Warrior Wednesday – Weight

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I know several people who’s fitness goal is to lose weight without even realizing they may already be in the ideal range for their height. They look at their flabby middle section and think they have to get onto a bicycle and try to sweat out the extra fat they believe they have despite how tiny they might be.

It’s quite likely they need to gain muscle or tone rather than lose any pounds.

This chart may be a decent guideline on how much you should weigh if you are concerned about your weight. It tells me I’m already in my ideal range, but I look down at my tummy while I type this and wonder if I’ll ever see my abs. When people are sitting, it’s normal for our bellies to bulge out. You may not have as much work to do as you think. Your thighs also look fatter when sitting. Also, sometimes you might just be having a bloated moment that makes your belly seem bigger than it is. This is especially common in people with digestive issues/food allergies like Celiac Disease.

I’m not saying your shouldn’t be exercising. Everyone should be. You could be going to the gym and not achieving much because you’re working on the wrong thing though. Regularly going to the gym is a great habit to have. And if, like me, the gym isn’t really your thing, there are many other ways to get exercise in.

I mainly do cardio, take walks, and do core exercises outside of the dojo. Swinging my sword about is helpful for upper body fitness and the lower movements we do regularly in kata are pretty much lunges. I do some upper body work outside, because sword work would leave me a little lopsided otherwise. I prefer to do something like play a sport rather than hang out in a gym. And I love to dance.

Lately, I’m also looking at my diet. I was feeling much better when I did roller derby and my diet was rather ketogenic and I think I’m going to try and go back to something similar. A little less carbs, good proteins, good fats, and lots of veggies.

It’s also worth stating that the same volume of muscle weighs more than that of fat. I often focus more on the inches around my waist as a measurement and keep track of what I’m physically capable of before getting tired. I use things like FitBit to see how active I’m being.

I’m planning to get more active after this weekend. Why wait? Well, I’m off to a cottage to party and I plan to start one of those challenges that has requirements that I don’t want to be vacationing in the middle of. Once I’m recovered from the weekend, I’ll get at it. It’s supposed to be 30 minutes 3 days per week and doesn’t go higher than 40 minutes at the end, so it shouldn’t be that hard to fit in. It lasts for 8 weeks. More on it later this month.

Like any goal, you need to figure out your needs otherwise you’ll be stumbling around in the dark. Your body responds differently than my body. Spend time getting to know yours and pay attention to what works and doesn’t for you. If you know you hate squats, you shouldn’t aim to do hundreds of them. Find an exercise that works the same muscle groups that you don’t hate.

My needs? To perform better at martial arts, I need to strengthen my core as more than one high ranking practitioner has advised me that my posture is 80% of where my issues lie. If I fix this, I’ll get the most bang for my buck. I also need to practice cuts and seiza/tate hiza more. Also, I’ll be walking a lot come September judging by the size of the campus, so I want to be physically prepared for that.

Basically, fitness is about far more than weight and you do yourself a disservice when you only focus on that piece.

I meant to post this earlier but I got distracted. It’s not tomorrow yet though!

Salut,
R~

Warrior Wednesday – Cross-training

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Martial arts are a great workout, but it can be easy to forget that we need to do other exercises to ensure total body fitness. That being said, it doesn’t have to take a lot of time or be a miserable experience.

One of my Iaido mentors, 8th Dan Hatekenaka Sensei, does hot yoga when she isn’t practicing Iaido. She practices Iaido every day whether there is class or not.

Now Iaido is great for many things. Swinging a sword about takes *some* strength, so it works the upper body. It’s important to mention that we try to get a sword that is a reasonable weight. Many are only a couple of pounds because they are a giant razor and don’t need to be heavy in order to cut things. Also, a light sword should be able to be swung as thought it were heavy and a heavy one as though it were light. It also is helpful to prevent repetitive strain injuries. We are prone to tennis elbow in this martial art. We also end up lopsided if we don’t take time to swing the sword using the opposite hand regularly.

