Few things keep me pushing through a long run like decent music. I’m a music junkie, as anyone who knows me can tell you, so it’s only natural that I write about it at some point! I’m all over the place with my preferred genres/eras/groups/indies, which is a decent lead into the first part of this post! I’ve been running with royalty during my long runs lately, thanks to Pandora. Some kings to be exact. The Kings of Leon station has been great for getting my hill repeaters started, as well as during the five-mile-push: The point during a 10-12 mile jaunt where I usually hit my first wall.
I’m a huge fan of Spanish guitar, which I discovered recently, is perfect during my zone running: The point during aforementioned long run where I’m zoned out, putting one foot in front of the other, not really pondering much, and just generally getting to that next mile marker. The beloved Gipsy Kings station produce six to eight minute varieties during which I can just continue to zone, or reconnect with any thoughts I might have at the moment, as opposed to hip hoppers yelling at my ear holes… gets me going in the beginning, but not so much for the zoning which starts around mile five.
Lastly, how could I forget Citizen Cope. Somehow he’s been flying under my radar over the past couple years since the Rock Boat days, and I’ve reconnected with his stylings as of late. I admittedly do a little happy dance inside when ‘Let the Drummer Kick’ appears on my shuffle list.
In keeping with the music-themed post for today, here’s my upcoming ‘must see’ list. For the Charleston area, that is. I’m only making it back to Dallas once in the foreseeable future, so I’m pretending not to see the emails boasting all the hot shows cruising through my hometown over the next few months!
If you miss out on these, you’re stupid. Just kidding. But really, if you’re a music fan, why would you miss these?
- Tonic (kicking myself for missing this)
- Matt Nathanson
- The Wallflowers
- WILL HOGE
- Pat McGee Band
I’m not a fan girl of Will Hoge or anything. See you at the shows!
Previously, I spoke out against the idea of dieting as a means to a happy ending. I also feel passionately about a perceived mentality regarding exercise. I think it’s safe to say that we generally exhaust ourselves trying to fit in some type of exercise regime because we’re “supposed to” for our health, weight maintenance, or other goals we’re trying to achieve. If it’s not that, then we’re mentally beating ourselves up because we can’t find the motivation or confidence in trying something to get us off the couch and out the door. I have a couple points with regard to how we think about exercise. I’m not getting into technicalities of training, target heart rates, etc. If you struggle with how to get started or even stay motivated… hopefully this inspires foundation and direction.
- Activity is good for you. File this under ‘things we already know’. Finding activities that you enjoy? Bonus. Personally, walking on a treadmill to me is the gym equivalent of sitting in a cube for eight hours on end. As a cubie myself, I have to get up, walk around, walk the stairs, visit others, etc. to be productive and stay sane. I can’t just sit there all day. The same holds true when you stick me on a treadmill. It’s only a matter of five productive minutes before I need something else. (To be clear, I love my job, but I’m glad I have the freedom to move around despite being in a cube farm. I’m human.) Bottom line, I do not enjoy the treadmill. Therefore, unless I’m strapped for time or weather conditions, class schedules, etc. do not align, you will not find me there. If I haven’t been clear, I suggest finding activities you enjoy. I’d be willing to bet that in so doing, you won’t be watching the clock while trying to get in your 30, 45, 60+ minutes of activity. You might have fun, too! Taking heed of my first point actually gives my second point less force.
- Exercise is not something you should have to tolerate. If you don’t enjoy your activity, your heart and motivation won’t often just magically meet you where you are. If you have no motivation, how likely are you to really want to get to the gym, out on the pavement, or in the floor of your living room the next day, week, or month? All too often, I hear people talking defeat. When I listen to how they go about their exercise routines, it’s really no surprise that the law of diminishing returns rears its ugly head. Find what works for you, whether it’s group classes, walking with a friend or family member, or enjoying that magazine while riding a stationary bike indoors. Keep trying; you will find something, many somethings, that work for you. This is good, because mixing up your routine will help prevent burn out.
- From time to time, try something new. It will present your body with new challenges physically and mentally; occasionally you might even find a new talent or hobby. Have you read about spin classes and always been curious? Try it! Don’t let the layer of stereotypes you might have to push your way through to get to the classroom fool you. People of all shapes, sizes, ages, races, etc. can be found in group exercise classes at the gym. Thinking about getting outside for a power walk? Start with ten minutes.
