Red Hot and Blue

I settled my debts at yoga! I was on time and wore correctly-fitting trousers, too. I apologised profusely for doing a runner last week and I think it's all cool now. I bought a six-class card to clearly establish that I'm not a crook.

Later on we were doing a twisty move and the teacher said kindly, "The other leg, Shauna" (I had left and right mixed up as usual). Then she said, "Wow, it's only your second week and I remember your name already! I'm normally rubbish with that."

"That's because she didn't pay," grinned one of the classmates. "You'll never forget her name!"

In other news, I scored my blue belt at kickboxing on Sunday!

I almost called in sick but that would have meant doing the grading another day, which would mean having to retain the moves in my brain for longer. Plus I wanted to progress with my Belt Buddies. We've been together since White… you can't break up that party!

It was ninety minutes of hell, comrades. Of course you should expect it to be harder the higher the grade but, man. It was hard to tell if it was the lingering cold or just the grueling-ness of the task. It was difficult staying upright at times; a punch would start out strong then wilt by the time it reached the target. The hardest part was concentrating on the instructions long enough to execute the moves. We finished with six one-minute rounds of sparring, a blur of thrashing arms and watery eyes.

Afterward we got our individual feedback from the coach. He was very kind and said I did well but I, rather knackered and delirious, kept interrupting with tearful rants. I coulda done better. I don't feel well. I can kick better than that. I'm always the dunce of the group. I HATE being the dunce of the group. Rah rah rah!

This illness has been much like the stage of drunkenness when your mouth takes off and way down in the background your brain is faintly pleading, BE COOL, MAN… but noooo, the mouth keeps going, so all you can do is listen to your own voice then cringe later on.

The fever is gone now but I feel high as a kite. It's a year since the first grading and I can't believe I've now got a blue belt. I love the whole kicking shebang so much. The people, the learning of new stuff, the general feeling of kick arse-ness. It's so addictive and empowering, even when you're Full of the Cold. I'm determined to work harder and more consistently and be fitter and stronger by the time we get round to Purple next year.

I've been recuperating since Sunday, belated doctor's orders. That is aside from the yoga class. We had to stare into a candle and meditate at the end. It was odd but lovely to let the mind go quiet and listen to the tumbleweeds up there.

Dry Your Eyes

The fever is giving me weird dreams. Last night I played tennis against World #2 Andy Murray. The court was made of dirt – not nice Roland Garros clay; more outback Australia dust. Andy was whipping my arse and I couldn't figure out why, until I looked down to see I was playing not with a tennis racquet but a TEASPOON.

"It's not fair," I whined, "How'm I supposed to beat you with a teaspoon?"

"That's the least of your worries!" said Andy Murray with great contempt, "DRY YER EYES!"

That's another brilliant phrase picked up in the UK. Try it next time someone is being a big moany wussypants. Summon as much disdain as possible as you sneer, "Ahh, dry your eyes!"

Tennis

I went to the doctor today who said I might feel shit for another couple of weeks, which isn't handy with our kickboxing grading on Sunday. Might need to see if I can postpone. Anyway, at least it's definitely not swine flu!

Now back to bed. Bon weekend, comrades!

The Yoga Thief

Give me a few weeks and this'll be me. FER SURE! Our Scottish Phrase of the Day is: "full of the cold". I'm currently full of the cold. Woe!

In Australia I used to say I was under the weather or fluey or getting slaughtered by the snot monster but over here people tend to say I'm full of the cold.

Not sure if this means if you sleep with unsavoury people you might end up Full of The Clap? Or if someone talks rubbish they are Full of the Shit?

Prior to filling up with The Cold, I made my shambolic return to yoga on Monday. I forgot to pack my pants, as in trousers, and didn't realise until I went to get changed after work. So I raced to the shops but the only ones I could find were two sizes larger than normal. This was not really a problem for my ultra-sturdy thighs but very troublesome at the waist, as I discovered at 5.52 PM, trying to hitch them up as I galloped to the high school where the class is held.

I was late and sweaty so had to hurl the mat down and try to switch into om mode right away. Helpfully the class is in the library so you automatically feel the need calm down and be quiet. Most of my exercise is of the "push your body til you feel like you're going to spew" variety (kickboxing and RPM), so it's good to be balancing things with the yoga and salsa.

The teacher was lovely with that low, soothing Yoga Voice. She loaned me her belt thingy to assist my hamstrings. They're rubbish at the best of times but I've hurt my knee again (another story) and when I lay down I couldn't raise the right leg off the floor any higher than about 45°. Meanwhile everyone else had a nice 90° or casually flung their leg over their head. All in good time ladies. All in good time.

I was worried I'd be zonked afterwards but I felt really energised. I said my thank yous then scurried down the road to kickboxing. Already I was convinced I'd stick with this class, unlike the one I did back in 2007. That one was in a crowded room at an awkward time with a little too much chanting. 

