Archive for the ‘ Training ’ Category

The Daily Sweat: Making Minimalism Work

Hello Sweaters,

A while back I wrote about how you could make the most out of an effective 20-30 minute workout when you hit snooze a few too many times with some at-home equipment.  At the time, I also said that you could make it work without equipment.  As some of you know, my move saga continues as my furniture has yet to arrive from the tundra of Minnesota – it’s only a week late.  So, yesterday, with no equipment I had to make it work, minimalist style.

One of the most effective tools each of us has is our own body weight.  That’s why exercises like push-ups will never go away no matter what kind of fancy gadgets those ingenious exercise scientists create.  So, yesterday I wanted to break a sweat and engage my core muscles, so I did a fast-paced body-weight workout that contained 2 supersets of the following exercises repeated three times:

12-15 pushups (arms under the shoulders)
15 tricep dips on file box I brought with me in my car pictured above
15 plie squats
15 regular squats
12-15 valislide reverse lunges (yes, my Valislides go with me everywhere)

Repeated the above exercises three times & then moved on to the next superset 3X:

15 one-legged calf raises
15 glute bridges
15 v-ups
12-15 supermans
25 situps

I tried to push each exercise, nose to ground on pushups, knee to ground on reverse lunges while staying fairly fast paced.  I worked up quite a sweat.  I would tell you how many calories I burned, but my luck and my Garmin has been on the fritz this week.  I would guess about 250-300 based on doing something like this before.

So, for you folks on the road for business, visiting the in-laws or just getting started there are plenty of exercises you can do without ever entering a gym or picking up a piece of equipment to get the daily sweat on and create or maintain core fitness.  Yes, I did have my valislides, but I could have done regular lunges without them. 

The point is that we don’t need all those fancy gadgets.  In fact, most of the boot camps you hear about utilize the concept that all you need is you and the dynamic force of your own body.  If you have any questions about the above exercisers, please feel free to email me at

Sweaters – what is your favorite body weight exercise?  Please share for all those folks out there that are mortified to join a gym or fitness class, or for the business travelers or moms that can’t get to the gym.

And, remember, you can always make lemonade out of lemons, as the older folks say, and most times it’s better than the type you get out of a soda fountain.  Yeah, forgive the cheesiness, it’s early, and the movers just got here.  Here they come:

P.S. Don’t forget to post your favorite mood-lifting food or recipe for a $15 Whole Foods giveaway.  The only way we all get by is with a little help from our friends, so we need your input!

Please consult a physician or health care professional before using any of the general information that you find on the Site.


The Daily Sweat meets Sowing My Wild Oats: Middle Sis, Medical Mom of 3 Style

As most of you know I made the big move to Philly last week, and because I’m lucky to have the best sisters ever, my middle sis came to help me unpack.  Oops – she booked the ticket before the moving company called to say my junk was late (yesterday, they updated me that they will be here on Tuesday and were somewhere in Ohio.  Clearly they cannot emergency manage the same way I can).  Instead of unpacking, we decided to just hang instead, take a nice, long walk along the Schuylkill River trail, sample some local cuisine and buy some basic essentials like an air mattress that actually inflated and a new pump. 

Last night I “interviewed” her about how she gets on her daily sweat  and makes sure her family eats healthy.  I use interview loosely as I talk to her once a day and we often text in the morning after our workouts.  If you’ve read our tribute to Little Women (and the Braxton sisters), you would know her as Meg, the responsible, grounded sister who is all about planting herself and growing a big family, unlike me (independent Jo).  Meg/Rachel  works as a doc two days a few treating the underserved, has three kids (all 7 and under) and her hubby is a doc too.  When I visit their house I usually sit in the corner in a state of shock, helpless amidst the flurry of activity.  The most popular word in the house is “Mom” or “Mama”, and my sister never stops moving.  We are built mostly the same way, and I always wonder how she stays smaller than me when we eat very similarly.  I truly believe it’s because she NEVER stops moving. 

