Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Weekly Update and Zumba Overload!

Well last week was super long/busy.  I spent all last week practicing Zumba.  I would go to Zumba class and then go home and practice for another hour or so.  It was exhausting!  Sunday I practiced for at least 3 hours!    Monday of last week, I practiced Zumba at home, Tuesday I did Body Pump and Zumba, then went home and did some more Zumba.  Wednesday I ran 4 miles and then my friend/instructor came and met me to work on Zumba for an hour.  Thursday I went to a mini Zumbathon for Women in Red and then went home and worked on Zumba for about an hour and 15 minutes.

These lovely ladies have played a huge role in my inspiration to become a Zumba instructor.
Friday morning I went to court because a man hit my car in a company truck back in October.  After admitting it was his fault to the trooper that arrived, he later denied all liability to his insurance company.  No one showed up so I got a judgement by default, w00t w00t!  This has been a huge factor of stress on my shoulders and I'm so glad that part of it is over.  The trooper that showed up was so helpful!  I didn't have to say hardly anything!  Then I ran some errands with my dad and worked on my brother's birthday cake for the rest of the afternoon.  Later that evening I made a Zumba class and then had to rush home to get ready to go out.  Mark, a buddy of ours and I went to a performance of The Wall by the OKC Hammer Society.  One of my friends coordinated the event and it was awesome!  I drank one beer so I was a good girl until we stopped at Taco Bell one the way home that night.  I ate very lightly throughout the day, though, and still ended up with 744 calorie deficit.

Saturday morning I got up and went to the gym after a mere 4 or so hours of sleep.  I knew there was no way I would get up in time for Body Pump, so I made it about halfway through and ran for 3 miles until Zumba started.  The Saturday instructor let me teach two songs in class and then had me stay up at front for the rest of the class because I was so obviously nervous!  It was ridiculous, I wonder if maybe part of that was due to the lack of sleep because apparently I looked like death!  After class, two of my other instructors stayed and helped me work on my Zumba skills.  Have I mentioned I have an incredible support team?  I have been so incredibly lucky to have instructors that have welcomed me to the instructor scope of Zumba and they have been so encouraging and ready to help!  After that one of the instructors and I went to a coffee shop right underneath the gym and got coffee and shared the most delicious black forest brownie ever!  It had chocolate chips and cherries in it with a nice crunchy thin layer on top... SO good!  I definitely should have taken a picture so I could show you all how awesome it was!  That's what I had for lunch along with my sugar free skim milk latte and it was totally satisfactory!  After that I headed over to my dad's house and helped prepare dinner for my brother's birthday party.  We had a whole Mexican food setup and I put the finishing touches on the cake.  I usually take pictures of the cakes I decorate, but this one was fairly simple.  I just put some edging around the top and bottom and a checkered banner across the corners, but it sure did taste good!  By the time we ate and opened presents and visited for awhile, it was already after 10:00 pm.  We headed home for the night and I put a Netflix movie on and passed out.  

Sunday I got up and watched the movie that I slept through the night before and then prepared a big breakfast/lunch and then proceeded to get to work.  I needed to practice my Zumba routine a few times through and perfect a song or two that I had been working on.  I also had to laundry, cook dinner and do a bit of picking up.  I spent the rest of the day working on Zumba and switching over the laundry, cooking and getting ready for a new week. I ended up burning 3,236 calories and only ate about 1110.  I was starving Monday morning, so I ate a piece of cake for breakfast.  I think I earned that! By the end of the day I was exhausted and passed out as soon as my head hit the pillow.

This post has gotten pretty lengthy and I'm spending the rest of the evening with my sister, so I really must go. However I will be posting about my first Zumba instruction experience in the next couple of days!  Ttfn!  

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Little Late to Back Out Now...

So, I honestly don't have a good reason for not blogging the past two weeks.  I have hit a sort of wall, I think it would be a bit premature to call it a burn out, but I've felt close to it.  I haven't felt like working out, I haven't felt like eating healthy and I sure haven't felt like blogging.  Encouraging, I know!  I've been forcing myself to work out and eat healthy, but the blogging... I just haven't been able to make myself do it, I apologize readers!  I honestly do not know how people find the time to blog so regularly!  Or the energy for that matter!  Whenever I get the tiniest bit of free time it usually ends up being spent on cleaning, cooking, kid time and reading if I can swing it.