The beauty in all of this is that you choose! You are in control of how you choose to push your body, fuel your body, and allow it to rest on a daily basis. Sure, you’ll find sculpting moves to get that ‘buff beach bod’; however, lifting an insane amount of weights or remaining in the plank position for four days, is not the only way to get in shape. That’s not to say I don’t encourage trying new moves (see previous paragraph). No matter what you try or how long to try it, make sure you sweat a little!
I’m so willing to help you find something that works, just let me know!
I got another surge of nervous excitement this afternoon when our inspirational team captain, Bobbi, sent out a relay first-timer’s recap of her race last year.
If you are curious as to what type of craziness I’ve gotten myself into, feel free to get an idea from Chandra’s story.
Over the next week or so, I’ll share more details about the three different legs I’ll be running within a 24 hour period between Ft. Collins and Steamboat Springs.
Two weeks from now Kristin and I will be arriving in Denver; I have a feeling we’ll be kicking the training into high gear and hitting the bridge a few times between now and then!
My plan is to Tweet when I can throughout the big adventure, but trust there will be a big recap post-race, post-travel, and post-catching up on sleep!
For some time, it’s been laid on my heart to address a couple of issues that consume all too many of us: diets and the school of thought which interprets exercise as something to be endured for the sole purpose of an end result. I’ll start with diets.
Raise your hand if you’ve eaten nothing but grapefruit for two weeks, Master Cleansed your way to misery, artificially sweetened your way to a headache, or starved yourself straight into a binge-fest. I’m as guilty as the next person. It only took me an eating disorder and 20+ years of experience with trial and error diets to allow common sense to open my eyes to many realities, but I’ll do my best to abide by my personal blog rule and not get too “preachy” I promise. Everyone is different and brings their personal experiences to the table - again, the opinions expressed here are just those: My opinions based on personal experiences.
Nourishing your body to a better you should be just that: Nourishing your body, not depriving it. I’ll just put it out there: diets are a farce. There are a few points I plan to elaborate on through a series of posts, but this post will focus on a few principles to which I subscribe. I feel strongly that these, partnered with your own morals, beliefs, and quest for authenticity, contribute to a clean, healthy, balanced, content, and improved lifestyle. Weight loss can and will happen, yes…it will even sneak up on you at times.
I’ll start by saying that it’s important to make a lifestyle change, not a temporary change. If you’re going to commit two weeks to eating better, why not make it a way of life? I’m not talking about fad diets here, but rather lifestyle changes that you keep. Consider the following:
- Incorporate as many whole foods and particularly superfoods (e.g. spinach, berries, beans, herbs and spices) into meals. Find something you like and work it into a recipe - or heck, try something new! Each season brings a vibrant array of fruits and veggies to try.
- Enjoy the occasional splurge - everything in moderation! I can’t live without Tex-Mex or pizza. I just don’t eat it everyday and when I do, I listen to my stomach. There’s no need to overeat; it just makes you feel like junk!
- Be mindful; one poor food/meal choice can sometimes spawn a day, weekend, week, etc. of crap-tastic eating! Guilty, party of me. Just because you get off track, doesn’t mean you have to continue…sitting down to each snack or meal is an opportunity to be mindful.
- Find what works for you. I’m not a salad gal, but salads are the iconic “healthy food” right? I got over that a long time ago. I put my salads in between oatmeal bread, or inside a pita with mustard, hummus,or both. Sometimes I eat blended salads. I will eat a Greek salad and that’s about it - it also doesn’t require dressing since all the key players add up to a flavorful dish in and of themselves! As Jenna will say, Feta makes it bettah!
- Play with pairings. A subset of the previous bulletpoint, but worthy of its own shout-out. Experiment, modify a recipe, be your own fusion chef. You may find, as I did when I fell in love with Indian food, you will develop an appreciation for new flavors and spices offered by natural ingredients and whole foods! There are no right or wrongs when you’re eating whole foods you love and that your body craves… which leads to my next point
- Learn to listen. You can hear your tummy growl, but do you listen to what it wants? What it wants is usually what it needs. Some folks subscribe to seasonal eating, or minding their dosha, but if I crave an avocado or banana in the warm months…I’m eating that avocado or banana, by dern it!
