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Push-ups: You’re Doing Them Wrong April 21, 2013

Posted by starshipexercise in General Exercise.
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Every now and then my yoga instructor says something that completely turns my world upside down. It’s usually something ridiculously simple that has me smacking my forehead and yelling “Son of a triptych!” (pardon my construction dust; I’m trying to clean up my language) for not realizing it myself a whole lot sooner.

This time, she made a comment about push-ups going in the wrong direction.

Son of a soap dish, she’s right! In what position does one generally begin a push-up? Plank. And what’s the first direction we go in? Not up. It’s called a freakin push-up, people, but we start by going down. So basically, the first thing we do is fail. We haven’t gone up, like the name suggests we should, right? So…FAIL. Rubber. Plucker. I hate failing.

Try this instead:

  • Start by laying on the ground on your tummy, forehead on the ground, arms along your sides, palms up, and the tops of your feet on the floor.
  • Turn your toes under, and bring your knees up off the floor by engaging your quads and hamstrings. *
  • Bring your hands directly under your shoulders, palms to the ground, all five fingers pointing forward.
  • Aim your heels toward the wall behind you, aim your tailbone at your heels, and engage your core.
  • Raise yourself directly up into a plank position, keeping your legs, butt and back in the same line the whole way up.

Congratulations, non-failers! You just did a push up.

* If you are building toward strength, or you have a sensitive low back, you can do this push-up on your knees. Just keep those knees on the ground.

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I Ate a Squash January 20, 2013

Posted by starshipexercise in MIgraine, Recipes and Food.
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Ever said this? “Sure, it’s hot, but you don’t really feel it because at least it’s a dry heat.” I’ve said it myself about Seattle in the summer, on those three days a year (on average) that we have 90+ Fahrenheit degree temperatures. Boy, am I a dupe. YOU DO TOO FEEL IT. Stop lying to yourselves, bitches!

Fortunately, Seattle doesn’t get hot very often. Actually, it’s kind of too bad. For the last week, Seattle has been choking in a miasma of fog, a beautiful and damp blast of frigid meh. Ok, wet cold (being the opposite of dry heat) ain’t so grand, either. I have had a headache on and off for days, and I think the weather isn’t helping (also not helping: the bananas, peanut butter, and Chinese food I ate this week).

I recently discovered a mad pash for wet heat. I know, right? I hate hot weather. I hate humidity. Or do I? That day in hot yoga when we had so much steam rising off of people’s bodies that we actually formed a cloud inside the studio, that was awesome. And recently I had the opportunity to go into a wet sauna, and it was like I could breathe for the first time in forever. It was hot in there, people. And wet. The migraine I’d been feeling finally started to go away. Ok, when you’re butt naked in a room full of women you don’t know, it’s awkward to lay on the bench and put your legs up the wall, but I did it anyway. Best. Savasana. Evaaaa.

Conversely, when I went into the dry sauna…nope. Head hurt more. Hated it.

Today I’m less headachy than the past few days, but it’s there, lurking in the background, ready to come roaring back if I eat the wrong thing, do the wrong thing, think the wrong thing, whatever. There’s headache and then there’s migraine. Headache is just one symptom of migraine. As long as I feel pressure at my temples, my eyes are tearing, or I get that crawly feeling inside my head, I’m going to watch what I eat. That means no migraine triggers at all, even the ones that are safe in small quantities.

No bananas. No citrus, no sake, no PB2. Dammit.

So, what’s a girl to eat? I’m usually pretty careful to make sure I’m getting all the right amounts of protein, veggies, etc, but when I feel like this I give myself permission to eat what I feel like eating, as long as it’s not a migraine trigger. This usually means lots of fruit. Like, bordering on unhealthy quantities of fruit. Partly, because I love fruit. Also, because the last thing I want to do when I have a headache is exert myself, and fruit is usually pretty easy. Just wash and eat.

Well, here’s yesterday:

Go Away Stupid Headache Breakfast

1/2 cup leftover brown rice
2 cup fresh spinach
1 egg + 1 egg white
Salt
Garlic Powder
Oregano

  1. Spray big bowl with canola oil (not cooking spray, that stuff has soy; fill up a Misto if your local grocer doesn’t sell pure canola oil in a spray bottle)
  2. Beat egg, mix in remaining ingredients
  3. Nuke 40 seconds. Mix, nuke again for 40 seconds. Mix, nuke for 10 or 20 seconds. Repeat until cooked to desired done-ness.

Not Really Hungry Lunch

Fresh blueberries

  1. Wash
  2. Eat

My Head Hurts, Might Skip Dinner Snack

One small Kabocha squash (botanically speaking, squash is a fruit)
kosher salt, to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Wash skin, because it’s totally edible.
  3. Cut squash in half, scoop out seeds
  4. Place cut sides down on baking sheet with sides, because there will be liquid
  5. Roast for about thirty minutes
  6. Let cool for about 20 minutes
  7. Sprinkle with kosher salt and eat

I’m still not very hungry but more just peckish Second Snack (What am i, a hobbit?)

Fresh strawberries

  1. Wash
  2. Eat

OK, Now I’m Hungry Even Though it’s Almost Bedtime Dinner

Oven roasted Yukon Gold potatoes (1/2 large Yukon Gold potato, cut into 1 inch dice)
Oven roasted asparagus (about 10 spears)
Fried egg (One egg)

  1. Prepare two baking sheets with tin foil and canola oil to prevent sticking (I spray mine on).
  2. Scrub and cut potatoes. Arrange on baking sheet and roast in oven at 375 for about 40 min or until done.
  3. Wash asparagus, arrange on baking sheet and throw in oven for last 10 – 12 minutes of potatoes cooking.
  4. You know how to fry an egg, right? I like mine over-easy, so the yolk runs all over and I can sop it up with the potatoes.

