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Fitness Bullets Flying

February 10, 2010

Zumba with Dawn Review

Plan 233 seems to have started off on the right foot.  Last night, I made plans with a friend of a friend to go to Zumba taught by Dawn.  I’ve taken a lot of Zumba now through the Class Challenge, and I have to say that Dawn is by far the best Zumba teacher at the gym. Which is probably why there were so many people in the class. 


Not surprisingly, it seems that each Zumba class I attend gets easier and easier [or at least less difficult].  This class was a lot more intense than a few of the other Zumba classes I have taken, but that was fine by me.  Even though I looked a bit like Monica on New Years Rockin Eve, I felt a bit more confident with the steps – even those that included my shaking my hips, which is a bit impossible for such a white girl as myself.  [think about Chelsea Clinton shaking her hips.  Can’t imagine it? EXACTLY.]

Dawn did a great job of slowing down the quick steps in order for the new people in the class, such as myself to catch on.  And like every Zumba class I’ve taken so far, the 60 minutes FLY by.  Any combinations I had a problem figuring out I just eight counted my way through, Swing Choir style. [Thank Lodi High School Special Effect, circa 1999-2001]  I also noticed that I rarely watch the instructor of the class directly – I usually follow one of the experienced students in my eye sight.  One girl, Joy, has been in every Zumba class I’ve taken yet and I find myself strategically placing myself nearer to her each new class. I love that every track ends with applause and each class ends with smiles and an amazing, confident feeling.  I must admit that I now understand why everyone loves Zumba.

Class Challenge Change-Up
-Because the gym I belong to has been so crazy crowded as of late, they have decided to revamp the Fitness Class schedule, adding more classes.  The new schedule comes out tomorrow, so I may be switching up the Class Challenge a bit.  I’m happy to hear that more classes are being added because MORE people than expected are dedicated to fitness!  Am also quite excited that with more classes, the likelihood of me being smacked in the face by the person next to me will decrease.  During last night’s over crowded Zumba class last night I did fear a black eye a few times.  You can expected an updated Class Challenge schedule sometime in the next week or so.

Workout Continues
-After Zumba I spent 30 minutes doing a dumbbell upper body work out in an attempt to find “arms like Jessica”.  In all actually, I was spending a lot of time on my blackberry in a gchat with a friend, so what I actually did was probably about 15 minutes of lifting and 15 minutes of gchat. Then I did a slow training interval running mate podcast followed by a 62 minute Treadmill Hill Walking Interval session during American Idol.

Here’s what my intervals look like:

Light Training Intervals

5 mins – 4.0 mph
2 mins – 6.6 mph
3 mins – 4.0 mph
2 mins – 6.6 mph
3 mins – 4.0 mph
1 min  – 6.6 mph
1 min – 6.4 mph
3 mins – 4.0 mph
2 mins – 6.6 mph
5 mins – 3.5 mph

Total Time: 27 minutes
Total Distance: 2.1 miles

American Idol Hill Walk

5 mins –   1% incline – 4.0 mph
3 mins –   5% incline – 4.0 mph
3 mins – 15% incline – 3.8 mph
5 mins – 10% incline – 3.8 mph
4 mins –   5% incline – 3.5 mph
6 mins – 15% incline – 3.5 mph
3 mins – 10% incline – 3.8 mph
4 mins –   5% incline – 3.8 mph
5 mins – 10% incline – 3.8 mph
6 mins – 15% incline – 3.5 mph
4 mins – 10% incline – 3.8 mph
5 mins – 15% incline – 4.0 mph
5 mins –   5% incline – 4.0 mph
2 mins –   5% incline – 3.0 mph
2 mins –   1% incline – 2.5 mph

Total Time: 62 minutes
Total Distance: 3.88 miles
Average Incline: 8.9

In the Defense of Self

-I’ve gotten a few comments, emails, and tweets about my exercise regiment.  Some friends have expressed their concern that I work out too much in one session and perhaps that is why I was having so much trouble last week in my classes. 

First off, I want to say thank you for your concern for my wellbeing.  The fact that so many people are concerned about my health is touching.

