Winter 2005 Newsletter
Happy holidays, lovely Christmas and wonderful and exciting New Year 2006!!! Hope you are enjoying this time of peace, hanging out with your family members and friends, good food and planning new goals and resolutions for the next year. As always, winter in Venice Beach is nice and warm and sunny - quiet different from my home countries, Czechoslovakia and Sweden, where it's a cold, yet beautiful white winter.
My summer and fall activities were very intense with training. Focusing more and more on tennis and the competition, I've been playing every day, most often twice a day, for 1.5-2 hours each time. That's for sure that all the sprinting on the court keeps me in aerobically (and visually) excellent shape. I hit the gym 3 times a week for a full body workouts - 48 of intense, heart rate rising sets.
During the summer, I started to feel slight sharp pain in my left outside knee... I thought it was just some kind of muscle imbalance so I happily ignored the pain and continued playing like nothing happened. But the pain has been coming more often and more intense, until one Saturday, I just had to stop playing. Everybody thought it was torn meniscus, I did not want to believe it, took off from training for the whole 12 days... (in my head, 12 days was unbelievably long time, the worst time I could even think of... Gee, I should put some things in perspective, right? I still could workout and ride bike and lot of stuff, so life was not that bad). After my "long" time off, when I tried to do one lunge just to test the knee, the pain was back just the same, like nothing happened. I still didn't believe it was a meniscus, so I went to Sport Medicine center in Santa Monica to a super great Dr. Branden Murray. He twisted me and pulled me in all directions, let me stand on one leg and another and spoke out the diagnosis... My left glute was not firing during my lateral movement on the court (gee, and I thought my glutes are in excellent condition! ;-) ). So the IT band was taking over all the load and eventually, by overdoing what I was doing (one week I played 25 or more hours), it got inflamed, and was all tight and pulling on my knee unevenly and it got all out of balance and caused all the sharp pain. So that was actually a really great diagnosis... I could play tennis, but had to take care of my left glute... (BTW, I got many offers from friends who wanted to take that job! LOL) . Make it stronger in the gym, reconnect my mind-glute pathway... and squeeze it on the court. Hmmmm, like I don't have enough think about (look at the ball, early preparation, don't open my hips, back foot behind front foot... bla bla...) and on a top of it, I have to think of squeezing the booty! LOL But that's all good, as long as I can play, I do anything... So here come an eye opener for me... the more tennis I was playing, the less time I had for the gym and stretching, and finally, the body broke down. So I had to make time to stretch and do physical therapy for my knee. Suddenly, believe it or not, I had time...
It's like that with all of us. Especially now, during holidays, we make a lot of resolutions for the New Year. Many are about health, training, losing fat, gaining muscles... learning a new thing... Often, we want to do something, but not strongly enough... We just say "I don't have time..."To workout or eat healthy or run, or learn a new language... But we don't understand it's not about HAVING time. We have to MAKE the time. Like anything else that is important in our lives. We have time to go to movies, or talk on phone with friends... or watch your favorite program on TV. That's because we gave it high priority. So we made time to do it. Now, if you want to change your current habits and start working out, don't LOOK for your time, but simply MAKE it. Look in your schedule and organize yourself a little bit better so you create a window, maybe 1 hour, and do your workout there. Sometimes just connecting two or three errands that you have to do, in such a way that you do them in a row, will save you enough time to workout. Give your goal a high priority. Maybe you will have less time to watch TV or socialize with your friends. But you don't need to stop... Invite your friend for a walk or run, or watch your favorite program while you are working out in the gym. Just make the effort to create time for your workouts.
For example, I've always wanted to learn Spanish... at least the last 5 years. I speak so many languages, but no Spanish... in LA, where half of the people speak Spanish. But I never found the time to do it. Gee... how could I find it, when I am already so busy? Eventually, about 6 months ago, I really decided that it's time to do it. Suddenly, Spanish got high priority and I created time to do it. I found the best learning method (that fits my needs and lifestyle) and just went for it. I've always had great talents on languages and going to school to learn a new one is too boring for me, because it goes too slow and I always feel like it's a waste of time. So I looked for something else. I got the Pimsleur Course... I bought all three levels (beginner, intermediate and advanced), each one has 30 lessons of 30 minutes. And I do my lessons when I walk with Peanut... and all of us are happy. Peanut knows that she gets her walk every day, at least 30 minutes, and I know that I do my Spanish lesson. I have a goal, 4 hours a week. Which means about 30 min a day, but often I do much more. Once I start, it's so fun, that I do much more than I planned.
So give yourself also baby-steps goals to your major goal. If you want to get in shape, your baby-step would be to do a workout a day, at least 30 min. If it's a walk, or weights, or bike... just do it every day. And you'll see, once you get into it, it will become fun and you might do even more than you planned.
Tennis and workouts
After my knee injury, I realized I have to change my gym workouts a bit. I've been doing mostly my upper body and skipping more and more on legs, because I was getting them tired on the court. I realized, that I have to do them in the gym as much as before, just to keep all the muscles in balance. So currently, I do a full body workouts, 3 times a week. I do 48 sets total, 4 sets for each muscle group.
