Monday, June 30, 2008

Ready for a Workout

Friday I put in a hardcore workout, lots of cardio, core and weights. Learned once and for all that my Achilles and doing killer cardio on the elliptical DO NOT MIX. It has ended up aching again. There is also a better than average chance that the convention I helped coordinate for 20 hours straight on Saturday may have taken some toll as well.

That convention is why I did not get in a workout on Saturday or Sunday. Saturday I was on my feet, moving for most of the time at the Iowa Events Center. I lost track of exactly how much walking I did. But I know I only sat for maybe 3 hours all day. Of course, as usual when I get busy, I didn't eat as well as I should have.

Then yesterday I was exhausted, so getting up and going to the gym was out. But the real reason I didn't even try to go yesterday was the feeling that my calves, especially my right one, had been put through a shredder. I don't know is that was purely from spending a whole day on concrete floors or if it had combined with Friday's workout. Whatever the reason, they were quite painful. In fact today they are still kind of bothering me.

And yet, that is not going to stop me from walking out of the office in 5 minutes and going to the gym. I am going to change, run/walk outside (depending on what my calves say) and do weights/core. Maybe it will clear my head. Maybe it will make me less restless. Man I hope so.

Yours in fitness, Kate

Thursday, June 26, 2008


I am tired. There are several reasons:

- I still have not completely recovered from covering the floods, etc. (And it keeps pouring today - argh!)
- I am having my 'girl time'. O.k., period. I love being a woman, wouldn't have it any other way, except during the first three days of this lovely week every month. I am so tired, it nearly knocks me out.
- I keep trying to have a life and letting sleep slide to do so. (I know, bad Kate.)

As I sit here typing and yawning I keep thinking about a nap, not working out. But as I bagged a hardcore workout yesterday (which I regretted within minutes of leaving the gym bag at home) because I was tired, today that will not fly.

So instead I am typing this as a hand to eye warning - "Kate, you will move your butt today!" Now, I am going to find caffeine and head out to a remote broadcast, followed by that much needed workout. Which will hopefully wake me up!

Yours in fitness, Kate

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Extreme Advice Giving

You know from reading this blog that almost daily I dole out advice to people who seek 'how to lose weight'. It's always the same answer - control your food and up your energy output. Or as they say in the diet industry - calories out should be more than calories in.

When friends really push I will tell them to add in walking and cut their calories by a couple hundred a day and start slow. I have NEVER said - "extreme exercise classes are a great way to start a weight loss journey". But recently that is what a friend heard me say. When he is done losing weight I am sending him to get his hearing checked.

What really happened is this - he got a new job in radio and I suggested that one of the first things he should do was seek an endorsement deal with a gym. Then they could get him with a personal trainer and he could work his way into exercise and proper eating. This of course would lead to a slow and maintainable weight loss.

Not Radio Boy, he went straight to a place that offers extreme body shaping and got them to take him on. He went to the weigh-in, got the primer on what would happen and was ready for the first class.

He's in the first class warming up and things are going well. Then they actually started to work - he excused himself and went to puke... he comes back, starts working hard again - he excused himself and went to puke... he goes back for a third round of work and puke... he goes back to a fourth round - he maintains his composure (or he had no lunch left) and finished without puking again.

Lesson learned here? Even if the doctor clears you and the workout place cashes your check, it doesn't mean you won't puke. It's hell on your body to go from sedentary to training for "300". For most people baby steps are the right move or you (and your gut) will hate the workouts and not continue them.

Radio boy? I am proud to see he keeps going back for punishment. The simple act of puking three times and going back into that gym told me he was likely to. No man pukes from exercise with another man's knowledge and goes back if he's not committed. So, while I wish he had tested the water before he went off the 100 foot high-dive, I am glad he is getting moving none-the-less.

Now, for the sane people reading this, PLEASE consider easing in to exercise. No matter what the ads say, a hard body is not won overnight.

Yours in fitness, Kate

PS - This is a good time for a gratuitous picture of Gerard Butler as King Leonidas in "300", since I mentioned it in the post. ;)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The CrossFit Date

It's hard to believe it was 17 days ago that I tried my first CrossFit workout with Bret. On the other hand it feels like months ago. However, because it was both challenging and fun, I remember it well enough to go ahead and blog about it now.

I went over to Bret's, he has a very nice house with a gym attached to it. Inside is everything you need to workout. It's very nice, he teaches Judo to friends and acquaintances as a way to keep his personal skills sharp. I like him because he likes to challenge himself and I thrive on that too.

He talked me through some of the basics about CrossFit and then proposed a workout. He took it down a notch for me, since I haven't done one before and he kept it standard for him.

