Monday, January 31, 2011

Transformation 2011 - Day 27

Sunday morning, oatmeal before Nia class.
Had lots of energy for class, but my voice seemed tired.
After class, I made a vegetable cinnamon curry with sliced carrots, diced cauliflower and wilted spinach and the rest of the sliced flank steak.
When I was about to leave for the matinee, I knew I was going to need more food, so I made a snack of walnuts, cucumbers and dulse. 
During the show, of course, I had those three or four peanuts and a glass of grape juice posing as wine. Immediately after the show I drank a glass of chia seed gel so that my stomach wouldn’t be full, but I’d have energy for the upcoming workout.
While I was doing my workout, My goal was consciously going as fast I could without losing control or neglecting my conscious alignment. I was working hard yesterday on getting all the moves ergonomically correct, and today was about blasting them out. 
It turned out that, my focus on keeping my neck aligned and my upper back relaxed was really taking a lot of the ooomph out of me today. Which is fine. I still pushed myself to a limit. It was probably actually better, in the long run that it didn’t turn out to be as “Balls to the Walls” as I had intended. 
The true test was the feeling I had afterwards. After my moderate workout yesterday,  I felt energized and had kind of a buzz.  But after today’s workout my buzz was more mellow. I felt really drained, exhausted and relaxed. 
There was no sign of any misalignment and resultant pain or weirdness, which was nice. I attribute that to the pro-active role I took in taking care of my body and spending the time and money on seeing Shmuel to tune my body before plowing forward with my workouts. 
I learned a lot from those two visits with Shmuel. One of them was that I should really be seeing him on a regular basis, considering how active I am. 
Anyway, after my workout, I had a big mixed green salad and a roasted chicken breast. 
Then, about three hours later, I was ravenous again, so I ate a whole bunch of trail mix with mixed nuts and dried fruit and even an occasional chocolate chip.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Transformation 2011 - Day 26

I woke up this morning and my body was pretty achy.  I’m performing in a show called Dancing Fools, which requires me to do some pretty physical stuff.  I think the show has a lot to do with the resurgence of my latent shoulder problems.
As I mentioned, I’ve been seeing my mentor, Body Tuner Shmuel Tatz for a couple of treatments so far and the experience has been quite enlightening.  I’ve blogged about it here.
I started off my Cheat day with a cherry scone from Amy’s Bread.  That and my morning coffee were all I used as fuel for my workout.
I was scheduled for a ten am work out, and I didn’t want to cancel, or be late, because my friend was expecting me at that time.  Making the appointment was a great idea, too, because once Saturday morning rolled around, I wasn’t in the mood to work out. I kept my appointment and dragged myself to his house.

When I got there, I started by rolling out my neck and upper back with my Therapy Balls.  This was such a relief!!  I love those things.  If I didn’t do that first, I’m pretty sure my workout wouldn’t have gone as well.
What I learned from Shmuel Tatz was that I have a pattern of holding a lot of unconscious tension in my neck and upper back.  So I’ve been practicing letting my head be more free and my shoulders to hang more loosely.
Today’s workout was very educational.  I made the commitment to focus on what Shmuel said, to keep my shoulders and neck relaxed and not to jut my chin forward or collapse into my spine.  I slowed down my movement and brought the intensity level down, so I could really be aware of going through all of my movements correctly.  
All six of the movements I’ve been working with this month went through a metamorphosis today. I learned why I have so much neck and upper back tension.  I hadn’t realized how much I put my effort and tension into my neck.  I caught myself using my neck to support and to muscle my way through movements that my neck had no business participating in.  
Going through the movements without that extra neck tension proved quite challenging, but the effort was totally worth it. During the workout, I got the sense that all of my movements were more supported and required less effort. Which is a no-brainer when you know that I was focused on releasing superfluous muscle holding. And after the workout, not only did I not feel jammed up, tweaked or sore, but I actually felt BETTER THAN I DID THIS MORNING.
The focus on my neck being loose and easy, changed the way I used my feet, my spine, my arms, everything.  It was actually quite an exciting experience. 
After my workout, I had a good stretch and took a shower.  Then I made myself a couple of slices of bacon (organic, preservative-free, turkey bacon) and two eggs, sunny-side-up.
After that I enjoyed a second cup of coffee and a big cookie (also from my trip to Amy’s Bread this morning) and a bit later, indulged in a sweet cashew bar.
Around four in the afternoon, I had a couple of slices of pizza from Two Boots, which held me until about seven. On my way to the theater, I picked up a couple of granola bars and a brownie, and I ate those in the green room before the show.
Then, my last snack of the day was Pralines ‘n Cream Ice Cream, with Butterfingers and Fifth Avenue Bar crushed on top.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Tuning My Body

