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May 2009

Get Fit Friday: Lazy butt


Big confession: I haven't done a thing, exercise-wise this week.

A lot of it has to do with staying up too late blogging, watching basketball, stomach bug -- you name it, I had an excuse this week.

Yet I still managed to lose a pound.

Because, given the lack of physical output, I ratcheted down my calorie count.

But boy do I feel guilty about not working out.

I did wash all the tile floors (which is a ridiculous three-step process of sweep, steam clean, sweep again). I am planning on going to Jazzercise tomorrow and getting back in the swing of things next week.

Is my non-workout guilt common? Do you feel guilty when your exercise plans go out the window?

Get Fit Friday: Fat chick walks into a gym ...

So I'm in the section of the gym set aside for trainers to work with their clients, and this guy comes in and starts doing crunches and stretches and whatnot.

I'm on the floor with my trainer, abs quaking as I do planks, and the guy blurts out: "Have you tried the treadmill? A buddy of mine lost 40 pounds just by walking. I lost 30 pounds on the recumbent bike."

Thanks, yeah, I know what a treadmill and a bike are. I just thought I'd try something harder.

Stepups I get a good deal of unsolicited exercise advice -- probably because I'm overweight. But just because I am doesn't mean that it's my first time in a gym. Did you see me holding that plank? Did you see me heaving those dumbbells over my head? How about those step-ups?

The condescension is insulting. Yes, I have a ways to go, but that doesn't mean I can't beat the living daylights out of you in an arm-wrestling match. 

Underneath this "fluff" is a lot of muscle; the fluff is coming off slowly but surely. And, yes, I'll use the treadmill, and the recumbent bike, and the dumbbells, and the aerobic classes and the medicine ball. I'll go to the gym, I'll go to Jazzercise, I'll do DVDs in my living room. My trainer is giving me great ideas for adding sweat-inducing strength exercises to my routine.

And I'll continue writing about my fitness goals every Friday.

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Performance-enhancing buns

Baseballdinner Manny Ramirez lives a few miles west of me cooling his heels in his mansion while he waits out his 50-game suspension for testing positive for performance-enhancing whatevers (Steroids? Fertility drugs? Mentos?). So I figured it'd be safe to smuggle something into the Marlins-Dodgers game last night and not have spies on my case.

I'm totally on the up and up with my water bottle. You're allowed to bring in your own water at Dolphin Stadium (I'm NOT calling it Land Shark!) as long as the bottle is sealed. So I bring in the biggest bottle I can find: Last night it was a 1.5-liter Crystal Geyser that I paid a whopping 60 cents for at Big Lots. 

Sandwichthin So what did I smuggle in? An Arnold's Sandwich Thins, multigrain variety. Healthy food is not cheap or easy to come by at most sporting events, so sometimes you have to resort to drastic measures. The Sandwich Thin, encased in a Ziploc bag and slipped into a pocket of my handbag, slid past security unnoticed. Bwaaaa haa haa!

I was wearing pants that I haven't worn in a few years and I wasn't going to spoil my weight-loss buzz for a big fluffy bun. Arnolds Sandwich Thins are only 100 calories with 4 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber. They look like Big Papi sat on your sandwich.

I bought my $8 chicken sandwich (with extra lettuce and tomato), an $8 fresh fruit cup (which I split with my son) and proceeded to disassemble my sandwich. I discarded the giant kaiser roll and replaced it with my Sandwich Thin, plopped on the veggies, squirted on mustard and a sprinkling of banana peppers and I was good to go.

Get Fit Friday: A little help, please!

Man and Woman in Health Club

Just got back from my first session with a new personal trainer. And she doesn't want to kill me! (BTW, that's not me in the photo.)

My last experience with a trainer was less than inspiring. He was a muscle-bound knucklehead who liked to throw extra plates on the leg press. Granted, I do have the quads of an East German swimmer but I'm not training for a powerlifting contest -- I want to lose fat and build muscle and endurance.

So this time around, I asked for a female trainer. Call me biased, but a female trainer can better understand my fitness needs.

I've been doing three hours of aerobic exercise a week and want to build onto that with more strength training. But with a myriad machines at the gym, I want to know which ones are worth my time and which ones work a multitude of muscles -- compound exercises.

So we worked out a full-body strength routine that I can do in less than an hour. I'll be alternating the strength days with the Jazzercise and throw in another "machine" day once a week of either bike, elliptical or treadmill.

