictures as my check up. Once my body becomes conditioned, it will know and it will show. There is no need to hop on a scale. I want to keep my curves (which I will lol) and I also want to condition my muscles to do more acrobatic pole. I’m allowing my body to become conditioned and how my body looks at the end will not be up to me. Let the chips fall where they may. 🙂

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7:00AM – 2.0 Mile Run on the Treadmill; 1.0 incline; Duration: 28 minutes

This morning when I got up, I decided to start my run a bit later because I knew that tiredness was one of the problems I had yesterday with running. I started my run off slowly. I alternated between walking and running a 10 minute pace, then holding that pace for .10 miles each time.

I noticed that the main issue for me wasn’t that I was losing my breath. My breathing was pretty normal actually. It’s that my legs get tired….specifically my left leg. The problem for me is that I’m sensitive to the the tightness and minor pain I feel in my left calf. These pain signals tell my brain to stop. Sometimes I listen, sometimes I don’t listen.

The last .15 miles of the run, I ran at a 7:30 minute pace which was very fast, but surprisingly not fast enough for all the energy that I had left. I realized that yes, I am naturally a sprinter so doing slow jogs are painstaking for me at this point until I condition myself/ my muscles that running for 20-30 minutes straight is okay and that I won’t die 😉 I also noticed that my waist trimmer helps me keep good posture while I am running, which is good! But it also makes my back feel tired.

At the end of the run, there was no tingling in my legs like there was yesterday. I did however collapse to the ground just like I did yesterday. The only difference is that yesterday before I collapsed, I had to rip off my plastic wrap/waist trimmer because I felt like I was so out of breath. This time, I could lay down on the ground without feeling the need to take off my waist trimmer.

While I was laying down on the ground, I did feel minor back pain from (1) the waist trimmer belt keeping my posture and (2) from my shortened hip flexors that causes me minor back pain. To be honest, I don’t feel the back pain until I’m laying down with my back to the ground. That’s when I feel my lower back pain.

Running this morning did give me a jolt of energy that I did not get yesterday. However, I’m still a bit tired this morning. For tomorrow’s run, I will focus on not collapsing to the ground after my .15 sprint at 7:30 minute pace. I will also try to squeeze in 5 complete .1 runs at 10:00 pace. I’m looking forward to it.

6:00PM – Cleo’s RLNA – Chapter’s 1 (Warm Up), 3 (Abs), 5 (Kick Ass Quads) and 9 (Flexibility – Front Splits)

It’s Day 2 of RLNA and like most DVDs getting started in my room was the hardest part….but literally 30 seconds into the Warm Up I was waaaaaaaay into it. It’s gotta be the rock music… I LOVE IT!!! 😀 Today, I played it smart and did the warm up without heels and it was a much better workout in that I was able to do most of it. Once I get more advanced, I may switch to heels again, but for now, I’ll be barefoot 😉 Once Chapter 3 started, I did put my heels back on again….and the workout was suuuuuuuper hard with heels on. My inner thighs were still sore from yesterday’s workout so a lot of the leg straddle exercises, I wasn’t able to do. Once I went looking for Chapter 5, I discovered something very surprising. It turns out that yesterday I did Chapters 1-5 unknowingly. I have VLC player on my laptop so that probably where I screwed up a bit. Anywho, what I thought was the end of Chapter 3 is actually the end of Chapter 5…..go figure, right? To me, Chapters 3,4, and 5 blend together very smoothly…which is good!

So I went to Chapter 9 to close out my workout with front splits. That was very good for me because I haven’t practiced lunges/ splits in a LONG time. My hip flexors are super tight and I lost my front splits completely. I was sad but not surprised. I’ve taken a lot of time off cuddling with my boyfriend (I LOVE YOU BOO BEAR!! ❤ ❤ <3) and watching Netflix. 😀 And since I work in IT, the majority of what I do is sitting at my desk typing (no standing desks allowed). After finishing Chapter 9, I do believe that sitting at desks for almost 8 hours a day should be illegal. I lost most of my flexibility, if not all of the flexibility I had before….but I can’t wait to get it back again!

