Pilates

My body is pretty clear about what it likes and doesn’t like. I’ve talked before about how spinning, thoupilatesgh great for many, just is not my jam.

I’ve also talked about how I really love doing Yoga. I go through phases of enjoying running. And love to lift regularly.

But, truth be told, there is one type of exercise that I rarely do that my body looooooooooves. Have you guessed it yet from the title of this article and supplemental picture?

Well done, super sleuth. It’s Pilates.

I rarely do it because it can be pretty pricey. I learned that my body looooooooooved it when I lucked into finding a new instructor years ago in Chicago who needed teaching hours so was able to teach and use equipment for free. I just recently lucked into the same situation here and have reaped the benefits of a really kind, really great teacher giving me free one-on-one classes.

And I seriously come aliiiiiiive afterwards.

Briefly, here’s why I love it. I love efficiency, and Pilates is efficient as hell. Do this move four times and you’ll be sore for a week. The one-on-one attention allows the instructor to look at how your body is compensating for the weaker spots and you can adjust accordingly. I can see the subtle tendencies between the sides of my body and what areas tend to takeover and make up for the lazier and lacking ones. I’ve got really tight hip-flexors that try and do all the work for my lazy ass abs. But Pilates doesn’t let your hip flexors do that. It calls that shit out, gives your hip flexors a rest and makes your abs pull their own damn weight for once.

Not only that, but I find myself thinking about pilates maneuvers and moves long after my session is over. When I run, now, I tell my abs to step up so my hip flexors don’t have to do all the work in the run. I focus on subtlety in form and check in with all parts of my body to see if and where I’m over-compensating.

I’ve barely scratched the surface and I’m legitimately obsessed.

Soon my girl will cost a pretty penny to do one-on-one classes, and I’m glad she’ll be earning some money. But it means I’ll have to pull back on my regularity for lessons for now. Though, who knows, I could come into a lot of money soon and I have a feeling most of it will be going towards Pilates. That and adorable dog costumes for my friends with dogs. But also mostly Pilates.

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Ayurveda Schedule

training_the_mind_healing_the_body_16360dpI recently listened to this fantastic audiobook called Training the Mind, Healing the Body. It’s dense and hefty, but totally worth it.

I didn’t really know what I was getting into when I started listening, but the title was catchy so I was 0pen.

It turned out to be a great audio course in holistic healing, specifically through using Ayurvedic methods.

That sentence felt really zen and really nerdy. And I loved it.

One of the ideas that stuck with me most was the argument that our body, like the seasons, has it’s own schedule. Which means more than just whether or not you’re a “night owl” or an “early bird.” Theses guys basically make the argument that all bodies respond to certain stimulus at certain times better than others. You’ll have to do your own research to learn the details, but I thought it was a really cool concept. And, since I’m all about trying out different schedules that work with my life, I’m gonna try this one on for size.

It makes a lot of sense. Even if I can’t implement all of it, there are small things that I can. Like, the idea that your body is more responsive to exercise and energy in the morning than late at night. And that you genuinely need to wind down and sleep at reasonable hours and your sleep will be better than if you sleep too early in the morning.

I don’t exactly have the most holistic schedule at the moment and I don’t always have a lot of control over the windows of opportunity I have for healthy habits I enjoy like meditation and exercise. But I’m slowly but surely carving out a more reasonable and doable schedule for myself and a generally more balanced life. So as I continue to get closer to that balance, I’m going to do my best to implement all these small changes as well.

I’ll keep you updated on the progress.

Doubling Up

I went through a phase last month where I wasn’t able to work out all that much. While I didn’t like it, I no longer let myself get really bent out of shape about it. I was doing my best and my time just wasn’t such that I was able to get to the gym regularly. So be it. It happens sometimes.Exhausted-300x225

Part of what kept me calm was the knowledge that life is about phases and I would soon have a much calmer schedule that would allow me to get to the gym with the regularity that I like. So I started scheduling myself to do more classes and carve out specific times where I could make it to the gym and whip myself back into the shape I like to be in (or even better… because we always like improvement, dowenot?).

So that’s what I did. Starting the first day I was available in April, I’ve been hitting up the gym regularly and classes I don’t normally go to in order to challenge my body and start to see some definite results.

