POUND BY POUND: Day 10 – By Night, I Exercise

Published August 19, 2014 by Teresa
Toweling off after my workout.

Toweling off after my workout.

You thought that I didn’t exercise didn’t you? You thought I skipped a day.

Well, YOU WERE WRONG! :)

I slept WAY in today – my sleep pattern’s been off lately, and I woke up for my alarm at 7am, re-set it for 7:30, then turned it off and fell asleep again, finally waking up for good at around 11:30am. Then, I had a work date with some local lady writers that I’ve met through a Lady Writer Facebook Group I’m part of at 2PM. We met at the Burbank Public Library, sat together at a table, and each worked on whatever project we needed to work on (I transcribed an interview for the HotPixel blog) until about 5:30. Then I went for dinner with one of those writers, Jenny, who lives near me and with whom I’m becoming better and better friends every day (she just moved here from Seattle a couple of months ago, and I appointed myself her Welcome to L.A. Ambassador).

Then, I got home, remembered I hadn’t worked out, and decided to do so straight away while I still felt like it. :)

True Beginner Day 10 Finish Screen.

True Beginner Day 10 Finish Screen.

Today was DailyBurn True Beginner Day 10, Strength and Cardio 1, wherein Justin works out with the other group of True Beginners: Sharon, Robert, and Leigh. Just like the other group, I love this one because they each have a different body type and/or different challenges that they’re working with, showing that anyone can get up and get moving. Sharon is a bit bottom-heavy. Robert carries a lot of weight in his stomach. And Leigh, the leanest of the three, is still not ripped. She’s just average weight, and she apparently has a hamstring issue, so she does modified versions of certain exercises a lot so she doesn’t hurt that leg.

That’s the best part about this video series – it encourages you to listen to your body and push yourself safely, and by giving you permission to do the modifications, or to take a break, I find that it inspires and encourages me to push myself a little more, to challenge myself. Whereas, if I were doing a video that were all PUSH THROUGH THE PAIN! I’d be all FUCK YOU! :)

If exercise is going to be a habit for me, it has to be enjoyable. It’s why I stopped doing Couch to 5K. But it’s also why I’ve sought alternatives. It’s why I ride my bike, and walk the hour to work and back, and swim. It’s why I hike, and why I do these DailyBurn videos. Because they’re enjoyable to me, and I would continue doing them regularly whether I wanted to lose weight or not.

I think that, ultimately, that’s what will lose me the weight. Well, that, and eating right. Obviously.

Anyway, in the interest of getting this up before midnight my time, that’s all for now! :) Thanks for sharing my fitness journey with me. I’ve gotten a lot of positive encouragement from a variety of sources, and it really feels good to know that 1) I seem to be on the right track, and 2) I seem to be helping/encouraging others.

Yay!

ALS #IceBucketChallenge

Published August 19, 2014 by Teresa
The pot of ice I dumped on myself last night.

The pot of ice I dumped on myself last night.

So, I was finally tagged in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge yesterday (by both my sister, Janette, AND my friend Katie L. in NY) after I wrote this piece on yucking charitable yums! I’m getting this video up under the wire, as I was told that I was tagged on my walk to work between 11 and noon yesterday. But I recorded the video yesterday at 8PM after work, so technically I DID the challenge WELL within 24-hours. :)

Sorry about the crappy quality. I did it after work, so it was dark out in front of my apartment by the time I got home, and streetlights don’t light as well as you’d hope. Also, I asked The Boy “Can you see me?” in the video, and The Boy said yes. I probably should’ve been more specific and asked about lighting – but I wasn’t about to stand out in the chilly night air in a tank top figuring it out. I did it, and it’s done. :)

And now, I nominate: Heather Harris, Mairghread Scott, and Lindsay Sawyer! **Remember: You have 24-hrs to complete the challenge from the time I tag you! And you’ll donate either $25 to the ALS Association if you DO make the video, but $100 if you don’t. Do you accept the challenge?** (I totally forgot to mention tagging them in the actual video. Mostly because I was cold!)

And I’ll be making my $25 donation to the ALS Association (sorry I called it the ALS Foundation in the video – though technically you can donate to “any ALS charity of your choice”) tomorrow!

