DDP Yoga for Runners

Running Road Warrior!

Running Road Warrior Pose!

I’m about to finish the eighth week of my Marathon training program. As you might expect, there’s a lot of running involved, which meant I had to sacrifice some of the time-slots in which I would normally do DDP Yoga. I’m still getting in about three DDP Yoga sessions a week because DDP Yoga fits into a running schedule like no other workout could! My marathon schedule calls for both strength and cross training. For strength training, DDP Yoga works my legs, my core and my upper body better than any other form of exercise I have tried*; this is the first time in my life I have ever had toned arms. It improves my balance, my leg strength and my core strength, all of which contribute to a better performance on race day. It works my muscles in completely different ways to how they are worked when I run, which a recent article from Runner’s World explains that I am lowering my chance of sustaining new injuries.

For cross training, it is advised that I engage in a high cardio exercise that allows you to use slightly different muscles but shouldn’t include activities requiring sideways movements because you raise your risk of injury. Oh, and it’s meant to be something you enjoy too. Well, here’s the rub. I don’t like exercise. You don’t soar to 198 lbs when you have a healthy enjoyment of sports and fitness! Also, I am injury prone! My family does not have good genes for knees; gentle gusts of wind have been known to take out our ACLs. So, that’s pretty much any form of cardio eliminated. Except for DDP Yoga. It’s high cardio (I spend at least 60% of a workout in my fat-burning zone), it’s zero impact (no jerking movement to injure me), and I love doing it. I am continually motivated by new challenges, connection to people in TeamDDP, and the support from everyone all the way from new members to DDP himself.

Another huge benefit of DDP Yoga is the stretching. In addition to giving you a high cardio, zero impact, strength-building workout, DDP Yoga has Sports therapy built into it. I, like many injury-prone runners, am  meant to stretch out after running but it’s sooooo boring. Thanks to all my recent running, and my somewhat lackluster relationship with post-run stretches and a recent bout of sickness, I found myself as stiff as a board a few weeks ago. I knew exactly what was needed! I did a killer Hip, Back, and Knee Opener workout, and my flexibility returned overnight. Because I have been doing DDP Yoga, especially the HBKO workout, regularly since I started the marathon training program, I have had no knee pain so far. Even if you didn’t invest in the Max Pack, every single DDP Yoga workout has stretches and rehab moves that will keep you limber and pain-free. Twisted-lunge, Figure 4 stretch and Can Opener hit those pesky IT bands; Supported Lunge gets your hip flexors; Ignition, Touchdown and Diamond Cutter strengthen those oft weak adductors; Triangle gets your groin and hips; Down Dog gets the hamstrings; etc. etc.

flex

Flexibility, DDP Yoga Style

So there you have it, DDP Yoga is for Runners. And it’s not just for people who are already runners. It’s what you use for making new runners! Arthur Boorman, Marv White, Me. Without even googling or browsing through TeamDDP, there’s three people I was able to list off the top of my head who physically couldn’t run at all before DDP Yoga. Arthur Boorman couldn’t walk without crutches and braces before DDP Yoga, never mind taking a jaunty trot through the park. Marv White couldn’t run ten yards without severe foot pain before DDP Yoga, but has since completed numerous 5-8K races, and will run a 10K in March. As for me? Let me put it this way, there were three concrete steps outside our old house. Every evening when I came home and got out of my car, I would get to the steps, pause, take a deep breath, and brace for searing knee pain. Going up a single step made it feel like a samurai sword was being driven through my kneecap. Since starting DDP Yoga, I’ve completed a half-marathon, and I am training for a full marathon in May.

Product of DDP Yoga

Always look for the authentic “Product of DDP Yoga” seal! 

I can never properly express the gratitude I have for DDP, Yoga-Doc and DDP Yoga. They took chronic pain that was so severe and frequent that it caused depression, and turned it into the gift of finishing a half-marathon and the ability to dream of running a full marathon. It doesn’t cover it, but Thank You.

* and I have tried them all! 

