Skipping Rope Tape

Just an update, that I tried out using medical tape for the skipping rope and it was terrible.  It tore through the tape after 2 rounds of skipping.  Going to have to try another option.  Does anyone know where to buy that special tape they use on books?

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How to Tape a Skipping Rope

When I decided that I was going to do a skipping challenge, I found that there wasn’t much online with how-to articles for working with a speed rope.  Most of what I know, I learned from taking boxing and kick boxing classes, and asking questions.  So I figured I’d share what I learn as I go.

First, start with a rope.  I like to use an inexpensive plastic speed rope that you can get at most sporting goods stores.  Mine is bright green.

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The fact that they are inexpensive is a pro.  But, they also have their cons . . . they are all one-size and they can wear out and break.  If you need to shorten the rope* and want to help increase the longevity of your rope applying a bit of tape can help adjust the length and decrease the wear and tear. 

The ‘Before’ Handles

Copy of IMG_6785IMG_6816 See how lumpy the tops are?  The one on the left is also kind of crooked too.  The bulkiness is ok, but makes the turning motion a bit more awkward.  You can’t see it in the picture either, but the taped parts further down the rope have been worn down and become very sticky and gummy from the friction, which also slows down the turning.

Tools:

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-electrical tape**

-box cutter/sharp knife/scissors you’ll need to cut the electrical tape

-goo gone/nail polish remover/cleaner to remove any gunk you might have on the rope

I taped my rope when I first bought it, but I had done a sloppy job and it was time for it to be redone.  So, I redid the tape job and took pictures as I went.

Preparations: 

First, if your rope is already taped, like mine was, you need to remove the tape.

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I used the box cutter to carefully cut off the old layer of electrical tape.  You can see how much of it there was covering the end of the handle.  The little black knob at the top was all that originally held the rope in place in the handle.

Second, you’ll want to make sure your rope is clean, so it’s easier to work with.  I used some goo gone, but nail polish remover, or anything that’ll take the sticky off, would be good enough.

Third, you need to decide where to tape the rope.  If you are adjusting the length, you’ll need to measure the rope for your height.  The way to figure this out is by standing with your feet together on the rope and holding handles straight up.  If the handles come up to your armpits, you will probably find it a good length for you.  I originally used a sharpie marker to show where the handle will end on the rope, but you can also just eyeball it.

Taping to Adjust the Length:

Once you’ve figured out the length, you need to add some tape to adjust where the rope stops in the handles.  Here are some tips to make the process a bit easier . . .

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-start with a short piece of tape, it will be easier to keep neat.

-slowly build up layers

-build it up until it’s the same size as the original knob

-if you have to shorten it quite a lot, you might want to clip the end of the rope so it doesn’t interfere with the rope turning

Taping to Prevent Wear

The second place you’ll want to tape the rope, is at the spot where the rope comes out the bottom of the handle.  If you leave it without any tape, the plastic handle tends to wear the plastic rope and weaken it, leaving it prone to snapping off at this point.  Trust me when I say this is not a fun thing to have happen while you’re skipping!  Here are some tips for this part . . .

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-start the wrapping with a small piece of tape

-slowly add length

-be careful not to make it too thick!

I still need to work on perfecting this.  The picture above is my before picture, and the tape is a bit thick.  You can see that the tape is quite worn around the bottom.**

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That’s it.  It’s a fairly simple process, but I thought some explanation might help.  I’ll finish off with a bunch of more pictures of my rope taping job . . . Enjoy!  If you have any ideas about improvements or questions, feel free to fire away in the comments!

             IMG_6831 IMG_6832     IMG_6837  IMG_6839                  

*You can also shorten the rope by tying a knot in the end, but for the small adjustment that I need to make, knotting it is more difficult.  Also, depending on the plastic of the rope, the knot sometimes catches in the end of the handle making the turning awkward and choppy.

**I’m going to be experimenting with different kinds of tape that don’t get as gummy with the friction of the turning rope.  More updates as I do more research.