Some nights, I even go from a difficult full body workout class right into another full body yoga class. I feel it when I do this. I’m not in as good of shape as I think I am. I remember the days of 3 hours of sports practice after school, but my body doesn’t yet remember how to pace itself for that.

But I’m learning. And I’m challenging myself. And I’m doing my best. And I don’t want to choose just one class because I currently have time for both and I won’t always have that luxury. So I want to take advantage of it while I can and see what I can accomplish.

I’m not in high school anymore. I don’t need to partake in 2-a-days. I don’t have anything specifically I’m training for. But that doesn’t mean I can’t continue to push myself while I have the luxury of time and just see what happens.

Besides, with the schedule that I keep, it could be that I won’t have time in most of May for exercising as much as I like to. So we gotta live for the moment and ride these whims when our body wants it. Even when it causes our body to be sore and exhausted. It also feels challenged and exhilarated. And that’s a good feeling.

 

Personal Space

I get not everyone knows gym etiquettepersonal-space-animals

I understand that it can be uncomfortable to take a class for the first time when everyone else seems to know what’s going on.

I even applaud that people can be in classes they’re way under-qualified for physically because they want to challenge themselves.

Cool, mama. Do your thing.

But there are some basic human interaction rules that still apply while you’re in class.

And there was a lady in the last Kickboxing class I took that was apparently completely unaware of all sense of personal space of basic class etiquette and it drove me bonkers. And of course only really affected me because God has a wonderful sense of humor.

So it started out like this. I get to class (on a rare rainy day in LA) on time. I’m in a good spot towards the back so I won’t get yelled at by the intense teacher I love but with direct eye line to the front. I’m evenly spaced out from the other participants, as is custom, and I’m ready and rearing to go. Class starts and a girl snags a spot a little too close to me, but it’s next to her obvious friend so I let it go.

And then she strolls in. About 10 minutes late. Casually strolling. The woman that will become my enemy throughout this class. I shall call her “Nancy.” Short for “Fancy Nancy” because she wasn’t so much kickboxing as she was doing whatever fancy move she felt like.

Nancy chooses the respectable spot open just in front and to the left of me. Nancy decides to start doing really whatever she feels like while the rest of the class does specific, disciplined moves. She kinda flops around. Of course I find this hilarious and am immediately distracted, but I let it go.

Until Nancy, about five minutes into her own unique workout, starts creeping near me. She starts straight up invading my personal space.

Now, let me remind you what kind of workout this is- Cardio Kickboxing. We are moving non-stop and we are kicking and punching. So if you get too close to someone, they could kick and punch you. And Nancy had, slowly but surely, gotten into my own kick and punch bubble.

But see I didn’t want to move. I can be really unreasonably stubborn about certain things. I got a good spot in class and I was maintaining my area as was everyone else in class, so why do I need to adjust to this woman? Instead, I did what I do best and got silently angry and mumbled “GO AWAY” to her between punches. I legitimately almost punched her a few times. In fact, about 15 minutes into class, when Nancy was basically standing on my left foot, I started using my frustration for her as inspiration for my hardcore punches.

I thought about shoving her.

I just admit that on the internet.

I, a pacifist who meditates regularly and believes in balance and happiness and zen, legitimately considered shoving a stranger out of my way.

That’s how frustrated I was.

I didn’t shove her. Eventually I glared her down and made a dramatic gesture to move to my right so I could have more space. I made a point to look around and see if anyone else was struggling with this. Of course not. Everyone else in class was having a perfectly normal class experience.

personal space dilbert

Nancy was standing so close to me it looked like we were friends so it made the teacher think we were pals and she equated us.  I know this because at one point, the teacher came over to break down some moves for us and looked at both of us and said, “Watch me, girls.” Then did the moves. I got pissed. We were not equals. I was kicking butt and taking names and Nancy was making fancypants moves all over the place.

Eventually, the only other girl slightly affected by Nancy (the one who originally got a little close to me to do the class next to her friend) left to get some water. When she came back, she chose to stand in the No Mans Land spot Nancy had abandoned in order to tie herself to my leg. I was glad the girl did this. I hoped it would encourage Nancy to move into her spot farther away from me. It did not. I had to keep moving.

I kept getting more pissed.

Luckily, unlike my frustration with the texting chick next to me in Yoga class, I was able to actually kick and punch away my anger during this class. Eventually the girl abandoned the No Man’s Land and I got fed up with Nancy. I stopped moving (a big “No no” in this class), let out a deep sigh of frustration, glared at Nancy, and moved up to the empty space that gave me plenty of personal room to get the rest of my moves in easily and happily.

