Jeffrey's Ledge

Absent Minded

Today’s Workout – Glutes!

Many years ago, I made an effort to shake things up and keep boredom from happening when it came to working out. I took a binder and took my ever growing pile of magazines then got to work. Pulling out workouts I was interested in and placing them in plastic page covers. I have been doing this off and on since 2012. 10 years!! Every 6-12 months, I do it again. I dump some of the workouts I never tried or found that it was too boring. Then put in new things. In and out.

There are some things in there that haven’t left. The workout above was in Fitness Magazine in February 2014. It never left my favorites. Get it Now: A small, firm butt.

And it burned the gluteus just as much as it always has. Here are the 7 moves for you to try!

  • Ice Skater: Stand arm’s length away from a sturdy chair or other object. Bend forward from the hips until your torso is parallel to the floor. Hold on to the object for balance and keep your abs pulled in to support your lower back. Extend left leg behind you, slightly to the left of center, at hip height. Lift leg up and hold for 1 count. Do 2 sets of 20 lifts; repeat with right leg.
  • Spiral: Sit with left leg bent in front of you, knee pointing forward, and right leg bent behind you. Rotate your right hip forward; this should bring right ankle off the floor. Contract your abs, squeeze the right side of your butt, and try to lift your right knee off the floor. Leaning to the left makes it easier, but you may need a few practice sessions to get it. Do 2 sets of 10 lifts; repeat with left leg.
  • Kneeling Butt Toner: Kneel on a mat with knees hip-width apart. Holding onto a sturdy object, pull in your abs and roll your hips under slightly. Keeping torso straight, lift left knee and press leg directly behind you, not out o the side. Do 2 sets of 20 presses; repeat with right leg.
  • High Angle Pelvic Lift: Lie on your back with feet hip-width apart against a wall or on a charm knees bent 90 degrees so shins are parallel to the floor. Pull abs in and squeeze glutes as you lift hips. Hold for 1 count, then release down to the floor. Do 2 sets of 20 lifts.
  • Standing Barre: Second Position: Position feet about 2 feet wider than your hips, toes angled out. Bend knees and lower hips until thighs are parallel to the floor. Keep torso upright with abs tight; don’t stick your butt out. Raise arms in front of you. Press your knees back as you do 20 strong contractions of your glutes, then stand up and rest. Do 2 more sets of 20 contractions.
  • Prone Leg Extension: Lie facedown with your legs extended. Place a towel or pillow under your hips or use your palms to cushion your hip bones. Bend your right knee 90 degrees and point your toes toward the ceiling. Contract your abs and lift your right leg up — not out to the side — squeezing your glutes tight (movement is small). Hold for 1 count, then lower. Do 2 sets of 20 slow lifts; repeat with left leg. Keep hips pressed to the floor throughout.
  • Standing Glute Lifter/Bent Knee Variation: Stand next to a sturdy chair or counter for balance. Bend left knee 90 degrees, toes pointed. Keep right knee soft. Pull your abs in, drop your tailbone, and press left leg directly behind you. Hold for 1 count, then release. Do 2 sets of 20 lifts, repeat with left leg.

The most WONDERFUL time of the year!

Of course, I’m talking about Christmas. What else would I be talking about? Seriously, though, my favorite time of year is Christmas and it’s my favorite holiday. I love the romanticism of it all. The lights. The smells. The trees. Stockings. And let’s not forget….Picking out Christmas cards.

I used to love trolling the stores looking for the most unique cards. But some of the most unique and beautiful cards were the also the most expensive. And you would have to buy many boxes of them to even hit everyone on your address list.

Some time ago, I had discovered Shutterfly, for both my prints and photo books (I ordered my wedding photos this way!). And after having success with using them for my Christmas cards last year? I decided to go with them again this year — they’ve got so many new designs to choose from! This year, I’m thinking about going with chic, simple, and classic. I almost always choose a sepia or black and white picture and while I was considering color? I will probably do black and white again.

Changing gyms

Finally, after whining and crying for months about how we hate hate hate our gym, Dan and I decided to join a new one. Granted, we’re still locked into the iron clad contract with our gym for maybe another year. (Why is it that nice gyms always have reasonable ways to get out of contracts? With a nice reasonable fee? The crap ones always make you spend an arm and a leg, and want your first born child to get out of it.)