Today I had a session with Shmuel Tatz.  I’ve been observing him tuning bodies for about four months now, and I finally get a turn. My shoulder had begun bothering me again, for the first time since I originally recovered from the January 2009 injury.  I was in pain for a good six to eight months and then, by late 2009 I finally found the pain was gone and I was ready to start rebuilding my strength.  It has been going very well, and I’m getting my strength back in the right side of my torso.  But here we are, two years later, and I suddenly felt like my body needed more tuning.
Once I got on the table, it didn’t take Dr Tatz long to find the locations in my shoulder that were most painful.  I’m quite sure that he simply puts his hands on a body and listens.  Then the body will tell him exactly what it wants. 
He worked a bit on the back of my right shoulder before he passed me off to one of his assistants.  Viktor is a big strong Russian massage therapist, who really got deep into my back and shoulder with some basic deep tissue massage techniques. The relief was profound.  I didn’t realize how much I had going on back there.  I mean, I knew it was bad, but until he started getting in there, I didn’t comprehend the magnitude of the issue. 
When Viktor was done, and Shmuel returned, I was pretty well kneaded and released. Shmuel moved my shoulder around and deftly cracked my elbow. Everything he did with my body seemed like something I’d want to have done if I were aware of it.  I mean, I never realized my elbow needed cracking, until he cracked it and it felt SO RIGHT.  And the way he was moving my humerus around in the joint also felt like exactly what my shoulder needed.  
As he was working on me, I could see him shaking his head in disapproval or in disbelief at how bad of condition my shoulder was in.  He told me, “This is a very old problem.” And I responded, “Yes.  When I was about sixteen, I separated my sterno-clavicular joint in wrestling practice.”  He nodded knowingly.
I wondered, later, if I had mislead him by not mentioning the injury from 2009, but my trust for him is so profound that I figured he’d know what he needed to know by now.  My instinct was that when he observed that is was a very old problem, he was referring to that kind of history.  In fact, I had often wondered if the 2009 injury wasn’t just a manifestation of the way my body had put itself back together after my wrestling injury of 1982. I had known that my body wasn’t right in that area, but it never mattered.  
Dr. Tatz finished my first session by putting my shoulder under electro-magnetic vibrations for about twenty minutes. 
Then, a very interesting thing happened.  I started to feel worse over the next few days.  I had a pain that would jump around from my neck to my back to my shoulder.  It didn’t really settle into a particular spot and the entire joint just felt extremely awkward and unstable.
If I wasn’t already very familiar with the type of work that Shmuel does, I might have panicked and thought ‘he ruined me!’  But my instinct was that my body is being shifted and changed by the process of Body Tuning and during this period of transition, I was feeling destabilized. 
It was uncomfortable for three whole days. On the fourth day, I had my second scheduled appointment with Dr Tatz.  I was happy to be able to tell him that, as of that morning, the pain was gone and that my shoulder, in general, felt much more free than it had in months.
So for the beginning of the second session, he had my lie on my stomach and he started in my upper trapezius. He spent a lot of time working all around my scapula and he kept telling me, “relax, relax, you are much too unrelaxed in this area.”  Which was a surprise to me.  I had not been aware that, according to him, I was holding a lot of tension in my torso.  It was so foreign to me that I was really struggling with figuring out how to ‘let go.’ I had no kinesthetic relationship to whatever it was I needed to let go of.
What he was indicating, however, made perfect sense to me. Because for about two years now, since the injury, I had been noticing that my whole ribcage was tilted forward and to the right.  I was crooked! And if, like he said, I could relax whatever it was I was holding onto, I could see how it would allow my ribcage to return to its normal place.  This is what I’ve really been wanting him to fix on me, but didn’t know how to ask him to help me with it.  I was so thrilled that he was finding it on his own.
But now the challenge was that I didn’t feel I had conscious control of whatever it was that he was asking me to relax.  He kept working, moving my arms and asking me to mobilize my scapulae.  And I kept looking for tension in my body I could let go of.
We went on this way for what seemed like probably fifteen minutes until finally, I noticed that when he pressed on my back, it was pushing air out of my lungs.  Despite the weird, vulnerable feeling I was aware of, I let him continue to press and effect my lungs. This made me aware of what I was holding previously. 
He then took a deep series of strokes down by back and up under my right shoulder blade.  Again, he was tracing the line of pull that I wanted to correct my misalignment.  It felt, once again, as if he was doing exactly what my body wanted.
He then stood me up and proceeded to correct my stance and my walking. He pointed out the places I held unconscious tension and gave me an exercise to do. Balance a long cane on one finger while keeping my neck free of tension.  
Again, my shoulder felt tender later in the day after our session and the next day.  And it’s very tempting to start to worry or to assume he’s made my situation worse.  But I am intimately familiar with his work and I know what I’m feeling is just that my tissues are migrating and my sense of self is being challenged.  I wonder how many people get this kind of amazing treatments, but don’t realize that the weirdness they feel afterwards is not a bad thing.
The next morning, i could feel the problem he was trying to explain to me.  My neck was sticking in a certain movement.  My cervical spine was really creaky and in danger of freezing. I could understand why he wanted me to move my head the way he did.
Interestingly enough, when he first explained it to me, I wasn’t sure what he was getting at or why he said what he said.  But I did practice the movements he prescribed, anyway.  It was only through practicing the movements he gave me that I understood what they were for. 
It makes me wonder if his clients are following his advice, too.  I know that prescribing exercises is one of his services as a Body Tuner and he’s quite gifted at coming up with very specific exercises for each person’s problem. But, I wonder how many people are motivated enough, and actually have enough faith in him to do these exercises, even though they may not make sense at first. And not only that, but they can be frustrating because they take so much concentration and awareness. 
It is a humbling experience, as a body expert, to be told something about my body that I wasn’t aware of, but this kind of thing is also extremely interesting and exciting to me.  I look forward to gaining mastery over the things that Shmuel pointed out to me and going back in for another treatment once this one feels like it has settled down.
I will rest from my workouts again today and start with a body flow tomorrow, so I won’t be working out again until Saturday, when I do my moderate workout and then on Sunday, I’ll do my intense workout.

