Positive Reinforcement & Layers of Goodness
I know some people find it distracting or sub-optimal to listen to music or read magazines while working out because it takes your attention away from your body and your workout. For the most part, I can understand that, one should be focused on their workout not watching a TV screen, reading about the new shoes they want to buy, or cramming for an exam. However, I also kind of disagree with music part of it mainly because I use music as a trigger to get my workout going. Music has always really helped me get in the mood for a good run or a good weight lifting session. In this case, it's positive reinforcement, not a distraction or a negative contributor.
I do want to stress though that by creating distractions for themselves in the gym, a lot of people are actually choosing to surround themselves with negativity, and by that I basically mean by reading trashy tabloid and/or lifestyle magazines, which you see more than half of women do at the gym. Not only does this make you lose focus, the major downside I noticed is that I think it reinforces negative thoughts and behaviors epitomized in the subjects covered in most women's magazines: that there's something wrong with you. I can't imagine it being a good idea to be reading the words 'fat', or 'worst dressed', or 'how to hide this or that flaw by doing X or buying X product'. All of these types of attitudes imply that there is something wrong with you in the first place, and this is not healthy input. You're at the gym to feel great, to focus on your body, to create greater self-awareness, not to give in to a female pop culture of self-doubt and negativity! Workouts are suppose to be about self-love, health, and wellness not about criticism of oneself or of others, so two thumbs down to all of that! (Check out the en dof Angela's post today to see that I'm not alone on this one!)
However, I have found that aside from upbeat music, listening to raw food/raw lifestyle podcasts like Rawkin Radio or Raw Vegan Radio provide serious positive reinforcement to my workout. Their shows are so full of happiness, fulfillment, empowerment, and health that I actually get such an emotional and physical boost just by listening to them. They are always filled with interviews with beautiful, healthy, and happy people, with such wonderful success stories. Everything about them is educational, positive, and upbeat. I feel that listening to something positive definitely adds to my workout experience. In the end, what I'm doing is totally imbuing myself and my environment with health and positivity: through what I'm thinking, what I'm physically doing, what I'm listening to, and who and what I'm choosing to look at (remember, like I've said, when at the gym focus on all the fit people and their health will imprint on you too both physically and emotionally!)
On a food related note, my sister came over for dessert last night so I made a raw version of Ashley's awesome Chocolate-Peanut Butter Fudge Tart. (The only differences were that I used ground raw oat groats/spelt berries instead of the oat flakes, and a blend of melted raw chocolate and vegan chocolate for the filling). It was amazing. Because I had some left over peanut-butter crust, I topped it with some of my favourite fruit jams (along with vegan chocolate, it's one of two non-raw exceptions in my life) to make PB&Js, except the PB is actually the bread too... I'm so clever.
I also made a half-batch version of Jeremy Safron's six-layered carob cake (you can find it in The Raw Truth). Differences here were that I added strawberry slices in between every layer of cake. Because it's so narrow and so tall, it's going to be fun to try to eat this... but it's awfully pretty!
By the way, if you're interested, Joanna Steven's is currently having a giveaway for a free subscription to an awesome raw magazine!
Workout of the Day
5 minute warmup on stairclimber
3x12 stability ball squats
3x12 stability ball crunches w/ feet against the wall
1 minute of jump rope
3x12 forward lunges
3x12 stability ball oblique crunches w/ feet against the wall
1 minute jump rope
3x12 lying adduction
3x10 leg raises
1 minute jump rope
3x12 lying abduction
3x12 calf raises
1 minute jump rope
5 minutes of hills + 3 minutes of cool down on the elliptical
5 minutes of stretching