Iaido also has us regularly go from seated seiza or tate hiza position and move around either in squat/lunge type positions or we might slide about on our knees. Yes, we’re also prone to knee injuries. This means we get a decent lower body workout also.

Sometimes it really makes us sweat, but not usually in the way a cardio workout does unless it’s really hot or Sensei really wants to give us a challenge.

So it’s important to cross-train. For some of us, like me, a weak area is my core. I’ve noticed since I started focusing on my core, my balance is improving.

But planks are god awful things and I hate them.

That brings me to Hip Hop Abs. Yeah, it’s a bit silly, but I had a fantastic time dancing about in my living room. The best way, was to say yes to the louder music option and just try to follow along as much as possible. Without the talking, it’s so much fun. I’m soaked and must shower again, but it was worth it. Also, it only took 30 minutes.

I loved dancing in high school, so I think it’s about time I made time for it in my life again.

I also enjoy doing High Intensity Interval Training as you can get a killer workout in 7 minutes. It’s also customizable, so you can insert things like sidekicks if you want to work on basics. Hey, I should add some suburi to my HIIT routine

I also like to do some belly-dancing, RushFit, P90X, and the occasional boring thing like crunches, but lately I haven’t had the time. I did a lot of thinking about what was working and wasn’t for months now and I had to make the difficult choice to leave my writing group. I’m a very visual person and not good at hearing problems in stories when read to me. It all just sounds lovely. I need to see things on the printed page. Also, with school, a business, martial arts, a significant other, renovations, and other commitments, meeting weekly was just not working for me. In truth, I wasn’t really looking for a critique-style group either, but more of a casual writing atmosphere where we occasionally talk about something when someone has a question. There is a group like this in Ottawa and I think I’m going to give them a try if I can figure out where to leave my car…

Anyway, I must shower and eat something for supper. Perhaps I’ll put the pork chop in the oven first to make it almost cooked while I quickly clean up.

Oh, I almost forgot the whole point I wanted to make. While I followed along I could feel the same thing that we try for in Iaido, Ki Ken Tai Ichi, which means making the spirit, mind, body, and sword one. Well, minus the sword of course. I thought how cool it will be when I know the dance steps and can actually be in sync with the music and feel the flow.

Salut,
R~

Warrior Wednesday – Planks

bringitPlanking isn’t going terribly bad. I have changed the way I time. I started with a stopwatch method, but that quickly began to feel like watching a needle pierce my arm before they draw blood. Not good. It’s a little annoying to change the countdown everyday, but I’m sure I’ll hit a snag point where I struggle to get beyond the time and it will become ​less often.

As I said earlier this week, by the end of the challenge, I’m supposed to be able to plank for 300 seconds. That’s 5 minutes. I’m doubtful, but I’ve decided that it doesn’t matter. It’s okay ​if it takes me longer to get there than 30 days. I’ll just keep trying to get there even if it takes me years. The point of this isn’t to be able to pompously state I can plank for however long, but to improve my posture and core strength. Of course I’ll mention it if I achieve it, but that’s not why I’m doing it. It’s simply a numerical measure of progress to me.

Starting at 20 seconds was easy. My core was strong enough for that. The jump to 30 seconds wasn’t bad. At 40 seconds, I started to struggle. I’m under a minute at this time.

I think when undertaking fitness goals, people often see themselves as a failure if they need more time. The world isn’t going to blow up if you take an extra day, week, month, year, decade to progress. Just keep trying to get there and one day it’ll just happen. Maybe ask for tips if you’re taking a decade. It could be incorrect technique holding you back after all. I know from martial arts, the slightest of tweaks can bring dramatic improvements.

Whatever​ you’re trying to do in terms of fitness, or anything else really, just keep working at it. If you get injured, you can read about it, do physiotherapy exercises to heal, visualize yourself doing it, and rest the injured area.

Don’t give up. The best things in life are hard won.

