Tag Archives: Swimsuit

Summer [Boot] Camp!

I survived the first week of Boot Camp, and between the crazy hot temperatures and a staffing debacle at work, it is actually kind of miraculous. Per the usual, I woke early on Monday morning to muddle through my daily dog walk, a little studying for my online classes, and a quick ride with my four-hooved friend before the start of Boot Camp, and I was getting a bit nervous about what to expect from the class. I’m probably not the only one who, prior to entering a new fitness class, is gripped with panic that she’ll be in way over her head and struggle to keep up with everybody else in the class who is on the same level of fitness as Demi Moore in G.I. Jane. Fortunately, that was not the case and the class is composed of moderately fit people who, like me, are looking for ways to stay engaged with exercising and become a little more fit.

Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.
Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.

The Boot Camp, so far, features circuits of body-weight strength exercises. I think that this was an insightful decision made by the instructor because not only are circuits great for strengthening your cardiovascular system without doing traditional cardio exercises like running or ellipticizing*, but these ones are also good take-away exercises that you can do anywhere. I think both of these things are important for maintaining a fitness regime; lets be completely honest with ourselves: cardio is boring. Unless you have deep thoughts you want to sort through, getting up the motivation to head out for a long run is kind of hard, so, on the days when you do not have any deep thoughts (or maybe don’t want to be left alone with the ones you DO have), circuit training is a great way to do cardio and strength training simultaneously, and the cardio is sneaky because, with the distraction of the exercises, you hardly notice you’re doing it. It is also important, in order to maintain a dedication to fitness, to be learning exercises that require only our bodies and about six square feet of space to accomplish; you can do these exercises when on vacation in a hotel room, in your office on a lunch break, or even in your house should another Polar Vortex snow you in this coming winter. No excuses!

I must confess that I made it to only two out of the three Boot Camp classes I had hoped to attend this week (I mentioned a staffing debacle at work; it also made me miss my Tuesday morning Spin class, is this a situation where I should use a hashtag? #firstworldproblems), but the class has a Facebook group where Sarah, our teacher, can post the daily workouts, and I was able to complete the one I missed on my own although it wasn’t as fun as doing it in a group (no one to commiserate with). Overall, I think I’m doing alright in the Boot Camp. I was reintroduced to my archenemy the burpee (I haven’t done a single one since it was mandated by Jamie Eason) and found them more manageable. Pushups I’ve come to terms with, and we were introduced to squats of all shapes, sizes, and colors. There were jumping squats, there were power squats, pulsing squats, wall-sits, and walking squats, and my buns were super sore the next day. On Fridays, we do a fitness test so we can keep track of our progress, another great motivator, and this Friday, Sarah treated us to some water with an inspirational message taped to it (see photo above) to celebrate the end of week one.

Post-Boot Camp lunch, salad bar with tofu I brought from home. Protein me up!
Post-Boot Camp lunch, salad bar with tofu I brought from home. Protein me up!

Another thing about the Boot Camp that I really like is Sarah’s teaching style. She demonstrates all of the exercises and makes sure to give us pointers on our form when we get sloppy, and she doesn’t say stupid things like “think about that bikini” to motivate us. When you are far away from the size you feel like would look good in a bikini, comments like that can be deflating. Instead, I’ve heard her say “this is YOUR workout, make it count”, and this is great because it puts the onus on us. Even though we may feel like our biceps are about to burst, why not do two more push-ups? We’ve carved out this bit of time during our day to devote to our health, why not make the most of it?

Taking rest day to the max.
Taking rest day to the max.

Last week’s classes have me really looking forward to the weeks to come. I’m excited to see how much progress I make, particularly in running (yes, we did do some traditional cardio because, well, it’s necessary and some weirdos people really like it). Running outside is not my forte, and last week it felt extra hard, so I’m hoping it starts to feel a little less hard. This weekend, I had a super duper, much needed rest day on Saturday (complete with some Bourbon Slush Punch from Smitten Kitchen) and today I spent some time at the pool and got some good laps in. I feel ready to take on Monday and whatever Sarah has in store for our Boot Camp class.


*I might have made this word up



First one in the pool!
First one in the pool! Happy, happy, joy, joy!