Nancy didn’t even notice I was gone. The only thing she noticed was that she now had a direct view of herself in the mirrors and apparently liked what she saw. So she spent much of the rest of the class staring at herself and doing her own “Fancypants Nancy” moves in them while the rest of us pushed through a very difficult class until the last minute.

In the locker room afterwards, Nancy was talking to her friends were talking about how difficult the class was and dabbing off the mild sweat that had accumulated from staring at herself while other people around her got their asses kicked.

Nancy is what I like to call a Personal Space Cadet.

Fight Club

fight clubSome of you are repeat readers of these blog posts. And for that, I sincerely thank you. If you’ve been a long time reader, you’ll know that I once wrote about a time I wanted to start a fight at the gym.

To be fair, I was very sleepy and very hungry. A dangerous combination for me.

I don’t always know how to conduct myself at the gym (since I sometimes want to take down old men), but I do know how to conduct myself as a human being. And I do know that I find people being assholes to each other hilarious.

So now that you also know that information, let me tell you what happened at the gym the other day. Because it was hilarious. And doesn’t involve me.

Everything was going normal and I was listening to my cheesy pop love ballads while doing some sick free weight chest presses, right? (I’m telling a story about the gym… I’m gonna tell it like a bro. Chill, brah.) So I’m between reps trying to let my muscles recover a little so I can get totally massive and this dude comes in like hot. I don’t mean hot as in he was traditionally attractive (like Brad Pitt in the pic above). I mean hot like he’s on a mission and everybody around better get out of his way.

His mission, it turned out, was gathering all the possible weights he would need for his lifting session and putting them near the one bench he commandeered. Little gym etiquette: If it’s busy (like it was this day), it’s a pretty shitty move to gather up a bunch of weights and hold onto them as you do all your sets. It’s much more common (and just general common courtesy) to only use the weights you’re going to use and wait between sessions. If the gym is empty, have at it and set yourself up with whatever you need. But when it’s busy, don’t be a dick that hoards all the weights.

So this total dick was hoarding all the weights, right. And he’s got his earphones in and he’s like singing to himself and stuff and he’s walking like an all-around douchebag who’s oblivious to everyone else. I already didn’t like him, but I don’t like most people who are near me at the gym and he was sitting on the bench right next to me so I especially didn’t like him. Or the guy to the other side of me. But at least that guy was quite and ignoring me so I was able to be neutral to him. This guy was loud and obnoxious so I didn’t like. No likey. No thank you. No.

Then hoarder makes a mistake. He grabs some weights from a machine and starts to walk away with it. The machine, however, was being used. It wasn’t being used at the exact moment hoarder grabbed the weights, because the man standing right next to the machine. But he was clearly just between reps. So machine man starts immediately yelling at the hoarder because taking a man’s weight while he’s using it is basically fighting words at the gym. But hoarder compeltely ignores him and keeps walking back to his bench with the weight. Machine man yells louder and louder until he’s basically screaming “HEY!” right in hoarder’s face in the middle of a crowded gym. Hoarder finally gets the hint, takes his (obviously really excellent) earphones out when machine man tells him he took his weight. Hoarder could have been cool about it and apologized and moved on. But this was a dude who was hoarding weights at a very crowded gym. Hoarder is clearly not a very considerate man.

So instead, he yells back at machine man and claims he wasn’t use the weight. Machine man explains that he was between reps, as is what happens at the gym. He also explains that there are a ton of these weights not in use that hoarder could have taken. But instead of, again, being cool about it and apologizing because he was by all standards completely in the wrong, hoarder gets mad again at machine man and tells him he didn’t have to yell at him. Machine man, at this point beside himself and clearly enjoying the audience he has from everyone else in the crowded gym, explains in very close proximity to hoarder’s face, that he had to yell because he tried several different volumes that hoarder consistently ignored.

Most of the crowded gym has stopped their workout to watch all of this go down because it was entertaining as hell. I think everybody wondered if there was going to be a fight. I certainly wondered it. I wondered out of curiosity, of course, but also out of safety because this whole thing was going down right next to me. I got remnants of hoarder’s spit and machine man’s sweat.

