Mile 1393: The Plight of the Uncoordinated

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“Tighten up on your reigns.
You’re running wild, running wild. It’s true.”
–The Black Keys, “Tighten Up”

Miles Last Week: 57
Total Miles: 1393

Can someone please explain to me how to do a proper squat without falling over?

For a couple of days over the last week, I’ve replaced lunges with squats to add some variety (ahem, to save time) during the booty challenge.

I’m familiar with the concept of the proper squat: back straight, thighs parallel with the floor, and knees not to extend over your toes. I just can’t seem to do all of this at the same time.

 

But really, how is she not falling backward? Source

But really, how is she not falling backward?
Source

If I keep my thighs parallel with the floor, my knees extend over my toes. If I keep my back straight, my thighs don’t stay parallel to the floor. If I keep my knees from extending over my toes, nothing does what it’s supposed to.

It’s like workout whack-a-mole.

Doing lunges is even worse. I look like someone trying to fake her way through a sobriety test in the wee hours of a stereotypical New Year’s morning.

Such is the lot in life for the massively uncoordinated. Normally, I’d just shrug and accept that I would never do squats or lunges perfectly,  and would your knees extending over your toes be the worst thing to happen, anyway?

But form is important–so is not falling over. After all, if you don’t do exercises correctly, you can hurt yourself. No one wants that. Sometimes you just have to suck it up (or in, as it were) and do it til you get it right.

It’s probably a core thing, right? It seems like it might be a core thing. Pretty much everything is a core thing.

Don’t make me go back to planking. I won’t do it.

Mile 1336: Femi-Fitness

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“Take this weapon, forged in darkness.
Some see a pen. I see a harpoon.”
–twenty-one pilots, “Ode to Sleep”

Miles Last Week: 57
Total Miles: 1336

I’m not gonna lie. Lately, I’ve been kind of lacking on brilliant blog topic ideas–as you’ve undoubtedly noticed. Today, I was scrolling through Pinterest to find any topic inspiration at all, and I came across this bit of motivation:

Um, what?

In case you missed the subtext, these ten words seek to drive your enthusiasm for exercise by suggesting that a boy will like it.

Seriously? Yeah. Okay…

Working out is obviously going to change your body (kind of the point), but going to the gym to please someone else is just… sigh.

Do I really need to go into the whole ‘women don’t exist to please men’ spiel? Does the Internet really need another tirade about ridiculous, outdated gender attitudes?

Well, if those attitudes are going to persist, I guess we have to continue those crazy feminist rants. (If you’re imagining me waving my hands around in a sarcastic manner when I say those last three words, your mental picture of me is pretty accurate.)

Let’s keep this simple.

The only reason to be worried about the effect your workout has on someone else’s knees is if that person is spotting you. In that case, you’ll probably want his (or her–yay, political correctness!) knees to not be weak.

Whether you are a man or a woman, you should only have one reason for exercising: your health. Do it to make yourself feel better and stronger. Do it to channel your own focus and energy. If other people have a positive or negative opinion about it, that’s awesome for them. But how they react isn’t particularly your responsibility.

Now, let’s get some real motivation from some more positive corners of the Internet.

Source

Please ignore the bad punctuation. The sentiment is what’s important. Source

Always good advice. Source

Always good advice.
Source

 

 

Mile 1279: That’s Not What WE Called That

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“My body tells me no, but I won’t quit
‘Cause I want more, ‘cause I want more.”
–Young the Giant, “My Body”

Miles Last Week: 57
Total Miles: 1279

Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of references online to these things called burpees. Since I didn’t know what they were, I did a little research.

According to Wikipedia–

–which looks something like this.

This actually looked familiar to me. I don’t know about you, but at my middle school (which was probably the last time I did them), we called these squat-thrusts. Because, you know, that’s what you’re actually doing–squatting and thrusting.

According to Oxford Dictionariesburpees are named after Royal H. Burpee, the American psychologist who invented the exercise as a fitness test (KNOWLEDGE!). Of course, to me, the name sounds like some sort of abdominal exercise that involves expelling excess gas through your mouth. You should probably say “excuse me” afterward.

Don’t judge me. You know you were thinking it.

I can’t say that  I’ll be incorporating burpees/squat-thrusts into the booty challenge, but I just wanted to spread my wisdom. Burpees=squat-thrusts. And Burpee was a real guy. So, I probably shouldn’t joke about his name.

Knowledge!

Mile 1222: Challenge…Complete?

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“We will, we will, we will rise again.”
–30 Seconds to Mars, “Conquistador”

Miles Last Week: 56
Total Miles: 1222

Alas, fair people of the land of Internet, thirty days of abdominal tests hath passed, and Amanda hath not perished. Tis a glorious day!

The town crier is right–the 30-Day Ab Challenge is officially over. Woo! And because you can’t take the college out of the girl, I’ve decided to grade myself.

  • For missing one day while I was out of town–minus one letter grade.
  • For not doing proper, 90-degree sit-ups (i.e, floor to upright)–minus half a letter grade.
  • For having my legs bent during my leg raises–minus half a letter grade.
  • For reverting back to the old standby, “girl”-pushup plank position–minus half a letter grade.
  • For not actually losing any inches off my waist–minus half a letter grade.
  • For breaking my 65-minute record–plus half a letter grade.
  • For breaking it a second time in one week–plus half a letter grade.

By this logic, I get a C. Not great, but at least I didn’t quit, unlike the plank challenge. (I think I’m still not over it.)

Overall, I think it was a good challenge. I’ll definitely be incorporating more ab-ish stuff into workouts, but I will be focusing more on doing those exercises right instead of trying to hit a number. Quality over quantity. There’s still room for improvement, of course, which is sort of becoming my natural state in life.