Salut,
R~

Fortifying Friday – Plans and Actions

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Lately, I’ve been making some changes in my life. Once upon a time, I worked as a project manager and project planner. After several years of upper management having ignored the plans despite their accuracy, my love of planning had become filled with disdain and I began winging things in my personal life. It wasn’t working.

I have a todo list in Kanbanflow. It’s so large and full of things that I’m not near to accomplishing (I swear I have at least a decade worth of story ideas), that it has become almost useless in terms of goal achievement. I will reorganize it at some point to make it useful again, but I recently started using an analog planner. I plan one week, sometimes only half the week, at a time. I don’t always accomplish the things I want to in a week, but I’m getting more done than I was while I was winging it.

One of my major goals is simplistic: Reclaim my routine. Working at home has made me really lax in terms of how long I sleep, what time I shower, how many meals I eat in a day, etc. So far, I’ve been doing terribly at it. Some days I get up at a reasonable time and get about 75% of my tasks completed. Others I struggle to just get food done.

One of my other major tasks is to get all my dishes clean. I feel like it’s pathetic that it has been so hard to get this one thing done, but something always comes up or my energy is sapped and I just can’t. The last couple of days, since there has been more sunshine, I’ve been doing better. Damn winter blues!

French is hit and miss. Some days I feel like I’m really getting somewhere and understand a lot. Others, I might as well be looking at Greek. Learning is often like that though. I know I just need to apply myself a little more.

Some days I wonder if my legs will ever be able to take the full length of class time without making me incredibly sore for several days, but this is the way it is every year at this time. I’m usually fine by the spring seminar that lasts several days. I should buy that ice skating pass because it’s cheap and will help me whip my legs into shape. Perhaps I’ll get it today, after I get a police record check done for volunteering at the library.

And there’s my writing. It seems that when I have a deadline, I have trouble writing anything at all. No deadline? Writing is fun and I’m shocked when I suddenly finish a project. Clearly planning some things doesn’t work for me.

My Alphasmart Neo2 arrived yesterday and I love it. It’s such a simple tool. I can work onto upto 8 files at once. Without all the distractions of a laptop with bells and whistles, I can just write and I don’t have to copy from paper to my computer afterwards. Because I can only see a couple of sentences at a time on the screen, I don’t get mired in rereading text. I seem to have started a YA Sci-Fi tale, but I have other projects to finish first! Naughty fingers running away on the keyboard…

I haven’t found a job yet and EI hasn’t started paying me. I’m going to hopefully get that straightened out today. Several exciting opportunities are available right now. I’m excited to see which come to fruition. Time will tell. Much to do today.

Salut,
R~

Fortifying Friday – Working Out

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This week I decided it was time to get back in shape. Not just generally fit, but in condition for martial arts. So I’m using Rushfit. Here are some problems I ran into:

1. I started on Tuesday instead of Monday, so I skipped the Day 1 Strength & Endurance workout because I want to leave Tuesdays as just cardio given that I have iaido on Tuesdays. I also want my main rest day to be Sunday because that’s an iaido day.

2. Wednesday was supposed to be Abs & Core, but my abs were still killing me from playing too hard with my toddler buddy, so I did the Day 1 workout instead, or tried too. I think they put the hardest workout too soon in the program. It was daunting. I had to skip the core stuff. I also didn’t have weights and could only find one weight instead of two at the store. At least I did some of it. I had a date planned the next day involving a lot of walking, so I didn’t want to kill myself and have a bad time on the date.

3. I had to start getting up earlier which is a monumental task for me. This week I read an article that said early risers have less inflammation in their bodies and anything I can do to keep inflammation at bay is a good thing. Plus, if I can get up earlier on the weekends, I will have more time to write. So far, I’m failing at this one.

4. I can’t make it through a whole workout yet. They’re almost two hours long! Hell, I barely make it through the warmups. Yesterday, I was close on the stretching one though. I liked that one. Today, I decided to do my own thing that was shorter as I was short on time. Mainly? I practiced martial arts.