Transformation 2011 - Day 25

This morning, all I had for breakfast was a bowl of oatmeal with a handful of goji berries.
But this clearly wasn’t enough because by noon I was famished.  Usually I don’t feel hungry again for another hour or so.  Mental note: Bigger Breakfast is Better.
So I made myself a pork chop with roasted carrots and fennel on a bed of raw baby spinach drizzled with olive oil and salt.  About an hour later, I felt like I needed a little something more so I grabbed two handfuls of trail mix with raw nuts and seeds, dried apples, dates and raisins. 
Around four pm I did an extended Flow with a focus on postural restructuring, and I heated up some of my chicken breast in peanut curry and served it on a bed of olive oil drizzled baby spinach.
I had a tuna nicoise salad around 7pm. This was on Romaine lettuce with hard boiled egg, tomato, red bell peppers, olives and, of course, tuna.  With a vinaigrette dressing.
Then, as always on night that I’m performing, I had a few peanuts and a glass of “wine” which was actually just grape juice. 
When I came home from the theater, I made myself some oatmeal with peanut butter and honey and had that with some trail mix.

There are five more days left of my thirty-day documentation, and a lot has happened.  Tomorrow will be my first day of working out again since my body went off-kilter, so I'm curious to see what happens.  I'm planning to do it pretty much first thing in the morning.

Of course, my program continues indefinitely.  Its not that I'm only doing this for thirty days, but I'm only keeping a blog if for the thirty days.  The main purpose of doing this was to demonstrate how I could take a body that only needed to lose "those last few pounds" that so many people struggle with, and give you an idea of the steps that I take to do that.

I hope this is informative for you, and maybe a bit educational as well.

I will confess, it has been a great experience for me, because I have found myself relying on the accountability to keep me on track.  There has been many days when I felt like not working out or when I felt like spontaneously digging into something unhealthy, but knowing I would have to blog about what I did that day, kept me honest.  I ended up working out as scheduled or only eating foods I would be proud of listing on my blog.

And then, of course, we are fortunate that at one point I found my body was overtaxed and I needed to take care of it, I am thankful that I was blogging when this happened, because it forced me to be objective and treat myself as I would my own client.  Who knows?  If I weren't blogging, and no one was watching, I may have tried to convince myself that I was invincible and just workout right through the pain. 

At the end of my thirty-day cycle, I'm planning to do another video comparison, but in the meantime, I still have a few more days to blog.


Friday, January 28, 2011

Transformation 2011 - Day 24

For breakfast this morning, I cut up half a cantaloupe and had it with a bowl of oatmeal with goji berries and two slices of nitrate and preservative free, uncured turkey bacon from Applegate Organics.
This is much healthier alternative to standard bacon which is heavily salted and cured with chemicals and a hefty dose of preservatives.
This kept me satisfied all day, until I got home and had lunch around two pm.
I had an apple with peanut butter on it, and a handful of almonds and a chicken breast leftover from the other night. 

For dinner, I made a big flank steak which I had a few slices of with a half of a steamed butternut squash and sliced avocado.
Then, later, after my show, I had a bowl of Navy Bean soup and a stalk of celery with some avocado/spinach dip. And a bowl of yogurt and a handful of almonds.
My shoulder is still on the mend. I did my yoga flow today and I’ll do it again tomorrow. I’ll do a bit of a longer flow and amp the intensity up just slightly.  Then, the next day, Saturday, I’ll start my cycle with the moderate workout and get back on track from there.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

