Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Shifting Gears

The end of the month has arrived.  Normally, this would be my lackluster post about how I didn’t do the things I wanted to accomplish this month.  My goals are no longer monthly, so this is only month one of three (or four).
What did I do?  I got a gym membership.  I have gone to my gym several times.  I went to two yoga classes.  I watched my body for life dvds.  I went for a hike in the mountains.
I’ve been thinking a lot about mornings.  The past couple days I set my alarm earlier and both times I thought to myself you can get up or not, and both times I stayed in bed.  So, that’s crap.  I’d really like to incorporate some of my workout dvds into the mix, but the only time the living room is empty is in the morning.  So I Googled up how to become a morning person and found an article on AskMen.  The four points it gives are:
1.       Prepare yourself the night before
-          I have not been doing a solid evening prep.  Lunch for the next day, picking a work outfit, choosing what workout I’ll do, etc.  Making lunch is the last thing I want to do after cleaning up the kitchen from supper.
-          Getting all these things ready the night before is a type of mental preparation for the morning.  I simply need to do it.
2.       Give yourself something to look forward to
-          I had one summer job where I was on the bus every day at 7:05 am because I could switch to a direct bus a few stops later, but if the first bust I caught was a later one I would miss the direct bus.  Option one would get me to work about 15 minutes early and I would buy breakfast at the cafeteria (you used your employee card to pay and  the charges were deducted off your paycheck) eggs over easy, cubed potatoes and bacon.  I love breakfast and knowing that I wouldn’t have time for it made me get to the bus stop on time for the earlier bus.
-          I have also debated taking up drinking coffee since it seems to be a big morning motivator for people. 
3.       Schedule your sleep time
-          I think I get enough sleep, but I don’t think I sleep well.  I often take a long time to fall asleep.  I need a strict bedtime.  I’m never going to drag my ass out of bed if I’m exhausted.
4.       Get outside
-          Uh, I don’t know about this one.  He says morning air is special, and I believe him, but he’s probably sitting at a desk in LA typing this and well, it gets painfully cold here.  I just don’t think a blast of icy dead of winter air is going to be more tempting than curled up in my bed.  At best I think I could aim for getting out of the house by an early morning trip to the gym (if Flash drives me) or getting up and going out for breakfast.
I need to up the intensity.  I’ve more or less given myself permission to only focus on getting in shape and boosting my energy but I really don’t spend a significant portion of my day working on or reinforcing my goals.  So I'm going to see if I can handle my life revolving around my new goals.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Nothing is Happening

I’m currently working my way through the Game of Thrones series.  I can’t put the books down.  I was thinking about the time it takes to read a good book.  If you really like the book you find time in all sorts of places.  On your lunch break, staying up a late before bed to squeeze in one more chapter, getting a few pages in on the train or reading while in the passenger's seat of the car. 
Time keeps moving by but it feels like nothing is ever happening.  I keep working these useless jobs.  In fact, all my jobs have been useless.  I’ve had several office jobs, administrative mostly, where I sit at a desk and never have enough to do.  It’s frustrating and weird.  Especially since other people around me seem fairly busy. 
The feeling follows me home, this lazy unproductive feeling.
Then I think about school and how my entire life was school, and how stressful it was to dedicate all of your energy to working on and thinking about and stressing about it and I feel a tightness in my chest, an anxiety.  My last year of school was incredibly miserable and I don’t want to feel like that again.
It was miserable because it wasn’t right for me.  I’ve rebelled against it into this weird limbo that I’ve been in for what feels like an eternity.  I live a very low stress existence, except for the constant nagging feeling that I’m not moving toward the things I want.  So I get up to move and stand still because I don’t know what I want.  So I stay in the same place, time moves, and nothing happens.
I remember watching the Pursuit of Happiness in the theater and thinking to myself that his level of dedication to doing everything he had on his plate was unbelievable; to dig that deep day in and day out without a break.  It seemed superhuman. 
Then I think that it must take that kind of dedication, that kind of commitment and motivation to make things happen.  Like stealing away every spare fifteen minutes to read a great book you must always be working tirelessly toward your goals.  This makes me even more anxious.  Like some sort of mad race is happening and I can’t seem to get my shoes on and everyone is getting farther and farther down the track, and then people start to lap you and you think about how long ago they started running and how far behind you are and that you’ll have to run so hard and fast to catch up.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Fall Is In The Air

There's a chill in the air.  I feel it in the morings, and the days are growing shorter.  This summer was meh.  The weather was nothing special, lackluster even.  We really only had a couple nice weeks, lots of rain and lots of overcast days.

I love walking into the convenience store and seeing the September issue of all your favorite magazines lining the shelves.  InStyle, Harpers Bazaar, Vogue and the latest Oxygen magazine of course cause fitness not fashion is my project's focus. 

One of the downsides to working in an office all day every day is that they are always cold.  In winter they are never warm enough and in summer the airconditioning makes them just as cold.  I rarely wore shirts and dresses this summer because once it finally stopped raining all the time and got nice out, it was still freezing in the office.

So I can't help but be excited about fall because it means warm clothes.  I think I'm getting better at buying clothes for myself, I know certain styles don't do much for me, I've gone through enough seasons to know what wardrobe staples I need.  I think the old tank top with a cardigan over it is becoming my go to outfit far too often. 

J Crew Fall 2011 - Tweed Jacket & Cable Knit Sweater

H&M                                                                                                                       Zara

Monday, August 22, 2011

Keep Fit and Have Fun

I am a weakling.  In my attempts at getting in shape I haven’t been pushing myself very hard;  a little cardio, a little leg work, a hike, walking the dog, a couple trips to yoga.  All pretty low intensity.  So why I am so sore is beyond me.  I went to a yoga class on Friday, a faster paced one to upbeat music.  The class wasn’t advanced, but my hamstrings have been sore for three days now.
I interpret this to mean that I am so weak and out of shape even the most low intensity workouts are challenging my muscles.  How sad.  I have a long way to go.
The other day I was feeling like I need to start making changes and I was going over and over in my head what I might be able to do and coming to dead ends and getting frustrated when I came to the realization that this is not the time for that.  Right now I am giving myself permission to focus only on health and fitness.  I will worry about future jobs, career changes, school, keeping up with the Joneses and the like once I have completed this phase. 

Friday, August 19, 2011

Rise and Shine

Every morning I begin my day with a lost battle.  Mornings and I go head to head and mornings almost always defeat me. 

Mornings - 5079
Kirby - 31

I was reading Working Girl Blog and a couple of the girls did a breakdown of their morning routine from wake up to arriving at work.  I found these extremely frustrating to read, which I thought was weird, why should I care if every day this girl goes on the internet before work and wastes time browsing the web causing herself to run late EVERY DAY?

It bothers me because my mornings are always an epic fail and I don't want them to be.  I think mastering mornings could be a game changer for me.  I feel like I would get a lot more done.  I have a lot of admiration for people who say they are going to do something and do it; productive people with their shit together. 

Every morning I play little mind games with myself about how much longer I can sleep before I absolutely have to get up.  The past couple weeks that has been getting later and later.  So I'm always rushing.  My morning routine involves throwing clothes on, putting my hair up, brushing my teeth (I have a mini toothbrush and toothpaste at work just in case), mascara (often gets thrown in my purse and done at work), throwing some food in Slone's dish and grabbing a granola bar.  I can do this in 15 minutes flat.

So, I'd be a hell of a lot more presentable if I got up earlier.  Hair, makeup and wardrobe would benefit.  I might even fit a bowl of cereal in there.

It's also a struggle every evening to do more than just lay on the couch.  I loathe the idea of getting my gym bag ready or making a lunch for the next day before bed, but if I don't do it the night before they simply won't get done because there is no room in my record breaking morning routine for making lunchs and packing bags.  Like really, my dog is lucky she gets fed in the mornings.

I have no idea how someone who has spent more than half their life oversleeping can become a morning person.  It seems impossible to do it on your own volition.  Unless you have a job with a strict early morning start date or small children I don't know how anyone forces themselves to get up when the bed is oh so comfy.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Yoga People Watching

On Friday I went to yoga for the first time in quite a long time.  Even though I am certainly not hitting the gym hard yet, my legs have been sore.  So I decided to try the Restorative class which I interpreted to be mostly stretching. 

