Girl Stuff

This is where we discuss sex, PMS, menopause, male bash and a few other things. Dudes: you don't belong here, read at your own risk and don't blame me if you blush or get your feeling hurt.

The Art of Packing

In my twenties when going on a trip I over packed bringing enough for five times the length of my stay.  I packed what I needed, what I thought I might need and what I wanted to have on hand just in case times two. Over the years my packing for trips has been streamlined but I still want to be prepared. . .

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Which means depending on the type of trip I will be bringing a few extra things just in case.  I recently had back to back vacations; one to a family reunion and the other to a class reunion. Both trips were at the beach yet the packing was different.  Like your goal dictates your training the occasion will dictate your packing.

Family reunion beach trip

Scenario #1:  you haven’t stuck to your nutritional plan and the start of the summer has you 5 – 10# over where you’d like to be.  It’s hot and sultry beach weather and the style is casual. Lots of flip flop dresses.  They’re cute, comfy, casual and they will cover and flatter the hips and tummy.  My mainstay when not at my leanest.  A few pair of my baggier shorts paired with loose and flowy tops.  Tankinis  and bikins with boy short bottoms along with snazzy cover ups. Basic beach supplies and food if you’re eating in. Needs are simple, supplies minimal — we’re all set.

Scenario 2:  you’ve stuck to your nutritional plan and the start of summer has you at an ideal weight or maybe even rocking a six pack.  It’s still hot, the style’s still casual but you’re gonna flaunt it a little or a lot.  It’s shorts baby, dig out your daisy dukes, string bikinis and crop tops. The sun is going to shine on you.  Throw in the basic beach supplies and food and you’re all set.

Event Vacation

Whether you’re at your leanest or not will again dictate the styles you bring but a special event such as a class reunion, work gala or something where beyond casual will require more packing.  You’re not sure what the other women will wear.  Does it matter.  Uh, yea. How dressy or casual will the event actually be?  Those terms are vague at best.

At the class reunion we had a ‘beach casual night’ on Thursday and Friday with a ‘dress up’ night on Saturday but the interpretation of that can vary greatly.  For the first night’s dinner I deliberated between shorts and capris or slacks. Knowing that it was a 50th class reunion I doubted many would be sporting short shorts.  I brought both and opted for the capris the first night.  Perfect choice. After seeing how most were dressed and getting a feel the slacks I brought for Friday night with the halter top fit right in.

For the dress up night I brought a cute little dress and just in case it ended up not being that dressy I brought a back up pair of slacks and cute top.  Now with the dress — high heels or low? That can dress it up or down slightly and depending on the venue one may be better than the other. Better to bring both and be prepared.  The dress won out with the low heels since the beach club had a planked deck. This trip required more than a few changes of outfits and two shoe bags.

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Pre packing for any trip is key and will save you time and the stress of not having the right things in your arsenal .  The weekend before the trip I lay out everything I could possibly need on the bed in my guest room.  Each item is organized into piles i.e. workout clothes, evening wear, day wear, shoes, accessories and any other necessary items.  Then throughout the week I will visit the guest room after some thought and narrow down the items until I get to a reasonable amount.

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This has worked well for me over the years.  One other consideration is whether you are flying or driving.  When flying I streamline it even more. Driving allows the luxury of being able to take a little more just in case.  And luggage carts and someone to haul the stuff for you comes in handy too!

Soak It Up!

By the end of the week my muscles are generally sore and fatigued from a solid week’s training.  With the weekend approaching I’m ready for some R & R or in other words recovery.  Since Saturday is a busy day for me with the week’s wrap up, errands, household chores and the like by the time afternoon comes I’m ready for a treat.

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Whether it’s the dead of winter or the heat of summer I like nothing better than a luxuriating soak in my tub.  There are some essentials to this bath. . .