How "The King's Speech" reminds me of Body Tuning

Last night I saw The King’s Speech and was struck by how methods of the speech therapist, Lionel, was so much like Body Tuning.  Even some of the movements he had Bertie do were reminiscent of what might go on in a Body Tuning session.
Now, if you haven’t seen The King’s Speech, this is a spoiler alert. I might be saying some things here that are revealed later on in the film for dramatic effect, and you may want to wait and see the film before reading this.
That being said, I was especially struck when Lionel was going to be fired because it was discovered that he didn’t have a PhD. He had never represented himself as a doctor, and yet he was the only one who had been able to help the Duke.  But despite his successful track record, he was about to be fired due to lack of ‘credentials.’
It’s such a shame that people value institutional learning so blindly that they are unable to see that the man knew what he was doing. They refused to work with him because he wasn’t part of “the club” of the elite. 
The film had shown how doctors were trying ‘the latest techniques’ on the Duke, only to leave him frustrated and swallowing marbles. 
The Duke of York almost fell prey to losing something that was very valuable to him; a treatment method that worked. And in a very similar way, many Americans today are in the same danger. We suffer from elitism in our healthcare system.  This is a society where anyone with a PhD or an MD calls the shots.  Despite the fact that maintaining proper diet and nutrition and getting a proper amount and type of exercise can be just as, if not more effective at treating many of the symptoms that doctors and surgeons would rather treat with very expensive prescriptions and surgeries. 

But because there is so much financial backing for the medical route, it becomes “the club.” Diet and exercise are considered radical and scoffed at, while health insurance companies, prescription drug companies, medical centers, hospitals and many other very large and powerful entities are determined to make sure we choose the “higher road.” No one has been cured by taking pain medication.  And surgeries are often a short-term fix; which is shocking considering how truly barbaric the practice really is.
This type of elitism often prevents people from getting proper care. Instead of body work, people take Advil. Instead of physical therapy, people have surgery. Instead of doing some exercise, people take cholesterol lowering drugs, or instead of changing their diet they’ll take blood pressure lowering drugs. The list goes on and on, but the truth is, as was the case in The King’s Speech, the most common and most ‘respected’ methods are not always the best. 
The King refused to let his voice teacher be fired because he was getting results. And he ended up helping the King make a fine coronation speech and stayed with him for the rest of his career.
The moral is:
Don’t let yourself be bullied by “the club.”  Believe that results can be found by addressing your behaviors. Seek experts who get you results. Don’t keep doing something if it isn’t working. And open your eyes to what it really means to ‘treat’ your bodily symptoms with medications and surgeries. 
Body Tuning is a lot like Lionel the Speech Therapist. He does whatever works. His methods are unique and, because they don’t follow a protocol, are considered controversial. However, as we could see, there was nothing wrong with the treatments; and they worked. In the end, this is what Body Tuning is concerned with: Making the body feel and move better.
Body Tuning doesn’t follow a protocol, nor is it beholden to one source of input or approach.  It is culled from many different scientifically-based somatic practices and  philosophies. And like Lionel, gets results. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Transformation 2011 - Day 23

Even though my shoulder feels MUCH better this morning, I’m still going to skip my intense workout today.
I’m sort of glad this happened.  In a way.  I mean, it would have been much better if this didn’t happen, of course. But the reason I’m saying I’m glad it did is so that I have the opportunity to demonstrate, by example, an important concept that I see my clients struggle with all the time and that is something I call “Not Being a Hero.”  Or in other words, not exercising when they’re not feeling right.
If I were to exercise today, I may do something to my shoulder that could put me out of commission for months!  So, why would I risk ONE day of exercise for six months of rehab?  It’s a no brainer.  I’ll just take two rest days in a row, the days that should have been my Intense day (today) and my rest day (tomorrow). And I’ll have Shmuel look at my shoulder.  By the time I go around again, I should be back to normal.
So, I also have a little confession to make:
And that is that I “was a hero” on Monday.  Monday was supposed to be my Flow Day.  This is the day that I do a light yoga sequence to get the kinks out.  I demonstrated an example of my Flow Day in a video on Transformation 2011 - Day 2. But last Monday, I convinced myself that I didn’t need it; that it didn’t really make that much difference. So I skipped it and took two rest days in a row.  I don’t think its a coincidence that the very next day I went to work out, I felt this weirdness happening in my shoulder.