Hopefully, next week will be more successful. I figure it’s not terrible that I’m struggling given that George St. Pierre sweats buckets while doing it and he works out a lot more than I do.

Well, back to work as I have plans this evening.

Ciao,
R~

Thoughtful Thursday – Busy Weekend Ahead

A couple of things were on my mind on this beautiful September day.

Yesterday, I had an interview. It came with a writing assignment. Followed by a request to reformulate the piece. Followed by silence. Either I failed or the interviewer got busy. It is my dream job, so I’m really hoping I didn’t fail, but I will still find a way to write for a living. It is what makes my soul sing and I can’t ignore that.

But I don’t have time to dwell on that because this weekend is the Canadian National Iaido Championships. The what? It’s that thing I do where I wear fancy pants and swing a sword about. No, it’s not like that girl Jessie something-or-other. We’re not about the flashy.

I’m hoping I perform better than I did at the last tournament. I had a cold and seasonal allergies assaulting me all at once and I felt barely alive. This time, my legs are a little stronger. I’ve been working hard on my posture, my focus, and many other things. This time, I’m bringing my A-game.

I’m looking forward to spending quality time with friends I see rarely. Perhaps I’ll even make some new ones!

I’m about 90% packed. Some of my things are stubborn about drying. It will need ironing. The camera is charging and I’ve cleared the memory card in case anyone from my dojo wants their grading filmed. Oh, and they’ll actually get a copy because they should. Left to pack also are toiletries like toothpaste and such. Still need to empty some things from the car and put gas in it. Garbage to take out after breakfast too. Almost ready.

Off to dream nice things I hope.

Ciao,

R~

Merry Monday – Sitting Around

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I spent a lot of today at a doctor’s appointment. Telemedicine is wonderful except when there are technical difficulties. If the chairs were comfortable, I think  people wouldn’t mind being stuck waiting as much. Do medical offices ever test the chairs before they buy them?

They say that sitting is as bad as smoking now. I suppose streaming services have contributed to this. Before, I might watch one episode of a TV show at night and during the commercials, I would get up and do something in between like put a load of laundry on. I would get up several times during an hour long show. Now, I watch several episodes in succession only getting up to use the washroom or grab a snack.

But I’m an active person at heart. I like taking walks. I love skating. I’m a passionate martial artist. I like geocaching. When I play my guitar, I’m almost always standing.

As a writer, I sit a lot. It’s on my mind, lately. It has affected my posture to some degree. I notice it at martial arts.

I’m going to start writing from a standing position at least part of the time.

I’m going to take more walks too. I got out of the habit because of the heat waves, but those should be ending soon. I like walking with the Charity Miles app. It’s the perfect thing for me because I have a hard time choosing between charities. I can pick a different one each time I go walking. It could use a random button, but I think I’ll pick a charity for each month.Since it’s nearly 11pm, I’m going to wait until tomorrow to start regular walks. My neighbourhood can be dangerous once the sun goes down and I like all of my bits in their current configuration.

Off to do some research for my next short story. It’s working title is, “The Language of Love.” It’s a Steampunk Romance. For research tonight, I will begin reading “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” as I’ve not written a Steampunk story yet. I’m going to have to watch my tendency to turn romance into erotica as I don’t think this publisher is looking for that. What can I say? I can get a little carried away in my writing…

Oh, and I forgot to post Friday’s post on Friday. Sorry for that. It’s up if you want to read it too.

Ciao,
R~

Thoughtful Thursday – One Month

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Today is an anniversary. I have been without a job for one month.

Here are my goals:

  1. Become bilingual.
  2. Write.
  3. Become an independent contractor.
  4. Get my home clean.
  5. Get fit.

I’ll break down the status of each of my goals below.

