Round up of October and November

The main pro of writing about books I’ve read is that it has gotten me back to a blogging rhythm. I almost feel like reading  gives me “content” to write about. Ha!

On the other hand, once I’ve written said reading round up posts, I’m left with a sense of accomplishment, but also without further motivation to chronicle the minor things of daily life, which is what this blog is really supposed to be about.

So let’s do a round up of October and November, shall we?

  1. We went on our France holiday – which I am YET to blog properly about. I’ve gotten very content with just having edited the photos, but I do want to put down in writing the things we did and sights we saw and feelings that were felt, because it’s nice to read them back later.
  2. We have attended two weddings already this season. Weddings are great places to catch up with people who you haven’t met in a while. I always get asked about what I’m doing “these days”, and people expect me to have moved on to a different career already – I don’t blame them. This is my third job in 7 years. When I put it that way, it seems pretty standard, but also each job has been quite different from the other. But I’ve been in the creative digital goods area for a while now (3.5 years) – that’s really the longest I’ve been at any of my jobs. The shocking thing about both of these weddings that we didn’t do a choreographed Sangeet dance at either! I’ve been living life Sangeet to Sangeet for years now, and yes, this is something that I missed. May be people think you are not enthu about choreographed competitive Sangeets once you turn 30? (not true at all) At the second wedding, KK and I made note of all the songs the DJ played that we had done choreographed dances to and felt very pleased about the count – there were way so many!
  3. I turned 30! I think I was more panicked about turning 30 before I actually did. Turning 30 has made me more zen about things like “caring about what someone else thinks of my response to something / how someone will react to something I do or don’t do”. I feel a bit more free about my views and general stand on things now, and can legitimately blame it on age.
  4. A lot of pre-Diwali taash parties were attended – which were a lot of fun.
  5. A lot of post-Diwali depression happened on account of Airpocalypse. Like serious levels. Of both – pollution & accompanying depression and thoughts like “what am I doing here”. Scroll to see rant-y post earlier in the month. Actually said depression (and pollution) is still happening, which is greatly helped by reading fun & escapist books like Agatha Raisin (and exercise). I love being in Agatha’s world where there’s clean air and nature around you, cosy furnishings, lovely neighbours, good hearted people, and a bit of fun detection (nothing is ever too gory in these books).
  6. EAB Update – We now have AG in our EAB Programme and thanks to AG’s dedication, TCG and I have gotten back to our respective exercise schedules. I’ve been working out in the evening, which seems to be a more sure shot way of getting it in for me than morning. Separately, having to sign up for Dancebody Live workouts (which happen at a particular time and you have to log in that time and do it) has been keeping me accountable.
  7. It’s also been two days since I’ve gotten back to my 10 minute evening meditation routine. I don’t know why I stopped. Note to self: please keep doing it.
  8. I have cooked a few meals this month. As the help only knows a few dishes (like 10), it gets super boring. So I’ve been cooking a bit here and there. Dalma, Ghanta, Tomato Poda, Dal Pakhtuni, Matar Pulao, Rajma, Desi Chinese Style Nutrela + Veggies. That sort of thing.
  9. Y & I made a pact towards the end of October that in November, we would not order in food. We can eat outside food when we’re outside. But we will not be lazy and order in. Exceptions to this rule are when the help hasn’t made food for reasons out of our control. Happy to report that we have had good success with this plan! Y did not break the rule at all, and I broke it just once to order in a donut on a day when I was feeling very low about the pollution. And now, it’s Nov 30, and yeay! <insert Elle Woods gif> We did it!
  10. Plans for December include: continuing with good habits of November (hopefully) (good habits being exercise, meditation, cooking), lots of social commitments including a family wedding (Y’s cousin), U2 Concert in Mumbai, and hopefully some more fun social stuff!
  11. I am so ready for 2019 to end and 2020 to begin. Actually I’m so ready for 2020 to end and for 2021 to begin. 2021, just be here already!

EAB and EAB Adjace Updates

It seems whatever workout streaming website I join ends up with a “platform update hiatus” and the minute I leave it (after months of waiting for said update to come to its conclusion), it’s all up and running. *insert WTH face*

I have been a Physique57 devotee for a long time (think years), but in 2018 – mid 2019, there were too many promises of regular new classes, and subsequent lack of the same. So I got fed up, and left. I had a special monthly price which I’d snagged during 2018 Black Friday Sale. But I hadn’t used the platform in weeks because (a) the workouts got my IT Bands tight that needed regular foam rolling and LOTS of stretch time (I still loved them because they are very effective, sigh!) and (b) lack of new content.

I cancelled my Physique57 subscription during August 2019 by which time I’d signed up for Dancebody Online (dance cardio based workout) (which also I LOVE and is something I can see myself becoming a devotee of). HOWEVER, now in October 2019, we learn that Dancebody Online platform is undergoing some updates and will be back to regular updates sometime later in “the winter”. Separately, Physique57’s online platform has been getting regular new content every week!!! Arrrghhh. Talk about frustrating.

