The Expressive Creatrix (and Hobbyist)

{April 27, 2011}   A Nearly Perfect Day

Today is my birthday, and I must say, it’s been truly wonderful.  No big parties.  No surprises.  No expensive gifts.  The treasure of the day, the gift I received, was the gift of time well spent.  Really, is there anything better? 

I took the day off work.  I always take my birthday off work.  Why spend my one uniquely special day of the year at a job which, quite frankly, I don’t necessarily love?  I slept in a bit.  Not too much.  For me, early morning is the very sweetest part of the day.  I got up and hit my workout room for part one of my workout – cardio.  Today I chose rebounding.  (Yes, as it is now not cool to call “running,” “jogging,” it is no longer acceptable to call a “rebounder” a “mini trampoline.  What’s the diff?)  I didn’t have a lot of time before the family was up, and I wanted something somewhat intense.  Rebounding fit the bill.  I did Urban Rebounding Advanced, and honestly, I don’t always have fun during Urban Rebounder workouts, but today’s session did have me laughing and having fun.  Thirty-five minutes later, I had a nice sweat going, and felt pleasantly worked out, particularly in my legs and core. 

After the kids and Scott, who all greeted me with smiles and birthday wishes when they got up, left, it was back down for the second part of my workout – my beloved Metamorphosis Hipcentric muscular structure work.  I’m on day 2 of Level 7, and yeah, it’s very intense.  But, as with all things Tracy Anderson, intense doesn’t necessarily mean brutal.  I work my ass off while doing them, but Tracy’s workouts always make me feel good.  I’m feeling so much stronger since starting my Meta rotation in February. 

After a Pomegranate Strawberry Smoothie (part of my Flat Belly Diet, of course) for breakfast, a quick cruise through my on-line hangouts to check in with my buds, and a shower, I was on the road to St. Cloud (a nearby bigger city).  Just driving along the freeway with some music blaring, I was feeling really good. Am I the only one who belts out Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” at the top of her lungs when alone in a car – even when I can’t sign for crap??  I always feel like a rock start when I sing that song. 

My first stop was the LYS (knit speak for “local yarn store”).  Bonnie’s Spinning Wheel in St. Cloud is a nice, homey place.  I had only been there once before, and Bonnie, the owner, was busy with a gaggle of knitters so I didn’t get to talk to her much, but I really enjoyed browsing and touching all that gorgeous yarn!  (Plus on that first visit I picked up two skeins of Malabrigo yarn, and I didn’t even know it was considered really great yarn. I just liked it. I still have no idea what I’m going to do with it.  I’m saving it for just the right thing.)  Today, after a brief wait, I was able to spend time with Jackie, one of the employees.  Jackie very graciously helped me pick out some beautiful yarn for the summer wrap I want to start soon (some Mini Mochi sock yarn in an awesome colorway), she answered a question I had about another pattern for a project I also want to start soon, and she looked at the sock currently on my needles. I turned my first heel last night, and something ended up not quite right.  Jackie took a look, explained how I could fix it without frogging, and then gladly ripped it (frogged) it back for me to the end of the heel flap when I told her I really wanted to go back and do it again.  Partially frogging a project scares me because I can’t ever get all the stitches back on the needle.  Jackie showed me how to do it.  I will stilll have fear the next time I try, but hopefully I’ll have a bit more confidence.

So, 50-some dollars and almost two hours later (three skeins of the yarn, a set of bamboo US 7 straights, and a few little goodies), and I was on my way.  I didn’t know Jackie before, and I was grateful for the gift of her time in helping me out.  She even asked me to come back in and show her the wrap when I was done with it.  I will definitely do that.  I made a quick stop at Crafts Direct to pick up a few knitting doo-dads which I knew were cheaper there, and then it was off for lunch.

My dear friend, Christi, and I have a tradition of meeting in a town about halfway between each of our houses for lunch on or near our birthdays.  We both had the day off, so today was the day!  How fun to do it on my actual birthday.  We had a delicious lunch and Noodles & Company and spent an hour and a half visiting.  Christi gifted me with a gift certificate to Bonnie’s.  Joy!  Now I have a reason to go back!