It is importance. Anyone doing the type of strenuous exercise that I'm doing, needs to spend a proper amount of time tuning their bodies. Doing stretches and gentle movements and exercises with an eye towards restoring ease, comfort and smooth flow to the joints and to the movements.
In retrospect, what I should have done...
Well, obviously, first and foremost, I should have done my Flow on Monday.  But, on Tuesday, when I did start my workout and noticed that my body felt off, I should have backed up and switched into Flow mode and done my Flow yesterday, moving the whole cycle up by one day.  Then my body probably would have been fine.
It is these little navigations that make this whole endeavor kind of an art form.  I’ve always thought of my work as a personal trainer as an art based in science.  Maneuvering each person through their idiosyncrasies and their lifestyle challenges while still keeping them on the path towards their goals.
As I said, I’m pleased that this happened to my during my thirty day blogging adventure so you can see how I’m handling this unexpected turn of events.
Being a Hero, would mean that I’d close my eyes and do my workout today.  This would more likely than not, create more damage and more pain.  The smarter thing is going to be rest today, some Body Tuning, and then back into my cycle, starting with my Rest Day tomorrow. I have an appointment with Shmuel tomorrow. And I’ll write about my experience as a Body Tuning patient in a different post.
I slept in late today, because I know that my body heals while it is asleep. I feel that this is part of the reason my shoulder feels so much better today.
My breakfast was a bowl of yogurt, an apple and three eggs fried in a pat of grass-fed butter.
I came home and was hungry but had so many clients lined up that, once again, I didn’t have time to make a proper meal.  So I had a glass of kefir and heated up a bowl of garbanzo beans, and I ate a banana while they heated up. After eating that, I was still hungry so I had a handful each of almonds and goji berries.
After my clients, I went downtown and taught a Nia class.  I was so hungry by the time I got home I couldn’t bear to make dinner so I ordered Thai food.
The thing about ordering out from restaurants is that you can pretty much be assured that they’re using the cheapest ingredients.  This means nothing is organic, and the meat is all factory-produced meat, which is awful.  And they also use lots more fat and sugar and salt than is necessary.  This isn’t their fault. It’s ours.  They’re just catering to our American palate, which demands high levels of fat, sugar and salt.
I try to order the most innocuous things from the Thai menu, which includes a great dish called the Rama Platter.  This is basically steamed vegetables and chicken breast with a peanut sauce on the side.  I also get a curry dish and I don’t eat the white rice or use very much of the curry sauce.  Then I usually also get a noodle dish, which is where I go awry (lol).  There is really too much oil on the noodle dishes.  I eat them anyway. I’m not made of stone.  They’re tasty.  But the fact that they’re so high in fat, can be tested out by putting the dish in the refrigerator.  Once it’s all cooled down, you’ll see the fat quite clearly.  If you wouldn’t eat it after seeing it cold, then you probably shouldn’t eat it hot.
The lesson today is “If you fail to plan, you can plan on failing.”
I didn’t plan ahead and have my kitchen stocked with things to make proper meals.  I didn’t plan ahead and stop on my way home from the studio to pick up things to cook.  And I didn’t plan a break for eating into my afternoon schedule.  So I had to scrounge for food. The good news is that I did plan ahead and I only had healthy things around the house to nibble on.  As you can see by what I managed to gather up for lunch, it did turn out to be a pretty healthy meal.
Two things I’m going to change, based on what I learned today:
1- Shop for groceries at least twice a week. 
2- Start taking my afternoon clients an hour later, so I have time to eat lunch first. 

GUEST BLOGGER - Winter Wellness, Russian Style

Hi.  Today I'm going to post a blog written by Alya Z.  She is a health and fitness afficionado from Russia that I met over the New Years Holiday, and I've asked her to write a little something so that my readers don't always have to read what I have to say.  She and I agree on a great many things so I thought it would be interesting to see what she had to say.  Here is her post:

"Winter is a great season. The nights are longer and humans used to hibernate during the winter, same as animals. The longer the nights the more time you have to sleep, and of course to dream. Right now a lot of food is being grown in warmer climates and brought here. I prefer to eat things grown locally, and in season. All the root vegetables and things like cabbage, onion, squash, pumpkin and so on can store over the winter, as well as nuts, honey, seaweed, certain types of fruit and grains. 

I love nature. It has such a calming effect. Nature is never the same. Russians prefer to heal themselves with natural remedies, instead of harsh chemicals or even operations. All those plants you consider weeds, are actually herbs that can be used to heal.

I noticed that there are a lot of stressors in the US. I like to take hot baths at the end of the day, to let go of mine. For better effect Valerian root can be boiled and added to the hot water, or just regular sea salt which you can get at Whole Foods, or any crafts store, which sells it quite cheap. Another way to do it is to eat 8 ounces of walnuts, 8 ounces of raisins, and 5 ounces of soft yellow cheese like provolone or the like, with high content of fat. That calms down the nervous system as well. And of course we all know the wonders that Yoga can do. But only if practiced mindfully, knowing one's limits."

Thank you, Alya.  These are great tips and I couldn't agree more.

Everyone have a healthy and happy Winter 2011!!