Seriously. The one we were (and are still stuck) at? It was ok when I was in grad school and needed a place to work out (I didn’t have a university parking pass so going to the school’s gym was out of the question. It wasn’t the best place, but it was ok. I’m not sure if they got new owners or new managers or what have you, but the place quickly started to go down in quality.

It got dirty — the carpets, the machines, the locker room. YUCK. The machines started breaking down more often and took longer to fix. They bought some new machines — but not gym quality!!! They bought a few treadmills that I could have bought at Sears — no really — Dan and I saw them there. They were cheap and they were NOT made to handle the use they were going to get. Within 6 months, those were breaking down.

Then they started running even more promotions to get more members. Not sure why because they were always stuffed to the gills. No free cardio machines, NO parking spots. And the promotions got cheaper and cheaper. And so did the people that they were attracting to the place. Not that I’m snobby, but seriously.

A lot of trashy people were coming in…NOT taking care of things around them. Saying nasty, crude things loudly to each other. NOT following the so called rules the place had for wearing wet street shoes on equipment. They weren’t wiping down the machines they just use. Nothing. I have never been so annoyed.

I tried to go to a few of the classes offered. Some were ok, but some were not. They didn’t have the best weight lifting equipment for things like BodyPump. Granted a couple of years ago when I started going, the stuff wasn’t in the WORST shape. But they haven’t replaced anything since! And forget going to a zumba class. The main instructor they have for it? Is NOT a nice person.

She doesn’t seem to realize that there are actually beginners in the class who might never have been there before. She doesn’t exactly say HI. She doesn’t show us the dance moves before getting into them. She just turns the music on and goes. And if you know how crowded a class like that can get, then you know you can’t see what her legs and feet are doing in the first place. I went to that class just once.

Last but not least, I highly suspect their “personal trainers” have nothing more than a highschool diploma under their belt, if that. I do NOT believe any one was certified to be doing what they were doing.

So we decided to change gyms. Planet Fitness opened up near us and we decided to give it a whirl. It is relatively inexpensive, especially for just cardio and strength training equipment — $10 a month per person. Um, yeah!? While it would be nice to find a gym with amenities such as a pool, I’m not desperate for it.

Sure, there aren’t any classes, but if I really want to go to one, I’ll just go to the other gym (HA!) or use a DVD at home (the most likely option). But Planet Fitness has SOOOO much equipment! And it’s all new! And easy to use! While it is mostly filled with college students, it’s totally worth going.

I’m really happy we changed gyms because now I actually look forward to going. Going to the other gym left me always feeling bummed out and feeling disgusted. You can’t fully get the relaxing benefits of exercise if you’re totally feeling depressed while in the gym!

Maybe I’m just too picky. But I made the right choice! (Now to figure out how to get our of our contract at the crap gym).

Oh, hey!

Oh, right! I have a blog 🙂 I barely get through a month of this new blog and I already disappeared for a few days. My last post signaled that I was feeling quite rough about things, about life, and was feeling stressed OUT. I am better, just 6 days later. While I was trying to get off my medication, until I can see my doctor, I’m going to go ahead and wait to quit it. As soon as I started back on it (the lowest dose I was previously on last fall), I felt back to normal again. Not so anxious. Not so crazy. And working out is slowly returning.

I missed writing this week about the the number 4 goal from ’52 Small Changes’. This week was about keeping a food journal regularly. While I did not do it daily, I did it a few days, at least. Next week will be better. Every day I feel more and more like myself again…Which is VERY refreshing. VERY reassuring.

My job isn’t feeling quite as overwhelming this week, which is a good thing, too. There is still a lot I do NOT know and a lot I have left to learn, but I finally feel like its going to be ok.

– – –

In other news…There has been talk between the husband and I about relocation. I’m not going to talk about it in a great deal of detail at this time. Let’s just say that for him? His career can’t grow in the position that he’s in right now. I don’t know if he’s going to start re-evaluating things this year, next year, or in 5 years. You can expect that I will be very vague as we have this talks. You see, the last couple of years, we have been hell bent on moving at some point, but financially, we had not been able to. I feel dumb because we were telling friends and family our plans, and then plans didn’t happen or fell through.

Until I know more for sure and plans are actually IN PLACE AND A GO, I’m barely going to mention it.

Just saying.

