Sunday, June 30, 2013

Where Have All the Pounds Gone? - Tai Cheng Week 8 COMPLETE

(The music to Paula Cole's Where Have All the Cowboys Gone? playing in my head)

It's official!  I've met my first goal - 10% (25 lbs) of me is gone!  With my Tuesday evening weigh in at Weight Watchers I'd lost the exact amount needed to reach my 10% goal.  I put my running man (from the Live Life Active Challenge) and my 25 lb weight on the 10% ring, both of which I received at the meeting.

WW Charms
The next goal I've set for myself is to reach 20% (of my starting weight) by my birthday.  Seeing that it took 14 weeks to reach 10% I need to bump things up a bit to cut off 4 weeks.  Since I do the Tai Cheng in the mornings before work I'm thinking I'll ride the exercise bike in the evenings.  For how long should I ride each evening to help reach this goal?  Or, should I just stick to what I'm doing since it's working, reaching the 20% early October instead?  These are what I must think about.  Please leave any suggestions you may have.

I'm still not able to ninja my hands back while in the pike position.  Dr. Cheng is always saying that the pike/plank builds up your core.  My core may be fine but I don't have the upper body strength to do it.  I've never had upper body strength.  Back in high school I wasn't able to do the chin ups or pull ups so there's no way I could be doing that now.  Is weightlifting the best way to build upper body strength so I won't be so shaky?

The combos flowed well this week.  I'm so ready to put them all in sequence next week. I just don't feel the buzz in my fingers at the end of the last move.


Monday, June 24, 2013

Tai Cheng Week 7 Eased on By

This was exercise?  It's starting to not be so tough to do any moves.  Yes, I'm still shaky in some positions but I'm still doing them.

The funny thing Dr. Cheng says with Neural Reboot 3 is, "It's posture, posture, posture, not pasta, pasta, pasta."  Some days I think, "Now he's making me hungry with all this pasta talk!" LOL

I managed to do the pike/plank in the regular version every day but I couldn't ninja back and forth.  My arms shake too much holding me up.  It still surprises me that I can even hold myself up this little bit since I have no upper body strength.

There's a new rolling kick in the Neural Reboot 3.  When I first saw it I thought that it'd be difficult but actually found it rather simple.  When I was showing my coworker it was a little awkward with my shoes on.  Something about the added weight of the shoes.

Your base foot is placed at a 45° angle on the floor.  Then you lift your other leg and put it in front of your knee with your toes dorsiflexed.  You almost look like these African bushmen (but your foot doesn't actually touch your knee).
While standing on one leg you "roll" the elevated leg around to the other side, lowering it to the ground.  Your feet end up about shoulder width apart and somehow stay at the 45° angle (at least mine do).  You then shift your weight on the foot that was just lowered and repeat this whole process back and forth a few times.
Dr. Cheng introduced the third area of foam rolling - the rotator cuff.  You lay on the floor with the roller in your armpit and your arm stretched out.  First you rock back and forth to hit the base of these muscles on your shoulder blade.  Then, while leaning back a little you roll up and down a few inches.  I don't actually feel much of anything doing this but I'm sure someone with rotator issues would.
The last 6 Tai Cheng moves seem to be the most complicated of them all.  There's even a little bit of a rolling kick.  Despite the complexity it doesn't feel difficult.
Motions are becoming more fluid.  I'm nowhere near as flexible as I was in high school but I'm getting there.  I don't think I'll ever do a back flip or any gymnastics as that's not my goal.  I just want to be healthy not an athlete.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Weight Watchers & Tai Cheng Journey - Phase 2 Complete

Three months of Weight Watchers and six weeks down of Tai Cheng.  As of this week's weigh in I'm down 22 lbs since beginning this journey.  I've lost almost 10% of my previous self already!  It's the lightest I've been in more than 7 years.  No gain during my TOM this time around so I was happy.  This week's loss was the biggest so far - 4.2 lbs.  As far as inches lost, I've shrunk everywhere but my waist.