I did take two days of rest last week, however, and I think that has helped.  Monday and Tuesday evenings, of which I spent the majority sleeping and watching a couple of movies! I've also been insanely busy, appointments all over the place, so many things to do: doctor, orthodontist, and dentist appointments, platelet donations, dad days, skills training on CPR, Oxygen and First Aid.  It never seems to end!  I've been so exhausted these days, and after whining to one of my good friends, she pointed out that it is most probably related to stress.  *Ding ding ding*  Sometimes I'm incredibly dense.  On that note I'm going to attempt to focus of the positive sides of things.  I just need to realize that life is going to happen whether or not I carry the burden of it on my shoulders.    Some things are out of my control, but then others are what I make them to be.  I usually do really well with stress management, but the past few weeks the amount of stress has been building and building.  This time next week I should be doing much better.  A couple of anticipated events will have passed.  I have personal matters to deal with on Friday over which I have no control.  And on Monday I'll be teaching my first Zumba class, over which I have plenty of control!

This leads me to my blog title.  The prospect of teaching a Zumba class has been a huge stress factor.  I applied for a job with a YMCA location Wednesday the 8th and I finished all my training and paperwork last night.  As I was leaving, the director said that he would see me on Monday.  Me:  *stare*... "Monday...?"  *gulp*  At which point, he clarified that I would start instructing on Monday.  So, instead of being excited and super pumped, I found myself terrified.  Is it too late to back out, now?  Yes!!!!!  Indeed, it is!  I am so glad that I have thrown myself into the certification process and then proceeded to apply for a job with my arms flailing and feet kicking, because I will rock this and if I hadn't have pushed myself out of my comfort zone then there's no way I would be in the position I am now.  I need work.  Sure I need to polish up, but that doesn't mean I'm not able to instruct a class of students on how to have fun while working out.  Not to mention I have great friends and instructors whom have offered their time and assistance in helping me prepare.  All of my Zumba instructors have been amazing!  I feel incrediby lucky to be where I am and to be surrounded by whom I am when I've decided on such endeavors.  Suddenly (like in the past couple of hours), I have realized that I am stressing for no reason.  Zumba is supposed to be fun, not a huge serious ordeal that I sit and fret about.  I feel very silly.  I've never failed at something that I've truly given my all to and I don't intend to start now, and suddenly with these small changes in my train of thought I am excited for my first class!

On to regular updates.  My weight is the same, bouncing around between 128 and 130.  These last 10 pounds are still being stubborn, but I know they shall come off!  I've been taking CLA because I've heard that it can help with skin elasticity, but I'm not sure if I'm seeing a difference or not.  I should have taken pictures to compare!  My size is still the same, quite comfortable in a 4, mostly comfortable in most 2s.  Operation butt something or another is still on, but I'm not sure if I'm making progress.  Of course, if I adhered to the butt exercises one of my esteemed Body Pump instructors showed me, I might make just a tad bit more progress.  I have failed to work that into my regular routine and instead have just been doing the exercises sporadically.  I've been focusing primarily on Zumba and have not been running like I should be.  To be honest, with all the aches and pains I've been experiencing, I'm not sure if I want to run like I "should be".  Pain and body falling apart does not equate to optimal health in my book.  I still have my running goals to accomplish, I've just eased up on it some here lately.  I bet if I stopped doing Zumba and ran all the time that I've been doing Zumba I would definitely have lost these last 10 pounds.  However, I'm just not willing to sacrifice to that extreme!  Anyway, I suppose that's about it, we had a killer Body Pump class tonight.  One of the guys in the class created a mix playlist created from a compilation of different releases.  I think just about every track was more difficult than the release we have been working on.  It was awesome!  Of course,  it could have just seemed more difficult since it was changing things up.  All around I really enjoyed the list, we had a great workout!   I know I'm going to be sore, my legs were all rubbery through most of Zumba.  On that note, I'm going to retire, my body is calling for the comfort of my bed!  Night folks!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Zumba Certified and Other Randomness