It wasn't until halfway through kickboxing that I realised with horror that I didn't pay for the class!!! I rushed in and out so quickly and completely forgot. What a numpty! What kind of animal does a runner from a yoga class?! The lady must be cursing my name in soft, earthy tones. First I steal her animated .gif and then I steal her expertise!

By the time I finished kickboxing her other class was over, so I left a frantic message to explain that I'm not really Full of the Crime, just in an awful hurry. Next week (if I'm Emptied of Cold) I'll be more organised.

Recipes

I love to cook… I’m definitely an “live to eat” rather than “eat to live” kind of lady. A little of what you fancy, I reckon. Here you’ll find random recipes and food ideas, mostly very healthy but a few treats too. There’s also entries from my now-defunct cooking blog, Cooking With Ginger.

Alternatvely you can browse through the Recipes category archive page, which includes all the pretty pictures.

Instant raspberry frozen yogurt

Under Construction

I'm starting a yoga class on Monday. Woohoo! I was Googling around and found one that slots in nicely in the wilderness hour between work and kickboxing. It's a short walk from work to yoga then enough time afterward for the short walk to kickboxing. Giddyup… such convenience and efficiency gives me a thrill. I normally spend that hour mucking around at home doing very little, so I may as well get bendy.

Also, I was sold by the sexy animated .gif on the yoga website:

Forward bend with sexy hairstyle

If fashion is currently embracing the 1980s, then surely in Internet Years we are due for an animated gif revival?

Under Construction

About

Two Fit Chicks and Microphone is a healthy living podcast for the people!

It was born in mid-2009 when Shauna Reid of Dietgirl was mourning the demise of Jillian Michaels' radio show. After searching in vain for substitute she pondered filling the void herself but decided to drag Carla of MizFit along for the ride.

About the podcast
We typically publish a new show on the 1st of each month. With Shauna in Scotland and Carla in Austin, we hook up via Skype to chat about all sorts of health and fitness topics – from running, weight training, food, goal-setting to tutus and chafing.

There's so many fantastic people online kicking butt with their health and fitness goals and never enough time to visit or read them all. In our regular segment Blogger News, we celebrate your successes and that helps inspire others – why not share your news too?

Neither of us claim to be experts – we're just passionate about healthy living and have a lot of personal experience when it comes to making big changes in our lives:

  • Carla lost 40 pounds 17 years ago and has maintained that loss through clean eating and a love of all things weight training.
  • Shauna lost 175 pounds and bumbled her way through three years of maintenance. Then after a long period of depression and 50 pound regain, she's now finding her way back using shrink sessions and mindful eating techniques.

About Carla
Carla Birnberg is an award winning author and fitness expert. A onetime personal trainer, she owned a boutique training studio, Head2Heel, in Chapel Hill, N.C. Carla also competes in both bodybuilding and fitness including a third place finish in the 2001 NPC House of Pain bodybuilding show. Her writing can be seen on Yahoo!Shine, in the Atkins Nutritional monthly newsletter, Experience Life Magazine, Austin Monthly Magazine and as a monthly health column in Good Life Magazine.

About Shauna
Shauna Reid is an Australian writer who lives in Scotland. Her memoir The Amazing Adventures of Dietgirl, published by Harper Collins, was named one of Marie Claire's Top 10 Diet Books and received a four-star review in People magazine. She has blogged since 2001 at dietgirl.org. Shauna's writing has been featured ELLE, Cosmopolitan, Grazia and The Mail on Sunday (UK). She has appeared on CBS The Early Show and her blogs and book have been featured in O Magazine, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Fitness and AOL Health. She is also co-founder and community director of Up & Running, providing kickass online running courses for women.

Disclosure
We sometimes use Amazon.com affiliate links when linking to books mentioned on the podcast. This means we get a small commission from any resulting sales. We use this to offset podcast hosting costs. Thank you kindly for your support!

Contact Us

We are fools for your feedback! Please send us your episode ideas and tips and/or share your news.

Share your news
In each episode we have a segment called Blogger News where we highlight groovy things people are doing in the blogging world. We'll link back to your blog or Twitter feed in the episode's blog post. It's your chance to show off! Previous news items have included a first 5K, reaching a non-scale goal, sticking to a plan, tackling a long dreaded task… no item is too big or small. It just has to be something important to you that youu're busting to tell someone! To submit your Blogger News, please use this submission form ONLY. We no longer accept News items submitted from other sources.


Your questions and episode ideas

Due to increased time pressures unfortunately we're unable to give advice and/or recomendations to queries about diet, health and fitness. However we love to hear your ideas for future episodes, so if there is a particular issue or topic you'd like to know more about, please tell us! We use your queries and ideas to plan future episodes so your feedback is always welcome.

How to reach us

O Bountiful Harvest

The first home-grown tomato. Behold this wondrous bounty! Enough to feed a family! Of fleas.

Baby-tom 

Love its bulbous face and jaunty green hat. It's begging to have eyes and mouth drawn on it. But too late… it's been scranned. That brief moment was quite delicious. But after all those careful months of watering and feeding and gently shaking the plant to help the pollen it felt like you were eating your own children. Sweet, delicious children.

