2008 Pink Dumbbells/John Stone Fitness Cruise Redux

Hello, hello!

I am back from the 3 day Bahamas cruise I took with fellow fitness bloggers and Pink Dumbbells members Kyra, Irene, and Cathy as well as a crew of 10 from the John Stone Fitness forums, including the illustrious Mr. John Stone himself. While I have yet to organize and tag the photos from my camera, I can tell you that everyone looked fabulous, and much laughing, talking, eating, and merrymaking was enjoyed by all.

The festivities really began last Thursday when several of us from the PDB boards met up at Royal Thai for a pre-cruise dinner. Kyra and her husband weren’t able to make it, but Meghan/Megnut3636 was able to make it to the chow down.

The next morning, Chris, Cathy (who bunked down in our spare bedroom and had to make frequent check-in calls to her assistant at home to reassure her that we weren’t crazy ax murderers), and I motored out to the airport hotels to pick up Kyra, Chris, Irene, and Michael. We wound up making a last minute stop at Target for such sundries as a hoodie for Cathy, snacks, and a workout outfit for my husband, then visited the local Chipotle for a quick bite to eat before heading out to Port Canaveral.

Once we got on the ship, we wandered up to deck 11 where there was a bon voyage party in full swing by the pool. There, we met up with the JSF fellows and gals for drinks on the upper pool deck. This was made much easier by Phillydude’s day-glo orange and green cruise ensemble, which was visible from 2 miles away.

Josh (jk0), Lisa Stone, Phil (Phillydude), and John Stone

The Official Husbands of Pink Dumbbells booty line up!

Our ship, the Royal Caribbean Sovereign of the Seas

Some of the JSF guys (Roger, John, Adam, George, and Josh)

After the party, it was off to our staterooms to finish unpacking, and then up to deck 6 where John, Lisa, Kyra, Chris, Roger, and Tanisha were eagerly sampling the free rum next to the shops. I stayed away from the rum, but did snag a cheap $10 sun hat from the Downtown Jewelry store.

Chris checks out the stateroom bed

Kyra and Roger hang out by the free liquor tasting table.

Saturday was spent at the port of Nassau, Bahamas. Alas, Chris and I opted to stay on board the ship since we’d been there before. We didn’t take any pictures by the ship’s pool, but we did get slightly browner all over and much redder on our chests…which we somehow forgot to smother with with sunscreen. D’oh!

I was feeling kind of sluggish at this point, and I knew I had to get in some exercise minutes for my Ultimate Challenge team during the weekend, so I wandered over to the gym to participate in their Sunset Stretch class. When I walked in, about eight guests were being tortured with dizzying array of step aerobics moves by the South African RC fitness instructor. I had to turn away from the carnage and warm up with a 10 minute interval run on one of the treadmills. The stretch class was a nice diversion after my intervals, and I felt peppy enough to do a quick strength training workout right afterwards.

Saturday night was the formal dinner and captain’s reception. Dinner the night before had been casual dress, but this one required cocktail dresses for the ladies and suits for the men. How spiffed up were we?

John and Lisa Stone at the Captain’s formal reception (where more free drinks were provided)

The PDB crowd on formal night (Clockwise from back left: Michael, Irene, Kyra, Chris, Cathy, Chris, and Maggie)

Oh hey! John Stone’s posse can dress up, too! (Clockwise from back left: Adam, Grace, John, Lisa, Matt, Phil, Josh, Roger, Tanisha, and George)

Sunday we docked at Royal Caribbean’s private tropical island, CocoCay, where it felt like a hundred degrees out on the beach. I started the day with a climb up the rock wall at the back of the ship and a Turbulence Training dumbbell/bodyweight fusion workout in the gym, then went back to the room to kick Chris out of bed and go to breakfast.

The island was beautiful, but Chris and I didn’t have a chance to explore much of it because we had signed up for a sea kayaking tour and snorkeling. Our tender (fancy term for hopping on a little ferry boat from the cruise ship and motoring to the island instead of docking directly at a port) was a bit later than expected, so we had to jog over to the kayak tour’s departure point, scrawl our names on the accident waivers, and paddle like maniacs to catch up with the rest of the tour group. Whilst we were flailing away, the rest of the group was chilling and resting for about 10 minutes.

Of course, as soon as Chris and I arrived, the leader signals everyone to move out.