Arriving back at home, I spent some time looking at the birthday cards I had received in the mail, and opening some presents from friends/neighbors.  I also talked on the phone to all who called to wish me a happy day, and responded to some texts. 

I then spent 35 minutes hooping, and I’m so happy to say that I returned to attempting a trick I had given up on last fall when I was still hooping intensely.  A vertical step through to the side was proving difficult for me then.  I could get it okay stepping to the right, but not at all to the left.  Today I discovered I can do it both ways!  It’s not totally smooth yet, but wow!  I’m impressed that I made progress without even working on it.  Sometimes really delightful stuff like that happens.  It made me smile.  Hooping, lately, has brought me a lot of joy.  I’m not so obsessive with it, and I think I’m just finally relaxing into it and just being with it. 

After some blissful hooping, I moved on to some feel-good yoga ((Sara Ivanhoe’s Zen Yoga from FitTV).  Ahhh, 45 minutes of work and stretch.  It was so nice. Yoga in infrequent doses is best for me.  It’s like I appreciate it more and put more of myself into it, with proportionate results.  I feel really happy and content after a yoga session now.

This evening?  I’m just spending a quiet night at home with the kids.  Scott is at a meeting, and as soon as I sign off and call my mother-in-law to wish her a happy birthday (yes, we share the same birthday – just 20 years apart!), I am going to happily curl up in my chair and knit to my heart’s content.  This time I’ll turn that heel perfectly!

So, yeah, just a really, really nice day.  Time well spent makes me happy.


{April 5, 2011}   Mini Update

Just a quickie here.  I hope to have more time to blog later this week or this weekend.  On all fronts –

Working Out – Approaching the halfway point (tomorrow) of my Metamorphosis rotation!  Yea!  Still loving it!  I’ve decided to stop cross-posting my workout journal both here and at my Flat Belly Blog.  Please see Shelley’s Quest for a Flatter Belly (Fitness File page) for my workout reports beginning with this month and for a post there tomorrow or the next day on how I’m feeling at the mid-way point.

Hooping – Picked up my hoop and flowed for an hour yesterday.  Hmm.  Not bad.  The mojo didn’t immediately come back. Hoping it does so soon.

Knitting – Have casted on, worked, frogged, casted on again, worked, frogged, ummm, maybe 3 times by now the super simple tank top I’m using to teach myself knitting in the round on circulars.  Just re-casted on again. Hoping this time is the charm!   I just don’t have the know-how or experience to fix certain errors and so I have to rip stuff back.  Grrr.  It’s a learning process!  Attempted knitting 2-At-A-Time Socks from the cuff down yesterday.  Ummm, way too confusing.  Am going to try just one sock the old-fashioned way on DPNs first.

Reading – This is one area that’s been slipping.  Given the choice lately, I’d rather knit than read.  That’ll likely change this summer.  Can’t really knit out on the raft or on the boat in the middle of the lake!  Ahh, to everything there is a season!

Over and out!  Thanks for sticking with this totally boring blog!

{March 16, 2011}   Ebbs and Flows

I posted this at Hoop City today in my hoopDANCERS group, and I thought it would be good to post here as well.  Just random thoughts on the status of things, the weather, etc. 

I’ve been so MIA from Hoop City for the past few months, and actually, for the past few weeks, I’ve been kind of MIA from the hoop as well.  Does anyone ever have that happen?  I think I stayed away from Hoop City just to give myself some breathing space. I’m active on a few on-line forums (videofitness, the historical fiction group at and Hoop City), plus I lurk around a few other on-line discussion groups (Ravelry and some other knitting sites), and cruise some blogs here and there. I sometimes get to the point where I feel like I spend way too much time in the virtual world and not enough time being present in the real one.  You know?  I mean, often it’s almost as much fun to talk about hooping as it is to hoop, but sometimes I catch myself doing it and I wonder, “Really?  Why are you sitting here reading/talking about something you could be actually doing?”  LOL! (And yes, it is like that with all hobbies!  If I can’t actually be working out, reading, hooping or knitting, being on-line discussing or reading about those things (it seems weird that I read about reading!) is the next best thing. Plus it’s fun to have dialogue with like-minded individuals!)