Lately, on weekends, Don and I have been swimming laps at our local pool (auf Deutsch: Schwimmbad). We (mostly me) like to get there early to beat the crowds of other lap swimmers; Don would probably be content to sleep in and deal with the crowds, but I prefer to exercise in uncongested areas where I don’t run the risk of swimming into somebody. Also, (and I know that this is probably irrational but if it is not and there are studies or tests proving me right, please don’t tell me about them), I feel like the more crowded the pool is, the dirtier the water is. Maybe it’s because I grew up swimming in a lake and therefore believe that all forms of outdoor swimming are far superior to pool swimming, but pools kind of gross me out. Probably when you think about all of the bird and turtle poop, fuel from boats, dead fish, and seaweed that is most likely in a lake, the lake water is dirtier than the pool, but I cannot reconcile my beliefs with this and I get a little panicky when some pool water (or as I think of it, Human Soup) accidentally gets in my mouth or up my nose.

This weekend, I managed to be the very first person in the water! It really set my irrational fears at ease. Don’t ask me how far I swam because I don’t bother to keep track of my laps. Instead, I just swim laps at a comfortable pace until I get tired or bored (yesterday it was about 70 minutes of swimming), and then I go sit in the hot tub and let my muscles take a break.  I intentionally don’t keep track of my laps for a couple of reasons one being that I just don’t care, and the other being that I like the mental break from trying to push myself further.

My new suit
My new suit

Growing up on a lake, swimming was never a structured activity governed by time constraints and, after a week of trying to run just a little farther or just a little faster, or lift a little heavier, or trying to squeeze one last set of repetitions in, I enjoy not having the pressure of going a certain distance in a certain amount of time while swimming. It not only gives my body a break from normal workout wear & tear, but it also gives my mind a break from trying to make myself be ‘better’.

Starting the day with a swim yesterday (a steamy, sunny, summer day), was just the ticket. It was refreshing and I got to wear my new TYR swimsuit for its inaugural swim, and afterward, since it has been too hot lately to eat any heavy food, I whipped up a yummy Watermelon salad for lunch (you can get the Food Network recipe here) that was both healthy and hydrating with juicy watermelon, cool cucumber, fresh mint and a little feta. I’m looking forward to eating the leftovers for dinner tonight! Tomorrow morning, I begin my first day of Boot Camp. I’m still not sure what it will entail, but I hope I’m prepared.

Watermelon-Cucumber salad with mint
Watermelon-Cucumber salad with mint


Itsy, bitsy, teenie, weenie, yellow polka dot bikini….

As we moved father away from January 1st, I had been noticing a drop-off in gym traffic and was feeling disappointed for everyone who started the year out ready to tackle their fitness goals only to lose momentum and get waylaid by everyday things. But lately I have been happy to note an uptick in gym attendance and see unfamiliar faces furtively sneaking glances at other exercisers (I know what you’re doing, you furtive glancers, you! You’re trying to figure out how the machine works! There is no shame in not knowing how a metal contraption that looks as if it could have been used to torture Theon Greyjoy works- just march up there and read the directions or ask for help) as they navigate the gym for maybe the first time or maybe just the first time in a long time.


It is that time of year again. The time when we strip off our bulky winter coats, our heavy sweaters, layers of scarves, and leggings and look down at our bodies and think “oops! I thought all that was just the 700 fill goosedown in my puffy vest!?” Yes, folks, this is the prelude to swimsuit season. This is the time when we realize that extra bowl of warm, comforting mac and cheese took up residence on our left hip, the delicious holiday gingerbread on our right hip, the King Cake that we found the recipe for on Pinterest and made to celebrate Mardi Gras is playing a permanent game of ring-around-the-rosie on our midriff, the St. Patty’s day green beer cheerfully waves from beneath your tricep every time you reach for something, those Valentine’s chocolates are clinging to your thighs… and the season of near-nudity cometh.