Fitness Projects

In addition to my Boxing Cardio Challenge, I’ve also started working on another fitness challenge, this one with friends.  We’ve teamed up with two other couples to work on our own ‘biggest loser’ type challenge, using a Wii Fit to measure our progress.  L and I are the only ones without a Wii, so this is also a nice excuse to get together with our friends and play some Wii a couple times a month.  We are trying to meet two Sundays each month to do active things.  And, we’ve each set our goals on the Wii Fit too (and our friends even made little Mii versions of us all – so cute!).  According to the Wii Fit I need to lose 8 pounds.  That doesn’t sound like a lot, but the last few pounds are always a bit difficult.

We’ve had our initial weigh in, but haven’t had a chance to meet up for any Sunday activities yet.  Some of the stuff we are thinking about doing . . . snowshoeing, a core yoga class, indoor rock climbing, and it’s even been suggested that we sign up for the Dragon boat festival (though we’ll need more than 6 people for that).

My boxing cardio challenge is going fairly well.  I just added my 4th round of skipping into my routine.  I’d like to be doing it a little more frequently than I currently am, but still struggle to get up early enough.  I’ve also started adding in some strength training and yoga to my exercise during the week. 

I finally managed to re-tape my skipping rope and am planning to post a tutorial about it.  I don’t think there are nearly enough skipping related blog posts available on the web, so I’m taking it upon myself to fix that.  I like the new tape job I did except the electrical tape does get gummed up with the friction of the turning rope.  I’m considering a few different options to try out.  By my third round I could feel the drag the sticky tape was putting on the rope turns, so if I’m going to work up to 12, I’d like to get the rope moving as smoothly as possible.

Progress Reports

Last year I did occasional posts reporting on my progress.  But, they turned out to be spotty at best.  So, this year, I decided I’d do what seems to be all the rage in the blogging world, put progress reports in my sidebar.  So, if you look to the side you should be able to spot my Big Rocks Progress Report.  If you are reading in a feed reader, you won’t be able to see it, so you’ll have to click through to my actual page.  I’ll try to do brief posts once in a while letting you know what’s been updated.

Lately, I’ve managed to do 2 perfect skipping rounds.  Not in the same workout mind you.  I’ve also decided that I’m going to have to re-tape my skipping rope as the current tape is starting to wear and affect the movement of the rope.  I’m hoping to snap some pictures of the process and post a tutorial.  One of the things I noticed when planning this challenge was the lack of information for skipping techniques and tips.  This is really a shame since it’s quite a good conditioning workout and a lot of fun too.  I’ll do my best to fill this void.

The only other update is that I actually drove.  I can’t believe I went almost an entire month in 2009 without driving, but there you have it.  Today I drove to and from work and my in-laws place.  I’ll also be driving again tomorrow and will try to update the progress bar accordingly.

2009 Big Rock Goal #1 Boxing Cardio Challenge

This is the first in a series of 5 posts describing my Big Rock Goals (major milestones) for 2009.  Every year I try to set up some reasonable specific goals that I can devote my time and energy to.  Every year when I finish them, I feel proud and happy that I’ve really managed to accomplish something special.  Here is what I’m going to be working towards this year . . .

My first challenge is a health related one.  I feel that when I’m healthy and exercising, it makes all the other challenges so much easier.  That being said, I really need to have some specific goals to work towards as ‘exercise more’ or ‘eat healthy’ just doesn’t light my motivational fire. 

Last year, I challenged myself to work up to being able to do 50 push ups (please note that even though I’m a girl, I did actual full push ups).  I wasn’t able to do them all in one set, but it was still something I felt very proud of, especially since I hated push ups before that.

When I went searching for this year’s challenge I tried to reflect on what I liked about last year’s challenge and what made it so successful. 

No equipment necessary.  One of the biggest factors was that I could do it anywhere, anytime.  I even did them one day on a rooftop in Japan when I realized I had forgotten to do them in our hotel that morning.  I didn’t need special equipment and I didn’t even need a particular space because any floor would do.  I literally would roll out of bed and start doing push ups.

A small commitment.  The other nice thing about last year’s challenge was that it was just part of a workout and not an entire plan that I had to follow.  Which meant that if I wanted to try out another workout, I could.  I just slipped my push ups into my warm up and then did whatever else I wanted.  It was good because it allowed me to still have variety and not feel locked into a specific program.

