Step Up, I’m Ready for My Close-Up

One of the big excitements in our family is the pending marriage of my sister Lauren to her fiancé, Nick. It is a big honor that I have been asked to be my sister’s Maid of Honor, and people have taken to calling me MOH. Okay, I’ve been calling myself that, but so have others. Some (my sister) may find my excitement to be over zealous, but I just like to refer to myself as sassy.

Others close to me have received nicknames that have to do, not with the bride, but with the Maid of Honor. For instance, my cousin Mikey is considered to be the MOH assistant, so with affection, we call him MOHAss. His sister Erin, is the assistant to the assistant of MOH and is now MOHhalfass, or at least I think she is. It changes on the regular. My mom’s nickname took off best, MoMOH, mother to MOH. It’s all very silly, but fun. Odds are, if you are in anyway connected to this wedding, you’ll get a nickname in time.

That was just a fun look into my quirky perspective, but it does have some connection to Workout Wednesdays. My goal for this wedding, or I should say hope, is that my excess skin will have tightened. I’ve maintained the same weight for a good two years now and the skin has progressed, but I still have a ways to go. Once this happens sufficiently, I will know if I want to lose more weight or if I feel that I’m in a good place. I have a lot of muscle, which makes the number on the scale skewed.

With September’s arrival, I’ve stepped up my workouts so that I can be in my very best shape for the wedding, which isn’t until next summer. My main goal is to incorporate a regular Yoga practice into my schedule because I believe this will help to tone and heal.

Last week, I went from having the best run of the summer, six miles, to a very poor run, maybe one mile. This was due to my cold. After being at my sickest last Wednesday, I thought I was feeling up for a run on Thursday, but I was very wrong. My nose started running and burning, my legs felt numb and weak, and I realized that even if I was feeling better, I wasn’t fully recovered yet. It actually took me past the weekend to be able to run again, which I just came back from and legged out three and a half miles, feeling good and strong, with only a slight nose drip.

I plan on increasing my runs as we progress into fall because the air will chill and the humidity will disappear. That’s what prevented me, in part, from running until today. The past couple of days have been killer.

During this time, I found it easier to perform my strength workouts. In order to up this, I’ve taken to doing five sets of ten or four sets of twelve for each move. I rotate between going through a cycle or focusing on all the sets of one move before moving on. I’ve felt the difference and feel like it has been more effective.

I’ve also increased my Tabata intervals to extend beyond the bike. Tabata means four minutes total of one exercise, twenty seconds working as hard as you can and ten seconds resting, then repeat. For my cardio two days a week, I’ve been doing this for the bike, treadmill, box jumps, kettlebell swings, and jump rope. It is exhausting, but fast and effective.

Another aspect I am trying to fit in more consistently is core work. I’ve extended my plank to hold for a minute and twenty seconds and my side planks for 45 seconds to a minute. I’ve been doing different core moves,d my current routine including t push ups, mountain climbers on my forearms, kneeling kickbacks, mermaid raises, hip lifts, bicycle crunches, hundreds, alternating ankle grabs, and elevated Russian twists. I find that when I break these moves up into sets, I am able to perform at my highest each time. I’ve been working through them in a cycle, which moves fast and leaves my abs burning.

I have not been swimming laps as much lately, but spending some time on the elliptical. This is partly because I wanted a break, but now because the pool is closed for a week for renovations at my gym. Once it gets cooler out, I will get back into that routine because I really like doing it. The problem has been finding the right time to go when it isn’t overcrowded.

With exercise, it’s all about listening to your body and resting enough, especially if your body has been sick or overworked. Working out is a source of comfort and stress release. It helps me feel better, happier, and more productive. When it doesn’t leave me feeling this way, I know I need to take a step back. After feeling off and weak last week, it was nice coming back strong these past few days!