On Sunday Benny and I went to Goodwill to shop for bottoms (tops still have a way to go before I can get into a smaller size).  I had a whole cart full of pants, shorts, skorts, and capris to try on.  I was so hot from trying on all those bottoms!  Weight Watchers should have a points value for trying on clothes.  I've dropped from a size 22 to a size 18!  We bought everything that fit - 1 skort, 2 shorts, 1 tank, 1 pant, 2 capris, and 1 jean.

At Goodwill we even found an exercise bike for cheap.  I've played on the bike but no serious riding yet as I'm not sure what kind of routine to do with it.  All I know is that I don't have time to ride after Tai Cheng (before work) so it would have to be evenings or weekends only.  Please share any recommendations you have for routines on an exercise bike.

I've started incorporating more veggies into my diet.  Before I didn't even like the taste of bell peppers.  Now I have some with nearly every dinner.  I've started adding lettuce to my sandwiches.  Benny only likes iceberg; he says the others aren't white enough.  However, I taste the lettuce for hours after eating my sandwich.  Has anyone else experienced this?

Workout Weeks 4-6
Neural Reboot 2 is complete now.  With the pain it produced rolling my quads I'm kind of scared of what #3 entails.  Will I experience more pain or sweet relief?  The next three weeks I'll learn the final six moves and be on my way to becoming a Tai Cheng Master!  I kind of like that title.  I may add that to my profile when this is over.

DVDs 4-6
Doing Sequence 2 this week felt a little awkward to me.  Perhaps it's the residue from the painful foam rolling continuing to seep into the Tai Cheng moves.  Somehow I end up facing the TV every time while they're facing one side or another.  The moves flowed better by the end of the week so I stopped worrying about which way I was facing.  After all it's completing the moves not where you are that matters, right?

Monday, June 10, 2013

Tai Cheng Week 5 - COMPLETED

After last week's painful blur the Neural Reboot 2 this week was a lot easier.  Foam rolling didn't produce as intense pain as the first week.  The pain hits about mid-thigh working both sides.  I tried to sit a little with the roller at that spot since that's what the PT had done.

Dr. Cheng has funny comments periodically throughout the routines.  An example that I missed out on last week was in his instructions for the Bretzel stretch.  He says, "Make it like you're at a southern barbecue and grab some ribs."  Nearly everyday I had a little chuckle when he said this.

Because of the blur I struggled a little with the combos this week.  I didn't remember even doing some of them!  I'm hoping the week 6 sequence will flow better than the combos.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Tai Cheng Week 4 - Painfully COMPLETED

For years I had pain down my right leg which I thought to be sciatica but the doctors would never say that's what it was.  Once I reached the point of constant pain without relief my doctor sent me to physical therapy. The PT immediately knew what it was - my IT band and piriformis muscle were extremely tight and would rub my sciatic nerve.  She found the tight spots and worked them out; it was painful in that instant but afterwards sweet relief!  I was nearly pain free in my leg for the first time in years.  The PT gave me some stretches and instructions for what to do whenever the pain flared up.

Well, this week's Neural Reboot 2 introduced from rolling of the quads - the rectus femoris and vastus lateralis.  Laying on the roller was a challenge.  I felt like a beached whale trying to get on there!  Then came the actual rolling of my right leg.  OMG I thought I was going to die!  There was instant pain that felt like someone was stabbing my leg multiple times.  I was crying and screaming a little while trying to roll.  Then I started laughing...I don't know why experiencing this pain was so comical to me.  Then came the left leg.  Hello, pain!  Where did you come from?  I had no idea there were tight spots on my left leg too!


Benny was watching me the whole time.  While I was the beached whale screaming and crying I told him that we should've filmed this experience for America's Funniest Home Videos!

Well, all that pain made me nauseous and I had much difficulty performing the rest of the workout.  I shook for hours afterwards the first day.  It was around day 4 that the pain had subsided enough post foam rolling that I could complete the rest of the workout as my normal self.  Sure, the pain is still there when I roll the quads but it's nothing like those first few days.

There were several other new moves in Neural Reboot 2 but it was all a blur because of the pain.  I completed everything but it wasn't an enjoyable week.  This set of Tai Cheng moves was more complicated than the first ones so I think I missed out on the full experience since I was concentrating on making the pain go away.