There is a certain desperation in the eyes of the person struggling to get in shape for swimsuit season, a desperation that I totally understand. It’s not like trying to get fit for your health or even fit for a wedding- you can always find everyday clothes that hide your weak spots and highlight your strengths and wedding dresses are big and poofy making every bride look like Cinderella, but there is no such thing as a flattering swimsuit. And if you are about to tell me that “some suits have lower-cut leg holes and they kinda hide your thighs” or “a tankini covers your mid-section without giving you a permanent wedgie like a one-piece” or “some suits have a skirt-thingy at the bottom and it covers YOUR bottom” just stop and save your breath. There is nothing that a thin layer of spandex-swimsuit material can do to cover anything even if it is fashioned into a skirt-thingy. The only way you can go swimming and hide your body is if you wear a wetsuit….under a sweater.

Swimsuit shape is not just about slimming down, it is about total and complete control over every part of your body that wobbles- arms, legs, butt, belly and, for some of us, boobs- and I say, forget about it! Nobody looks perfect in a bathing suit, not even bathing suit models (that’s why air brushing was invented) and, honestly, our ideals of swimsuit fitness are a little, well, unhuman (that’s why we have lately seen some embarrassing photo edits circulating on the web.). My favorite bathing suit (and the one my husband detests) looks like a neon orange/pink/yellow/and blue version of something the Hippo in the original Fantasia would have worn (with a top of course), and last year, I actually kind of resembled a hippo when I wore it, but wear it I did. I wore it sunbathing in my backyard, I wore it to the thermal baths in Budapest, I wore it to the lake, I wore it to the public pool,  I even once wore it to dinner under a dress and nobody ever gave me a second look, nobody told me to cover up because I was assaulting their eyes with my hippo-esque physique and nobody arrested me for public indecency.

At all shapes and sizes, even at my slimmest, I have never felt completely at ease in a swimsuit. There is always a certain amount of fidgeting (usually with a leg hole that’s riding up your bum) and you can’t help but feel exposed when wearing a thin piece of fabric that barely covers your unmentionables. Its not that the suit itself is really all that uncomfortable, really, it’s that wearing a swimsuit is sort of a sign that you are ok with your body and, in wearing it, you open yourself up to judgement. I’d like to encourage us all to relax a little about Swimsuit Season; it is possible to simultaneously be ok with your body and also see room for improvement. The goal of fitness should be to feel great in general, feel great about how you look, and be healthier; the goal is not to be so terrorized by a spandex garment that you miss out on a fun beach adventure because you failed to drop the ten extra pounds.

The only advantage to being guilted into going to the gym by swimsuit phobia is that perhaps this pre-summer fitness mania will lay the groundwork for a consistent and healthy workout routine that can be continued. If you have started to kick it up a notch in honor of the summer,  you might as well stick with it the rest of the year, right? For sure. So, if you are running your little legs into the ground trying to make a beach vacation deadline, its time to cut yourself some slack; instead, try making a workout routine that you can incorporate into your lifestyle and work toward your goals in a way that won’t make you burn out and never want to see an elliptical again. Chances are, if you stick with it, next year you’ll be super psyched for swimsuit season.



This is my first post! Welcome!

Before I introduce myself, I need for you to know one thing: I am not a fitness freak.

I have family and good friends who are fitness freaks; they eat paleo, do CrossFit, and look great in a bathing suit, but I am not one of them. I am a normal person. I eat pizza, and do casual, recreational, unintentional exercise, and I look sort of doughy in a bathing suit.

My name is Liz, and I am embarking on a physical journey to better health and fitness, and I’m hoping your support will help me toward my goals. Perhaps you have goals for better health and fitness you would like to work toward? Great! We can support each other, here, through this blog.

I’m happy that you have found me here on the world wide web. There are sooooooo maaaaany fitness blogs, websites, programs and whatever out there, but they can be pretty intimidating. This one is a friendly blog. It’s an ‘It’s-ok if we don’t know what that weird machine with the handles and the cables and the metal sticky-outie-thingys in the corner of the gym by the mirrors-is’ blog. Its a ‘we’d rather have a glass of wine than a protein shake’ blog. Its a blog for us, the people who want to occasionally eat fried food, have a beer and spend less than an hour a day thinking about (and doing) exercise.

This is my first post, so, welcome and thank you. In my next posts, I will be outlining my two sets of goals and detailing some of the programs and gadgets I will be using to help me out. Hope to see you there!