I am becoming more and more facinated with people watching, and yoga is no exception.  I find most people at yoga to have very curious behaviors.  For example, one woman, who was in her forties and clearly out of shape, came to class alone and was wearing jean shorts.  JEAN SHORTS.  This alone baffled me.  You wouldn't wear jeans to the gym, much less to yoga in which you need flexibility and range of motion.  Then I thought, "Kirby, don't be a jerk.  Maybe she doesn't have any other shorts."  But then I countered that thought with, "This class costs $17.  If she can afford to come to yoga then she can afford to go to Wal-Mart and buy a pair of basic shorts."  

There was also a little Philippino couple that came late and instead of splitting up and taking the two clearly open spots, the huddled into a corner and faced their mats perpendicular to everyone else.  They were so close together they couldn't have really done the moves properly.  Someone had to slide their mat back so they could space out a bit.  The couple was also, clearly out of shape.  People of all ages, shapes and sizes come to yoga, and I think that's great, but there are times when I see people who just don't fit into my stereotype of who would want to come to yoga.  This couple was it.  I wondered if the wife was scared to go alone and made the husband come.  

It would be different if the studio was part of a fitness complex where anyone with a membership could sit in on classes, then I wouldn't be surprised to get some unusual characters in there.  I'm always curious what motivates someone non-stereotypical to come to yoga, because frankly, it's not cheap.

Another unsual looking pair were two guys (straight) who came in right before class started and took the two open spots.  I often see guys come alone, or with a girl.  They were in pretty good shape so I guessed they were athletes.  The one guy was next to me and I couldn't help but notice him struggling with the stretching.  He couldn't even straighten one leg completely.  Maybe he's recovering from an injury.  Or his coach told him to work on his flexibility to prevent injury.

The class was fine, but almost a little too chill if you ask me.  The pace was so slow that we didn't even cover that many stretches.  I don't think I'd do that class again.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

1 Man, 1 Woman and 1 Mountain Dog

This weekend I dragged Flash on a hike.  I have never been on a hike, neither had Flash.  So I did some research, picked out a hike I thought would be fun.  A coworker of mine asked what I was doing on the weekend and when I told him about hiking he suggested the Canmore Nordic Centre.  So, I put my planning aside and decided to try it.  I don't know why he suggested it because it's for bikers and it's not scenic.  It's basically wide trails through the woods.  I started to fear that the day was going to be a write off.  Flash is not on outdoors person, he's a city person.  He's also impatient so he definitely wasn't impressed that we got early and came out here to waste our time.  

We went for lunch in Banff and then I suggested we try to find the trail I had originally picked out, Grotto Creek Trail.  Reluctantly Flash agreed.

The majority of the hike was through a dry river bed that cut into the mountain and ended at a small cave.  We brought Slone, and even though she was a trooper, the trail was a bit advanced for her and we ended up carrying her for parts of the way there and the entire way back.

It was fun, and beautiful.  Flash griped a lot but I think he enjoyed himself toward the end.  The next day he even commented about how he would do it again.  It's something I wouldn't have done had I not been doing this project.  It was a good adventure.

Friday, August 12, 2011

One Good Gym Deserves Another

This is my gym:

I work in a building complex within Tower Two, a ten storey building that houses a different business on each floor.  The other day as I'm walking in from lunch I notice that the blinds are open to office space in the main floor that they are renovating.  Previously, it was offices, so I thought they were either updating the space, or renovating it for new clients.  What I saw through the window was not desks, it was exercise bikes.

My first thought was, "You have got to be freaking kidding me."

Two weeks after I purchase a gym membership the building decides to install a gym!?  I shouldn't jump to conclusions, I don't know the details.  They gym could be a private facility that you have to buy a membership for.  It could be owned by one of the existing business in my building for their employees only.  All I saw were exercise bikes so maybe it'll suck.  But if my buidling is putting in a gym that is free to use by all of the building employees, I'm gonna snap.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Get Your Shit Together

Finding things on a web is rarely done directly.  I almost always find things by clicking on a link posted by another blogger.  In this case there was a write up on Design Sponge about online organization tools, that I found through the Working Girl blog.

I tried, with little success, to find something to organize my life both digital and real everyday a while ago.  I found a lot of straight up to do lists, which are fine but not all encompasing enough.  As I looked through the list a few jumped out at me:




The Wunderlist is more or less a basic list program.  The second one is geared toward teams, hence the name Teamly.  The third is also a list program, but it's got such a clean, simple, clever look to it.  The forth is Evernote.  I'm going to download this on my home computer and give it a try.  It looks promising.  It offers a bunch of options, that are currently a little beyond my technical understanding, of clipping.  Which I understand to mean that you can use this program to clip things off the internet and put them into the program.  You can also take pictures with your phone that will go right into the program too.  My understanding is you can store and organize lots of different types of things in it.  So I haven't tried it yet, but it has potential.

