Thursday, 29 September 2011

Your core is your powerhouse

What exactly is your core?  The core muscles include all the muscles of the torso minus your arms and legs. Your core is at the centre of everything you do.  On the bike, a weak core is like riding a bike with a cracked frame, energy dissipates.  A strong core is the platform that your legs push up against.

I developed a fun round of exercises I call "around the world" that center around some common and not so common movements - grouped together they become "around the world" -  you'll see why when you do them.  Begin with 2 sets of 12 and increase to 4 sets, after which you can apply the "tabata protocol" of 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off for a total of 8 sets (use the 10 seconds between to move into the next exercise).  Twice a week is plenty.

1. Bicycle - begin on your back with a traditional bicycle - hands behind the head, elbows wide (keep your knees bent if your are new to core work). Alternate knees toward opposite shoulder, twisting the torso.

2. Side Plank w/lifts - roll onto one side propped on one elbow, stack legs and feet on top of each other. Lift yourself into side plank pose (if this is too taxing, bend the lower leg and lift yourself up on to the ouside of the knee).  The other arm extends towards the ceiling.  Execute little lifts towards the ceiling with your hip.  (This movement works the entire side facing the floor).

3. Front Plank - support yourself onto your elbows and toes, keep torso parallel to the ground.  (Advanced movement - raise one arm or one foot slightly off the ground OR raise opposite arm/foot at the same time) hold for a count of 20 seconds.

4. Side Plank w/lifts - roll onto the other side (see #2).

That's Around the World!

Monday, 26 September 2011

See yourself through someone else's eyes

Imagine the person who loves you most;  your child, your lover, your best pal, your sister/brother, mom or dad, nonno or nonna.  

Imagine what they see when they look at you.

These are the eyes you need to see yourself with.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Living Big vs Living Small

It's easy to get caught up in the small stuff, pointing fingers, stuck in the rut of bitchiness.
It's harder to live big, let the small ugly stuff slip through, not stick on you.

Most days it feels like my natural rhythm is to focus on hurts, on unkindness done to me.
This kind of thinking feels bad, it feels achy, like a flu, wrapped up inside myself, fetal like, small.

Living big is spreading my arms, hugging my best buddy, because she makes me feel big, she tells me
that I was made with special "fairy dust".  Telling my sister how much I love her, because she is unwavering in
her love for me. 

Living big is reaching out to someone we might not know so well, offering a little of ourselves, a little bit of kindess. In the end that's all that really matters, it's what we'll remember about you. What you'll remember about me.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Bushel Half Empty

While September smacks of back to school, for us Italians September means sauce. Tomato sauce to be specific.  We're never quite sure when the tomatoes will be ready for picking (my mother bristles at the thought of buying ready picked) but damn it when they are ready you had better be prepared to drop everything.
I watched my mother at 80 years old, bent over for hours along side my 82 year old dad, fondling each tomato, eyeing it for colour, the right red or orangish/yellow.  Seeing her from a distance in her purple rayon pants, the sun on her back, we might as well have been miles away in rural Italy.
My sister and I helped pick every viable tomato, stacking 6 bushel baskets into the van. Mom knits her brow, hands on her hips and declares the baskets are half empty!
Every morning for 80 years,  my mother wakes up and makes a choice.  She chooses to see the basket half empty.
How do you see your basket?