Tag Archives: boxing

Today: Start small, start now.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]The always inspiring Kelly Olexa recently encouraged me and my fellow FitFluential Ambassadors to share our favorite fitness tips for people just starting out, or getting back in the game.  As December kicks off, some of us may already be thinking about making New Year’s resolutions tied to fitness or overall well-being.  Rather than wait a whole month, why not start today?  Start small, but for Pete’s sake! start now.

After busting a foot, but still finishing the ING NYC Marathon, I found myself sitting on the sidelines for the few weeks after, wallowing and pouting.  Now that I am feeling better, I am taking my own advice (for once) and starting small, starting now.  No more waiting ’til Monday.  Or January.  While I may be taking some time off from marathoning (likely not a word), I need not take time off from the things that I love doing (and that don’t, um, hurt my little body)– boxing, shorter races, soccer, yoga, long walks with the bulldog, strength training, and some good old fashioned jump roping (also likely not a word).

If you’re starting a fresh fitness routine or bouncing back from illness or injury, I humbly offer (as a true non-professional, so please don’t sue me if a weighted ball falls on your big toe) 7 tips for starting small, starting now:

1.  Schedule a physical.  And, like, go to it.

This is a serious case of do as I say, not as I do, seeing as I would rather poke myself in the eye than go see my doctor.  But I can promise you this: I am on the hunt for a new PCP, and as soon as I find one (who doesn’t routinely loose blood work, paper work, and appointment books), I will schedule that physical.  And I will go to it.  It’s important to see your doctor before starting any new routines.  Why?  Because it says so at the beginning of all fitness DVDs.  And also, because it’s important to know where you stand on the overall health spectrum.  It’s important to know your numbers– not just weight, but iron levels, cholesterol, and BMI for example.  Your doctor can help you determine healthy targets and a plan for hitting them.  A physical is a great starting point.

2.  Set specific, attainable goals.

I find I am lost without a goal to work towards.  Whether it’s finishing a 10k race, or practicing 21 days of yoga, it’s important to be very intentional about setting specific goals.  We could all say, I will get healthier, but it seems like we humans are destined to be perpetual works in progress.  We can always be getting healthier.  Having a clear outcome and timeline in mind keeps me motivated.  The goals don’t have to be grandiose.  They just have to be something you’re willing to commit to, and work towards.  You can certainly start small when it comes to goal setting, just be sure to not limit yourself.  A few goals I am currently working towards:

  • I will attend 12 boxing classes during the month of December
  • I will run a 27 minute 5k before St. Patrick’s Day
  • I will set aside time for prayer or reflection each day during Advent

One of my favorite tools for goal setting (and goal getting) is my fitbook.  I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I love their “write it down, make it happen” approach.  Being able to see the big picture really helps me to stay on track with the small steps.

3.  Know your motivation.

In addition to knowing what you’re working towards, I think it’s important to also know why you’re working towards those goals.  Is it to improve your overall health?  To have more energy to play with your kids (or Frenchie)?  Know your motivation, and come back to that whenever you’re faced with fear, doubt, or thoughts of throwing in the proverbial towel.  Internal motivation is a powerful thing.  It helps fitness feel less like a series of tasks, and more like a lifestyle.

External motivation can be a great help too.  Perhaps there’s a special event on the horizon?  Or you’ve got an awesome pair of yoga pants just dying to make their debut at the gym?  Or perhaps it’s the gym itself– paying an arm and leg for my gym membership is motivation in itself to maximize my time there.

4.  Starting small doesn’t require buying a whole bunch of crap equipment.

Truly.  You don’t need a lot of stuff to get fit.  I 100% advocate getting fitted for shoes, especially if you’re going to be running in them.  Specialty run/walk stores are a great place to find the shoe that best supports your unique feet and running patterns.  I used to buy running shoes because I liked the colors.  And because they looked cute.   If I was a game show hostess, my name would have been Vanity White.  Bahahaa.  And then I got some sense knocked into me, and actually found shoes that fit.  And that supported my training.  I’ve learned my lesson.

