Jumpsquat Girl has Adventures

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve been through a lot in terms of fitness.  Not only have I been boxing it up, but I also participated in a wheelchair rugby fundraiser, picked strawberries (yes, that’s fitness!), and participated in hot yoga, a first.  All of this occurred while my back continued to recover and revolt (wash and repeat).

Wheelchair rugby was awesome, but it was not flattering.  We were all attached to $5000 wheelchairs with big elastic straps that made any fat on our bodies squish either up, down, or both. Then, we made fools out of ourselves trying to turn the chairs right but inadvertently going left, moving backwards, and clanging against others as we tried to make ourselves available for throw-ins and passes.  Ah, but we were great passers!  

Lauren, her husband Adam, their friend Allison, and I played two twenty-minute games back-to-back, and, while we lost both, it was a lot of fun, especially when we played with one of the actual quad rugby players!  Basically, the fundraiser was for a quad rugby team (people who are quadriplegic or paraplegic).  I highly recommend the experience, as I wanted to just get up and run to where the ball was being tossed so many times!  After a while, though, we agreed that we were learning to become one with the chairs.  

This past weekend, after Saturday boxing, Lauren, Diana, and I went strawberry picking!  It was a gorgeous 60-degree day.  This was my first time, and I was surprised to find that we weren’t hitting the wilderness but rather attacking cultivated rows of strawberry plants.  We picked adjacent rows and went for it, learning that, like much in life, the best results were yielded with patients and looking underneath the leaves for what was just waiting to be picked.  My back ached a bit from the bending over and squatting, but it was nothing crazy.  We left feeling satisfied that we’d picked our own snacks for the next couple of days.

Last came hot yoga, on Sunday morning.  I’d practiced yoga before, for about six years, actually, until I was about 23.  Yoga had a big impact on my life in that time when I had gone through a break-up and was living by bouncing home-to-home as a house-sitter for the summer.  When the studio changed locations, for some reason I quit, and that’s when I very seriously took up Spinning.  I’ve done it off and on, usually on my own, since then.

Well, hot yoga involved many of the same moves, just in quicker succession and with less repetition in a 95-degree room with I’d guess about 60 people.  Wow!  I couldn’t look behind me because I get so claustrophobic.  I did well for about half the class, or at least as well as could be expected for someone who’s out of practice and dripping sweat.  But then chair pose twisted to the right and bam! my back was done.  

I was not thrilled.  I sought solace in child’s pose but then thought I’d pass out.  I cried.  I actually cried in yoga, but I don’t think that anyone could tell–even if they were paying attention–because of the sweat.  Perhaps the sweat made me more prone to crying, such as in those sweat tents where people bond and tell the stories about all the horrible things that have happened to them.  Lauren saw me and offered sympathy, telling me to relax.  I breathed.  I told the instructor, eventually, and she was very compassionate.  I sat there, and my right ankle tingled with pain, in addition to the searing pain in my lower back.

In the end, I would try hot yoga again, but only after bringing my practice up first the traditional, cold-air way.  I also now know I need to seek the professional help of a doctor and a massage therapist.  Don’t worry, there will be more to come, even if I need to step out and observe for a while!  I really hope I can keep up with boxing, though, even if it’s a light version.

And that’s it for the past two weeks!  Please send happy muscle fiber thoughts my way, and stay safe while you work out!  Protect yourself, and always lift heavy objects with your legs, not your back.


When and Where to Throw a Punch Without Hurting Anyone Purposefully

A. The shower.  This offers immediate cleanliness for any sweat, and you can make as many echoing “cha” noises as you like.

B. Boxing class.  This one might sound obvious, but you need a place and a time when punches are both structured and free-for-all.  I love “showing off” as much as I can to the instructors, slamming the white dots in the middle of mitts and aiming high (towards the fictional opponents head) on bags.

C. In dark alleys.  Just start punching.  See if anyone fucks with you then.

D. At your desk when your co-workers start quoting Dr. Who.

E. In a bar when someone’s picking up your bff.

F.  When you see a spider.

G. When you see a wedding or kissing pic on facebook.


Jumpsquat Girl hits the pool and reads The Times (considering motivation)

“Swimming is magical.”  That’s what Lauren S. replied when I emailed her with the information that swimming seemed to have miraculously cured my ailing back and hip.

Yes, I’m still referring to my little accident with lifting the bag a few Saturdays back.  I haven’t been to boxing since the Wednesday night I had nothing to do but stretch, which, yes, I realize was good for me.  My focus since then has been rest (yes!) and rehab (boo!).

But rehabbing in the pool was actually fun.  I returned to this particular indoor pool where I hadn’t swum for a couple of years and which, incidentally, was the focus of an essay in my MFA creative nonfiction thesis.  The proverbial memories of swimming before “hot dates” rushed past, as memories often do, and the screams of a baby being dunked in the water brought me back to reality. So did the black stuff on the bottom of the pool.  More motivation to keep my feet off the ground, right?

My swim was slow–don’t get too excited.  I focused on those muscles on my lower left side.  I kicked with the board, swam freestyle, and swam breaststroke.  This lasted for thirty minutes, and during every minute, I thought, why did I stop doing this?  Why did I deprive myself of this?

Now, I have been swimming within the past two years, just not at this particular pool.  Another gym nearby has a beautiful outdoor pool, and, in the summer, a glorious public pool near my house opens up.  The last time I swam was probably in August.  I was discouraged at the time because I felt sluggish.  With the swimming trainers offering advanced lessons to pre-teens next to me, I felt inadequate, too.  At some point, I want swimming lessons to get tips on my form and the most out of my workouts.

But I digress, you see, because now I am boxing.  Well, now I’m resting, but on Monday I’ll be back at boxing.  I just read that too many goals make one stagnant, too.  I have a lot on my plate, though I hate to use that metaphor.  In order to get good at one thing, I feel I need to drop other things.  But is that always true?

For example, football players often take dance classes, I hear.  And part of boxing is weight-lifting and running.  It seems that, to get really good at one thing, one needs to get good at other things as well.

So how does one do that and keep his or her eye on the prize?

And what is the prize?

I think I’ve been reading too much about New Year’s Resolutions and how to keep them.  I’m getting lost in a mountain of goals, being told I have too many.  I don’t know how to prioritize what’s really important to me.  Boxing feels good, but so does swimming, and, theoretically, there’s no reason I can’t swim in the morning and box at night–but if I pledge to do that, and knit, and write, and work, and spend less money, and eat well, will that be too much to handle?

This morning I read a NY Times opinion  piece on motivation called “Be It Resolved.”  Writer John Tierney cited a study  led by Wilhelm Hofmann of the University of Chicago that showed that “the people with the best self-control . . . are the ones who use their willpower less often. . . . [T]hese people set up their lives to minimize temptations.  They play offense, not defense, using their willpower in advance so that they avoid crises, conserve their energy and outsource as much self-control as they can” (Sunday Review, 6, 1/8/12).

The website stickK.com was recommended as a place where people who really want to get motivated can commit to a goal and set up a contract.  This sounded like negative reinforcement to me, but I have not used the site, so I should not judge.  There, you canT put up money against yourself in case of failure–such as pledging to commit to a cause you do not support if you fail.

Frankly, I’d rather do the opposite, owing my coaches money if I fail (yay, coaches) or somehow raising money for myself for fitness events or gear, using positive reinforcement rather than negative reinforcement.  It’s just harder to figure out how that one would go.

Okay.  Now, who has motivation advice for me?  Swimming advice?  Keeping-it-all-together advice?

I feel like I used to do this, and then met some life changes.  These were mostly positive, like getting a new job, but they were changes to my routine nonetheless.

And then, of course, there’s definitely the possibility that I’m overthinking this. Do, don’t think, right?