Separately, EAB (Exercise Accountability Buddy program) has gone for a toss. In that, we are still EABs, but have both been rather slack about our exercise which (along with consumption of copious quantities of buttery baked goods & creme brulee in France followed by “Diwali Diet”) has led to the regain of the weight that had been lost in July & August – the peak of our EAB success.

TCG and I are hoping to be back in top gear, exercise wise, by November.

Updates on EAB Program, Dancebody, Shoe Peace (?!), and Vacay

A few weeks back (a month and 5 days back to be precise), I had announced a lovely little plan that TCG and I had undertaken. We have voluntarily become each other’s Exercise Accountability Buddy, which means we each exercise and motivate the other to do the same by checking in with each other every time we complete a workout.

It’s been 6 full weeks of this EAB program, and I’m happy to report that it is going rather well (and hope I haven’t jinxed it with this declaration). We have managed to work out 4 times per week on average, and we consider it a big step forward considering we hadn’t been consistently this active in the past few months (YEARS). I’ve had spates of a few weeks, usually about 3-4, when I get super active, and the enthusiasm fizzles down. It’s no show for 3-4 months, and then a month of intensity. I wanted to stick to a change which becomes a much sought after “lifestyle change”. So far so good!

6 weeks back I signed up for this AMAZING dance cardio workout program called Dancebody (online streaming). 2 Signature classes in, I felt that this is basically what I’ve been looking for for AGES. It’s got variety, great music, is actually challenging and not repetitive (unlike most dance cardio videos out there), and gets fresh content every month. I have been a pretty long time subscriber of Les Mills on Demand and Physique57 but they were just not cutting it for me. They weren’t “the perfect fit”. I’ve had spates of being obsessed with both, but I guess I just tired of their format after a while.

Coming back to Dancebody, I love it! If you love dancing and high energy cardio, you have to try it. It’s FUN and challenging. The perfect combo, right?!

I did however come across a small stumbling block in my indoctrination as Dancebody Fanatic.

Shoes.

Dancebody’s dance cardio sessions involve a LOT of bouncing around and plyometrics. You need highly cushioned shoes (the kind that runners wear) for it to be a comfortable workout that doesn’t wreck your knees/ leg muscles.

The instructors all swear by Asics (Gel Nimbus especially), so like a good devotee, I too tried out Asics. However, after a couple of sessions in the Asics Gel Cumulus and half a session in Gel Nimbus, I felt like my toes were being punished for a crime they committed in a past life. It did NOT feel good. No no no no no.

I returned the Gel Nimbus (they were from Amazon) (Amazon, I LOVE you and your free 30 day return policy). I was still stuck with the Gel Cumulus because I’d bought them from an actual store (rookie mistake). From then on ensued a 4 week process of obsessively researching highly cushioned running shoes, ordering them online, trying them on for a Dancebody Signature session (you really don’t know if a pair will work until you DANCE Dancebody style in them), returning them broken hearted and looking for more.

In the meanwhile, I got the Gel Cumulus to work for Sculpt sessions and also for shorter Signature classes. The problem with these was that the toebox in the left shoe was too tight, and my little toe would be hurting like CRAZY by the end of a class. To get that shoe to “open up” a bit, I followed this Youtube video by a nice teenage kid who showed how to use socks and heat from a hair dryer to achieve this result. I’m happy to report that that method worked and now my Gel Cumulus is comfortable during Sculpts and not too bad during full Signatures!

However, through all of this, my search for a GOOD shoe FOR MY FEET continued. I tried a couple of models and sizes in Asics, Saucony (two styles including the famed Triumph ISO), Puma, I even gave Power Mello Shoes a try (too unstable to do anything but walk in). I even tried a men’s shoe in Saucony for its width, but sadly it was not to be. Finally, I ordered Brooks Glycerin 16 which was available in my size on Amazon. These shoes do not stifle my toes, they have tons of cushiony cushoin (much like the Gel Nimbus), and are soft overall and are much better suited for lateral movement than the Gel Cumulus, which quite frankly feels really stiff in comparison.

So, yes, Brooks Glycerin are perfect for my Dancebody Signature classes!

Are Brooks Glycerin my holy grail Dancebody shoes?

Yes and no.

Yes because they are perfect for me! They fit my feet well, and have the cushion I need. No because I want to leave room in there for EVEN MORE CUSHION (yes, I am aware of Hoka One One, and really badly want to try the Bondi – sadly they are not available in India yet).

Will I stop trying out shoes and researching them?

Nope! Shoe research is kind of addictive, and now I really want to try Hoka One One Bondi. I also want to try out New Balance 1080v9 just for fun. I don’t actually think New Balance will be better than Brooks, but WHO KNOWS?!

Separately, I am going on vacation next week! This is a small trip to Bhubu to chill with my family back home. I’m trying to do this thing this year that I take some time off every second month. Breaks and recharging my batteries is essential for my creativity, but I never end up taking PLANNED breaks frequently enough. I read interviews by many artists who swear by taking frequent breaks away from their studio to come back refreshed.