  • Bath salts:  While bubbles are fun once in awhile what I really want are therapeutic benefits.  Old fashioned Epsom salts will work and can help ease muscle tension as well as reduce swelling however they are merely magnesium and sulfates. My preference is Dead Sea salts.  They contain high levels of magnesium, potassium, calcium, chloride, sodium and bromide — a whole family of minerals from the ocean which promote healing and condition the skin.Photo Jul 08, 6 51 07 AM
  • Essential Oils:  I used to buy the scented Dead Sea salts which were quite expensive and often lost their smell after the jar had been opened a couple of times.  Now I buy individual essential oils in the flavors of my choice and add them to the plain salts separately or in combos.
  • Candles:  When I want a calm state of meditation during my soak I light my candles and when I’m reading a book or brainstorming I don’t.
  • Music:  Sometimes I want quiet and sometimes I want music — I go with the mood of the day.
  • Accessories:  A bath pillow. While it’s not absolutely necessary it adds comfort and shields your head from the hard ceramic of the tub.  A bath tray — I don’t always go to the trouble of getting this out but it has a handy little spot for a wine or water glass, a shelf to hold your place in your book and even a phone holder.  Although technology should be banned from the bath IMO

The water temperature should be hot as the salts seem to work better in hotter water.  I usually draw water that is a tad too hot and forces me to ease in.  My body seems to adapt quickly and heat will be lost rapidly through most bathtubs. When the salt is heated negative ions are created literally charging up the body and reducing stress.  Even after a mere 20 minute soak you will emerge renewed — your body may even be humming a little bit.

The water quality is another thing to improve upon.  Unfiltered Tampa tap is not known for the best water.  I will generally add 1/4 cup of sodium bicarbonate (aka baking soda) to raise the ph of the water and ascorbic acid (vitamin C powder) to neutralize some of the chlorine in the water.  This also helps to lessen skin irritation from the heat.

Time – how long should you soak?  Anywhere from 10 to 40 minutes.  For me the sweet spot is 30 – 40.  Being a Type A I’m just getting relaxed at about the 20 minute mark. Sometimes I even go for a full hour.

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Make it meditative.  There’s no right or wrong way; dictated by my mood, the day and what my body and mind need most at the time.  I like candlelight for this and nice deep breaths; I inhale for a 5 count, hold for a 2-3 count and exhale for a 5 count.  The counting helps keep my overactive mind from wandering.  After several deep breaths I am able to forego the counting and focus on unwinding the course of the day not judging just digesting or my thoughts will focus on what I am grateful for and sometimes I focus on nothing at all.

Brainstorm.  Seemingly counter productive I often find some of my most creative moments coming to me in the salts bath so I keep a piece of paper and pen on the side to jot down any thoughts or ideas that come to me.

On a final note, do not use soap with a salts bath as it interferes with the action of the minerals and the detoxification process.  Try to rest for an hour or two afterwards to reap the full benefits.  After all you deserve it!

The ‘Girls’ Part 3 – Bench is Back!

Time really does fly; here we are four months post surgery and I am happy to report that not only are the girls as perky as ever but my bench press along with dips, pull ups and the ultimate test– depth push ups with explosive rebound up are back to full speed!

I’d like to share a few tips for women getting back into their workouts post breast augmentation.  A few of them also relate to other surgeries and injuries.

