The Writer Who Works Out: Code for Laziest Fitness Teacher Out There

yoga-241609_1280It has been some time since I’ve written and I’m going to put on my “good grad student persona” and say that it’s because I’ve been working hard on school and work. I believe with all my heart there is some truth in there. I may also be moving up the ranks in League of Legends, but no one knows that.

This is post of utility. I want encourage other writers and computer-hoverers out there to get up once in a while and stretch your lungs. I have been doing a self-imposed workout plan for five weeks now that I called “Six Weeks Until Xena”. Yes, I upped my workout game and healthy living in order to become the Warrior Princess. Since I’m almost done, all I have t show for it are thighs too large with muscle for my old jeans and some more stamina. Not the results I wanted, but I’m sure if I go six more weeks, I’ll tone down and shape up. I plan to go again but this time with less strict planing.

How many times have you started a workout plan and then had to give up because you cannot get into that routine. Or maybe you said you’d wake up at 6am and failed after a week because you are just not a morning person? I tried to be a morning person thanks to this guy (http://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/2014/08/14/how-to-become-a-morning-person/) and it was awesome for a little while. But then I fell off one day and got really discouraged (writers do that, when they fail–no matter what–they fail HARD). Everyone says do your workout in the morning to wake up. Hah, I can’t wake up before 9am. So sad, I know. But I did try. For months!

So here is what I want to tell you: Do not try. Now, don’t freak out. YES, WORKOUT! But let it come. I no longer do my yoga, Insanity DVDs, or belly dance routines in the morning. I started using a Spinning bike at about 1pm and suddenly my workout was better, I had energy for that gross 2pm slump that everyone hates, and I felt better. I just cannot concentrate if I haven’t some work or school or homework (or whatever!) by 10am. So I ditched the morning workout and I do it whenever I can. If I see I have an hour before something, I cram it in and think of nothing else while in my workout. WHAT ABOUT WRITING? It’s ok, I have a blessed 30 minutes before bed (even I’m crazy tired) that I try to hammer out 300 or 500 words. Just push that much longer. It’s ok.

That’s what I want you to think about while your working out and getting in no matter the time of day: It’s ok. A 1 hour workout is ONLY 4% of your day. You can do it. Don’t rush it, don’t stress while doing it. When you workout, think only of your body and feel its inner workings. I love time with my body, while I’m working it. It does things to my psychi as well. Don’t stress over it.

Here is a list of things to try:

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1st, to help you out, here is a link to a timer I have set up: http://www.intervaltimer.com/timers/5745947 This is my personal timer. I use it while I’m working or studying. I set a timer to work for an 1.5 hours or just 1 hour. When it goes off, I start some music and start this timer. It’s just 8 minutes. It gets your blood flowing and gets you awake again. Don’t forget to breathe.

2nd is yoga. You may feel weak when first doing it, but trust me, it gets easier and within a few months, you will have the muscles to feel relaxed while doing this. I recommend Fightmaster Yoga. She is free, professional, fun, and has many, MANY videos to choose from: https://www.youtube.com/user/lesleyfightmaster

3rd, go to your library and get a workout DVD. Your local library is FREE and almost unlimited in its resources. Get dance workouts, fast paced cardio, fun weight training–anything that sparks you interest. Use it for the week you get it barrow it, then get a new one. Fresh workouts keep you interested and excited about getting a new DVD.

4th, eat right. I’d say in my experience, eating right is about 70% of healthy living. I am not a fan of veggies, but I do love veggie dip. I eat celery, carrots and broccoli often enough. It has also gotten to the point that I cannot stand candy and cake. I prefer fruit pies, fruity yogurts and just fruit (nature’s candy!) in general. Impossible, you say? Nope! I love grapes more than I love Twizzlers. Try it. You’ll get there!

5th, and lastly, DO NOT cut out carbs and proteins if you are going to start exercising. The point of exercising and eating RIGHT is to get into a habit that you can maintain for your WHOLE LIFE. When working out, you need that protein to build muscle and you will need those carbs for fuel. If you are just now adding a workout to your life, don’t cut the carbs but don’t add to them too much either. This workout is new for your body and the amount of carbs you eat is fine. You are adding more work to your body and cutting off its fuel supply is a bad idea. Just don’t stuff you face. Eat slow, take small bites and you’ll be fine.

I hope this helps someone. I had intended to put more links in here, but I’ll save those for later. In the mean time, have a great day and may you find more power and strength in your days!

The Only Thing You Have To Worry About Is Being Kicked Into A Well

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Image by Kashif Mardani

In my head, the ideal life is writing when I want, on what I want, how I want. But you can’t be trusted to write that kind of thing. People have to know you before they trust you. You have to trust yourself. You have to know a lot before you can write a lot, I think. And I think you should know a lot.

I’ve been struggling recently with my class reading. I have a lot to read. For one class, we have 3 books, online readings, and handouts to get through and none of them are easy reads. Plus, I’m a slow reader. AND I’m not into the pedagogy side of what my major is teaching. Rhetoric and Writing seems to be for those who want to make a career out of teaching. A year ago that was totally me. But now, I want to be a writer who teaches. I only want to be a teacher because I know once I have that gig, I’ll have it for a little while–longer than a freelance job any way. I also hold two part time graduate assistant jobs, teach a dance class at the gym, and work the front desk. I’m a wee bit busy as it were. But all that reading! I need it for class and my projects, don’t I?

My professor said it was alright if we only got 80% of the reading done, but that makes me lazy and the next thing you know, I’ve only read ten of the fifty pages we had due. But at times like that, I get a lot of creative writing done to send out (and have rejected…)! I have to find a balance of what to get done. On the one hand, I need to write creative stuff (that bad stuff I mentioned in my last blog that is fun to do) so I can send it out and try to get something published outside of my school’s literary magazine. On the other, I need to know this rhetoric and digital stuff so I can do my school projects well and sound smart. And I mean, this is the stuff that will pay me later. Right?

I’ve decided to break it down the middle. I need this well of knowledge that is filling up from all this reading. I may never directly apply this stuff, but I need to know it. It gives me ideas, makes me think of media and literacy in a whole new way, and challenges me. All of this is good. I also am learning to take pleasure in writing book reviews, grants, technical writing–all that “boring” stuff (I’m a novelist and a fantasy writer at that, cut me some slack!) that will pay me sooner than a short story will. I need to abel to dip into this well of knowledge and use it for other kinds of writing. However, I have an addictive (and lazy…) personality. I could easily fall into this well and never get out again. I could be so caught up in writing academically that I never write “Once upon a time” again!

But that’s not what I want. So I warn myself thusly: “Alright, you have time at work to finish this chapter. Then, you will have your academic writing done by 3pm, no later because of class. Then, you will start a timer and you will 500 words of fun stuff.”
I don’t have just one “fun” project I’m working on and rather than stare at one that I can’t get my juices flowing for, I open up Write Or Die 2 and use the given prompt in there. Or I even go to seventhsanctum.com and get some nonsense from those generators. I save those little 500-word bits for later, just in case SOMETHING can come from them.

But the point is the balance it out. Yin and Yang. Jedi and Sith. Spock and Kirk. That kind of thing. I don’t want lose myself in that well (and then haunt some people). I want to stay the way I am and entwine my worlds. I never wanted academia to touch my creative writing, but I’m grateful for the lessons it’s taught me that I can apply to my creativity.