 I also find I ebb and flow with things. I have many interests and some are in the front and center at times, holding my attention, and others are on the back burner.  Then something will shift them around again.  LOL!  I was obsessively hooping (especially with my minis) late last fall and earlier this winter, but in February I started a new fitness program, and I’ve been absolutely distracted and enthralled with that.  My knitting has also been holding my attention.  Hooping and reading have temporarily faded into the background. 

However, spring is in the air, and I sense a shift coming.  Soon it’ll be time to be outside – hooping and reading!  Reading is much nicer to do in the hot sun than holding wool in my lap while knitting! And I think after being constrained for a long while with my indoor hooping space, I’m starting to feel stifled. I need to get out and hoop where I have some vertical space! 

And finally, this time of year in Minnesota is not my favorite. I really dislike March.  Eveything is in limbo. It’s not quite winter anymore, but it’s not quite spring either.  Everything seems suspended in time.  Winter lingers and hems and haws about going, spring is hesitant to really spring.  Everything seems just blah.  Hard to explain, but I always feel kind of restless and a bit dissatisfied with things this time of year.  As the weather can’t make up it’s mind, I feel like I can’t make my mind up about what to do or what to let intrigue me. I feel kind of blah myself.  Soon, however, full on spring will be here.  Once the snow is gone, the grass starts perking up and the buds appear on the trees, I’ll be just fine!

So, maybe I’ll hoop tonight.  Have you ever noticed that sometimes when you’re in a hoop funk it’s best just to lay the hoop aside and not worry about, but sometimes if you just pick up the hoop and force yourself to play with it, your mood can suddenly shift?  Time permitting, I’ll give the latter option a whirl tonight!  Then again, I’ve got two new dance videos I want to check out, a new knitting book to cruise for patterns (maybe I’ll finally find a nice, easy project to use to break into knitting in the round), the new dishrag I started last night (in a “circular cloth” pattern that is completely enthralling me – it’s like a technical marvel – it’s something that I’ll knit and then go, “Whoa!  I can’t believe I actually MADE that!!!”) is practically screaming at me from home (I’m at work now) to hurry home and get back to it, and I’ve been promising myself I’d spend some time learning some more combos from either Tracy Anderson’s Dance Aerobics or Dance Cardio ’07.

Aaaargghh!  I guess another thing adding to my ebb and flow deal is TIME!  I need more of it!

{March 15, 2011}   A Trip to Arizona

Scott and I just returned from spending four days in Arizona visiting his sister Kristi and his brother-in-law Tom at their winter home just outside of Mesa.  Ahh, how nice.  We had beautiful sunny, 80-degree weather, and we spent a lot of time just relaxing in and by the pool, soaking some warmth into our winter-weary (pale) Minnesota bodies.

Well, when you’re in Arizona, you might as well take advantage of the heat and deep condition your hair!

We also had a few great meals out, we spent a morning at the world’s biggest flea market, Scott and Tom golfed one afternoon, Kristi and I headed to the spa and got wonderful massages, and we spent one afternoon and evening exploring the mountains, including stops at Canyon Lake and Tortilla Flat.

Despite all the things to do, I was able to squeeze in time to enjoy all of my hobbies on our busy trip! The highlight was meeting my dear friend Jeanne.  Jeanne is one of my on-line buddies at the Historical Fiction forum at We have posted at the forum and private messaged each other for a few years now.  Jeanne is incredibly generous and has sent me credits when I’m low and surprised me with gifts of books.  She is funny, cheeky and smart, and I’ve enjoyed our on-line friendship very much.  What fun to meet her for a couple of hours at a coffee shop near Tom and Kristi’s home.  That dear lady drove 85 miles to meet me!  Fortunately she was able to fit in a visit to her daughter and her family as well, so I didn’t feel quite as guilty for making her drive all over the state!  Here we are, and I’m holding a beautiful brand new copy of Elizabeth Chadwick’s upcoming book, To Defy A King, which sweet Jeanne gifted me at our meeting!

