Getting Fit Out on the Water

Well it’s been a while since I last posted and I’m quite surprised at how the time has flown by, but it’s been all good. I’ve been having a lot of fun getting fit out on the water near my house – kayaking.

I got a kayak to about five weeks ago and although I haven’t been able to use it more than a few times a week because of the weather, when I do get to use it – it’s the best thing ever.

I got the cheapest kayak you can buy at Dick’s Sporting Goods because I wasn’t 100% sure how much I would enjoy it. I guess I should have had more confidence in myself, because I believed deep down I would get use out of the kayak, and now every chance I get, I am paddling around.

The next few days are meant to be in the mid eighties and so it will be perfect to get out on the water.

Last night I was out on the lake for about 40 minutes. I wish it could have been longer but it was getting dark. I was the only person out there, surrounded by groups of bugs and the odd fish jumping out of the water.

The surface was like glass, so flat, and a joy to paddle on. I think last night was most beautiful I have seen it since I started kayaking.

kayaking out on the lake

So I’ve been going to the gym, but I have to admit it’s been sporadic: one week I went five times the next I went one, and so on. I had a lot of relatives come over to visit for two weeks and that made things pretty difficult on the fitness front.

But for the first time in a long time, I’m really enjoying moving my body – to be out in nature and exercising is such a gift. To me it is far better than running out in the open, it’s just blissful. And when you get that rhythmic paddling going, it’s meditative too.

If any of you kayak I would love to hear from you. I am such a newbie at this, but I’m doing it for fun, not for the sport, so I don’t mind just paddling along. One day I think I’d like to get into rowing so I can use my whole body – maybe there’s a rowing club here at Lake Norman I can join. Now that’s something to think about.


Detox Day 3 – Cleansing Energy Rocks!

Today is day three of my detox cleanse and I have to say I feel really, really good.  Yesterday I felt like crap so I am glad that was short lived. I woke up this morning and felt an over abundance of energy, I  just leapt out of bed and I can’t remember the last time I actually did that. Usually I just lie in bed wishing I had about two hours more till the alarm goes off.

I ate quite a bit more today, probably because I didn’t really have much food yesterday because I felt a bit sick. I also tried some fruit that I haven’t had in twenty years: grapefruit. The last time I ate grapefruit I hated it, and kept with me the memory of how bitter it was, and how much sugar I had to pile on it to make it taste okay. But seeing as there wasn’t that much fruit on my list that I actually wanted to eat, I gave grapefruit another try. I’m glad I did.

I’ve been eating a lot of baby carrots. They’re really good as they’re easy to munch on. I was getting a little bored of broccoli and cabbage, but again, it’s the lack of flavoring that was making it all a tad boring. I am a spice person, I love hot foods. Eating veggies with no salt is tough after a few days.

On this cleansing plan you don’t eat anything past eight o’clock in the evening, and that really didn’t bother me. Not that I usually eat very late anyway, but sometimes when I’m watching TV at night I like to have something sweet, like hard candy. I didn’t do any of that, and I didn’t have cravings either.

Example in point: My hubby came home today with a bag full of Dunkin’ Donuts munchkins. You’re probably thinking, “Fran why didn’t you strangle him?” You know what? I didn’t even say a word, and he should be very very thankful for that! Actually it’s interesting how without the sugar, I haven’t been thinking much about sweet foods. I didn’t feel bad that I couldn’t have donuts at all. I found that enlightening.

So this is the last day of the fast/cleanse and tomorrow I will continue on till lunch time and then start eating some ‘regular’ foods again. It will be interesting to see what types of foods I eat – will my love of bread go into overdrive? We’ll just have to see.

The Ups and Downs of Dietary Cleansing – Day 2

This is day 2 of the limited fruit and veggie detox cleanse that I have embarked on. Day 1 was a lot easier than I thought it would be, and I am very grateful for that. After just eating plain fruit and vegetables yesterday I really thought I would be going nuts, but strangely enough the day passed with me drinking plenty of water and not eating that much – and not feeling hungry either. I felt like it was mind over matter on my part: I had willed myself not to feel deprived during this cleanse and my body obliged.

Today I started getting a headache about lunch time. I knew it was a caffeine withdrawal headache and it was going to hurt. By about 3pm my head felt like it had suffered a brutal kick, but only on the right side.

The morning eats were delicious: apples and oranges. It feels as though my taste buds, after not being assaulted with sensory overload from all the flavorings in commercial food these days, are hyper sensitive. The apples I ate this morning tasted like the sweetest apples I have ever had. They were from the same lot that I ate from yesterday that had not seemed as sweet to me then.

I ate a little more today than yesterday. But at dinner time I didn’t really feel like eating anything, I felt a little sick. I guess that’s the toxins doing their thing, coming out of my tissues etc.

I tried to do some housework today. Vacuuming the house made me feel really tired and a little shaky. It’s crappy when you don’t have enough muscle power to do simple things like cleaning carpets.

I really want to eat some salt or other flavoring on my food! I just wish I could have enjoyed a good curry for dinner this evening. The upside of all this clean eating is that without sugars and overly starchy foods, my teeth feel so clean, so that’s a plus.