  • Don’t rush it.  This one requires patience and has taken me decades to heed but you will save yourself time and anguish in the long run.  Coming back too soon you are risking re injury and slowing down the actual healing process.  Patience grasshopper
  • Listen to your doctor (for the most part).  I had a really good surgeon; in fact he performed the second first set over 21 years ago.  He also took into consideration my fitness training and experience. He was spot on when he said to wait about 2 weeks before digging into any cardiovascular activity although “walk if you want, no arm swinging.”  If I deviated I got a warning sign. Pay attention to what your body is telling you; it is far wiser than we ever give it credit for. “6 weeks before upper body work” he said.  Hate to admit it again he was right.  He even has a ‘rule’ on his patient release form about “never doing a push up or direct chest work again.” I had made a notation when signing the paper excluding it and when the nurse brought it to his attention he replied “oh no, she’s fine, she’s been doing push ups and benching for over 21 years and they held up well.” Nice of him to see my viewpoint.  Where I didn’t listen was the excessive use of pre surgery anti nausea meds and post surgery antibiotics.  Fodder for another psot
  • Live to train another day.  I had the days marked off on my calendar until the 6 weeks had passed and a follow up scheduled that very day.  It was music to my ears when he said “yes you can do push ups, yes you can bench.” I could barely contain my excitement on the way out of the office. Back to the box I flew and to the weights I went.  Whoa. Shit felt really different. As I tested simple moves like a pass through, inclined push up, bodyweight pull overs it was scary.  Funny little pulls and pains that I didn’t want to ignore.  Body wasn’t ready yet so I backed off going as light as I needed to and waited a little longer until the exercise felt right. Exercises such as db or bb bench presses felt better and I was able to perform and use heavier weights.  Weeks 6 – 12 were a gradual progression back to where I was.
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  • Believe in the comeback.  I’ve been so fortunate with my health with only minor injuries over the years that what seemed like it would never be the same now is.  At almost 4 months I am at 90% and rising.  The last two exercises (as I predicted) to come back were dips and pull ups.  With dips coming back first.  I finally did 3 strict pull ups yesterday without assistance.  I can typically do 10-12 so it’s just a matter of time to regain the strength now that the movement is back.
  • Be Grateful.  This was elective surgery. While we certainly did not want to go around with a deflated girl the initial decision was not born out of necessity. Many people have grave horrific injuries to get over.  This was all my choosing and a small price to pay for perkier and bigger girls.
  • Any regrets?  None whatsoever.  I have not had any since originally deciding to have them done in 1983.  At age 55 I briefly considered leaving them but I am too fit, too active and still want to look well.  It was unfortunate but they had to be taken out or redone to avoid long term complications.  I opted for the redo and that was definitely the right decision.  With the improvements in materials I’m hoping for at least 30 years out of this pair.  I’ll have the perkiest girls of any 85 yo in the gym!  Long live the girls!

Long Live the Girls: Part 2

They say women hold grudges and men exchange a few words, maybe some heated blows and then over a few beers it’s all forgotten.  I would have to say on behalf of my gender I agree.  It was April 3, 1992 and I was having knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus.  My husband dropped me off and then went golfing leaving me to be picked up by my parents.

When I awakened from knee surgery the anesthesiologist was still laughing and said to me “I just want to know who was “f’ing golfing at Northdale?”  Apparently that’s all I could say as I was coming out. The Jag stumbled in with sushi take out at 8:30 pm that night for our dinner. I was home alone starving.

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On October 2, 2003 right before my surgery I again reminded him how I’ve never quite gotten over that.  Well, leopards occasionally change their spots or more likely just mellow with age.  Bless his heart this go round he never left my side all weekend.

I was surprised at how little discomfort I had and decided healing was not going to be nearly as bad as I had thought. We’re at 5 weeks post op now and well, I was wrong. . .

Only in one respect.  The not working out.  The first week and a half was actually pretty nice; I went for long leisurely walks and found that I had a whole lot of free time to get more work done.  After about 10 days I started to not sleep as well, I was overly irritated with little things and what little patience I had was fast evaporating.  I needed an outlet for this excessive energy I have.

Enough was enough and at day 11 I finally did a leg workout gingerly testing the body.  I did some body weight squats and lunges super setting them with minimal rest to get my heart rate up and used the walk as a cool down.  That helped some and I slept better that night.  At 2 weeks I was ‘allowed’ to add in the stationary bike and at the beginning of the 3rd week I added a light bar to the squatting.  Life was a little better.

One can only train their legs so much, they do need to recover.  Weighted pull ups and bench press were definitely out of the question; I tried to do some light upper body that third week and quickly realized that was not a good idea.

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It just didn’t feel right.  The doctor’s instructions were no upper body or direct chest work for 6 weeks.  And that also includes most trunk exercises–who knew, duh. I figured I better listen; you start pushing before some scar tissue has formed and you can cause the implants to move laterally. Bummer.  And I will have to start back slowly and gradually; 2 words basically foreign to my vocabulary.  It will probably be January before I can begin to hammer it hard and fully regain what I have lost.

