Tag Archives: James Brown

Another rainy day in Brooklyn!

Another rainy day in Brooklyn!

Whew.  Really hard to do roadwork today!  So … what to do?  Bake bread?

I’d say, shadow box around the living room and feel happy!

Feel inspired??  Here’s some music to shadowbox to!

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!

Yoga mama shadow boxing around my living room

Yoga mama shadow boxing around my living room

Having fallen “off the wagon” so to speak, I’m on day two of my renewed daily yoga routine what with being a bit hit and miss over the last two weeks — with an every 3rd morning routine.

What can I say — my arms are straining from plank pose, my hamstrings from downward facing dog, and my whole body from the Warrior 1, 2 & 3 sequences, but hey, I’m sitting taller while breathing nice and deep and full.  Even the kitty is excited, finding in my unfurled yoga mat a fun toy she’d apparently, really missed.

Next up, three rounds of shadow boxing around the living room to James Brown’s “Funky Good Time” before prancing my way around the kitchen to make some breakfast for the family.

It’s good to be back.




Get up offa’ that thing

Get up offa’ that thing

James Brown!


Yep, it’s that kind of day.  Getting up offa’ that thing!

As JB says:  “Feel good?  Feel good?”

Sometimes it’s the only answer!  Enjoy!


Gym bound!

Gym bound!

I am determined to get to the boxing gym this afternoon.  I mean really, it’s been weeks, and here I am attempting to keep a blog going on boxing!  Well, okay. So I’ve been busy at work, true.  Busy writing papers for grad school, true.  Busy being a wife and a mom, true.  But, but, but … I say to myself, that is no excuse, sister, get your butt to the gym!   So today, after dropping the prodigal off at her dance class, it’s off to Gleason’s for some serious huffing and puffing as I attempt something resembling a work out.

The plan?  Hmmm. A short run, maybe 15 minutes worth at a slow pace to be followed by three rounds of shadow boxing.  By then I’ll be warmed up and ready for the most embarrassing part, facing my trainer, Lennox Blackmore.  He will be as he always is, the consummate professional with a mushy heart of molten gold — while I shall be mortified by how slow I am, not to mention out of breath by about 30 seconds into the first round!

Oh well.  I’ve been here before and no doubt will be here again.  The point is that I shall haul myself over there to begin anew and after a while feel the absolute thrill of working hard.  Once I get over the initial shock of working out, I really do have to give it my all and find there is nothing so satisfying as feeling my muscles dissolve into the delicious agony of having been worked to death.  Of course there will be tomorrow when I’ve got to work through the obstacle course that is my life lately to get myself back to the gym for a second day, but that is in truth a problem for another day.

PS – Don’t forget to catch the last night of the Women’s International Duel Series bouts tonight live from 9:00 PM to 12:00 AM Eastern Time.  I watched last night and they were terrific.  The link is here.

PPS – Read this GREAT story about women boxers in India who have made extraordinary strides in the recently held Commonwealth Games.  The NY Times has it here.

Also, learn about Mary Kom’s Boxing Academy in the northeastern state of Manipur, India here.

A rainy Friday at the movies: When we were Kings

A rainy Friday at the movies:  When we were Kings

October 30th, marked the anniversary of the famous “Rumble in the Jungle” fight between Mohammad Ali and George Foreman.  It was an audacious event that swirled with controversy.

In looking at the documentary, “When We Were Kings” directed by Leon Gast in 1996, one can realize just how bold this fight was as a statement about boxing as a place holder for minority politics in American culture in the early 1970’s.  On the heals of the Civil Rights Movement, the event capitalized on the idea of “being somebody” in a context and vernacular that was referential only to itself.  It’s a film that is nicely done and well worth seeing.




No time like now

No time like now

My emotions are on a hair-trigger these days – sure symptoms of an erratic gym life and I am determined to get in some time today.  When I’m off kilter like that it’s a fine balance between doing too much and killing the muscles, and doing too little which will mean I won’t satisfy the gym itch and more grumpiness on my part.

My plan for the day is to run some, stretch, shadow box, and then do a few rounds each of the heavy bag, double-ended bag, and speed bag, with a fine finish of some abs.  Hmmm.  Nice plan.

As for its execution, there is no time like now.


Post Script:  Gleason’s was great!  Not quite to plan, but good enough.

Shadow boxing in the dark

Shadow boxing in the dark

I’m up really early this morning with a full day in front of me and no likelihood of getting to the gym this afternoon.   So here I am, ready to do at least a little something at home.  The hard part is figuring out how to get started when all I really want to do is get back to bed.

This morning I’m shadowboxing to “Payback,” by James Brown.  The thing about the song is I can move to it and imagine that I’m hitting a giant double-ended bag as I shadowbox in the living room.

Mostly what I love about this song is the sway.  And somewhere around the lyric, “gotta deal with it, gotta deal with it” I’m into the groove.  Jab, jab, right, left hook, right upper cut, left upper cut, left hook, left.

After the song finishes, I have an instance of “what now,” panic.  Playing it again feels right and with muscles starting to wake-up it does feel good to prance around the room.