Fitness Goals, Do What You Can With What You Have

2-Do-what-you-can-with-what-you-have-where-you-are_-Theodore-Roosevelt

 

So it’s that time of night I should be doing stuff to get ready for bed, instead I have ideas bouncing around my head and I’m sitting down to write with a few pieces of Easter candy that somehow landed next to me and coffee to go with them.

Have mercy, I may never sleep tonight 😛

But when ideas come, it’s hard not to let them out. They tend to swirl around like the dog under your feet when you’re cooking chicken.

Obnoxious. In the way. Won’t leave you alone till you acknowledge them.

Welcome to the brain of a writer.

brain pic
Often the truth of the matter….

 

I’ve come to accept this, the ideas that come at any given moment. They can wake me up, leaving me scurrying for a note pad to hastily scratch out the idea with beady eyes seeing it later wondering who the hell wrote something so illegibly, or as mentioned  it can keep me up till I get it out of my head.

I’m feeling a bit victorious today. I finished off another one of my furniture project pieces and it is the sweetest thing ever. I mean, I’ve got a few others under me but I’m pretty sure this is currently my favorite.

No… no photos right now. You’ll have to check back and see those soon 😉

I will just say I love having a vision in my head and then having it all play in life is so satisfying. And when I look back at photos from day 1 when I dragged something home I’m always a bit shocked to see how much it really has changed.

Ok.. on with the show….

As things go with me, my ideas for writing come from all directions at any given time. Ideas come in subtle and not so subtle ways. Sometimes, it’s conversations with people that trigger it. When a similar thought comes from several people within the week, if I’m paying attention, I see it as a possible idea for a post.

Really, if it’s the same idea from a few people, there are most likely others out there who have thought or dealt with similar things.

For example; I’ve been encouraged to talk to some of my friends who are getting started in a fitness program. As I listened to what they were doing and heard the excitement in their voices there was the usual….

“Well, I’m not doing what you do.” “or  “I’m not where you are” or ” I can’t do what other people in class are doing”

No, they probably aren’t doing what I do.  And no, they can’t keep up with me or someone else who’s been at it awhile.

Here’s the deal….

First, you should never, ever compare yourself to someone else. On any level. And especially on a physical level.

I would never start someone off working out where I am now. I wouldn’t have started in the place I am years ago.

Where I did start was at my level of physical abilities at the time.

I did what I could with where I was at.

Truthfully, I was a middle aged, sedentary, slightly overweight woman at the time who had no previous physical training or athletic abilities to fall back on. My best course of action was having a smart plan that allowed my body to adapt and change with my activities.

Of course at the time, I didn’t really see myself as a future athlete.

Nope… never even saw that coming, but I’m really glad it did. The athletic lifestyle is my niche and it comfortably suits me now.

However what did I learn that I believe is important to anyone getting started on a fitness program is this…..

Do what you can with where you are.

I know that sounds cliché but the reality of it is true. You can’t show up at the gym and think you’re going to just start lifting heavy things or grinding out miles on the treadmill if your only activity has previously been sprinting to the ‘fridge.

Trying to keep up with others in a class or at the gym or even your neighbor isn’t only not fair to you, but not healthy for you either.

Doing more than your body is used to is a recipe for injury that will quickly derail your budding fitness plans.

Even now, I know I’m stronger and more fit than I’ve ever been and I don’t back down from much. I do however, know when I hit my limit of what I can handle. There’s a fine line between pushing out of my comfort zone where continued growth occurs, and not overstepping into the arena where my body hasn’t gone yet and needs time to grow into.

For instance I shared recently that I had “upgraded” to being able to use 25lbs to do curls with.  https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/03/16/strength-training-and-every-day-life/

Now for some of you, that’s baby weight. For a lot of you, you’ll never see it happen.

For me it represented another step to getting stronger. Could I have done that several years ago when I was starting out?

No. Way.

It’s taken time and practice and work. Lots of work. And my body has done what yours will do as well. It responds and it grows, changes and gets stronger and you can keep a forward moving process of improved strength and endurance.

Don’t apologize

Seriously. Don’t apologize for not being where someone else is.  We are all on our own journeys. Some of us are going to be a bit more focused and intense about getting better and improving.

**** cough, cough who me??***

Some will be happy with slow progress being content to rock along in a comfortable place. Some will form specific intentional goals while others will just take each day as it comes.

The important thing is that you are starting. Making a choice to get physically fit will have lots of rewards for a healthier life.

