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Test Anxiety

I have test anxiety. I never had test anxiety in school, and never when we had a small karate club and tested within that group. But now I have major test anxiety when it comes to black belt tests. Ugh.

The biggest contributors to my test anxiety are not wanting to embarrass my instructor and not wanting to look like an idiot. If I’m uncomfortable with my knowledge or my fitness, I am really hesitant to test.

I never want anyone to look at me and wonder how on earth someone thought I was ready to test. I feel a responsibility to represent my Sensei with a good showing. I want to show that I’ve earned my rank.

I know perfection isn’t expected at a test. It’d be nice, of course, but in reality we all have bad days. In fact, last year I forgot a few moves in my kata during my test, yet I still passed…with laughs. I was one of the last black belts in the room to know I missed something! Probably a good thing I didn’t know or I would have been flustered, right?

I know if I’m injured or have “dings” that keep me from doing my best, but the watchers don’t know it. As students we know perfection is not required, but the non karateka attending the test may not. I hate the thought of looking bad or feeling stupid in front of a bunch of people I don’t know. Looking dumb in front of people who know me well? Not a problem!  🙂

The bottom line is that it’s on me to be at my best when test time rolls around. To train hard, pay attention in class, work on my fitness, and study, study, study for that test!

Even though I wouldn’t test for 3rd degree for a minimum of 2 years, I need to work hard now. Not 4 months before the test, not after I receive a test notice, and not 3 weeks from today, but now, starting with today’s workout and tomorrow’s classes. I’ve “rested” for the last year, but rest period is over.

So here I go!

Better fitness? I’m trying to workout every day and I’m really enjoying it!

Smart eating? Working on it but always a struggle for a sugar freak.

Getting to class consistently? Tough due to my work schedule, but I’ll make a renewed effort at it.

Working on my material at home in between classes? I started today!

It’s my job to learn my material. Repetition, repetition, repetition will be my friend. “Again” will become my favorite word. Excuses are just a waste of time and not to be tolerated.

Two years and counting to my next test. It’s time to get to work!

Workout Inspiration

I never know where my workout inspiration’s going to come from. Sometimes it’s from one of the blogs I follow, sometimes from a friend, sometimes it comes from the too-small clothes in my closet, and sometimes from some random place.

Tonight I was inspired to work out by our company’s CFO, Tony. My son’s a personal trainer with a golf specialty so he does a lot of training at local golf clubs. He recently started training my company’s CFO – which is highly entertaining for me because I get to hear both sides of the story!

I can tell they are enjoying working together. Tony tells everyone at work that my son is killing him, and my son tells me to check on Tony to see if he’s alive after a grueling session. 🙂

Tonight Tony stopped by to say he is feeling more energized and productive, thanks to his workouts. That was great in itself, but then he went on to tell me about his recent accomplishment. He was excited and I was excited for him! In just a few short weeks, he’s now able to do something he couldn’t do before. Success!

Tony’s enthusiasm stuck with me, and when I got home this evening – tired and just wanting to sit down – I remembered Tony’s accomplishment. And more than his accomplishment, I remembered his enthusiasm. I want to feel that enthusiasm too! I want that feeling of accomplishment. So I allowed myself 20 minutes to sit on the couch with the dogs crawling on me, and then I got off the couch and got to work!

I did some work on my heavy bag, used my resistance band in several different ways, did a short wall sit (should have held it longer) and went back to the heavy bag for some more work. For not wanting to work out, I did a decent job!

Tomorrow maybe I’ll be my own inspiration. If not, I don’t need to look far to find some!

What inspires you?

 

Heard on the Mat…Oh NO!

Kyoshi bowed the class in then called me up to lead warm-ups. As I took my place in front of the class, a 7-year old girl piped up.

“Oh NO! You make me so…”
<pause while she screwed up her face and searched for the correct word>
TiReD!” she whined.

Just another proud moment in my martial arts career! 😀

My Own Personal Trainers

Lots of athletes would  be thrilled to have their very own personal trainer. I have three! My son is a trainer specializing in working with golfers, and I’ve also got two four-legged trainers. They’re furry and adorable, and SO helpful when I work out!Riley and Romeo

My family got Riley, our spaniel, for me because I thought having a dog would get my butt off the couch and outside walking. I was right! Riley has gotten used to nightly walks, which is great when I get home by 8 p.m. and not so great when I don’t get home until 10-ish. We’ve taken some late walks!