Once I realized my proximity, I realized that most people who were looking at them could steal a quick glance over to me. And that’s when I caught my expression in a mirror. It’s the same look I get when you tell me I’m about to see an adorable puppy that’s going to tell me hilarious jokes. I’m holding back giddiness and laughter. Which, at this particular supercharged moment in a gym filled with frustrated, muscly dudes with a lot of testosterone who want to prove they’re more than their boring day job… was probably not the smartest face to have.

But I couldn’t help myself. The whole thing was hilarious. Confrontation is hilarious. People being assholes and unaware of the world around them is hilarious. People picking fights with other humans for petty reasons is hilarious. Life is all one giant, cosmic joke and sometimes I think only a small percentage of us get it.

Of course I agreed with machine man. But at the same time, we’re all just flesh and blood idiots trying to hide the fact that all of us want to be loved and accepted and are terrified of our own mortality. So who cares if hoarder was acting like a total douche. This is obviously one of the only places he can act like a badass and can find some sense of stress relief. Yes, what he did was stupid. But do you need to yell at him? Why raise your blood pressure and embarrass him and make a scene just because he’s an idiot? I dunno. Just say something quietly. Or go grab another weight and go up and give it to him and get yours back on principle. Then maybe give him a hug and say you’re more than willing to help spot him if he wants to max out on his last rep. And afterwards maybe you two can get coffee and bond over the fact that this meaningless activity will help prolong a life that most likely has no actual impact at on the outcome of the universe but it’s still fun to do.

Or maybe that’s just because I listen to a healthy mix of Star Talk and Pop Ballads at the gym, so I tend to get in a strange head space.

Whatever, the point is there wasn’t a fight but there could have been and I found it all very funny.

At least I think that was the point.

Are you still reading?

You poor thing.

And also thank you.

Wonder Woman Shirt

IMG_8033 I got a new shirt. Can you guess what kind of shirt? I’ll give you a hint: It’s in the title of this blog post. Still not sure what kind? Hint #2: It’s pictured here. Still no idea? We need to work on your powers of deduction, friend.

This shirt was a gift. It was inspired by a conversation I had with a friend about goals. I told him how one of my goals this year was Wonder Woman related. He liked the concept immediately and adopted his own variation using Batman as a reference. And in order to be reminded of these goals, we bought some goodies to inspire us.

And I’ll be honest with you… it totally works.

I wore my Wonder Woman shirt for the first time yesterday. I loved it. It reminds me of the goal I set for the year. In fact, at one point during the day, I wanted to be lazy and skip an integral part of my routine that I know helps me and I needed to do. I started letting the resistance in and started letting my logic talk me out of what I knew was good for me.

Then I remembered what shirt I was wearing. And I solidly put my foot down and said, “No. We’re going. We’re doing this.”

I say “we” to myself when I hear the multiple voices trying to duke it out for control over my body’s actions. Also because I have multiple personalities.

Anyhoo, point is- I did it. Because I was reminded and inspired by one silly shirt.

So invest in silly shirts. And invest in silliness, you silly pants.

Silly.

 

Femoir: The Podcast – Partners! Show Notes

GoT-6I’ve been watching a lot of Game of Thrones lately… so forgive the very specific partnership picture. I talk about being a lone wolf, but if you watch the show there’s a wolf in this picture so I’m counting it (nerdy laughter!).

Anyway! The latest episode of Femoir: The Podcast is live in iTunes. And it’s talking about PARTNERSHIPS!

I talk about how I’m going to vary my intro like the Simpsons, then I dive into being “particular about my company,” and talk about a famous song from Chicago about partnership. I discuss my solo show and my stand up comedy, make a reference to a delightful Chris Tucker moment, talk about how I write about partnership often, discuss Stage 32, The Other Client List (my web series), talk about Closure, and how not all partnerships can work out.

And I also discuss my upcoming Western.

So much discussed! Take a listen and subscribe for free if it please ya!

And now back to Game of Thrones for me…

Crop Top

crop topI never thought I could pull off a crop top. I mean, look at this guy. I don’t look like him!

Growing up, I was always most self-conscious about my stomach. It’s where I hold most of my weight. It’s the last thing to start toning out when I am getting in shape. I’m not shaped like a tiny slender stomached chick. I’m more athletic (when at my best) so only making major cuts and really going out of my way to work it make a difference.

I’ve gone on about this before.

