Birthday Sackgirl and Astro SackBoy

After I was originally mentioned in Kotaku last month, I received an avalanche of inquiries about dozens of different possible custom dolls. (For those who have emailed me, I’m way behind on answering that first round of emails, but I am going to do my best to answer everyone by this Sunday at the latest.) I decided to take the Valentine’s Day and early February birthday present orders first, and these are two of the dolls that made the cut, along with a few classic nekkid brown dolls. 😉

First is a birthday Sackgirl modeled after a player’s actual in-game character. She features a crocheted striped swimsuit and the Sackgirl style eyes with felt lashes and polymer clay whites.

Next is a wee little Astro Sack Boy doll commissioned for Valentine’s Day. Isn’t he cute?

He has some very bright red rocket boots going on as well as some crazy sculptural hair.

Stay tuned! Coming up later this week: Ulala from Space Channel Five and Kratos from God of War!

CLX Burn W2D5: Mixing It Up

I’ve been a very poor guinea pig for Chalean Extreme so far, electing to just go outside and skate or firing up my familiar Yourself Fitness on the Xbox instead of sticking to the CLX workout calendar. I fully admit this and promise to do a better job going forward. That is why you see “W2D5” in my post title instead of the week 4 or 5 that should be there. Counting up the total sessions of the program I have completed so far in my workout log book, that is about how far I’m into the program.

I have maintained at around 140-141 for the past month with minimal effort and only cursory attention to diet except to make sure that I’m eating primarily healthy choices and getting in enough vegetables and water, but it is time to re-focus and really give this program the effort it deserves.

There is only one catch: I also promised to go to the gym with Chris three times a week to get him back in the workout saddle, and he is starting LL Cool J’s Platinum Workout
this week. In truth, he would probably be content doing the 30 minute machine express circuit at Planet Fitness that he has tried a few times in the past, but I just got the LLCJ book a week ago, and I steered my husband into giving it a try since the first three weeks also use a full body machine circuit before transitioning to free weights in week 4 and beyond. So far I have been doing the same workouts with him to show my support on my non-lifting CLX days, but I know this is not optimal for either program since my body won’t be resting fully between strength training sessions. I’ve tried to mitigate some of this by going lighter on the machine circuits and keeping the pace fast to make the workout more like a cardio session with some resistance than a true strength training workout.

The CLX Burn Circuit 3 is my favorite workout so far with its emphasis on shoulder work. This is a difficult area for me to improve, so I am glad that the program addresses it with so many exercise variations. I’m not as crazy about the number of calf raise combos in the same workout, but hey, I already HAVE huge, muscular calves and don’t need to work them as much. CLX Burn Circuit 2 focuses more on back/triceps/biceps in addition to the usual lunge, squat, and deadlift variations in all of the workouts. I really like the slow lifting tempo on the arm exercises as I feel that I am getting a lot more adaptation and hypertrophy out of it than I do when lifting on my own, where I have a tendency to use a little momentum to curl my weights up.

Speaking of weights, I am already using the same weights Chalene selects on 75% of the exercises and just one step down on the rest. I don’t doubt that I could go heavier on the leg exercises, but I think I will keep those loads no heavier than Chalene uses and limit my weight progression to the upper body exercises to try to balance out my body a bit. I can maintain my leg muscles with little more than bodyweight exercises; it’s my arms, back, and shoulders that need the heavy work to bring on change.

I still roll my eyes a bit every time she performs her 3-4 (out of 12) reps of each exercise, then puts her weights down and admonishes the rest of us to “continue, continue!” while she walks around and hangs out with each of her four CLX crew members, pointing out proper and improper form, LOL. (For the exercises where I am still lagging behind her in load selection, I console myself with the knowledge that I, too, could probably use 27.5 pounds on that exercise if I only had to complete THREE reps.)