Day 3 of March Workout Plan: 2 Mile Run (Rest Day for Cleo’s RLNA)

Today is the rest day of Cleo’s Rocking Legs and Abs Beginner Workout plan…..and I am sure as hell taking it! The workouts on her DVD are far from easy. I wanted to take the time to explain today why I designed the workout that I did for myself: which is composed of 2 parts: (1) a 2.0 mile morning run Monday throughThursday and (2) Cleo’s Rockin’ Legs and Abs DVD – Beginner schedule as seen below:

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Let’s cover just the running component for today. I chose the 2.0 mile morning run for two reasons:

1) It’s convenient and

2) It’s my wake up call (literally and figuratively speaking)

Here’s some background info about me. From 2005-2014 I lived in downtown Washington, DC. GYMS EVERYWHERE GALORE. I worked as a Membership Consultant for a popular gym one year and then worked as a Personal Trainer the following year. In February 2014, I moved to Rockville, MD. I didn’t have a car because I can get to my job by walking or taking the metro. But because I didn’t have a car, I quickly realized that Rockville, MD is not Washington DC …..AT ALL. There are some shops here or there near the metro station, but for the most part there is nothing to do here….most importantly, no local gyms to work out at. The closest gyms to me were Gold’s (which I don’t really like honestly) and the gym where I work. So I decided to just work out at the gym where I work since it was closer to me. From there, I came up with my running routine:

In the morning, I wake up sometime between 6:00am and 6:15am. From there I put on my workout clothes, brush my teeth, gather my workout bag (pre-packed with toiletries), my work bag (pre-packed with my change of dress clothes for the day), and my lunch bag. My housemate kindly drops me off at work which is a 5 minute drive from where I live. The gym at my job has 3 treadmills, 3 ellipticals and a variety of different lifting machines. The gym also has a locker room with 3 showers. I drop of my lunch in the fridge upstairs and bring down my workout bag and my dress clothes. I place those things in the locker room and start my workout anywhere between 6:45-6:55am. I usually done with my run and stretching by 7:30am. I hop in the shower at 7:30am. Get dressed. I’m sitting at my desk at work by 8:00am.

For me this is VERY convenient. I get dropped off at my “gym”, I shower at my “gym”, I go upstairs to get to work which takes less than a minute. I get to workout 4x a week in the morning. Plus, I don’t have to pay a dime! The only days that it can be a hassle are when it’s crowded….but it’s usually not crowded at 7:00am which is good. The lunch crowd is much worse according to my coworker. That covers the convenience portion.

Now let’s cover the wake up call portion. The wake up call can be thought in two ways:

1) The Physical Wake Up Call – Running actually wakes me up. If I do my running conditioning correctly, by the end of my 2 mile run, I’m on cloud freaking nine. It’s amazing. It wakes me up in the morning and gives me a huge burst of energy…..better than a cup of coffee. 😀

2) The Spiritual Wake Up Call – I am the most aware of my body’s condition when I run. If I’m running, I’m engaging all my muscles, but mostly my lower body. If I’m working out my lower body for only 5 minutes and my body is telling me: STOP…. JUST STOP…. I HATE THIS…. then we have a problem. Five minutes of exercise is not a lot at all. The spiritual wake up call to my body is this:  While I run, I am communicating to my body that I can be more conditioned and that I can run further and faster. Why do I tell my body this? Because it’s better for my overall health and wellness.

Running was the very first workout I actually got into and felt passionately. Six years ago, I would run 5 miles no problem and 10 mile races were very doable with little to no training. Now, the thought of running non stop for even 1 mile is killer…..but it’s all in my head.

Now, I have to emphasize: The goal of my training is not to lose weight. My goal isn’t to look like Kerry Washington or Beyonce. My goal is be a better version of myself spiritually and physically. I am doing this by working out regularly, drinking 130 ounces of water daily, and taking my daily multivitamins. If that means I don’t lose a single pound….the better 😉

At the end of my run, while I’m sitting on the ground stretching, I’m noting and understanding my body more. I remember being more flexible than I am right now. My straddles were wider. My hip bridges were higher. Sitting at my desk in my office for most of the day has taken a toll on my body for sure. The only way to fully combat that is to quit my job (since my office does not allow standing desks and the nature of my IT work requires me at sit at my desk all the time). Since I’m not going to do that anytime soon, I will figure out ways to stretch more to reverse the damage that’s been done to my body from sitting at my desk.

