Monday, June 22, 2009
Easing back into regular life after the IMC
Boris and I are back from being two of the faculty members of the 2009 Illustration Master Class, a week-long intense illustration workshop put together by fellow artist and fitness enthusiast, Rebecca Guay. The IMC is a first class Happening. We all gather at Amherst College and spend a full week of 12-plus hour days (starting at 10am and going on until at least 10 pm--most people stayed until about 1 am every night, some even later), drawing, painting, critiquing, listening to lectures from top professionals in the field. It is intense and emotional and everyone who participates seems to love it!
The intensity of the experience is physically draining and it would be true craziness to just jump back into my regular exercise/fitness routine without easing back in slowly and thoughtfully, in a way that wouldn't leave me too sore to continue my workouts later in the week.
Rebecca thought it would be a good idea if I wrote a log of my daily fitness habits,
so here's what I'm doing fitness-wise today:
First thing upon getting out of bed is a short 15-minute yoga session, especially focusing on stretching the muscles along my spine. The mindful breathing that defines yoga is perfect for starting the day with a balanced state of mind, connecting body with mind.
Breakfast is next, then a short walk around the neighborhood (about a mile) just to get some daylight, fresh air, and blood flowing. Just connecting with the day.
After a cup of tea and a few e-mails, we're off to the gym. First today, we do 30 minutes of cardio exercise. Boris likes the stationary bikes and elliptical machines today, I choose a nice, easy run on the treadmill. I start off with a minute or two of walking, then get to an easy pace. But after turning on my ipod, I start to go a little faster and, before I know it, I'm kind of flying along with The Clash. Oh well, so much for easing in. Whatever! It was a great run and I got rid of the cobwebs in my muscles.
After cardio, we do weight-lifting. On a day like this, I just want to hit every muscle group lightly and keep moving constantly. Fortunately, the gym is pretty empty today, so I can pick whatever I want to do. It went like this (one set each exercise, all sets are for 15 reps, light to medium weight, no more than 30 seconds rest in between sets):
Leg extensions (quads)
Lateral pulldowns (lats, biceps)
Seated rows (lats, biceps, and full back)
Deadlifts with dumbbells (full body, emphasis on legs)
Lunges with resting leg on the exercise ball (legs, balance, core)
Shoulder presses with dumbbells (shoulders)
Upright rows (shoulders, biceps)
Hyperextensions (lower back, core, butt)
Bench press (chest, shoulders)
Bicep curls (biceps)
Kneeling crunches with weight (core)
Regular lunges (legs, butt)
Pushups (chest, core, quads)
So the idea here is to make the blood jump from upper body to lower body, back and forth, sideways, all over the place. Move fast, thinking of what you're going to do next while you're in the middle of an exercise. If someone takes the machine or station you had your eye on, forget it and immediately pick something else. This is a good idea if you're new to weights or, as in my case, coming back from a week or more of rest from the gym. You won't build a lot of muscle if you do this consistently, but if you're just looking for general fitness and conditioning, it's a great way to go.
Around 3pm I do a 15 minute meditation, focusing on my breath, just keeping my head screwed on--not too tight and not too loose!
After dinner, we go for another walk, this time about 2 miles. This keeps your metabolism up while letting your stress from the day out.
That's about it for today. Good night!