What I didn’t realize when I got Riley was how um, encouraging he’d be during my workouts! He stares at me when I’m on the elliptical, puts his face between mine and the mat when I’m doing push ups, and tries to climb up in my lap when I’m doing wall sits. His extra 40 pounds makes those wall sits even more of a challenge!

Nap time!

Training Mom is exhausting. Time for a nap!

Now Riley has an assistant. My son got a puppy on Valentine’s Day. Romeo doesn’t quite have it down yet, but he’s learning fast. Tonight I was trying to hold side planks while Romeo licked my face. And licked. And licked. Lucky me – I had to do both sides, so my face is really clean!

I texted my son: There should be bonus points for holding side planks while your puppy licks my face!
Son: That’s the bonus for working out. Duh!

Yes, duh!  🙂

Not missing those push-ups!

My Very Personal Trainer (aka my son) declared 10 days of rest to heal my shoulder/trap aggravation. I wanted to wait for Thanksgiving week since we don’t have regular classes, but he said it needed to happen sooner. “You have to rest to heal, Mom. Just like weights. You have to rest.”

Well, I didn’t want to lose 10 days of training on top of Thanksgiving week, so my concession was to give up push-ups and be careful with upper body movements, especially quick ones.

Usually if you tell me I can’t do something, I want to do it. Gotta love that reverse psychology, right? But I’m on Day 5 of 10 “rest” days and I admit I’m not missing those push-ups! I hate them, probably because I suck at them. I don’t remember them being a problem when I was younger and in great shape, so maybe it’s partly an “old & out-of-shape” thing. I’ll do crunches all day long, but push-ups are torture!

Surprisingly, though, what I AM missing is burpees – or blurpees, as I call them. I kinda like those! Weird, right? I do blurpees that include a push-up at the bottom and a jump at the end, so those are out for a few more days. I’ve found some creative blurpee variations online and they’re fun! I don’t even mind the push-ups in a blurpee. But regular push-ups, one after another after another? YUK!

What’s the difference? I have no idea! I do know, though, that I’ll appreciate those blurpees even more when I am get back to them — with permission, of course! 😉

The Chicago Diet

Believe it or not, a week in Chicago eating all my favorite foods did not prepare me well for last night’s class!

Burgers at Billy Goat Tavern

The Pretty One enjoying his Cheezborger! Cheezborger! Cheezborger!

Seven days of Chicago hot dogs, Italian beef, cheese fries, coffee cake, pasta, Blackhawks watch party snack food, and more… Oh, I was a happy girl!!!

But that’s not exactly smart training food. Especially when you don’t get much exercise. The Pretty One and I walked around downtown Chicago for about 5 hours one afternoon. And my family spends lots of time shopping, which fortunately requires lots of walking.  That should count for something!  =D  But no kicks, no punches, no kata, no weapons, no “workout” so to speak.

I didn’t expect to be at my best last night, and I wasn’t. But I think I did a bit better than I expected. Class was a session of alternating kata and self-defense sets. I really enjoyed going back and forth between the two, but at some point, I ran out of energy. Pfffttttt. It was all gone. When we got to weapons, I had a tough time swinging my tonfa, and the jump spin in my tonfa kata? Bwahahaha!!!!

Italian Beef in ChicagoI really don’t want to blame it on my Chicago Diet — after all, I grew up on that stuff. And once upon a time (OK, 30+ years ago!) I was a decent hurdler and volleyball player…fueled by all that yummy stuff! So let’s just say I should have slipped in some karate while I was watching the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup. Yeah, let’s just say that!

And now that I’m back in Kansas City, hundreds of miles away from the temptation of my favorite foods, it’s time to detox. Bring on the green tea, fresh fruits & veggies, and that other healthy stuff. Definitely not as tasty as Chicago dogs and Italian beef, at least not to this Chicago girl, but it’ll help me perform better. At least that’s the plan!

