Tag Archives: nutrition

Fitness Goals Update 3

Lots of progress to report!  I’m now six weeks into my commitment to work out to improve at ballet.  Six weeks is the magic number!

After my first few days of extreme soreness, I’ve been jogging/running pretty consistently, anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes. What’s pretty consistently? How about every single day for the past week (with the exception of wednesday, since I had morning class and all).  Every day, including weekends.  And the crazy part is that, after day three or so I totally began to enjoy it!

I know, my feelings toward running in the past could be summarized as “Avoid at all costs, unless you’re running for your life.” To be fair, the main reason I’ve disliked running is that I tend to suck at it. Or at least I did as I was growing up. This time around, I told myself that even if  I found it unpleasant I would give it a fair shot. Told myself that I’m doing it for the ballet improvements, so just suck it up and deal with it.  But after the initial shock to my body at being used in this way, I’m quickly finding something new to enjoy.  I love how when I first begin to run it  feels so freeing, so liberating, and it’s like a natural – instinctual yet forgotten – skill, but what I especially love is how as I start to get both more into it and more tired every other thought flies out of my mind. All that matters is the very next step.  Such intense concentration, I love it!  So different from walking; walking helps me think things out, running clears out the thoughts. Hard work but so relaxing in a way…similar to the reason why I love ballet…

What I’ve been doing is my usual walk but afterwards I go by the park. At the park I jog for a bit, then find a secluded (sometimes I get lucky and the park is completely empty) spot to practice my jumping.  The first day I just jumped a few times in sets of 32 jumps – it reminded me of how in class we do sautes in sets of 16 or 32.  Just as during sautes in class, I noticed that my first few jumps were strong but by the number 16 I was exhausted and it took every ounce of strength to  keep going.  But I forced myself to go on, and after resting for about a minute or so (or really, who knows?) did the 32 jumps again. And again.

There was no apparent improvement for the first several days. Then yesterday, as I began my first set of jumps, I felt  lighter somehow.  I went through my set of 32 somewhat effortlessly, surprising myself.  In fact, I kept going after 32 – now I realize that I should have committed to doing another set of 32- for 16 more jumps before I psyched myself out and stopped.  After that I did several more sets of 32 and at no point did I feel exhausted, or like my legs were getting weaker.  My heart rate was up, but for once I didn’t feel out of breath.

So this morning I went for it and jumped in sets of 64. And obviously I survived to tell – I feel so proud of myself!

Now, I didn’t work on any technical ballet things like having the feet turned out or the feet pointed.  My goal is mostly to get used to jumping so that in class I don’t become exhausted after only 5 jumps or so. I can’t wait to see if my sautes have improved on wednesday’s class(es).

Another drastic improvement has been my standing-up-to-getting-down transtitions.  As I mentioned in my update 2 weeks ago, I’ve been doing these really slooow lunges while keeping my arms out to second.  At the time of my last update I thought that i had improved but it’s nothing compared to the improvement by now.  Somewhere I read once that in order to see results from an exercise program it needs to be at least for 6 weeks.  They were not kidding – it’s, like, the time frame when improvement just increases drastically. My thighs feel so much stronger that before and my plies and grand plies are deeper than ever. Which is awesome since the point of all this was to improve at ballet. I’m also trying out keeping my arms in other ballet positions besides second while doing the super slow lunges.

I’m also still doing the theraband turnout exercises every day.  I want to say that my ability to maintain my turnout while plie-ing or releve-ing has increased but as for my turnout itself? It’s the same as it was when I first started ballet.

However, I still credit the theraband exercises for helping me find – and strengthen – all the hidden inner core muscles that help me feel stable when I releve.

Finding extra time in my schedule for a full yoga session more than once a week is a little bit more challenging than I thought.  But I’m still doing several poses – or is it postures, can’t remember – a day.  While this is enought to somewhat maintain my flexibility, I do wonder if I stretched or did yoga more would I become even more flexible?