Better mental clarity, less body fat, an elevated mood, bright skin, a healthier more energetic body, improved lab results, or even learning a new activity all have big payoffs.

Learn from others

When I start into a new adventure, I am notorious for keying in on people who know more about it than I do. I then shamelessly pick their brains to gather useful information to add to my collection of growing education.

Thank goodness I’m not shy or socially awkward haha

Don’t be afraid to do that with people around you who have been on the journey longer. I love being able to offer advice and help to those seeking information on nutrition or who want to get physically active.

In both cases, I never suggest they start off with extremes.  A modest tweaking of the daily diet for awhile or encouraging them to get off the sofa for an evening walk is always a good place for anyone to start.

A few tips and tricks

Small steps are better than doing nothing. All of us have to start small.

Find something you want to do and will look forward to. This will help you stay committed.

Applaud your own efforts, really, it’s ok. You’re doing it!

Share your efforts or goals on social media. Really. You’ll find there will be a group who rises to the top who will cheer and encourage you. And you don’t know who you’ll be encouraging as well when you do.

Don’t.. don’t… over do. If walking 2 miles feels good, don’t think you’ll just do a few more. You don’t want to risk injury to a body that isn’t used to certain activities. Worse, when you are sore and can barely move the next day you’ll not want to do anything.

Small, slow, gradual increases will keep you moving and keep you from injury.

Focus just on you. Not the other girl or guy at the gym who appears to have it all together. Not the person who can do more reps in a class than you or the one who runs like lightening.

Focus on you.

Do what you can with where you are . Don’t be afraid to modify workouts if they are to hard. Don’t be afraid to walk if you can’t run. Don’t try and lift weight that could hurt you if lifting less can help you get stronger.

Be persistent and before you know it, you’ll be in a stronger, healthier, more fit place in your life.

Tell me… have you ever played the comparison game when it comes to exercise or fitness programs? What tips or tricks have worked to keep you on a fitness path?

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Booty Building 101

So today finds me holed up at my favorite coffee cave enjoying the place being relatively quiet and attempting to get a post written for you guys. I left the house ’cause I was to distracted by my new obsession…er… “hobby” …. of my various furniture projects I’m working on.

If you missed out on what I’m up to on that topic, find it here in my Monday Musings post. https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/02/12/monday-musings-3/

It’s hard not to be excited at the vision I have for some of these things and per my “go get ’em and take charge nature” I could just spend all afternoon looking like a bum in ratty clothes covered in dust from sanding and a paint brush in the other hand.

Ah… but then there’s the other things I must do… like write… and deliver other productivity.

Ok, on with the show!

Today boys and girls we’re gonna talk about the back of you, your glutes, your butt, the “what keeps your jeans looking good” part of your anatomy. In todays lingo, your booty.

Yeah.  Booty day.

My readership has just expanded.

Have you ever seen the movie Shrek? Donkey, one of the characters breaks into this song… “I like big butts and I cannot lie”….

shrek

 

ok the song itself is a little…you know.. not what I’d recommend to my mom to listen to, but the song became a catchy tune with that movie. As you can imagine donkey was expressing his er…appreciation… of a round, strong backside.

donkey butt

 

It’s no secret the booty has come into the spotlight.

Recently, I’ve had convos with young women asking what they needed to do to build/enhance/grow that part of their physique.

Fitness and health magazines, online articles etc all offer a plethora of tips to build that body part. And it’s not just limited to the female gender, guys don’t want to be left out either.

First, let’s understand something

Your butt isn’t just one muscle that you need to shape up. It’s actually made of three different muscles and they all need to be worked for that ultimate round shape and lift.

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Yeah I’m gettin’ all science(y) on you here. If you wanna build your butt, know what you’re dealing with.

What I see and hear the most from people is the “oh, I just need to start doing squats!” and with that assumption they think that will magically deliver new found curves and tighter jeans.

Oh if it were only so easy.

Squats ARE great, and you should do all kinds of varieties of them but you need to know squats are also very quad dominant too, so without balance and a variety of exercises you’ll work on your butt but can potentially really build your quads too ( those muscles in the front of your thighs) and give you some developed legs.

Many exercises for the butt also tend to bulk up the thighs. Now I don’t really mind having strong powerful legs like that but if you are wanting to accomplish a goal of building your butt, you will want a variety of exercises to reach that goal.

It’s gonna take work

I hate to break this to you but it’s gonna take work. Dedicated work. And eating enough good quality food to build muscles. And doing specific exercises to get it done.

