"It was imprudent of us, in the first place, to become authors. We could have become something regular, but we managed not to.
We were lucky, but we were also determined." Roy Blount Jr

"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Friday, January 07, 2011

Exercising my Options

First, let me make clear that this is a fantastic exercise DVD. Especially for those familiar with ballet. It has been the mainstay of my winter workout programme for a couple of years now. I've mixed it in with free weights and exercise bike to excellent effect.

Nearly 3 years ago I decided to take off 5 pounds, combining more intense, intentional exercise with disciplined portion control. The result: I lost 30 pounds. Usually I round it to 30 pounds. Sometimes it's actually rounding down, because I'm capable of losing more weight at will and sometimes do.

I'm not really sure where I was carrying all that extra weight. I wasn't fat then, I've always been small-boned, so I don't look all that different than I did before. That said, I can tell my arms and legs are slimmer, my jawline a bit more more bony, and I reduced my waistline by 1 & 3/4 inches. I still wear most of the clothes I wore 3 years ago...well, ok, they're roomier. This is all to the good. I'm helped by my genes; no tendency towards obesity in my immediate family.

I've kept off the weight. I eat carefully (but don't diet) and I exercise (not fanatically). My mantra is still "less food, more movement." Free weights and lots of walking in spring & summer & autumn, and the indoor stuff at this time of year. Whenever possible I take stairs, not lifts, and try to park from my destination as I reasonably can. Unless the windchill is too brutal.

So--yay, me!

Back to the videos.

Over the past 2 winters I only did the ballet programme at most a couple of days a week. I simply wasn't home, and when I was I often chose the non-technological options (free weights, exercise bike.) My lifestyle outside the Lodge was quite active.

This is no longer true. I hardly have a life outside the Lodge. I live like a shut-in. Oh, I get out of the house--once a week for music lesson, and once or twice at the weekend. And maybe one other day, but not necessarily. Basically, I'm a homebody now.

This means I have plenty of opportunity to work out, and I've seized it. For the last 10 days straight I've done my NYCB workout every single day. Which probably explains why I'm getting bored with it. I mix up the exercises--I always do the strength and hardcore muscle work, and the stretching and whatnot, and don't do the same routine every time. I can turn off the audio and still follow along to different music, I know the combinations so well. I constantly hear in my head Peter Martins' gentle, encouraging, accented voice telling me, "remember to breathe" and "feel the stretch" and his unfailing praise at the end of a segment: "very good" or "ex-cellent." (He wouldn't be so complimentary if he could see me make hash of some of his commands.)

I've long struggled to perform the final choreography to my satisfaction...a little tarantella re-imagined from Balanchine's Don Quixote. Regular repetition has its advantages: today I made a breakthrough--I actually got teary. And after my cool-down, I celebrated with a big mug of hot coccoa topped with whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles. Because my method of maintaining an ideal weight includes indulgences! Otherwise, life would simply be too bleak for words.

Concerned that boredom would adversely impact motivation, I recently purchased 2 additional video sets. I expect them to arrive today. One is an instructional ballet programme (intermediate). The other is another ballet workout, and I'm not sure if it's similar or not to the intense NYCB one.

I hope having a variety of workouts will be beneficial. I needed options and I'm glad I identified two more.

I realise this is rather a boring topic. Unless you're me. No--even if you are me. But it's representative of the sort of life I lead.

Currently my weekday schedule is thsi:

Have breakfast (fruit, chocolate, yogurt), read 2 daily newspapers, work out & shower (if I'm going to my mandolin lesson and/or meeting in the afternoon), read email and mess about on the internet (if I'm not going out), write, read, nibble something for "lunch", afternoon work out & shower (if I stayed home all day), write and/or read, dog time, welcome the Chap when he arrives home from the office, cocktail half-hour, cooking and chatting in the kitchen, dinner, telly and/or internet and/or reading interspersed with dog cuddling, bedtime.

It's not going to be that way indefinitely...I found that out this week. After the constant activity of recent years (legislature, committee work) I'm certainly not complaining about all this time to myself. Mostly I'm trying to use it well.

No comments: