Friday, February 18, 2011

Friday Fricassee

Writing is sedentary.  And I don't want to spread out until I'm shaped like my office chair.

So this week, I've started burst training.  For the uninitiated:  burst training consists of a series of short bursts of intense exercise followed by short periods of rest.  I've chosen the 30-30-30 approach, which is 30 seconds of something, 30 seconds of something, and 30 seconds of catching your breath.

Doesn't sound like much, does it?


I knew I'd have to start slowly, since the last regular exercise I've had was ballet and conditioning classes too many years ago.  So I opted for 15-second bursts.

Oh. My. Freaking. Gosh.

I thought I was dying.  Not during the exercise--afterward.  My lungs felt like they were sticking together every time I exhaled.  My legs didn't want to work.  And I wasn't hungry for 45 minutes afterward (I'd been starving before I started).

Seriously?  I'm THIS out of shape?


Fortunately, you're not supposed to do burst training every day.  So Tuesday was my off day, and Wednesday I was ready to go.  You're supposed to work up to 4 repetitions of 3 sets.  On the-day-I-almost-died, I had done 2 repetitions.  My husband begged me to cut back (he's not ready to be a widower), so on Wednesday I did 1 full set and a third of the next.  That seemed to be the magic number, because I only felt a LITTLE dead afterward.  It took me fifteen minutes to be ready for lunch instead of 45.

We'll see what happens today.

I'm most excited by the fact that I can crank out 8 push-ups in 15 seconds.  Of course, they're GIRLIE push-ups, but I AM a girl.  So I'm okay with that.

It figures I'd be better with upper-body strength.  All that typing and laptop-toting should count for something, yes?

My leg strength, on the other hand, is deplorable.  Too many hours sitting in coffee shops.

So there you have it.  Authoress is burning fat!  The amazing thing is the way my energy level stays up the rest of the day (once I can breathe again).  I found that, yesterday, my body wanted to exercise. 

Totally weird. 

But talk about a productivity boost!  I wrote well over 1000 words yesterday.  And it had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that my Internet connection went down for a little while.

Absolutely nothing.


So now, along with my writing goals, I've got inches-off goals.  Ability-to-run-away-from-zombies-in-dark-alleys goals.  Wearing-my-new-bathing-suit-at-the-shore-in-June goals.

That sort of thing.

How do you stay in shape?  I'm all ears! Unless, of course, you're going to gloat about your 4-full-set burst training and rippling abs.  I might just hate you.


  1. First, good for you! Staying in shape can sometimes be an inertia thing (you tend to stay at, but when you get moving it IS easier to keep moving, keep returning to those workouts)

    I train in mixed martial arts a minimum of 5 days a week. That's anywhere between 1 and 3 hours each training session in Muay Thai, Jun Fan/JKD, Kali or a blend of all three.

    On my off days when I'm not training in MMA, I do strength training at home with free weights and the P90X workouts.

    And when I'm sore or my mind is stuck, I return to the ballet barre and work through my stretching routines as a sort of calming exercise. It's good for stretching, flexibility and blood flow.

    I guess it's no surprise I lost 40 lbs in the last year. LOL. But I have to say the biggest benefit of all this activity has been how energetic I feel and how clear my mind is when I sit down to write!

  2. Weight training 2-3 times a week and treadmill a coule of times a week. When it's warmer, I love to hike since I live in the mountains of Colorado right near awesome trails. You've inspired me. I've had a tough "pitching" week and skipped gym and ate chocolate instead. Even though I know that exercise helps me stay motivated to keep pitching my novel.

  3. I mostly use an elliptical machine, but I'm trying to lift more. I get up two hours before everyone else because it's the only time I'm alone. I get a great deal of writing done while I exercise. Not typing, obviously, but I'll try out dialogue so I can hear how it sounds (and no one is there to pick on me for talking to myself), work through plot problems, that sort of thing. Exercise keeps me sane.

  4. Wow, good for you! I think the hardest part is starting. It's a total lifestyle change. But once your body gets used to those feelings (yes, of both pain and euphoria), it's hooked. You can't stop. Don't even try. ;)

    I used to run 3-4 times per week (~4-5 miles) and have since switched to P90X. OW! Like yours, this changes up the workouts so that there's no muscle memory. That is also why your muscles will always hurt. Always.

    Gluttons for punishment? We should've known that the moment we decided we loved writing ;D

  5. Yay for you! I'm addicted to spin classes- they're all about intervals and I see results super fast. I need immediate gratification, or at least as close as I can get to it.

    Happy weekend!

  6. Kudos to you, Authoress for not giving up! I don't have rippling abs yet, but they are a goal. So you can't hate me yet, ha ha. :)

    You should take karate with me, lol!

    Outside of class, I just lift weights and do push ups, sit ups, crunches and splits training. Sometimes I jump rope.

    It's hard to keep going sometimes, but if you stay with it, it'll pay off. Good luck!

