Monday, March 28, 2011

Power Hour

I was always an active kid- dance classes, softball, basketball, swimming, soccer- but I have never liked working out just for the sake of working out. I played Division II soccer in the beginning of college, which you'd think would imply a serious commitment to fitness..... not so. When my team was supposed to be lifting weights, one teammate and I would sneak away to see who could catch gummy bears in our mouths from the furthest distance away (I can admit this now as I no longer play and I'm almost positive that my coach will not be reading this blog).

Clearly, I was not what you would call a serious collegiate athlete.

Luckily, I've always been at a healthy weight (to the dismay of my "dieting" family members who would warned me of a slowing metabolism in my future as I stuffed my face with cheesecake and cookies at family parties. Disclaimer: I no longer eat cheesecake or glutenous cookies, but more on that in upcoming posts) without really having to try (knock on wood). When organized sports ended, with their scheduled practices and vigorous endurance training, so did any resemblance of fitness in my life. For a while.

After grad school, I moved out of state and started my first "real" job. Life was good, except I lived in Iowa (no offense... I do have fond memories of the place). A co-worker of mine started dragging inviting me along to the gym. I went, mostly because, like I said, I lived in Iowa.... what else was I going to do? After a couple weeks of this, she announced that she was signing up for a tri-athalon. My initial thought was something along the lines of "no way, that's crazy. I could holy crap, did I just tell myself that I could never do something. I'm doing it." That was the day I started training for my first (and only) tri-athalon.

I really liked it. That's actually not true. What I meant to say was I really liked crossing the finish line. I did one more race that summer, and then I was done. And when I say 'done,' I mean I stopped working out. Cold turkey. I like to blame this mostly on the fact that I moved back to Michigan and away from my co-worker who instigated the whole thing. But, if I'm going to be honest, I still never liked working out for the sake of working out. And no race t-shirt was going to change that.

Just as I was settling into my "I don't workout and I'm okay with that" lifestyle, I started really getting into wellness. Holistic health. The kind of thing that focuses on maximizing potential. The kind of health that says exercise is a crucial component for brain functioning. Oh man, this was about to ruin a good thing. At first I was able to explain away my aversion to a committed fitness program. It's not like I became a total couch potato- I still rode my bike on occasion, took my dog for walks on many occasion, went for hikes in the woods... that was plenty good enough. Not quite.

Turns out, exercise is the ONLY way to normally express our genes. It's an essential nutrient, like sleep, vitamins, or water. If you don't get enough, eventually your body can't handle it. Lack of exercise creates an abnormal gene expression.... or more specifically, your cells are sad. Sad cells  = sick cells = sick you, or me. I don't know about you, but I personally do not want to walk around with 100 trillion sad little sick cells in my body. The question is, do I not want sad little sick cells bad enough to do something about it? No, seriously, that's the question. I haven't answered it yet, but time will tell.

I made a deal with myself.

It was time for a little extrinsic motivation. There's something that I really want to do, a class that I really want to take at the end of the summer. Its expensive, and not really necessary, but I still want to do it. So, here's my deal: Power Hour (and no, not the kind of power hour that your local college frat boy is fond of)- physical activity, real physical activity, a minimum of three days per week (seemed reasonable). This will be assessed later, but its a starting point for now. And when I say real physical activity, I don't mean walking. Not for me (although I encourage anyone to start wherever they need to. If putting on a pair of running shoes is a feat for you, then by all means do it, and love yourself for it). This is going to involve sweating. As if this wasn't enough, I'm going to up the ante and commit to (in addition to nurturing my physical self) nurturing my emotional and spiritual selves too. Every. Day.

Oh, and did I mention that I plan on doing it in the mornings. Yes, mornings. Before work. As in 5:00 AM. As in, before most of the world has rolled out of bed.  

Exercising, meditating, reading, praying, yoga, writing, etc. Most excitingly, consuming a delicious Vega smoothie. This smoothie covers all components of Power Hour: mind (mental), body (physical), and soul (spiritual). Its that good and I love it that much. Plus, check out all the vitamins and nutrients. Swoon.

While Vega protein powder would be delicious all on its own, mixed with water, I like to jazz it up a little. Oh, and I don't measure really, but you can't screw it up. Promise.
Vega Smoothie Recipe
1.  1 fresh or frozen organic banana
2.  1 handful frozen organic strawberries
3.  1 handful frozen organic blueberries
4.  One package Vega - Berry
5.  One stick of fresh organic kale
6.  About 1 (maybe more) Cup of Nut Milk
(I use homemade Cashew milk)

Put all ingredients in a blender (VitaMix) and blend on high until smooth. Enjoy!  Makes 2 servings

So, for the sake of my brain and my 100 trillion happy little cells, this is my new mantra: I hate love to workout, I hate love to work out, I hate love to work out. Like I said, I'm a work in progress.

As motivation and confirmation that I'm not the only crazy motivated one out there, I'd love to hear your Power Hour routine, if you have one, or if you want one.


  1. I love my Power Hour partner! You're already such a positive influence on me and I enjoy that your blog will now be that for others.

  2. So - I do not have a blog and stumbled upon your blog while wasting time on Facebook. I want to join your power hour with Jess! Where do I sign up!!! I will come back to the Y if need be :) I need power hour buddies - and 5am is my time to shine!

  3. Awesome Tina! I've been running outside in the mornings, but I'll be going to the YMCA for some of the mornings too. I'll email you about meeting up!

  4. Cedes:
    I have to say that I am insanely jealous at your "new found" motivation! I'm afraid I am still snuggled up in bed at 5am, but the idea of getting a great workout in before the sun comes up seems very invigorating.

    I really liked the couple times we went running (last summer? two summers ago?) through the trails in Mqt..if you ever crack and decide that running in the mid-morning might work on some days, count me in :)

  5. Thanks Hayley. So far the early mornings are going great, but I will have the summer off so maybe we can do mid-morning workouts then! Or weekends!