About Me

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Yilan, Taiwan
I'm a Social Studies teacher and single mom from Colorado and have lived here for 9 years. Taiwan is an excellent base for us explore Asia, while living in relative (gun free) safety, while benefiting from a cheap and efficient national health care system. The people are amazing too. I have friendships that are 14 years old and I'm always making new ones.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2011 Fitness in Review (or My Anaerobic Anamensis)

I am no meat head, I wouldn't consider myself a sports person, although I grew up watching predominately basketball and football, still enjoy cheering for my NBA team (the Nuggets) and NFL (The Broncos). I have no Olympian physique. I don't have the Hollywood cookie cutter body type, but I'm strong,and I like to sweat. If I had to carry my 20 kg daughter on my back up a mountain I could do it.

This past year some fitness breakthrough sorta fell into my lap from new information I gained and I was able to learn a lot and improve my fitness and overall strength. It has always been easy for me to hit a plateau especially coming from Colorado at altitude, and then working out in Tainan at sea level, cardio was just too easy. I had to go all out for 40 minutes on a cardio machine before I was able to get my heart rate up to 180.

 Then I was having these epiphanies that were later confirmed by experts that the traditional cardio with the machine, even their heart rate monitors were not a realistic way to achieve my fitness goals and break on through to that next level.

I found Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS  and his Turbulence Training info online and found his free podcasts extremely helpful. He also has a blog and on his podcast will just spit out workouts that I can write down. Turbulence Training has totally transformed my thinking about exercise, I mean radically. TT is more effective, more time efficient and in more ways more gentle and loving with my body although the workouts are more intense.

TT training differs radically from conventional American gym dogma, that cardio should be on a soulless machine for 40 min-60 minutes 4-5x a week with some weights 2-3x per week. And on top of that weights typically means doing 3 sets of 15 reps, doing supersets of the same muscle group until exhaustion. TT training is totally anti-cardio and all interval. The metabolical resistance training is more body weight and free weights, with a fitness ball, doing super sets based on one push followed by a pull  of different muscle groups stopping BEFORE exhaustion. You stop when you can still do one more rep. Its kinder to your  body and builds up the body rather than traditional body building that tears down the muscle  tissue (followed by rest) to beef it up. The interval training is on a spinning bike, 5 minute warm up followed by intervals (like 30 sec all out HARD, followed by 30 rest, or 45 hard, 60 rest) for 6-8 x followed by a 5 minute rest and stretch.  TT training is only 3x a week, so my M, W, F and I am in and out of the gym in 45 minutes. A warm up is doing push ups, squats, lunges. The rest of the days Craig recommends some light exercise for 30 minutes doing something enjoyable with your family. He reinforces that wisdom that's so important in this age of cyberspace, real human connection  (how I miss my gym buddies, especially Andrea), workout buddies where are you?  TT is all about changing it up every 4 weeks which means it never gets boring and your body has enough time to respond to the exercises but then before it adjusts too much, you tweak it again.

On my off days, I recently discovered from the American Kettlebell trainer Dave Chesser in Taipei, the Body Rock website. The star of that show is Czech trainer Zusana who is totally amazing, has a perfect body and  very sincere about inspiring people to work out hard. By hard I mean intensely for about 10-16 minutes 6 days a week.  All that time I wasted in the gym! Lately Zuzana has been MIA and there some guest trainers, but you still get an exceptional workout. I still go back to do some of the earlier workouts with Zuzana. Body Rock uses body weight, sand bags, an interval timer and sometimes a ugi ball, and almost always a dip station. I put bags of kitty litter into a backpack, use an online interval timer, and use the hand rails on my treadmill as my dip station.  I do bodyrock 2x a week, either on Sat, Tues or Thurs, with one rest day. However, if I have my period I will rest.  And these past 2 holiday weekends, I have been having 2 rest days.

The advantage of TT and Bodyrock, is I have more time, faster results, real fitness, its not boring.

So today is Tuesday and I logged onto Body Rock and did their New Year fitness test.  I highly recommend it to see where you are and after competing 30 of their workouts see how fast your body responds. That's what I plan on doing, it will be a challenge and unlikely if I can do this on the road while traveling through Sumatra in 10 weeks.

The test is only 7 minutes long of 50 sec train intervals with 10 sec rests in between. I believe my score would of been higher but my butt and shoulders are cashed from yesterday's TT. My scores:
Squat Jumps: 42
Push Ups: 25 (some on my knees)
High Knees: 100 (might of been more hard to count, 50 R + L)
Burpees: 18
Jump Lunges: 40
Tuck Jumps: 24
Sit ups: 22

My fitness goals of 2012:
1. Add more kettlbell into the mix (I usually do KB on my Tues Thurs once a week)
2. more yoga
3. relax more
4. sleep earlier at least by 11
5 at least 10 pull ups by June
6. portion control

Food is an important issue, I love it.I have a hearty appetite, I could never skip a meal if I tried. As Craig Ballyntine says, "you cant out train a bad diet." Not that I eat junk food, I eat well, just portion control and slowing down to enjoy it, which goes hand and hand with rest and relaxing, no rushing around.

7. Exercise my faith in divine health. As a child of God it is my right to have divine health, never get sick again, retain the dew of my youth as I age. I had that Jesus dream recently where I believe He sent it to me so I could see how he looked, fit, young, the epitome of health and so if I experience symptoms of illness or premature aging, I seriously see myself as I saw Jesus in that dream, forever 30 (or 32?).

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