Her current daily sweat activities include getting up at 5:00am 3X a week to do a condensed version of P90X with her husband.  Her favorite P90 workouts are yoga and plyometrics.  Even though she and her hubby don’t talk much during workouts (unless you count heavy breathing) they feel this is quality time they get to share as well as dedicate to keeping themselves healthy.  In addition, when my sis isn’t working she tries to take the kiddios on a walk.  She lives in the sweltering South, but even if its one of those 98 degree 98% humidity days she attempts to take the kids at least down the street and back.  Pushing a stroller with a 35lber and 20lber is no joke.  If its too unbearable, she and the kids play in the playroom during the day, and she sometimes takes that opportunity to drop and do 20, or maybe even pick up some weights and do some mild strength training.  Sometimes the kids join in for fun.  And, at night after the splishing and splashing of bath time, she might lace up and take a 45 minute walk.  When I asked her what she felt the key was to staying healthy through exercise, she said that it was super important to have that structured time set into your schedule at a time when you know you will be able to workout.  For her, that is in the morning before the kids get up, so she sets her clock 45 minutes earlier 3X a week.  Sometimes things don’t always go as planned, and one of the tots may get up early, or the alarm “fails”, but she says that doing 10-20 minutes is better than doing nothing at all (and she’s a doc, she knows what she is talking about).

When it comes to sowing her wild oats for the family, one key thing she always does is to have fruit or veggies at every meal – even when they eat out.  I am constantly impressed when we go out that she and her husband always ask for a side of fruit for the kids even if it’s not on the menu (and, believe it or not, most restaurants will cut up some fruit for you if you ask). You’ve seen kid’s menus:  chicken tenders, pizza, macaroni, French fries, quesadillas, but she makes sure that her kiddios get some kind of fiber at every meal. 

Yesterday, we made a brief stop at Whole Foods for lunch, and if you’ve ever heard the saying that the more colors that are on your plate, the healthier your food is likely to be it couldn’t be more illustrated by the plate of food my sis made for my youngest niece (see below).


Trying to stay healthy is a balancing act, and things don’t always go as planned – sick children up through the night and there isn’t always a Whole Foods-esque lunch at your fingertips – but with a few tricks, you can make it work.

What tricks do you use to keep you, or your family healthy?  Please share for the rest of us out there struggling with that high-priced commodity:  time.

Right now I’m watching my niece stuff as many grapes into her mouth as possible.  She’s got big cheeks, so it’s amazing what she can hide in there. 

Enjoy your Sunday everyone.


Post surgery update

Okay, so this is a robber dressed as a mummy in the UK; blame Google images

Good morning fellow bloggers! Let’s get this morning started right. What’s better to go with your coffee than juicy gossip and heart wrenching confessions? Okay, maybe doughnuts. But, lets focus people-focus!

So, without further ado-inquiring minds want to know. How am I doing? Well let’s see… If you count curled up in a ball in the corner, sucking your thumb and crying for your mommy, as doing well, then I’m fantastic!

Actually, the first few days werent so bad. Besides being in a drug induced coma, my mom was in town and there is just nothing like having your mom around.

She took such good care of us and knew just what to do. She was always two steps ahead of everything. She cleaned and prepared food so meticulously, that it took her over an hour to make a BLT. She says that’s just how you make something with TLC.

I don’t know about you-but bacon with love definitely tastes better.

She also made sure all the laundry was clean. She folded each crease so perfectly without a wrinkle in sight. She says it’s a trick she learned long ago because she hates to iron, but I’m convinced she must have owned a Cleaners in a past life.

The day before she left, I quietly began to panic. I tried not to sulk around and just be in the present moment. But since my brain works on a constant ADD overload, I was only successful about 25% of our remaining hours together. The rest of the time, I wanted to hold onto her leg and beg her not to go.

And once she did actually leave, I slowly and steadily began  to feel more and more despondent. Today, I looked at the chairs and where she had positioned them in the shade when we sat outside and I began to cry. I know that’s a little over the top but need I remind you of my alter egos Amy and Tamar? I didn’t think so. It’s still a little early in the morning to unleash them, don’t ya think?

Running out of pain medicine over the weekend didn’t help either. When I called for a refill, I found out to my horror that they have a policy stating that they can’t refill on the weekends. So much to my dismay, I would have to suffer all weekend. In fact they didn’t call it in until 5 o’clock today. I felt like a crazy junkie checking my phone every hour to see if I had missed a call.

I haven’t had a shower or shaved in I don’t know how long and once my meds kick in I can’t wait to hop on in. I am really looking forward to it- minus the part where I have to wrap a trash bag around my arm and  have the husband shower me off. To say this experience has humbled me is an understatement.

My friend Jenny called earlier to invite me on a walk later in the week. I began to give her an earful, rambling off how I still wasn’t sure what lesson I was supposed to be learning. I have a few ideas but I guess I’m waiting for something more-maybe like a burning bush. Of course here in the good ‘ol Mid-west, it would be more like a burning corn stalk.