Simple to master.  Let’s face it . . . most of us know the theory behind a proper push up.  It isn’t something where you have to worry about your particular posture or technique to know whether or not you’re doing it ok.

This year, I decided to focus on cardio and endurance.  My goal this year will be to skip the equivalent of a professional boxing title match.  I’ll be working my way up to skipping for 12 consecutive 3 minute rounds (each round will have a 1 minute break in between, which will be used for a variety of floor exercises: push ups, sit ups, squats, etc.).  I can already do 3 rounds fairly well and I’ll be aiming to add another round every 5 weeks of training, which will have this challenge wrapped up in November if everything goes on schedule (if it doesn’t, I’ll have a bit of a buffer so that I can still get it done this year).

Unfortunately, anything that involves cardio will require a bit more equipment as I’ll at least need to have decent runners, and I’ll also need a skipping rope.  There are also a few more restraints as to where I can do this activity as I’ll need a bit more floor space and ceiling clearance to swing the rope.  I also need to be working on an appropriate surface as neither carpet nor concrete work well for skipping.

I do have runners that I can use, but they are in need of a replacement pair, which I plan to get as soon as I can afford to in January.  I also already have a skipping rope that I’ll be using.  I anticipate that I’ll go through three pairs of runners and probably one or two speed ropes as well.  I’m also thinking about saving up for a boxing timer like this one so I can pay more attention to my skipping instead of watching the clock.

While there are more requirements as to equipment, I won’t be holding myself to a daily schedule for the skipping.  I’ll probably try for at least 3 sessions per week.  At the end of the challenge, I’ll be spending 36 minutes skipping and the total skipping workout will be about 3/4 of an hour by itself.  So, I will have to be a bit more conscious about setting aside workout time, but I think that’s generally a good thing.

Here are some of the things that inspired my skipping challenge decision:

How do you plan on incorporating fitness into 2009?  Do you make New Year’s resolutions too? 

Tomorrow, I’ll tell you all about my travel goal for the year.

First Belly Dancing Class

005205, originally uploaded by amfdesigner.

Tonight was my first belly dancing class and it was a lot of fun! The class was very crowded though so we didn’t have much room and it was difficult to see the instructor. It would be nice if they limited the number to enroll to something a little more reasonable so that we got more out of it.

This class is very much like the class I took before. My former instructor teaches from this studio as well, which explains the similarities. I already have a copy of the CD to practice with, which is a good thing, because we’re actually going to learn a choreographed dance throughout the class.

A lot of the moves came back to me, but there will be some that need practicing. For instance, my shoulder shimmies really need some work. But, I think it’ll be fun.

If I enjoy it well enough I might just sign up for another session and look to moving on to the level 2 class when I’m ready. I’d also LOVE to get into some of the costuming. The other two women who are taking the class with me and I have all decided that we’re going to try to find a practice coin belt to wear at class and for practicing at home. Hope we can find some soon!

Planning for a Reward

I am very bad and giving myself rewards for anything.  So, I find it helps to plan for them a bit.  This week, I am at the 40 push-up stage of my 50 push-up challenge and I realized that I should probably have some sort of ‘yay me!’ moment at the end of it all.  But, I’m having trouble coming up with much.  I don’t want it to be something expensive but I don’t want it to be something too small either.

I have until November 30th to figure it out, since then I will be officially ‘done.’  It’s kind of odd that completing that goal will correspond with finishing NaNoWriMo 2008.  NaNo is its own reward since you (theoretically) have a manuscript when you’re done.  Plus, there’s a party (though I couldn’t make it to the one last year) and lots of co-participants to congratulate you.  My push-up challenge is just something I’m doing on my own so I don’t have the same group mindset.

For some possible rewards, here’s what I’ve come up with so far . . .

  • Read the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer (from the library, so I don’t have to spend money)
  • ?????

And that’s where I get stumped.  Since push-ups is an exercise, I feel as though my reward should at least not be unhealthy (ie. chocolate, dinner out, etc).  But I always find myself at a loss for coming up with rewards and scheduling them in.