Become Bilingual

  • I have registered, paid, and been placed into French level 2. I’m really happy that I found a budget-friendly place to learn French. It is something I’ve always wanted to do as many of my family members only speak French and I want to be able to talk to them. Family reunions are seldom enough that it’s entirely possibly that I will be fluent for the next one!

Write

  • I am currently editing a short story for publication in an anthology this fall.
  • I will be doing more edits on my urban fantasy erotica novel before submitting it to a publisher.
  • I will be writing another short story for winter.

Become an Independent Contractor

  • I am registered with a recruiter thanks to a friend I will owe dinner to.
  • I have created a website.
  • I have met with accountants.
  • I am getting my financial advisor to talk with the accountants to get them on the same page.
  • I have begun applying to contracts.
  • I will be reading to refresh some of my skills because that never hurts.
  • I should get business cards and a logo drawn up.

Clean the House

  • I bought a small bookshelf to organize my things better.
  • I bought a proper shoe rack for my closet to make better use of the bookshelf I had in there and now I can see the floor in my dining area.
  • Did some recycling though there is more left to do.
  • Did some dishes, but there is more left to do.
  • This item will take longer as it is a lower priority than everything else.

Get Fit

  • I’ve gotten some smaller plates and bowls from the dollar store to get better control over my portion sizes. My other ones will be left for special occasions.
  • I’m aiming for 30 minutes of cardio each day.
  • Every 2 days I’m doing other exercises.

Other than those specific goals, I’m continuing to do my martial art. There is a seminar and taikai (tournament) coming in a couple of weeks that I am preparing for. I came in third at the last tournament. I’m hoping to improve upon that. I’ve been working hard on my core strength, my focus, and my hip alignment. There is so much to coordinate between one’s body, mind, and sword that it is not easy.

What is on my mind, though? Well, for a while I felt like nothing was improving. As I’ve been editing this short story, for example, I had 10 pages left no matter how much new content I added. Today, I finally broke through that and have 7 pages left. I’m stuck at the current place and need to do some thinking to get out of this spot. And on the job front, all the contracts available were asking for much more experience than I currently have. One came up today that I am missing some things for, but not as extremely outmatched as the rest. I was also informed of a potential writing job, which if I can’t get a contract, at least I would be working in the interim and adding to my business writing skills portfolio.

I have some upcoming appointments through my job coach as I’m still unemployed. I am certainly not just sitting around. Tomorrow, I have a workshop on interviews. Next week, I meet with people regarding my clothing. I also have to put in another EI report. Due to severance, I haven’t begun actually collecting any money from EI yet.

There is condo drama that is also on my mind, but I’m refusing to get involved.

As I’ve spent the bulk of the day editing, I am taking the night off from that. Dishes, laundry, and a movie are calling to me.

Ciao,
R~

Merry Monday: Obstacles

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I’m fighting with squirrels. They are intent on eating my 3rd-floor balcony garden. This, of course, has given me ideas for the scenes in my novel that involve squirrels. To be clear, I already had squirrels in it, but the scene is better now.

And as I learned to shoot guns this weekend, those critters are lucky I live in a condo instead of the country. I’ll stick to shooting bad guys in Uncharted. For now.

I bought some wood to build cages with chicken wire so I can hope for something to harvest later this summer. Cayenne didn’t seem to help much in the squirrel war.

It was a tough day at martial arts yesterday. Early on, my quadriceps began to seize up in protest. Did I give up? No. I drank a bunch of water and switched to standing versions for a while. After a bit, my legs were fine and I could do it properly. Well, as proper as my current rank and fitness levels allow for, at any rate.

Today, I had an exercise stress test to check my heart out. That organ is a family weak spot, so it’s something to monitor now and then. They rubbed my skin with alcohol, used sandpaper on it, then stuck electrodes to me. My skin still burns. It’s rather like the burn after a tattoo only I don’t have pretty art to show for it, just damaged skin. Oh, and as my legs were already super sore from yesterday’s iaido class… Well, that was loads of fun running on a treadmill. My quadricep pain is my own fault for missing two classes, though.