It’s amazing how one can lose weight not working out.  Wonderful you might say.  No, my upper body is actually atrophying.  I am trying not to freak out as it happens.  I know the adage “use it or lose it” is true but it will all come back quickly once I am able to starting lifting again.  The legs are already starting to regain what they have lost.

I must be smart and not rush things. Time to get creative.  I’ve increased the time I spend stretching post wod, used my compex and attempted to meditate.  While the additional time spent stretching and the use of the compex is not for nil the meditation is just not cutting it.  Not taking anything away from it and I am aware that I should include some form in my life.

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But it is most certainly not a replacement to intense physical exercise nor can it replace the release that it gives me. I have found intensity is my Zen.

We’re at the end of Week 5 and my best week yet. On Monday I was able to squat sets of 10 reps with 95# which is not near my best but we’re on the ‘come back’.  I’m keeping the reps higher and the rest lower since I am not able to go heavy yet which brings about a bit of intensity and a good sweat which makes me feel like I am getting back in the game.

On Tuesday I went for a brisk 3 mile walk.  I upped my pace and was able to now add a little arm swing.  That took 46:31 and my goal for next week is 45.  While it felt only mildly intense the results were greater than I expected.  I slept like a rock and woke up feeling the most refreshed I have since the surgery with energy off the charts!

Wednesday was a rest day and back to legs on Thursday with a primal dumbbell complex of lunges, squats and step ups topped off with a 1 mile walk for a cool down.  Friday will most likely be a bike ride followed by a walk on Saturday, Sunday off and repeat the protocol Week 6.  Then it’s my second follow up to the doc and hopefully clearance for the upper bod!

Summary:  I have always been a very high energy person and when there is no outlet it affects me negatively.  It’s like the energy is all bottled up inside me whirling like a tornado with nowhere to go. This caused me many challenges and poor choices over the years.  Like many others when I discovered fitness it transformed my life.  The surgery was more or less a breeze, not being able to work out with normal intensity or initially any intensity has been the struggle. How anyone could go through life without daily movement or exercise is beyond me

I know it’s lonely but I’ll be back . . .

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Long Live the Girls: Part 1

It was 1983 and I was living on a sailboat in Key West with a modern day pirate.  23 years old and tired of being flat chested; I felt cheated in life.  So when the modern day pirate handed me a wad of cash I dashed off to the nearest plastic surgeon and very enthusiastically remedied the situation that had haunted me through puberty.

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I honestly don’t remember much about the whole process other than sleeping through the first day and being sore as hell for awhile.  However those memories quickly faded after my first shopping spree at Victoria’s Secret.  I was thrilled with my new girls.  Proportioned at last.

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Women often have breast augmentation for very different reasons.  I did it strictly for myself; I was barely an A cup, felt embarrassed, deformed and I didn’t want to go through life like that.  To this day I have not regretted the decision.  Back then silicone implants were the standard and in the early 90’s they started getting a lot of bad press and the manufacturer and insurance companies were willing to replace them with saline implants.  So, 10 years after the fact in 1993 at age 33 I decided it was a great chance to get a new pair ‘free of charge’.

I thought I wanted them bigger the second go round but wisely listened to the advice of my plastic surgeon and then boyfriend now husband and stayed the same size.  Fortunately, they complemented my physique rather than overshadowed it.

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Again I don’t remember a lot about the recovery process other than having a hard time putting my hair in a ponytail. I didn’t workout at all at that time.  When I did begin working out in 1995 at age 35 I paid no attention to the girls nor did I ever notice any discomfort or limitations.  I benched, I did pull ups, I competed for over 10 years in military style obstacle course races and fitness.  Never a problem.