Also, I’m likely going to also be donating to a charity called Bottles and Bookbags in South Carolina, mostly because this woman did an Ice Bucket Challenge on their behalf, and I saw her video and DIED LAUGHING. :) Humor really is the best way to get people to do things! So, if helping young mothers is something that matters to you, you might want to throw this org a couple of bucks too, if you can.

Anyway, that’s it from me on the Ice Bucket Challenge front! Enjoy! And remember to send your support over to the ALS Association! You can totally just donate! Ice not necessary! :)

Don’t “Yuck” Someone’s Charitable “Yum”

Published August 18, 2014 by Teresa

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single creative idea in possession of some mainstream traction immediately becomes a bullseye for detractors. 

So, I’m sure you all have been seeing the ALS “Ice Bucket Challenge” videos flying around your social media feeds to raise awareness and funds to help combat amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (aka “Lou Gehrig’s Disease”), a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord, leading to lack of muscle control and paralysis. Basically, the challenge goes like this: You are challenged to either make a video of yourself having ice water dumped on you and donating $25 to the ALS charity of your choice, or you don’t accept the challenge of making the video, and you donate $100. You then nominate three other people to take on the challenge, and they have the same choice to make – and on and on.

As is inevitable with any information that travels virally, bits got lost in translation. Some forgot to mention the disease they were doing this for in their videos. Others forgot to mention the fact that they were donating, in addition to mentioning that those who don’t do the video have to donate more. It happens. But on the whole, it was a great way to get ALS in the national conversation in a way it hasn’t been, possibly since Lou Gehrig.

From a press release at the ALS Foundation website (emphasis mine):

Between July 29 and today, August 12, The ALS Association and its 38 chapters have received an astonishing $4 million in donations compared to $1.12 million during the same time period last year. The ALS Association is incredibly grateful for the outpouring of support from those people who have been doused, made a donation, or both. Contributions further The Association’s mission to find a cure for ALS while funding the highest quality of care for people living with the disease.

We have never seen anything like this in the history of the disease,” said Barbara Newhouse, President and CEO of The ALS Association. “We couldn’t be more thrilled with the level of compassion, generosity and sense of humor that people are exhibiting as they take part in this impactful viral initiative.”

With only about half of the general public knowledgeable about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, the Ice Bucket Challenge is making a profound difference. Since July 29, The Association has welcomed more than 70,000 new donors to the cause.

So the organization that stands to benefit the most from this viral giving-fest is thrilled at both the amount of donations they’ve received (four times what they received at the same time last year), and are seeing that people are now getting engaged in the fight against ALS. What could be wrong with that? 

A lot, according to internet critics.

Matt Lauer participates in the Ice Bucket Challenge on the Today Show.

This article, #IceBucketChallenge: Why You’re Not Really Helping by Ben Kosinski at the Huffington Post, has gotten almost as much viral traction as the challenge itself. I read it, and it pissed me off. Particularly this bit: 

And although the ALS Assocation has seen as much as four times as many donations during this time period than last year, just imagine with me for one second: What if the thousands of people who spent money on buying one or two2 bags of ice actually gave that money to ALS? It would be out of control.

I love how that statement has to start by totally discounting the increase in donations to the ALS Foundation. So…the challenge is a bad idea, because we should be imagining what people who wouldn’t have even thought about ALS without hearing about the Ice Bucket Challenge would’ve donated instead of buying bags of ice for the challenge they wouldn’t have heard of if this challenge didn’t exist?

THAT DOESN’T EVEN MAKE ANY SENSE! 

Look, the only reason why we’re even HAVING this conversation; the only reason why people even have a hook for cynical articles about how challenges like this don’t work is because of challenges like this WORKING. (Wanna get cynical? How about writers writing articles railing against something popular just for the web hits?) The fact is, the ALS Foundation has gotten a buttload of money, and has gotten people talking about a disease that hasn’t been talked about in any kind of a mainstream, high-profile way in FOREVER. Because let’s be honest – how many of us have given a second thought to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in the last, I don’t know, EVER?

Also, ice is super-cheap. If you’re only giving the amount of the ice you would’ve bought, I hope you’re mailing them cash, because otherwise it’s not worth the credit card processing fee. And lots of people have ice machines in their refrigerators, or – I don’t know – got ice out of their multiple ice trays. You don’t have to spend money AT ALL to do this challenge.