- Know your weaknesses. Mine are sweets. I had to find something that worked for me, because keeping sweets within arm’s reach was not. I don’t keep sweets in the house. Period. Now, that doesn’t mean I deprive myself. I enjoy the occasional dessert, yes. To cure that sweet tooth here at home, I nosh on fruits like grapes or a small glass of chocolate soy or almond milk…does the trick everytime.
- Go easy on yourself…we all slip up and lose sight of a goal, but ease up. Remember the previous point about being mindful? We’re all going to have plateaus and off-days. Oh yeah, we’re also human!
I’ll pause here for now on my mission to squash the diet mentality. I have a certain place in my heart for people, particularly women of all ages, who struggle and are often miserable as they go about their daily lives in search of perfection…you beauties are the reason I write today.
I’ll pick up the pen on exercise next!
Grace and peace,
I’m still trying to wrap all my thoughts around an idea I have. For now, I just ask that if you have an ounce of open-mindedness and enjoy getting off the couch at least one night/week, to stay tuned…
Two reviews in one day, I know, but you Charleston locals may just thank me for this one.
Where do I begin? Do I brag on a teacher I’ve had since relocating to Charleston over a year ago or just jump right into the studio experience?
As you can read on their website, the gals at CPY are passionate about practice. That same passion drove them to create this new studio, and therefore what I refer to as a true yoga experience, for folks in the Charleston area. The experience comes from the friendly staff, as well as the boutique, studio, and instruction, all of which have clearly been crafted down to the last detail with the student in mind. That last detail includes a chilled aromatherapy cloth gifted to you at the end of a sweat fest - I used mine to cover my eyes during savasana and could have stayed there for hours!
They just opened Thursday! I attended their first community yoga class, (free every Friday from 5:45-6:45pm) and have also purchased passes to use with different teachers and classes. This will be my fourth studio in which to practice since beginning 2+ years ago with Suze in Dallas. With regard to CPY, I have only practiced under Beth’s instruction at this time, but have practiced alongside Sarah, and look forward to taking her classes, as well as those led by Angela, Allison, and Ashley.
I followed Beth from her previous studio for two main reasons: Her sweet spirit and her Power Vinyasa classes! I was pleasantly surprised to find that Hour of Power was offered to the community free of charge - what a treat! In my experience, community classes are usually fairly basic, but Beth offered plenty of modifications to the beginner, while providing the moderate to advanced level student with a nice challenge if they so desired. What I tend to find from those who attend Beth’s class is that they leave their ego at the door, which encourages you to focus on your needs for your practice. The fact that there are a variety of teachers coincides with my personal belief that yogis should try different classes and teachers - you will gain new knowledge, they may say something that really makes sense to your poses, and you might build a new muscle!
For me, the layout of the studio is ideal. I practiced among about twelve sweatmates, and we could have comfortably fit more into this yoga retreat environment, nestled into therapeutic ambience and modern decor. I enjoyed taking in all the details, including the light fixtures, before class began. What I found to be extremely unique, was that I did not walk in to find a mirror which spanned the wall, but five or so individual floor-to-ceiling mirrors. I like this because it respects the desires of those who prefer to practice without looking at themselves or comparing to others by way of the constant reflection.
If you want to sample a class but don’t have a mat, come on in and rent one. Oh you didn’t bring a towel - they are provided for you free of charge and with no hassle! This is a welcome change compared to other studios. I might suggest bringing a thicker mat than you may be used to, as the solid floors felt different to me, as I’m accustomed to padded flooring. As a runner I have to respect my knees, so I say this with you folks in mind.
Lastly, I appreciated the diversity of the class - something I rarely see in a studio tied to a gym. No matter your age, ethnicity, size, experience, you will find community at CPY. CPY has a very informative site, and to get better acquainted with staff and fellow sweatmates, you can also join them on Facebook.
In fairness, I want to conclude here, as I have only attended one class and see this review as more of a “first impressions” review…with a slight bias toward a beloved teacher :)
Look for this and other reviews at The Holy City Review as well.