It’s the journey, not the destination.

“Beauty surrounds us, but usually we need to be walking in a garden to know it.”  Rumi

My walking project has ended but because it is all about the journey and not the destination, I have only just begun.  My weekly walks have been enjoyable and I have learned a lot about fitness and myself.  What I have learned most is that I am not as consistent or persistent as I thought I was.  I walked an average of 5 miles per week when my proposal was to walk 8-10.  Some weeks I only walked two days while others I managed 5 days.  I really felt the benefits:  more energy, feeling better about myself and even having my jeans fit better.  So the question is, why would I not be more consistent?

Self-Sabotage

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This experience has shown me everything that I need to do to be fit and healthy.  I have learned that I can be going along just fine, eating healthy, exercising regularly and then, for no apparent reason, I am derailed.  I’m not sure why I sabotage myself but it has been frustrated and yet, enlightening.  It’s nice to know that this is the cause of my inconsistency.  Once I recognize the problem, I think it will be easier to address it.

Accomplishments

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The most amazing thing is that over the past two and a half months, I have walked a total of 42 miles.  I can’t believe it but my walking app, Map My Walk, proves it.  I would definitely recommend this app and one of the benefits is that you can also track your diet through the same app.  It shows the maximum suggested calories and then deducts them as your track your food.  I have actually lost 5 pounds over the past three months due to combined changes in my activity and changes to my diet.  What I notice most is that these changes were not drastic.  It meant just adding on 20-30 minutes of activity and cutting out my junk food feasts at night.

Staying the Course

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I plan to continue with my walking plan.  I hope to continue to decrease my time and increase my distance.  I would really like to walk for a full 10 miles each week and get down to about a 15-minute mile.  I also hope to continue to drop the weight as I continue on the journey.  As for blogging, I’m not so sure I will keep up with this fitness blog.  I feel like I may be likely to use blogging in my professional life as a teacher but the personal aspect of blogging is a little uncomfortable to me because it really puts me out there.

My final hope is that my students have gotten something out of this 20% project.  I know that quite of few of them have been inconsistent in their participation and have not completed their blog posts on time.  On the other hand, some have really flourished with their creativity and their blogging skills.  Overall, I think this has been a valuable experiment and I hope that my students will continue blogging in their personal and professional lives as well.

This is a Screencast of my entire site:

 

Pic Collage

 

walking picsMy Pic Collage is of 6 sites that I visited while I was walking.  I’ll describe the pictures in a clockwise rotation from upper left to bottom left.

My first picture taken while walking was of a bird that I saw flirting with himself in a side view mirror of a car.  This is just one of the little whimsical observations that I’ve been able to observe while walking through my neighborhood.

I observed cute bike parked in front of a flower shop in Seal Beach.  I walked through the shopping village and was able to window shop while I walked.

Carlsbad Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in North San Diego County.  It’s also one of the most picturesque places to walk.

La Jolla Children’s Pool is a lovely beach with a pleasant little walking trail.  La Jolla is very hilly and provides a nice workout when walking.  La Jolla also has some of the most breathtaking views in North County.

Carlsbad Lagoon can be walked around through various walking paths.  There is plenty of flora, fauna, and landscapes to view while enjoying a leisure walk.

Vista sunset is breathtaking from the hills about the city.  I was fortunate to walk up to one of the hills off of Monte Vista where a friend lives and took a picture of the sunset from her balcony.

I note that the benefits of walking have not only been improved fitness but also an opportunity to see the sites of North San Diego County on foot.

 

Expert Interview

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Photo Credit:  jonathanfitpro.com

Introduction

Janet Sawyer is a personal trainer at the Spectrum Sports Club in Los Angeles.  She has been a physical fitness trainer for over 15 years.  She has a Bachelor’s Degree from a California State University in Kinesiology with an emphasis in sports medicine.  She also holds a personal training certificate from the National Academy of Sports Medicine.  The following is an interview with Janet regarding her tips for fitness.