Confession: The potatoes and asparagus were left over from dinner the night before. All I did was re-heat them and fry up an egg.

Dammit, I Want Pie Dessert

One bag frozen mango
Water

  1. Put mango in food processor. Turn on.
  2. Slowly add small amounts of water until mango is smooth.
  3. Add whatever spices you like. I put in some maple syrup and cinnamon. It was just ok. I think I’m going to try this with frozen cherries next.

Oh Blarg, my blog! December 7, 2012

Posted by starshipexercise in General Exercise.
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Oh, hi. It’s sure been a while. Life has changed in the last few months and I’ve been busy coping. Not always well, mind you, but coping nonetheless.

Sadly, I haven’t run very much lately. I really really want to, but ouch, mykneesmybackmyhip. I’m all old and crickety.

To make matters worse, I ate a lot of pies in August. Yes, PIES. Plural. That’s right, and I ate the crust, too.

So in September, I decided to find a healthier mechanism for coping with stress. I tried one of those introductory deals at a hot yoga studio near my house. Thirty days unlimited for $20. It’s a good deal, if you want to pay for the privilege of being subjected to Death Valley environmental conditions while a super-skinny, tramp-stamped drill sergeant in skimpy clothes barks orders at you.

Seriously, I almost went back to the pies. But I decided to give one more studio a try. Happily, this new studio is much more humane. Compared to my first experience, this place seems more like warm yoga, and the instructors are real practitioners who actually teach yoga. Coincidentally, you are in a hot room. But it’s real yoga. But hot. Super hot. And I’m a naturally sweaty person under any circumstances. Yikes.

So. Not that you asked, but here’s my advice for anyone considering hot yoga:

1) Find a buddy. I’m going with a co-worker, and it’s so nice having a buddy to keep me motivated. Since we also work together, we made a deal after our first class: what happens in hot yoga stays in hot yoga. After all, the only man who has seen me sweatier and more scantily clad than my hot yoga buddy is my husband. 😉

2) Drink a lot, all the time, but not just before class. If you’re not adequately hydrated when you wake up in the morning on the day you’re going to hot yoga, it’s too late. If you try and pound back 32 oz of water before class, you will spend the second half of class doing child’s pose in a pool of barf.

3) Do not eat for two hours before class. DO NOT. Just don’t.

4) Wear as little clothing as possible. No one is checking out your bod. I assure you, your fellow yogis are completely focused on what they are doing, and couldn’t care less if there’s a little extra jiggle in your wiggle.

5) Always know where your towel is.

That’s all well and good, but (you might be wondering) what about cardio? Oh, my sweet bitches, I have that covered.

I recently began a new job on Lower Queen Anne. As often as I can, I walk up Queen Anne Hill to Kerry Park during lunch time. You may not think much of this. If you don’t live in Seattle or San Francisco, you probably don’t know what a real hill is. You may think you know, but you don’t know. YOU DON’T KNOW MY PAIN.

I could explain to you that much of Queen Anne is on at least an 18% grade. But what does that really mean to the glutes?

Ah. I feel the burn.

An old photo of Queen Anne Hill.

Old timey Queen Anne Hill

I challenge any normal person to walk up that hill at their fastest pace without getting all out of breath. It’s worth it, though. Nice view from the top.

Image found at http://www.seattlepi.com/local/article/Piece-of-history-concealed-within-Queen-Anne-Hill-1198180.php#photo-666825.

Namastizzle, fo’ shizzle. September 12, 2012

Posted by starshipexercise in General Exercise, Recipes and Food.
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This week, someone suggested that I legally change my name to Tupac. No first or last name, just Tupac.

For the life of me, I can’t imagine why. Well, maybe I need to clean it up a little, so I purposely didn’t use any naughty words in the title of this post. (Fact: I get way more hits on posts with the b-word in the title. It’s not my fault you crazy bitches like doo-doo talk.)

Anyway, I’m not changing my name, but I did try two other new things this week. On Sunday, I made congee for the first time. It was awesome. Tonight, I tried hot yoga for the first time. It was nauseating.

First, the yoga. FYI, bitches, hot yoga is hot. I did a good job taking breaks and then getting back in it, but toward the end I had to accept the fact that I was just done. I spent the last 10 minutes flat on my back, trying not to drown through my pores. Note to self: next time, do not choose a hot yoga studio right next to the oh-so-tempting Baskin Robbins. I’m happy to say that I did not replace all the calories I had just burned with ice cream, but it was close.

Honestly, I can’t say I saw any benefit from being in an incredibly hot room while doing yoga. Also, it felt awful. I’m totally going back on Friday.

And now…congee.  Made with beef soup bones (optional). Rice. Water. Ginger.

Step 1: Mix 1 cup white rice and1 tsp oil, allow to soak for at least 30 minutes
Step 2: Throw rice, ~9 cups water, optional meaty bones for flavor (I roasted mine first to cook off some of the fat), 5 slices fresh ginger, salt, pepper in a pot.
Step 3: Cook on a low simmer for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally to keep it from burning on the bottom (should be a soupy, porridgey consistency)

If using an optional meaty soup bone, pull off meat and chop up, dump back in soup. Serve garnished with chopped green onions, dribbles of sesame oil, soy sauce. I’m told by a very reliable source that this is one of the very few occasions where it’s acceptable to serve soy sauce at the table as a condiment.

VERY IMPORTANT: rinse pot immediately. Apparently, I came perilously close to death when my husband had to wash out a dirty pot coated in congee-flavored cement. Oops.

Must go to bed. Hot yoga has sapped ability to complete sentences. Namaste, bitches.

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