Now, let me offer a statement of defense explanation.  In a perfect world, I would do 45 minutes of cardio a day, and strength train 3 times a week.  In a perfect world, I would never dread the gym and never make excuses for my not wanting to exercise.  In a perfect world, I would also be able to run a seven minute mile, and as I’m sure you could probably guess, I can not run a 7 minute mile, nor is this a perfect world. 
In the real world, I have a part time job which allows me to fill up a few nights a week playing tic tac toe with Cody selling overpriced shoes to teenagers. This means that some days I don’t get the chance to squeeze in my 45 minutes of cardio like the perfect Heather would like to accomplish.  I know I could find time by waking up extra early on these days and getting myself to the gym before my office job, which does take place on a rare occasion.  However, I would much rather spend the extra time in the coziness that is my bed.  Because of my love of time spent with seven pillows, a fuzzy blanket and a comforter, I plan my workouts on a “315 minutes a week” basis.  (45 (minutes) multiplied by 7 (days) = total amount of desired cardio minutes). 

Also I have to note that when I was planning my day yesterday I determined that if  I am going to spend an hour of my evening watching American Idol, I may as well do it while on the treadmill, right? 



-After a tweet that read “Zumba. Weights. Training Run. One hour walking hill intervals. Done. Done. Done. Done. I AM DONE. & I feel FANTASTIC!” my blackberry started to buzz with emails and direct message alerts from a lot of twitter friends asking me a wide range of questions, to answer a few of them more specifically:

Are you getting enough calories for the amount you work out? I do eat more calories on days that I work out, especially on heavy workout days (sessions that last more than 75 minutes).  I use Spark People to track my calories and determine how much I should be eating each day to sensibly reach my weight loss and training goals.  Although I do try and count calories, I also make sure to listen to my body.  If I feel physically hungry and have “maxed out” on calories for the day, I make sure to eat a healthy snack.  I am not “dieting” and do not deny myself.  I am making healthy choices and listening to what my body is telling me along the way.

If you work out in the evenings, when do you eat dinner? Do you eat before or after you workout? I usually eat lunch around 1:00 PM just about every day.  On gym days, I eat a 200-300 calorie snack about 45 minutes before working out.  Sometimes I reach for the simplicity of a clif bar, other days I may have a banana with almond butter.  Yesterday I made myself a whole wheat wrap with Teddy’s Peanut Butter, dry roasted peanuts, and a tsp of jam.  After my workout, I make dinner at home.  Sometimes this doesn’t happen until 10:00 PM, which I don’t necessarily favor, but it works for my routine right now.

Do you take in calories during long workouts? When I have a long workout session such as yesterday, I do take in calories.  Yesterday I ate half a pack of PowerBar Gel Blasts through out my walking.  Other things I use for mid-work out fuel are: Sportsbeans, dry roasted peanuts, pieces of Larabar, or something similar.  Whatever I eat during my workout, I consume slowly.  I ate 7 of the gel blasts yesterday over the course of an hour.  It’s important that I keep my body fueled, but I also don’t want to make myself sick by taking in too much at once.  I also drink A LOT of water when I work out- but never too much to make myself sick/full.  I probably drink about 8-12 oz of water an hour.  

How much time do you spend cooling down after a long workout like that? Are you properly allowing your body to enter into rest mode? Each class that I have taken during the Class Challenge has it’s own cool down session, usually lasting about 5-10 minutes.  When I am on the treadmill, no matter if I am walking, running, or both I take time to cool down. On my interval training sessions I cool down at least 5 minutes- I usually drop my pace at least 20 percent to start my cool down.  When I am cool down on my final cardio activity of the night, I end my last 2 minutes at 2.5 mph.  This probably started by habit of the treadmill dropping to that speed naturally, but it seems to work well for me.  I also take about 5-10 minutes to stretch after each strength training session, and 10-20 minutes to stretch after each cardio work out. 

– How do you stay motivated to keep going for so long? Again, I don’t work out for this long very often, and usually the times I do, such as last night I have very little problems staying motivated.  It seems to me that I more often struggle to get through a 30 minute work out than an evening full of fitness activities.  Yesterday was no exception – I felt strong and determined to finish my work out strong.  There were a few points during certain interval segments that I had to tell myself “You can do anything for 3 minutes” and continued to keep up at a certain speed, resisting the urge to lower the incline or slow down my speed.  One of the reasons I love interval work outs so much is because I can usually convince myself to keep going for X number of minutes as long as I know there is a recovery coming along.


-That is soooooo much in one night! Are you sure you’re not over doing it? I am never sure if I am over doing it or not doing enough!  But I do know that not every night is a 3 hour exercise night- they come few and far between. [once every month or two when my schedule allows/demands it] After last week’s bad experiences at the gym, I find myself listening a lot closer to what my body is saying. Perhaps I’m even a bit too cautious, but I’d rather be safe than sorry.  I take water breaks and stop to catch my breath/recover when necessary. 

