Month: July 2012

Getting Around NYC

I am very excited to be attending BlogHer this year.  Its my first BlogHer and I am looking forward to meeting some wonderful bloggers and learning ways to make my blog better and learn how to be better versed in social media.

I was also excited that the conference is in NYC.  I grew up on Long Island and have always loved visiting the city.

While there are many ways to get around NYC and they all have pros and cons, with the exception of bringing your own car and driving it around.  My only response is to NOT DO IT.  NYC can be challenging to navigate by car and finding legal, inexpensive parking is next to impossible.  If you thought about coming in by car, I suggest you find one of the commuter rail or Amtrak stations near you and park your car there and take the train.

If you are going to take in some sightseeing when you are not in conferences here are the pros and cons to getting around.

Pros and Cons to Traveling in NYC:

1. Walking-

Pros: Its free and its a great way to see the city, there are a lot of cute little stores, and gives you lots of opportunities for people watching.

Cons: You are limited by the speed you can walk, so if you are trying to see lots of the city, walking alone is not the most efficient way.

2. Taxi-

Pros: You will go exactly where you want and you can still see lots of what is going on.  Also, if you have a friendly driver, you can have some great converations.

Cons: Taxi’s are expensive.  I would save a cab for when you are either exhausted, carrying a lot of stuff, or feel that you are hopelessly lost.

3. Subway-

Pros: Efficient, and not very expensive.  You can cover lots of the city, and get to people watch.  Also the subway is very safe and most trains have a map of the stops so you will not miss your stop.  Here is a link for a Subway Map, and you can also download a free app for the Subway.

Cons: You do have to plan a little to make sure you are going to the right place, and be careful to be on a local and not an express train.  Also, since the subway is underground, you do not see a lot of the city.

4. Tour Bus-

On just about every corner you will see people selling tickets for one of the double decker tour buses.  You buy tickets and you can hop on and off for different loops around the city.

Pros: You really get to see a lot of the city, and if you get a good tour guide, you learn a lot of neat facts.  Also, the hop on-hop off nature allows you to target the areas you want to see, and with a bus every 10-20 minutes during the day, you are never stuck in one area for long.

Cons: The tickets are not cheap, but if you google the companies, you can often get coupons.  Also, getting from place to place is faster than walking, but slower than the subway or taxi.

I have never tried the bicycle rickshaws, so I cannot comment on them.

Getting around NYC is also pretty easy as the bulk of the city is on a grid.  Sometimes you might get turned around a little, but you can always find your way.

Also to save yourself a little on a cab, try to catch your cab facing in the direction you want to go it.  That trip around the block, especially in traffic can add to your fare.

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Living La Vida Crossfit

(I have to thank one of my favorite bloggers, Charlotte at The Great Fitness experiment, whose post on CrossFit, inspired me to get off my butt and write this post that has been percolating in my head for a week.)

The countdown begins.  Before it ends I hear “Athletes Ready”, and I look around before realizing that the coach is talking to me.   My WOD (Workout of the Day) has begun and for the next 15-50 minutes I will push myself completing prescribed exercises, trying to move a little faster, lift a little more and push myself a little harder than the workout before.

If you had told me seven months ago that I would be a devoted CrossFitter, I would have been the first to laugh.  My husband had just started doing CrossFit and was singing its praises and trying to get me to go.  And I would demur, “It looks too hard…. I’ll just hurt myself… I would miss the elliptical… I’m not fit enough to doCrossfit and people would laugh at me”.

Then my husband participated in a “Throw down” which was a group CrossFit competition at the box.   I came to the throw down with the kids to take photos, and provide moral support. There I saw a variety of people, from the very buff to the chubby, women who babies less than 3 months ago, and a woman in her 60’s, all competing in different events.  And even though it was a competition, everyone cheered everyone else on.

(Little did I know that 3 months later, I would be competing in a Thrown Down.  Yes, me, Maryrose, the girl who turned ditchng PE in High School into a “Cat Ate My Gymsuit” type art form.)

I was intrigued, and signed up for the trial class at CrossFit Synergistics.  And got my butt kicked.  But I like a challenge and there were women at the trial class in the same shape as me, so I signed up for the Foundations Class, something our box insists on to make sure that you know how to do the moves frequently used in Crossfit.  And everyone who wants to work out there goes, from a true newbie like me, to my husband who has long lifted weights and was a NSCA certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.

