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Seems like new years always start off with a bang…a burst of change on top of renewed activity…exciting!  I woke up this morning just feeling happy. Content. Invigorated, and full of smiles. 

My current work engagement got extended through the end of February and I couldn’t be happier!  And wheels are in motion with interviewing and networking.  I had a phone screen on Friday and have another one at a different company later this week.  Even if nothing pans out from a phone screen, they’re still invaluable to me.  Why?  I call them Practice. 

And it’s icy, sunny and sparkly outside.  Magical.  I wish I’d snapped a pic of the blue and peach sunset across the street a few minutes ago – the sky is now fading to a waning pink shot through with grey.  And soon…blackness – with tons of stars.  If we can keep to this and not get socked in with a ton of rain this will be an ideal winter!

Gotta hand it to our Seattle Seahawks for a helluva comeback today against Atlanta…just shy of heading to the NFC conference championship.  We were down 27-14 at start of the 4th quarter…and scored two touchdowns!  But that last Atlanta field goal ended it.  Phenonmenal job, gentlemen.  We’ve got a young team and lots more on tap next season!

So, with all that’s whirling around so far this year, I’m remembering to relax and breathe.  To create space – an aura of calmness and serenity that’s joyfully, blissfully all mine while I passionately soak up the excitement all around me.

And to follow-up on last week’s post which was mostly about staying healthy with my favorite nutritional supplements and sunscreens, one other commitment I’m re-making (is that a word?) to better health is with exercise.  I’m still blown away that I need 7 hours of exercise a week to be at my very best based on a workshop I took last fall.  And a little overwhelmed figuring out how to cram that into a busy week!  If I could walk to work or get outside for a walk or light run during the day while I’m at work that would really help me get that time in.  But that hasn’t been a reality in over two decades.  When I worked in downtown Seattle and had a full, genuine lunch hour early on in my career I would bring walking shoes and do ‘urban hiking’ at lunch, exploring all the buildings around me, going up and down elevators, discovering good “rainy-day routes” by finding underground pedestrian tunnels, the best delis, etc.

Here are my current favorite forms of exercise!

Rowing.  As in the rowing machine at the gym.  I fell in love with this last fall thanks to getting inspired by my trainer B, who took the time to show me how to use the equipment and the proper form.  I can’t say enough how much I love it…it’s such a great alternative to the treadmill and is a more all-around overall body workout too.  I carry tension and the weight of the world in my neck and upper shoulders, and rowing melts it all away.  And I can now row 5000m in under 30 minutes!!  28:35 was my personal best so far!

But I make a point to avoid my gym the first part of January.  It’s too overcrowded with the new years crowd for a few weeks and hard to get on equipment right away.  So in the meantime I’m spicing up my routine with other things such as…

Walking. As in outside, bundled up.  Bring on the glorious icy air and sunshine!  Thankfully it’s been relatively dry, so getting outside for a walk doesn’t mean a lot of ice.  There have been a few problems but nothing major.  On Saturday I met up with my friend L who I had not seen in probably 10 months or so.  How fabulous to reconnect with her in the sunshine and get caught up! I swear walking outside in colder weather burns more calories…well, that’s my theory at least.

Workout DVDs.  I blew the dust off my Jillian Michaels 30-day Shred DVD, found my 5 and 8 lb handweights and got back to it.  Sadly it’s been a couple of years since I worked out to this DVD, but check out my old post in the link for the scoop.  These are 20 minute workouts, no bullshit.  You move the entire time and do not stop.  It seems deceptively easy, but by the time you’re into the second of the three 6-minute circuits your lungs and/or muscles will be burnin’.  And that’s good – that’s where the changes happen!  The 30-day shred DVD is currently on Amazon.com for $8.99 – an absolute steal.  It has 3 levels of circuit training.  And I think I’m going to alternate between levels 1, 2 and 3 to keep the variety going.  You’re supposed to do level 1 for 10 days, then level 2 for 10 days, etc, but for me that will get boring.  Holy shit, I did level 3 today for the first time and will be on fire tomorrow.  Maybe that will make level 1 seem not quite so tough the next time I try it.

What are YOUR surefire hits for staying fit, long after the New Years resolutions have faded?  I’d love to hear from you!