Friday, August 28, 2009

More on the Benefits of Karate....

...last night found me in a Nidan (second degree black belt) class. The adults can come to the class, and we'll work on different things. Sometimes going back to the fundamentals and sometimes learning really hard new kata.

...a few nights ago, we reiterated a good reverse punch. Last night, we learned how to correctly to a mitsurin dachi (jungle stance). Part of practicing the mitsurin dachi was to do consecutive ones across the mat. To do them with the most benefit was to do them without standing up completely between the stances. So it was basically like doing the crab-walk, but with a lunge from. This, let me tell you, was like doing the lowest walking lunges you could imagine. I was able to do them pretty well, albeit not perfectly. And it really hit home how much stronger I've become in the last several years. Those are HARD!!

...we also practiced neko dachi (cat stance), which is more technical, but not as physically challenging as the mitsurin.

...the total geek in me loves learning more. Loves the feeling of frustration at not being able to get something the first time so I have to practice to get it. And it's that feeling of learning that has made me more fit than I ever have been in my life.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Benefits of Martial Arts Training....

....where do I even begin?! I wish that I had taken pictures so that I have photographic evidence of how karate has altered my body. We have composite pictures hanging in our dojo from February 2008, and someone the other day looked at me and said "That's not you!" Upon looking closer at the picture, I realized that she was right!

... To give a little background on my body-shape history.... About three years ago, I stepped on the scale at someone's house (we didn't have one at home at the time) to discover that I was heavier than I was just before I gave birth to Collin. The scale was approaching 170 in a fast and furious way. Three years before that, I was down to 138, which was the smallest I'd been since college (oh, the stress of preemie twins and its effect on weightloss!). So three years of little physical exercise and consoling myself with food (a safer option than other vices I could have had...for the kids, at least), had gained me thirty pounds. I'm not a tall woman, so even 10 pounds can have an impact on how I look. It was time to do something!

...So I got a gym membership. And I blasted the cardio. Toward the end of my run at the gym, I'd started mixing in weights, but nothing that would really render me sore. My panic-point with the scale was in March 2006. By June, I'd reformed my eating habits and through that and exercise, I got down to 140. I went from busting out of size 14 pants to 10's and 12's. After a while, I stopped exercising as frequently. That fall, I quit the gym and started karate. At first, I have to tell you, I didn't really put my heart and soul into it, so it didn't really do anything to alter my physique. So, slowly, after a year of not working out as much, I started to gain inches and a little bit of weight. Back up to almost 150. I still looked a sight better than I had the year prior, but pictures of me in a bathing suit while on vacation really had an impact. About this time, karate started to get harder. I had to practice more and more to be able to learn the material. And guess what? The inches started flying off! I wasn't really losing too much weight. The weight loss itself was gradual. But my clothes really started fitting looser. And because I was having fun while doing it, it didn't seem like I was working out. I started really working at class... sweating through my shirt (which is my marker for how hard I'm working out). By Spring of 2008, I had to start shopping for smaller clothes. But because I only saw myself as my bigger self, I still was reaching for clothes that were too big (Thank you to my dear friends who went shopping with me and helped me to see the error of my ways). By the fall of 2008, I was working out for my black belt, and was practicing five or so times a week. I was able to get down to 125 pounds. It was a great feeling, because I'd not been that small since Collin was a baby.

...Up until this summer, I'd really not incorporated any other exercise into my routine. It's largely been karate. And, while the scale is starting to ever increase to 140, I'm more MUSCLE than anything else. I've had times where my clothes started to feel a bit more snug, but mostly, I'm still at about a size 6/8 with some 4's mixed in!

...Karate is one of those activities where you use your entire body, especially your core. You need your core to get power into your punches and kicks. Powerful stances mimic lunges and squats. Kata brings about a strength training and cardio at the same time. I can't say enough about the physical benefits of karate......

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Legs and Back X....

....holy cow! I did the workout just fine (only having to stop before the "kids" a few times throughout the workout), and felt fine afterward even. But late last night/early this morning and today, I really understand what someone meant when they said it was "Assripper X".

... and to continue on my contstant theme of modifications to the schedule and workouts, I substituted Kenpo X yesterday with Sparring on Friday and moved Legs and Back X to yesterday and didn't do the Kenpo X. My thought is that Sparring is similar enough to the Kenpo X. Not exactly, and I didn't work out the same length of time, but I'm going to try to not feel guilty about it.

... I actually took today off. My body needed it. The guilt I feel is in that I ate and drank way too much this weekend. Oh, well. I wasn't watching what I ate and drank before I started this nonesense, I'm not really going to start now. But I really should. ;-)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Amazing to Me....

...Of course, I've not lost any weight with my workouts. But I HAVE started to notice the results of my efforts. And, for anyone, that is key. The results are significant enough to keep me going and make me feel like I HAVE to work out. Don't get me wrong. I WANT to work out. It has such an impact on how I feel, both physically and mentally. But I would rather work out doing karate than P90X, in all honesty. The bad thing is that I don't have room in my house to work out the same as I do at the dojo. So I'll settle for doing P90X workouts.

...What's funny is that on the days I have a good karate workout, I feel like I've put in enough effort, so I don't feel the need to "push play." I'm feeling the need to figure out how to put moderation into my life with working out. I can't be a junky. I don't have time for it. But I like being strong and looking fit.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Breathing... never ceases to amaze me how far breathing will take you. Even breath while exercising makes such a difference, whether it be while running, doing plyometrics (ack!), sparring during karate, or lifting weights. It's a crucial thing. And is something I need to learn to actively manage. I have a tendency to hold my breath at key moments, and that makes life so much harder!

...I did my second round of plyometrics today. Aaron rang the dinner bell with about 25 minutes left to go, so I didn't finish the workout. Am trying not to beat myself up over it. I did go to karate after dinner, though. Of course, I was totally wiped out from everything else, so it probably wasn't the smartest move on my part. But we're going to be down a class this week due to Meet The Teacher night at school. It's always something, isn't it?

Monday, August 17, 2009

What's a Guilt-Ridden Momma Supposed to do??

So here's my delimma... It's easier for my conscience if I work out in the morning. It's easier for my body if I work out at night. It steals less time from my kids if I work out in the morning.... *sigh* It's a delimma for certain, but I think I'm going to work out at 8:15 p.m. when the twins go to bed... we'll see... I'm wishy-washy. The bad days for working out late, though, are the days I have karate.

I'll eventually will make up my mind, but after working out today and being able to finish 80% of the workout instead of 60-70%, I think I'm leaning toward the evening.

I just finished working out. I did most of the workout, and I feel great!

And I went two times around the 'hood with my kids.... so all's not lost!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sparring Party

Today, which, mind you, is supposed to be my day off of working out according to the P90X
program, I went to a dojo to spar. We worked out pretty hard for nearly two hours. I feel great. But I'm also exhausted beyond belief now.

I loved the sparring today. With the tournaments I've done, I've accumulated some good friends who encompass all that I believe to be the martial arts. They work out simply for the fact of working out. And they let anyone participate. And I learned a lot today, which makes me so very happy.

And, I sweat through my shirt and blasted through two liters of water. Ha!