I do not look like what you might think a typical crossfitter looks like.  I am a little overweight, but not as much as when I started.  I use bands to help me do pull ups, but the bands are getting progressively smaller.  I went from not being able to do a single real (non-knee) push up, to being able to do 15 in a row.

These small gains, steadily made while being cheered on by my coaches and the other athletes in the box are what keeps me coming back.  When I first started working out, every WOD scared me.  Now, I look at even the toughest WOD and figure out the best way to scale it to work within my fitness limitations, but still give me room to grow.  If I am unsure about scaling, the coaches are always there to provide suggestions and a gentle push in the right direction.

People talk about Crossfit being a cultish activity, and while that may have some merit, that can be said of the die-hard Zumba, turbo kick, or boot camp devotee.  We fall in love with our exercises for many reasons.  For me, it’s because Crossfit works for me.

I have also tried the Paleo diet.  There is a lot of dissent among the Paleo people about the use of dairy, but I enjoy my greek yogurt & butter.  Even Robb Wolfe, who is considered one of the top authorities on Paleo Eating and Crossfit believes that to get 95% of the benefits of Paleo, you only need to eat 85% Paleo.  I would say that I shoot for the 85% and am probably in the 70-75% range most days.

And with doing the Paleo I learned things.  I learned that if I eat a bowl of pasta I don’t feel well, so instead of pasta several times a week, a small serving is an occasional treat.  I’ve learned that I if I limit my dairy, my stomach feels better, and that I really enjoy sweet potatoes.

I have read the complaints about Crossfit/Paleo, but I really think that most of them can apply to any workout/diet.   Anything taken to excess is bad.

Is CrossFit hard?  Absolutely, but I am so much more satisfied after a 15 minute WOD than after spending 45 minutes on the elliptical, than hitting the bagel store next to the gym and wondering why I was still fat.

I know my limits.   I have worked out in boxes in MA, NYC and Maryland, and every place I went, I was pushed to do my best, but at the ends of the day, the limits I set for myself on movements, weights, repetitions or assistance, (bands, knee push ups) were respected by the coaches and other athletes.

It’s the people who work out with no respect for their limits and do not listen to their body and rest when their body says to rest and makes the modifications to fit in with their bodies needs that are asking for trouble.

If you want to learn more about Crossfit, choosing a box, and the frequency with which you work out, I recommend the website of my former box.

Today I am 10X the athlete I was back in February when I wandered in for my introductory class, and next February I expect to be 10X the athlete I am today.  The gains will be steady, the gains will be slow, but thanks to the support of my husband, the coaches and the other athletes, the gains will be there.

 

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By the way, I’ll be at BlogHer’12.  I am hoping to meet bloggers from the Fitness World and many others there!  If you are going, please leave a note in the comments.

The Other Side of The Desk

For the past five years, I have been employed as a Human Resources Director and one of my responsibilitites has been managing the hiring process.

Since my husband is transferring to Maryland for work, its time for me to begin the job hunt.

Its going to be weird to be on the other side of the desk.  I am hoping my career long process of being kind to the candidates, and notifying all of them of their status in a timely manner will leave me on the good sides of the job hunting gods.

Admittedly though, I am a bit of a wreck.  The hardest part so far was updating my resume, which had been untouched for about six years.  You know that advice you always hear about constantly updating your resume that you always hear?  Yeah, I was so busy doing HR that I did not take care of my resume.  Don’t be me.  Update your resume annually when you are working on your review and your accomplishments are fresh in your mind.

However, going over reviews and making a list of what I got done over the past 5 years was pretty stinking gratifying.  I was a busy girl!

Armed with a list of accomplishments I got started.  And then I sat there with writer’s bloc, and sat, and sat.  Inertia can be a sucktastic thing, especially when I’m used to diving in and getting things done.

Thankfully, we were looking for my replacement at my current job so I had several dozen resumes floating into my inbox, I had some inspiration and a chance to see first hand what was trendy in formatting.

Now I’m working with some HR professionals I trust to go over my resume and help me tweak it to perfection.  With five additional sets of eyes, my resume will be perfect.

Then all I have to do is post it on linked in, and start applying for jobs and working on my cover letters.  Then the calls for interviews will be pouring in.

I hope…..