In addition to spending time with my fellow historical fiction loving friend, I also snuck in a bit of time to read.  I’m working on Ines of My Soul for one of the 2011 historical fiction challenges.  Unfortunately for the book, my knitting took precedence on the plane, but I managed to get a few chapters down while laying by the pool and lying in bed one night.

Ah, the knitting!  I think I knit the entire way from home to the airport (a 2-hour trip) and then most of the time on the 2+ hour flight to/from Arizona, and I also snuck in a bit of time knitting poolside.  I finished one dish cloth and got a good start on another.  Here’s one –

Arizona Dish Cloth

It’s done in a simple basket weave pattern.  The second (almost finished one) is the same, just yellow with an orange stripe.  I’m also going to try one more color variation, and then I think I’ll give the set of three to my sister-in-law to thank her for the hospitality.

Let see, I also took my travel hoop with me, and I spent just a short time one day hooping.  Of course I had big plans to hoop for an hour or so each morning by the pool when it was cool, and also to bring my hoop with me when we walked out in the desert and on our jaunt up into the mountains, but that never came to pass.  At least I was able to spend 20-30 min. hooping one afternoon –

And finally, I didn’t forget my obsession with my commitment to fitness!  I brought along some videos and got workouts in on 2 of the 4 days (one day was a scheduled rest day and the other was the day we left for home – no time to workout before we had to be at the airport at 5:45 a.m., and I was too travel weary when I got home).  I completed days 24 and 25 of my Metamorphosis rotation (Transform 1, Muscular Structure Sequence 3), did 20 minutes of Rockin’ Body: Disco Groove one day (my niece firing up the spin bike next to me and drowning out the sound from the video player put an early end to the workout!) and all of Leslie’s 4 Fast Miles (50 min.) on the other day.  The first day I worked out poolside; the second I rearranged some furniture in the living room and worked out in the house.  Working out outside sounds better than it is.  Sure the scenery (mountains and desert) is pretty, the pool is relaxing to look at and the air is fresh, but the cons far outweight the pros.  I worked out mid-morning, and it was already getting pretty warm.  I had to use my niece’s MacBook to play my videos, and I struggled with that.  The sun was quite bright, and working out with sunglasses on doesn’t work so well, not to mention all that light creates a glare on the screen.  All in all, the workout was much better (if a bit less pretty) in the house!

So, I had a great trip, I soaked up some sun and I spent a little time on each of the pastimes that give me so much joy!  A good time to be sure!

Since I’ve been so woefully negligent of this blog since starting my Flat Belly Blog, I thought I’d catch you all up on what I’ve been doing.  Rest assured, even though I’m not blogging about it, I certainly am knitting, hooping, working out and reading!  For the most part I’d rather actually DO those things rather than blog about them, so when time is limited and I’m faced with the choice, “Knit or blog?”  The knitting (or hooping, working out or reading) is going to win every time.  Sorry!

But, I’m going to take a few minutes to get you caught up on my latest creative endeavors.

First up, the hooping front.  Hooping is always going to be my first love, so that’s getting top billing.  In my regular hooping, not much has changed since my February 15 post on my mid-month progress on my February hooping goals.  I’m still working on the same things; still enjoying it.  But this past week, my regular hoop has taken a back seat to the minis.  (I tend to switch focuses between these two forms of hooping every so often.)  The minis (after a funk which involved my struggles with the 3-Beat Weave) are going great!  I’ve learned and am working on some new tricks that have re-energized my passion for the minis.

From my Hoop City lessons, I’ve been working turning with weaving – from forwards weave turning a 180 and going into the backwards weave and then turning again to go back into the forwards weave.  Just yesterday I mastered both turns, going to the right each time.  Yea!  Once I’ve got it down pat, I’ll learn the entire turn to the left.  Then I’ll move onto Sandra’s tutorial on the full 360 Turn, which is more of a continuous turn rather than making a stop halfway through before continuing to finish the full turn.  This is a really enjoyable move and very versatile.  Eventually I’d like to go from the weave in either direction to either a high or low windmill (or front/back weave) in the wall plane. 