That’s fine. I’ll take it. In fact, it’s kind of inspired me to take on a new 30-day challenge every month for the rest of this year.

And July is butt month! Because why not?

I happened to find a 30-day gluteal challenge that looks to have been made by the people behind my June challenge–or the same graphic designer, at least.

Here we go again.

Here we go again.

I know what you’re thinking. Yes, July has thirty-one days. I choose to see it as having one extra rest day.

Plus, the big bonus–NO PLANKING. I already like this plan.

Mile 1166: Wait, What?

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“And suddenly a light appears inside my brain,
And I think of my ways,
I think of my days
And know that I have changed.”
–GROUPLOVE, “Colours”

Miles Last Week: 60
Total Miles: 1166

The thing about the elliptical versus the treadmill is that the elliptical doesn’t have a set speed. You just go however fast you choose to go instead of doing what the MACHINE tells you (which you told it to tell you–but whatever).

The good thing about this system is that you have to remember that you are directly responsible for pushing yourself. Plus, you can pretty easily monitor your progress by looking at how far you go during a set amount of time. The farther you go, the more progress you’re making. Ba-da-bing.

Throughout the Mile Project, I’ve been keeping track of my 65-minute record on the elliptical and watching it get better. Up until last week, it was 5.21 miles in 65 minutes. Then, last week, something weird happened.

I broke my record. Twice.

Me on Monday.

The record on Monday.

Me on Friday.

The record on Friday. I was really hauling it, apparently.

Yeah, I know. I was shocked, too. Even on the non-record-breaking days last week, I was beating my old speed. Which forced me to ask–is this elliptical broken?

Before I could find out, I remembered that I recently added something to my routine that may have been a factor. The 30-Day Ab Challenge.

Both Monday and Friday of last week were rest days on the challenge.

Guys, guys. It’s almost like the 30-Day Ab Challenge is helping my with my overall fitness or something. Like, doing those extra exercises is a good complement for what I’m already doing and is making me stronger to do other stuff.

Wait, what?

BarneyStinsonMindExplosionGif

Mind explosion.

 

Mile 1106: Nerd Solidarity Through Workout Gear

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“Far over the misty mountains cold
To dungeons deep and caverns old,
We must away ‘ere break of day
To find our long forgotten gold.”
–“Misty Mountains,” The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Miles Since Last Time: 92
Total Miles: 1106

I once saw a girl wearing a “Keep Calm and Kill Zombies” t-shirt at the gym. I was so excited–another exercising nerd. I realize this is a gym stereotype, but I’ve seen a lot of really buff, non-geeky guys and gals there, so I felt this girl and I were somewhat kindred spirits.

I gave her a little nod but didn’t speak. It was enough to know that we were two future zombie killers huffing and puffing our way through another workout.

(Plus, I mean, she was on the treadmill, and I was on the elliptical, so it’s not like we were besties or anything. Three-horns don’t play with long-necks. I sometimes do the treadmill, though, so we could sometimes talk.)

Sure, I may have been assuming a lot about this girl, but it felt really nice to see another non-jock in the jock-iest place I visit during the day. So, I found a few more shirts that promote solidarity among the fitness-minded nerds among us.

 

Maybe Elle Woods from Legally Blonds isn’t strictly geeky, but quoting movies is. And you can’t really argue with her logic. Happy people don’t shoot their husbands. They just don’t. They’re ripped, though.

 

The quickest way to spot a Whovian at the gym. Adipose may be little pounds of fat that walk away from your body in the middle of the night (don’t think about it too much or you’ll get grossed out), but they’re so adorable! I kind of want to have one as a pet until I remember that THEY ARE LITERALLY POUNDS OF FAT.

 

This shirt says you like Internet things. And Gersberms. But everyone likes Gersberms. And the Internet. This shirt is basically for everyone in the whole world.

 

Well, you’re not going to simply walk into Mordor. (And I just saw that there’s a typo. “Workout” is a noun. To “work out” would be the verb form. I’m disappointed, Internet, but not so disappointed that I’m going to sacrifice my sweet Boromir joke to find a different shirt to put here.)

 

A zombie on a treadmill. I’m not saying it’s an accurate representation of what I look like at the gym, but I’m not saying it’s inaccurate, either.

I’d happily silently signal to other members of the nerd tribe by wearing any of these shirts–as a t-shirt, of course. If I wore a tank top to the gym, I probably wouldn’t have many friends, geek or not.

But I could probably fly, you fools!

(Get it? Bat wings? Never mind.)

Mile 1014: Because the LAST Challenge Worked Out SO Well

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“So what? I’m still a rock star.”
–Pink, “So What”

Miles Last Week: 56
Total Miles: 1014

Last August, I tried a planking challenge. I began, I faltered, I modified, and I failed. It’s okay. I’m (mostly) over it.

A couple of weeks ago, I saw this Facebook event entitled “The 30-Day Ab Challenge,” starting June 1. I clicked, perused, and thought, Oh, I’m probably not going to do that.

But after I’d clicked something else and moved on, I kept thinking about it. Maybe I could…

So I am.

The challenge begins today and continues throughout the month–which is incredibly convenient. If you forget what day you’re on, just look at the date. For the slightly scatterbrained among us (to whom I relate), this is a great tool. I’m also hoping the sit-ups/crunches/leg-raises/planks (we meet again) will be a good tool to help me find my abs. I’m pretty sure they’re in my torso somewhere. Just because you can’t see them doesn’t mean they aren’t there. I believe.

I’m feeling much more confident about this challenge than the last one. I didn’t die after day one, which I consider to be good news. The other good news is that you don’t ever plank for more than two minutes. (The bad news would be those 125 sit-ups and 65 leg raises.)

Here we go again! Kind of.

Join me, won’t you?