15 Questions About My Fitness and Workout Routine

I recently read a nutrition blog post where the author answered a series of questions about her nutrition and wellness routine. It inspired me to think about my own answers to the same type of questions relating to my own fitness and workout routine, so I thought I’d share them with you.

1. What’s your favorite workout?

Outside of paddling? Well, I’m a water-lover by nature, so I love to swim. Not only is it a whole-body workout, it’s also great cardio AND it correlates well with our sport. I could probably swim forever. Well, except that my skin gets all pruney. But I love the water that much.

2. What is your usual workout routine?

I definitely don’t have a “usual” workout routine. If I’m doing a cardio workout, I hop on the rowing erg and crank out one of the three tortures our coach has dreamed up for us that week. I’m lucky enough to have my own erg at home, so I watch tv or a movie while doing the workout – it definitely helps with the mental toughness aspect of the workout, otherwise I watch the numbers on that darned erg screen the whole time and I’m inclined to give in to the discomfort and tell myself, “That’s enough for today,” which is never helpful.

If I’m doing a weight workout at the gym, I start with back extensions, no matter what. Strengthening my lower back has helped me immensely in paddling. After that, I do one of the three weight workouts the coach has given us for the week. I usually end the workout with core strengthening exercises, a one-armed handstand for 45 seconds (for shoulder strength and stability) and stretching on a mat.

One-armed handstand for shoulder stability

Photo: Kate Davidson

3. What’s a workout you never thought you’d love?

Hot yoga. The idea of sweating profusely in close proximity to so many other bodies completely grossed me out. In all honesty, it still does kinda gross me out. But after trying hot yoga a few times, I became hooked. Power Yoga in Canada is a great hot yoga workout and they also have a “Deep Flow” class that is more of a stretching class. It’s particularly great for those tight paddling hips!

I never even really liked yoga, even though I saw the benefits of it. I could never chill out long enough to stretch properly. I was that girl in the back who was going through the motions, forgetting to breathe, mentally going through her grocery list and wanting to be back out on the water as soon as possible. And when I heard about hot yoga…just thinking about being in a hot room was an idea so foreign to me. I mean, really, why would you force yourself into a hot flash? So the idea that now I’m not only doing yoga, but HOT yoga? I never, ever would have predicted that one.

yoga pose warrior one

Photo: Kate Davidson

4. What’s the next workout you’ll try?

I’m dying to try one of those America Ninja Warrior-type workouts. I know I don’t have the upper-body strength or grip strength for many of the challenges, but I’m sure I will have fun trying! Imagine swinging Tarzan-style across all those rings while over a pool of water. So exciting!

5. What do you wear when you workout?

I’m not normally one for brand names. In fact, I typically rebel against them. So for that reason I was really late to get on the Lululemon train. I despised everything about the “status” of the brand. I thought the prices were outrageous (OK, to be honest, I still do!). But then I was gifted a pair of their capri leggings and my mind changed. They stayed in place no matter how I moved. They didn’t stretch out after only a few wears. They didn’t show all my nooks and crannies when I bent over for a deadlift (ladies, you know what I’m talking about!). And it didn’t look like I peed my pants when I got sweaty. Wow. I was impressed.

So now I understand the value of spending a little more on workout gear that is made of better, more durable fabric. My favorites are the Wunder Under Crops and the Swiftly Tech Racerback tank. That tank is made of fancy material that keeps it from stinking, even when I sweat like crazy in the hot yoga class.

And I’m a basic girl in terms of style. That might even mean I’m boring. I like a simple top and capris. For the tank, not some weird flowy thing with elaborate twisted fabric in the back and loads of straps that I’d likely strangle myself with. Just a regular racerback tank. For the pants, not some mesh bits that show my skin, or “peep holes” down the side of the legs, or even bright bold patterns. I usually wear black bottoms and a grey top. So boring. I get it.

For a workout on the water, I wear a comfy team jersey from a team I’ve traded with and two pairs of shorts. I’ve found that doubling up on my shorts helps my rear.

6. Who were your childhood sports heroes?

I idolized Steve Garvey, the first baseman for the San Diego Padres in the 80s. I grew up in San Diego playing first base in the boys’ league as a kid, so it’s no wonder I wanted to be like Steve.