  1.  What experience do you have in this fitness field?

My first experience was as a high school and college athlete. I played varsity high school and college basketball and softball.  During college, I worked as a personal trainer at a local gym.  I was experienced but not certified at the time.  I have been working at Spectrum for the past 10 years.  I am now National Academy of Sports and Medicine Certified and also have a BA in Kinesiology.  Most importantly, I practice what I preach.  I work out a minimum of 5 days a week, eat regular nutritious meals and maintain my emotional and mental wellness through yoga and meditation.

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2. You mentioned exercise, diet and emotional wellness.  How do all of these factors play in fitness training?  

When I work with a client to improve fitness, I take a holistic approach that includes physical, mental and emotional health.  Total fitness involves both the mind and body.  Physical fitness is addressed through diet and exercise.  Each client is different and I consult with them individually to address their fitness goals.  Some people are seeking weight loss while others want to improve their energy level.  Exercise can help people reach their goals but it is only one part of fitness.  On the other hand, if a client eats nutritious meals but doesn’t engage in regular physical activity, complete physical fitness is not achieved.    Finally, fitness is a composite of many factors such as weight (body mass), body fat percentage, resting heart rate, blood pressure, and many other factors.  We cannot focus on only one area of fitness without looking at others.

Healthy-Living-Cycle-from-Starling-Fitness

3.  Can you address the mental/emotional wellness that you mentioned earlier?

Mental and emotional health is not always a direct result of physical wellness.  We can be physically fit but may need to also work at mental and emotional wellness.  Some of the ways that I work with clients is that we develop an emotional wellness plan.  We work at finding balance between work, home, and recreation.  Sometimes this is just a matter of time management and other times it takes a shift in priorities.  As human beings, we cannot maintain our physical fitness if we don’t have balance in our schedules.  We need to put as much priority on working and earning money as we do on keeping our bodies healthy.  Sometimes adults lose this balance and need an outside assessment and time management skills to get level the scales.  I also include yoga for flexibility and emotional wellness in addition to meditation and journaling.   It has been proven that a daily practice of meditation and a written gratitude list can lower stress and increase energy levels.

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Reflection

I learned a lot about physical fitness and physical training through this interview process.  I now realize that to be physically fit I must address a triangle of physical, mental and emotional health.  Fitness is also achieved by addressing diet, exercise, and mental/emotional health.  My plan of walking 8-10 miles per week is only one facet of my fitness.  An area of fitness that I need to approve on is in my diet (eating healthier and fewer calories).   Although I use the Map My Walk app for exercise, I can also add on tracking my food within the same app.  The same app has a food tracking feature that interfaces with the exercise app.  Overall, my heart rate and my cardiovascular fitness have improved by fitness walking on a regular basis; however, my diet definitely has room for improvement.  Final, this interview gave me food for thought to examine my mental and emotional wellness.  I tend to work very long hours and have an imbalance with fitness, work and leisure time.   I would like to cut back a little bit on the time that I spend working after school and on weekends so I can add on more fitness and leisure time.  I realize now that fitness is all about balance.

 

 

Top 10 ways to avoid working out

pro-cras-ti-na-tion |prəˌkrastəˈnāSHən, prō-|
noun. the action of ruining your own life for no apparent reason

After my experience last week of not meeting my goal of walking 8-10 miles, I decided to post my top 10 ways to avoid working out.  These are no means a suggestion, they are simply tried and true excuses that I used in order to procrastinate and eventually fail at meeting my goal.