Transformation 2011 - Day 22

This morning I woke up with a strange desire to get my workout over with. So I seized that opportunity to respond to what my body wanted and instead of sitting around answering my emails, writing in my blog and sipping my coffee, I did my moderate workout. 
I was having a bit of an issue with my shoulder, or my neck or my back, or something.  It wasn’t huge, but everything felt a bit different today. I took it easy and took this as an opportunity to really spend the time paying attention to my body’s specific needs. I worked slower and with more attention to customizing the movements and making them more sophisticated and specific. 
Then I showered quickly, ate a bowl of oatmeal with a handful each of walnuts and goji berries.  Notice that I’m not eliminating nuts altogether, I’m just being aware of my tendency to snack on them too much in the evenings. I also had a glass of kefir with my oatmeal.
When I got home from the Body Tuning studio, I made myself a pork chop but didn’t have anything with it.  Basically due to lack of time.  I had two clients on their way over. So, after the clients left, my stomach was growling and I ate a handful each of walnuts and cashews while I made dinner.
For dinner I had put some chicken breasts in the crockpot around 2pm and covered them with a mixture of peanut butter, soy sauce, salsa, coconut water and fresh ginger. It makes a delicious thai-influenced peanut sauce and cooks in five hours.  At 6:30, I steamed some chopped kale with cayenne pepper and served the chicken on top of it.  And on the side, I mixed quinoa and diced avocado with a little bit of tahini for a cold salad on the side.
And later, for my evening snack, I made another big, thick peanut butter and honey sandwich.  Even though I was complaining about that honey when I first got it, I grew to really like it. Once I removed the layer of crud, the honey underneath was really a treat.
All day today, my shoulder and neck on the right side (the side of my previous injury) was bothering me.  I couldn’t get comfortable and felt like I wanted a massage or an adjustment.  This is what it felt like when the injury originally occurred.  
I’m going to skip my intense workout tomorrow as a precaution, and make an appointment to have Shmuel Tatz tune my shoulder.


Monday, January 24, 2011

Transformation 2011 - Day 21

I started out today by making this video.  I’ve been looking forward to this because I’ve been seeing my body change and I was anxious to document just how much it has been changing.

The weird thing is that the video doesn’t show the changes as dramatically as you can see them in person.  And I’m also aware of the possibility that most people may not have developed the type of eye to see the change in my body from three weeks ago to today, because they are subtle and may require the expertise and experience of making assessments like these for a living. But still, with a discerning eye you can probably detect how my body is changing. I’m getting stronger and regaining my muscle tone and, at the same time, losing the fat gradually--as expected.  
I made a pot of garbanzo beans today and had made a batch of quinoa last night.  So, for breakfast this morning, I had a bowl of quinoa and chick peas with olive oil.  
Then, a few hours later, I made a light lunch of three sunny side up eggs on a bed of radicchio and cilantro. I had that with a glass of kefir.
For an early dinner I made a pork chop and steamed broccoli with half an avocado and a cup of quinoa.
Then I taught my Energy Flow class and went to a friends house for a while after that.
When I got home, I was hungry again and it was about ten pm.  I had a peanut butter and honey sandwich and a bowl of yogurt with diced pear, ground flaxseed and honey sprinkled with lots of cinnamon.

Tribute to Jack LaLanne (1914-2011)

This morning I woke up to some bad news. I learned that my childhood idol, Jack LaLanne finally shuffled off this mortal coil.  He died at the ripe old age of 96.  And at 96 he was still going strong and more fit than many people half his age.  His words of encouragement have helped form me into who I am today.
I want to share some clips from his old TV show.  I used to get up early and watch this show before school.  I don’t know how many of my friends, or how many third grade kids at all, were doing this kind of thing, but as you undoubtedly know by now, I’m really into this kind of stuff.
So here are a few clips from his show.   

REST IN PEACE, JACK.  You were one of a kind. I’m sure you made a significant difference in many people’s lives and I’m proud to be carrying the torch from here.

Here is a link to Jack's website


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Transformation 2011 - Day 20

Today was a rest day, although I did have a Nia class to teach in the morning.
I ate an apple and a glass of chia seed gel beforehand and I had tons of energy for class.
I got home at around 11:30 and after showering, I ate breakfast. I roasted sweet potatoes in coconut oil in the oven while I sizzled up some healthy turkey bacon and cubed zucchini. Then I put them all together like a hash and served it with two sunny-side up eggs on top.
Then, I did my show.  By the way, I haven’t mentioned this, but during the course of my show, while on stage, I always eat a few peanuts and drink a glass of grape juice. But I don’t believe that calories consumed on stage actually count, do they?  :)
For dinner I made a New York Strip steak and created a cilantro/cashew topping for it and served it with butternut squash, sauteed green bell pepper with pico de gallo and quinoa with a pat of butter.  And tonight I had a glass of red wine with dinner.
Later, while watching Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, I snacked on goji berries and cashews.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Transformation 2011 - Day 19

