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!


Tonight’s warm-up: Running through the third floor at the office, then down 3 flights of stairs carrying boxes of RFPs. Set them in a car to be dropped off with a delivery service, then a short jog through the parking lot while waving at co-workers to warm up my arms, and down another flight of stairs to the dodgeball court.

All while dressed out for class in my gi. Just another day at the office.

This girl is tired!

After nearly 2 hours of karate and weapons classes, this girl is tired! I’m doing my best not to fall asleep on the couch this evening but it’s a struggle.

Basics up and down the floor, lots of kicks on the bag, kata and escapes from against the wall, followed by 45 minutes of working the bo in weapons class has done me in. But I loved every minute of it and I’m already looking forward to Thursday’s class!

Stress Relief

After a long, rough day at work I went downstairs and kicked Susana, defended against Renshi’s punches, and worked the bo.


I forgot about my stressful day, wore myself out, and slept like a babe. Ahh…


July & August – The brutal months!

Whew! July has been brutal! Chocolate Peanut Butter Overload!I’m not talking about the 100+ degrees and lack of rain, either. I’m talking about calories. And August promises to be equally brutal!

Our karate club has celebrated 3 birthdays in the last week. In August we’ll celebrate 3 birthdays within 5 days. Birthdays = Treats. Treats = Calories. Calories = Circuits? Maybe!

Tonight we did circuits after doing a lot of basics up and down the floor and then kicks on the bags. Good thing, too, because we were celebrating two birthdays – mine and John’s. And because great minds think alike (not to mention the “bakers” didn’t coordinate treats), Susana and I both made variations of chocolate peanut butter cupcakes. And since there were two kinds of cupcakes, we had to try them both, right? Oh, don’t worry – we powered through, just like the disciplined martial artists we are. It was Chocolate Peanut Butter Overload, but we did it!!

Our karate club isn’t going to stop celebrating birthdays, and I doubt anyone’s ever going to request hummus & veggies for their Banzai Birthday Treats. So my apologies to those who don’t care for circuits, but bring ’em on! For me, Circuits Before Treats = Less Guilt!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Overload!!

Happy Birthday to us! Notice my crooked “Suck it up Cupcake” headband? 🙂


HIIT & MMA Fights – The Perfect Match

I needed to work out tonight but I wanted to watch the MMA fights. I waited too long to go to the gym beforehand, and didn’t want to go at 9 pm. So I put on my pretty pink shoes and went downstairs and jumped on my elliptical. (I have no excuse not to work out, do I? I have an elliptical, heavy bag & speed bag, hand weights, and a selection of workout DVDs to more than keep me busy!)

Anyway, while I was watching the fights and elliptical-ing away, I realized the fights are the perfect thing to watch while you’re doing HIIT training. There’s a clock in the corner of the screen during each round of the fight! Once you determine your interval times, you just keep an eye on the clock and start and stop as planned. Pretty cool, right?

I’m not saying that’s what I did, I’m just saying you could!  😉