So I am officially Zumba certified!  It was really an awesome experience and I'm so glad I went, even if I never do anything with it!  I love going to group seminars, trainings, fellowships where everyone believes in something.  It doesn't matter what it is, so long as you all feel passionate about the same thing and come together to explore that passion.  The training started out with a Master Class; I have to admit my nerves started rattling right before we got started.  I thought to myself, what if I'm not good enough?  What if I make a fool of myself because I can't keep up?  My next thought was:  I don't give a flying rat's ass if I look like a fool, I dropped $200+ on this and I will have fun if nothing else!  So I jumped right in and had a blast!  And I kept up!  ;)  In fact, I received a couple of compliments even!  After that we spent the rest of the day going over theory and breaking down each of the dance styles.  I'm quite certain I won't remember everything, but they sent us home with DVDs, so I'll be okay.  I met a girl at the training who is from the same country as my dad, and I really enjoyed talking to her about cultural things and such.  I got her information so I networked a little bit!  I really need to improve on my networking skills.  I tend to like certain people and just stick with them, but if I'm going to fulfill my dream of helping others achieve success in fitness and other aspects of their lives then I need to really put myself out there.  My only complaint/suggestion for the training was to end the class off with another round of Zumba.  We spent hours going over the different dances and we put them together some, but I would have felt more revitalized at the end of the training if we had put everything together for at least a mini session.  I brought plenty of healthy snacks to munch on throughout the day to keep my energy up, but by the time I got home I was starving.  I piled a plate with some food my dad and I had prepared Friday:  baba ghounoz, lebnah, zaahtar, cucumbers and tomatoes, gyro meat and egg whites, Arabic style beans (it's pronounced "fool", but I'm not certain how to spell it), olives and feta from the Mediterranean market, and spicy tomatoes stewed with garlic, jalapenos and spices.  It was SO good and definitely hit the spot!  Baba Ghonoz is my absolute favorite, it's basically like hummus, but instead of chick peas you use roasted eggplant, it's mmmmmmmmm so yummy!  Anyhoo, after I gorged myself on my feast, I spent the rest of the evening relaxing with the boys.  Here's one of the group pictures we took at the end of the training, not too flattering of me... but meh, at least it proves I was there!  :-P
I'm on the top just left of the middle.  Priscilla, our trainer, is on the bottom row on the far left.

Sunday morning I got up and cooked a pot of oatmeal in preparation for my platelets donation.  The last time I gave blood I ended up feeling pretty ill due to (methinks) not eating enough.  So I was going to eat a hearty breakfast before I headed out!  I made the oats with half milk, half water, cinnamon, a tablespoon of chopped walnuts, 1.5 teaspoons of Splenda brown sugar blend and a half a tablespoon of light margarine.  I added a tablespoon of raisins and for some reason it just didn't set well with me so I picked them out.  It was soooooooooo good!  I love brown sugar, cinnamon and walnut combinations!  Donating platelets was an interesting experience.  I could feel the life slowly draining out of me and I was freezing the whole time!  Even in a sweater, my jacket and a blanket laid over me!  And my arm was resting on a pillow with a heating pad in it.  I kept getting these tingly tremors that would go all the way down to my legs and last for a few seconds then go away.  It was very bizarre!  The lady that was monitoring me gave me a calcium chew, but they kept coming!  Luckily it wasn't painful, just very strange feeling.  I spent the afternoon working on getting a playlist together for when I hopefully start instructing.  I decided to just go for it, I don't want to give myself time to doubt and get nervous.  I've learned the only way I will ever get anywhere in life is to not only steadily pursue my goals, but to fling myself thrashing and screaming at the ones that are out of my comfort zone because when in doubt, Lealah loses.  I am my own worst enemy (refer to Rules and Random Tips #11). 

