Hot Pink, High Heels, & Explosions

Great Tips for Quick Gym Tricks

I am not the five hour gym rat.  I want to get in, and get out.  That is how I keep my motivation to go to the gym at all.  If I felt like I had to stay there for even two hours, I would find a reason to not go.  With busy lives, it’s easier to carve out 30 minutes to 60 minutes than anything else.  I thought this article from FitSugar was a great one — with good tips.  It also served as a nice reminder from a Fitness website that you DON’T have to be in the gym or studio for an hour to still get in a good work out that will do your body good.

A few tips from my own personal file:

  1. Make sure your workout is convenient:  Sure there is that amazing gym across town — but how often will you really go?  If you have to go out of your way to work out, you probably will chose the path of least resistance and less gym time.  I recently switched gyms to one that is closer to my fiance’s farm and has branches that can work with my life in the City.  It’s not perfect, but it’s better than the gym that had not seen my face since I stopped teaching there.  It’s a perfectly lovely facility, but it’s no where near where my life is — UNLESS I try to swing in on my way back home from VT — and even then it’s inconvenient  and I’m usually exhausted from the full work+class day.  So find a facility (gym, low-cost gym, studio, whatever) that is close to your work or home, and you may go more often and find it more convenient to your life. 
  2. Keep Your Stuff Close, and Your Plan to Fat Burn Closer: I have found that if I leave clothes in my car, then I may make that impromptu trip to the gym.   Its also helpful for teaching emergencies (I have so slid on a brand new pair of pants with a hole in them…trust me).  I use two Thirty One products that help me stay organized in my cargo space.  First is the Large Utility Tote.  I keep this in my car, and it holds my Yoga Mat, my Hot Yoga Mat towel, and various other items.  I also put the Thirty One Organizing Utility Tote in the Large Utility Tote.  This small power bag holds all of my items for a trip to the gym or studio as a member, and for a trip to the studio to teach a fitness class.  I love the small pockets — I organize using those pockets so that I (1) don’t forget anything and (2) know exactly where my brush is, or my Chapstick.  [I am not a consultant, nor am I getting any free swag for this — though I will totally accept some free swag…]
  3. iCal/Google Calendar Lilly Pulitzer Agenda your Workouts:  I’ve been failing on this one myself — namely because my schedule is tight as it is, and because again in all honest — sometimes I like just sitting in my house and petting my dog.  However, when I was in the full-time working world prior to school (and during the summer) I found that if I scheduled workouts outside of my fitness instructor obligations, that I would plan for them and 8 times out of 10 — keep the date with the treadmill or with another instructors class (also again see #1 — I worked across the street from a friends class this summer, so when I got off work early enough I just walked across the street and went to class.  Worked out great– now only if that employer would hire me…)

Do you have any tips or personal shortcuts to fit in a quick effective workout when you can? 

Sometimes, we just need a little inspiration to make it through that workout that we do not want to attend.  That healthy change that isn’t going so well (like me and my water intake!).  We need inspiration, we need to remember that we are amazing no matter if we eat that cookie or spend an extra 10 minutes on the treadmill — and we need this not only with our fitness goals, but with life itself — career, love, parenting, just everything.  So take this minute and a half, and watch the rules for being amazing by Robin Sharma.  And then go be amazing with your bad selves!


Have you heard about Panera Bread Company’s “hidden menu” of new food items? Well it’s not really a secret menu, like the one at In and Out Burger (which my fiance dearly misses having spent some time on the West Cost to move back East where we have no idea what an In and Out burger is…). Panara merely says that they tested these few items on a smaller scale, and now are realeasing them nationwide but with little fanfare. The items will not be on the menu board, there are only slick food porn shots of them on-line at their website. The items are a lower carb set of dishes: two breakfast, four lunch/dinner items. The items (with some nutritional values) are:

I was sort of excited to see this. Panara is my go-to fast food joint, because I know I can get food quickly that is good for me (or at least better than any other fast food). I stick with their salads (the Greek one + a protein is my favorite) and soups. I use dressing because LapBand Fun Fact we really don’t do well with lettuce and many other raw veggies, so I need some sort of lubrication to try *crosses fingers* and keep a few bites down (which does not always work, but I try) Plus dressing just taste good, and yes I get extra. I also eat the bread. I am no low carb-er. There are so few things I can eat (for a food refresher see my earlier blog post on the LapBand and Eating) that I eat what works. Sometimes a toasty baguette piece with my soup works, and so I eat it. Sometimes it does not. Regardless, I was impressed with the nutritional stats of the items, so I thought I’d give it a try.

