The Hazards of Being Fabulous

I know, I know, it seems like all I talk about these days is Zumba. How I dress for it, how much I love it, how great it is. Whatever, old news, right?

Well, did you ever know how dangerous Zumba can be?

It’s risky to shake it as hard as I do, sometimes.

Let me explain.

Certain instructors like to split the room in half and work the room in a dance-off. A battle of epic, Step Up proportions. And these are excellent times. On Monday, I visited Women’s Only Workout in Chapel Hill for the first time (membership is a perk from the Healthiest You Challenge). I figured I’d tour it and try a Zumba class.  Only my fellow participants weren’t exactly as hyped up as I’m used to. While I was hooting and hollering, they were sort of silent coyotes, dancing without words.  So, when the room was split up, the instructor called me out.

Instructor: “Who do you Zumba with? Like, who taught you?”

Me: “Oh, goodness, like… any and every instructor, really.”

Instructor: “Well, class, you gotta Zumba like THIS GIRL! Get into it, let’s hear some noise!”

Me – “Challenge ACCEPTED.”

That was a challenge, right? So I decided to REALLY bring it.

The side vs. side dance-off began simply enough, lots of shaking and shimmying.

Then, we took it to the next level. We’re talking booty-popping, locking, and dropping.  So I decided to top it off with a grand finale, guaranteed to garner cheers and joy from my fellow Zumb-ers.

After shaking my way to the center, I thrust my hand in the air (like so):

You know what’s coming

Then, in an epic gesture, I dropped it low and SMACKED the floor. Like this:

MAKE THAT FLOOR WISH IT WAS NEVER LAID!

And, the moment I spanked the living daylights out of that floor, I felt it.  Right in my hand, a searing pain that one might expect to get had they slapped a brick wall for sassing them, or had their hands rapped with rulers for being snarky in school.  So, I continued to dance as the crowd roared with laughter and cheering and claps.  But what I WANTED to do was this:

MOTHER OF ALL THINGS HOLY THAT HURT!

The result?

Hand bruises are no jokes, y’all.

What did we learn from today’s lesson, friends?

Winning a Zumba dance off is worth any and all pain.

I don’t regret a thing.

Healthiest You Challenge: Progress!

Oh.

My.

Goodness.

HELLO, new friend!

THAT is a number I haven’t seen in quite some time.  And even that one time I saw it, it was only once. And only for a brief second.  And there was a .5 added to it.

What I’m trying to say is WHOAH I got some progress going on!

When I started this Healthiest You Challenge, I weighed in at 178.  Which is actually 37 lbs lighter than when I started.  But still 13 lbs above my ultimate goal. And I know that weight isn’t the only measure of progress, so I wanted to share some other progress made.

I’m doing 50 pushups a day.  Not in a row, mind you. But over the course of the day, in sets of 10, I’m doing them. And I’m feeling stronger.

I’m mixing up my workouts.

Feeling that burn!

That is a combination of a Muscle Conditioning Class and the Core class right after. I’ve definitely been neglecting strength training lately, being all cardio and Zumba obsessed.  But this glass challenged ALL of my muscles, and I was sore in places I haven’t even thought about in years.  The use of weights, resistance bands, steps, and sliding disks made for a variety of exciting new exercises that kept me challenged.

Holy 191 HR!

The High Intensity Training (don’t mind that extra I in the text on the image) class is described like this:

H.I.T. only lasts 45 minutes as opposed to 60 minutes, but it is done at near maximal intensity the entire time. Cardio circuit after cardio circuit, muscular circuit after muscular circuit, the class will keep your heart pounding from start to finish, with minimal rest and maximum effort. As with any class particpants can make it as hard as they wish, with safety always coming first in the form of various options and modifications, but as a general rule of thumb, this class is not for the faint of heart.

I’ll be honest, NOTHING about that sounds fun. And, compared to choreographed workout classes, it wasn’t “fun”, per se. But it WAS hard, and exciting, and I felt like I was shocking my muscles with moves like Burpees with the Bosu ball and standing-on-one-leg bicep curls and EXPLOSIVE jumps from a standing position.  I think I rocked it.

I’m also tracking all my food intake on My Fitness Pal and have gotten a lot better about not overdoing it over the weekend.  That doesn’t mean it’s been smooth sailing.

There have been bumps (sometimes, in the shape of a family sized box of Wheat Thins split between two ladies on a Sunday evening…)

Family of two, anyone? (And yes, that’s the infamous Brian Krakow a la My So-Called Life on the screen behind the box.)