Me -
-3 jumping pull-ups
-7 push-ups
-10 body weight squats

Him -
-5 pull-ups
-10 push-ups
-15 body weight squats

We did it each minute, on the minute, for 21 minutes for a total of 20 sets. In between we got between 18-20 seconds rest. It felt awesome. I didn't even hurt the next day. Bret did a little, but he also did more than I did.

I enjoyed the workout enough I am willing to try other CrossFit workouts as well. I will say however, it's not for beginners. It's really a form of working out to take yourself to the next level or face down a new challenge.

As for the rest of the date, you curious bunnies, it was very nice. We showered (separately, thank you), went to dinner at Torrocco! and then to a movie. Afterward we talked until early in the morning. It was very relaxing and interesting.

Well, tomorrow it's on to that friend's adventure in extreme body shaping. Might I suggest, in advance, that you not eat your lunch right before you read the little story.

Yours in fitness, Kate

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Last Two Weeks or so

Looking back at my last two posts I found word errors, my lack of sleep was already showing. Starting June 9 and going through Last Tuesday, June 17 I was in flood coverage mode. Three-a-day press conference, tracking leads, writing reports, updating web pages and recording news reports. Those last three days were the come down period, but I was still working at least 18 hours a day. At the peak I averaged 4 hours a night. My least was the night I slept 1.5 hours fitfully waking up every 10-15 minutes waiting for disaster to strike.

This last week I also coordinated a fundraiser for flood relief for the Red Cross. It was started by a handful of radio stations in Minnesota and bloomed into a 12 city, 15 hour radiothon and website. So far we have raised over $45,000, not too bad considering I helped them throw it together in just 4 days with no budget. We brought things to a close here in Des Moines on KIOA raising a good chunk of that in an hour.

On Friday at 7 p.m. I was able to finally exhale for the first time in really 15 days and look at life again.

During those preceding days though, I was only able to workout ONCE! Last Monday I crammed in a short run, some weights and then later a CrossFit workout. It was good timing as I didn't realize that the next morning the fundraiser was going to broadside me and send me back into 18 hour days.

But let me be clear - I may have worked my ass off, but every second was worth it. I love my job, I love that by getting the facts out to people I can help keep them safe. I love that I can direct people to the services they need and help the authorities to reach thousands of people at once. And I love helping raise money to aid in the recovery - I plan to continue to do that until it's no longer needed. So, despite the lack of workouts, sleep and private life, those 15 days fed my soul in a whole other way.

Not only did I lack sleep and exercise, I also ate like crap. Combine the three for a 9 pound weight gain. Ah, yes, the old Kate rears her ugly head. I took stress eating to a whole new level.

It's over now though. We are truly into recovery mode. The rains have stayed away and my city and state are drying out. The first fundraiser is behind us and Saturday I escaped to Minneapolis for 18 hours. And yesterday I started over.

From the first thing to the last thing I put in my mouth yesterday I ate healthy. I even hid away for a long run and weights session. I have reset. Today I will continue my transition back into my 'normal' life, in fact I am headed to the gym in about 15 minutes. But this whole thing has reminded me, nothing is ever simple and everything requires vigilance.

Tomorrow I promise to start blogging about the things I promised on the 9th. Until then...

Yours in fitness, Kate

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


The flooding and potential flooding in Des Moines is taking all of my time. I didn't even get to workout yesterday. But then, public safety has to be the first concern. As news director for DMRG, that is my job, to get the facts straight and keep people safe.

Because of that I can't promise a post over the next few days. If you want to follow flooding in Iowa and sort of see what I am up to, check one of our websites. The links are to the right on this page.

I better go, I have a press conference in 40 minutes.

Yours in health, Kate

Monday, June 9, 2008

From the beginning... I don't like it

Beginning tip - If you don't like it, you won't do it. So, for example, if you don't like to run, it's a poor choice for your cardio. Find something else you like and will stick with.

I was talking to a lady in the park last week. I was stretching mid-run because my calf was a bit tweaked. I stopped at a bench and she looked up at me and smiled. I took the mp3 speaker out of my ear and smiled back with "hello".

Her: You're pretty in shape, huh?
Me: I try.
Her: I hate to run, that's why I don't exercise.
Me: Running isn't your only option, there's lots of fun choices. Have you tried (fill in _________ with litany of options given by Kate, met with head shaking by woman)?
Her: Don't really like to exercise.
Me: O.k.

I put my ear bud in and gear up to go. She waves at me to take it out again, I do.

Her: Any other ideas on how to lose weight?
Me: (Trying not to chuckle) Uh, no.