A side effect of looking at all the programs is that I now want a new phone.  I have a super old and small blackberry with time on my contract.  Buying a brand new phone in Canada will cost you an obscene amount of money.  All the clever little apps for programs, like these lists make me want an iPhone.  Or at least something that I can do these apps on.  Damn you technology; damn you and your brilliant marketing of fast paced ever changing can't live without you or you'll fall behind everything devices.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


I sucked it up and went to the gym on Monday.  My little gym is very busy at 5:00pm, which I guess is to be expected.  I did some cardio because I hadn’t organized what I would do.  I plugged my iPod in and watched a bit of a movie while I ran.
It was a quick trip.  Gyms are intimidating, they are even more so when packed with people.  It was so busy that I debated morning workouts.
I was dizzy after the gym.  At first I thought maybe it had something to do with trying to watch TV while I ran, but treadmills with TVs are pretty common now so I doubt that was it.  It was most likely because I don’t drink any enough water in my day to day life. 
Suddenly you need to start drinking more water and eating better and getting more sleep.  I think that’s what has me procrastinating on getting this new phase of the project figured out; because it requires a total life change.  You need to drink enough water or you’ll pass out.  You need enough sleep or you’ll be too tired to go to the gym.  You need to eat better because it’s pretty stupid to put all that effort into working out and then ruin it by stuffing your face with fast food.
My show, Extreme Makeover - Weight Loss Edition is done for the season.  It didn’t ramp up to a big finish; in fact, I didn’t even realize it was the last episode of the season until the following week when it wasn’t on.  I need to find some sources of inspiration/motivation.  I plan to start working on my inspiration board today.  I have yet to find a fitness blog that I really like.  Fit Sugar is one I check out sometimes, but it’s better for searching for a certain topic than following along as a blog. 
Melissa subscribes to Women’s Health, which is great.  For some reason we always get our magazine late, like well after it has come out on shelves.  I’m not sure when her subscription is done, hopefully not right away.  Another magazine I like is Oxygen.  Melissa doesn’t like it because the girls on the front are women who are known in the fitness world and while not gross like women bodybuilders, they are far more jacked than the celebrities on the front of Women’s Health.  Mel says it’s too hard core ha.  Anyway, I like it but it’s like $7 a magazine.  Pretty sure that price has jumped a fair bit in the past couple years.  I pay $5.99 for InStyle which is a thick magazine.  I dunno, seems a bit excessive.  The magazines are good, but they come once a month, and I’m sure I’ll need more than a monthly dose of motivation.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

I Be Up In The Gym Just Working On My Fitness

I bought a gym membership.  It wasn’t as good a deal as I thought.  I thought that if I signed up before the end of July I would get my first two months free, ie: he first two months of my year-long membership.  Nope, I get two free additional months ON TOP of my year membership.  At the end of the day I’m still paying for a full one year membership.  And, instead of not getting any charges for the first two months I had to pay my first and last month’s dues on the spot, as well as buy my fob key (gym is 24 hours), which was $50.  AND the girl was all distracted and in a huff because of some people who had bought an online deal for something and has misread the location and made a scene so she rushed through my stuff… But whatever, I wanted to work out there and now I can.
I drove home to Manitoba for the long weekend.  I packed my suitcase full of work I was going to do for my project.  I brought workout clothes and exercise dvds.  I was going to take advantage of having a real kitchen, not my tiny claustrophobic apartment one, and try out some new recipes.  Maybe all of this was a tad ambitious, but I didn’t work out once.  I went for one short walk.  I cooked absolutely nothing and spent the majority of the weekend sleeping and feeling completely exhausted.
So now the month has started and I’m not organized.  Are you shocked?  No?  I was going to work out after work today when I realized, shit, I don’t have a gym bag.  So I was going to use any old bag when I realized, shit, I don’t have a lock, where will I put my stuff?  Where do people put their stuff in this gym?  Can I just use a cubbie, or do I have to rent one?  I don’t remember there being that many so surely there aren’t enough for everyone to rent their own… right? 
Now I’m getting paranoid about gym etiquette.