But it’s working. I’m getting over my plateau with hard work, and dedication.  And knowing I have a team behind me, cheering me on as they work for the same goal as me, that’s another welcome addition to the party.

This Healthiest You Challenge is actually making me feel like the healthiest Jordan I’ve been in a long time.  But don’t worry, I haven’t changed all that much….

Still taking life as seriously as ever.

Thanks to everyone for their support so far, June 8th is approaching quickly and I really hope I can reach my goal (or at least get a little closer!!)

Healthiest You Challenge: Week 3 with Jazzercise!

Jazzercise.

Yup.

That is the first image that pops up when I google image search the term. Jazzercise, according to a pal on MyFitnessPal, evokes this response:

OMG, I haven’t even heard that term in like 20 years! Makes me think back to my old Jane Fonda videos!!

Well… Turns out that’s not really what Jazzercise is all about.  According to the internet, “Jazzercise is a fusion of jazz dance, resistance training, Pilates, yoga, and kickboxing.” When I visited the Chapel Hill Jazzercise location (located dangerously close to a bagel shop and a barbecue joint, eep), I didn’t know what to expect. While I didn’t imagine unitards and shiny leggings, I sort of wish I’d brought a pair of leg warmers, if only to get the full experience.

The full experience, however, was pretty fantastic.

For the Healthiest You Challenge, we are required to try a few community health options out over the 8 weeks. 6 complimentary Jazzercise classes were on that list. While I’m accustomed to a gym full of hyperactive “yo pros” (Young professionals) with the occasional student mixed in at O2 Fitness, Jazzercise was definitely an older crowd.  That being said, it definitely wasn’t “OLD” old, and there was a range from about mid- to late-20s all the way up to (I assume) 60s.  A great mix, and everyone seemed very excited.

Getting JAZZY!

As far as the outfits, folks weren’t rocking my dream of Glitter Body Suits, but all looked pretty fashionable in bright colors and comfortable workout gear.  Nothing out of the standard fitness gear.

There were only females in my class, though I know that Jazzercise welcomes males and females.

(Sorry for the lousy picture)

The perceived exertion chart sort of set up the class as far as how we’d be working out.  There’s a buildup with a warmup, a sustained peak for four songs (in this particular class, I’ve heard it can vary), and then a period of slowing/cooling down, which included some strength training.

My thoughts?

I’ll admit, I was wary initially. The warmup was REALLY slow, and my heart rate stayed a lot lower than I’m used to in my standard dance fitness classes (like Zumba or Bodyjam).  However, after a little while, I could see why folks were so dedicated to this class. Though it moves at a slower pace, you definitely are getting a solid workout in. Most of the songs I’d never heard before (with about 3 exceptions during the whole hour class), and I always kind of prefer being able to sing along, but (at points) I was working so hard that singing would’ve been a challenge.

Jazzercise is less about sexily shaking what your mama gave you, and more about a fun dance workout to music.  I get the feeling it sort of set the groundwork or foundation for lots of more modern classes, and it’s always good to know where your roots are.  The participants were all in good spirits, which was contagious enough to have me whooping with the rest of the class about halfway in.  My favorite part of the class, though, was definitely the strength portion.

The gear!

There was a section for arms, for lower body (booty, thighs), and an ab section, covering all most of the bases.  This was a nice change of pace from my usual cardio-only classes, and I liked jumping off that cardio high to focus on small, controlled weight lifting and inner/outer thigh work.

As far as Jazzercise goes, while I can’t say that I’m a convert, I will happily say that I’m a believer that it can be a great fitness workout for some people. It’s affordable, it’s a great feeling of community, and, I imagine, with enough practice, the steps feel like second nature.

Without any practice, you may end up bumbling around like a fool for few parts.

I know I did.

According to my HRM, I burned 692 calories during the hour (with a few questionable peaks that make me wonder if, at the end, I may have bumped it or made it go funny).  But hey, I broke a serious sweat, and had fun doing it.

I haven’t had a chance to get my weigh-in for the week (blessing in disguise after a bit of overeating on the weekend), but I’ll let you know when I check in on that, too.

Have you ever tried Jazzercise? What’d you think?

or, if you haven’t, What’s one exercise class you’ve always wanted to try but haven’t had a chance?

Healthiest You Challenge: Week 2

And so we’re two weeks into the Healthiest You Challenge.  I’m feeling great, and I’m down 4.6 lbs! Admittedly, that’s since my higher-than-normal weigh-in, but my team went from an initial gain to either maintaining or losing this week! It’s especially tough, as our weigh-ins are on Mondays, but it’s just a big reminder to not go crazy on the weekends.