The healing of my elbow

Since around April 2020, I have been dealing with a bum elbow. Pain mostly. When I first started having problems, there was a concern that it was nerve related, then after switching doctors, I finally got the diagnosis of medial epicondylitis. In laymen’s terms, golfers elbow. Which is interesting, seeing as though I’ve never played golf, but I digress. It’s caused by repetitive motion of the wrist and hand flexor. I’ve never figured out what specifically caused it. Perhaps this one time when I was playing tug with our large lab. Maybe with all the knitting I was doing at the time. No clue.

The problem is that almost two year later, I’m still having problems. It’s worse now than ever before. I have pain, loss of strength, and even a loss of the range of motion. I blame it on working with adults in inpatient for awhile…lots of heavy gripping and lifting. Most recently, when I change jobs, I did lift training and managed to reinjure what was getting better. To make matters worse, my body is trying to compensate for the lack of oomph my right arm is giving, causing me to have some strange symptoms pop up in my wrist, shoulder, and back. All on the right side.

I haven’t been able to successfully weight train my upper body in almost 2 years. Yoga is sometimes painful, especially downward dog, as it puts pressure on my arm. I still push through it but it’s hard.

I have been through physical therapy, cortisone shots, and a number of different support braces. And I’m left feeling lost. So research I did. I studied the upper extremity quite a bit and have been lucky to access a lot of information through journals. I ran into a new idea.

Prolotherapy.

It’s not a new idea per say. But insurance companies consider it investigational. There isn’t a ton of evidence based research done. Enough to know it works, but insurance companies want certain types of results and those results take time to happen. At any rate.

What is it, you say? Prolotherapy is also known as nonsurgical ligament reconstruction, and is a treatment for chronic pain. Prolotherapy uses a dextrose (sugar water) solution, which is injected into the ligament or tendon where it attaches to the bone. This causes a localized inflammation in these weak areas which then increases the blood supply and flow of nutrients and stimulates the tissue to repair itself.

It’s fairly common among athletes. Many have dealt with injuries that one would think is the end of the careers, but Prolotherapy has given them hope.

And I’m in need of help. Help that does NOT involve surgery. People think that surgery is the end all be all to everything but it isn’t always appropriate and recovery from that? Could take years. There is no guarantee that it would work and the financial loss to me for having to have surgery would be greater than this procedure that I have to pay for out f pocket.

I go tomorrow for my first injection. Maybe my only injection! All unknown is that I’m nervous and excited all at the same time. I won’t be able to exercise my arm until all injections ate done and I’m no longer experiencing pain. So. No yoga. 🙁 I just read that yesterday. It would stretch the arm in ways that it shouldn’t be yet. Or I just have to avoid plank and downdog. Maybe a prenatal class, since they generally say to avoid inverted posts?

I decided to include this on the blog because it’s going to be important for my fitness goals…it’s certainly going to impact them in crazy ways. I hope I can be patient enough to let this work.

I’m so desperate.

Striving for Daily Yoga

One of my goals, at some point this year, is to do yoga daily. Or at the very minimum, my weekdays. Yoga has been fantastic to me in the past. Keeps me flexible, makes me stronger, and reduces my anxiety. But I think I would see more of its awesome effects if I did it a lot more. 2-3 times a week isn’t going to make a big difference, I don’t think. And if you know anything about me at all, you know that I need all the stress relief I can get.

But I still have issues getting in yoga every single day. I am a subscriber to Yoga Journal at this time, and I love it. I want to eventually be more disciplined in my practice. I want to even someday incorporate yoga into my OT practice (I will have a separate post on it, but I have some research that I have been doing about how yoga can help kids with special needs…I just need to find the time to write about it — it’s a long one!).

Yoga Journal currently has a 21 Day Challenge running!! It started on Jan 9th (but because of an arm injury I see a doc for on Monday….I haven’t started it yet, BOO!), but you can start it at any time. You can choose between beginner and intermediate paths. Last year, I did the beginner one and this year, I am going to find out if I can handle the intermediate path.

I am hoping that I will be able to begin this Wednesday, January 18th! Each day, I will learn new elements related to yoga such as…the proper way to do and make the most of hip openers, side bends, core work, and standing work.

Yoga is a fantastic way to bring down your stress levels. Take it from me. I can’t wait to feel a lot more balanced and stress free this year…

Current Happenings

Just a little update, as it’s been a week since I have said anything. Sometimes the weekdays get busy or I run out of things to really say. Some days? Are just repeats of the day before and nothing interesting happens. I suppose I should be thankful for that one!

