About Michele

Marketing muse looking to inspire and innovate. I won't accept status quo and neither should you. 16 years doing anything and everything as it relates to marketing. It's all about the vibe.

Try an exercise class they said…

I confess, I’m a cardio junky. I’m also sure that to those who’ve read my blog this is no surprise. As much as I try to get in strength training or mix my exercise up with activities other than running, running is my thing.

I know I don’t put enough into cross training and I also know I’d be a better runner if I did. So on the advise of friends, I signed up for a total body conditioning class this morning. What I really wanted was a yoga class, but those were only on the weekdays. Zumba was in the morning but felt like it just added to my cardio fixation. Besides, reading about the class tbc class, it seems similar to what I did at home.

About this Class

This total-body workout targets muscles from head to toe to build strength and endurance while improving flexibility. Light weights such as dumbbells or body bars are used to shape and tone while improving body alignment and posture.

Now, there was this little tickle in the back of my brain from trying out crossfit.  That single time left me barely able to walk or climb stairs for a week. The description was suitably vague enough that even Tom thought it could go either way – pilates or crossfit.

At 9:20a I walked up to the studio and waited patiently with the other class members as the Zumba class finished up. At 9:30a we all walked in and I glanced around to get a sense of what I was supposed to do. Turns out I had to get a mat, stepper and  dumbbells. I grabbed the 5 lbs after testing the 10 lbs.

The music gets going and things are getting started. Stepping in place, squats, traveling around the stepper, some running in place and jumping jacks. Yeah, this wasn’t so bad. And then…

It was stepping time. Up and down, cross wise, double tapping, arms swinging. It was like having to dance on the stairs! I could see myself in the mirror completely confused about the steps and barely able to keep my balance or the routine going. When we say white people can’t dance, or jump, well that really is me. I was pathetic. It was embarrassing at first and then I had to just contain myself as the rest of the class looked like an exercise video and I was about ready to burst out laughing at myself.

Then we took a quick break to pick up the dumbbells. And here is where the instructor turned into a drill sergeant. No wimpy 5 lb-ers for us. Oh-no, we had to start with at least 10 lbs. She was even showing (bragging) about her 12 lb-ers. She made us weaklings go back and pick those bad boys up and then hold them out to our sides. That was also only the beginning. All our moves now had arm movements with our stepping movements. It was a nightmare. Bad form and now I couldn’t even move my arms!

Anyway, this class was much more crossfit, HIIT and bootcamp mixed together. The saving grace was actually the last 5 minutes when we did ab work. Can you believe that this was the relaxing part? I’d downed almost all my water, was sweating at the back of my neck, and trying to hide from the instructor at the end.

60 minutes of total body conditioning is what I signed up for and 60 minutes of total body conditioning is what I got. I can’t say I enjoyed it. But, I can’t say I won’t go back. I will, next Saturday morning if only to stick to my goal of strength training and prove that I won’t be the weakling in the class forever. But, I have to say, I think I’ll still look ridiculous trying to doe the moves!

Update: Definitely feeling the tightness in my outer and inner thighs and triceps. But, hit the gym this morning for a 30 min run on the treadmill and 60 minutes of vinyasa yoga. Between the two, I feel much better. Here’s to Saturday and another TBC…

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Find My Healthy Living Motivation – Got a Puppy!

After two years of what I call ‘the program’, I’m in a new phase that seems to be harder than the first. First it was hit my goal. Then it was make it last a year. Now I need something to keep it going forever. Even after all this time, old habits creep in and that immediately adds to the waistline. So, I need another goal post.

Puppy!

Alright, so staying healthy by having a puppy sounds like a bad idea. Almost as bad as having a baby to save a relationship. But, hear me out.

I have two beautiful dogs now Sophie (husky) and Kia (eskimo) who are my white fluffy old ladies going on 14 and 15. They can no longer go on walks and spend their time lounging at my feet, begging for scratches and rubs, and hanging out in our yard together for some exercise. The days when I’d have to walk them separately or be pulled like I was the sled are way past. And, to be honest, I am terrified of the day when they are no longer with me.