It’s late in the day now and the update is I felt like absolute poo all evening. Driving around after dinner I thought I was going to throw up. Awful! But opening the window for some fresh air helped immensely. The headache is still with me, on the right side of my head only. It better be gone when I wake up tomorrow or I will be a very unhappy camper.

Detoxing with A Fast/Cleanse

Have you ever felt like you were trapped in a much older person’s body? That’s how I have felt for about 6 months now. Yes, I have been working out and getting ‘energized’ but I have continually felt like it was all way too hard, or at least a lot harder than it used to be.

To give you a bit of background information: I am a certified personal trainer who worked at a gym that just ran its PT operation counter to my training. The gym’s view was the customer needs to be in and out, nothing more than some weight training exercises and goodbye – so I got very discouraged and quit.

I was so ticked off with the gym that I, subconsciously at first, started avoiding working out at all. Then, after several months of inactivity, I couldn’t take the lethargy anymore and started working out at home to DVDs – hence the name of this blog. Well, that went well for several months but then I just started to feel sluggish most of the day, like I was much older than my 39 years. Some days my body just didn’t want to move much and I felt like I had a lead ball in my stomach!

detox tea

Now this lead ball in my belly meant that I felt like I had eaten a lot more food than I had, my whole midsection felt really hard most of the time, like it was under pressure. I started thinking that the food I was eating was causing me some issues.

I went to the library and found a detox book called “The Seasonal Detox Book” by Carrie L’Esperance and I was very interested in its content. I have been eating seasonally, as best I can, for about 6 months but still my nutritional needs seemed to be out of whack. In the book read a lot about fasting, mainly of the juice variety, and I remembered a weekend about 20 years ago when I had done that and felt like utter crap. I did not want to repeat that weekend so I glossed over those kinds of options. But one actually contained solid food and was dubbed a good beginners fast/cleanse for the spring. Although not yet spring, I figured I would give it a go.

So today, as I write, I am on the fast/cleanse. It started at 8am and up until 12pm all I could do was eat fruit. On the list were about three fruits I could eat easily: apples, oranges and grapefruit. Lemons and limes are not fruit I can eat without something to balance them out, so I didn’t even buy those.

For a few months now I have been weaning myself off caffeine and I was down to about two cups of caffeinated beverage a day – tea is my choice for caffeine. I am not going to be ingesting anymore caffeine so I am not looking forward to the headache I am going to get tomorrow!

For the rest of the day, until 8pm, I can only eat steamed, baked, roasted or raw veggies from this list: asparagus, beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, dandelion leaves, garlic, leafy greens, olive oil, parsley, parsnips, potatoes with skins, sprouts; and drink pure water and herbal teas.

I am going with the potatoes and carrots. I have to say it will be weird not eating any bread or flour based products for a few days, but I think I’ll survive. Actually my biggest dread is the hunger, but I haven’t felt hungry so far, so I am pleased.

I’ll keep you posted on how this goes. I am not doing this for weight loss, as I know that the weight lost will be water and I will put it back on. I am doing this to sort out my gut, or at least improve it. I know my body can run better, so now is the time to see just how much what I eat affects my body.

Turbo Jam – still loving it

Last week the cold weather made me want to cocoon myself indoors and not head out to the gym at all, which left me digging through my DVD collection. Since my last post on the Phil Ross kettlebell DVD I have mainly been doing cardio and stretching [ala Paul Chek’s ‘How to Eat, Move and be Healthy,’ with the cardio mainly coming from doing Turbo Jam

If you’ve read my other posts on Turbo Jam you will know how much I enjoy the workouts, but I just wanted to write a little about why I enjoy them so much, even after all these years.

I recently read a post, which I should have bookmarked, which threw me off at first: the author stated that Turbo Jam was all hype and didn’t work and that Jammers were pretty much Chalene Johnson’s sheep – I am paraphrasing here. I couldn’t have more of a polar opposite view of Chalene or her workouts. Not only is she unbelievably talented and has truly found her niche in this world, but her work has helped so many people lose weight. 

A few years ago I used to teach Turbo Kick, which is the gym version of Turbo Jam. A Turbo Kick class is much more cardiovascularly demanding, especially when teaching it, than a TJ home workout, due to it lasting 15 minutes longer and being more high tempo and higher intensity. When I was teaching I was 20lbs lighter and had abs of steel. I had my own story to tell and motivate others with, but so did those who also did Turbo Kick with me. I just wish I had the time and energy to live those TK years again!

Maybe the blogger was upset because she bought the Turbo Jam package from Beach Body and fell for the almost ‘overnight’ promises as a benchmark for the everyday exerciser. As we all know, the success stories we hear about any weight loss is always the best story – and the most controlled story, if it is true. 


As for the Turbo Jam infomercial, the participants that are not Turbo Kick/Jam instructors, who lost the weight, did so by being holed up in a hotel for 10 days in a controlled environment, with food being served to them that had already been weighed and pre-packaged according to their needs and goals, and they worked out more than once a day. In the real world we can’t live like that and so our results won’t be like that either.