Other investments you might consider making:

  • A yoga mat comes in handy for, well, yoga… and also stretching, foam rolling and weight lifting.  We have concrete floors, a little extra padding is always welcome.
  • You might want to wear a pedometer to track your daily steps.  It’s recommended we log at least 10,000 daily; find out how many you log in a normal day, and work up from there.  I wear a teeny, tiny fitbit and love trying to top my “personal best.”  It also serves as a good reminder to get up and move during the day, whilst working to bring home the imitation bacon bits at the office.  There are plenty of inexpensive options available on Amazon, and local sporting goods stores (I felt like an old person when I typed sporting goods store… that is what they’re called, right?)
  • A weighted ball is great for ab work and toning, plus they double as a home security system.  No robber I know would want to get clocked in the head with one of those.  But, um, for the record: I don’t know any robbers.
  • Resistance bands are perfect for toning and stretching, easily packable for working out on the go.  Check YouTube or Fitness TV for workout suggestions.
  • A set of free weights might be helpful to have on hand– I grabbed mine at Target in 5lbs, 8 lbs, and 10lbs.  Not all at the same time though.  They don’t make bags sturdy enough for that purchase.  Soup cans, and jugs of water work too.
  • And last, but not least, I recommend a jump rope  for getting your heart rate up and working on balance and coordination.  And pretending that your in 3rd grade gym class again.

Some of the most effective exercises for me, though, require only my body, something I conveniently bring with me wherever I go: squats, lunges, squat thrusts, and planks.

5.  Celebrate your accomplishments.  Every single (big and small) one of them.

You don’t need to climb Mt. Everest in order to warrant a good pat on the back.  Or a new iTunes jam.  Or a pedicure.  Or a really long nap.  Celebrate each step you take towards those goals.  I spotted a great article in Self Magazine this month about treating yourself.  Many of their suggestions take only a few minutes, and cost $free.99 (my favorite price).

Let your friends and family share in your successes and hard work.  It’s okay to brag a little.  I try to limit the number of days I wear a race medal to work (3 out of the 5 worksdays/week, generally), and when I moved up a level in boxing recently, I only told Nick 16 times instead of 17.

6. Try something new.  Maybe something a little scary.

Getting stuck in a rut can be frustrating.  Once my car got stuck in an actual rut, and when it got unstuck, the frame was cracked.  It spent a few days in the auto repair place (to the tune of $1400+) getting fixed.  As soon as it was fixed, though, it ran like new.  Did that real life metaphor do anything for you?  Mostly I was just venting, but perhaps there is a real life application there.

Getting unstuck, and shaking things up a bit, does a body good.  Boxing has been the ultimate shake up for me.  I am largely terrified every time I walk down the alley to the boxing gym.  Once my hands are wrapped and the music is blaring, though… it’s on.

7.  Find something you love, and get out there and do it.

Sure, life is full of unpleasantness.  But most of us are lucky enough to have choices and options.  We may not be able to choose to hire a minion to complete such tasks as scrubbing the bathtub, but if we can choose to incorporate fitness into our lives in such a way that makes life more pleasant… welp, we’ve done something right.

Please stop reading and start… starting.  Start small if you wish, but start now.

Also On Tap for Today:

What are your best tips for starting now?  What’s your motivation?

Today: Back in the saddle. And in the ring.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]After spending nearly two weeks whining (which, it turns out, does not count as exercise), I successfully made it through an hour of fighter conditioning at the boxing gym, and a soccer game (we won, finally) nearly pain-free.  My little foot is on the mend.  Time to start training for another marathon! Siiike.  It is time to get some new goals, though.

In no particular order:

  • I will run a (relatively) fast 5 and 10k.  Who needs distance when you can just cruise?
  • I will focus on strength training
  • I will fill an entire fitbook without a single missed day
  • I will get so awesome at boxing that old men will quake in their weird boxing boots when I enter the gym

And if they don’t quake, I will settle for an end to the eye rolling when I pull of my gloves to reveal hot pink hand wraps.  I’ll take my victories where I can get ’em.

Friday’s class finished with partner drills on the heavy bag.  One partner punched out, while the other did 30 seconds each of squats, alternating leg lunges, fast 180’s, deep 180’s, squat thrusts, side planks, and front planks.  We held that last front plank for what seemed like 13 years.  My core burned and my arms were shaking, but then the drum solo from Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight” came on full volume and the guy next to me yelled out a crazed “Yesssssss!” and I forgot that I felt like I might expire.

It feels good to be back.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Love these sustainable centerpieces
  • Today is my Thursday (hooray for holiday weeks!)
  • Sneaking over to the storage unit to pick up our Christmas decorations… shh… I know it’s early…

What goals are you currently working towards?

Today: Are you ready to do something besides watch footbaaaaaall?