Pam from Hoop Dee Doo has also given me some new tricks for my arsenal.  From her tutorials I recently learned the Cross-Over Turn (to the right; haven’t gotten it to the left yet) and the Split Weave (which is coming along, but is not yet very smooth, and I can’t get into it from flow).  The Split Weave is such a fabulous looking move, and I’d never seen it anywhere before.  Kudos to Pam for giving us a unique move and tutorial!  I am also working on Pam’s turn into Windmill, which I will start out from the hoops spinning fowards on my hands.  Eventually, as I mentioned above, I’d like to be able to go from a weave into a Windmill, but that’ll come.  Sandra also teaches the Windmill, so I’m hoping that between my two favorite hoop teachers, I’ll be able to get it without too much hair pulling!

I love my minis and they still bring me great joy. I still find them soothing, although I did go through a short period of frustration with them.  At that time, it was really beneficial for me to just step away from them for a while.  Sometimes we become, for whatever reason, resistant to certain things.  It’s actually necessary to move through, rather than avoid, resistance (according to Yogini Rainbeau Mars!), but I don’t think there’s any harm in stopping short of resistance and taking a breather!

Moving on, I’m learning more new tricks in other areas as well.  Last night I learned the basic crochet chain stitch!  I didn’t set out to, but a dishrag I was working on called for it, so I gave it a whirl.  Fortunately I did have a crochet hook in my knitting supplies and instructions in my Stitch & Bitch book.  It wasn’t great, and I’m still not sure how to “finish” it, but I did it!  Wow!  A simple little thing like that made me totally exhilarated!  Cool.  I don’t intend to crochet, but there are a few basic crochet stitches that a knitter needs to know, and I’ve now tackled one of them.  (Okay, that’s a lie.  I totally harbor a desire to learn to crochet, but I think I have to get more adept at the knitting thing first.  I don’t need yet another passion competing for my precious time!)

Other than the crochet stitch, I’m not setting the world on fire with my knitting progression. I’m still stuck in “dishrag and scarf” mode.  I’ve completed four dishrags, and I’m almost done with that damn Ribbed for her Pleasure scarf  I’ve been working on for a month. I really, really do want to learn how to use the DPNs or circular needles, but I need a simple project and some good instruction.  The short lesson on them in the Stitch & Bitch book is NOT cutting it.  I’ve got a few more books on reserve from the library, and I’m hoping one of them will give me a simple project or even a small swatch to learn knitting in the round.  The reason I wanted to learn to knit was because I really wanted to make two things especially – hats and socks.  Umm, guess which two things are usually knit in the round?  Yep, I’ve GOT to buckle down and learn my DPNs and circs!

Ahh, this brings me to interest number 3 – fitness!  I’m on the 9th working day of my Tracy Anderson Metamorphosis rotation, and I literally couldn’t be loving a process more.  I’ve done the exact same muscular structure sequence workout 9 times, and I am not even tired of it! I actually look forward to it every day, and if I hadn’t been slightly hung over (blushes) on my rest day, I would’ve been bummed that I couldn’t do it that day!  Today is the last day on the first sequence, and although I’ll be interested to move on to sequence 2 and try some new things, I will actually miss sequence 1.  I’m nowhere near perfect at it.  I can’t do the entire lower body from start to finish doing every rep and keeping up with Tracy, but I have noticed such an improvement over when I started.  It’s exhilarating!  If the entire 90 days is like this, I will be a very happy girl.

My back has been tolerating the work very well (a fact for which I am eternally grateful!), and beginning late last week, I added in the cardio element. I can’t do Tracy’s cardio every day (although I would love to because I really enjoy it) because the impact gets to be too much for my plantar fasciitis-prone right foot, but I’m trying to do her stuff (the Metamorphosis cardio and her other dance cardio workouts and rebounder workouts) three times per week with one of those times done on the rebounder (either the actual mini trampoline workouts from YouTube  or her Meta or Boot Camp cardio workouts). 