Doing 25 squats two or three days a week, sorry, that just won’t cut it.

And it will take time.  Rome wasn’t built in a day 😉

Well come on, tell me what to do!

First, decide if you’re gonna commit and be disciplined to focus on it. Then decide that you are willing to work for it.

There are a few activities you can engage in that might help you with your goals.

Cycling, running, and hills sprints are not only cardio, but can do a heck of a lot for the lower portion of your body.

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Cycling, running, and hill sprints have built strong lower body muscles. Hills, no matter on foot or bike, deliver a lot of booty working benefits.

 

I almost feel like I’ve cheated sometimes since the muscle I’ve built is a by product of sorts from the activities I do. 😛

Some handy do it yourself at home ideas…

Squats ( all variations) lunges, jump squats, deadlifts, bridges, single leg bridges, donkey kicks, but I think my all time favorite that is really a lot of bang for my work out, is the single leg dead lift.

I love it because 1) it is great for your balance 2) it totally isolates one hip and you have to keep your core tight and engaged so all the work is being done on that one side.

If you want to up the game, hold a dumb bell while you do it. I use a 35lb kettle bell and do 4 sets of 10.

Start with no weight to get used to the movement and keep your form correct. You should really feel that whole hip tight and isolated as you go through the hinging motion.

Below are (what I believe) are lots of good moves to target all three muscle groups.

 

Ok

 

Alrighty, there you go. Some of my favorite moves you can do at home to build your muscles in those lower regions. Just remember, it will take time and consistency.

Well wait, consistency is important in anything to have success, isn’t it ?

Just remember to go slow, don’t over do to allow your body to get used to new movements, and gradually add on more reps. Make sure to always keep your tummy pulled in tight ( think sucking your belly button to your spine) if something hurts stop. Nothing should hurt in a painful way but if your form is off it, you will feel it.

Mix and match the exercises above to make a plan that you enjoy.

Do you do specific glute exercises? If so, what’s your favorite ?

8 Fitness Habits To Live By

healthy fitness

 

Have you ever wondered why some people seem to (effortlessly) maintain a healthy lifestyle and you are struggling over the idea of buying lettuce? Why your neighbor is out for a run before the sun comes up and you are challenging yourself to get up with the alarm?

What are they doing and what’s their secret?

They’ve built healthy habits of course. They have over time, built them into their lives to where they have now become second nature. It’s something they don’t think about, it just becomes an automatic thing they do.

With more than two thirds of U.S.  adults obese and over half not meeting physical activity guidelines as outlined in the centers for  Disease Control and Prevention, developing some healthy fitness habits definitely is in our best interest.

What are some of these habits and behaviors that highly fit people exhibit ?

Let’s consider these successful habits.

. They make healthy living a lifestyle. They aren’t focused on a quick fix plan or something short term. They know it’s a way of life and live it. Exercise and eating well are just what they do. This isn’t to say they are perfect but they don’t let slip up’s become an excuse to revert to poor eating and ditching their exercise regime. A healthy lifestyle is a focus on living day to day through good nutrition and purposeful movement.

. They’ve made physical activity fun. I preach this all the time. Don’t do something you won’t be able to enjoy because you “think” you should or your neighbor is doing it. Find the thing you can enjoy whether it’s running, or being at the gym. Learn to experiment and do new things. For me, I love having several activities because it not only works all of my body, but gives me variety too. Variety will prevent boredom.

. They follow an 85/15 rule. Meaning they’ve learned to eat healthy and nutritious meals 85% of the time while allowing some treats or fun extras into their day. I find this a sustainable way to live that allows me to be successful in my efforts without feeling deprived. Having an occasional treat won’t sabotage your efforts. It could prevent you from binging because you’ve deprived yourself.

. They’ve learned to be a bit competitive. No, I don’t mean against others although healthy competition in a race is always a good way to see what you’re made of. Competing against yourself can often be the biggest challenge and biggest motivator. When I train for something it changes my whole mentality about what I’m doing. Training keeps me in an athletes state of mind. Training is very concrete and intentional with a specific goal in mind. Simply “working out” has no definitive plan. Learn to let your inner athlete be your biggest competitor. I am fiercely competitive with myself but I don’t see that as a bad thing. It pushed me to work harder, in turn, I learn I’m always capable of a little more.

