Search This Blog

Monday, March 23, 2020

Quarantine Tabata

Stuck at home and can't get to the gym? Feeling like the subject of judgmental stares if you run outside? Don't let the Corona Calories pile on; exercise at home! 

"But Elsa, I don't have any equipment! And I don't want to order a treadmill; who knows who touched it? Plus, I'm broke big time." 

I gotcha.  

Tabata is just what the doctor ordered (in addition to hand washing, social distancing and not touching your face). 

Tabata is an interval workout but it's not just any random intervals. It's super scientific, y'all. That's what I love about it. Dr. Tabata, a Japanese Scientist, helped to design the workout for the Japanese speed skating team. The method (or "the Tabata Protocol" as it is technically called) helped to improve their times, even with just one set of Tabata. That's only 4 minutes of work!! 

Here's how it works: 
20 minutes of high intensity exercise 
10 seconds of an active recovery 
8 times 

= 4 min 

High Intensity exercises are things like: 
jumping jacks
running with high knees
jumping rope without the rope 
burpees 
mountain climbers
jumping squats

Active recovery moves are things like a step-touch, a march or a hamstring curl. 

Your heart rate goes way up on the 20 seconds and comes down to the middle on the 10 seconds. 

Here is an example video I made for you! This is one set of Tabata--4 minutes. I like to alternate two moves (like I am doing here) but you can do the same move eight times or do one move four times, another move four times. 


If you do have some equipment like light weights or bands, you can incorporate those too. 

I like to do jumping jacks with a band on my legs and a band on my arms or punches side to side with weights or repeater knee on a step (bottom step of staircase) with weights. 

So how many rounds should you do? That is totally up to you!! If Tabata is your workout for the day, you should probably do 4-6 rounds. Today I did the treadmill for 20 min. and two rounds of Tabata. It's a great supplement to a moderate workout. 

Oh, and DO get a free Tabata timer to use on your phone. I like this one, Tabata Stopwatch Pro: 



Sure, you could just use a stopwatch but trust me, when you are working at Tabata maximum level, it is way too hard to remember what round you're on. 

Happy Quarantine Tabata-ing! 




Tuesday, February 04, 2020

A Souper Trick

Leo and I are both very good liars actors and we fooled Gus and Frank who are both quite gullible trusting.

We had a Bingo Night at the kids' school and if we brought canned goods, we got raffle tickets for bidding on door prizes. I went a little crazy with the canned goods and we procured A LOT of raffle tickets.

Leo named himself the raffle boss of the family and spent most of the evening lurking around either the door prizes or the DJ who announced the winners. He felt confident in his strategy--to choose just a few prizes and put a lot of tickets in each.

Early in the night Leo won a Stars and Strikes gift card for six people to bowl and have a pitcher of beer soft drinks.



As if that wasn't exciting enough, Leo still felt hopeful that one of the other prizes would go in his favor. 

With their Bingo cards depleted, Frank and Gus hitched a ride home with another family while Leo and I stayed behind to see if he would be a double winner. 

And he was!! He won two tickets to a UGA game (that is University of Georgia for my Texas readers) this fall! We had to run out of there for fear we would be attacked by jealous bulldawg fans. 





On the way home we concocted a story because we are quite the liars storytellers. Let me preface this by saying Gus hates soup. Thinks it is gross. 

Scene: Leo and I arrive at home. 

Frank: Did we win anything else? Did we win the UGA tickets? 

Leo: Nah. But we did win something else. Not as good as that. 

Frank: What did we win? 

Leo: Free soup for a year. 

Elsa: There is this new place opening called "Souper" and Leo thought it meant like "Super Hero" so that's why he put a ticket in there. But really, it's a soup place. 

Frank: Wow. So we can get free soup for a year?? That's pretty cool! 

Elsa: Well, it's all vegetarian soup like broccoli cheese and tomato. 

Frank: Oh, that's not as good. But still, free soup for a year!!? 

Gus: That's so gross. I don't want any soup!! 

Frank: How does it work? Can any of us go get it? Whose name is it under? 

Leo: Any of us can get it. 

Elsa: Yeah, anyone in the Simcik family. 

Finally, after several more questions from Frank and disgusted noises from Gus, Leo revealed that we had indeed won the coveted UGA tickets!!! Gus was excited and eagerly put on his Georgia gear to pose for a pic. 


After all the celebrating and rejoicing Frank said, "I can't believe it!! We won Stars and Strikes, the UGA tickets and FREE SOUP FOR A YEAR!!"

Oh dear. I told you he was gullible trusting. #blesshisheart

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Darndest Things 2020


I don't want to make any promises...but I would like to try to write more blogs in 2020. Still, don't hold me to it. And notice I didn't put a goal like every day or once a month or twice a year. 

Or maybe you didn't notice because nobody reads my blog anymore! Maybe I am just talking to myself. And if that is the case, well the pressure is really down. 

In the first weeks of 2020, each male in my family has said or done at least one memorable darndest thing. I will now share them: 

Gus, singing along with the Frozen song, "For the First Time in Forever" and when it got to the part where Anna says, "Don't know if I'm elated or gassy," Gus said loud and proud, "Don't know why all the ladies are gassy" 

Turns out he has thought that is what they have been saying for six years!! Now, of course, that is how we prefer the lyrics. 

Frank, as we were stretching together at the Y which we only do like...never...we've never done this. I begged him to stretch with me the other day. Anyway, I told him to go into Child's Pose and he sat up into criss cross applesauce (formerly Indian Style). I said, "That's not child's pose!" and he said, "Yes, it is. This is how kids sit!" 