Sigh. At least I got in a work out.

We kayaked to a deserted part of the island, dragged the kayaks on to the shore, and got to hang out at the beach (with several large sting rays) for a bit before heading back. Now we were an hour late picking up our snorkeling gear, but the staff at the Snorkel Shack graciously let us redeem our pre-paid snorkeling tickets for masks, vests, and snorkels anyway.

We swam out to take a look at the underwater ship, airplane, and miscellaneous rocks and coral reefs near the island and saw many, many fish that could have been extras from Finding Nemo. I would post some photos here, but, well, I didn’t have an underwater camera kit. Sorry!

At this point we were pretty hungry and pooped out, so we opted to grab some food at the free BBQ buffet at the center of the island and catch a ride back to the ship to climb the rock wall again and take the stretch class before dinner. Again.

Yes, we did a lot of eating during the cruise. 😉

CocoCay, Bahamas

So after many meals, tons of sun, lots of chatter, plenty of drinks with umbrellas in them, and a fair share of cheesy shows, I have to say that this was a fabulous group vacation that MUST be repeated next year.

Signing out from the Bahamas…hope you can all make it next year!

For a few other random shots, check out my Picasa album below:


10 Minute Yoga & Abs > Plyo X

My addiction to Olympic gymnastics coverage has had the negative side effect of keeping me up until 1 AM for the past two nights, which in turn has killed my usual AM workouts. As a result, I found myself resorting to some home workout remedies tonight in lieu of gym cardio.

The chosen DVDs were Plyo X from the P90X series, and Yoga Flex and Abs from the 10-Minute Trainer series. I planned today’s workout in a numb, half-asleep fog last night, so I was pretty horrified to see Plyo X on my plate for tonight when I got home from work. I firmly believe that Plyo X is an exercise dish best served cold in the morning before one’s brain has awakened enough to fear the torture to come.

I made the mistake of chugging down a pretty large quantity of iced jasmine oolong tea (yum!) when I got home, too, which meant that I sort of sloshed during the entire workout and experienced some rather sharp cramps about 40 minutes into the workout.

I gave up at that point and switched over to Mr. Horton’s much more agreeable 10-Minute Trainer Yoga Flex and Abs workouts. The Yoga Flex workout was surprisingly effective and, well, almost pleasant. I felt like I got a very good stretch for my lower body in particular (my view might have been skewed by the preceding plyometric workout which completely pumped up my leg muscles) in just 10 short minutes, and there wasn’t any of that dippy chanting stuff that sometimes afflicts yoga videos. The second 10-Minute Abs workout was also mercifully short but challenging. I could definitely see doing it at least every other day during a long commercial break.

All right, the workouts are done, and I must get some bulk cooking done for tomorrow.

I organized a company potluck lunch for tomorrow with a Star Wars theme, so I’m doing some cooking and tea brewing tonight between blogging, posting at Pink Dumbbells and eDiets, and getting in my workout. All of the food has to have a Star Wars themed name, so I am making Boba Fett Tea (bubble tea) and Sticky Mos Ricely (Taiwanese sticky rice). The guys and gals at the company are pretty enthused, but what else would you expect from a video game company?

Some other pledged dishes from my crew at work:

  • Han-made Tamales
  • Aunt Beru’s Blue Bantha Milk (with Rum)
  • Chewie Chocolate Chip Wookiee Cookies
  • Palpatine’s Potstickers
  • Vader’s Veggie Platter
  • Millennium Falcorndogs
  • Protocol Droid Pasta
  • Qui Gon Jinn-gersnaps
  • Rancor Croquettes
  • Grilled Bantha Burgers
  • Bibb ForTuna Rolls
  • Lando’s Louisiana Lasagna
  • Yoda Soda
  • Coconut Blenjeel Sand Worms
  • Sarlacc Pita Sandwiches
  • Lightsaber Breadsticks

We tried to find some people interested in making us some Jabbalaya, Obi-Wan Cannolis, and Boba Fettucine, but so far no one has stepped up. Hrmph.

MGS W1D6: Fun with LA Fitness Personal Trainers

I finished off the week with 6 workouts (including 4 lifting days) under my belt, so I am feeling good. Being off program always seems like fun for a week or two, but eventually I start to feel sluggish, squishy, unmotivated, and generally unperky. Getting in a full week of planned workouts fixes me right up, though!