The only other gripe I have with the series so far is that the four other people in the videos performing the exercises look like they are suffering a little too much during the exercises given how little some of them are lifting. Seriously, one woman is using medium resistance tubing (red), and the “newbie” girl rarely breaks 10 lbs with her dumbbells. I know the producers are trying to emphasize that these weights are supposed to be very challenging, but I come from an Army PT, “suck it up and drive on” exercise background and don’t think anything more than a silent grimace of effort and some gritting of teeth is necessary unless you are seriously under physical stress. The moans and groans are a bit too much when you are only curling 12 pounds, don’t you agree?

I would rather see a quartet of total badasses lifting as much as Chalene does and pumping out push-ups like machines so I actually have something to shoot for.

– LL Cool J Bronze Body Workout Week 2 (machine circuits)
– 10 minute interval run
– CLX Burn Intervals and Ab Burner

M1: 3 egg white/1 whole egg spinach omelette, 1/2 T. ketchup, 60g oats and raisins
M2: 3 oz. Korean BBQ sirloin burger patty, 1/2 WW pita, 1/2 slice pepper jack cheese, 1 T. ketchup, 1 c. green beans
M3: 2 chocolate peanut butter protein fudgsicles
M4: 14g almonds, 1 Pink Lady apple
M5: 4 oz. chicken breast and 2 c. veggie stir fry, 3/4 c. cooked brown rice
M6: Something made from 1.5-2 oz. silken tofu, veggies, and spices 🙂

Procrastinator’s Guide to Fitness

Sometimes diet and fitness sabotage are related to a problem with procrastination. I’m listening to the Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play on audiobook during my drives to and from work, and it’s amazing how many of the traits exhibited by chronic procrastinators also turn up in those who have trouble sticking to a diet and workout regimen to the end.

For example, procrastinators:

– are overwhelmed by the scope of large projects

– are fearful that if they finish the work needed they will only have MORE work to do (very true in the case of achieving and maintaining fitness)

– are afraid that no matter how hard they try, their work/results will be criticized or considered not good enough

– are so determined to be perfect that any setback throws them off

– can never truly enjoy their leisure time and activities because they feel guilty about not completing work tasks

– tend to talk to themselves in negative, self-defeating ways like, “I HAVE TO eat only plain chicken breast, egg whites, and broccoli until I reach my goal weight” or “I SHOULD get up at 6 AM and exercise.” These words make the fitness journey seem like a burden and chore, and cause some people to lose motivation and others to want to rebel against the health authorities.

There are many more insights in the book that I don’t have time to list, but the solutions can be applied to all areas of one’s life, not just work and fitness.

The primary solution is to JUST START. Over and over, every day, even if it is just for 30 minutes. You may never come to love exercise and clean eating on their own merits, but once you START enough times, you’ll definitely see and feel results, and I guarantee you will love those results enough to keep coming back.

I checked out the digital audiobook for free from via my library’s site. Give it a listen (or read) if you have a chance!

Sack Prince of Persia

What I like about making these dolls is that each one presents a new challenge that keeps things fresh. This week’s project was to transform the latest Prince of Persia into a Sackboy, sword, clawed gauntlet, hair, clothing, and all.

It took longer than any of the other dolls I’ve made, but it was well worth the effort. I got to glue gun some polymer clay onto yarn for the first time, too. 🙂

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Nerd, Geek, or Dork?

I took this test today after seeing a link on Ravelry. I am somewhat relieved by my results, which peg me as the socially-functional nerd-geek that I have always claimed to be.

Your result for The Nerd? Geek? or Dork? Test…

Modern, Cool Nerd

70 % Nerd, 52% Geek, 26% Dork

For The Record:

A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia.
A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one.
A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions.

You scored better than half in Nerd and Geek, earning you the title of: Modern, Cool Nerd.

Nerds didn’t use to be cool, but in the 90’s that all changed. It used to be that, if you were a computer expert, you had to wear plaid or a pocket protector or suspenders or something that announced to the world that you couldn’t quite fit in. Not anymore. Now, the intelligent and geeky have eked out for themselves a modicum of respect at the very least, and “geek is chic.” The Modern, Cool Nerd is intelligent, knowledgable and always the person to call in a crisis (needing computer advice/an arcane bit of trivia knowledge). They are the one you want as your lifeline in Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (or the one up there, winning the million bucks)!