And actually- add a little butter and sprinkle a little salt and corn doesnt sound that bad right now.

I can hear most of my friend’s choking on their coffee cake, then screaming for me to clean the wax out of my ears, quit gnawing on that corn on the cob and recognize the hard truth- the truth that I need to SLOW DOWN. I need to not do so much-to not be so extreme by trying to become the next Kara Groucher or Lance Armstrong. I mean the reality is- I am bigger than Kara was at 9 months pregnant and having a sex change isn’t really in the cards for me either.

And while I do believe that this truth is part of it, I don’t believe it’s all of it.

On a positive note- the husband had today off and was super helpful. I even woke up to the smell of delicious expresso bean coffee percolating downstairs. I couldn’t believe how this one act of kindness helped to relieve some of the anxiety and pressure I was feeling. And a warm cup of joe first thing in the morning makes everything better.

He goes back to work tomorrow and my sister, aka “freeing Sisyphus” offered to pay for me to hire childcare and for someone to clean my house- a nanny of sorts. I’ve thrown around some different ideas but decided to take the tot to a drop in/drop out super fun kid place in town that one of my friends owns and several of my friends work at. I know Chase will have a blast and I can simply be at home and heal. And this way, I won’t have to worry about a nanny watching me lie around in my PJ’s all day with disshelved hair and stinky arm pits.

I am so thankful for my sister and the fact that she is such a Jo/Terwanda that she can afford to jump in and help me in this way. She is truly remarkable and goes above and beyond for me. My sisters and I have survived some major tragedies in life together and the result of that is that our bond is so strong. I find it quite rare and it’s one that could never be broken.

Going into this, before I knew my mom was coming into town, I really thought I would be okay on my own. I had so many wonderful friends bringing meals and offers to care for Chase. That help meant the world but looking back, I can not imagine how I would’ve survived without my mom here. (My other sister took action and set it up for my mom to be able to come)

This surgery couldn’t have come at a worse time as far as help from the hubs or teenager goes. It is my husbands busiest season and most nights he isn’t home until bedtime. The teenager works and has soccer practice everyday, not to mention somewhat of a social life. As much as I would like to believe he would want to hangout with his invalid mother all day, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t in his dreams for the summer.

So as I reflect, I wonder if the other part of the lesson that I needed to learn was that I can’t do everything on my own. I admit that I hate to ask for help and besides the obvious reasons like my pride, I also see it as a sign of weakness. And I don’t want to be weak.

But the reality is, I am so weak.

And I was weak even before this accident or surgery. Everyday, I have to depend on God to get me out of bed and function much less train for marathons and triathlons. I am nothing without Him. But more than that, I think I needed to realize that I am also nothing without my friends and community.

As much as I don’t like to ask for help or depend on others, the reality is that we need other people to make it in this life. Life is hard and we can’t go at it alone. Sometimes when people hurt you or let you down, you build up a wall-it’s a simple defense mechanism. You don’t want to need people because you don’t want to be let down again. It’s ultimately rooted in fear and built from a lack of trust.

A few months back, I shared with my sister, an acronym I learned long ago. It was for the word fear. It was proposed that it stood for False Evidence Appearing Real. I think this can apply here and she has had to remind me of it  several times over the past few months.

I can’t let fear of being let down or being seen as weak get in the way accepting help. I need to be at a place of yes to receive the love from the people that want to share it. It’s time for my walls to crumble.

Maybe my broken wrist is just symbolism for my broken spirit. I need to fall and be broken in order to heal.  And in order to heal, I have to accept help from others. And by accepting help from others, my faith in mankind will be renewed and instead of a wall, trust will be built up.

Hmmmm-maybe I’m not so stubborn afterall. Of course, there’s always the chance that it’s just the pain meds kicking in.
So, now that I’ve taken you through several paragraphs and lengthy explanations, I guess I will answer the initial question. How am I doing? The answer is complex but to keep it simple-not so great. I am thankful for all of the support and love that I feel but completely done with being injured and unable to care for myself. It’s getting old fast and I would appreciate any prayer that you feel led to offer up for me. I want to just embrace this moment, learn, heal and be a little less broken when it’s over.

And not 500 pounds from all this delicious food everyone is bringing over.

So do you struggle with admitting that you need help? Do you see yourself as weak? And lastly, would you share a time that you received help and it changed the way you viewed the world and those around you?