My other cardio workouts will be some of my other dance cardio workouts that are not so high in impact or (what I did today), Leslie Sansone!  You can’t get much different from Tracy than Leslie, and Leslie is often considered “easy” or only for the overweight/out-of-shape by many, but Leslie has some damn fine workouts!  My body responds to long, steadier state cardio, and Leslie delivers!  I often modify her workouts by making the moves tougher (skaters or side-to-side plyo jumps for her side steps; jump kicks, back kicks or side kicks for her plain kicks, etc.) or by using 3-5# weights during at least a portion of the workout (whether Leslie & Crew are using them or not).  However, my favorite way to up the ante with a Leslie workout is to use my hoop!  I alternate between core hooping (being careful to hoop in both directions for balance) and off-body hooping.  This increases the intensity of Leslie’s walks and gives additional benefits.  With on-body hooping I get the added element of core work and an increase in effort.  With off-body hooping, I get to work my arms by maneuvering my hoop.  It’s fun to try to think of different ways to use the hoop, and it’s very good practice for me to try to maintain Leslie’s leg and foot movements while core hooping.  It builds my strength with my core hooping and teaches me new and different ways to move with the hoop.  (I also work on doing things with my hands and arms.)  It’s such a win-win!  I think, if she were to see a video of me doing it, that Tracy would approve!

So yes, it’s definitely been a time of fitness fun for me!  No real visible “results” yet, but it’s early.  My body is still adjusting.  To track my progress with my diet and my Metamorphosis rotation, please visit my Flat Belly Blog!

And finally, I’ve been reading some good books!  I recently finished Lisa See’s Peony in Love, which I really enjoyed.  It’s a very different book, and it started out slow for me, but I was soon absorbed in the story.  Lots of lessons to be learned here, and plenty of food for thought.  In keeping with the Asian theme, I went directly into See’s Shanghai Girls.  I’m not even a quarter of the way through it, but I’m enjoying that one as well.  All books are for the 2011 Historical Fiction Challenge at  Right now I’m working on the “It’s a Small World” challenge, by reading one book set on each of the six continents (excluding Antarctica). 

So, there it is.  My creative life in a nutshell.  I so enjoy all that I do. My only lament is that I just don’t have enough hours in the day to really get my fill of any of my hobbies.  Sigh.  I guess that’s what retirement will be for!

Much happiness and joy to you in all of your own creative pursuits! I hope you are as blessed as I am to have hobbies, interests and passions you love!

{January 30, 2011}   Slim In Six Dropout

It’s official.  SI6 and the companion workouts bug the hell out of my back.  I’ve noticed stiffness, soreness and some pain for the past few weeks, but late last week, it really reached a boiling point and I found myself in a lot of pain – the pain which radiates down to my hip and thighs, which is what happens when my disks are really aggravated and bulging.  I did my last SS workout on Thursday, and since then I’ve done nothing but hoop for exercise, and my back pain is GONE!

I’m pretty sure I know what it is – endless squats and lunges.  From past experience, I knew that doing these moves was a trigger for my back, but, I always used to do them with weights.  I was hoping the unweighted versions wouldn’t be bothersome. Apparently, I was wrong.

Well, I’m not crying too long and hard about it.  I despise traditional standing lower body work for the most part.  My only concern is that ALL lower body work is going to trigger it.  Then what?  My next rotation is going to be Tracy Anderson’s Metamorphosis.  NO squats and lunges.  God bless, Tracy.  From doing her workouts in the past, I know that they haven’t aggravated my back.  However, I’ve never done them as a rotation where I’m doing them almost every day.  So, it will be an experiment, and I’m hoping it turns out in my favor and I find I can do her type of lower body work without ramifications for my back.

That being said, I will say that I think the SI6/SS/SSX workouts have the potential to be effective, especially for someone like me whose body responds best to no/low weight and high reps with a continuous elevation in heart rate at a moderate, mostly steady intensity.  I only did them for 2 weeks, and although I didn’t take measurements, I definitely “felt” some tightening, and I think I saw some increase in definition.  If you’re looking for a good exercise rotation, and you can stand repetitive work and don’t have an injury that’s tweaked by this type of work, check them out!

Tracy Anderson!