My arms are not feeling – or looking – particularly more fit.  And on some level, I feel like it’s not as important. As long as my arms don’t get tired during port de bras I’m good. And yes, I know that it’s the back muscles (the lats, if I’m not mistaken) that hold up the arms in ballet, but somehow I think if the arms has no muscle and were just hanging there it be harder, like an extra load for the lats to bear.  I mean, I would love for my arms to look better, but with all the other things I have to do I don’t really see myself dedicating much more time than I already am to working them out.   In the meantime, I’m still doing the (probably inneffective) Shakeweight a few times a week. At least until something better occurs to me. Whatever.

Pull ups? What pull ups, lol, I’m still stuck at somewhere between no pull ups and 1.  Very disappointing, this is the only one of my fitness goals that is not showing progress at all.  I can’t understand why; 3 years ago I could do about 8-10 at a time and  I wasn’t lifting weights or working out. I did weigh a a couple (no more than 4) pounds less, which is now leg muscle, so I wonder if that’s the difference.  If so, I guess good-bye pull ups because I’d rather keep the leg muscle, but I’d love to have both.

Ever since I’ve been jogging/running, I’ve noticed that I’m absolutely ravenous.  Yesterday I had double breakfast and at night I just can’t stop eating! At first I thought it was just my emotional eating flaring up, but since there’s been absolutely no weight gain (no weight loss either, despite the extra calories burned) I think my body is just asking for more food. Like I’m burning through fuel at a faster rate or something.  Weird, it’s like a faster metabolism, something that I’m definitely not used to.

But I could get used to it!

When Life Handed Me Lemons…

I made myself a tall glass of homemade lemonade!

During my morning walk to walk off my leg muscle soreness from yesterday, I started getting crazy lemonade cravings.  It could have just been thirst – though I was drinking plenty of water – but I think I specifically was looking for the tangy sweetness of lemonade.  Luckily, I remembered that I had a few lemons left in the fridge, so it wouldn’t involve having to go by the store.

Once home I gathered my ingredients: 4 lemons (though they were juicy, so I ended up using only 2), some cold water, and honey (I don’t eat processed sugar).  Then I set out to look for a nice big glass ( because in my lemonade fantasies I was having the whole way home, I was picturing a glass, so any other kind of vessel to hold liquid just wouldn’t do.  Just kidding, I would have still drank it, obviously.  But isn’t it better when the picture in your head matches the picture in “real” life?).

After squeezing two of the lemons and seeing the quantity of juice, I poured the juice into the glass, filled the glass up to almost the top with cold water, and then added 2 teaspoons of honey.  The honey didn’t dissolve into the lemony water as well as I’ve seen it dissolve into plain water, so that was an oopsy on my part.  A lot of stirring later and it was fine though.

An added bonus is that the honey and lemon will further help soothe my still-recovering-from-a-cold throat while providing lots of energy.



Lemons, lemon juice squeezer thingy, honey, and the finished product.

Edited 9/22/14 to add: Last friday I was buying more lemons – this lemonade is addictive! – at the farmer’s market and the lady selling me the lemons and I ended up having a conversation about lemonade. She asked if I added chia seeds in it, which I hadn’t but it reminded me that I could. So I’ve been doing that now.  They’re rich in omega-3’s and essential fatty acids, as well as a good source or protein and fiber. So that combined with the carbs from the honey ends up practically making this a meal replacement that gives you lots of energy without feeling “heavy” or overstuffed.

Green Juice gives me wings

After all the furniture moving that I mentioned in the previous post, I was feeling excited yet very tired.  I was not really feeling in the mood to cook.  Besides, it had taken way longer than we had planned to get the job done.  I still wanted to make sure I could fit in a ballet practice session though.  What was the solution?  Green juice!

Whenever I’m not in the mood to have a meal (and all the preparation that goes into it, of course), I usually make myself a nice tall glass of juice.  It’s like an immediate energy shot, except it’s also very nutritious.  And it’s so much faster to get it inside myself than a whole plate of food.

In case anyone is every interested, this is my most frequently used juice recipe. (serves 2)

-2 large or 3 medium sized apples

-a cucumber

-3-4 celery stalks

-around 8 carrots (depends on carrot size, if you want it to be sweeter then add more)

-a bunch of kale (I’ve never counted how much, but enough to fill a salad bowl)

– a few sprigs of parsley

– a couple broccoli stalks or florets

After drinking this juice, I usually find that I have enough energy to dance, go for a hike, or simply clean and organize my house!