Saturday at eleven I met with a trainer from LA Fitness for one of those free “introductory” workouts that are more or less sales pitches for their services wrapped up with a workout designed to lift your mood, get your endorphins circulating, and make you more amenable to suggestions like — “Doesn’t shelling out $720 for 3 months of training sound like a GREAT idea?” I knew this going in, plus I was still very much focused on completing our TMMO personal finance plan, so I decided to have fun with the questionnaire, get as tough a workout as possible out of the trainer(s), and ask a bunch of questions about their success rate, how their program would be any different from what I could do on my own, and what it was like to work for their company.

These PT questionnaires always assume a pretty low level of fitness and a newbie starting state for each client, so I found it amusing to put in some of my answers.

Personal Training New Client Questionnaire (Partial excerpt)

When was the last time you were in the shape you like the most? Fall 2007

How did you feel at that time? Hungry.

What keeps you from reaching your goals? I like to eat. A lot!

Do you have a special date or event coming up that you’d like to get fit for? The rest of my life.

Who will support you in your fitness goals and keep you accountable? My husband, my sister, the wonderful gals at my women’s fitness forum, and around 1,000 readers per day on my fitness blog.

I wound up with two trainers, the nice ectomorphic former Army 11B who went over my survey with me, and a compact, mesomorphic former powerlifter who actually did know proper form for the lifts we went through. I technically wasn’t supposed to lift again until Monday since I’d just done a heavy workout the day before, but what the heck. Opportunities to have one’s squat and bench press form checked and corrected by an expert are few and far between when you work out alone. The workout consisted of 3 sets of 8-10 reps of:

BB Squat
45 degree leg press
Leg extension
BB Bench press
DB lying press variations
Tricep dips
Tricep rope pushdowns

Apropos of nothing, my triceps feel like they have been repeatedly pounded by a meat tenderizer and stabbed with bamboo slivers and there is a burning ring of DOMS fire around the lower insertions of my quads and hamstrings from Saturday’s workout.

I am sticking with my solo MGS workouts for now, but it was a good workout and a productive way to while away the time while my car was in the shop for it’s 90,000 mile tune up.

MGS W1D5: I leg-pressed 270 lbs in Mary Janes

My Ryka Versa cross training shoes arrived last week, and er…WOW. They are cute. And comfortable. And nice and flat, which means they are my new favorite shoes to wear to weight lifting workouts. They don’t work as well for running however, which is a blessing in disguise since I have a tendency to hop on a treadmill about 9 times out of 10 right after I lift to squeeze in some bonus intervals. I have better results when I put my running interval sessions on non-lifting days, so you might say that the new shoes are saving me from myself. I got them in both the black and white colors, but I have to say that the black ones are a lot more versatile with my wardrobe, not to mention very Asian fit chick chic with a pair of white liner socks.

Oh, and in case you missed my previous post about these Ryka kicks, you can read it here. Footlocker.com has another great no minimum purchase coupon code for 30% off available now, which puts the Rykas at $28.00 before shipping and sales tax. Not too shabby for a $60 shoe.

I’m finished gushing now. Back to the daily workout log.

I had another late night at work yesterday and consumed some subpar eats–pizza from Flipper’s, the home of the soggiest, greasiest pizza known to mankind. The fact that I actually kind of enjoyed the stuff just goes to show that I am jonesing for any kind of pizza at all. This tells me that it is time to put my healthy whole wheat chicken breast, turkey pepperoni, jalapeno, and pineapple pita pizza recipe back into my daily rotation. My workout for the day was a half hour Hip Hob Abs cardio session and some lunch time stretching at my desk. I wasn’t able to get to the gym in time for the 30 minutes of combined elliptical and stationary bike, but my calories were within spec, so I’m not going to worry about it.

I was limping around with some pretty major DOMS yesterday thanks to my back to back lifting workouts on Tuesday and Wednesday, but I managed to work out a lot of the stiffness this morning by tackling Workout A again with even heavier weights. Ferruggia’s plan calls for only 5 heavy reps, so combined with the fact that I am still trying to get my strength levels up to pre-July levels, I am increasing my weights by relatively big increments with each successive workout. I am generally finished with my workout in under 30 minutes, and I am seeing progress and clearly working hard based on the amount of whining I’m doing regarding my sore muscles. Best of all, I look forward to my time in the gym again.