Two in Seven Billion

Christina is an amazing person. She has come from a harrowing loss and depression, and gone on to own her life, reach her weight goals, inspire others, and become a very important member of teamDDPyoga.com, while also being a wonderful mother, wife and friend. It was both an honour and a shock to co-win the 2014 DDP Yoga Challenge with her. To be honest, I feel a little undeserving of being held up alongside her.

But the fun hasn’t stopped there. Christina and I found out a couple of weeks ago that we are the first ever female certified DDP Yoga instructors!!!

HCS4L

T-shirt slogans: Slightly more reputable than Wikipedia.

In other words, I went from this:

How do you like the new advertising campaign?

to this:

To mark our joint achievements, I thought I would do what Christina and I do best: inject some humour into the situation.  On the DDP Yoga trailblazers Facebook group, we came up with a funny list of effects that training for the certification has on your life. Here it is:

  1. You can’t do the regular workouts without instinctively mirroring the movements AND/OR your sense of left and right is completely messed up now!
  2. You find yourself pulling your adductors together and squeezing your glutes while queuing at the store.
  3. You always go from Touchdown to Huddle Up when doing the regular workouts, instead of folding forward like you’re meant to.
  4. You totally thought it was “Hulk it OUT”…. oops!
  5. Your friends and family are sick of you referencing what you heard on DDP Radio, and you rebut their claims that you’ve “really drunk the Kool-Aid” by pointing out that Kool-Aid would never be allowed in Phase III.
  6. Waiting in a doctor’s office or an airport is torture… Look at all that open space where I could really get in a great DDP Yoga session!
  7. You feel genuine pity for any friend that speaks enthusiastically about a non-DDP Yoga exercise program. They just don’t know any better!
  8. You can’t make it through a single day without at least one Diamond Cutter thrown in for good measure, even on rest days.
  9. You have developed a new handshake, fingers spread wide and engaged!734516_10153583893430411_345874729_n
  10. If you see someone slouching, you have the urge to run them through entire ignition phase.
  11. (For Men) MsN has ruined missionary position!
  12. You know the words to every workout… backwards.
  13. You literally can’t wait to be really old! Lower target HR? Awwww yeaahh!
  14. You totally kicked ass doing your DDP Yoga today!

Okay, so maybe it’s only funny if you’re training to get certified.

If there’s one thing DDP Yoga it excels at, it’s having a sense of humour:

Screen shot 2014-02-19 at 18.51.09


Currently located on the mantlepiece by the big cheque!
Currently displayed on my mantlepiece by the big cheque!

 

Liz Rebooted

I’m done! I finished the half-marathon I spent the past three months training for. At the risk of being a broken record, I am going to again point out that back in January of this year (2013 for my friends from the future), my physical therapists promised me that with my ITBS, PFPS, weak calves, inflamed knees, tight and weak hips, and overweight status, amongst a litany of other complaints they had with my body, it would be at least a year before I could think about running at all. And in case I didn’t get how serious it was, they did that thing where they repeat the crappy part of the sentence: “It will be at least a year before you can think about running… at least.” Okay, okay, I get it, I’m in bad shape. Well, like a smaller scale of Arthur Boorman’s achievement in the face of being told by his doctor that he would never walk unassisted again… never (I’m assuming they doubled up the bad part of the sentence here too), DDP Yoga let me prove them wrong. After 4 months of DDP Yoga, and before I started training for the half marathon, I went to a orthopedic specialist to get the all-clear to start. She said my flexibility was above average, my ITBS was gone, and I was a prime candidate for a half-marathon program. Thanks DDP!

The training program allowed for some cross training, which I took to mean, “do your DDP Yoga!” but there was a lot of running, and as the three months progressed, the opportunity to fit in my DDP Yoga waned. As a result, my flexibility took a bit of a hit. It’s not as bad as it was before, but it’s not as good as it was when I was exclusively on the DDP Yoga plan. I have already signed up for the Wisconsin half marathon in May, which will mean a start date in February for training. Between now and then, my sole focus will be to work on my flexibility and DDP Yoga certification.