. They’ve learned to recover quickly from a setback.  Hey. Things happen, I get that. I’ve been de-railed by injuries and things beyond my control. I’ve had a day where I’ve had more “treats” than I really needed. This isn’t an opportunity to toss in the towel and quit. Those who have setbacks don’t allow them to get in the way of what they know to do. When they’ve maintained a high level of fitness, skipping workouts or going on a food binge is simply not something they do. They adapt, adjust, and get back to doing what they know to do. There is no “all or nothing” mentality with food and exercise.

. They are willing to learn. They don’t buy into the latest hype and have learned to educate themselves to make informed decisions. If they don’t know something they seek wise counsel and stay away from the latest guru or trending health book.

.They keep it simple. They aren’t going from one program to another looking for the next big thing or the fastest working thing. They have found what works and stick to it. This works well for all of us. In a busy world, keeping our health and fitness plans simplified ensures we will stick with them.

. They don’t use exercise as a primary way to lose weight. They learn to see other important improvements like strength or faster speed. They also understand good nutrition is HUGE to weight loss success and not just exercise. They have come to understand that sometimes the scale might not change a lot and learn to see improvements in other areas of their lives as well.

Do you exhibit and practice habits of fit people? What areas can you improve or do you feel you excel in?

 

 

Tips For A Fit 2018

small changes

It’s hard to believe we are now only less than 1 week out from Christmas and  start of a brand new year. As mentioned in my last post, I love Christmas. ( find it here if you missed it) https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2017/12/08/the-most-wonderful-time-of-the-year/

I try my best to slow the month down so I can just savor everything.

Of course, preparing for a new year means for me, getting my hands on a new planner to start plugging in appts and key things that are already scheduled.

I’m old school. I love getting a new planner with clean unmarked pages and putting pen to new plans, goals, and ideas.

One of the things that top the list for many people in a new year is to lose weight or start an exercise program.

I like not having to plan in “weight loss” for a new year. I spent enough years planning that and I don’t miss it…at all.

I’d much rather be scheduling new athletic adventures or learning new things for myself that I can share with others.

But what if  you need to drop some weight and you’ve decided that this really is gonna be your year? This year will be the year to achieve those goals you’ve had in your mind for a long time.

Maybe you’re tired of feeling sluggish and run down. Perhaps you don’t like looking in the mirror and wish there was less of you to look at. It could be the doctor has told you for your best health you need to start being proactive with your health.  It could be you just want to enjoy shopping for clothes again… nothing wrong with that either.

At the root of it all, the starting point, you have to want it bad enough to make it happen.  No one can force you and no one can make it happen but you. The desire has to be strong to start making changes that will lead to you being successful in your endeavors.

I am ready.  Where do I start?

It’s no big secret gyms see the biggest increase in attendance the first few weeks of January than any other time of year. People sign up with lofty goals and determination that quickly wanes once the novelty starts to wear off. Or they get there and are intimidated and don’t know what to do and their attempt is short lived.

I’ll let you in on a secret. You don’t have to join a gym to lose weight or to exercise. Now if you want to and think this is where you will excel, then by all means, take advantage of many of the programs available to members. If you choose to do so then be proactive and educate yourself so you know what’s available and how to best use your time when you are there. There are often health coaches that can give you direction in the beginning while you are learning.

However, I’ve found personally that there is a lot you can do at home and I personally think I work harder alone than being distracted if eyes are on me in a public place.

I have gathered up enough equipment  over time to have my own little home gym. It’s nothing fancy and I have to share space with lawn equipment but it’s my space and it works just fine.. other than it has no air conditioning or heat it works out pretty well haha

You too can gather some basic items to use at home. Whether it’s a garage space, an empty room, or in the living room you can carve out your own space to get a workout in.

Of course if you decide to make outdoors your gym ( this is my most preferred workout space)  by walking, running, cycling or any other activity you choose, the beauty of that becomes just getting dressed and walking out your door.

No driving, no waiting in traffic or being distracted at the gym. No extra time away from home if time is tight for you.

Make a plan.

What’s that old saying? Rome wasn’t built in a day.  Your improved body won’t happen in a day so it’s good to settle into a plan that will work for you day after day and be sustainable in the long run.

As mentioned above, you need to determine first, what will work best for you to get you active and moving. Would a gym environment be what you need? this could be perfect for someone who initially lacks a bit of motivation and needs that from others around them. A home environment is great but you really have to be motivated and determined in the beginning to get yourself out there and not opt to lounge around drinking more coffee.

Once you have that down you need to look at your new planner and schedule your workout times. Yes. Put it down right there with dr. appts, dinner dates, and meetings with the teacher at school.