Some sources say you should routinely replace the implants every 10 years.  Well my thoughts were if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.  Surgery is still surgery and I had no desire to put my body through any that weren’t necessary.  I continued in life and fitness for several years until lo and behold in May of 2015 when trying on new bikinis for my vacation I looked at ‘Bitsy’.  She’s the left one and ‘Itsy’ is the right — hey you’ve got to name the girls right?  Well anyway Bitsy seemed smaller than Itsy.  I had just leaned out from my winter’s feeding and thought perhaps that’s what it was.

I asked the Jag and he looked them over carefully and wasn’t quite sure.  She also had a divot or dent towards the outside that I had never noticed before.  Hmmm, “let’s keep an eye on her” he said.  While on vacation she seemed to shrink a little more so upon returning I made an appointment to see my plastic surgeon.

His diagnosis was quick.  “It’s not a leak, you would be completely flat in less than 48 hours.”  Good I thought, nothing is wrong.  Not — “it’s a bad valve; it partially deflated and for the time being the valve is holding”.  Damn, my luck has run out — although 21 years was a good run.

“No problem” he said.  “We’ll take them out and put new ones in, you can go saline again or the new silicone are vastly improved and superior.”  In a mild state of shock at what was to come I was led into the consultation room.  “$7180, insurance will not cover when would you like to schedule?”

$7180???  I left in a complete state of shock.  Without scheduling.  Well after a couple of days of thought and discussing with the Jag we came to the conclusion that we had 2 choices.  1) take them out or 2) take them out and replace. Both required surgery.  Leaving them in was not an option because the partially deflated sac would eventually completely deflate and cause many problems.  It wasn’t urgent so I planned for the early fall after a few busy events and trips throughout the summer.

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We had the surgery on Friday, October 2 and here they are just hours after.  Not the most flattering of pictures as it was a selfie from the recliner still groggy from the anesthesia.

Choosing a Doctor

Fortunately I had the same surgeon that performed the operation in 1993.  He was very very good at what he does and had gotten even better over the last 21 years.  I most likely could have found them for about $1000 cheaper but this is one area you don’t want to  skimp on.  I had no problems with the last set, he was re doing his own work and I wanted no problems this go round.  In decisions like this go with the best; it can prevent problems and more surgeries.

Research, interview 2-3 and ask for referrals from friends that had successful results.  Well worth the efforts.  In my case he had a proven track record although I found some of his procedures has changed over the last 2 decades. There were a lot more precautions done pre surgery as well as post surgery.  This go round a multi vitamin along with extra vitamin c and zinc was implemented 2 weeks prior.  I don’t smoke but quitting if you did was still a huge part of his instructions.  Along with the addition of 3 anti nausea prescription medication prior to surgery.  Really?  3 toxic preventative medications prior to surgery for something I’ve never had happen to me?  Ok, I followed most of his instructions.

Post surgery had me continuing the multi vitamin, C and zinc along with the addition of 4 days of Arnica (homeopathic remedy to reduce bruising and swelling), aloe vera juice to facilitate healing, probiotic to reduce the negative effects of antibiotic (more on that later), abstaining from caffeine (God help me) and of course no smoking and drinking which I do neither.

Saline or Silicone

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Do the research.  Your choice.  I weighed the pros and cons of both and elected to stay with the saline.

We are now 4 days post surgery.  “No workouts for 3 weeks” said the doctor.  One thing I’ve learned over the course of 5 decades — don’t be stupid in this case and take the recommended time off to allow the body to heal.  If you rush it or push it you will more than likely makes things worse and prolong the recovery period or require additional procedures.  The time will pass more quickly than you think.  Use it as an opportunity to develop other weaknesses that you have been neglecting.

Time for my walk; that I am allowed and the time spent outside at a leisurely pace is doing wonders for my state of mind.  Stay tuned as the girls heal. . .

Why we Made the Commitment

If you follow this blog you know that four girls from our box, CF Jaguar have decided to compete in the 2015 Tampa Bay Classic figure and bikini competition on June 6th.  Figure and bikini you may ask?  What happened to athleticism and CrossFit?  That goes on on a regular basis, sometimes you just want to look damn good naked!