Anyone have any great ideas for me?

Edit: It just occurred to me that at the end of November I will also have recently finished up a belly dancing class, a treat for myself might be to sign up for another belly dancing class, if I like the studio, teacher, etc.  That might be something I’m more willing to invest the money in once I’ve started.

Why the Women’s Health Ultimate Fitness Plan

This week the casual observer might think that I made very little progress on my goals. However, I am not disheartened and I haven’t given up at all. While I continue to be under the weather, I’ve still been spending time thinking about my goals and planning on how to make progress with them.

Earlier this week, I read an article from Unclutterer about Making your Resolutions a Reality. The article gave great advice to follow for achieving your goals. The five main points were:

  1. Write down your goals.
  2. Understand your motivation and need for change.
  3. Brainstorm ways to complete your goal.
  4. Create a detailed plan.
  5. Decide on your exact steps and next actions.
  6. Start!

The steps got me to thinking that while I’ve written a list of my goals, I haven’t yet explained in detail why I’m motivated to pursue them and why I think I need to change. I’ve done this in my own head, but I think writing it out is much more powerful and would be a great way to share it with everyone who might read this blog. So, here goes, I’m going to delve in to why I chose to follow the Women’s Health Ultimate Fitness Plan this year.

I know that resolving to be fit and healthy is a very common goal for people. Who doesn’t want to look and feel fabulous? I think it’s important to really get to the bottom of why you want to look and feel this way. For me, it begins where most neurosis does, in my childhood.

I was fat. My family was fat. I can remember my mother going on and off diets and trying different exercise gadgets. I remember the habits of my childhood that have now helped to form my basic struggles with food and exercise.  I remember pouring out the troubles of the day over a bowl of ice cream or plate of cookies after school.  I remember my father coming home after a long day at work and piling a plate full of food because that was his big meal of the day – later he would usually fall asleep on the sofa watching tv.  I remember being teased about my weight in school.

You’ll notice that I didn’t mention any real connections with exercise.  That’s because there wasn’t much going on in my household.  At least, nothing on a regular basis.  My mother would go for walks on an inconsistent basis, but not usually with us.  When we had a pool she would swim often, but by the time I was old enough to use the pool by myself, we moved out of that house.  We rode bikes occasionally, but that isn’t anything I’ve ever been excited about.  My sister and I played volleyball in Elementary school, but my parents were never really excited about us being involved in sports outside of our normal P.E. classes.  I can’t remember my father ever working out.  But, as a mechanic, his job demanded a certain amount of daily physicality and so he was strong, if still overweight.

Why I want to be fit is so that I can have a household that doesn’t have any of those bad habits.  I want a household where food is eaten as a way to stay healthy and give us energy so we can live full lives instead of being attached to so many emotional rituals and unhappiness.  I want a household where exercise is an integral part of daily life.  Since I never had that when I was growing up, I’m having to build this habit from the ground up.  I don’t want to be sporadically fit and healthy, I want to just BE fit and healthy and FEEL fit and healthy.  And, another big part of my motivation is tied to my own vanity, I want to LOOK fit and healthy too.

In order to fulfill my desire to BE, FEEL, and LOOK fit and healthy, I’ve decided to focus on exercise.  Emotional eating issues are much harder to translate into tangible goals and there are plenty of fitness classes and activities I can get involved in.  So far, while I’ve made huge strides, I still don’t feel as though fitness and activity is a natural part of my daily life.  It takes a lot of will power to get me started if I allow myself to stop.   And so my goals focus on regularity of action instead of specificity of milestones.  When I trained to run a 10k run in under an hour, it involved 13 weeks of near daily activity to be able to do that.  But, then after the run I lost focus for a brief while and my workouts didn’t have the same edge to them that they used to.  So, this time around I’m setting my goal on something that encompasses a longer time line for completion.

So there you have it.  A fairly thorough explanation of why this workout plan is important to me.  I’ll probably go through similar explanations of the other goals on my list at some time or another.  I’d love to hear any comments or feedback by email or here on the blog!