“Always remember you have within you the strength, the patience and the passion to reach for the stars and change the world.” ~ Harriet Tubman
It seems like I have been on a quest for fitness my entire life. When I was 10, my sister used her own money to sign me up for summer swim team in our neighborhood. I attacked it with an insatiable voracity that set the tone for how I approach pretty much everything in my life. I was early for practice. I stayed late. I gave it everything I had, but still only managed to place 3rd in most of my events. The trend continued in high school as I swam my way through 4 years of chlorine, dry skin, dry hair and chilly mornings. Once I reached college, I switched to running, aerobics, stair masters and hill climbs as I hiked my way through what is now known as Texas State University in San Marcos, TX.
And then. I got a desk job. I had several. And I ballooned up to something like 225 pounds. I joined Jenny Craig and started kickboxing in 2001, and the weight started melting away. I was so fit and healthy that – guess what? I got pregnant! Sigh. I was 180 lbs then… a long way from where I wanted to be, but I thought I could exercise my way through pregnancy and come out skinny. Excuse me while I go choke on a carrot stick… because that certainly didn’t happen. I chowed on Pop Tarts, pizza, and Cheetos and worked my weigh back up to 230 pounds the day of delivery.
Once my son was born, I renewed my quest for fitness. I started running again, but by then, I was addicted to sugar. Seriously addicted. A day simply wasn’t a day until I had my Baskin Robbins… Truly… my athletic quest became and “eh…whatever “ with half-hearted attempts at progress at 3 different gyms over the next few years. (My beef with gyms runs deep. Deep, man.) By then, my husband and I realized our son desperately needed a sibling if he was to separate from Mom and Dad at any point in his life, and being the over-achiever that I am, I decided to get pregnant with not just one baby, but TWO babies. By the time I delivered them at 33.5 weeks gestation, I weighed 265 lbs. I was not happy. Granted, 44 pounds came off within 3 weeks of delivery, but I was still at the 220lb mark.
Something had to be done. When I saw how I looked in my sister’s wedding pictures in 2007 – bloated, pink and feeling like dump truck – I renewed my quest. Again. I joined Austin Adventure Bootcamp and spent almost $200 per month learning how to sweat in the Austin, TX summer heat. I ran my way to an 8-minute mile. I toned not just one bicep, but two! Combined with healthy eating strategies, my weight dropped over the next year to 172 lbs.
I traded Boot Camp for Tae Kwon Do through Tiger Rock Martial Arts in 2009 and I feel like I’ve found my “home”. I come from a family of martial artists. My brother, a 3rd Degree Black Belt in TKD and a 1st Dan in Kyokushin Karate, opened his own Tae Kwon Do school in March 2013 (http://yukonmartialarts.com/). Both of my nieces are 1st Degree Black Belts in TKD. My 10-year-old son is 3rd Degree, Level 3 Black Belt, my 6 year old twins are now brown belts (one year from Probationary Black.) And me? I achieved what I once didn’t think was possible. I earned my 3rd Degree Level 2 Black Belt in April, 2013.
While my passion for teaching and learning Tae Kwon Do is deep, it waxes and wanes with its intensity. During testing, the school is essentially closed for 2 weeks every 8 week cycle. Some days we spar hard. Others, it’s less intense and more focused on technique. While it’s a great workout, I need more on a daily basis.
I’m now up to 86.0 kg. (My daughter broke my scale. I have to Google the conversions!) I’ve wondered and pondered and debated what to do to add to my routine. Do I join a gym? Do I Groupon hop and spend 30 days kickboxing, 30 days at a yoga studio, another 30 days lifting kettle balls? None of it sounds appealing, and it all sounds expensive. With all of these options, I would have to tailor my schedule to fit whatever gym schedule each place has available. Such a pain… such work… so… no, thank you.
My EUREKA! Moment came upon the arrival of my iPhone 5 and coincided with my friend Brook’s idea to make up our own circuit training workouts. I discovered all of these free apps for fitness – complete with videos and instructions! From there, I moved on to YouTube. Just YouTube the word “cardio” and hundreds of fitness videos popped up. Why not, I thought to myself, workout with my iPad on the days that I don’t meet up with Brook? Why not try a bunch? Dozens! And write about them! Why not, indeed? Armed with endless variety, natural mosquito repellent, a mat, some weights and my iPad, I will succeed! 99.9% guaranteed!
So, the adventure begins once again. You, my readers, can hold me accountable. Push me into action. Force me into bodily compliance. You’ll read all about along the way. I promise to write up real reviews, make you laugh, teach you a thing or two and maybe even persuade you to join my quest. In any case, I’m happy you’re here!