There was a very surreal and silly moment this morning when I was performing my seated military barbell press with a 70 lb barbell and looked over to the next bench to see another woman doing the same exercise…but with tiny 5 lb dumbbells.

It’s great to be back in the gym, LOL.

Workouts for 7/21-7/26/08

I’m behind on posting my workouts, so you all get to see the whole week at a glance!

Monday, 7/21: 10 Minute Trainer Cardio and Lower Body (20 min)

Tuesday, 7/22: MGS Beginner Blast Off, Intro Phase, Workout A (39 min)

Wednesday, 7/23: MGS Beginner Blast Off, Intro Phase, Workout B (29 min); Stationary bike, Levels 11-13 (16 min)

Thursday, 7/24: Hip Hop Abs Fat Burning Cardio (30 min); Elliptical trainer (15 min); Stationary Bike (15 min)

Friday, 7/25: MGS Beginner Blast Off, Intro Phase, Workout A; Stationary bike (16 min)

Saturday, 7/26: Unknown training program with trainer at LA Fitness (“free” new member session); REAL workout will be 20 minute HIIT run + 20 minute incline walk; possible swim afterwards

Summer Crunch Time Is Here Again

Every summer I have the noble goal of continuing to post regularly in my blog, and every summer, I am undone by the cyclical work crunch that accompanies a job in the video game industry. I’m doing user interface work for five different Nintendo DS titles at the moment, and at least three of those titles will be hitting alpha and beta phases within the next two months. This basically amounts to lots of unexpected late nights at work, and not much time for leisurely bulk food prep and hour-long workouts. I’ve also had a string of summer travel commitments (We are talking Alabama, Missouri, Philadelphia, and St. Petersburg, FL so far, and the Bahamas next month) that have thrown my normally well-scheduled life out of whack.

I really like the NROL workouts, but I need something that I can do on autopilot for a while. There are a lot of unique and new (to me) moves in NROL that I’m not comfortable performing with significant weight when my brain is elsewhere, and this leads me to NOT want to do the workouts at all. Stupid, but true. Because of this, I’m putting it on hold for a bit and running with Jason Ferruggia’s Muscle Gaining Secrets program (Beginner Blast Off) for a while. I just need to get back into the rhythm of *gym – meal prep – work – leisure time* again. A few months of back to the basics compound lifts with wonderfully heavy weights should do it. I don’t want novel new exercises or fancy workout periodization schedules right now. I just want to get stronger and make measurable progress at a steady pace without thinking about it too hard.

Speaking of not thinking too hard, I’ll also be varying my normal gym machine cardio options with cardio-in-a-box solutions like Hip Hop Abs and the 10 Minute Trainer DVDs from Beachbody as well as my trusty Yourself Fitness workouts, and Forza. Swimming is not coming along as well as I hoped since I still have some issues with figuring out when to breathe, but that is still on the slate, too. One day I will do it well enough to actually get a workout when I hit the pool! Right now, I doubt I’m burning much since I can’t sustain a steady swim for more than half a length. Sigh.

2008 Entertainment Book Clearance! ($8.99 shipped)

The 2008 Entertainment books are on sale for $7.99 plus $1 s/h. (Ignore the $1.99/item shipping charge on the shipping options page; the $1 shipping discount is shown on the final Place Order page before you confirm check out.) If you go through Fatwallet.com, you also earn $5.50 cash back per book purchased.

They are sold out of the Orlando and Miami books, but the other Florida books are still available as well as books for most of the cities in the USA. If you plan to travel out of town before November 2008 when most of the coupons in the 2008 books expire, you might want to pick up a book for your destination or for your own town. The Space Coast/Brevard book also overlaps with the Orlando book quite a bit, so that’s your best bet for coupons if you are planning to bring the kiddies down to the land of the Mouse.

I got the St. Pete/Clearwater book last month for my July 4th anniversary weekend trip to St. Pete and saved at least $50 using the buy one get one free coupons for the Dali Museum, Florida Aquarium, and various restaurants, not to mention the Regal Cinemas discounted ticket coupons which are good anywhere nationwide.

Fatwallet linkie: http://www.fatwallet.com/cash-back/Entertainment-Books