Yesterday was the first time in several months that I finished a workout feeling accomplished, powerful and strong.  A lot of the time, I feel defeated or upset that I didn’t do more.  After a bit of discussion of Super Woman Syndrome last week, I think my brain is finally in line with my body and I’m learning how to put things in better perspective.  I know that a 3 hour work out several times a week is not only a less than healthy decision for my body, but also for my mind as well.  However, like everything in life I like to think in terms of everything in moderation; after all, not only is a 3 hour work out is better than no work out, but yesterdays workout left me feeling better than I have in a long time- self confident and determined, to boot; and that in itself was worth the 3 hours of sweating.

I love the positive attitudes and self esteem boost that come from a good workout; it’s an added bonus to getting more fit, keeping my heart healthy, and improving my endurance! – what extra benefits does your work out do for you? 

10 Comments leave one →
  1. February 10, 2010 1:15 pm

    people asked me i was “overdoing” my runs… and i was training for a marathon.

    you’re not overdoing, but you’re probably asking the wrong person. 😉

  2. February 10, 2010 1:18 pm

    I actually eat about the same amount everyday, regardless if I work out or not, so you are fine there. I never questioned your workout time, but maybe that is because I ‘know’ you and know it’s not like you are working out for a crazy obsession type thing. 🙂

    Working out gives me SO much confidence. When I don’t exercise, I can totally tell a difference in my mood and self esteem.

  3. February 10, 2010 1:19 pm

    Looks like you’ve got it going on. Your balancing meals and workouts. Doesn’t look like too much exercise to me. Your not starving yourself and your refueling the right way!!! ~Great Job Heather

  4. February 10, 2010 1:23 pm

    As long as you listen to your body you are golden 🙂 Rock out gorgeous girl!

  5. Aimee permalink
    February 10, 2010 5:32 pm

    Great job on the workouts! I pop over to your blog every now and then. You “sound” happy and confident (quotes are because I don’t actually hear you talking…not to be confused with sarcasm).

    I have heard alot about Zumba, but have never tried it! I may just have to give it a try…although I must say I’m not the most coordinated when it comes to exercise. I do LOVE pilates, hate yoga, love lifting weights, hate cardio (aka running, biking, etc), love swimming. If I could lift weights and skip everything else I’d be a happy girl…unfortuntately my metabolism has severely slowed 🙂

    Anyways, you go girl. Like you said, a 3 hour workout is better than none at all. You felt great afterwards, which is important! And, you don’t do it daily, so your body, mind, etc is all good!

  6. February 11, 2010 6:48 am

    Awesome job with the Zumba!!! I love that you left feeling self-confident, nothing beats that feeling.

  7. February 11, 2010 11:42 pm

    Everytime I see/read the word “Zumba” I literally sing, “Zumba, Zumba, Zumba” to the tune of when you get in a congo (or is it conga?) line at a wedding. This post had me doing a LOT of singing.

    I really just need to find a place that offers some sweet classes already. Oh wait, my problem is putting word into action and not just returning to the treadmill every night because it’s safe.

    As far as the blends concerns go, it is most certainly nice. I was a bit surprised to see how much you were doing but I think it’s safe to say that you are an adult and you know your limits. Remember, you are not Jillian Michaels. There is no paid endorsement that will break its contract with you if you don’t “push it ONE MORE TIME!!!” ahh I just got a little scurred picturing her yelling that at me.

    As far as my workouts, I love the confidence and energy I get. When I don’t work out it effects SO much, from sleep to hormones, appetite and of course, energy. When I am not working out, from 4 – 6:30 p.m. it’s all I can do to stay awake. Thank goodness for RUUUNNNIINNGGG (said in Oprah sing-song)

    Pilgrims&SoulSistas&Singing oh my!

  8. February 12, 2010 12:22 am

    I really need to find a Zumba class, it sounds like fun!
    I’ve come to the realization that people all seem to have an opinion about anything anyone does, whether it’s your working out too much, not enough, wrong type of workout… really, what works for one person’s life isn’t going to work for another. We aren’t all the same!
    You are the only person who knows what is best for you!

  9. February 12, 2010 3:25 pm

    Gah, I have been wanting to try Zumba.. I’m too scared!!

    Great job on your killer workout 🙂

  10. marathonkim permalink
    February 14, 2010 1:16 pm

    Thanks for the comments over at 12 Month Marathon! I looove the Nike+–it’s super motivating for running or walking. Not so much for Zumba. Oh, and I love working out during TV shows–good multitasking. 🙂

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