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End of the beginning

Sunday morning of a long weekend and I had no plans or desires to be anywhere but home. I’d been to mass the night before, nobody else was up and we had exercise equipment in the basement. I had no excuses left and time to myself, so it was finally time to work out.

I carried my pug down the basement steps and set him on a pillow. He was both my emotional support and witness for my Rocky routine. I set my IPhone on the ping pong table and started my playlist:

Rocky theme – It was natural to grab the jumprope first and start skipping to the beat. I quickly counted the revolutions, knowing I could easily put in 100, but maintaining until the end of the song was the goal. The song reinforced that I was “trying hard now” and belted that my body would be “getting strong now”. The lyrics”won’t be long now” were also inspiring, even though I had a long road ahead of me.

I hung the rope on a nail and put on my Everlast boxing gloves.

Eye of the tiger – I went head-to-head with my punching bag knowing I was my biggest rival. This was physical and psychological exercise. After a minute or so, I made sure I had quickfire feet going too. We were face-to-face, the bag was hanging tough and I was staying hungry. My reward for this workout was going to be a hearty homemade Sunday breakfast.

When the thrill of the fight and the song ended, I noticed white spots at the top of the bag. Figuring it was the start of molding from non-use, I panted my way upstairs to get Lysol spray for the bag and to prevent an impending heart attack, a bottle of water for me.

I sipped water as I looked out the cellar window. The outside temperature has been moving around zero degrees for a week now and our wood stove has been a lifesaver. It was appropriate that I moved my workout to the ski machine:

Hearts on fire – it’s been a few months since I used the cross country setup but the rhythm came back quickly. Exercise that involves arms and legs all at once are the most fun for me. “Time would not stand still” for me now. I was focused until I realized my heart really was on fire.

Starting was the hard part but now I was enjoying myself. Maintaining is going to be the challenge to get my body back in shape, in fact there’s:

No easy way out – I listened to this track as I worked with my free weights.

I saved my least favorite, abs, for last. I climbed on the ab machine and after 25 pulls, wondered who the hell named it a “glider”? I did as many as I could and then cooled down to Coach’s ‘motivization’ speech.

It was the perfect cool down. Next time I work out and it starts to burn, I am going to hear Mickey say, “I didn’t hear no bell!”

Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t do something.

I am powerful beyond measure.

I need to believe it – on Sundays and every other day.

No more excuses – as my pug is my witness.

I have come out of the basement.

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Holiday exercise

All the step, fit-bit and workout conversations during the holidays is a drain on my psyche. I am not a regular fitness participant, can’t commit to a daily routine and even dole out punishment to myself for lack of motivation. Just yesterday I was kicking myself, instead of the punching bag, because I still make excuses for not exercising.

Today is a new day though.My outlook is more positive. I haven’t given myself enough credit. While I don’t have a gym membership or workout partner, I exercise plenty, especially during the holidays:

Weights – who carried up all the Christmas stocking holders from the basement? Those things aren’t light x the whole family x 2. That’s a set.

Speaking of which, add to that:

Stairs – cellar stairs are the original homemade elliptical. I AM a stair climber. I went up and down the stairs for eight buckets of tree limbs, ornaments and decorations. If you count the roasting pans, extra paper towels and added chairs I’ve also brought upstairs during the holidays, I may as well start training to climb Everest.

and climb I do:

Plank – the hot topic buzz word of the fitness world. No, I don’t lie on the floor and hold myself up with my elbows. What I did do was walk the planks of our second story, holding onto beam work, to wrap garland in all the right places.

Someone put out all the greenery, lights and presents. It wasn’t an elf.

Laps – I enjoy running and love to swim but don’t typically count laps. I need to participate in team sports where laps are just part of the process, not the actual goal. Given that, I’d say I completed a lot of laps shopping at the mall and walking parking lots in December.

…and I did it in high fashion:

Push-ups – I do not have the proper form for push-ups. Coaches have always told me to put my ass down and modified push-ups seem like cheating. The push-up bras I wore over the holidays allowed for a solution and whether you consider it cheating or not, those underwires gave me the proper form on a daily basis.

Add to that the form and beauty I adorn to all my packaging:

Curling – I took time to curl several times a week. Curling ribbon is one of my favorite holiday exercises. I only wish I knew how many miles I’d logged wrapping pretty gifts.

The last few exercises were when I really dug in:

Leg lifts – After every wrapping session, shopping excursion or meal planning event, I finished off with leg lifts. In a sitting position under a lit tree, I put a pillow on the coffee table and lifted my legs up to enjoy a hot beverage.

Holiday fitness includes the ultimate cool down as well:

Sit-ups – I did. I sat up at multiple tables to enjoy some delicious snacks, meals and desserts. Repetitions are key to the best sit-up results. Sometimes the sessions were so long, I was even sore afterwards.

Now I can add to the holiday fitness conversations. I am ready to give myself credit for all my hard work. To anyone that disagrees, I say,

“Step off.

I am a bit fit and

it works out for me.”

Gone but not forgotten

Our daughter has been in Philadelphia for several weeks. I miss her terribly just knowing she’s further away than usual. When I opened the refrigerator this morning, I saw her face. Maple syrup from the restaurant she likes. Dunkers that she  usually buys at Trader Joe’s for her dad. The bottle of Coke I had to buy yesterday because it showcased her name. Tomorrow I’ll buy some cream cheese and have a loaded steak and whiz sub for lunch. Somehow the visuals and city references bring her closer to home. It’s been a Rocky road for me. Ah, yes, that too will shorten the distance. A mom has to do what a mom has to do.

Carefree

When you take a break from life and just enjoy the day:

“There are the moments we can’t afford to miss, the heart-seeking moments that defy questions, cancel doubts, and defeat fear. The ways God shows his attentiveness in breathtaking, personal exchanges.

I see you – I know you – I hear you.”

God in every moment calendar

2/27 CT