I ordered the Power Breakfast Egg White Bowl with Roasted Turkey (180 calories, 7g Fat, 7g Carbohydrates, 2g Fiber, 25g Protein — 5 Weight Watchers Plus Points (and the idea of it also being a serving of veggies). The bowl contains egg white, roasted turkey, spinach, and roasted peppers. I pulled up to the drive thru of a local Panera on my way to work, and bravely ordered. They did know what I was talking about, after asking for clarification a few times.

Visuals: When I opened up my bag, I was excited — but then visually I was dissapointed. The meal looked very small and very sad. I wished that it had far more than the five spinach leaves. I wished that the peppers were even increased. The egg white portion was very large though, and the turkey was on the smaller side. They did a great job of food porn photography on the website, none of which was passed into actual execution.

Taste: It did TASTE good. The turkey was the best –a warm and juicy surprise for a morning meal. The egg white was very plain, and I wished I had had some hot sauce or salsa to go with it. The five wilted spinach leaves were good, but again I wished I had had more. And the roasted red peppers perked up the bland egg whites. Again, for a healthy breakfast on the go from a fast-food joint — it was good.



Verdict: I most likely would order it again. I wonder if I could ask for more spinach, or if this is something that came out of a package for them to slide into the box. I really was looking forward to a nice serving of veggies for breakfast to continue to try and (1) eat breakfast and (2) make my daily quota of fruits/veggies which I generally do not do (since for veggies to work they usually need to be cooked). Would I go out of my way for it — no. Not unless my o


rder was a fluke, and it really should look closer in size to the photo on the website (and by size I mean more spinach, more peppers, and more of the pesto that makes the eggs go from bland to better — I wouldn’t complain for more tasty turkey either but that was reasonable).

Has anyone tried any of the other items? I am sort of curious about the lunch/dinner turkey meal, and the chicken meal. I like that the turkey ones come with spinach which I can usually tolerate, even when raw.

Now the issue of African-American (or black, I am comfortable with either) women and their hair has been talked about in the media to death.  With the firing of News Weather Anchor Rhonda Lee (see article here) for her letting a viewer know that she wasn’t ill, just wearing her hair short and natural being one of the most recent “teachable” moments, it’s safe to say that even though it has been talked about to death — it is also a reason.

I have found that this tutorial by Melissa Harris-Perry (LOVE her!  She is a kick-ass professor, MSNBC host, published author on amazing topics, mother, wife — she is totally my mentor and dosen’t even know it!) to be very good at explaining the basics of black hair:

I also encourage you, if you are so inclined to watch a pannel discussion that MHP had about the issues of African-American hair: Click HERE.  One of the panelist in the video is actress Nicole Ari Parker who has even pioneered a line of hair wraps called Save Your Do (link HERE), marketed to minority women to try and get them to feel comfortable working out. So why in the world would women not feel comfortable working out?

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So this is the second part of my lab-band based postings (read part one here).   Fitness.

Working out is critical to success with a lap band.  Unlike Gastric Bypass (I will do a post on the differences between the band and bypass — since two months before I was banded my mom got the bypass.  And we live together.  That was difficult to say the least…still can be *side eyes the candy jar she keeps full….*) there is no real “automatic” weight loss with the band.  Bandsters can cheat even during the liquid diet phase (cause…milkshakes are liquids too you know).  As I will reinforce, my surgeon warned me that success with a lap band could be a 20lb weight loss.  And while that sounds “normal” for someone who has undergone typically a year of preparation, spent thousands of dollars, and is typically severely obese and using this procedure as a last resort — that is not comforting.

Think about it.  If you were 5’8 and weighed 350lb when you under went weight loss surgery– a year from that date you could just have lost 20lbs?  You would still be over 300lbs, still well outside of that annoying and arbitrary height/weight chart maximums, still with an obese BMI.  The Lap Band is a TOOL.  One more time, the band is a TOOL.  It is not a promise of any weight loss, let alone large amounts of weight loss.  It does not prevent “cheating”, and it does not prevent weight re-gain.

So in order to achieve those goals, to even have a chance to do that — most people who undergo banding must change their diet (MYTH: Not all large and obese people eat Ho-Ho’s and Twinkies (RIP Hostess), while watching reality TV.  Some of us had quite healthy diets, some of us went to the gym before the band, some of us had healthy stats.  Not all of us, but some of us.  One of my goals is to dispel these horrible myths of obesity, and to let people know the real deal).  They also must figure out a work out regimen that works for them and their lifestyle.