Also-also, I don’t know what kind of high-maintenance, perfectionist friends this writer has, but no one I know did multiple takes of their video or bought more than 2 bags of ice, tops. This isn’t a major motion picture.

The Ice Bucket Challenge on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.

Here are some other common complaints, and my retorts:

1) Why don’t you just give to charity without throwing the spotlight on yourself? 

Of course people are free to do that, but it is not inherently wrong to do so publicly. The idea that everyone needs to give to charity modestly or it doesn’t count is absolutely ludicrous. Charities and non-profits COUNT on people talking about their donations in order to get others to donate. If you’re not telling people that you’re donating to a cause you care about, I would argue that YOU’RE NOT DOING HALF YOUR JOB. If you really care about a cause, wouldn’t you want to shout it from the rooftops to get other people to do it, too?

It’s all very well and good to say “Why don’t you just give to charity without the spotlight on you?” But the fact is, people don’t, and I ‘m not being critical when I say this. There are SO many charities for SO many different causes. Who do you give to? How often? Which cause do you support? There’s so much going on in the world, so many things wrong, that people often get stuck in a holding pattern of helplessness and don’t do anything. What this challenge did is get lots of people OUT of that holding pattern and donating to the ALS Foundation, regardless of the amount. “Giving to charity” can mean lots of things – and non-profits have to fight for people’s attention somehow, especially when we’re not in the Holiday Season when people are more likely to think about charitable giving. I think this viral campaign is genius. This campaign did its job – raising awareness and funds – I think nit-picking people’s intentions is unnecessarily cynical, and  trying to talk about hypothetical funds that could’ve been raised had this challenge not existed is just silly.

2) Don’t you know there’s a drought (in CA)? Don’t you know that there are people around the world who don’t have water – and you’re just gonna waste it?!

Don’t ever wash your car again. Each person doing this challenge is only doing it once. You, however, will use a crapton of water washing your car over the course of its life. Also, how do you know what this person is doing with their water otherwise? They might do this challenge, but also not leave the water running while brushing their teeth. They might “let it mellow.” They might soap all the dishes in their sink first before turning the water on to rinse them. You have no idea how they use water, so you’re in no position to talk to people about wasting it.

Also, yes, CA is going through a serious drought right now. But this challenge is a national one.

3) This is just an example of Slacktivism!

I HATE THAT WORD. Oh, my God. I hate that word with the fury of a thousand suns. The idea that spreading information about an important cause is useless infuriates me, probably because I’m a writer who makes a living spreading valuable information, and I know several writers who do amazing jobs educating people about important causes, and in doing so are activists. If you’re criticizing “armchair activism,” you’re basically pissing on my whole career, so thanks for that.

But seriously, what did you think was happening before social media? Do you think your average person was more active? NO! Not only were they not any more active or charitable than they are now, but they often just didn’t know about a lot of causes if they weren’t being promoted through mainstream media. At least now, in the time it takes them to retweet, or share, or whatever, they are thinking about whatever the cause is. The fact that they’re bothering to share the information at ALL already indicates that it’s something important to them. Once they’ve done that, what usually follows is some sort of conversation about their post through either people “liking” their post, or asking them questions about it, or agreeing with them. Very often, these small acts lead to bigger involvement for that cause later, AND it helps in the education of more people on a cause’s behalf.

Don’t believe me? Check out this article in the Washington Post about a study out of the University of British Colombia about how “slacktivism” actually works.

My point is this, there’s some people out there trying to do good stuff. Don’t you have anything better to complain about in the world than the fact that they might not be doing good stuff right? And I get it – sometimes people thinking they’re doing good can be problematic, like young, white people engaging in voluntourism.

But criticizing people for not doing enough just because the way they choose to engage is disseminating information? (revolutionaries have a long history of handing out flyers. They can now pass out flyers across continents!) Criticizing people for not going the lengths to which you would go (hypothetically)? Criticizing people for getting too much attention for helping?