A new puppy adds another dimension of getting up and going out in my day that has to be routine. I won’t just be active for me, a puppy is going to be demanding that I keep moving. My old ladies only have so much in them, and while I know they will be great grandmothers and help in training, they are not going to give that pup the exercise it needs. In fact, without me getting on the puppy move-it program, Sophie and Kia are going to get a little worn out. That is the other motivator.

Lastly, with my youngest only a couple years from leaving the next, that leaves one big empty space in our home. We will then be official empty nesters. What better way than to add a fur kid?

Tom and I had a drawn out conversation about the next dog. What we are looking for. What breeds would be best. When would be a good time. My checklist was a running/trail running companion, snuggler, and partner in crime (doing stuff with me – all legal of course). My husband was looking for a companion and hiking dog. We both wanted a good temper and when the grandkids come, a dog that would be safe around them.

We finally broke down at Thanksgiving after another one of my online puppy picture looking sessions led me to an adorable Aussie mix. Well, Tom knew I was ready and it turned out he was ready too. After several links of breeders found and numerous emails and phone calls, we finally had our girl, born only a week before.  Here is our 3 week old wigglebutt (Australian Shepherd). Can’t wait to welcome her home and into our brood.

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And, since I mentioned my old dames and of course we also have two kitties (Essie and Bri), I may as well introduce them too.

Goal Weight: One Year and Beyond!

I didn’t really think it was possible. Really. I may demonstrate resolve and confidence in my blogs, but as with most (all) social media you always put your best self forward. I have shown some of my personality warts: paranoia, fashionista-itis, maybe a little judgement. Hopefully not too much. What I mostly tried to do was tell you, and myself, that all was great and that staying positive and motivated is the key.

It has been some time since I checked in. My trip to Europe certainly threw me for a curve and I’m still in recovery mode. Having also gone back to Europe this fall for work wasn’t helping either. I love German-Austrian and Eastern European food way too much. Brings me back to childhood. And a beer at every corner and park bend to cool off in 90+ degree heat and those hikes in the Alps wasn’t helping either. The beer garden is a way of life there. The only saving grace was keeping up my running, walking 25K steps a day and 20 mile bike rides several times a week, swimming in a glacial lake, and hiking up castle hills and mountains. And I still gained four pounds.

Back in the real world, all that activity is behind me until my next vacation.My typical week looks like:

  • 4 days running
  • 2-3 days alternate activity (swim, hike, paddle, bike, elliptical)
  • 1 couch potato day (unintentional or just plain lazy)
  • 1500 – 1800 calories per day
  • 12K steps per day
  • Mostly healthy diet with 1-2 splurge meals for date and friend nights
  • Beer almost daily – a habit from abroad that I’m not giving up

What I accomplished in body image:

  • waist: 31 to 24
  • chest: 38 to 34
  • pants: 12 to 00
  • tops: large to extra small
  • dresses: 14 to 2
  • shoe size: 6 1/2 (sometimes 7) to 6
  • boots: no longer need wide calf
  • Still 4′ 11″ – didn’t get taller as weight couldn’t pull me down anymore, but at least I didn’t shrink!

I swing three pounds and there are days when I’m so bloated I could just scream in frustration. But, I’ll never get back to 108 unless I get back on the strict program and that’s okay. Tom wasn’t that thrilled with me there and likes a little more on my bones. But, I also think some of the increase is from muscle. My skin is much tighter now than when I was the same weight over a year ago. There is also more muscle definition. So, 110 – 113 is not a bad place to be. (Although I secretly wish I could be 108 again, its just too much work)

Overall, every day is still a mindful day. I have good ones and bad ones. There isn’t a final destination but rather a method to living healthy. The benefits have outweighed the work to get here and stay here. Never could I have had as much fun on our summer vacation, skied as much last winter, gotten reacquainted with the White Mountains, or rekindled my marriage without being healthy and fit.

Do I want to…

  • just lie on the couch all day
  • stuff myself with gelato
  • slam through a juicy burger
  • have that extra slice of pizza

Hell ya!

Then I remember, I’m 49 and can do the same things I did when I was 19, and do them better. It’s my own Benjamin Button story. That’s what keeps me going…

2016 on the left, 1 month before I started my journey.  2018 on the right, this summer.