That’s right, I cheated on Debbie and SI6 this morning with some Tracy Anderson!  There are a few very good reasons for that –

  1. I did an extra Slim Series workout last night.  After supper, I was feeling like I needed some movement, so I did Slim Series Express: Core Cardio Express, a 30-minute standing ab/cardio workout.  So, there.  I’m counting that toward my SI6 rotation as workout number 10.
  2. With all the buzz about Tracy’s new workouts on, I was really missing Tracy, so I just had to get a fix.
  3. Tracy has a ton of freebie web workouts, many of which I’ve never tried as I don’t have a computer in my workout area so . . . I hauled my rebounder upstairs to the computer room and did two of her trampoline workouts.  They’re short, not cued at all, but actually really fun.  I did about 20 minutes including my own cool down and worked up a heck of a sweat!  Then I did the 10 Minute Workout from her website, which was some toning moves mostly for the glutes and abs.  Nice.

Well, that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.  My back and neck have really been bothering me, and I’m trying to figure out why.  One reason may be the fact that I’ve been doing the same type of workouts for the past couple of weeks.  I know from experience that sometimes that can aggravate my bulged disks.  We’ll see.  I’ll return to SI6 tomorrow – maybe.  😉

One week of SI6 is in the bag!  It’s going well.  I’m a workout behind due to being sick with the stomach flu on Tuesday (ewwww, glad that’s over with!), but that’s okay.  There are 36 workouts to be completed in the six weeks, and I’ve got 7, including today’s workout which is actually day 1 of week 2, in the bag.  I did Start It Up (the first workout in the series) only 4 times rather than the first full 6 days because I was ready to move on.  I started the second workout, Ramp It Up on Wednesday. It was a good decision.  Ramp It Up isn’t really that challenging for me, so I doubt I’ll do it the full prescribed 2 weeks.  I will probably move on to the third and final workout, Burn It Up, sometime next week.

Sadly I never took measurements when I started, so I need to do them this weekend.  It’s probably for the best considering I had the flu and have had subsequent flare ups of both my ulcer and acid reflux.  Accordingly, I’ve got a lot of “bloat” going on.  Hopefully I’ll be feeling 100% tomorrow or Sunday and feeling more like I’m in my “real” body so that measurements will be a good idea.

Like I say, it’s going well.  Sure it can be tedious, but I keep “pressing play.”  I was proud of myself today.  I overslept this morning and didn’t have time for my usual 5:00 a.m. workout so . . . rather than get another day behind, I did my daily workout this evening right when I got home from work.  Initially I didn’t feel like it, but once I put on my shoes and “pressed play,” I got into the groove, and when it was done, I was happy I did it. 

I feel good (other than the aforementioned acid reflux and ulcer troubles).  Once I got past the first couple of days, I haven’t been sore.  That’s good.  DOMS (delayed on-set muscle soreness) is NOT always an indicator of effective workouts, and personally, I don’t like being chronically sore.  It’s tiring.  It makes me feel stiff and old.  I don’t mind a bit of soreness, but not a lot and not all the time.  I feel like I’m getting stronger and really getting into the groove of the workouts.  Yeah, a bit dull, but they get easier each time I do them.  I’m not breaking much of a sweat now.  Both of those things mean gains in strength and endurance.  We’ll see what happens when I move onto Burn It Up, which is alternately known at as “Barf It Up.”  Eeek!

That’s my report!  Looking forward to week #2!

I’ve been working out regularly at home for over 20 years. It has become such an ingrained habit, I can’t imagine life without daily workouts.   How people go through their life without a physical fitness program is beyond my comprehension, but I judge not.  I just know what I like and what I need.  (For a more detailed look at my two decade long fitness journey, check out the Fitness Rx page.)