Why not channel that angry, cynical energy toward a cause YOU care about? Stop yucking other people’s yums! :) 

POUND BY POUND: Day 8 – Welcome to Week 2

Published August 18, 2014 by Teresa
Work out, rock out, same difference. :)

Work out, rock out, same difference. :)

Happy Monday, everyone! And welcome to Week 2 of me doing the DailyBurn True Beginner program! Today was Day 8 – another round of Stability and Mobility 1. This week will be all about the Level 1 videos again, and next week it goes to Level 2. I’m looking forward to it!

Yes, I did do my Day 7 yesterday! It was the Mobility 15. I always talk about this one as if it’s super-easy, because it’s the video you do on your Rest Day, but I always end up getting a killer arm workout. It’s a lot of arm circles to exercise your shoulders and a lot of knee circles to strengthen that joint, and between the two of them my upper arms and thighs end up feeling like they’re on fire. So, even though this is the Rest Day video, I’m still working things out that could use the working out.

True Beginner Day 7 Finish Screen.

True Beginner Day 7 Finish Screen.

One of the things I love about the True Beginner program (that I really missed once I finished it the first time and moved on to the more intense boxing/cardio sculpt workout videos) is that the people working out alongside the trainer, Justin Rubin, all kinda look like me (the Mobility 15 video is done by trainer Cody Storey, and it’s a general Rest Day video for all programs). In Level 1, the folks working out are Marquitta (a woman who is a bit overweight and has an apple-bottom shape), Francine (a slender woman who is a senior with 5 grandkids), and Will (an overweight gentleman who was in the military and was in a car accident a year ago that he’s spent the past year recovering from). I know that when they generally cast workout videos, they cast really fit people, I don’t know, to give you something to aspire to? (also, they’re probably the best equipped to do the workouts you’re watching) But I really love that I can see people with similar body types to me, or other physical challenges, in True Beginner and be like “Well, if they can do it, so can I!” Definitely motivating, and I don’t have to feel bad about not having 6-pack abs (yet).

True Beginner Day 8 Finish Screen.

True Beginner Day 8 Finish Screen.

Anyway, I’ve decided to walk to the day job today (it’s an hour walk to Valley Village from where I am in NoHo), because it’s been too long since I’ve taken a nice long walk. Are you doing anything to keep moving today? :) Feel free to tell me in the comments below! In the meantime, I’ll see you later here at The Experience! Hoping to get another post up today! We’ll see… ;)

SUNDAY DIGEST: Week of August 11, 2014

Published August 17, 2014 by Teresa

A scene from one of my favorite new things this week, the anime “Tonari no Seki-kun: The Master of Killing Time”

OK, so when I do this post late on a Sunday, I’m just calling it the Sunday Digest rather than Sunday Brunch, all right? Jeez!

:)

I wasn’t going to write at all today – Sunday being a day of rest and all – but I like the daily practice of it. Even if I don’t have much to say, checking in at the blog everyday keeps the writing muscles working. So here I am!

And if you’re bored and looking to catch up on some reading, here are this week’s posts:

POUND BY POUND: True Beginner Day 1 (Again!) (8/11/14) – wherein I start the True Beginner program at DailyBurn again to get back to working out regularly.

Teeth Matter (8/11/14) – wherein I discuss my recent dental work and why keeping on top of dental hygiene is important. Especially when you’re broke.

POUND BY POUND: Day 2 – DailyBurn and Black Beauty (and Katya) (8/12/14) – wherein I record my second day of exercise and pay homage to a friend’s beloved pet.

HOTPIXEL POST: “String Theory at the Hollyshorts Film Festival – Friday!” (8/13/14) – From the HotPixel blog, wherein I announce that the short film, String Theory, directed by HotPixel’s Jonathan Pezza, was selected to screen at the Hollyshorts film festival!

POUND BY POUND: Day 3 – Strength, Cardio, and Stripping Down (Sort Of) (8/13/14) – wherein I do the third day of the True Beginner program and show a little skin.

POUND BY POUND: Day 4 – A Day to Myself (8/14/14) – wherein I document that day’s exercise and discuss the importance of sometimes prioritizing, planning, and scheduling around my needs rather than other people’s.

NEW AT BEACON: “Why Robin Williams?” (8/15/14) – From Pop Goes Teresa at Beacon, wherein I talk about why Robin Williams’ death was particularly felt by those of my generation.