Vacationing Abroad: 8 Tips to Myself On Maintenance

Maintenance is hard, even with  my extreme paranoia. I actually got up to 112 on the scale, gaining 5 pounds from my lowest point and 3 pounds more than I feel comfortable at. So, the past two weeks I’ve upped my activity and watched more closely what I was eating. I’m down to 109.7 today. Not bad, but still only a few ounces shy of my max desirable weight. Especially with what’s coming up. I need all the wiggle room I can get.

I am 6 days away from our 15 day European vacation. Traveling on my own I can be more in control of my schedule, activities and eating. Traveling with Tom, that’s another story. There are so many things we want to do that fitting in my runs and eating healthy will be interesting. Add in the fact that Tom can eat anything and not gain a pound is just the opposite of what happens to me.

Last summer our RV road trip was a bit easier when I had my kitchen traveling with me. Every meal wasn’t at a restaurant. This year is different. Hotel breakfasts. Beer gardens. Restaurants. Ruin Bars. Rib sticking Austrian, Czech, Hungarian and Slovenian comfort foods. Oh yeah, and the wineries!

It’s been a while since I traveled and had a formal attack plan either to lose weight or stay on track. So, was going back through my blogs and diaries to see what might help me this time around. I think I have a plan:

  1. Come prepared to run: Every trip I pack my running clothes. For two weeks with little access to laundry, I need to be more prepared. So, my carry-on is going to be my running locker. Shoes, socks, shorts, shirts, bras, flip belt, and huge playlist.
  2. Have maps ready: I normally just go up to the reception desk or concierge, even in Europe, and ask for running routes. While I could do this, in the interest of no excuses and being prepared I’m printing maps out and highlighting the routes and mileage.
  3. Hike, hike, and more hiking: A key activity on our list is hiking through the Alps. On these days I’m not going to run (unless on the trail!). My hope is that I do enough that it makes up for and then some of the activity time my running would normally account for.
  4. Local markets: One of the things I love in Europe, the farmer markets. You can always find stalls of fruits and vegetables. Some will sell wine, cheese and breads. There isn’t any need to always eat at restaurants when you can pack a canvas bag with fresh produce and picnic on the Danube.
  5. Go vegan/vegetarian: I’m not at all vegan or vegetarian. I love my meat, eggs, cheese. But, keeping my waist in check means upping my veggies. The good thing is I’ve found there are plenty of vegan and vegetarian dishes on restaurant menus in the European cities.
  6. Make Tom my tourist running buddy: Tom and I get out every other morning together to run some of our local trails. He is way faster than me. But, I run farther. This weekend he ran side by side with me for 4 miles (still short for me) rather than his typical 3 miles. And, he like it. Me too! So, I am taking some of the maps and looking at routes where we can do a fun run past local sites to scope out our surroundings.
  7. Bikes!: My mother went on a tour where the group got out in a couple cites where they picked up city bikes and cycled around. There are tons of bike trails in Vienna and city bikes available. I’m scoping out the kiosks/bike dispensers so we can go on our own bike tours.
  8. Just relax: I’m going to have a few bad days. There is going to be some amazing food. There will be lazy days. There will be our visits to the beer gardens and ruin bars that add empty drinking calories. But, that is what vacation is for. Tom is planning on gaining some pounds. I’m planning on holding the line. Ultimately, I don’t want to obsess but enjoy. Gluttony on a few days, just not everyday.

Summer time!

It’s been months, I know. So busy. But, it’s finally summer! And boy am I taking advantage of it.

The weather finally turned into warm sunny days and I’ve been able to take out my paddleboard a few times. It was a bit frustrating to have to wait for Tom before I could go because he has the roof rack on his Jeep and there is absolutely no way at 4’11” I can lift my board up onto the rack, even with a step ladder. So, as an early birthday present, he got me a rack for my car and yesterday I assembled it, put it on, and loaded on my board. I grabbed Emily and we went for a paddle at Hopkinton State Park (her first time – she loved it!)