  1.  Put off until tomorrow what you can do today.  There were a couple of days last week that I seriously thought that I would do it tomorrow.  After all, on Monday, I still had 6 more days to meet my goal.  By the time Saturday rolled around and I had only walked 4 miles, I began to realize that I had failed.
  2. Don’t bring your work out clothes to work.  Since I have to stay at work late on Monday through Wednesday, if I don’t bring my workout clothes, I can pretty much be assured that I won’t work out.
  3. Go to sleep late and wake up early.  I have a bad habit of staying up late and then I have to wake up early for work in the morning. I make my way to bed but then I read e-mails, watch youtube videos and read until the wee hours of the morning.  The result is that I’m exhausted the following day and have very little energy.
  4. Don’t pack an after-school snack.  There were a couple of days last week when I was so hungry after school that I just couldn’t get myself to walk because I was so hungry. My strategy this week is to bring a snack so that I can have enough energy and focus to walk.
  5. Don’t pay attention to the weather forecast.  By the time Sunday rolled around and I still had to do a minimum of 4 miles to keep up with my weekly goal, I realized that there was a huge storm expected.  There was no way that I could get my work out in by then.
  6. Binge watch Netflix.  I tend to watch Netflix or HBO series when I get home from work while grading papers.  This prolongs the time I spend grading so that I don’t have time to walk.
  7. Talk on the phone while walking.  I have noticed that talking on the phone while I’m walking tends to slow me down.  As I shared in a previous post, my best, fastest walking is done alone.
  8. Get a walking partner.  This sounds like a great idea; however, what I found was that my pace slowed with a partner and when my partner decided not to join me, I felt even less motivated than I would have if I’d planned to walk alone in the first place.
  9. Weigh yourself every day.  This was probably one of the most discouraging things I could have done because I didn’t experience any significant weight loss.  Walking was not proposed as my weight loss solution.  I am more focused on fitness for this project, rather than weight loss. When I didn’t see a loss after a few days of pursuing my routine, however, I became discouraged and was less motivated.
  10. Set your workout as your LAST priority.  I thought about my workout at the end of the day and many times I allowed other things to get in the way:  a meeting, grading papers, cleaning house, checking e-mail, etc.  I know that this week I will set my workout as my number one priority after school.  I will do it first, get it done and then move on to my other commitments.

No excuses this week! I recommit to myself to walk a minimum of 8-10 miles!

 

No-More-Excuses-Its-Time-to-Workout[1]

Failing Forward

As the 4th week of the 20% project begins, I would like to say that I have stuck to my goal of walking 8-10 miles per week, but sadly, I have not.  My first two weeks of this project were nearly flawless. In my second week on this journey, I exceeded ex

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Fasted Pace

expectations by walking 10 miles per week and reducing my pace from approximately 18 minutes per mile to my fastest pace of a little over 16 minutes per mile.  The third week, however, I only walked 4.2 miles.  I would like to say that I had excuses for not walking: the weather, meetings after school, fatigue, grading.  There really is no legitimate excuse other than the fact that I dropped the ball.  I procrastinated.  I kept telling myself that tomorrow I would make up the time.  Unfortunately, tomorrow never came.

Week 1

My first week of walking, January 10-16, I walked approximately 8 miles.  My route was mostly from school to East Vista Way and back, approximately 2.3 miles total.
I walked a total of 43 minutes, at a pace of about 18 minutes per mile.  I felt very accomplished because it was my first step (literally) toward my goal.  The route is a little boring but it’s convenient.  All I have to do

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Beach Walk

is change clothes after work and get on the road.  I sometimes run into students and they seemed shocked to see me walking.  I have also noticed that when I come face to face with strangers on the sidewalk, we usually smile and greet one another.  I’ve come to the conclusion that my best walking is done alone because I keep a better pace.  When I walked with a partner, Ms. Campbell, our pace was significantly slower.  I think it was because we were more focused on talking than walking.  So I’ve come to realize that this is a project that I must complete alone.  Although I would ideally like a walking partner, I’m better off flying solo, so to speak.

Weeks 2-3

My most enjoyable was was week 2 over the Martin Luther King weekend.  I went down to the beach and walked along the strand by the ocean.  My pace was slower but the scenery was much nicer than walking down Bobier Blvd., among the exhaust from the cars and the traffic signals.  I was able to enjoy the ocean breeze, the sunshine, and the beautiful scenery.  I only walked by the beach once.

wild
Best Walking Companion: Audible Audio

My other accomplishment while walking is that I finished listing to Wild by Cheryl Strayed on Audible Audio.  I only allowed myself to listen to the book while I was walking, so I was motivated to walk.  It was a wonderful story and I imagined Cheryl trudging the Pacific Crest Trail with her huge rucksack, as I walked my way around Vista and Oceanside.   I am making a renewed commitment, weather permitting, to walk 8-10 miles this week, without fail.

beach walk
View during my beach walk in Oceanside.