Upper body - chest, back, delts, triceps, biceps (4 sets of each), often big, compound exercises, so each muscle group gets worked many times.
Midsection - abs, lower back and sides (4 sets of each)
Legs - squats/lunges, calves, hams, quads
Each of the three workouts, I change the exercise, order, weight, and how I combine them together. Often I do 4 of them together in a mini circle. Sometimes I change that too, and do 3, or 5 and sometimes even 6 of them. It craves a little bit planning, I like to have all my "stations" close, so I don't need to share so much with other people (ack, how selfish... ;-) ) and can do everything very intense, without much rest... often, I like to be "stuck" in the Smith machine, because I can do almost everything there.
Also, I make time to stop by the gym, after every tennis practice I stretch for 15-20 min, and roll on the ball for the myofascial release. It gets my muscles nice and long, all tensions get away and both sides of the body get evenly (not) tight... Again, another example how I suddenly "found" another 45 min a day to this... My knee injury forced me to do it, and when it became my priority, I suddenly had the time.
Tennis, tennis, tennis... playing every day. Before my injury, twice a day, each time 1.5-2 hours. Now, I have to control myself a little bit, because my knee is still not 100%. I do play every day, and just maybe 3 days a week I play twice. I don't take off very much, maybe I need to do that. One day a week off tennis wouldn't hurt. I think that the winter weather will do it for me. It's been raining 3 days in a row, so here it goes - no tennis for me. I was planning to play a lot of big tournaments in fall, but my knee stopped me. I played one in September, open division, in Santa Monica and won it. And that was the last tournament for this year. More will come in 2006.
One glass of water shuts down midnight hunger pangs
for almost 100% of the dieters studied in a University study.
Get Sexual for Ultimate Weight Loss
By Denise Mann for WebMDBedroom Olympics may be key to fitness and weight loss.
Many newly engaged women drop weight without even trying from the stress and anxiety of planning a wedding and in some ways, New York City-based model and actress Kerry McCloskey was no exception. She lost 23 pounds in the six months after she got engaged, but it wasn't from stress. It was from sex -- lots of it!
"It was during a particular time of romance and passion after I got engaged and I saw the effects that increased sex had on my body," she tells WebMD. This epiphany led to more research and her new book called the Ultimate Sex Diet. "I felt better immediately," McCloskey says, "because sex is a mood enhancer; the more you have it, the more endorphins that are released." Endorphins are the brain's feel-good chemicals.
The Desperate Housewives Diet?
According to McCloskey and a growing body of research, we can all learn something from the wanton women of Wisteria Lane on ABC's hit comedy Desperate Housewives who bed-hop in and out of their marriages and all have rather exceptional figures.
"It begins with thinking sexy thoughts and making sex a priority," she says of her sex diet. "I recommend having sex three to five times per week, which can be accomplished by doubling up on the weekends," McCloskey says. On average, sex burns 150 to 250 calories per half hour. "Since it's free and so much fun, I've found making love is the ultimate exercise machine."
More than just sex, McCloskey also suggests toning exercises including the "Elvis Pelvis" to help readers and their partners think sexy. To do this move, stand naked facing your partner and press your pelvises together for balance. Raise your arms to the ceiling and lean back while maintaining pelvic contact. Hold for three seconds, repeat five times.
No doubt about it, "sex is good exercise," says Laura Berman, PhD, LCSW, a clinical assistant professor of obstetrics-gynecology and psychiatry at the Feinberg School of Medicine of Northwestern University in Chicago, and director of the Berman Center. "It gets your heart rate up even if you are not having extremely acrobatic sex," she tells WebMD.
"Sex is a form of exercise especially if you incorporate different positions," she says. "If you move around a little bit and flex your muscles, it can be a very good exercise," she says.
Recent research shows that exercise in short bursts over the course of the day can be as effective as 30 to 40 minutes in a row. "You could use sex as 15 to 20 minutes of your exercise routine and then do something else at a different point of the day."
Another perk: "Sex is the kind of exercise that most people don't find boring," Berman says.
"Getting to the point where you are highly aroused and reaching orgasm can be good cardiovascular activity," she says. "That's why we tell people in poor cardiovascular health to avoid sex," she says.
Healthy Sex Cuts Frustration, Stress
Howard Shapiro, MD, a New York City weight-loss specialist and author of books including the forthcoming Picture Perfect Prescription, puts it this way: "If someone has a healthy sex life, they will be less frustrated and people eat less when they are not frustrated," he says.
People also eat more when they are lonely, and often people involved in loving sexual relationships are not lonely, he tells WebMD. "A healthy sex life decreases stress and some people turn to food when they under stress."
Shapiro routinely tells his clients that falling in love and out of love are the two best diets out there. "There is much more than sex involved in weight loss," he says -- namely eating a healthy low-calorie diet.
"If someone is involved in a relationship and has a healthy sex life, that's
great," he cautions. "But if someone is out there having a lot of sex with a lot
of people, it may create stress," he says. This type of promiscuity can also
increases risk of sexually transmitted disease.
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