Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Therapeutic Value of Dispensing Advice

Take a minute (or five of them, plus four seconds) this afternoon and listen.

I remember this song coming out shortly after I graduated from High School.  (Somewhat inconsequential fact: the message was actually written in 1997 - the year I graduated from High School.)  It was written by a Chicago Tribune columnist who was wistfully pondering what sage snippets she would impart, if ever she were invited to be a graduation speaker.

It made me tear up then (I don't really know why), and having stumbled upon it again (thanks to Alexandra's excellent blog), it still does.  In fact, I think some of the wisdom is just as (or more) applicable for worn-out thirty-somethings than it was for me at barely-twenty ("You are not as fat as you imagine.").

But it makes my heart swell differently now.  Because I have lived fourteen or so more years of life and can commiserate with the lyrics ("Oh yes, definitely!).  Maybe we've even said something similar to a child, a cousin going off to college, a wayward sibling.

Why does it make us feel good to give advice? 

I don't think it's ego.  The opposite, in fact.  Giving advice makes us feel like, for all the things we've messed up, we've gotten enough right that we have something useful to share.

I've been so weary from sleep-deprivation and so irritated-raw from my toddler's backtalk, that when someone pays me the extreme complement of asking for my advice, I nearly sent them flowers as a thank you.

So today, I want to give you a pick-me-up: what's your best advice?  On life.  Nutrition.  Mothering.  Running a business.  Hit me!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Shareworthy: Welcome October!

This beautiful 9/11 tribute by the NYC Ballet premiered at sunrise on 9/12

The first two books in one of my favorite mystery series - the Charles Lenox books - are only $2.99 on Kindle for the whole month of October!! If you love historical fiction, "cozy mysteries", check out A Beautiful Blue Death and The September Society!

I've been trying to make my nail polish last longer.  For all the delightful things my mom taught me, how to give myself a manicure was not one of them.  This thorough post at 15 Minute Beauty Fanatic is great (and gets bonus points for tips on long-wearing, since that's my biggest problem).

"Hey! That Person is Making Different Parenting Decisions!  Call CPS!" is both hilarious and touching.  It echoes sentiments I think a lot of moms want to say every day, but is written as only a dad can.  Simply awesome!

I'd heard of Birchbox before, but not ipsy (the concept is the same: curated beauty samples delivered monthly like crack).  For only $10 a month, I'm seriously tempted to try it!

Like any self-respecting Bridget Jones fan, I've been looking forward to Mad About the Boy , the third in the series, coming out late this month.  However, this early review makes me wonder if I need to leave well enough alone with the happily-ever-after at the end of Edge of Reason.

This is how I want to be able to travel someday!

I'm kind of an MBTI junkie, which means that my inner geek thinks these stylized type heads are really cool!  (What is your type?  I'm an ENFJ.)

Disclosure: this post contains a few Amazon affiliate links.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Fitness Friday: P90X for Women {PLUS Try a P90X-style Workout for FREE!}

Image by Beachbody
I had been doing exercise videos for a good six years before I stumbled onto P90X.  Mostly workouts from The Firm (which I've written about here) and Cathe Friedrich.  I felt pretty fit.  When 2008 rolled around, I found myself in a rut - it was the year that I came to terms with the fact that I could not safely carry a child (and should not even attempt pregnancy), and needless to say, my fitness level started to slip.  So when Daddy M (who, at the time, had some pounds to lose) floated the idea of doing P90X (and strongly hinted that an accountability buddy would be helpful), I said "why not".

After a full, three-month round of P90X, though, I was not in love.  Daddy M and I completed the "Classic" rotation and, while he had fantastic results, mine were just meh.  However, I returned to it in 2011 (after a sleepless year with Moose that saw me seriously pile on some pounds), and found a way to make it work for me.

Which is really why I want to share my experience here: because I get the impression that a lot of women have a meh response to P90X - particularly those who, like me, come to the program with a few pounds to lose - and I learned that it doesn't have to be that way.

To begin, if you're not familiar with the P90X workouts, you should know that it is predominantly intended as a strength and muscle building program.  The Classic rotation looks like this:
Day 1 - Upper body + abs
Day 2 - Cardio
Day 3 - Upper body + abs
Day 4 - Yoga (with an endurance toning focus)
Day 5 - Lower body + abs
Day 6 - Cardio
For as much as I thought I knew about exercise when I did my first round of the program, I didn't really get that, as a woman comfortably out of her teens, I would need more cardio to see real weight loss.  So in 2011, I did the "Lean" variation of the rotation:
Day 1 - Core Synergistics (a cardio/light weights & body resistance circuit)
Day 2 - Cardio
Day 3 - Upper body (heavier weights) + abs
Day 4 - Yoga
Day 5 - Lower body + abs
Day 6 - Cardio
Within the first few weeks, I was already seeing better results than the first time around, and decided to add some "doubles" - an extra cardio workout on the toning days.  I went jogging with Moose (in a jogging stroller) on Day 3 and Day 5, after my P90X workout.

My results were fantastic!  I wish I would have taken before and after pictures (I didn't take any before shots because I honestly wasn't expecting a lot . . .)!  If you're like me (female, have a few pounds to lose), I highly recommend this variation of P90X!

I do, however, have some lingering cons about the program:
  • It is incredibly time-consuming!  Now that I have two littles, and my law practice is growing, I know I can't reasonably expect to be able to undertake that commitment (60-120 minutes a day).  Were I to undertake another Lean rotation right now, in order to keep each day at 60 minutes or less, I would get my much-needed cardio in on Days 3 and 5 by only doing half of the weight workout (I've heard this called "halfsies" by other P90Xers) and then tacking on 20-30 minutes of cardio.  I would also substitute a shorter ab routine.
  • Beware of the risk of injury!  I ended up with biceps tendinitis in my right shoulder at the end of my successful 90-day cycle from all the (attempted and partial) pull-ups.  And my Morton's neuroma first reared its ugly head as I was finishing up.  As with everything, listen to your body and make adjustments if something starts not feeling right.
  • Ab Ripper X is not a balanced ab routine.  I hated ARX in the beginning.  It made my low back hurt every single time I did it, and I was nowhere near being able to complete all the repetitions.  I figured it was because I was so sorely lacking in core strength, but even by the end of three months, when I was matching Tony Horton rep-for-rep, I was still in pain.  I applaud the variety of lower abdominal moves in ARX, but I don't think it's balanced out with enough with upper-ab, mid-ab, and oblique work.  If I did another round, I would substitute another (or a variety of other) ab routine, both for time considerations (mentioned above) as well as in the interest of a well-rounded and less painful workout.
If you're curious about the kind of workout you can get with P90X, here is a {FREE} 30-minute workout from P90X creator Tony Horton.  It alternates cardio, body-weight toning and ab exercises, and feels a lot like Core Synergistics.

Have you tried P90X? What were your results?