Take The Nerd? Geek? or Dork? Test
at HelloQuizzy

CLX W2D1: Burn Circuit 1 Impressions

This morning I did the ChaLEAN Extreme Burn Circuit 1 workout for the second time. I had originally started the program mid-week a few weeks ago, then discovered that it totally throws me off to lift weights on Tues/Thurs/Sat instead of Mon/Wed/Fri, so I’m resetting my weekly start day to Monday this week.

Hey, I know it’s a small, stupid thing, but I’m apparently an incurable Monday starter.

Burn Circuit 1 is set up as a giant circuit of exercises that are performed for 1 set each of 12 very slow, heavy reps. The workout, including warm up and cool down, lasts just 35 minutes and leaves me feeling strong and energized, but not dripping sweat. The reason that the workout can be so short is that each individual exercise is actually a unique compound move that usually combines a lower body exercise and an upper body exercise into the same rep. For example, Chalene might have you deadlift a pair of dumbbells, pause when your back is at a 45 degree angle, then perform a posterior deltoid raise from that position before continuing to stand up, or squat and then perform a leg lift on each side that hits the obliques in a single rep. This way of smooshing two exercises together into a novel new compound move allows you to get twice as much work done in the same amount of time. The exercises in Burn Circuit 1 target the chest, quads, glutes, hamstrings, obliques, and posterior deltoids.

A lot of the exercises still feel very awkward to me even though I have been lifting regularly (and heavily!) for the past 5 years. I’m just used to doing one exercise at a time or supersetting two different ones, not putting them both into a single move. I’m sure this will get better with familiarity.

I also notice that while I don’t find Chalene overly perky as I do in her Turbo Jam workouts, she does have a tendency to call out a pretty heavy weight for herself (compared to most chicas I know) for each exercise…and then perform just 3-4 reps before putting said weight down, telling us all to “Continue, continue!” and walking around to point out the correct and incorrect form being used by her four-member workout posse. (Her posse–my word, not hers–consists of one fit-looking male in the back who uses pretty decent poundage, Chalene’s younger sister, who usually goes about 5-10 lbs lighter than Chalene, a tall, thin gal who rarely cracks the 10 lb dumbbell barrier and is used to show off modified moves, and a 60-year-old woman in awesome condition who looks about 35 and demonstrates the proper form for those using resistance bands instead of dumbbells.) I am just starting out with these workouts, but I’m not exactly a newbie, so I generally go one step down from Chalene’s selected weight as allowed by my Powerblock adjustable dumbbells, mostly because I do ALL TWELVE REPS and want to make sure I have the proper exercise form down pat. So when Chalene says she is using 25 lbs, I go with 20 lbs, and when she is doing 20 lbs, I go 17.5 lbs, and so on.

After my first Burn Circuit 1 day, I did feel some DOMS soreness in my hamstrings and glutes, but otherwise didn’t feel any lingering effects. Overall, I like the variety of exercises in this workout and REALLY like the brevity of it.

I’m also trying to find a balance between work, exercise, eating more vegetarian-style meals (at least during the work week–I had a delicious run-in with some Smokey Bones pulled pork and BBQ chicken this weekend), posting in my blog, and keeping up with the demand for custom dolls. In my typical uni-tasking, OCD way, I have been doing a terrible job of it so far, with the workouts, blog updates, and food prep losing out to the awesomely fun, new challenge of crafting toys. The positive side of things is that I am eating less overall and not really noticing it since both of my hands are occupied holding yarn and a crochet hook, but the negative side is that I’m not making as much progress as I COULD because workouts have been haphazard and inconsistent. It *is* nice to finally have an activity that I can do at home that is so engrossing that I don’t just give into boredom in the evenings and weekends and start digging around the pantry, but I really do need to start my day off with a workout each morning to get the full benefits of consistent exercise on top of the automatic caloric restriction.

– CLX Burn Circuit 1