My Year By Design

The journey to living by design.

Archive for the tag “#dowhatworks”

My last day of On Ramp

I recently completed the On Ramp course at West London CrossFit. After a half-year break from CrossFit, I needed a way to ease back into training and I’m very glad I chose this way! I really feel ready to get back to regular classes. My skills are back up to par and I even corrected some mistakes I’d been making previously without even knowing it.

Everyone graduates from On Ramp by running the same WOD (workout of the day) that they completed day one. The trainers recorded both times so we could see how much we’d improved in On Ramp. I wasn’t sure if my time would drop because I had done this workout a number of times before this round of On Ramp. I was pleasantly surprised to see a drop of a little more than a minute.

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On Ramp was designed to introduce people to all the essential movements and skills of CrossFit. However, it was also a great refresher for me. If you’ve taken a break too, don’t be afraid to come back. Don’t quit just because it’s easier. Talk to your coach about refresher options if you need a little help getting back to your best habits.

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Ramping Up

So I’ve now completed half of the On-Ramp program at West London Crossfit. I’m really glad I arranged to retake this class as a way to return to Crossfit training. I’m trying to get back to my best habits and I know it’s better if I do it in small steps like the ones provided by On-Ramp. I’m getting a refresher in all the basics, (warm up, lifting, mobility, etc.) and now my form will be much better when I join the regular classes again. I’m sore from class but I feel good. I’m slowly starting to feel stronger and more confident.

I’ve gotten a pretty universal reaction from the coaches and Crossfit regulars. They look at me quizzically for a minute and then say something like, “You still train here?” I smile and tell them that I took a break but that I’m back now. Everyone is welcoming. Two more weeks of On-Ramp to go and then I’ll be back to CrossFit training. I’m looking forward to it.

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On Ramp

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I’ve been a member of West London Cross Fit since it opened several years ago. However, I stopped going last December. I had a bad bout of anxiety and I needed the time off to work on that before I could worry about building muscle.

Now that I’m feeling more stable, I’ve decided to go back. Today I attended my first On Ramp class. On Ramp is a program that West London Cross Fit runs to get people ready to start Cross Fit. During three classes a week for four weeks, On Rampers learn all the movements used in Cross Fit from stretches, to burpees, to proper bar bell lifts. Even though the classes are targeted for beginners, I asked the coaches if I could re-take the class to properly ease me back into my full workout routine.

My first class was really good. I like taking the time to review the basics and improve my overall form. I worked hard and I sweated. Beginner class or not, Cross Fit is a great burn. I’m looking forward to my second class already. This just goes to show that I am strong enough to go back to my best habits, even when I’ve taken a break.

Trying the Stop, Breathe & Think App

So I’ve been using the Stop, Breathe & Think app for a couple of weeks now and I’m really enjoying it. It’s a really simple app to use.

First I check in about how I feel mentally and physically. Then I can choose up to five emotions to add in. Based on that the app suggests a list of meditations that are suited to how I’m feeling. I do the meditation and then check in again to see if it changed my mood. Alternatively, I can just go to the full list of meditations and choose any track I like.

I like these meditations. They are straightforward and good for beginners as well as experienced folks. This app is really helping me make meditation a part of my weekly routine. It’s so easy to pop on my headphones and meditate for a few minutes. I especially like using this app when I’m trying to relax after a long day. My favourite meditation so far has to be “Falling Asleep”. It’s so calming and always helps me drift off. I really recommend this free app if you have any interest in learning how to meditate or in practicing meditation regularly.

Stop, Breathe & Think

Recently at an educator’s conference, a colleague told me she’s been using an app called Stop, Breathe & Think in her class to help her students self-soothe and meditate. I thought this might work for me and for my students with anxiety so I downloaded it on my phone. Get your copy at Stop, Breathe & Think.

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The app is made by a not-for-profit called Tools for Peace. According to the company’s mission statement, “TFP has partnered with over 20 organizations, universities and schools, and continues to strengthen and support emotional and social intelligence as well as academic success,” (http://www.stopbreathethink.org/about.html)

The app itself is free and comes with a list of fifteen free meditations, as well as articles that teach the user how to meditate and a progress tracker. Extra meditations are available in packs of three for a few dollars each. The proceeds from the app are then used to foster more programs through Tools for Peace.