I spoke a bit about the struggles with choosing healthy food options versus choosing something that will insert calories in the body in my previous post.  So now lets talk fitness.  As an obese woman, a fat woman – I did go to the gym.  I had a gym membership all through law school.  And yes — I did go to the gym when I could.  I took Tribal Belly Dance when I lived in Richmond.  I joined the YMCA when I returned to my hometown.  I was not sedentary.  I was not running half-marathons — but I was not sitting on the couch all day, every day.  Also when I returned home I ended up taking a position in retail, which had me on my feet all day walking around the store — stocking shelves — climbing ladders.

When I returned to my hometown I also finally found a form of exercise that worked with my personality.  Zumba(TM) fitness.  A wonderful woman taught it at a local parks and recreation center.  I finally had found a form of exercise that worked well with me — I hate running, I do not like working out to the point of throwing up, I do not enjoy step (I tend to always be concerned about taking a face plant off that sucker).  However, I always loved to dance.  Being larger I could never stay in any formal dance classes — I literally sized out of ballet and tap — they didn’t make the costumes in my size.  I sized out of baton, and I was kept on JV cheerleading due to my size.  That did not stop me from dancing all over the club, in my dorm room, at dances….I love to dance.  My fiance laughs at me because I dance in the laundry room.

This love got to blossom with Zumba.  In Zumba class I could feel the music, move my larger body appropriately, and I even found myself helping others because I got the moves and they didn’t.  I took Zumba until my instructor found out she was expecting, and stepped aside.  Then there was a lack fo Zumba in my hometown for a while.  When an instructor appeared at the YMCA where I was a member by then, I jumped at the chance to jump back in.  Ultimately I became a Zumba Fitness instructor in November of 2010, and it was a huge milestone for me.  I am still not a size 6 — I will never be that ultimate model of fitness; that super petite, very thin and toned, very perky woman who looks fantastic in spandex.  However, what I am is someone who has been where most people are.  Who knows what the average woman (who is a size 14; not 6) feels when they step into a fitness class or the gym.  I know how to push people without making them feel like they shouldn’t be there.  I push them so they can see how awesome they are, not so that they feel as if they do not belong.  I’ve been personally blessed to have wonderful Zumba mentors who have helped me be the best instructor that I can be — including a woman who does look like that ultimate model of fitness.  But she welcomes all, encourages all, and allows me to teach for her even though I am not that size 6.

I still am scared to death of face planting off of a step, my thighs still jiggle in spandex (but I wear it anyhow), and I laugh at myself more in Yoga than at any other time of my existence because I can do some moves like a Yogi rockstar — and others I look like a hot mess.  Most importantly, there are days where I have NO DESIRE TO GO WORK OUT.  I do not want to go.  I want to sit down somewhere, read a book, catch up on sleep.  So do not feel alone if you do not like working out.  I teach group fitness, and there are days where I do not want to work out myself.  I so understand.  However, what my surgeon says is the key to my successful weight loss is that I am willing to go to the gym and sweat out my hair (Admittedly, I do miss having amazing hair like in my avitar photo….I don’t keep hair looking that good.  I sweat through yoga yesterday, and I will sweat today when I teach class.  I just let it go, went natural, pull it up in to a ponytail, and call my stylist only when I have to go somewhere or get a photo taken.  But I do miss my amazing hair….).  So find some form of fitness that you are comfortable doing, and maybe even want to do (even if it’s just 45% of the time — that is better than doing nothing).  No action is too small.  Walking your dog counts, dancing with your partner in the kitchen.  If you like belly dance — go shimmy and shake it.  If you love to swim, go splash in the pool.  If you are a tri-athlete; well this post probably isn’t for you…. But for the rest of us, just move when you can — how you can.  One of the reasons why I like yoga so much is because they give you levels and encourage you to explore what YOUR body can do.  You aren’t trying to compare your pose to your neighbors, you are trying to get the best pose out of yourself.  That is some kind of awesome body acceptance, right?  It’s not about feeling bad if your knee lift is modified, its about the fact that you are lifting it!  So find something that works for you, and go for it!

Again, the lap band is a tool. This is not easy, this is not cheating, this is not a quick fix.  Some of us will be able to loose weight, we will work hard to eat the best we can and work out when we can.  We will sweat, have many awkward moments in the gym and life, and try to figure out how to live with our new tool.   And some of us will still hate to run, no matter if we are roughly 135lb lighter than our highest weight……

Perfect lead-in to tomorrows post on going to the gym…..