And finally, Leo: He has really started to fine tune his comic timing. He asked Frank to come play a board game with him and Gus and Frank said, "I can't right now, guys. I have to go do the grill" and Leo, without missing a beat, went right into, "And the cats in the cradle and the silver spoon..." 

Unrelated to the stories above, I give you these photos from the past couple of months. Enjoy! 





















Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Bye bye, Backpack

You may know that I try not to get too attached to things. It's part of my minimalist lifestyle, which by the way, I was doing long before Marie Kondo (although she is more extreme about it and obviously doesn't have hoarder kids).


There are a few things that I have held onto for a LONG time though--like my fraction calculator from 7th grade, my eyeglasses (2001-2019 RIP) and my white terrycloth bathrobe with a hood that Frank says makes me look like a boxer (high school graduation present, 1995).

Yesterday I had to throw out a backpack that I have carried around proudly since 2004. 15 years! It wasn't just any backpack; it was my claim to fame for running a marathon. I did the Austin Motorola Marathon in 2004 and in case you're wondering, I did it in just around 4 hours. That is a very respectable time for anyone who isn't Kenyan or my sister-in-law, Julie. I was so proud of my time that after I ran that, I vowed to never run a marathon again. In fact, I have barely run since then. It's kind of a quit-while-you're-ahead strategy.

After I ran the marathon in 2004, I took up indoor cycling. And in 2005 I started teaching spin classes. It was then that I began using my well-deserved Motorola Marathon backpack to tote my spin gear. Now I have been teaching spin and other exercise classes for 14 years and I have taken that backpack to every single class. It holds my cycle shoes, my mic belt, my wind screens for my mic, a spiral with my class plans, a sweaty towel or two and a plastic mouth shield should I ever have to perform mouth to mouth CPR.

As a rough estimate, I would say that backpack has gone to 1,400 or so classes with me. It has sat on gym floors, on chairs, on stages, in my car, in locker rooms and of course, on my back.

I used to take (not teach) a 5:30am Tabata class at the Frisco YMCA. Sometimes the instructor would contact me the night before and ask if I could teach it for her, which I usually would. One day I walked in to teach the class and I announced to the people that were already there, "Today I'm teaching" and this lady said, "Oh, we can tell because you have your big backpack with you!"

I would have kept it for 15 more years (because who doesn't like to show off that they once ran a marathon sponsored by a now defunct company?) but sadly, it started to fall apart. And then it became so holey that my precious gear (sweaty towels, wind screens, etc.) weren't even protected anymore.








As I tearfully went through my beloved backpack (well, I didn't actually have any tears but I came close), I found some artifacts. I pulled out an envelope called Cycle 16 which had very detailed lesson plans for a cycle class. Now I have NO lesson plans and I can't believe I used to choreograph all of this down to the second. So much work!!


I dug out an ancient iPod, a pony tail holder, some corroded batteries (ew!!) and two still-wrapped Fiber One bars. I am pretty sure I haven't eaten a F1 Bar since 2007 so that was somewhat frightening. Surprisingly, it still tasted great! *




After cleaning out the backpack that has been my companion for 15 years, I unceremoniously threw it into the trash. Now I have no proof that I ran that marathon. I guess I will have to run another one**

*Obviously, I didn't eat that Fiber One bar!! Did you really think I did? 
**No way am I running another marathon! But if there is something easier I can do for a backpack, sign me up! 

Sunday, September 22, 2019

The OCD Club










"I'm so OCD. I HAVE to have all my silverware stacked up according to the TYPE of utensil they are."

"If my house is messy, it drives me crazy. I'm so OCD."

"Ew, I hate when my food touches each other. I'm just OCD about it."

Stop it. Just stop. You do NOT have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. And what's more, if you did, you would NOT be bragging about it.

You are NOT in the club. You actually have NO IDEA what it is like to be in a club like this. If you did, you wouldn't say it so flippantly.

When you say, "I'm so OCD" but you aren't, you are trivializing a disease that is serious, that is debilitating... a condition that makes life unbearable.

You wouldn't say...

"He is SO retarded."

"Sugar makes me crazy. I'm such a diabetic."

"My hair looks awful. It's like I have cancer."

Yes, it is JUST like doing any of the above.

Obviously I have a strong connection to OCD. Let me tell you what life is like living with someone with OCD. True OCD.

EVERYTHING triggers it. People with OCD CANNOT function in a lot of situations...going to school, church, restaurants, vacations, people's homes...all nightmares for the person suffering, plus their family.

They freak out, make scenes, run away.

The people I know with OCD have had to go to extremes to help their loved ones including taking them to intensive treatment programs. Some people I know have had to send their kids to residential facilities to live FOR WEEKS.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is nothing like you think it is. It doesn't mean you like to wash your hands. But it may mean you HAVE to wash your hands hundreds of times a day until they are raw. It doesn't mean you don't like the smell of vomit. It means that you think someone could vomit at any time and therefore you can't go ANYWHERE or even hear someone cough without having a complete panic attack. It doesn't mean that you don't like the feel of tags on your shirt. It means you have to read the tag on your shirt 100 times or someone you know will die.

THAT is life with OCD. And it completely sucks.

So when you casually say you have OCD, you are hurting those that do. Because when they reach out and say THEY truly have OCD, no one takes it seriously. No one understands the severity of the situation.

The other day I mentioned to someone that my loved one has OCD and she said, "Oh, I know all about that. My husband! He has to have everything clean all the time."

YOU HAVE NO IDEA, is all I can think.

So stop. Please stop. Take it out of your vocabulary. Quit saying that your preference for cleanliness and your proclivity to adjust your picture frames makes you "so OCD."

You don't have OCD and when you say that, it makes you sound retarded.