Food has been decent lately.  I've been on a cereal kick.  I absolutely love me some cereal.  In fact, cereal used to be a binge food for me and I  have to be pretty careful to not over do it when I get that craving.  My mix of choice lately has been a handful of frosted blueberry mini wheats, a handful full of Kashi Cinnamon Harvest shredded wheats and a handful of Kashi Go Lean Crisp.  That shit is deeeeeeeeeeeelicious!  My boyfriend thinks I'm a nut for mixing my cereals, but there's something about the slightly unhealthy frosted mini wheats being eaten with the Kashi cereals that just sings to my heart!  If I choose not to mix cereals, I usually throw half a chopped up banana in the mix.  I don't even really miss things like Fruit Loops or Cocoa Pebbles.  And I'm also newly hooked on Breeze Unsweetened Coconut Almond Milk.  Oh. My. Gosh.  If you ever thought you would never be able to handle non-dairy milks, you have got to try that stuff. I <3 it!  Anyway, I've found that if I opt for the healthier cereals (full of protein and fiber!), they work great as a workout fuel in the afternoons and/or for breakfasts.  Dinners we've been eating are:  Mexican shredded chicken in tacos, over rice or over salad with sauteed veggies; home made ground turkey,  veggie and orzo soup; Arabic food; Mushroom Chicken over rice and veggies filled in wherever possible.  I was graciously bad last night, however; we went to Arby's.  Instead of getting one of the 800 calorie Market Fresh sandwiches though, I got a Beef and Cheddar sandwich and a small curly fry.  I haven't counted yet, but I'm sure it's about 800 calories anyway, but I really wanted some curly fries so I opted for the less calorie ridden sandwich.

Today was uneventful, although I have to say my butt and shoulders are SO sore.  The calorie burn from the training wasn't what I had hoped, but I definitely worked my body!  When I got home tonight, I ran three miles and then thought about running three miles, but then bitched out and just practiced my Zumba list for about an hour and 20 minutes.  For dinner I made a bowl of rice with pinto beans, Mexican chicken, fat free cheese, tomatoes, green onions and salsa.  Now I'm just getting ready to settle in for the night, tomorrow is yet another day!

I was going to proof read my post last night, but I set my tablet down for a few minutes and passed out, so here we are a day late!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Zumba Love

I have attempted to blog again and again over the past week.  I don't know that I would call it writer's block, but I would say that I have been experiencing difficulty deciding which topic to write about.  I've been inspired to write about a few things, but to write about them all would result in a very lengthy post and I doubt most of you would finish it!  So the topic I decided upon was Zumba.  Sunday I got a CD one of my friends, who is a Zumba instructor, gave me and attempted to do the routines as if I were teaching a class.  It was quite a bit crowded in my bedroom (in the top five attributes of must-haves for future house endeavors:  studio/workout room), but I thoroughly enjoyed myself.  I surprised the heck out of myself with my ability to remember routines and not just that, but I was able to supplement and adapt some of the parts I couldn't remember.  I've been on and off nervous about the Zumba certification coming up, but mostly I'm nervous about the drive down there.  I worry that I won't wake up in time to get there in time and that I might get lost.  The training part should be fun.  Several hours of Zumba is a super fun way to get an awesome workout!  :D  I'm actually quite excited about that!  And the calorie burn will be amazing!  I may plan on having a treat when I get home that night.... ;)  Monday night I planned on doing speed work on the treadmill, but I kept balking at the thought so I opted to go home and do some more Zumba!  This time I scoured the internet for some Zumba videos I'd come across before that I decided to learn.   I even found one that an old Zumba instructor made awhile back and that I've really been wanting to do.  Other instructors have since used the song, but don't use the same routine, so I'm excited to add that to my list.  The pleasant surprise that I felt while practicing reminded me of the first time I decided I enjoyed Zumba.  I had been going to Zumba for a couple-a few weeks and I really wasn't "getting it".  I was discouraged and a bit down about it, yet I was also tenacious.  I wanted to "get it".  I wanted to be successful and I wasn't planning on giving up anytime soon.  I was embarrassed and pissed at myself for not catching on as quickly as I thought I should, but by golly something was going to give.  So one day "Waka Waka" by Shakira came on the list and I mentally prepared myself to fumble through it yet again.  But this time was different, my legs were almost doing their own thing and it felt natural.  Suddenly, I was dancing!  I remembered the moves (most importantly my body remembered the moves) and  I was doing a routine!  And I succeeded!  It was an amazing feeling, knowing that someone that was 100 pounds overweight could dance, too.  Not just anyone though... me.  I could do Zumba.  And that was the turning point at which I decided Zumba was worth the work and that I enjoyed it.  That moment quite possibly could have been the time at which I fell in love with Zumba.  Maybe not, it's hard to remember much after that "aha" moment in the middle of "Waka Waka"; in fact, I quite possibly could have sucked the entire rest of the class.  For this reason, "Waka Waka" will always hold a dear place in my heart.  ;)