  7. Exercise! G, what a thing to wake up to.

    Can you tell I'm not the get off your butt and go to the club kind-a girl? Good thing I was blessed with super-dooper fast metabolism...only my metabolism stopped running and started strolling. Now it's crawling. Panting, tongue hanging out, and hugging every calorie within my reach.

    I got-a do something before I pop out of my clothes. Burst training? Sounds painful and not fun, but I'll try it.

    Authoress, I'm so out of shape, ten seconds nearly knocked me out. Those of you who jog and spin and do whatever without batting an eyelash,aren't you proud of yourselves? Show offs.

  8. I have an aerobics step so I do step aerobics at home using a workout game for the wii, then I do strength training with weights and a resistance band. I try to workout minimum 3 days a week and it really is great how different I feel just from working out consistently.

  9. Burst training is "help, I'm ded" for everyone when they first try it no matter how good of shape they think they're in. It gets better. :)

    Yay, go you!

    I just took up the Zumba. They shake their booty in ways I didn't know booty could be shook.

  10. Function fitness, mostly Crossfit-inspired torture sessions designed to bring even the most grizzled combat-veterans to their knees. Just broke my elbow yesterday doing to warm-up. Really. Can I do burst training? Seriously, way to get after it. Don't stop. You'll thank yourself later.

  11. My husband drops me and our daughter off at her school in the morning and I'm forced to walk home. I must be forced or I'd do nothing at all.

  12. A couple of years ago I started running during NaNoWriMo. I figured that I could take advantage of my NaNo discipline. And it worked! It was part of my daily writing routine. I worked my way up from a quarter mile in the evening before my writing time to six miles.

    I'm not as good about running now (at least not this time of year), but I do like doing it after dinner and before I sit down for the night's writing. Clears my head, revs me up, and lets me organize my writing plan for the evening. Running is always my activity of choice for unraveling plot tangles.

  13. Hey Authoress!
    I have to say I found the same thing when I started getting my butt off the proverbial couch.

    Last year, my motivation to write damn near died off completely. I was stuggling to even want to plunk my butt down in front of my computer. But when I decided to join a gym down the road from me in September, my creativity levels went soaring once again. I LOVED having that feeling back.

    And I try to go to the gym at least three days a week now. half hour of cardio (eliptical) and half hour of weight lifting.

    And I was just as surprised as you to find I was enjoying working out!

  14. Hey, running away from zombies is an important skill.

    I work from home, on a computer and so I moved my elliptical right next to my desk. No lie. So now, when I get to a stopping point. I get on the machine for like five minutes then get back to work. Not sure if I'm seeing any difference yet, BUT, it definitely keeps the hunger away and gets the blood flowing a bit.

    Good luck with your routine!

  15. Spin, running, weight training. I love anything that I can zone out on and get creative. I do my best brainstorming in the middle of a room of 30 cyclists and blaring music.

    A nice walk helps re-charge the brain also. Im scared of your "burst training."

  16. I do spin three times a week, and combat once. Plus I don't drive, so if I want to go anywhere, I have to walk... But I'm still on a mission to lose another 8kg before June.

  17. Staying in shape is ROUGH! It's all about making the time...

    I ws in my best shape when i was in karate classes and I loved them! Then my instructor moved and I tried 2 other classes didn't like them and poof, karate was over...

    Now I visit hot yoga (Bikram Yoga) and I think it's a great workout... No impact on your joints, but man your heart pounds and you sweat like crazy!

    Good luck with the healthy lifestyle change! :)


  18. I run. If the weather is too yuck to run outside, then I run up and down the stairs.

    I keep in shape plus I get all my writing ideas while running. If I'm stumped with something in my novel, I go for a walk or run. ;)

  19. I blogged about this recently. Two of my 2011 goals were to exercise more and read more. I've combine the two my reading while I ride the recumbent bike in the basement. I'm reading more than ever and lost all my revision weight--plus, I'm so absorbed in reading that I forget I'm exercising. You're so right about increased energy helping w/ the writing too. :)

  20. Congats on your new workout program! And yes it will help you write better, because you are getting more oxygen to the brain. Often when I'm stuck, I go for a short walk and it is amazing how it helps to clear the fuzz and get me back on track. Exercise is also an excellent stress-buster, and can save a relationship (go for a run vs. strangling your hubby).

    I must admit, however, that I don't have much of an exercise program right now, doctor's orders. I used to be quite active- mountain biking, dancing, rollerblading- and step and kick boxing classes 5 times a week at our local rec center, but the rec center turned out to be moldy and it destroyed my health. But one of the reasons I did survive is because I was in such good shape when I was exposed to the mold, and have stayed amazingly healthy, considering how sick I've been. So I am so glad to hear you all are so active and informed. Taking care of your body can literally save your life.

    Keep it up!