  • Work: The new job. Well, I have been there now for two weeks, but its actually Monday that I will be starting in the area that I will be at full time. Pediatrics. Treating children who have sensory integration difficulties and autism. I’m scared to death, but excited. The last two weeks have been full of trainings and getting used to the flow of inpatient, which is where I will be once a month.

    It was boring, to be honest. Which is a good indicator that I made the right choice by choosing to work with kids. I get bored with inpatient therapy. I really do. A lot of it is all the same. The precautions, the protocol, etc. Some days, sure it’s nice to have the sameness, when you don’t feel “all there”. But as far as a career? I couldn’t be some place like that until retirement. I don’t even know if I could work with kids until retirement, but darn it, it’s what I want to do now. What I like about my career field is that I can choose whatever, whenever. I mean, some areas require a lot of extra training, etc, but if you’re motivated to do it, you can. It’s so flexible! Moving on…

  • So far so good with the exercising and better eating. I thought about it today and realized I hadn’t had a pop all week. No Coke! How in the world did I go a week without it?? I didn’t even have much coffee!!  Woot! And the working out is more frequent, so I’m happy about that. I need to get into a better groove. Hopefully, with actually starting my role on Monday, I will finally have a set schedule and can really get into a routine.

    Since I won’t have to go to work until 9 or 10 am(!) daily, I can get up early, get in some yoga or a run, or even a visit to the gym, have a breakfast that actually fills me up and STILL have time to get ready? I’m happy. I attacked my Google calendar today working out a plan. I will get up between 6-7am each day and make stuff happen. I feel more relaxed throughout the day when I start my day relaxed instead of rushing to get ready and leave. It’s also going to be great to skip most of rush hour traffic. Woot!

  • Marriage is super tough lately. We get into these ebbs and flows. Sometimes things are great, sometimes things are not. Right now, we’re arguing a lot about the dumb things. Things like splitting up chores evenly. It’s hard to set those guidelines. I’m completely buried in studying for this new job and I’m feeling stressed and haven’t spent enough of my own time to help with things around the house. The majority of the time, Dan doesn’t seem to act like it bothers him to occasionally take the brunt of the responsibility.

    Then I complain that he did something wrong (like, missed a spot on a plate — just gross, you know?), and then he’ll freak out at me “Well, if you’d do dishes once in awhile!” So he obviously doesn’t like it, but then I confront him and tell him I’ll do them and then he says no it’s fine, he’ll do them. GAH. Why is it that we let these small things blow up to such big issues?? And how the heck can we make it more even? He’s also been helping with the laundry. Or at least getting it downstairs for me.

    During training, I tweaked my elbow again to the point that the pain has been down to my wrist. It’s hard to carry things. :p I am getting  a lot of eye rolls when I ask if he can help me carry things up and down the stairs. It’s frustrating, I know. I’ve been dealing with this stupid arm for over a year and a half. (On a side note, not much more I can do about it but rest it when I tweak it. I can ice and heat it, wear a horrible splint to bed, etc. But I’ve had a few cortisone shots and can’t get anymore.

    And while you may say that I should just go ahead with surgery, I’m not considering that an option. Surgery is no guarantee. I’d be out of work for 2 months!! And the recovery? Way worse than dealing with a little self therapy once in awhile. I know that it has held me back from a lot of upper body training, but I can handle light free weights. Anyway, I digress…). If you guys have any tips for how you’ve split chores up at your house, let me know. Besides having kids to become your slaves. 

That’s about it for now. I’ll keep you posted!

I can. I will. I am.

I don’t necessarily make this mantra a part of my life on a regular basis. But I am for now. I’m such a sucker for delicious food around this time of the year. While most of my regular meals are relatively healthy, I sometimes don’t fight it and indulge in a goody that a coworker brings in. Or when I go to the family get togethers? There’s nothing healthy to be seen, and I find myself content in taking small servings I want, and I don’t ever go for seconds (too full anyway!).

I’m going in the right direction, but December is the month of the year that I struggle with the most in terms of working out. Its already dark, cold, and gloomy, and there’s a growing to do list. This year? Add the Stress of a NEW JOB and studying constantly for that. I’m afraid that I will let myself over do it. I need to really get serious about my fitness before I gain holiday pounds!