Zumba has done so much for me over the past almost two years.  I believe I got started with Zumba in April or May of 2010 and have been at it ever since.  I love having a back up workout, per se.  If I can't find the motivation to go for a run or do strength training or sweat my ass off on a bicycle, I can almost always entice myself to catch a Zumba class.  I may burn more calories at other exercises, but no other exercise has that kind of pull on me.  Perhaps it stems from being an overweight, younger and shyer version of me, and being envious of the other girls that could dance.  And I never felt like I could.  Not just that, but I feared ridicule from my peers if I were even to try.  I loved music, dancing, and watching others dance.  Looking back, perhaps if I had overcome my fear back then I could have danced my way into shape and submersed myself into classes.  But I am also a believer in the theory that everything happens for a reason. 

Sunday and Monday's Zumba workouts were just what I needed to boost my confidence.  This is really happening and I can really do this, perhaps it may appear to others that I'm overreacting.  That maybe I'm getting a little too excited over this, but I want an overweight person to honestly tell me they don't understand my exhilaration.   Someone that has been overweight all his or her life and who has been chained in what feels like shackles to the stigma of being overweight would understand what comes with being overweight, the stereotypical theories and impressions.  After years of hearing and believing that:  "fat people can't dance, they can't hike, they can't run, they can't bike."(the list goes on and on), suddenly I feel as if I'm accomplishing the impossible.   But I'm here to tell you the hell it is and the hell we can't!  I danced while I was fat, I hiked while I was fat, I didn't run too terribly much while I was fat (I waited until I had lost a bunch of weight before I started running), but I know a lot of people that did or are running whilst overweight!  We are people, too, and I'll be damned if anyone ever tells me I "can't" do something again.  I can do anything I set my mind to, as long as I make the decision to do it.  And that is why I signed up for my Zumba certification.  Because I made the decision to, and I wasn't going to let anyone (including myself) convince me that I can't do it.  I had to sign up as soon as I made the decision because I was unwilling to let my fear change my mind.  Confidence is all I've really needed to accomplish all my goals and Zumba has certainly helped boost my confidence.  Not only has it been a journey of accomplishing things I never thought I could, I've also learned to become in touch with my body.  I feel like I've gained balance and a bit of grace.  I've become intuned to my body and learned to move with it instead of awkwardly fumbling with it.  I've become intuned to my own sexuality even.  I'm not in any means insinuating that Zumba is sexual, as in I feel a need to engage in sex upon completion of a class, but after years of feeling awkward in my own sexuality, Zumba has aided in bridging that gap between the chang in my body and how to best utilize it to emphasize my feminism.  This is not even mentioning the difference in the physical aspect of my body (according to my boyfriend, I have killer abs these days ;-)  ).  So in short, I love Zumba and it has done wonders for me.  I love what it has done for me physically and mentally.  I love my Zumba instructors and the unification of everyone in the classes.   I love that anyone can do it.  I love that you do not have to be an esteemed dancer to be Zumbaist.  (Hey, this is my blog and I can create words if I want to!)  And honestly I'm starting to love having an excuse to shake my booty!  ;-p  So if you're looking for an exercise that will keep you coming back, and you enjoy music and being a part of something, I highly recommend giving Zumba a go.  In fact, I'd be happy to have you in a class sometime in the near future!  Wish me luck at my certification/training, I hope to rock it!