Photo: amazon.com

7. What were your athletic dreams as a child?

I wanted to be the first female in Major League Baseball. Eventually I gave up that dream because, although women were gaining ground in athletics, it just didn’t seem feasible that they’d ever let a woman into the league. I guess I would have settled for being the Mia Hamm of baseball/softball, but I didn’t even see that as a possibility when I was young. I obviously didn’t know about dragon boating back then.

8. What does balance mean to you?

I have spent a lot of my life in a state of unbalance. I put too much focus on my studies and not enough on my social life. Or I put too much focus on travel and adventure and not enough focus on work. Or I put too much focus on paddling and not enough focus on friends and family. Now, in my forties, I’m starting to figure out that no single thing is more important than any other if it causes me to dismiss everything else, so I guess that’s my version of balance. Nowadays, I’m just trying to stay upright on the boat.

gunwale riding

Photo: Didi Fisher Weinreb

9. What’s the first thing you do in the morning?

I make a bowl of oatmeal and a cup of green tea. Every. Single. Morning. It’s my thing.

10. What’s the last thing you do at night?

I read at night in bed. I LOVE to read before falling asleep. It gets me relaxed and turns my brain towards the book and away from all the stresses of the day.

11. What’s your favorite way to unwind?

As I mentioned, I love reading. I’ll read pretty much anything I can get my hands on, but I do love a good novel, especially one where I can’t predict the ending. I recently read “I Let You Go” by Clare Mackintosh and didn’t see the ending coming at all. Loved it!

The water helps me unwind, too – being in it, on it, near it. Water definitely puts me in my happy place. Even just going for a walk down to the lake puts me in a better mood.

kid in ocean

Water helps me to unwind. Photo: Mom

12. What’s your favorite nourishing meal?

I guess that depends on what aspect of “nourishing” we’re talking about…If I’m training or testing and need a healthy meal to nourish my body in terms of strength, then I go for a chicken breast, broccoli and brown rice. If I need more of a comfort-type food to nourish my soul, I go for Mexican food. I love burritos, tacos, enchiladas, etc.!

13. What’s your favorite indulgent food?

I’m a sucker for ice cream. It is really my weak spot. About 10 years ago, before I figured out how much sugar affected me, I used to come home from work each day and eat a half a carton of Breyer’s ice cream. No kidding. Then I’d slip into a sugar coma, sleep for about an hour on the couch and wake up feeling like I had been drugged. I was lucky to have a very fast metabolism, but I still can’t believe I was that dumb about my sugar intake back then.

14. When you first started working out, what was the most intimidating thing about the gym?

Um, everything. I didn’t know how to use the equipment. The free weights were big and scary. The people working out at the gym were big and scary. I was afraid of looking stupid by not knowing how to do anything correctly. (If this is your fear, take a look on YouTube at people using gym equipment in, um, “creative” ways and you’ll see that there are people out there who are far worse than anything you could ever dream up). I definitely let my fear get in the way of my working out and avoided the gym for a long time.

I used to go to classes like bootcamp-style classes because I was too afraid to do the workouts on my own and felt that I needed some guidance in not only how to do everything, but also what to do. It helped to have an instructor in the gym telling me what to do, though in hindsight I definitely didn’t push myself enough. But at least those classes were better than nothing.

lat pull downs

Photo: Kate Davidson

15. What advice would you give to people who are afraid to go to the gym?

Don’t be afraid to start slow. For me, I had to master a few particular exercises first before I felt comfortable. So, for example, I worked on lat pull downs and one-arm dumbbell rows. Two things. I had a teammate show me how to do them and I worked on them. I’d use other equipment here and there, but for the most part, those were the two things I wanted to master correctly. Then I added in two new ones. As I became familiar with what my body needed to do for my focus exercises, I became much less self-conscious or afraid of what I was doing. I built up my confidence slowly. I mean SLOWLY. But I got there. I still struggle to do a deadlift properly, so I go super light and work on my form. Not ideal, but better than avoiding it completely or hurting myself.

Don’t let fear or intimidation get in your way. I get it. It can be scary.

Have questions about my fitness or workout routine? Let me know!

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