  21. I've just started doing karate again after many, many years away. I had done tae kwan do for about 9 years, and taught karate and gymnastics for another 2 years mixed in there, but I've been pretty inactive for the last... 5 years? With small spurts of going to the gym/trying to run thrown it, but those never lasted long.

    So congratulations! And I'm right there with you.

  22. Getting started is always the hardest part, also I think there's a two week hump that you have to get over. In those two weeks it's like torture to convince yourself to get up and get moving, but once you do, you feel great.

    I'm so happy for you, and you're doing so great. I remember when I decided the start working out and it was not pretty. I went to the gym and after about five minutes I was finished--like stick a fork in me.
    Then it became easier, I switched to yoga for a few months and discovered that I love it. I did yoga six days a week, and lost about 30 pounds.
    Now, I've lost 60+ pounds and my I do a rotation routine of yoga, jogging, dancing, and weight training. The biggest thing for me was just finding something I enjoyed. :] I still don't enjoy the weight training, but it's a must if I want fabulous arms by summer.

  23. Congratulations, Authoress!

    I exercise almost every day. I use my elliptical 2-3 days a week, and do two P90X workouts (legs/back, and shoulders/arms). Then I mix in yoga, long walks, and the P90X chest/back workout to fill in the other days. And no, I'm not some skinny thing. A co-worker once described me as being built like a German farm girl; I took that as a compliment.

    I find my 30 minutes on the elliptical to be the best time for brainstorming my way out of dead-end plots.

  24. Take it easy sweetie. You already pulled your armpit muscle today. Slow and easy as you start this new venture. Your pace is analogous to trying to finish a first draft of a new novel in one session. :)

  25. After years of playing squash, I got bored and stopped. I golfed in the summer but when winter hit I needed to find a new way to get exercise. I hate going to gyms, just too much of a big production (changing my clothes, getting sweaty, LEAVING MY HOUSE!). So I devised my lazy girl workout: random short bits of exercise that I repeat every so often throughout the day. Typically, it consists of a little cardio and a little strength, maybe some abs. Some examples could be 50 jumping jacks, 10 pushups and 10 reverse crunches or 100 butt kicks and a one minute plank. An hour later I might do it again. I usually do between 4 and 8 reps throughout the day. Or I might do something weird like lunge walk everywhere I go in the house. It's not much, maybe 8-12 minutes a day but better than nothing! I post it on facebook each time I do a rep to keep track and hold myself accountable. (FB friends are starting to do it with me now)

    I've also recently been involved in starting a roller derby league. Learning how to skate is burning lots of calories (and is worth leaving the house for).

  26. Wow, roller derby sounds fun! Mid last year I decided to get fit, and started running. Now I do a fitness class three days a week and go for runs either on my own or with my husband. I went for an 8km run this morning in fact :-) It was hard but worth it. I'm querying at the moment and I like having non-writing goals. I have a lot more control over my running times than I do over whether an agent will like my query!

  27. It will get better soon. As long as the foundation is there, you will regain your old endurance in a few weeks.

  28. Getting in shape. Bah. The mere utterance of those words makes me stutter, but it's exactly what I'm trying to do myself. And I'm glad I'm not the only one knocking on death's door after attempting any kind of exercise. My brand new blog ( about this very subject, weight loss. I figured putting out there for the rest of the world to experience with me, might just light that much needed fire under my over-sized backside! Good luck to ya.

  29. hahahaha! I LOVED this post! Me? A walker but unfortunately not a great option in the dead of winter in Maine. So, it's off to the gym to ride the recumbent bike or the x-trainer. I also love strength training.

  30. Wow, never heard of burst training - it's all good if it works for you. I use a treadmill. I bribe myself to get on it with episodes of True Blood, Vampire Diaries, or Pretty Little Liars. (Hey - I have a teenager.) On Wednesdays I do Pilates.

    Exercise keeps my fingers warm the rest of the day. (Used to have to wear fingerless gloves to write in the winter.)

  31. I don't - at least, not during winter much anyway. And I despise burst training. I used to do that with my sister since she needed to work out more than me and I hated it.

    When I do work out, it's walking or running. And when I run, I run forever(ish). So I work off all my pudge in spring and summer and let it all back on when fall and winter roll around. Kinda like a bear. You know, I need that pudge to stick around if I'm to stay warm. :3

  32. Late to the party, but I just had to post my recent goals because--as a 40-something--keeping the weight off becomes more than an afterthought!

    Last August I started the C25K program, which is a 9-week training to get you to run a 5K.
    I know what you mean by your lungs bursting...or sticking together...or whatever it is that they do. Eek!

    I'm happy to say I not only finished the program but have run two 5Ks since then--one of them in snowshoes (yes, that's how crazy I am!)

    I love getting out there and working on getting fit. I'm training for a half-marathon later this year, and though I'll probably walk a good deal of it, who cares? At least I'll be able to TRY to outrun those Zombies..when they get here...