Meet the girls and why they’re each doing this. . .

Janet

Janet

I first met Janet back in 2006 when she was pregnant with her second daughter Mia and just getting her yoga certification.  We reconnected in 2009 when she came to me to train her for a physique competition.  I cut back on her cardio, changed her diet and had her lift far heavier than she ever thought she could.  She questioned everything I said but listened, rocked the physique show and the rest is history.

She became a trainer at CF Jaguar, got her Level 1, began competing in both figure and bikini competitions always placing.  She then attacked triathlons again placing in her age group and several CrossFit competitions always making a formidable showing.  Janet is an athlete through and through who may have had my guidance initially but has truly grown into her own and knows just what to do and how to train for each event or competition she enters.  She always has her head in the Game be it strutting her stuff on stage or kicking someone’s arse in a metcon.  Seasoned and professional.

Why is she doing this?  “I have done 5 shows in different classes and always ended up binging afterward because I dieted so strictly to get to the show. For the last few years, my life has kind of stabilized after a divorce and career change. My nutrition is not perfect but its sensible and not obsessive in either direction. My goal for this time is to be healthy during the prep and to not binge afterwards. Also, being over 40 now, I get to compete in a different class and see if I can be as competitive in a bathing suit as I am in the CrossFit gym, without doing much different to prepare.”

Adriana

Adri

Adrianna has been a client at CF Jaguar since October 2009.  When I met her she had just moved here from Miami and wanted to lose some weight and get in shape.  Well, she did just that and has been a member ever since.  She and her fiance even won our Fitness challenge in 2011.  They have since married and now have a beautiful baby girl Juliana, 16 months old.

Envied by many Adrianna now has a challenging time putting on weight since giving birth to her daughter and must make dedicated efforts to lift heavy, eat and rest enough.  This extreme can be just as trying as it is for those that cannot lose weight easily.

Why is she doing this? “After having my first baby I completely forgot to take care of myself. I stopped working out and the lack of time led to lack of eating and health problems.  Being a mom is not an excuse to neglect yourself, and this is one of the main reasons why I’m motivated to do the the Tampa Bay Classic.

I want to reconnect with myself and prove that I can be strong, fit, and healthy after 30 & after a baby!! :)”

Arianna

Arianna

Arianna came to CF Jaguar on the recommendation of her big sister Tiffany about a year and 4 months ago.  Big sis is quite the athlete and out lifts half the men at Jaguar so she had some big shoes to fill.  And fill them she did, Ari’s athletic talents had her ranking the Leaderboard within the first few months.  “PR” became her middle name as after her first sip of the Kool Aid had her coming back for more and improving each and every day.

She’s an inspiration to many to in the box as she continues to tackle each challenge defeating them one by one and has become a very well rounded athlete.

Why is she doing this?  “Well I’ve always admired women who weren’t afraid to be different and not follow the guidelines of what a stereotypical female should look like. So when the opportunity came for me to be one of those women I couldn’t pass it up. Strong women are beautiful women and to be able to challenge my body and take it to places I didn’t know were capable really inspired me to do this competition.”

Paula

Ho Ho ho

I may have eaten one too many pieces of cheesecake over the holidays but I do believe that by tightening up the diet I can get back to where I was in 2006 — the last time I stepped onstage.  While the body most definitely changes with the decades I’m out to prove (age aside) that diet and exercise really is enough.

Why am I doing this?  I’ve done it before and while overall it’s been the greatest thing I’ve ever done in my life enabling me to overcome my obstacles why now? I don’t really have anything to prove in this department. In all honesty I’ve been thinking about it for a few years but the motivation hasn’t been there. Each and every decade or chapter of our lives bring different challenges and goals. Doing something of this nature has always propelled me past the “can I?” point. 55 is a turning point for me as I’ve a few things I wish to accomplish in the next 5 years. A 10 – 12 week period of sacrifice, harder than average efforts and laser beam focus will put me in the right frame of mind to forge full speed ahead.

Allright girls — BURN THE SHIPS–we came to conquer!