This past week we spend July 4th in the White Mountains. A scenic drive with stops at the rivers and dips into the waterfall at Silver Cascade kicked things off. A hike up to Lonesome Lake and back was day two. While we were going to swim in the lake, leaches were visible and the lake was no longer inviting. But, Cascade Brook was and we put our feet in, sat in the natural spas, and overall enjoyed the cold water after a hot and humid hike. Day three we hiked up Liberty trail, which felt like 4600 feet of stairs, only to be socked in. But, coming back down and then handing out at a fire in the evening was perfect. Day 4, Tom went up to Artist’s Bluff in Franconia Notch while I hit the bike trail and ran down to The Basin where Tom picked me up. Why I thought running 5 miles after two days of hiking is beyond me, but it was awesome, especially when I was able to put my feet and stiff calves into the cold mountain water when done.

 

Tom and I are running together every other morning on the bike trail. I made a personal best of avg. 8:56 min/mile on a 5k. That beat Tom by 1 second that day. Since then I’ve taken a more leisurely pace while Tom pushes past 8:30. No races planned, but a friend of mine is doing couch to 5k training now and I just might convince her to do a race with me in the fall.

I did gain 3 pounds since March. A bit annoying but totally my fault. I’m still very active but I let eating out get the best of me for a while. I also was incredibly sick with the flu in the spring and stupidly tried to run a few times which made things worse. And, then there was a week where I barely did any exercise. So, for about 3 weeks I was a mess. I did lose  a pound just by going back to my routine. The harder part is that I actually like how I look now compared to being at a slightly lower weight. My knees don’t look like elephant knees anymore. And my stomach is a bit smoother rather than saggy. The only thing I’m not sure of is if less sag is the 3 pounds or because I’m more muscular under my saggy skin. My tummy is also getting a workout from paddling and SUP yoga. I was sore the first few times out. All in all, clothes still fit nicely and haven’t gotten tight at all. Still working off the 3 pounds, but not going to obsess.

It’s our last weekend before our anniversary trip to Europe. Can’t wait for the hikes in the Alps, spas of Budapest, beer gardens, ruin bars, and historic sites. I’m already looking forward to adding more runs to my international collection. I’ll post while galivanting so you can come along.

7 Tips To Overcome the Yoga Pant Wars

I love yoga pants. I loved them as a chubby girl. I love them even more now. That sentiment can also be extended to my skinny jeans, jeggings, and leggings. When you’ve worked hard getting in shape, are getting close to the 50, and your legs just look good, go for it. If you are chubby, so what, enjoy them. Wear thosWalmart Man in Yoga Pantse yoga pants!

Unfortunately yoga pants have got a bad wrap. We are yoga pant shamed by old men, airlines and now a New York Times reporter who thinks you shouldn’t even wear yoga pants for yoga. Really? What next, no bikinis at the beach?

I’m going to go all JLaw and say, I can wear what ever I want.

Okay, within reason. No one really wants to look awful and shamefully wind up on the People of Walmart site. (Although, I’m beginning to think the picture feed is starting to fill up with those that want 15 minutes of fame rather than this is really how they shop.)   There is a right way to pull off yoga pants and a wrong way. While we shouldn’t be judged by what we wear, we are. And, let’s be honest, when we get dressed in the morning or are getting ready to go out, we play by the rules most of the time to dress in something that makes us feel good about ourselves. Or, if we don’t, we most likely know we are a little down, not feeling well, or are getting ready to clean out the garage and garden.

Here are my rules for yoga pants that you may or may not agree with. But, they do keep me out of trouble with those side long glances and sneers most of the time – except the times when it comes from jealousy which I actually find amusing.