Sounds like a plan I can live (better) with!

The outrage over Helen winning Biggest Loser


Since I'm obsessed with the show The Biggest Loser, I've been reading media accounts of the season 7 finale all day today. (If you've been under a rock, 48-year-old Michigan mom Helen Phillips lost 140 pounds and won the title.) The recaps are fine -- it's the comments below the stories that are most intriguing.

Here's one from

I cannot believe she won. I wish it had been Mike. He actually seemed genuine. Helen and Tara are both self-centered and annoying. Although I am glad Tara lost. Helen did look bad. Her skin was all saggy and she looked ancient.

And another from E! online:

Don't believe she lost the weight legitimately--she looked like she starved herself. She looked really drawn, unlike Mike and Tara who looked so healthy and glowing.

Yes, it'd be nice to look healthy and glowing like Mike and Tara. But Helen is TWICE their age. Tara's 24 and Mikey's 19 -- their skin has a lot more bounce to the ounce than someone who is on the downside of 40 (take it from a shrinking 47-year-old -- I see the future and it's deflating).

I was pulling for Tara to win it all -- I really liked her drive and determination. But I'm fine with Helen winning. Yes, her daughter went home twice instead of her. But, like Helen said on the Today show, we don't know the entire backstory. Helen said she begged Shanon to stay but she made the choice to go home.

So what do you think of the outcome? Are you happy with it? Outraged? Proud of the "old broad"?


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Biggest Loser season 7 finale is tonight, vote for your favorite

Tonight's Biggest Loser season 7 finale will be a three-hour extravaganza, which starts at 8 p.m. I'll be recapping the show over at But until then, take this poll and see who everyone WANTS to win. (I'm assuming Mikey will be the third finalist because a poll that I posted last week is widely in his favor.)

Jari Love on Oprah radio to discuss Get Extremely Ripped

Getextremelyripped Jari Love, whose tough but do-able Get Ripped strength-training DVDs are among my favorites, will be on XM radio's Oprah and Friends channel (Ch. 156) Tuesday at 9:40 a.m. to talk about her latest DVD Jari Love: Get Extremely Ripped!. (Extreme is the hot-button word in women's strength training right now; I'll be reviewing Beachbody's ChaLean Extreme in the next couple weeks.)

I'm hoping to get my hands on Get Extremely Ripped to compare it with Jari's other DVDs and Chalene Johnson's weight-training program.

Anyone else a fan of Jari Love?

Get Fit Friday: Nothing hurts

Aerobic shoes Funny thing happens when you exercise regularly -- all those aches and pains that you've had magically disappear.

My neck, which if you looked at my MRI would appear to be a bad Lego project stuffed with water balloons, feels perfectly fine (as long as I don't attempt floorwork). My lower back muscles, which would normally take a couple hours to loosen up in the morning, don't have that problem anymore. And most importantly, my right big toe, which is crazily arthritic, feels great.

"Use it or lose it" is definitely the phrase du jour.

My old way of thinking: I feel achy, I'd better take it easy. Now I feel worse so I'm not going to do anything. Now I feel like crap.

Then I got sick and tired of being sick and tired and I forced myself to exercise. I made concessions: orthotics, larger aerobic shoes (in Clown size). And I laced up those augmented clown aerobic shoes, stretched out the achy parts and worked out hard and early and often. Slowly things started to feel better, no Aleve needed.

And now I can't see myself living any other way.

Squat like you've never squatted before!

Exercise class squats

Some people still think Jazzercise is a bunch of ladies in legwarmers lightly prancing around a gym.


Yes, there's a lot of funky dancing, but there are also elements of kickboxing, strength training and good ol' fashioned squats and lunges.

This morning I was still working on my post-Biggest Loser motivation high, so when it came time for squats, I squatted. Sure, I made sure my knees didn't go over my toes and I stuck my butt out like I was sitting in a chair but this time I got down. I figured "hey, I'm already hot and sweaty so I'm going for it." I also realized that the few pounds I've lost over the past week have really lightened the load. It's probably just a fraction of the extra energy that the Biggest Loser contestants feel when the weight really starts coming off.

And I felt it, right where I'm supposed to -- where I'm sitting.

So no more messin' around -- when Vince says "squat" I'm squatting (and yelling).