Doing the 6 pictures every month was such an important part of my success when I used DDP yoga to lose weight, so I am going to take a similar approach, but this time the pictures will be solely geared towards assessing my flexibility, as I don’t plan to lose any more weight. And there’s going to be 9 of them this time! Here’s my Day 0:

Day0

 

In a similar vein, I am going to reboot my DDP certification training. I had been following along with the video, and assumed following along with it over and over would enable me to present it. However, when I made my first attempt at doing this month’s Warrior’s in Training challenge, in which I needed to make a video of myself teaching DDP Yoga, it was made horribly clear to me that my approach had not been working. Despite the hundreds of times I have done DDP Yoga workouts, I couldn’t remember the cues for a single move, never mind delivering them. I have scrapped my DDP Certification journal, and I am going to restart with Sparky’s journal template. I am going to do the certification video more times per week, and I will either be co-leading (parroting along with DDP while I do the workout), or practicing it on my own. No more following along in silence.

Wish me luck!

The title of this post is a nod to my teamDDPyoga.com mate, Christina, and her wonderful blog, Body Rebooted. It’s a great blog, you should check it out! 

… But You Lost The Weight by Running!

Oh, how soon they forget.

I was having a conversation with my husband and his grandmother, when the discussion turned to my weight loss. I got halfway into my usual spiel about how wonderful DDP Yoga is, when my husband corrected me, and said that I had actually lost the weight by running. I can understand where his confusion came from; I have been training for a half-marathon for the last three months, and it might seem to someone who hasn’t been measuring and logging everything as meticulously as I have that all that running contributed to the weight I lost. However, despite his insistence to the contrary, he is wrong. The weight came off and then I started running more frequently.

Like I said, I documented everything, so figuring out what actually contributed to my weight loss wasn’t too hard.

  • I started DDP Yoga on April 9th (as per the upload date on my Day 0 pictures)
  • I reached 155 lbs (my goal weight) on July 11th, or Day 93.
  • Between April 9th and July 11th, I did DDPY 62 times
  • I only ran or used the elliptical 17 times between those two dates
  • I didn’t even start my half-marathon training until July 21st, prior to that my average run was only about 20 minutes

So there you go! The weight came off because of DDP Yoga. It’s also worth noting that before DDP Yoga, I couldn’t get up or down the stairs without wincing in pain, and my physical therapist told me in January of this year that it would be at least a year before I could consider doing any running. Even if running had contributed meaningfully to my weight loss – it didn’t – I wouldn’t have been able to do it without DDP Yoga’s rehabilitation of my knees. As for that rehabilitation, my marathon training was okayed by my sports doctor, and my physical therapist said I was well-above average in flexibility of my joints.

Also, there’s this:

Sorry if this post seems unusually defensive in tone. I owe everything to DDP Yoga, and I get a little Mama Bear when people criticize it, or try to place the credit it’s due elsewhere! 

My FIRST 90 Days

I’m officially beyond Day 90 of doing DDP yoga, so I thought it would be a good time to write down some of my journey. Hopefully, doing so will enable me to express just some of the gratitude I have for DDP and YRG, but it just isn’t possible to fully describe how much it means to me, or how it has changed my life.

You hear the phrase, “I’ve been given my life back.” That doesn’t apply to me – thank goodness! My life before YRG was never that of a healthy or thin person. I grew up in a family where I wasn’t encouraged to play sports, and junk food was readily available. In my teens and early 20′s, I was completely inactive, did zero extracurricular sports in high school, lied my way out of every phys. ed. class, smoked, drank and ate terribly. I was never the skinny girl, or even a thin girl, but thanks to the combination of a youthful metabolism and having to walk to take the bus, I wasn’t as fat as I should have been. I would become that fat in my thirties.

When I moved to the US after college, I weighed 175 lbs at 5′ 11″. I was suddenly able to afford a car which meant no more walking, I was now in a country with much more affordable dining out, added sugar in far more foods, and no pesky parents telling me to eat vegetables, or that dessert foods can’t be used as breakfast. I was also in a country where lbs was the standard unit of weight, not stones as I had being used to. That change hampered my ability to realize that what I weighed should have “sounded heavy” to me. Also, I was marching toward my thirties, so the metabolism began slowing down.

