Wednesday, November 10, 2010

NaNo Fit

I promised an explanation of my NaNo workout challenge. It occured to me the week prior to November 1st that I've sadly fallen out of shape. Many people look at smaller, more petite women like myself and think we're perfectly in shape. This unfortunately is not the case. Four years ago, I weighed the same but I was much stronger and way more physically fit. You'd be surprised what band marching and dancing can do to keep the body toned. There's also a link between power of the mind and power of the body. Since my muse thinks best on adrenaline, I also work better when I'm doing something physical everyday - whether it's running, pilates, aerobics or, my personal favorite, dancing!

I do have an excuse for falling off the treadmill. Some people may know this, but for two years I worked in a large, local bookstore. Whether I was working as a barista, a clerk, in customer service or stocking shelves, I was always on my feet and on the go - lifting, bending, zipping from one end of the store to the other... In February, I decided it was time to focus all my energy on writing. I don't regret this decision in any way because two months after I walked away from the bookstore I signed with a literary agent. The part I do regret was being lazy. I felt as if I'd been on my feet for two years and relished being able to sit at my desk everyday. At first, it was great but this summer it became apparent that I was suddenly in the worst shape of my life.

It took several months to find the right time and the right muse for my journey back to getting fit. As I've mentioned, I love a challenge, especially when it's linked to writing in some way. NaNo seemed like to perfect time to apply an everyday regimen for several reasons. Not only am I in my writing chair more; I'm required to be more in tune with my muse. What better way to connect with her than to exercise every morning? The month of NaNo also represents a change of pace in my creative life. In simple terms it means, "Get off your ass! Or...get on it. Whatever. Just write!" For this year's NaNo, I'm taking the change of pace/"Get off your ass!" part quite literally by starting reps as soon as I get out of bed. My muse for doing so? Morning talk show host Kelly Ripa!

The thing about Kelly, other than the fact that she makes me shriek with laughter, is that she's just like me. Small. Petite. A few years ago, she too decided to take back her life with an exercise brigade and she's been devoted not only to her family and work but staying fit everyday since. Ever heard people talk of the Kelly Ripa Arms Project? All it took for me to want to jump on board was seeing her beat Jason Colthrop in an impromptu, arm-wrestling match then Jeremy Piven in an on-air push-up contest. My first question was, "How do I get those triceps?" The answer? Four days a week, I'm doing the Kelly Ripa arms routine with simple, do-them-at-home moves like these. It burns, but if I've learned anything so far this month it's "No pain, no gain!"

Early every morning I start with some gyrotonics, which is a full-body workout which aids in strength training and mobility. It also focuses on a part of the body I have trouble with - the spine. In my early teens, I developed scoliosis soon after fracturing a lower lumbar in a car accident. Now I make my living slouching in a chair every day, so these kinds of exercises are especially good for writers. A lot of gyrotonics are done on a machine or a weight bench, but I found several easier, at-home moves that work better for my simple morning routine.

Now for the fun part! This is straight from Kelly Ripa's workout, too. It's called the ABC Workout! It starts with a med ball and works your arms as well as your body's core. It also gets the heart pumping pretty good and I always turn on the music because next comes the cardio! No workout is complete without cardio. And now that the summer heat is fading fast finally here on the Gulf Coast, cardio's much more tolerable. I have a trampoline in the backyard, which I use for this portion of my workout. I implemented moves from an old wind-down routine designed for a trampoline from my gymnastics days for this segment of the routine because it works more parts of the body than one would imagine as well as getting my heartrate up. It also keeps my muscles warm as I wind down for the last part of my routine: the arm workout, mentioned above. This includes free weights, sit-ups, and push-ups. This is also the part of the day where the hub/coach really kicks into high gear! (Sparring gloves are definitely on my Christmas list.)

My overall inspiration for this workout comes from the following video, which shows Kelly Ripa in action with her personal trainer. I thought I'd post it for you Cozies, and I'll let you know as the end of NaNo approaches my results!



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