While I do stretching and flexibility training after my run, it’s a spiritual wake up call in which I take time to reflect on how I think I did and how I can improve my running techique/ reduce the amount of pain I feel while I run.

In my opinion, running does NOT help you build stamina for pole. 

Pole dance helps you build stamina for pole. Pole dance requires advanced explosive exercise and power training. So unless you focus on just sprints while you’re running, you won’t build stamina for pole dancing. Again, just my opinion.

Overall, I run because I like it. Which is a bit rare in pole community. Slogans like: “My pole is better than your treadmill” speaks volumes about the workout preferences for pole dancers. Moreover, conditioning yourself for running long distance actually decreases your flexibility if you forget to stretch at the end of your workout.

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— Everyone has a starting point for improving their flexibility. Here’s mine: This is how far I can lift up my leg without feeling intense pain. As you can see, my standing leg can not straighten completely because my hamstrings are so tight. 

I know that for myself, even though I hate running at first, once I get into it, I really love it. For me, I get nostalgic about the times I would run in the morning with my friends from college or about the time I ran my 1st 10 mile race and right after had ice cream with someone I loved at the time. Running makes me happy. So I chose running because 1) it’s convenient for me 2) it’s a wake up call and 3) I really like it. Here’s entry about my 2 mile run this morning.

7:00AM – 2.0 Mile Run on the Treadmill; 1.0 incline; Duration: 26 minutes

I want to first start off by saying that I absolutely love working out in the morning…but I absolutely HATE the sound of the treadmill machine. I feel like I’m working at a factory. Music helps, but the music can only block out the sounds so much before I do permanent damage to my ear drums. I decided that since I was sore for the past 2 days and I didn’t feel like running, that I would start of walking slow….painfully slooooooooow. I walked at 3.5 mph (around a 17 minute mile pace) for a half a mile. After my half mile, here’s how my run went:

.5 miles -.6 miles: 10 minute mile pace (1st sprint)

.6 miles -.8 miles: 17 minute mile pace

.8 miles -.9 miles: 10 minute mile pace (2nd sprint)

.9 miles -1.1 miles: 17 minute mile pace

1.1 miles -1.2 miles: 10 minute mile pace (3rd sprint)

1.2 miles -1.4 miles: 17 minute mile pace

1.4 miles -1.5 miles: 10 minute mile pace (4th sprint)

1.5 miles – 1.55 miles: 17 minute mile pace

1.55 miles -.65 miles: 10 minute mile pace (5th sprint)

1.75 miles -.85 miles: 17 minute mile pace

1.85 miles – 2miles: 7:30 minute mile pace (6th sprint)

I was proud of myself for 2 reasons: (1) I stuck to my schedule that I planned and (2) even though I sprinted at the end, I was able to hold my composure when I finished. I didn’t collapse on the ground. I WAS, however, sucking air like crazy trying to catch my breath….but otherwise, my mind was at ease. When I ran today, I did not feel any tingling or itching on my legs, my breath during my 10 minute pace runs were steady, and I had enough energy to lengthen my stride during my run. I still feel tightness in the lower portion of my calves 1-2 inches above my Achilles heel (most likely my Achilles tendon). I will have to focus on stretching that out too so that I can reduce the amount of pain that I feel when I run.

After I ran this morning, I did 4 different stretches on my left and right sides:

1) Pigeon

2) Bridge

3) Hamstring stretch (sit down, reach over and grab your toes)

4) Butterfly

My body is pretty much tight everywhere below the belt. Straddling my legs out still felt sore/painful after Cleo’s RLNA. Knowing that most of my tightness is in my hip flexor, I focused my attention on that today. I can’t wait until, I’m flexible again….those were the good old days 😉 I’m looking forward to picking up on Cleo’s RLNA DVDs. Tomorrow we’re expecting snow to start falling at 3am-4am anywhere from 6-10 inches of snow. If I’m working from home tomorrow, I will just do the Cleo’s RLNA DVD from home. See you tomorrow!