Workout Wednesday: Putting a Cramp in your Style

I think each of us has been here before:

It’s been a while since you’ve worked out, but your playlists are updated and your gym clothes are ready to rock.  You eagerly drink some water, jump into your running shoes, suit your earbuds up real nice and head out the door.  When you hit the sidewalk, your legs begin bouncing – urging you to move forward.  As your iPod shuffles to your latest favorite song, you break into a skip, then a jog…and finally a run.  You’re feeling your energy as your feet hit the pavement, you might even be singing along without realizing it – and then you notice it, a stitch in your (insert appendage here).  Then it cripples you – and you’re left wondering: what is wrong with my body?!

Well the answer, my pretties – is that your workout just got cramped. As an athlete, I can tell you from a lot of personal experience that there’s nothing worse than getting into the groove of a good workout and getting sidelined by a cramp.  In the back of my head, I’m thinking – hey, body! why are you acting like its your first rodeo?!  But the fact of the matter is that no matter if you’re a world class athlete or about to commit to your first workout – cramps happen, but you can help!

The most common cramps for me are side cramps while running, foot cramps as a swimmer and calf cramps after a workout or a long night of dancing.  So what exactly is going on and what can we do if we want to keep the workout going?

Make sure you’re warming up properly and breathing right during the exercise.  If you’re planning on going for an epic run, try walking or jogging to warm up your entire body and make sure your body is hydrated enough to sustain the ass kicking you’re giving it.  If you notice a cramp coming on, try to even out your breathing and avoid exhaling when your feet hit the floor, if it won’t go away give yourself a break and get into some stretches.  Your body is a temple, you don’t want to destroy the foundation.

On the typical, cramps have one of two causes –  dehydration or poor nutrition. 

Think about things this way – your body is approximately 80% water but your muscles are closer to 75%; so when you work out, your muscles get dehydrated faster than your body.  When this happens, the muscles lose elasticity, become taut and eventually – if not re-hydrated – they’ll spasm, or cramp. The other possibility is that  your body is lacking in essential vitamins like iron, calcium and potassium, which is key for preventing muscle cramps.

Lucky for us, these are things we can control.  At the very least, on the daily you should pop a multivitamin in the morning and get your 8 glasses of water. In this “go-go-go” world, it’s hard to avoid caffeine and soda. However, if you’re serious about treating your body well – either curb your use of diuretics like coffee, soda, alcohol and energy drinks which naturally deplete your body of water, or for every “naughty” drink have double the amount of aqua.  When it comes to nutrition, an apple a day might keep the doctor away but a dose of potassium a day will keep the cramps away.  Dried fruits like apricots, prunes, dates, coconuts, figs and raisins contain a whole lot of it. And for the fresh fruit lovers, try throwing more avocados, bananas, peaches and oranges in your diet.

[Make Your Own] Record Bowls

Creativity is a trait that I think most of my friends and I share – we’re imaginative about the way we view the world around us and when when it comes to personal interpretation of the world and manifesting it into something else, I’d like to think each of us gives in a uniquely talented way.  When I was younger, I was into beading and bead work – and truth be told, I actually brought my tools to Los Angeles with me. I’ve picked up and put down crocheting a number of times, though my drawings can seem elementary to me at times the more I use my watercolor pencils and pastel sticks the more fun I seem to have with them. But there’s more to being creative than these very specific mediums; I’d like to think I’m creative when it comes to Interior Design, organization of my apartment and DIY projects.

Freeze Fruit and Herbs in Ice Cubes for Flavorful, Non-Diluted Chilled Drinks

Websites like Pinterest and Instructables are always giving me crazy, fun and uniue ideas for the apartment, gifts and hostessing. Some of the ideas are amazing – like freezing fruit in ice cubes for a stellar and healthy Summer drink pick me up; and some of them prove to be more difficult, like the Cinco De Mayo inspired striped rainbow Donkey shaped pinata cookies full of M&M Minis.  Trust me, I tried and failed; and no, you can’t see the pictures.

When I moved to LA, my family gifted me with a great coffee table book called “Show Me How: 500 Things You Should Know“: it’s full fun and quirky things like how to roll sushi, dance the tango,  heal your body with accupressure points and tons of easy to follow DIY ideas.  So far, my ultimate favorite has been crafting old records into usable bowls. So, without further ado – let’s get to crafting!

Please note: No important records were hurt in this process.

Tools:

  • Vinyl Records from a second hand shop or hand-me-downs from a friend; if you can still play it and or enjoy it, you probably don’t want to melt it.
  • An Oven
  • 2 Bowls; one that can go into ovens: e.g. ceramic bowls, sauce pans for the stove
  • A Cookie Sheet
  • Oven Mitts

Steps:

  • Get your records on, or out rather.
  • Heat the oven to 225°F (105°C)
  • Wait for Ten minutes
  • Arm yourself with those oven mitts and take out the cookie sheet
  • Gently mold the newly malleable record to the shape of the bowl
  • Wait for another Ten minutes

And, voilà – you now have your very own record bowls;if you can find a vintage record of a favorite tune, it becomes a great gift for family, friends and yourself.

PS. Having an assistant doesn’t hurt….but sometimes, it definitely doesn’t help…