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]I stayed up past my bedtime watching A Football Life last night.  More accurately, I sat around doing nothing for three hours, I didn’t get anything done, I watched A Football Life, and then stayed up past my bedtime doing things I was supposed to have done earlier like doing laundry, putting away groceries,reading fashion magazines, doing more laundry, and painting my nails. Because people keep staring at my fingers.  Well, one finger, specifically.

I know we're both super busy, but maybe Bill would like to join me for a pedicure this weekend?

[Photo source]

Bill Belichick may have five rings (and a boat named after that fact, naturally), but I’d take my one ring over his five any day.  I won the Super Bowl of love, baby.  It boggles the mind that someone would want to be in the same room with me for more than two minutes, let alone want to marry me.  Especially when I say things like Super Bowl of love, baby.  Anyway, while my fiance, Coach Belichick and nearly everyone else in my Universe spends the weekend eating, sleeping and breathing football, I’ve got a few other things On Tap.

  • Fighter Conditioning class
  • 14 mile run
  • My uncle’s band’s concert (I am totally related to a rock star!)
  • 12th Annual South Boston Street Festival
  • Whole Foods Market 5k to support City Sprouts and The Food Project  (Registration is still available at the Whole Foods Market Fresh Pond store in Cambridge on Friday 9/16 from 4 PM – 8 PM and Saturday 9/17 from 1 PM – 5 PM, and onsite on race day beginning at 7:30 AM)
  • Baking and eating brownies
  • Packing summer stuff (including my truly amazing pretzel float) for storage
  • Putting together a gigantic book donation for the Prison Book Program
  • City Wine Tours event
  • Meal planning for the week (i.e. something other than seven nights of brownies)
  • Orchestrating an elaborate prank whereby I claim our cable has gone out 3 minutes before kick-off

It’ll be a miracle if I am not crip-walkin’ (as in, mobility-impaired not gang-involved) like that’s what’s up by the time Sunday evening rolls around.  Worse case scenario, I could always save my “honey, the cable’s out” prank for Monday Night Football.

Also On Tap for Today:

Today: Turn two.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]Technically, On Tap for Today turned two four days ago, but I sort of forgot.  I thought it might be fun to go back and read my first post, but in reality, it was more weird than fun.   Sort of like hearing your own voice on the answering machine.  Like, when people still used answering machines.  I think I might bring back the paper beers, though.  What do you say?  Does anyone know a house elf who is particularly adept at cutting out bottle and mug shapes?


A few old favorites:

While we’re playing favorites, here are a few of my favorite posts:

I never really imagined anyone would bother reading this nonsense besides Nick (because I’d make him, obvi), and maybe my parents (because I’d make them, obvi)… and maybe the person who keeps finding On Tap for Today by Googling “a pitcher of a puppy.”

Blogging has become a great creative outlet for me, and provided some real motivation to not sit on my sofa all day painting and re-painting my nails.  I’m truly thankful for the great relationships and adventures that have come from clicking publish.  And I really do appreciate your stopping by every now and then to read up on my antics.  For real.

Also On Tap for Today:

Is it too soon to be excited for the holiday weekend?

Today: Glove up.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false] I like to think of myself as a peaceful person.  I tend to gravitate towards balance and calm, and shrink away from hand-to-hand combat.  Fighting on television, in movies and in real life (obvi) makes me extremely uneasy.  Magical violence is especially terrifying because there are totally no boundaries.  I missed most of the last Harry Potter movie because I was hiding behind a throw pillow.


In addition to being a peacemaker, I like to think I have street smarts.   Street cred, however, is another story.  I know that you’re not really supposed to hang out in back alleys and abandoned warehouses.  When you see a man with a neck bigger than Jason Giambi’s coming at you with fire in his eyes, you’re kind of supposed to cross the street.

Unless that man’s about to teach you how to jump rope like a non-idiot.

No pink gloves for this little lady!

For the past month or so, I’ve found myself going very much against my natural inclinations and instincts.  I have been busting my bum, learning how to fight in a sort of dodgy part of town.   Twice a week, I’ve been gloving up at my local boxing gym, sweating like a man, and throwing punches with all my might (right now they’re more like limp high fives to the heavy bag, but whatever).

I’m sure I look like a complete dingo, but I am having the time of my life.  I find myself squaring off in the mirror, Googling things like “are my hands supposed to feel partially broken when I wrap them?” and wondering what sort of hairdos female boxers keep under their helmet things.  It’s both terrifying and exhilarating.

Mostly exhilarating, though.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s something new you’ve tried recently?