Schedule time for you. After awhile, once you’ve built it as a new habit, you won’t necessarily have to pen it out but for now, do. it.

Take small steps.

Where people get off track and discouraged is trying to do to much, to fast. They think if they’ve made the decision to start it should all just happen and happen quickly.

It won’t. Accept that and know it will take slow, steady and determined steps. Maybe your first week will only involve getting some good shoes or some clothes to use. Maybe it will be gathering some tools if you’ve determined being at home will work best for you or if it’s the gym maybe you’ve spent some time investigating your options before you commit.

These are important steps. Then in the second week you are ready to begin what you’ve decided to do. Not only that, you’ve had the time to mentally prepare and plan for it which I believe is super important in taking on anything.

Starting small also means taking it easy with whatever physical endeavor you choose. Doing to much, to fast, can leave you with injuries or burn out.  Pace yourself slowly and allow your body time to make the adaptations to what you are doing. You might feel great after jogging around the block but if you haven’t done that in 15 years, I’m telling you, you will feel it and you certainly don’t want to feel bad before you get started.

Find ways to track your progress.

It’s helpful to take before you start pics or measurements etc. Noting these things does give you a marker of where you started from, especially when some times goes by. I’m used to myself now, but when I look back at photos from a few years ago I’m always surprised at how I’ve changed.

Leave your weighing in to only once a week. Keep it on an app on your phone or in a health journal, whichever you prefer. Do yourself a favor though and stick to a once a week weigh in and do new measurements once a month.

Maybe you have a pair of jeans or a dress you want to work your way back into. I often used that as a marker of my progress. Imagine my delight when one day the jeans I’d been wanting to get back into, were actually to big 😛

Share your activities.

Seriously. Share what you are doing on social media. I am pretty motivated but when I started sharing what I was doing a few years ago (whether it was running, my daily activities, or a new goal I was training for) it made me more aware of the fact I was doing it and I knew others knew I was doing it. From that came so much encouragement from people who lived vicariously through my craziness or better yet, got motivated to start doing something themselves.

When you have a support system that is all over the place, it’s a pretty cool thing. Not only that, if you miss posting or sharing, it’s always interesting to see who wants to know if you’re still being active.

Get a partner.

I’m used to flying solo in all my training sessions but I know some people do better with a partner. If that’s you, find someone to get on board with. You will both benefit from encouraging and challenging each other.

Set reasonable goals.

Once you’ve determined what you want to do, where you are going to do it, and scheduled the time to do it make sure you set  out some reasonable and doable goals to remind you of what you want to achieve.

Whether it’s getting into smaller jeans or working towards running your first 5k, set goals that will motivate you during your workout times. Goals are so important to have. They don’t have to be huge ( they can be) but really, setting small, reasonable ones will give you success and encouragement to keep on with what you are doing.

Be patient.

Yes. Be patient with yourself. Allow for days that don’t go as planned or a weak moment when you cancel on yourself ( you’ll be annoyed by that later, that you did it) allow for unexpected life things that might throw you off but just get right back at it. Don’t allow yourself to make excuses to not meet for your scheduled time.

Don’t allow negative, self defeating talk that will discourage you. Speak in positive ways to yourself and see yourself accomplishing what you’ve set before yourself.

Give yourself time to adjust and change. Remember your mind is a powerful tool and how you use if for yourself and for self improvement is a huge thing.

With a little practice, patience, and determination you will be moving into 2018 getting stronger and healthier as you turn your activities into your new lifestyle.

Are you wanting to make changes in 2018? Do you have goals or plans for yourself to get there? What motivates you to do it?

 

goals

 

 

Your Schedule And Exercise

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Meetings. School, work, volunteer groups seems like no matter what kind of group you may be involved with at some point they have meetings you attend. Some you may be able to get out of but something like, work, you really don’t get an option.

When you have a meeting with the boss you better make sure your happy little self is there ready to do what needs to be done.

A scheduled meeting with yourself to get your sweat on should be no different.

I’ve been asked how I manage to “stick with” exercise. I’ve been told that my “dedication” is to be admired. Often the person I’m talking with is wanting to know what the magic potion is that has helped me maintain my exercise regime for 8 years now.

I hate to tell you, but there isn’t any magic potion.

In the beginning it involved some whining and complaining ( to myself) but I made myself  go do it.

And those are accurate words… made myself.

No athletic clothes, no heavy sweating, no techie gear, no athletic goals dancing in my head. Just a decent pair of shoes, I’d dutifully walk off my 2 miles.