Over the years, I tried various diets and exercise regimes. I’m going to avoid using brand names, but if you Google “workout system infomercial” or “hot new diet”, you’ll probably find the majority of them. I conservatively estimate that I spent over $5000 on weight loss/exercise systems over the years. Every single time, it went the exact same way. I’d go hard and heavy, obsess about it, overdo it, and ultimately fatigue myself and burn out, never having lost more than 10 lbs. Then I’d replace over-exercising with overeating, and gain back whatever I’d lost, plus 3-5 lbs more. At no point in this period did I drop below 175 lbs.

Before_2

Along the way, my knees became more and more damaged. Starting out with a foundation of weak/poorly exercised knees from being so inactive as a teen and being overweight, coupled with doing silly things like step aerobics and other high-impact workouts when I finally did start exercising, it led to chronically sore joints, which would plague me for years.

I was finally given a wake-up call when my daughter was two. I went to a doctor and then a physical therapist for my knee pain. Amongst the therapeutic regimes they prescribed, they both said I needed to lose weight. I was gob-smacked! I wasn’t overweight!! And even if I was, that was just baby weight, so you couldn’t count that; it’s only temporary (remember, my daughter was TWO at this point). The weight had come on so gradually that I just hadn’t seen it. I had an amazing capacity for denial, and a husband who, for some stinking reason, treated me as attractive and loved me, even at the weight I was at.

After being told I was overweight, I looked at myself in the mirror, and finally saw what I really looked like. I was a thirty-two-year-old, fat woman. I had never had the body I wanted, and if I didn’t make a change now, I never would. I was so depressed. Even my size 16 clothes didn’t fit well any more. I was tired all the time, my knees really hurt (physical therapy was NOT working), and I had an active toddler keeping me too busy to do the 1.5 hour-per-session workouts I owned. I honestly believed that my body was not capable of being thin or toned. It sounds stupid now, but at the time I actually knew it to be true. I was really at rock bottom. I was so depressed that I was just going to give up and not try. I accepted what I thought to be my fate, and was planning to just eat junk food and stay on the couch where I belonged.

Here’s where the journey starts:

One evening,  I was especially depressed and I posted a message about my situation on a Mom’s Group forum, and was given some support and advice. One person said to forget the fads, and just count calories using a free app on my iPhone. As a scientist, the laws of thermodynamics make sense to me, so calorie counting made sense.

I took photos of myself in front of the mirror at my worst. I wanted to mark this as the worst I’d ever get, and to remind myself NEVER to let this happen again.

Before-1

Like most people, I’d already seen the “Arthur” video at this point. I’d enjoyed watching it, being happy for him, crying when he was able to run, etc, etc. But I didn’t think it would work for me. I’d seen before/after pictures before; we all have. Granted, there’s never been quite as exceptional a transformation as Arthur’s, and he was unique in that he came to it disabled -with knee problems no less- and had been rehabbed by this system. But, you can’t believe everything you see online; it could have been the same disappointment I’d had with previous systems. I contacted my best friend who is a HUGE wrestling fan to see if he knew anything about YRG. What he told me was so remarkable I ordered the DVDs that day. They were to be a birthday present to myself!

In one of the emails I received after I placed my order, I was encouraged to join TeamDDP. I very nearly ignored it, but thank goodness I didn’t; access to TeamDDP has been pivotal to my success. I set up my profile, added (reluctantly) my Day 0 pictures and measurements, and started the Diamond Dozen. As suggested, I bought a heart rate monitor, and couldn’t believe that I was burning up to 200 calories in the Diamond Dozen (that’s 400 calories per hour, compare to the 180 calories per hour most yoga burns). I was also amazed that my heart rate was flying into my fat-burning zone as fast as promised!

I studied the program guide, and started the nutrition program in conjunction with the calorie counting I was already doing. There’s nothing like eating right to make you feel instantly better, and to improve your performance!

My goals were as follows. By the end of the first 90 days, I wanted:

  1. To dropped to 172.2 lbs (from 192.2)
  2. I wanted to have stuck with the program longer than thirty days – my personal best for previous systems.
  3. I wanted my knees to hurt less.

It’s important to note that I’m a firm believer in the aim for the stars, reach the rooftops philosophy. Those goals I mentioned were not really going to be met. For instance, losing 22.2 lbs? I’d never lost more than 10 lbs in any previous attempt (and I’d always gained more than 10lb back after).