But as I’ve gotten slowly more confident with my body and pushed the limits of my own shape… I’ve ventured out in my dress too. I’ve actually worn crop tops on occasion.

I feel so naughty for even admitting it! AH!

I’m from Indiana. We don’t wear crop tops there. I certainly never wore them or even considered such a dramatic clothing choice. But I’ve slowly let the land of the people who are more bold and confident with their body and clothing seep into my own thinking. I’m not saying my shirts are that short… but sometimes a little tummy can peek out. And I don’t get self-conscious. And I’m proud of that. Not because I look like a photoshopped fitness model. But because I look good. And I work on it.

But more importantly, I work constantly on being ok with me. So if that means wearing modest crop tops without embarrassment because they make me sort of feel like a rockstar, so be it. Bring on the scissors. I’ve got a tiny sliver of stomach to let peep out.

Attitude Adjustment

attitudeI had to check myself before I wrecked myself the other day.

It was the first Saturday of the New Year and I went to the gym in late morning. And, to no surprise, it was packed.

And, unfortunately also no surprise, I immediately became a brat about it.

As I walked in and looked at the crowds of people on the machines and on the equipment, I got testy. I kept thinking somehow they were in my way. I felt so self-righteous that this gym was my gym. And that they were in my way. And how dare they even consider slightly inconveniencing me.

In short, I was a little biatch about it.

But halfway through my workout (when the endorphins started kicking in and I was calmer than before), I realized I was the one with the problem. Here are a bunch of people who, sure, don’t really know what they’re doing yet at the gym. But you’ve got to start somewhere. They were not at all getting in my way. It’s not like I go there with a really clear training plan of certain exercises I have to hit and certain goals that have to be attained. Usually I go with a body group that I’m going to focus on for the day. And then I look around and see what’s available.

These people weren’t my enemies. They were my new friends.

Sure, many of them may not stick around past February. But some of them will. Some of these people will have made it their New Years Resolution to get in shape and go to the gym all the time, and this will be the very exciting start of that journey for them. These are more people I now have something in common with. New people with whom I can talk working out with. New people who can complain about the lazy people who don’t return their free weights with.

It’s so easy to think you’re entitled to something. So much of our world today makes you believe you are entitled to whatever you want in the exact circumstances you want it and exactly when you want it. IWWIWWIWI, I believe is what it’s called (I Want What I Want When I Want It). I wanted to have the gym completely quiet and to myself. I wanted to be able to choose any time and go without any convenience to me. I wanted to have access to all the equipment I could possibly want for my workout at any given time even if I wasn’t using it or didn’t end up needing it.

Entitlement is gross.

I’m not proud of my attitude that day. But I am glad to be reminded that it’s so easy to fall back into a negative mindset. It’s easy to forget that other people are not your enemy. I live in Los Angeles…like millions of other people. If I start getting frustrated at crowds or traffic or whatever, I’ll never be satisfied in this city. Or any city. In fact, if I start wanting everything in my environment to be exactly how I want it without any distractions, I might as well move to a tiny hermit shack in Montana and hide from the world.

I’m not proud to say that I’ve considered this at times.

Then I remember, I love people. I love LA. I love being out of my comfort zone and having shared experiences and the excitement of a crowd. The only reason there’s even a gym close to me is because there are lots of other people who are members. I don’t keep it alive on my tiny membership fee alone. If there weren’t lots of people who belonged, I’d have to go somewhere else.

We need each other.

So I have to wait an extra few minutes for the leg press machine in January because some girl is doing 20 sets of 10 lbs. Whatever. No big deal. She’s gotta start somewhere. And I’m not going anywhere. So I’ll wait.

And I’ll be sure to check myself before I wreck myself.

Femoir: The Podcast – GOALS – Show Notes

goalsIt’s back! And we’re gonna have new episodes every other Tuesday that talk about comedy and happiness, two worlds that I think should intersect more than they do.

This episode we talk about one of my all-time favorite things… GOALS!

I talk about a Dungeons and Dragons dice and how you need to sleep to be productive. I mention my new Kurt Vonnegut picture (and how he’s one of my favorite authors).

I also mention how people feel the need to lose 10 lbs, sodoku puzzles, the Second City Chicago, and SNL. And wrap it all up with a Pinky and The Brain reference before mentioning my own new goal and organization consulting business, Reasonable Revolution.