I wasn’t excited about doing it. I did it because I knew I needed to and if I wanted to live a healthy life I would move my body purposefully every single day.

I made a commitment to it. If I couldn’t do it in the morning ( my preferred time) then I’d come home in the afternoon, change shoes, and go get it done.

In time something crazy started happening….

I don’t remember exactly when the shift occurred. The shift from dutifully doing it and checking it off my list, to something I looked forward to and began to guard and schedule as anything else important in my life.

In a 24 hour span of time, my workouts sessions were my time I scheduled with myself.  I learned to view them as important as anything else I’d be doing in my day.

I learned to structure the rest of my day and appointments around my scheduled workout time, allowing for clean up and getting to my destination.

Some mornings are tight but I’ve become a wizard at transforming from sweaty, grime crusted athletic girl to someone who smells clean and looks respectable in an almost Ninja fast way.

Why? Because those meetings are important to me. They set the tone for my day. Workouts wake up my body, clear the night cobwebs and get my blood flowing. If I miss it, I honestly feel “off”.

I’ve learned a lot about myself in the process.

When you commit to something and faithfully follow through it turns into this crazy thing called… a habit. Once that habit is established it doesn’t cross your mind to make excuses to not do it.

I’ve spent a lot of time on the road and putting miles under me is a great way to learn things about myself.

I haven’t learned those things by not keeping my scheduled meetings to be there.

Over these past years I’ve seen what I’m made of when I have to dig deeper into myself for the challenge in front of me. I’ve learned I can continue to push past limits and head to new ones, and then push past those too.

In keeping those meetings with myself, fitness has taught me so much.

I’ve learned more about discipline, consistency, hard work, perseverance, sacrifice, goal setting, the strength of not just my body ( which at times I’m amazed at what it can do) but how it’s forged a fierce mental toughness in me which comes in handy for the rest of life. I’ve learned with training and determination I can do things I used to think were only for an elite group of people.

And in a cool way, I learned that I was pretty good at it.  Something else I would’ve missed out on not keeping those early morning meetings with myself.

So what suggestions do I give to people?

As mentioned above, that is one of the things I get asked mainly because I think people do find it so hard to stick with. They want ideas and help to get rolling (and hopefully ) staying with it.

They have a genuine desire but I hear them, it’s hard in the beginning! You have to fight back against all the things that come at you, especially yourself.

Excuses can be easily made to justify not getting it done. Work, family, school, other activities all clamor for our attention and we wonder if it isn’t easier to just let it go.

So here are my pointers, for what it’s worth.

~Determine what time of day is best for you. This will be a totally personal thing depending on the schedule of your life and if you function best in the morning or evening.  Find a time.

~ Start with something you enjoy doing.  You will stay with it if you actually like what you do. And why you’re doing that, be thinking of something else you can do. Having a couple activities keeps boredom from setting in.

~ Just start. Don’t wait for Monday or till after a holiday or your grandmothers birthday. Just get up and start.

~ There are days you’re gonna think you’re to tired. Do it anyway. You’ll feel invigorated I promise.

~View it as important as anything else in your day and don’t allow it to not get done. ** I will say here, sometimes life just happens, even for me. If things go beyond your control and it just doesn’t, just regroup and get at it again the next day.**

~ Zealously guard your time. In the beginning when I started exercising I kept at it because I felt like the alcoholic who, if they had a drink would fall off the wagon. Only I worried if I made an excuse one day, then it would lead to another day, and I’d find myself in the land of excuses again for dropping my exercise habit. Honestly, it scared me enough to make me stay at it. Sometimes a little fear doesn’t hurt.

~ Consistency and discipline have payoffs. Not just the side effects of helping you lose weight or how your physique may change with it, but you will build that discipline into a new habit, and new habits have this crazy way of sticking.

~ Be kind to yourself. Remember an unexpected set back or off day isn’t a reason to forget the idea. Several years ago I hurt my knee, and no, not from running. It was from learning to ride a motorcycle 😛 the doctor wanted me off running for 6 weeks. I was devastated. But I was more terrified with that much time off I’d be out of my routine and not want to go back to it. Not true. I counted the days and when I got back on the road for the first time, I literally cried. ( something I do not recommend as running with a snotty nose hinders your breathing a bit haha 😉 ) I cried to be back out. I cried that my desire hadn’t gone away. I cried for the pure freedom of doing something I had been learning to love.