Today got off to a bad start because the guy who was going to have me over to work out, had to cancel on me.  I was going to meet him uptown and crank out my intense workout and then come back and have my breakfast, all before noon. 
But when he cancelled, I didn’t have a place to go. And I didn’t want to do it at home, so I had to scramble to find a different place.  Since it was about 15 degrees out and the ground was covered with ice, it had to be an indoor location. Otherwise I’d just have gone to the park, which I love to do.  But instead, I started to contact all of my friends who are supportive of my ‘lifestyle’ and finally found someone who was around and willing to let me come over and do my workout at their place.
All of this took more time than I had planned, so it sort of screwed up my eating schedule. I hadn’t eaten anything but one glass of chia seed gel before my intense workout.  And my stomach was growling a bit, but I knew it would be much better not to have food in my stomach for such an intense workout. 
Finally, I finished working out at around 12:30 and then I came home and dug into the steak that I had prepared before working out.  It was cold by this time, but I felt like an animal from exerting myself so fully for the 45 minutes of my workout, that I just grabbed  the meat and ate it, cold, with my hands. 
After eating my meat, I treated myself to one of those little vanilla bean scones from Starbucks.
Then, a bit later in the afternoon, I made a second pot of coffee and had a second cup with a chocolate brownie.  It is extremely rare that I would ever have more than my one daily morning cup of coffee, which I do have, but only after drinking a full glass of water.  I only use the darkest roasted beans I can find. Currently I’ve been using Starbucks French Roast because I can’t find anything darker. I only grind the beans just before I make each cup. I make very strong coffee (not for the timid) and only drink it black. 
At 4:30, I had a chicken mole burrito from the best burrito place in the city, which was closed for about a month due to a fire in a higher floor of that building. I assume there was smoke or water damage. But now La Paloma is open again, so I ordered a Chicken Mole Burrito which has rice and obviously is wrapped in a flour tortilla; two things I don’t typically eat.  But it was really nice to have La Paloma back!
I had some oatmeal creme cookies at the theater, and after the show had some cookies and ice cream. 
Then, later I also had a peanut butter and honey sandwich.
Well that was fun, but tomorrow I’m back to eating sensibly again. 

Friday, January 21, 2011

Transformation 2011 - Day 18

I woke up early today because I was expecting a grocery delivery. Fresh Direct said they’d be there between 6:30 and 8:00 am. But they didn’t arrive until 8:15, which cut into my workout time. But I still did my moderate workout as planned.
Even though I had to take a quick shower and leave immediately for the Body Tuning Studio, I still did my full relaxing corpse pose for two minutes at the end. It's so important to me. I love the feeling of being refreshed after a vigorous workout. If I don't do the corpse pose, I don't tend to feel as refreshed afterwards.
I had a glass of chia seed gel before my shower. And then afterwards, I ate an apple and an egg and a handful of almonds.
In Shmuel Tatz’ Body Tuning Studio today, I helped Dr Tatz tune up Marlo Thomas fresh from her trip to Barbados and not happy at all to be in this cold. 
When I was done Body Tuning for the day, I went into Whole Foods and partook of their healthy salad bar. This time I had beets and apples, quinoa with mixed vegetables and a turkey vegetable thing with chunks of brie and apple. It was really good actually, I’m not describing it well. Yum.
Then I saw a personal training client on the upper east side and afterwards had just enough time to come home and shower before heading to teach my Postural Restructuring class. After class I grabbed a Tuna Nicoise Salad and ate it in the green room before the show. 
After the show, I was famished and had a little bit of yogurt and a big bowl of oatmeal with lots of honey and a handful each of walnuts and goji berries and covered with cinnamon. 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Transformation 2011 - Day 17

I woke up this morning sore from yesterday’s workout and famished. So I had a bowl of oatmeal, to which I added a bit of coconut oil, cinnamon and salt.
I won’t work out today, since it’s my rest/recovery day.
At 12:30 I had lunch:
a pan seared pork chop on a bed of romaine lettuce and radicchio with black beans and yogurt on the side.
I didn’t get a chance to eat again until dinnertime, which is unusual.  And I taught a Nia class at six.  So, when I came home, I was really hungry.  I liked what I had for lunch so much that I decided to have it again.  (That, and the fact that I needed to eat up anything that was perishable until I could get refrigeration again.)
So for dinner, I had another pork chop, but this time, I mixed the yogurt with walnuts and beets.  I like making that. The beets turn the yogurt a bright fuchsia color and makes this easily the gayest dish I make.   I had the pork chop on a bed of lettuce and radicchio and covered it with black beans.  I also had a slice of ezekiel bread with it.
Then, later I snacked on cashews and almonds before bed.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Transformation 2011 - Day 16

I started today out by finishing up the rest of the chicken I had roasted last night.  This was about 8:30am. Since I was without refrigeration, I knew I had to eat that bird as soon as possible. We ate both of the leg/thigh/back sections last night at dinner, so this morning, I had a full breast to eat.  Luckily it was a very small bird and it wasn’t too much food.
I don’t know if it was related to eating nothing but chicken for breakfast, but I started to feel a bit sleepy around 11 am.   It didn’t last, though.  By 12:15, I felt fine again.  
Then at 1:30, I heated up some black beans and had them with a sweet potato, cinnamon, salt and olive oil.  Really yummy.
I did my intense workout about two and a half hours after, so I was sure not to have any food in my stomach.
It went really well. I’m becoming much more masterful in the movements and able to move them more quickly and with more speed and control. And my breathing during the exertion is much more regular.  I made a video that shows how I’ve progressed since I started. I’ll show about ten seconds of each of my four intense workouts and hopefully you can see how I’m improving.