Well, this week is a good one to get back onto my exercise schedule. Tonight is yoga, which will feel fantastic on my sore muscles. But first, groceries because I have almost no food in my house. Well, I have no meat I mean and I either need some of that or tofu to make a stir fry.

Ciao,
R~

 

Merry Monday: Cashflow

Image created using Bit Strips.

Image created using Bit Strips.

I’m a little short on cash this week, but I’m mostly cool with it. I paid more of my credit card debt off than perhaps I should have last pay. In the end, it’ll work out. I can eat and pay all my major bills with only hydro being late. It’s slightly uncomfortable, but I really only have to get through tomorrow before it’s pay day.

My ISBN account was activated on Friday, so I’ll be working on getting a short story up this week. It is a horror piece from that slightly dark and twisty place inside of me. Of course Amazon and the other places like Kobo will take their cut, so I don’t expect that to help my cashflow much.

It’s a year where I’m having to budget pretty finely to ensure I can pay for the writing conferences and iaido seminars that lay ahead. I’m a little upset at myself as I somehow got sidetracked. I won’t beat myself up about it though. We all do it and it could be a lot worse.

Somehow I have to figure out getting money together for a crown on a tooth I had a root canal on. I may not be able to get any tattoo work done this year. With my extra dry mouth it’s extra important to take care of it. I really want to start that Harry Potter tattoo, but it may have to wait.

Winning the lottery would really help, but as that’s unlikely to happen I’ll just reduce my spending.

Growing some of my own food this summer should reduce some costs if they are successful. I have lettuce, kale, strawberries, peas, scallions, basil, dill, tomatoes, jalapenos, and cayenne peppers to plant. I’m really looking forward to the mild temperatures ahead this week.

Weekend Recap

I didn’t make it through the full skating time on Friday, but I had a good time anyway. I’m hoping to learn some jam skating. Though it had been over a year since I last had my roller skates on, I didn’t fall even when I did some clumsy transitions.

Saturday was extremely busy.

At sewing class in the morning, I made a pocket that hangs off my iaido belt for holding a small water bottle. The teacher was very helpful. I think I need to alter the pattern to make the opening line up with the one on my fancy pants (hakama).

Next, I drove to the other dojo in town, hurriedly choked down some food, and did 3 hours of iaido, which is double the longest time we normally practice. A slight change to my foot position in Ippon-me Mae, our most important and foundational kata, has made a huge difference. I’m sure my sensei has been telling me the same thing, but having someone else say it differently and force me into a position, seems to have made it sink in. This kata is the most important one of all because there are many similar ones. I’ve heard in Japan it’s common to make you do this one and only this one until you get it right. It’s a horizontal cut to the opponent’s eyes or forehead followed by a cut down the centerline. We do at least 10 different flavours of it where the distance may be closer or maybe we missed one or both of the cuts and have to chase the opponent and/or block or we’re facing a different direction.This discovery has me wondering if that’s the secret to a whole other set of kata I struggle with.

Saturday iaido was followed by a café visit to talk about upcoming seminars. Next, a birthday party for a newer friend. She had banned presents, so I brought my illustrated Harry Potter & The Philosopher’s Stone for her to peruse. I couldn’t stay long as I had to drive out to Rockland for the season opener of roller derby. It was a double header where two Ottawa leagues were going head to head. There’s been quite a lot of rivalry between the two over the years, so I knew I had to see it. The first derby bout was a slaughter by 300 points in favour of Rideau Valley. Rideau Valley also one the second, but the game was close much of the time and the win was only by 44 points. I much preferred the second game.

Sunday I waited a long time to get my monthly B12 shot before finally going to see Deadpool, which I thoroughly enjoyed. It was vulgar & action-filled, had a love story & gratuitous sex, and it was hilarious from the opening credits throughout.

Off to read Harry Potter before catching some Zs.

Ciao,
R~