That’s when I realized that exercise thing really had stuck.

Yes, there are days now I wake up and as my brain is focusing on my training for that morning I think am I gonna have all I need to do this ? Of course that’s my “foggy, I haven’t had coffee yet to remind me that, yes I do” brain speaking.

I do have all I need. I love what I can do and am thankful to be able to do it. I’m thankful I pushed on in those early days and didn’t quit.

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This is what happens when you stick with exercise. You’re snapping a selfie after finishing your first round through the entire duathlon course. #runbikerun

 

If you’re struggling to get started understand we’ve all been there. Just make a commitment to yourself and get rolling with one day at a time. Schedule your meetings with yourself and before you know it, you’ll be eager to show up for them.

Tell me have you overcome the lack of exercise in your life? How did you do it? Or is this an area you still struggle with ?

~

The No Pain No Gain Myth

no pain no gain

“No pain, no gain!”,  “Train insane or remain the same!”, ” Unless you puke, faint, or die, keep going”, “Pain is weakness leaving the body”, “If it’s not hurting it’s not working”, and one of my “favorites”, “Don’t quit. You’re already in pain. You’re already hurt. Get a reward from it.”

Sweet mother of heaven.  Stop. It.

I won’t go on with these anymore, but let’s just say these types of quotes abound. And it’s not just that they are quotes, but also ways that many in the health/fitness world live by.

If you aren’t in pain, then you aren’t working hard enough, doing enough. This thought translates to telling you that you aren’t really getting anywhere.

First though, I’m not talking about working hard because I know what that’s like and I know how to push myself. I love a good challenge and don’t mind waking up the next day and knowing I worked hard.  I know when to push and when to back off, especially if it’s pushing to hard that could potentially cause injury whether it’s on the road running or lifting weight that might be out of my zone.  I do myself no favors working in a place my body isn’t used to. I get no extra points and I’m certainly not going to do it for bragging rights and what does it prove to myself, or anyone for that matter, if I derail my workouts because it hurts to move my body?

We have limits. We all do.

And yes, I understand I need to constantly be moving out of my comfort zone and I think anyone should have that mentality if they want to continue to get stronger, faster, and improve their athletic performance.

You just won’t make progress if you can’t get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

However, It’s important to know where you are and how much you can press into that, and then back off when you need to allowing your body time to adapt and adjust to the new demands you put on it.

The danger of the mentality of working out till you’re fainting or in pain or having other physical issues is that you can cause more damage than “gains”.

Do you really want to push yourself to a point that you are injured and then get sidelined and can’t do anything? Do you really think being in real pain and continuing a work out is a smart move?  Do you want to do so much you can hardly walk the next day?

I think not.

Let me be clear here. There is great value in working hard, getting our heart rate up and letting the sweat roll and the general population should be doing it regularly.

Here’s the deal. You don’t have to do a killer workout every time you are out there.

Athletes don’t do it, so why are trainers preaching this gospel to the average person wanting to get fit ?

It can be a dangerous game to play . I mean, no pain means no improvement to us, right? Isn’t that what all those little fitspo quotes mean ?

Nonsense. Consistency and regular movement will yield results.

The important thing is to find balance that works for your body, mind, and lifestyle.

So if the idea of pain and suffering for gain is not where it’s at, what should you do?

Learn to turn it up

Know where you are, know your limits, and be willing to turn it up from there. Don’t be afraid of working hard and pushing outside your comfort zone.

Understand that working outside your comfort zone doesn’t mean suffering through pain that hurts you.

If you’re in real pain, for goodness sake, stop! If you’re in pain and hurting the only “gain” you risk is getting sidelined from an injury.

There’s no heroics in that.

Work hard, but know your goals

Obviously, we are all on different health and fitness paths. The most important thing is to know what you want.  Where are you going? Is it for health that you are working out? To walk a strong mile and not feel like you’re dying? To be able to run some? To improve your daily life? Keep up with your kids?

Do you want more?  Are you wanting to train for an event like a half marathon or a Crossfit competition?  Then your goals will look different.

Perhaps you are wanting to do something related to fitness competitions. Again, a new set of goals to get to your destination.

No matter what your reasons or goals, there should never be the mentality that it’s not a good workout if you aren’t fainting, in pain, and hurting all over.

There’s a fine line of a body that has worked hard, and one that has been pushed beyond what is it capable of at that point in time.

Work hard, but work smart.

So how should you train?