After our successful weigh-in (any loss is a loss!), we met our assistant coach, Anne, for a big group workout.  She took us outside for some running, skipping, walking lunges (OUCH!), and lots of squats.

Since I’d already warmed up on the treadmill, I tried to push myself as hard as possible during our time with Anne.

The always-popular butt kicks:

It looks like I have a tiny yellow nub for a right leg. Sexy.

Some slow and low shuffles (followed later by some speedy ones!)

LASER-LIKE FOCUS!

We even had our own mascot mascat! I’ll assume his loud, meowing was actually him cheeering us on.  Then again, his speed running away from me as I tried to take a picture of him suggests otherwise.

DON'T RUN, LITTLE FRIEND!

Oh well, he just made me run faster.

We wrapped up the night with full-team squats!  Looks like team “The Drop Off” knows how to drop it low

Drop it drop it low, girls (and guys!)

It was strange, after a long, intense workout, I burned lots of calories… but I didn’t feel very hungry.

Check out those spikes!!

Luckily, thanks to an amazing coupon, I picked up one of the new Summer Berry Blend Quaker Real Medleys. I don’t go gaga over oatmeal most of the time, but this mix was delicious.

Quick, easy, and delicious.

Just what I needed, but I just wasn’t hungry enough for anything else tonight… I’m sure I’ll be ravenous tomorrow.

Tonight was a great night for my team, and for me, personally.  I’m loving it.

If you weigh yourself, do you have particular days of the week or times of the day you like to do it?

I used to always have the weigh-in Wednesdays with Weight Watchers, but Monday nights have totally been a challenge!  I must remember: No going overboard all weekend, every weekend!

Maybe a few less late night french fries….

Healthiest You Challenge: Let the Games Begin!

So I haven’t necessarily been the healthiest Holly lately. There have been pork parties, Beer Festivals and entire bottles of champagne, and a few too many Easter Peeps (when you’re at the Peeps mecca, it’s hard to resist).  And I’ll let you in on a little inside scoop: It’s sort of been on purpose.

I know, I know, what kind of a reformed overeater am I?

The kind that’s been gearing up for something big.

I was notified, not too long ago, that I was selected to participate in a most EXCITING adventure! UNC Health Care and 1360 WCHL are putting on their second annual Healthiest You Challenge, during which 8 teams of 8 will compete against each other for 8 weeks to get fit, get healthy, and get down to business.  We had our weigh-in on Sunday so, I’ll be honest, I might’ve crammed a few extra pork bites in the mouth before the big step on the scale!

All the stats!

My blood pressure was apparently a little higher than usual, I’m hoping that had more to do with the pork I crammed in my mouth earlier in the day, but hopefully a chat with my coach, an RD/LDN, could help me out.  I’ll work on it.

My team, The Drop-Off, is sponsored by The UPS Store.  Ha, get it, the drop-off?  While this does mean that our shirts are a weird looking brown/tan/beige/skin color, it also means WE COULD GET SOME FREE COPIES!

The little things, eh?

Yesterday, we had our launch. This included meeting our teammates and our coach, as well as a little tour of the UNC Wellness Center, our headquarters for lots of the workouts and services offered.

Sweet cardio section!

I loved their vast machine area, lots of cardio AND weights, something for everyone.

Upstairs track

We also checked out the track on the second floor, which also housed the cycle room or the Zumba room (I think it’s a multi-purpose room, depending on what day of the week it is).  On the left, you can sort of see the blue of the pool room. They also have a whirlpool and a sauna (!!!!! YES !!!!)

Another bonus?

We are REQUIRED to take advantage of a free massage from Massage Envy.

Fine, pull my leg.

I started off today strong, tracking my food intake and exercise on MyFitnessPal (I guess I’m the last human on the planet to try this out?)  It told me that “If every day were like today…   You’d weigh 164.2 lbs in 5 weeks.”

Little does it know that, in the next 5 weeks, all kinds of craziness will go down. I’ve got a trip home this weekend, a visit to Jersey in the middle of May, and that mysterious “Triangle Bucket List” that I’ve still yet to get all on paper.  But, with vigilance, exercise, and moderation, I think I can do it.  And I know I’ve said that whole “I can DO IT! I’m gonna stick with __ plan!” in the past, I think that those plans (30 Day Shred, Fitbook) were a little too unfamiliar. This plan feels more like Weight Watchers, which is what I had so much success with when I first lost 40 lbs.

Tracking.

Balancing.

Sweating.

I got this.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN...

Let the 74th Annual Hunger Games 2nd Annual Healthiest You Challenge begin!