The Fat Belly Dancer Works Out: Week 4

written by Andalee on August 21, 2013 in Healthy for life with 2 comments

I hit the one month mark! Woo hoo! It’s been four weeks since I started my challenge to start working out more. Unfortunately, last week was a dud. I only worked out once. It was a pretty good work out (more on that later), but the rest of the week fizzled. I ended up coming down with a “fibro flare” later in the week, which may have been due to the intense work out, but we also had some weather changes. However, I haven’t weighed myself in two weeks. Yahoo for progress, right?

So Tuesday was the Jillina video, Shape Up n’ Hip Out with Seher. We did about an hour and 15 minutes, equaling 2,911 steps. If you’re looking for a nice progressive workout at a steady pace, then you would like this one. I think I’ll skip the “Slow and Smooth” segment for subsequent uses as it is really beginner oriented or more of an 18-minute warm-up for us more experienced dancers. I could really feel the last four weeks of working out paying off! I am stronger and can last longer…And I haven’t gotten any workout headaches! Woo hoo! More progress. However, that all went out the window when I got home and I pulled something in my pectoral muscle. I could barely move my arms on Tuesday night and I felt little pangs of pain on and off on Wednesday.

On Wednesday the weather was beautiful and I used my lunch break to take a walk outside and get some fresh air. It was about 2,150 steps. It’s interesting how I can walk for 30 minutes and rack up nearly as many steps as belly dancing for over an hour! Anyway, I didn’t get much exercise the rest of the week, other and a nice walk with my husband on Sunday. So I managed to move 3 times last week, but I don’t really consider all of them work outs.

As promised, I continued to read The Fat Chick Works Outs! In Chapter 3 DePattie talked about functional fitness and how to live in our bodies as they are. This resonated with me because since I’ve become larger, I’ve found it harder to do things in my larger body. I sometimes find this frustrating, but most often, I just observe. Child’s pose feels different. It’s harder to move from one stretch to another. My stomach gets in the way of certain moves. It important to observe these differences but not pass judgment. I just have to remember that this is my new normal and I’ll work with it while I make my body stronger and more flexible.

It’s also made me realize that I am missing out on some things due to my lack of functional fitness. Functional fitness is being fit enough to do regular every day things like take the dog for a way, climb a flight of stairs, bend over and touch your toes, and the like.

Where I am lacking the most is that I can’t walk up two flights of stairs without getting incredibly winded. I’ve never been good at hills or stairs, but lately I’ve been feeling like I have asthma. You see, I work on the second floor of the building and I always take the stairs. Most of the time I am just climbing one flight, which is fine. However, other coworkers work on the ground level, so I often have to walk up two flights of stairs after my meetings with them. It is downright embarrassing to be huffing and puffing after two flights! So my new goal is to take both flights of stairs anytime I enter the building. There are two main entrances, one on ground level and one on the first floor. If I take the ground level entrance, then that is an extra flight each day. I am not sure if that will make that much of a difference, but it is a small enough goal to get me started.

I also wanted to apply functional fitness to belly dancing. What kinds of basic fitness levels do we have to have to be good at performing or teaching? I personally would like to be able to do a 10-15 minute belly dance set without feeling like I am dying. My nostrils flare when I am dancing and I find it unattractive, not to mention the sweat and the red face. So my goal is gradually build up to being able to dance a full ten-minute set again. I will start by dancing through one five minute song without breaking. I will check my perceived level of exertion and then I will then try again if I still feel good after the first song. If I can do the song twice in a row for 10 minutes, then great! If I check my perceived level of exertion and still feel OK, then I will do it a third time. I repeat this exercise until I feel like I can dance a full 15 minutes without stopping. The good thing about this goal is that it doesn’t require a full work out. I can break it down into 10 or 15 minute chunks. Heck, I may not even need to put my workout clothes on!

My icing on the cake goal, which requires strength training and drilling, is that I really want to be able to do elevator drops! I’ve always wanted to do this, but have never had the leg strength. For the next couple of weeks I am going to research the kinds of training needed to do these. If you’ve got any suggestions feel free to leave them in the comments!

So what about you? What are some of your functional fitness goals, your belly dance fitness goals and your icing on the cake goals?


About Andalee

Andalee is the founder of Belly Dance at Any Size. She is an Oriental dancer and instructor from Durham, NC, now based in Montpellier, France. She has been dancing since 2005 and teaching since 2008. Her mission is to promote Oriental Dance (a.k.a. belly dance) as a respected and valid performance art.