Well, this app looks like a great fit for me. I’m going to try it myself for a month and if I like it, I’ll try it with my students next. I’ll keep you updated as I work away at this. Feel free to grab the app and follow along. Happy meditating!

Taking a Break

I will be taking a two-week break from the blog for personal reasons. My posts will resume on June 21st. Not to worry, I’m fine. I just need a rest.

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Back to the Gym

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My gym bag has been taken over by kitty!

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’ve been taking it a bit easy in terms of my workout routine. My anxiety makes me more prone to injuries and my depression exhausts me. Now that I’m back in treatment and starting to heal, I need to practice healthier habits. Right now I’m mostly just going for walks with Nick, doing yoga and occasionally hitting the elliptical and bike at the gym, so I’m not totally inactive. However, when I think back to the times in my life when I’ve felt the happiest and the most stable, I’ve been working out more often and with more intensity. My workouts release positive chemicals in my body and make me feel I’ve accomplished something. So now it’s time to set some proper goals.

At my best times, I workout five to six times per week for an hour. My workouts consist of CrossFit, cardio at the gym, swimming, biking, hiking, and yoga, (it sounds like a lot, but if I don’t change it up, I get bored and stop working out.) So from now until my summer break starts, I’ve got four weeks to achieve five one hour workouts per week. I’m going to start with lower impact workouts and work my way up to a full variety of exercises.

Week one :

Monday – Yoga.

Tuesday – Cardio at the gym.

Wednesday – Yoga.

Thursday – Cardio at the gym.

Friday – Day off.

Saturday – Hike.

Sunday – Day off.

Week two:

Monday – Cardio at the gym.

Tuesday – Yoga.

Wednesday – Swim.

Thursday – Yoga.

Friday – Cardio at the gym.

Saturday – Hike.

Sunday – Day off.

Week three:

Monday – Bike ride.

Tuesday – Yoga.

Wednesday – Swim.

Thursday – Yoga.

Friday – Cardio at the gym.

Saturday – Hike.

Sunday – Day off.

Week four:

Monday – Cardio at the gym.

Tuesday – Crossfit.

Wednesday – Swim.

Thursday – Yoga.

Friday – Bike ride.

Saturday – Hike.

Sunday – Day off.

I think this is a reasonable plan and I feel confident I can accomplish it. I’ll update you as I work away at this. #dowahtworks

Moodscope

One of my readers, (bethanycross,) suggested I try Moodscope to track my mood. It’s a free website that allows you to use an online set of cards to track how you’re feeling. The cards let you rank positive attributes, (e.g. active, inspired,) and negative attributes, (e.g. afraid, irritable,) out of a score of four. Each time you do it, you get a report on your emotional well-being. It sounded interesting so I signed up.

So each day I get a reminder email to take the survey. The survey itself is twenty cards so it only takes a few minutes. I’ve included my first four reports below so you can see what this service is like. Obviously in the beginning the reports are a bit vague. They get more specific as you continue to take the survey once or more per day. The idea is that over time you can see patterns in your moods, thereby identifying triggers for positive and negative moods.

It’s easy to use so far so I’m going to keep at it and report back in another week or so. Feel free to try it with me.

Your first Moodscope score Jennifer

Tuesday


Your score today is 69% Jennifer. Once you’ve used Moodscope for three days you’ll start to get much more detailed feedback. First of all though we need to get a feel for how your mood changes from day to day.

As this is the first time you’ve used the system you’ll probably be keen to get an idea of how it might help you. For now though, please be patient. Promise it’ll be worth it. If you record your mood every day, you’ll only have to wait until the day after tomorrow.

It’s the first time you’ve taken the test today, so your score has been recorded and plotted on your graph.

Your score today Jennifer

Wednesday


Jennifer, you’ve scored 39% today. As we explained last time you used Moodscope, you’ll begin to get detailed feedback from the system once you’ve taken the test at least three times. You’ve now racked up two scores, which means you’ll start getting more from us tomorrow.