  1. Athletic yoga pants are for exercise. Those mesh cutouts and athletic pants are for running, skiing and the gym. I tend to not wear them any other time because I’m more concerned someone is going to think I’m covered in dried sweat and smelly than if they don’t like a little butt jiggle.
  2. Leggings, jegging, skinny jeans are best worn tastefully. I don’t wear sneakers but rather pair with boots or ballerina flats. It dresses them up and makes me look less like a teenager. My legs are in good enough shape that I will pair with a waist level cashmere sweater. But for work I keep it professional with a silk blouse and blazer. No over the knee boots for this 48 year old – then I just look like a couger.
  3. Get the right size. You wouldn’t buy a bra that was to small so it looked like you have 2 pairs of girls instead of 1 pair. Same goes with these skin tight pants. In the right size, you won’t create bulges. You won’t accentuate that cellulite in your thighs. You won’t see those panty lines. They don’t fall down. If you are a little on the cubby side, there are great yoga pants and leggings with a wide control top to help shape your curves.
  4. Throw out the pilly pairs. The great thing about yoga pants, leggings and jeggings is you can get them really cheap. But, they only look good for a few wears. When you see pilling and they are stretched in the knees, time to throw them away. There is no reason to wear them out and about when they look like the rag you wash your floor with.
  5. Leave pajamas at home. There is nothing worse than the loungewear look outside of your house. This is where many of you are probably going to roll your eyes at me. But, it goes back to what I said in first point. Don’t look like your rolled out of bed when you go to the store, restaurant or on a plane/train/bus. You look like you didn’t shower and probably smell. As you can see, I have a hygiene thing. Be gross at home, that’s your thing. You don’t need to share with me. Besides, it says something about how you respect others by how you respect yourself.
  6. If you don’t like them, that’s okay too. I was brought up to always put yourself together when you go out. Dress appropriately. Be proper. Dress your best. Follow the dress etiquette. Buy quality. My grandmothers would be rolling in their graves if they caught me in these pants. I can hear my mother in my head every time I put them on. I get it. It was a different time and compared to most, a different culture. But, be respectful and unjudging. If you don’t follow my rules, so what. I’m still going to be respectful and kind. I hope you can too.
  7. Be a rockstar. There will be one outfit that will take you a little out of your comfort zone but still makes you feel amazing. Mine is a pair of real black leather skinny jeans, suede tan calf skin halter top and a white fitted long sleeve tee. I put on a pair of Steve Madden cutout western ankle boots. I look hot and I know it. It is at once my rebel outfit and at the same time my, “I did it!” outfit. Everyone needs to look like a rockstar once in a while.

New Running Shoes

The weather has held up allowing me to get outside and run. Being down in Naples, FL this week also had my inner kid screaming, “Outside!” Which, of course I did, and was successful in getting rid of my pasty white body.

Getting my outdoor runs in has let me go from 30 minutes on the treadmill, grinding through every minute of a 3 miler. To bounding up and down hills, greeting fellow runners, and wondering how I could have finished 5 miles in under 50 minutes and wanting to keep going.

What kept me from not going further was the aching knees and hips, a sure sign it was time to turn in my old running shoe friends for a couple new pairs. I’ll miss my Mizuno Wave Riders that saw my first running steps last May. I bid farewell to my Saucony Ever Run Ride 10s that got me to my personal best time overall and 5K race. It breaks my heart a bit, but there is something awesome about a new pair.

My running and needs are different than they were last year. I was just happy to get a 5K under my belt in under 30 minutes. This year I have a 10K, half marathon, and if the half goes well a marathon in the fall on my running bucket list. That’s a lot of running. Not knowing a thing about running shoes, what are best for what I want to do, and which are best for my level of ability, I headed to my local running store. 45 minutes later and 7 pairs of shoes tried on and jogged in, I settles on a pair (New Balance 880v7) for my long runs with extra cushion and support and a pair or light fast kicks (Mizuno Wave Shadow) for my 5Ks and short runs.

Wasting no time, I got home, threw on my running clothes, pulled on my Mizunos, forced Tom to do the same, and headed out to the bike trail. What a great run it was. I pulled a 9:32 min/mile feeling the slight rock of my toe box giving me the added incentive to push of my toes. That is down a full minute from my run yesterday. I also finished four miles and only stopped because Tom was finishing his cool down; I could have kept going.

It’s been a couple hours since we got back and I’m still beaming, as you can probably tell. That runner’s high is that much better without the muscle and joint tinge from over-used shoes. The goal of a half marathon doesn’t seem as unattainable physically, I just need to get over the mental hurdle of running for a couple hours.

Here’s to kicking off 2018 and the outdoor run!