Take it all with a pinch of salt and know that, just like in Body For Life, those ‘winners’ didn’t play by normal rules: None of the winners have ever gotten to the pinnacle of physical beauty in 12 weeks without doing way more cardio than Bill Phillips recommends in his books.

But I digress, I wanted to talk about why I love Turbo Jam. Well I guess I basically love the workouts because I know they work. The day after a TJ workout your body tells you that you worked it out good, without it crying out in pain; and all those different movements have accumulated to give you the best ab workout ever, without having to do one single sit up. To me that is the best part. Paul Chek talks about the forward [leaning] head posture that you can get from too many crunches and sit ups, and it’s so true – if you can work all angles of your core without having to lay on the floor, then do it!

Finally, in closing, out of all the Turbo Jam workouts I have, the Cardio Party 3 DVD is the closest to simulating a Turbo Kick class that I have done and I will review it soon. Maybe other Turbo Jammers out there can enlighten me on the other workouts by Chalene Johnson and their intensity – if there are others out there in the CP3 vein I want to get them!

Workout DVD #42: Power Body: Advanced Russian Kettlebell with Phil Ross

This DVD is like the polar opposite to the kettlebell workout DVD I did the other week. It is nuts! It’s interesting how Netflix has two kettlebell workouts available yet they are so different.

Power Body, by Phil Ross, is definitely for the guys. I liked it just enough to do it – now that’s not because it isn’t any good – I just had a hard time wrapping my head around some of the ‘crazy’ stuff I was watching. But again, I’m sure it’s because I am a gal that I cringed when Phil wrapped a towel around a kettlebell and started swinging it in circles over his head, like he was at a Highland Games!

So this DVD has four kettlebell segments that have three sets each. It all begins with a jump rope warm-up which lasts a few minutes and would be a enough of a workout for some people as jump rope can get you winded fast. Phil is really good at jumping rope. I am not, and I was on carpet so I jumped on my HealthRider and did some light cardio on that to get warmed up.

There is also a bonus section at the end of the DVD with some ab exercises. I did all the four sections and watched the bonus one while I stretched.

Phil does many of the exercises with two 53lb kettlebells, which is 43lbs more than I was using, yet he barely seemed to suck in breaths, even though the workout obviously turns anaerobic. He’s ‘well fit’ as my brother used to say.

The producers could have saved some money and just filmed Phil doing one set one time only – if he hadn’t spoken the set numbers at the end I wouldn’t have noticed he was actually doing the set again for a second and third time. I guess there must have been a good amount of rest between sets that they didn’t show as all the sets seemed pretty effortless on Phil’s part. Like I said, he is well fit!

I think if you want a kick butt kettlebell workout then you need to do this DVD. If you are a guy, you need to do this DVD. Otherwise you can find a plethora of short videos online that will give you a more varied and interesting workout. I personally preferred the fluidity of the workouts in the 10 Minute Solution Kettlebell DVD, and the production and setting was better looking, but that’s just cosmetic.

Feel the Stretch – Not With Yoga, But Chek

Since the New Year I have felt a compulsion to slow down and do more flexibility work, not yoga, but stretching in general. Synchronicity also pushed me – as I took CECs for my NASM personal trainer re-certification I ended up doing several that were based around flexibility. I thought, “How perfect, I am getting a blast of this stuff just when I need it,” and it re-kindled my interest in Paul Chek.

Paul Chek is pretty awesome. I first came across him over at Although he has been around in the fitness industry for a long time I was not aware of his work. He piqued my interest while listening to audios of him doing Author Symposiums – he is hysterical to listen to as he goes off on a rant about stuff, totally backed up of course by all the stats and data, but the delivery is hilarious to listen to at times.

Here’s Paul doing a workout – check out those abs! Watch the lunges – Good Golly Miss Molly! He is unreal!

So, Paul Chek has some very different opinions on health and fitness compared to what is blasted at us by pop media and the latest fad diet books, but I believe he has some very convincing arguments and I, for one, am listening.

I bought his How to Eat, Move and be Healthy book a couple of years ago and pulled it off my shelf to re-read it. It’s funny how you can read something at a stage in your life and you put it down thinking that it doesn’t really fit with what you are doing at the time. Well that was me with Paul Chek’s book. I heard and believed he had the right message, I just wasn’t tuning in.

This time around I have been lapping up the book. I did the stretch tests in it to see which stretches I needed to do. Basically the stretches I have always done after a workout are pretty much the same ones I have done in forever, but Paul says why stretch muscles that don’t need it? That made sense. Doing the stretch tests I realized which parts of my body needed help and have been doing them for three days now.

Three days isn’t long but already I feel so much better. The tight ‘corset’ that I felt enveloped my middle is almost undetectable except when I stretch. That’s a good thing as I was getting a little panicky about the tightness I have had all over my midsection for months. I have never had tightness like that before and the stretches and yoga I had been doing did nothing to alleviate the pain and discomfort.

I’m going to keep up with the stretching, even though it has taken quite a bit more time than I expected – the five minutes I used to do has become about 45 mins. Oh well, it’s worth it.