And I ran down the path. She didn't want exercise ideas, she wanted the magic pill everyone else does. I don't have it for her or anyone else. What I do have is simple advice: If you are willing to add movement to your life and easy reasonably, you will see improvements in weight and fitness.

You can not take that first step in fitness by doing something you hate. You will not stick with it, you will burn out fast, injure yourself or make excuses about 'not having any time' until you lose your breath and pass out.

This may sound basic, but if you don't like it, don't do it. When I started, the very idea of running made me want to puke. But I enjoyed walking, even if I couldn't get very far, very fast. So I walked. As I hit my peak walking speed I realized there was a next step that made sense for me, so I started running. Not everyone makes that jump, but it is possible to become more open to something you hate.

But when you are starting out, you have to choose something you like, so that every day you look froward to doing it.

Yours in fitness, Kate

Preview of the week: Tomorrow it's my CrossFit adventure on my date; Wednesday it's a friend's adventure in extreme boding shaping; Thursday is a recap of my work for the week so far; Friday is a look at my first week of swimming.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Sunday Inspiration - That Oprah

This episode actually aired in November, but I didn't see it then. I watched part of it as I did stairs earlier this week at the gym. It was a great motivator for two reasons - it reminded me of where I had been AND these people did it the right way, reassuring me I had too.

All of these people lost their weight through modifying their eating habits and exercise. They are heroes and should be revered for not 'taking the easy way out' with surgery. (Too painful too be easy, frankly.) Or taking pills that would damage their liver or soil their pants. They make have been down the fad diet road before, but believe me good sense and Bob Greene (Oprah's trainer) won out this time.

These people did what I have done and what anyone can do, if they care enough, saved their own lives. Read their stories at Oprah's Website.

Yours in health, Kate

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Kick Ass Workout

I splurged and had a session yesterday with trainer Traci. I do that when I need a reboot and I can't quite nail it on my own. I am going to meet with her again in about two weeks, then about once a month again.

I am going on a second date today with the guy I mentioned having lunch with last week. He does workouts based on the CrossFit training method. These are not workouts for beginners. And frankly even I am a little nervous about doing one. Which, by the way, is how we are going to start our date tomorrow sweating together doing a CrossFit workout. then it will be on to something perfect 'normal', dinner and a movie.

I needed to meet with Traci anyway, because I need to kick myself in the butt again. But I also wanted to get some guidance on workouts that push you to the limit. So Traci, never doing things half way, hooked me up. Here's what she had me do:

-15 minutes of running to warm-up

-3 minute rest

-Then 'pyramids'- 1 pull-up (all assisted with a machine)

1 dip (assisted but with much less weight)

2 pull-ups

2 dips

and so on until you get to ten of each, then you work back down - 10, 9, 8, etc. - no rest between sets

-1 minute rest

-3 minutes - bike

-1 minute rest

-Pyramids of push-ups and double crunches

-3 minutes jump-rope

-1 minute rest

-Pyramids of squats with 30 pound bar and dead lift with same bar

-2 minute walking cool down

In case people are keeping track at home, that's 110 push-ups, etc. Yes, trainer Traci was in drill sergeant mode yesterday.

I admit I whined a little, but it was because my technique sucks on dead lifts and I was making it spasm. Otherwise it felt great. I was a little sore yesterday, but not nearly what I was expecting. So, I kept it simple and ran and did a few light weights.

I am always ready for anything and say I want new fitness challenges. So I am looking forward to this afternoon. Hopefully it will simply be another kick my ass workout.

Yours in fitness, Kate

Friday, June 6, 2008

In the Swim

I had my first swim lesson last night. It was my second workout for the day, I will give you the CRAZY workout trainer Traci put me through tomorrow. Today, let's chat about coach Kelli, that's the name I have given her - she is my swim instructor.

Not at all shockingly, Kelli is a friend of Traci's from back east. (eastern Iowa) Kelli was a high school and college swimmer. She has great technique and a body any woman would kill for because she uses her skills almost daily.

"Why do you need swim lessons?" That's the first thing people ask. Then they say, "Can't you swim?" First, I want them and I need them. Second, yes, well enough not to drown, but that's about it. Okay, yes, I can get from one end of the pool to the other, but with no style and an inability to breathe properly. I expend WAY more energy than is necessary to get the job done.

Humiliating admission - I used to dive in the water with one hand squeezing my nose shut. Plus, I swam with my head uncomfortably above the water, like a cow just trying to get to the other side. Four times they tried to put me through swimming in high school. Four times I was having my period for the six weeks of the class, thereby failing. In my defense, I did generally have two+ week periods at the time. However, the brutal truth is, I was fat to obese and me and a swimsuit during those formative high school years was not going to happen.