I have tweaked with my half marathon training schedule. The one I have been using is a 16 week program. And technically I wouldn’t have to start it until after the new year, as the race is in May…But I need something NOW to keep me on a fitness track. So I tweaked it. I am repeating the first couple of weeks (week 1 x 2, week 2 x 2, week 3 x 2, etc) to get my endurance back. So far so good. Then when January rolls through, I can push through and run the training as I’m meant to. Getting my lungs and form back have been a journey. One that I kept giving up on.

I just want to be back at the fitness level I was 7 years ago….the place I was at when I fractured my pelvis and was told “no running for at least a year!” I feel like for years I’ve been saying I want to get back there, but I haven’t pushed myself hard enough. I keep saying “I can’t.”

This time, I can. And I am.

The Perfect Form

I have been working hard at this running thing lately. Maybe not logging in a lot of miles or doing it every single day. But I’ve worked hard to get back into it the last month or so. I’ve hit a lot of trials and tribulations! Mostly with my shoes. OMG, MY SHOES. And for those of you who wondered what I ended up with? (They aren’t pretty!)

There you have it. The Brooks Dyad. They kind of look square if you were to look at them from the top. I took one look at them when the running store salesman had brought them…and was like, um, NO. They remind me of the shoes that one professor of mine used to wear with EVERYTHING.

She’d be wearing a dressy top and slacks…and those darn clunky (probably orthopedic) sporty shoes. But I tried on a lot of shoes. A TON. My feet were getting worse and worse because I assumed that I needed more cushioning. However, more cushioning, ESPECIALLY in the arch and heel area? Was making it worse for me. This shoe is relatively flat and is great for people who need inserts, actually. I don’t need inserts, so the flatness is perfect.

– – –

Anyway. Now that my shoe conundrum has been fixed…I need to focus on form. Oh, form….Thank goodness I worked with some awesome physical therapists! They have helped me really work hard on improving my posture. After years and years of sleeping primarily on my side, my right side, I had an issue with my right shoulder constantly being in the position of being rolled forward and down.

I guess you couldn’t really tell unless you LOOKED, but it was causing more of a problem than I realized. When one shoulder is not lined up right, your scapula (or shoulder blades) aren’t pulling in correctly, which leads to everything else not lining up. It’s even possible that my improper posture was causing a lot of my arm problems in the end. At any rate, I ended up calling on my PT’s to look at me because of a lot of back pain I was experiencing.

Since becoming more aware of my posture, I’m noticing how much my running form is starting to improve.In fact, tonight, I felt even more aware than I have ever been about what my body was doing as a whole. And I got through WITHOUT my inhaler (I had forgotten it). I felt amazing after I was through with it. I felt like I WORKED but didn’t feel worn out. AH, awesome. 🙂

I feel like I’m finally on the right track! WOOT!

A new phase…

You guys have no clue how much better I feel about my career. Yesterday was my very last day at my old job. I was sad, because there are a lot of people there that I love and care about. We mostly have worked very well together and everyone jokingly teased about how they are pretty mad at me for leaving. The manager of our inpatient program, shook my hand firmly and in short told me how he really thought I’d do well in the new location, the manager there is incredible and again, I’m going to do really well. He is one that I really wish WAS my manager, but alas he is not.

(To explain that, he USED to be the manager over the employees as well at inpatient. He is a contracted employee. I’m not sure when the chain of command got changed. But our manager is the director therapy services (inpatient and outpatient). Our manager, the one I had some trust issues with, is mostly housed at outpatient, which is frustrating in and of itself. She was never at inpatient and when the manager there at outpatient would say anything to her about problems going on at inpatient, he’d get chewed out. I digress…I really wish he was the manager. He’s a much better people person).

I got a million hugs. I didn’t get to hug everyone I wanted to, as I kind of left quiet. I didn’t really want to make a big todo about it, you know? I was leaving for weird reasons. In fact, depending on who was asking me why I was leaving, I gave different reasons. Most people understand why I was going. I didn’t even say goodbye to my mentor. Nope. She ticked me off for one last time yesterday.

At around 2:45pm, I let her know I was going to be popping into see an acute patient and then I was headed out. For one, we were mostly caught up with our patients in inpatient and it was my last day. No reason to stay until 5pm. She said ok. Well, while I was over there, she came to see me and asked me to finish up the rest of the time with her patient…who still needed 45 minutes of treatment. GAH. I pretty much said no. I was planning on getting to the walk in clinic because I had been having continuing dizziness since our weird virus last weekend (ear infection woot!). I’m not sure where she was when I was ready to leave. I didn’t really care. I almost expected her to text me later on. She didn’t.