Walking Workout

Well, not exactly 1,000 miles but 8-10 milWalking 011716-012316es per week.  This week I actually walked 10.6 miles and improved my walking pace from approximately 19 to 17 minutes per mile. I haven’t lost any weight but the most notable benefit my fitness walking routine is that I really feel better, both physically and mentally.  My stress level has decreased and I feel more energetic.  I’ve included a screenshot of my Map My Walk page that shows my walking record for this week.

Not Flashy or Cool but Beneficial

It seems that I’m not alone in noting the upside of walking for fitness.  The article, “The Benefits of Walking,” from Real Simple online magazine, states that walking is, “an exercise truly devoid of downsides. It may not be flashy or cool, but according to growing scientific evidence, walking, done often and properly, can deliver an array of benefits that are just as impressive as those often gained from sportier regimens.”  Since I’m over 50 and am not very athletic, this unflashy and uncool path to fitness suits me just fine.  A fitness expert, Paul T. Williams, Ph.D., a staff scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, in Berkeley, California, goes so far as to call walking “a wonder drug, except that you don’t need a prescription and you don’t have to pay for it.”  I’m already feeling the benefits and will gladly continue with my plan of 8-10 miles per week.

Convenience and Multi-Tasking

In addition to the health benefits of walking, it is extremely convenient.  One of the biggest perks of walking for fitness is that it requires very little equipment or time. I didn’t have to join a gym or buy any additional exercise gear.  I just keep my walking clothes and shoes at work and suit up and show up for 40 per day.  My route has been a little mundane but I was able to listen to an audiobook on my headphones while completing my goal.  I actually finished listening to the book Wild by Cheryl Strayed during my week of walking.  The book was very inspirational and there were times when I even felt her walking alongside me.   I did notice, however, if I walked with a partner or talked on the phone while walking, my pace decreased.  My best bet was to either listen to an audiobook, podcast or music, in order to maintain and even increase my pace.  

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Unwavered Walking

This week I’m going to try the “Latest Way to Walk Off Weight” suggested in Fitness magazine.  The routine suggested in the article includes a sort of sprinting routine of faster intervals interspersed with slower ones.  They also suggest walking on increased inclines for resistance.  If I continue on my current route and include an additional .5 miles up Bobier, it would include more of an incline and additional distance.  I didn’t think that I would come to enjoy this fitness routine as much as I have but I really look forward to the coming week and challenge myself to walk farther, faster and harder.

 

 

Choices…

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Decisions

The process of deciding on my 20% project has not been easy.  I actually want to complete all of my proposed tasks within the next few months.  I notice that three of my seven proposed projects revolve around fitness (yoga, eating healthier and walking regularly); two are about reading and writing (book club and creative writing), and two are connected to professional development (the pursuit of a master’s degree and teaching in China).  My thought is that to be a truly well-rounded individual, I should pursue all of these areas of growth, physical, mental and professional. I don’t think it would be possible to do a 20% project on all 7 and do them well.  I often have a hard time focusing my attention in one particular area and often overextend myself.  It seems that I might have a tendency to do the same with this project.

Walking Plan

I have decided to dedicate myself to fitness walking for my 20% project.  My goal is to walk a minimum of 8-10 miles per week.  I plan to walk 4-5 days per week for 2 miles per day.  My current pace is fairly slow at 22 minutes per mile.  I would like to increase my pace to 17-18 minutes per mile while increasing my distance.

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Photo Source:  www.activenorthtyneside.org

In order to motivate myself and avoid procrastination, I plan to bring my walking clothes to school and walk through the neighborhood.  I find that if I wait to exercise until I get home, it just doesn’t happen.  I propose getting on the “road” by 3:00 on Monday-Friday.  I could also walk on the weekend at the beach or try a different venue each week, just for fun.  I will be using a phone app called Map My Walk, that will track my route, pace, distance and calories burned.  The calories aren’t as important to me as pace and distance.  My increased pace and distance will be a measurement of my fitness.

A holistic approach to fitness is the best solution to improve health and wellness.  Walking will allow me to focus on physical fitness through weight loss and muscle tone; and, mental and emotional wellness through the stress relief provided by walking.  I’m excited about embarking on this ambulatory adventure.