After my workout I had a mango and a brown rice protein drink. I also had a slice of Ezekiel bread with honey and peanut butter. This was about 4:45pm
At 7:30 I made a small New York steak with roasted broccoli and a salad with beets, black beans, avocado, walnuts and cheese drizzled with olive oil and bits of fresh ginger.
And later in the evening, I made myself a snack: two slices of Ezekiel bread with honey, walnuts and blueberries.  It reminded me of a kind of peanut butter sandwich that Fred Flintstone might eat.  The only drawback was that the blueberries kept falling out.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Transformation 2011 - Day 15

Today I woke up and started with a handful of cashews.
I didn’t have my breakfast right away, which is something I like to do.  I feel like since I haven’t eaten since the night before that getting food in me is a priority. unless I’m going to work out first thing in the morning, in which case, I’ll probably just have a small snack or a glass of chia seed gel.
But finally, when I did make my breakfast, I made
two fried eggs
a large helping of mixed kale and beet greens sauteed with olive oil and cayenne pepper
and half an avocado.
Then I started my weekly “Creating The Healthy Kitchen” ritual like I demonstrated in the video from Day 9.
But today, I baked three sweet potatoes, boiled two bunches of beets, cooked up a pot of black beans, and roasted a whole chicken.
So, by three this afternoon, my refrigerator was stocked with food that’s quick and healthy and delicious.  
But then, I lost it.  Yes, my refrigerator died. So, change of plans. haha
I quickly had to put all of the meat outside in the freezing cold and put my cooked chicken in tupperware, inside a big pan surrounded by blue ice to keep it until I can eat it in the morning. I had also stocked up and had two and a half large cups of Fage yogurt left which I’ll have to eat pretty quickly, now.  I put it in the freezer, which is slowly dropping to the temperature of a refrigerator. 
Then I did my moderate workout, which I thought I had set my camera to record, but when I was finished, I saw that it hadn’t been recording.  I wanted to record parts of it, because I thought maybe it would be interesting to compare how my technique has improved since earlier this month.  I guess I’m not having a great day with my appliances, today. 
For dinner I had the rest of my radicchio, chick pea, and cucumber salad, black beans, sweet potato and a leg and thigh from the roasted chicken. The rest of the beans and sweet potatoes should be ok sealed from the oxygen for a couple of days when I’ll be able to eat them.
Later in the evening, after having taught a class and gone to my friends house for an evening of playing cards, I came home and I had one of my sundaes with yogurt, acai smoothie mix, blueberries, kiwis, bananas, walnuts and chia seeds. And I also had some extra cashews and a slice of Ezekiel bread.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Transformation 2011 - Day 14

Started today with a glass of chia seed gel before heading to Nia class.
I substituted my Nia class for the yoga sequence today.  It gives me the same results; it releases my body’s tightness and unlocks my joints.  
After class, I made a big bowl of oatmeal with blueberries, goji berries, coconut oil and cinnamon and some fried eggs with zucchini
I had a handful of brazil nuts mid afternoon, backstage at my matinee.
Then, for dinner at around seven, I had a big mixed green salad with sliced tomatoes, grilled chicken breast and oil and vinegar dressing. 
Found that I was hungry again at nine, though, so I had a hard boiled egg, a mango and a bowl of yogurt with a teaspoon of honey.
Oh, I want to tell you about my honey.  I bought the most organic, natural, etc, etc, honey I could find.  And maybe I went too far, because i wasn’t prepared for what I saw when I opened the jar.  There was a layer of bee parts on the top of the jar.  And I guess there were bits of honeycomb mixed in, as well.  I did see on the label where this honey has never been heated, which I know reduces its medicinal benefits, and never strained.  I don’t know why it’s good not to strain honey, but I do know that I’d rather not have had the layer of dead bee parts in my honey.  And its not just that I’m squeamish (I’ll admit, I am a bit) but this layer also smelled.  It smelled awful; like decay.  I think it was the smell of dead bees.   Anyway, I scraped that layer off and threw it away and now my honey is fine.
It’s a bit thicker than I like though.  I can’t drizzle it on my yogurt. It’s really thick.  It doesn’t come off the spoon, but in a big chunk.  I suppose I could heat it, which would make it flow much better, but then the healthy properties are diminished.
What I ended up doing was holding the spoonful of honey up close to the stove as I used the burner to heat up my water. (I was making some ginger ‘tea’)  This got the honey soft enough to (VERY SLOWLY) drip off the spoon onto my yogurt.
Tomorrow I will do my moderate workout.  I’m still sore from my intense early-morning workout on Friday, but I hope that will be gone in the morning.  I’m not doing a morning workout tomorrow.  I’ll do it at three pm.