POUND BY POUND: Day 5 – Looking Forward to the Next Level? (8/15/14) – wherein I document that day’s exercise and talk about actually wanting more of a workout, because I’m ready for the challenge.

POUND BY POUND: Day 6 – Sweating on a Saturday (8/16/14) – wherein I document that day’s exercise and discuss how wanting to impress your Honey Boo encourages proper form when exercising with an audience.

Well, that’s it for this week’s posts! And as I mentioned in the caption of the photo above, one of my favorite things this week was this adorable anime called Tonari no Seki-kun: The Master of Killing Time, about a high school kid namd Seki-kun, who really excels at wasting time in class, and his classmate, Yokoi-san, who can’t help but get sucked into his games in spite of herself. Each episode is only about 7 mins or so, and they have a Calvin and Hobbes-ish vibe to them, if Calvin and Hobbes were Japanese. :) Check it out on Crunchyroll, why don’t’cha?

POUND BY POUND: Sweating on a Saturday

Published August 16, 2014 by Teresa
Even on a weekend.

Even on a weekend.

Even though I have a rule about weekend days being unstructured (I don’t set an alarm on Saturdays or Sundays unless I have something specific to do, I don’t have a “To Do” list, I tend to work on my personal projects rather than my paid work), I still wanted to get my workout done first thing. Because as we all know, skipping a day = skipping a bunch of days. Not gonna happen anymore. This morning, I had the benefit of company while I worked out, too! :)

The Boy, lounging while I work up a sweat!

The Boy, lounging while I work up a sweat!

Anyway, I got in DailyBurn’s True Beginner this morning – Strength and Cardio 1, by far the most difficult of the level 1 videos. Worked up a quality sweat, but I made it happen. And I have to say, having The Boy in the room really kept me in good form the whole time. After all, I had My Baby to impress with the amount of chair push-ups I could do! Not that he was really paying attention – he was reading stuff on his phone – but STILL! I can do 15 push-ups in a minute! LOOK AT ME! ;)

Anyway, here’s my Finish Screen for today:

TB Day 6 Screen

Tomorrow is a Rest Day, so I’ll be doing DailyBurn’s “Mobility 15,” which isn’t really a workout, but a way to mobilize your joints and do light stretching. I may or may not put up a Pound By Pound post tomorrow. We’ll see. In the meantime, I hope you all have been enjoying your weekends so far! Find some time to do something that really makes you happy! :)

 

POUND BY POUND: Day 5 – Looking Forward to the Next Level?

Published August 15, 2014 by Teresa
This is what happens when I have to wake up at 5am for work and I still try to workout before leaving the apartment.

This is what happens when I have to wake up at 5am for work and I still try to workout before leaving the apartment.

I really did NOT want to work out this morning. Not because of the workout itself, but because I had to wake up at 5AM this morning for an early shift at my day job. I was SO SLEEPY.

But I did it – DailyBurn True Beginner Day 5 – another Core 1 day. And do you know what? As I did it, I found myself looking forward to Core 2, because I know that workout will actually challenge me.

You read right. I actually WANT more of a workout. Because Core 1 is now TOO EASY.

It’s good to know that, despite my intermittent laziness, my overall strength and stamina is growing.

Day 5 Finish Screen

Day 5 Finish Screen

Which is a good thing, considering my trouble with Black Beauty this morning. When I was leaving for work, I did what I usually do before I take her out. I felt both her tires to make sure they were inflated. They both felt fine. It wasn’t until I was several blocks from my apartment that I realized that her front tire was going flat. As I pedaled harder and harder (trying to get a bike up a hill with a tire that’s going flat is a bitch!), I sought out a gas station to see if I could get the tire filled. Their air machine was broken. I stopped at another gas station. Their air machine was also broken.

GAS STATIONS OF NORTH HOLLYWOOD, FIX YOUR AIR MACHINES! THERE ARE TIRES THAT NEED FILLING!

So, it was a bit more of a slog than usual to bike to work (which I had to continue doing, despite the weak front tire, or I would’ve been super-late), but I did it, and got more of a workout in the process. (So, yay?) But I’ll likely be getting a ride from my boss back home, because she is a nice person and does not want me to walk my bike home.

So, yeah. that there’s my fitness report for the day. Woot. :)

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