I have thought about swim lessons for years, but the swimsuit thing was an issue. As was the real possibility of keeling over in the water from over exerting my larger than it should have been form. The idea has been poking at me harder over the past several months as I have gotten health. Recently my friend Colleen sent me a notice about a 'mini' triathlon and that was it. The tri is coming up soon, so I won't be doing it this year, but I am readying my game for next year.

I am always looking for that next fitness challenge and swimming is it. And it will get me in shape for another one, that triathlon.

Last night we covered the basics. She was excited that I was immediately willing to try the breathing and the strokes. I'll be honest, I have only three fears - burning/being buried alive, losing a family member to senseless violence and losing my mind and drowning. Early on last night as I sucked water and panicked a bit I realized what had really kept me from this, fear.

Not any more. Kelli is patient and kind. She was willing to go over things again and again. She didn't make fun of my fears real or imagined. Instead she did what all good teachers do when they see a block - she changed the way she was teaching the topic. She plans to be a pharmacist and is leaving for Colorado to pursue that in August. But I hope for little girls in Colorado she keeps giving lessons to pay for school, she has a natural talent.

That talent has me excited to practice on my own over the next week and already looking forward to my next lesson. This is another thing I never saw coming, it hit me like a splash of water in the face and I actually like it this time.

Yours in fitness, Kate

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Training Session

I meet with trainer Traci today for the first time in like two months. I thought I was going to be able to be early, but now I will be there just in time.

Speaking of which, I have to go. But tomorrow I will fill you in on how she tried to kill me and my other big fitness news.

Yours in fitness, Kate

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

How tired am I?

That's the debate I am having with myself now. I have just wrapped up work for the day - yep 11.5 hours (I took out the one for lunch). It is not going to rain in the next hour, I have just checked the radar.

So, the question is - if I leave here now, can I convince myself to get in a quick run? Or is the window gone and I just need to hit it harder tomorrow?

I have some major guilt over the idea of not working out. But I am going to put in two longer workouts tomorrow, so some of that can be assuaged. That and the fact that I have been pitch perfect this week on food.

In fact, my food has been so good I would swear I was back to last August before I ended up in the hospital. And that, quite frankly is cool.

I have decided, one day off is not bad. Especially since I am planning two workouts tomorrow and Saturday with one big one on Friday to fill the gap. Instead I think I will go do what I never do - relax.

Yours in health, Kate

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Put down the cookie and step away slowly

I have had a brutally stressful and angry day. I am swinging between wanting to scream and cry. When Kathy at the front desk brought in homemade cookies in the midst of this mental onslaught my instant reaction was "Thank god!". I immediately started toward the container. Then, before even reaching the lobby I stopped, spun on a heel and headed for the refrigerator to find my carrots.

Through unstoppable frustration I was able to abort my most basic survival instinct and not eat the pain away. It is the one bright spot in a day full of feeling like I dropped my ice cream cone when I was five. A mixture of sadness and loss.

I am now going to do something healthy with my anger - I am going to the gym. That's what you have to do - make healthy choices and redirect your energies.

Yours in health, Kate

Monday, June 2, 2008

From the beginning... Just Give it a Try

Tip - Breaking up your usual workout routine will help keep you from plateauing AND getting bored. So when the chance to try something new comes up, do it. The worst that can happen is that you don't like it and never want to do it again.

I am always up for trying something new when it comes to exercise. I still want to try snowboarding and rock climbing and who knows what else. Anything to shock my body and potentially have fun.

I have made a new friend who is into CrossFit. It's, and I am not well versed, a combination of exercises done in sets and taken to the next level. Nobody walks away without muscle ache and intense sweat. I am intrigued, so I am going to workout with him on Saturday. The worst that can happen, because I will be guided by someone who knows what they are doing, is I don't like it and I don't do it again.

To be honest, because it involves pushing myself to the next level, chances are I will like it. He thinks I will like it too much. I have seen videos of the women he pictures my attitude emulating; they are crazy and a little scary. I never want the word scary to be directly correlated with me unless it is being given as a description to the police by an attempted mugger, "And I tried to grab her purse and she went crazy, it was scary." Something like that.

Anyway, just so you don't think I like every exercise I try, I did a fitness class at my gym which concentrated on using an exercise ball and it bored me to tears. I didn't go back.

But this Saturday, in my never ending search for fun in fitness, I am going to give CrossFit a try. You should try something new too.

Yours in fitness, Kate

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Sunday Inspiration - Another 100 Pound Weight Loss

This is the girl featured in my latest Women's Health magazine. She lost 100 pounds in about 18 months and she has maintained it for a couple of years. She has a couple of good tips and a story that as usual shows - every weight loss journey is different.

Get inspired - HERE.

Yours in health, Kate