Mountain Climbers

My cardio jumping-around exercises today included mountain climbers. When The Pretty One heard I had done some of those he commented, “One of these days we’ll get you to do those on the wall!”

On the wall?? Me??

“How crossfit-y,” I said.

I know nothing’s impossible, but geez. Me doing mountain climbers on the wall? Standing on my hands? Maybe. If I can, I guarantee it’ll take a whole LOT of work! But if he can get his lovely, out-of-shape mother to do those, he’ll definitely be a Miracle Trainer!

Motivation – A Numbers Game?

I really didn’t feel like working out today, but class was cancelled last Thursday due to weather, and we don’t have classes this week either. I can go to the hombu, but not until Wednesday, which is too long between workouts for me.

After much procrastination (I could go pro if procrastination were a sport), I finally got my butt off the couch, put on some pink workout clothes and my “Suck it up, Cupcake” headband, and headed downstairs.

I alternate between leg and upper body workouts. Today was leg day and after 15 minutes of the elliptical and a little stretching, I got to work on my list. Regardless of the workout, there are always what The Pretty One calls Finishers – and those, not the upper body or leg exercises, are what kill me. Oh, those dreaded burpees, push ups, crunches, planks and leg lifts!

I do OK on things that have numbers — sets, reps, etc. I can do 3 sets of 15, try to exceed the number of burpees I did in my last workout, talk myself into doing a set number of push ups, or crunch my abs 100+ times in various ways. I think having a specific goal helps me here.

Suck it up, Cupcake headbandSometimes I have to push myself to meet or exceed my numbers and when that’s necessary I’ve noticed I use the encouragement / cajoling I’ve heard from my coaches and instructors. “Finish strong!” “Only a few more.” “Come on – you can do this!” It may sound silly but it works. I hear those words of encouragement, say them to myself, and I can do a few more reps or one more set. I even say them out loud, so maybe it’s a good thing I’m working out by myself!

I struggle most with exercises that are timed, the ones you hold until exhaustion like planks and wall sits. I have a terrible time with wall sits in particular because there’s nobody around to encourage me, and I give in to my shaking legs way too easily.

I do what I can to distract myself – watch TV, pet the dog (since he’s in my lap for wall sits anyway), or do kata in my head. I can only do kata that I know fairly well – new katas frustrate me and that’s not good when I’m struggling. This is when I could really use a coach. Not just the voices in my head, but a voice in front of my face telling me not to give up.

In the absence of constant coaching, which is impossible, I guess this Cupcake just needs to Suck it Up and figure out a way to go just a little bit longer than is comfortable. Maybe I can play the numbers game here, too – by setting small goals of adding 5-10 seconds each time until I work up to a decent interval. If the numbers work to motivate me with the sets and specific numbers, it should work with the wall sits and planks too, right?

How do you motivate yourself when you’re working out alone? To get through the parts of the workout that are toughest for you – especially when you just don’t feel like it? If you have any ideas or suggestions of what works for you, I’d appreciate hearing them!

Stairs!

On the way to our seats for the Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert, I was being a good lemming and following the crowd to the Up escalator. Before I could get on, my personal trainer/son’s hand reached out, grabbed my muscular bicep, and pulled me a couple of feet to the right.

“Stairs!” I heard.
“Do you have a defibrillator?” I asked, not really wanting to walk up a bunch of steps in heels.
“No, but I’m certified in CPR!” said my trainer.

He said that with just a little too much glee – like maybe he was hoping to use his newly certified skills on me!

Doesn’t that feel good?

Matt: How was class?

Me: My legs were shaking and I was out of breath.

Matt: Doesn’t that feel good??

Yep – it did feel good! First time in class in two weeks, and I made it through.

Fortunately, Renshi took pity on us and didn’t have us do circuits – I probably would have needed oxygen. We worked basics, kata, and a little bunkai. My legs were shaking from holding the horse stances, and I admit I wasn’t at my best, but I didn’t expect to be. I made it through both open hand and a 30-minute weapons class. Yea me!

Oh, I did have a little “whoops” tonight. My hands were so sweaty (seriously? why do hands sweat?!?) one of my tonfa went flying out of my hand. Good thing I was on the end and it flew away from everyone else!

Welcome back! Haha!