Tag Archives: conditioning

What condition my conditioning is in

What condition my conditioning is in.

Given my conditioning, I’m beginning to think that the best thing to do is to get a Navy Seals video and start getting in some beach time!

I mean, wow!  Four rounds with Lennox Blackmore this morning just about blew out my lungs!

We’re talking “panting” city — meanwhile, we had a LOAD of fun, and when I wasn’t gasping for air, I actually managed a few moves.  The great thing about the experience was Len’s patience in showing me ways to GET OUT OF THE WAY — as in when to slip and when to block to set up my next flurry of punches.  It reminds me of what a great counter-puncher he is, and like the great game of chess, everything in boxing is about setting things up for what you plan to do several moves ahead.

Having not been in the ring for a while, I found myself stymied by some of what Len was doing. The good part was I have actually been learning a thing or two and so I had crisper more accurate punches that actually followed form — when I wasn’t abjectly staying out-of-the-way to catch my breath!

Oh well — it just means I’ve got to get on the CARDIO train and step it up several notches if I hope to have a prayer in the ring.

Meanwhile, I did manage a couple of rounds of shadow boxing, three on the double-ended bag, four on the speed bag and four rounds of slow sit-ups on the funky old Gleason’s sit-up chair before heading on up the Washington Street hill for home.

It made for a great morning and the kind of day when I all I could do was smile!

Of knees, fingers and toes …

Of knees, fingers and toes …

So, there I was dodging the sudden rain at lunch time yesterday and out of nowhere, my knees screamed out, “you’re 50-something woman, WHY are you trying to bend!”

Similarly, my fingers and toes have been yelling at me lately — all of which is another way of saying (a) they’re still cold from the long winter or (b) I’m becoming a woman of a “certain age” that has got to sort out how to oil-up these joints!

For the latter, my usual response is to say, “give me a hot sweaty gym in mid-summer and I’ll train forever.”  Really, there is something to walking in sweaty that just gases me to train longer and harder.  Otherwise I find that I have to stay in the hot shower that much longer in the morning not to mention taking a lot of extra time warming up.

Okay, we’re not talking gnarly knees here yet, but I went to do a knee bend last night and thought I might get stuck mid-way forever.  And on last Saturday’s run — ah, make that S-L-O-W jog — I had the feeling that if I wanted to run faster, say if my life depended on it, I couldn’t have!

Oy, so what to do! 

In checking it out, I found some tips that seem intuitive and smart, and may prove useful to Girlboxing friends with stiffening joints whether from all that over-use in the gym or the age thing!

1.  Range of Motion Exercises:  This one makes a lot of sense, especially for the knees, but shoulders, neck, wrists and other “cold spots” can gain a lot of benefits.  You can start with a small circular movements, and when it comes to your shoulders, giving them a good shrug really helps.

2. Strengthening Exercises:  Building up your muscle strength to help support your joints is another terrific way of helping overcome stiffness.  The joint issues may not go away per se, but by strengthening the muscles surrounding your joints, you can maintain or increase your muscle strength while giving support to your joints.  The key here is that you don’t necessarily have to go running to the gym to lift thousands of pounds.  Rather, strengthening can also be accomplished through repetitive exercises that can isolate specific areas of your body.

I’ll throw in Yoga as another terrific way to perform strengthening exercises — and there are a lot of focused Yoga movements that you can perform for specific parts of your body in addition to gaining overall conditioning.

3. Aerobic Exercises: The key here is to build endurance without hurting yourself, i.e., my slow jog versus a full-on pounding run (which I can’t do anyway). but you get the drift.  Walking, swimming, dancing and our favorite boxing, are great examples of the kinds of aerobic exercises that can improve overall conditioning, keep your cardio in check and maybe even your weight.

The key here is if you’re noticing a slow-down, morning stiffness or other subtle changes you’ll likely want to work at your own pace. If you’re really hurting though, get yourself to a doctor to check out what’s going on.  Years of pounding on your body does take its toll even if you are fit and keep to a regular fitness program.

Most of all, have some fun — and if you’re like me, you can get some entertainment out of cracking your knees in time to the music!

When the soul is willing but the body’s on the “blink”!

When the soul is willing but the body’s on the “blink”!

This past Saturday, I was at Gleason’s figuring that I’d go full-bore into training mode.  Something about my walk to my daughter’s Aikido Dojo, however, should have tipped me to the fact that I was going to be dragging!

Once I got to Gleason’s admittedly fairly spry on the stairs, I was in sweat-stinging-my-eyes mode by my third round of shadow boxing – and grateful for the end of the fourth and the one-round break I had before the double-ended bag was up and ready for me to use.

The killer, though, was when Lennox called out to me and said, “step it up,” on the second round of the double-ended bag.  Sure, I’d been throwing combinations and had dedicated the first round to mostly jab-jab-hook sequences as I worked my way around the bag in right and left circles, but what he wanted was to see me move around the bag, as in “push-it-girl” kind of move.  And that’s when the dog-pant started to kick-in and the flashbacks to my doctor saying – “you need more cardio”!

Okay.  So I got through those four rounds – kicking butt, so to speak and after my one round break started in on the focus pads with a “can-do” spirit in force if ever I felt one.  My body, however, was in a different mode.  It was saying, “Are you kidding me or what???”  Still, I tried, pushing myself even as my muscles were caving.  And here’s where the interesting thing happened.  In the third round, I didn’t have as much “pop,” but having dug deep into my core I was using my abs to throw cleaner, crisper shots at a faster rate.  It’s as if by ratcheting back just a little in terms of absolute “punch-power,” I was finding another kind of throttle on my engine – with breath that started to sound like breath again instead of the ragged tortuous sound of the previous round.

By the end of the fourth I was no longer “dead on my feet” at all as I had been after the four rounds on the double-ended bag.  And yes, while I was a bit slow during my first speed bag round, the other three were down right peppy, and I even had enough energy left to do three rounds of abs on the a small abs bench, not exactly the deepest sit-ups ever, but enough to feel it.

So where did this leave me?  Good question.  Perplexed for one, because I’m not sure why my energy was so low on Saturday, but glad that the way around it was to remember that adjusting my stance to take advantage of my core strength not only leveraged the energy of my body, but allowed me to pull back from the edge of my rapidly depleting muscle energy stores that meant I couldn’t enervate my breath never mind a left hook.

And here we are again.  Back to the fundamentals: stance, core strength, stamina and conditioning … and yep, C A R D I O !