Even better was the wee fella I picked yesterday from the weirdo feral plant (we have four tomato pots in all). I don't know what the hell breed this one is; some sort of cherry tomato. It was a cast-off from Gareth's dad; a mere stick at the time. Now it is taking over the greenhouse. In the past week it's gone from three little green blobs to dozens of little green blobs. It's taken root beneath the pot and is shooting extra arms all over the place, threatening to choke its neighbours. Nature! What a beast.

Anyway. The other day there was a chef on the telly waxing lyrical about summer tomatoes, groaning and guzzling with seeds and juice splashed over his face. Nothing like fresh off the vine, blah blah foodie piffle blah blah. But this cherry tomato from the beasty plant… holy moly. I'd absentmindedly plucked it off the plant as I was watering it, and actually staggered backwards at the taste, it was so shockingly sweet and tomatoey, it made my eyeballs hurt. How could something so small be so powerful and good? I wanted to ring up the newspapers and parade around town with a megaphone, sharing the news of this moment.

Oh man I had other things to report but it's 11.15PM and my brain has closed up shop. Think I am coming down with something. Non-swiney, mind you. Will just hit publish instead of faffing about any longer. Apologies for abrupt ending! Hope your week is treating you well.

Spin and Surrender

Cycling damsel. Photo from LIFE archive Spinning class was about to start. I was making my usual frenzied adjustments to the bike. Why can't they invent a "Remember Settings" button, so the seat and handlebars automatically ping and zip into place? It takes me at least ten minutes of wrestling and I never get it the same from one week to the next.

It's the same breed of panic as when you're at the supermarket checkout doing the juggle of debit card and shopping bags and purse and soup tins, trying to get your shit organised before the chick starts flinging the next person's groceries at you. I haaaate the thought of being left behind at Spinning, still frowning on the floor when everyone else has pedalled off to nowhere.

Finally I was satisfied with the seat height and was just about to climb aboard when a girl with a swishy ponytail appeared beside me.

"Ohhh…" she sighed, "You're using this bike?"

"Yes." I swished my hand to indicate my padded seat cover, my water bottle nestled in the cage; my custom handlebar configuration.

"Ohhh… really? That's my favourite bike. I always use that bike."

This is where any reasonable person would have said, "Ohhh… really? Well that's my favourite bike TOO and I got here first. So rack off."

But noooo. What did I say?

"Very sorry," with only minimal sarcasm. Then I removed my seat cover and water bottle and shuffled off obediently to another bike!

!!!!
Why did I DO that?
What kind of spineless gimp am I?

Honestly, this happened a month ago and I am still kicking myself in that futile George Costanza kind of way.

Maybe I didn't want to make a fuss because there's only six people in the class, so starting a bike turf war would make the atmosphere awkward. Or maybe my inner high-school-student-with-inferiority-complex automatically surrendered to the whims of the ponytailed popular girl?

Either way I seethed throughout the class, even during the evil interval track, when the seething was near audible as it merged with sweat. It would have been something like: Sssssssszzzziiiffcaarrrrgh!

One thing you could hear was the squeaky wheels of my second-choice bike, the crappiest bike in the room, going EEE EEE EEE EEE in time with my furious cadence.

Radio sucks without Jillian Michaels

Jillian Michaels To quote the great Hall and Oates, baby come back!

Jillian Michaels has abruptly disappeared from the radio waves and I'm bereft. On Sunday 21th July she gave no indication that the show was to be her last. If I'd known I'd have listened solemnly by candlelight while doing crunches and/or eating her favourite organic peanut butter cups… but nothing! She didn't even say goodbye!

Her final message on the KFI AM 640 website says, "I'm going to be taking a break from radio" which I naively thought meant a summer break. But Jen reports that the guy taking over her time slot said she was too busy to do the show. According to her official website the radio show is "on hiatus". Wah!

I always found it was amazing that Jillian found time for a radio show amidst all her filming and books and DVDs and Wii Fit thingies. It must take a lot of work to prepare for two hours of radio every week. Maybe she finally got in trouble for slagging off The Biggest Loser? Or maybe she got tired of answering the same questions every bloody week… how many times did she have to tell people how to lose the vanity pounds?

But I miss her. Jillian seems to be a love/hate figure but as I've not really seen her in action on The Biggest Loser I only know her through the radio show and one brief magical meeting at BlogHer 2007. She was funny, compassionate, honest, imperfect and completely lacking in bullshit. That's the charm of radio – you can show more dimensions to your character that a heavily edited and scripted television show would never allow.

And what of the lovely Janice, the show's producer? Does she still have a job or did she get sent back to Canada?

It's a sad day. Jillian will still be on the telly for you Americans but I know of fans in Britain, Australia, Finland and beyond who rely on the radio for their fix. I should start a petition. I haven't been compelled to protest since 2002 when I campaigned to get Everybody Loves Raymond taken off the air (91 signatures thank you very much) but this seems like an equally serious political cause to get behind!

We the undersigned hereby kindly request that Ms Jillian Michaels please get thee back on the radio…