Although, as of now, it’s also causing a bit of extra stress because as you might have experienced yourself, the week or the couple of weeks leading up to a break are quite jam packed and stressful because you’re desperately trying to meet a firm deadline. Also, I take about 2-3 days after a break to get back into the flow of things at work, so the week after a break also ends up being a bit stressful on account of lack of productivity (which makes me think, am I really benefiting from frequent breaks?). Though that’s also mostly on account of not having a firm plan on tasks to be done that first week back. Any way, we’ll see. This time I’ve prepared a firm list of tasks to be accomplished the minute I’m back in the studio/office, so that should help.

I’m also carrying another Maud Montgomery book with me for this trip – Pat of Silver Bush. Excited!!! I prevented myself from reading it in the past few weeks because I was saving it as a treat for vacay!

Will report back soon!

p.s.: Delhi has been DELIGHTFUL. The skies are gorgeously blue with puffy white clouds, tree tops sparkly clean & green, and evenings are nice and breezy up on the terrace. Is it humid? Yes. But I LOVE this version of Delhi weather, and will take the humidity any day for the lovely temps and clear air the rains bring!! Please can it stay this way?

Clean blue Delhi skies with puffy clouds. L from an Uber, R from my office window. NO FILTER!

Workout Buddies, Warm Ice Bath, Petrichor

Hello, the non-existent readers of this blog. If you exist, make yourselves known (by leaving a comment).

For some time now, BO has been wanting to get back into the swing of regular workouts. You might remember she had also joined her neighbourhood Zumba classes. That didn’t work out too well because those were in the evening, and evening workouts might have led to some acidity issues. Any way, since then she has done a few morning workouts here and there. But you know how it is? You do something one day, and then that’s about it.

Hopefully, not any more! Beloved TCG (formerly TC (sidenote: we have grown up so much, but internal world still feels the same)), messaged saying she plans to join a gym. BO jumped at the opportunity and proposed being “Exercise Accountability Buddies“. Meaning, the two girls, fine, LADIES, will do their respective workouts and let each other know. They will encourage and prod each other on in the hopes of accomplishing their fitness goals.

BO casually mentioned this EAB plan to Y, who then proceeded to laugh at said plans, and ALSO MESSAGED TCG a scathing review of BO’s former performance as Y’s EAB (when basically neither of them went to the gym, and each convinced the other to promptly go back to sleep instead of the other way round).

With such lack of faith in display, BO got extra pumped to prove Y wrong. As a result, BO and TCG have managed 2 days of back to back morning workouts. Today was a break (unintentional).

Dear reader, also be reminded that this is the Peak of Summer, and as such, the heat is rather painful. Cold water (or NOT HOT water) is impossible to get (except from the refrigerator), and “room temperature” is a HOT 45 degrees celcius. BO found post-workout bathing particularly torturous. What kind of a place is Delhi where you get scalding hot water at 8 am in the summers??? Enter, giant block of ice. B (BO & Y’s domestic help) has been freezing giant blocks of ice in the fridge for cooling things quickly when needed for cooking purposes (mainly for setting dahi). Yesterday morning, BO remembered said ice, and dunked it in the bucket of 8am-hot-as-hell water. Tada! No longer hot water, but acceptable temperature (still not COOL or COLD, but we’ll take it).

As BO writes this post, heavens choose to contradict her and have showered Delhi with a lovely little rainshower. BO happened to be dreaming about petrichor yesterday and how she longs to smell it, and now, here it is!

As for the actual workouts being followed, TCG has been doing zumba until she joins a gym. Turns out, in a classic case of Google Maps Treachery, the gym she had her eyes on is 850m away from her place, and not the Maps version of 250m. Speaking of GMT, it is apt to remind self of the time delightful Google Maps led BO and Y into an actual forest in the middle of Delhi (Rajokri Forest, Google it).

BO, the video exercise enthusiast (she’s been exercising to videos since 2005 and has done it ALL) has recently signed up for Deanne Berry’s new online workout platform – Deanne Berry Bodies. She is one of the thousands who did and loved the original Pump It Up DVD (and erm, also lost a good amount of weight with it). Considering Deanne Berry Bodies Online is a super new platform, there is a good amount of variety already. There are full on dance workouts, aerobics, kickboxing, strength training, stretch. The only slightly strange thing is that the glammed up costumes in the videos is not really necessary. Sure, on the Pump It Up video, the marketing was all flowing from the original Call On Me video’s success, but well, on DBB Online it’s not really needed. BO surely does not want any one walking in while she’s doing these workout, not because of her own super embarrassing moves, but because of what’s on the screen!! BUT the workouts themselves work up quite the sweat, are not super high impact but high intensity, and should be effective if stuck to. BO hopes to update with success story.

And with this, it is now legitimate to create a “Fitness and Workoutlabel and congratulate self on said achievement.