Despite the fact that I love fitness and my workout time, I’ve noticed that for the past several months I seem to be floundering.  Even my most favorite workouts don’t appeal to me.  I have a hard time finding the motivation in the morning to work out.  I’m languishing, and it’s starting to show.  I “feel fat” even though I know I’m not.  I’m a bit more jiggly than I like, I’m looking less toned, there’s more pudge around my mid-section than I’d like, and  the cellulite  that I totally banished from my body a few years ago has crept back onto my thighs.  My butt seems a bit saggy and my saddlebags (the bane of my existence) look more pronounced.  I have been consistently in the “high” end of my normal 6-8 lb. weight range.  It’s not an emergency yet, but it’s time to tighten things back up and get a grip.  Letting things slide is a very slippery slope.   While one can’t be obsessive out it, you ignore a pound here, some jiggle there, a roll here or there now, and before you know it you have more than just a little to worry about.  And at 43 years of age, time is not on my side.  Unfortunately during middle age, things cannot be ignored.  Things need to be nipped in the bud.  Curing these problems is my goal.  As is overall slimming.  It wouldn’t hurt my feelings to lose 8-10 lbs. either, but I’m not going to stress about what the scale says.

So despite my recent trend of letting go of aesthetic “results,” of not being driven by the feeling that I should do a certain workout, and despite my scorn of  actually planning my workouts, I am going to embark on a prescribed rotation.  A schedule of workouts designed by an expert, not loosely cobbled together by me.

As far as rotations using one system, I can and have stuck to them.  They do get monotonous after awhile, but I’ve managed.  Slim in Six is a program designed by Debbie Siebers.  It consists of three workouts (Start it Up, Ramp it Up and Burn it Up) as well as two bonus workouts (Slim in 6 Pack and Slim & Limber).  The workouts are combination cardio/strength training.  In this case that means lots of reps of bodyweight only or low weight (light hand weights or reistance tubing) toning exercises done at a pace fast enough to keep the heart rate elevated.  Pretty much right up my alley!

The plan is to do the same workout six days per week on the following schedule:  Week 1 – Start It Up (a 30-min. workout), Weeks 2 & 3 – Ramp It Up (a 50 min. workout) and Weeks 4-6 – Burn It Up (a 60 min. workout).  That’s it!  Hmmm, sounds dreadfully dull.  The same workout six days in a row for either 1 week, 2 weeks or 3 weeks??  I’ve done rotations before, but they all involved several different workouts mixed up and spread out.  This could be mind numbing!

Well, I’m ready to give it a try!  I’m telling myself that there are 36 workouts to accomplish over the next six weeks and each day I knock one off the top.  I’m not too worried.  If all else fails, I have the DVDs from the two series put out as follow ups to SI6, Slim Series and Slim Series Express.  I can always start to mix the workouts from those two series in if I get extremely bored.  However, I am going to try my best to stick with the rotation as written.

Today was Week 1, Day 1.  I did Start It Up followed by Slim & Limber (which is a very thorough yet short – only 15 min. – post-workout stretch).  I noticed the things that everyone at notices about these workouts –

  1. Debbie is frequently just slightly off tempo.  This is sooooo annoying, but nothing I can’t ignore.  I’ll move on my own, with a superior smile on my face, knowing that I have a good sense of rhythm!
  2. Debbie is a very audible breather!  I’m sure she does it to remind us all to breathe and when it’s best to inhale and when it’s best to exhale, and it probably doesn’t help that there is a microphone very near to her face, but still.  Is this necessary?  Wouldn’t an occasional, “Breathe in” or “Breathe out” do?  The constant exhales were a bit much.  However, I should be able to learn to tune this out.
  3. Debbie is not much of a cuer.  Cueing in a workout is when the instructor tells you in advance that you are going to switch moves and he/she usually counts you into it.  For example while doing one move, the instructor says, “We’re going to go back to sidesteps in 4 . . . 3 . . . 2 . . . and 1,” and then you change moves.  Debbie doesn’t do that.  She’ll just randomly change moves and mention as she’s in the middle of changing, “Go back to kick backs” or whatever.  Again, annoying, but nothing I can’t tolerate.

Overall, things went well.  No, it wasn’t crazy fun, but Debbie switches things up a lot, so nothing gets too boring.  I handled the workout well. It was slightly challenging, but nothing I couldn’t handle. I broke a light sweat and felt the burn in my lower body (there’s not much upper body work in this one).  Things are good.  I won’t blog about it much here after this, but I will post daily updates on my Workout Log.  I think I will do this workout a few more times and then move to the next phase, Ramp It Up.

Wish me luck and success!  And if you’d like to join me, let me know!

et cetera