The short delay allows us to start learning how your mood changes from day to day. In fact, the more you use Moodscope, the better it will get to know you, and the more accurate and helpful its feedback should be. See you tomorrow.

It’s the first time you’ve taken the test today, so your score has been recorded and plotted on your graph.

Right Jennifer.

Thursday


Right Jennifer. Here’s the way it is. Today you have a score of 48%, which is 21% below your all-time maximum of 69%. You’re probably feeling that things have picked up since you last took the test and scored 39%.

Although you might not consider yourself to be feeling totally great today, you are definitely doing better than you had been. You are doing really well and if you can keep up this progress, you will soon be back at the top of your game again. Do your best to track down the reason for this progress and try to maintain it.

Even though you’re below your average of 52.0%, your results are headed upwards, in the right direction. However you are scoring above your all-time lowest score of 39%. You have progressed since then.

You last took the test yesterday, and that’s very good. Try and come back here every day to obtain the full benefits of Moodscope.

You’ve now registered your score 3 times with Moodscope. It’s the first time you’ve taken the test today, so your score has been recorded and plotted on your graph.

Good score Jennifer.

Friday


Good score Jennifer. Today you have a score of 68%, which is only 1% less than your highest result to date of 69%. Things have picked up for you a lot since the last time you took the test with a score of 48%.

It looks as though matters have taken a significant upward swing, putting you in a much better place. You weren’t having an especially bad time, but it would seem that things are looking much more positive at the moment. Now is a great time to pin down the cause of your turnaround so you could make it happen again if things are not as good some time in the future.

Not only is today’s score better than it was last time, you’ve also got a result higher than your average of 56.0%. You’re higher than your lowest ever result of 39%. You’ve journeyed a long way from there.

Your last score was for yesterday, and that is excellent. It’s best to use it every day to get the most from Moodscope.

To date you’ve captured your score 4 times here at Moodscope. It’s the first time you’ve taken the test today, so your score has been recorded and plotted on your graph.

The Changing Nature of Workouts

I am a very active person. I like to swim, bike, hike, do yoga and do CrossFit. There are some people at my gym who do just CrossFit and they’re in great shape. Unfortunately, that approach doesn’t work so well for me. I like to do a lot of different things because it keeps me from being bored.

That being said, I’ve noticed a shift in my workout routine recently. I have been doing less hardcore cardio and muscle work and more stretching and low-impact workouts. Maybe it’s because I’m getting a bit older and more creaky, maybe I just need a bit of a break. I have a suspicion that some of the home and work stress I’ve been experiencing has made me a bit more protective of my body and a bit less able to deal with the strained muscles and achiness that comes from weight lifting. I talked it over with Dr. B and he agrees that in times of stress or depression, it is better to exercise a bit more gently than I usually do. I’m trying to listen to what my body needs and right now it is crying out for more restorative exercises.

I’ve decided I’m going to refuse to feel guilty for taking it a bit easier in times of stress. I’m going to be proud that I still work out and do good things for myself every day. Plus, being self-aware like this allows me to set new fitness goals. For example, from now until the end of school (June) I’m going to try to swim once a week. I like swimming because it’s low-impact for my joints and being under the water gives me time to focus without distractions; just swirling water to look at and splashing to listen to. Also, I’m going to go to CrossFit once a week in April and twice a week in May. After that, I’ll reassess my goals and see how they need to be adjusted.

I guess I just wanted to post this to let people know it’s OK to change up your routine. There’s no reason you can’t take a break from something and then come back to it later on. Just keep moving and doing something active.

Easy Lime Salad Dressing

This dressing is so simple and low-calorie. Try it with your favourite salad.

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Makes 6 fl oz.

INGREDIENTS:

1 tsp water

Large pinch salt

Large pinch lime zest

2 tsp dried mint (mine was from my garden, but the stuff in the jar works just fine.)

4 tbsp lime juice

4 fl oz olive oil

Large pinch black pepper

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INSTRUCTIONS:

Zest your lime.

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Combine the water, salt and lime zest in a jar. Let stand for 2 minutes.

Add the mint, lime juice, olive oil and black pepper.

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Cover the jar tightly and shake for 1 minute. This dressing is light and has a sharp burst of lime. Enjoy!

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