To recap, at Day 0, I was at 192.2 lbs, “aiming” to lose 22.2 lbs in 90 days, but not really expecting to.

I scoff at those goals now!

Before I got to Day 60, I had to re-edit my teamddpyoga.com profile to lower my 90-day goal weight having cruised right past 170 before Day 50!

Somewhere around Day 30, I went shopping for a dress with my mother-in-law. When we got to the store, she asked my size so she could hunt for dresses while I waited in the changing room. For my late teens and entire adult life, I have been at least a size 16. I don’t know what I was at my worst; I was too depressed to weigh or measure myself, or go clothes shopping. Presumably, I was at least a size 18. I guessed, having lost some weight, I was now a 14. The first size 14 dress I tried on was too baggy! And the second, and the third! “Sweetheart, you’re a 12!” my mother-in-law informed me. I couldn’t believe it! Getting to a size 14 had been my “lofty” goal.

980130_10201155440989420_1111699726_o

A huge part of my success has been the support and advice I have received from the group I started in TeamDDP. It is aimed at women who started around the same time I did, based on the philosophy that we would have the same needs/problems at the same time. I have received great support , friendship, and information from them, and I’ve found I’ve learned equally as much from giving advice as I have from receiving it. I’ve also delved into the pitfalls I’ve had in the past, and we’ve talked about how we deal with temptations or personal shortcomings. Undoubtedly, this has played a role in how long I’ve stayed focused.

More recently, I joined a group that does weekly challenges (e.g. hold thunderbolt for as long as you can). This engages my competitive side, and gives me weekly goals to stay motivated.

Speaking of competition, my knees were up to running in a 5K by Day 30, when I ran my first ever sub-10 minute mile. By Day 60, I ran in the Warrior Dash, completed every single obstacle and came in the top quartile of the 7500  people who ran it. I’m now gearing up to start training for an October half-marathon. Let’s be clear, I was NEVER a runner, and I’ve never considered marathon running as being something I could do. Now I KNOW I can do it!

photo3

Another pleasant surprise was getting a personal comment from DDP himself on a video I uploaded, and my profile page. YRG is the real deal, and that’s because DDP is the real deal. He is clearly genuine about bringing something to people that can improve their lives (see his work in Afghanistan/Iraq). He cares about us, and he tracks our progress in this journey. When I read his comments, I was so star-struck that I was motivated to knock the 20-second crocodile at the end of Strength Builder out of the park that evening; I’d never done that before!

Another thing that is keeping me focused is the crazy progress I have made. Here is a list of things I COULD NOT DO before YRG (and I practiced “classic” yoga for a number of years, so it wasn’t for lack of trying):

  • Crocodile
  • Crow/Crane (at all)
  • Wheel for any reasonable length of time
  • Road Warrior 3
  • Half Moon
  • Twisted half moon
  • Bird of Paradise
  • All the vinyasas in P90X yoga on my feet
  • All the oms in P90X yoga (lung capacity)
  • Firefly

Here’s a list of things I can do now:

  • All of the above

As I approached both my weight goals and the end of my 90 days, I have been asked if I will continue with YRG moving into the future. The answer is, why on earth would I not? I’m stronger and thinner than I have ever been, and I want to see how far I can take it. As I transition from being in weight loss mode to a maintenance mode, I find I’m more focused on seeing what yoga skills and athletic pursuits I can master next, which represents my YRG practice becoming a more permanent lifestyle. I’m healthier, more energetic, stronger, more confident in all areas of my life, a better mother and role model to my child, and a happier and more attractive wife to my husband. My new long-term goal is to get certified as a YRG instructor. And you know what? I’m going to do that successfully too!

Like I said, it isn’t possible to fully express the gratitude for what YRG has done for my life. But, for what it’s worth: Thank you.


Timeline

A long time ago: Born

Age 15: Reached 168 lbs (12 stone)

Age 22: 175 (12.5 stone) and gaining

Age 30: 185 lbs (13 stone) lowest, 198 lbs (14 stone) highest measured

Age 33: Started DDP

Age 33 +90 days = 157 lbs (11 stone)