You know yourself better than anyone. If you’re just getting off the sofa and starting to move, you need to be sensitive to the fact your body is going to protest! Go easy and be moderate in what you do. Allow time to adapt to your new plan. It can take a couple weeks to ease into a new program.

If you’re already in some type of activity or training for something, don’t be afraid to keep pushing out of your comfort zone. Just listen to your body.

Pain, or any feelings of not feeling well, should be respected.

Rest days are when gains are really made

I will admit, I’m at the top of the charts at chomping over rest days. If you don’t know what that means, it’s usually a scheduled day/days off to allow the body to recover from it’s activities.

Exercise is such a habit for me now, that taking a rest day can make me feel like I forgot to brush my teeth.

I have however, learned more about the importance of taking some and know that rest days don’t mean “lazy” ( do nothing and eat pizza days)  but more of an active recovery time.

I may do short walks, or focus on stretching and foam rolling my muscles.

During those rest/recovery times our muscles rebuild and that’s when they grow and get stronger. These days allow us to hopefully, head back to what we love, stronger and feeling more energized for what we do.

You get no extra points for skipping rest days. In fact you do your body a disservice by not allowing it that time.  Rest days allow your muscles, bones, nerves, and connective tissues time to heal and rebuild.

Rest days can also help prevent burn out, mentally and physically.

Schedule rest days as a part of your workout regime.

I know this doesn’t fit into the ” no pain no gain” ideal, but you’re not participating in that anyway, are you ?

Keeping it healthy

If you want to enjoy whatever your fitness path may be, then you will learn to:

~ work hard, but listen to your body. Pace yourself.

~ push out of your comfort zone but stop if you have pain that is hurtful. Discomfort is different from pain.

~ set realistic goals for yourself and know and understand the limits of where you currently are.

~ schedule planned rest days to allow your body ( and mind) some rest and recovery time.

By having a smart mentality you will be able to do what you love, hopefully without pain or injury, and get stronger in the process.

Tell me. Have you ever been a part of the no pain, no gain club? How did that work for you? Do you have any healthy training tips to offer ?

 

 

Know Your Limits

know-your-limits-so-you-can-exceed-them

 

It’s afternoon and I’m holed up in my fav coffee shop with the intent of hammering out a post for you, my 1.5 faithful readers.

I’m listening to the happy banter of the baristas behind me as they whip up drinks. I’ve tried to get to know them and something about their lives. I like building those relationships with people, I mess around with them and some of them… I shamelessly tease and harass… even with all that they think I’m “cool and fun” and keep me hooked up with coffee when I’m around.

I’ll take that.

Anyway, it’s a gorgeous day and it’s hard for me to be inside, but in all fairness I’ve already been out on the road this morning logging miles as my legs remind me.

Specifically my quads with that tight sorta achy feeling that comes from hard work invested out on the road.

In a sick way I kinda like that feeling… I don’t mind tired legs when I know it’s because of what I’ve physically invested into myself and the gut level hard work that I’ve done.

Maybe I should say that todays workout was a “brick” session. For those of you reading this and wondering if I’m out tossing bricks around, no. It’s just a term that refers to one athletic activity sandwiched by another.

In  this instance.. for me.. it was miles on foot, followed by miles on bike, with more miles on foot to wrap it up.

I will tell you that it’s my second time to intentionally do this. I figured if I squish it in my midweek workout it’s a good balance to the rest of the week.

Why?  why you may be wondering…

Well a few years ago I realized there was actually an event that combined both sports I’m hooked on… running and cycling..  a duathlon. However, I’ve had a pesky Achilles thing that really derailed me in the running dept so I haven’t been able to pursue it as I had thought I would by now.  With some care, a tiny bit of patience, ALOT of stretching and rolling, I think it’s improving so I’m walking a careful line of doing enough but not to much.

I’m actually semi-hopeful I could do it by the end of the year.

Yeah.. I’ve publicly committed to doing a duathlon.  And not just anyone but one that’s listed as “the toughest in the state”. It should be mentioned that it’s literally run almost out my backdoor so I can train the heck out of the course all year so it does give me a slight advantage… slight.

The course though is some pretty crazy hills and inclines. It’s a 5K, followed by a 22 ride, and another 5K for the icing on the cake.

I thought about it this morning and wondered honestly.. what the hell I’m thinking??  I felt like I did when I first mentioned I was going to take on a full marathon.. terror and the fearful thought of ” can I do this?”

Let me tell you…if you’re gonna do anything there is simply no room…at all.. for that kind of thinking.  You will shut yourself down before you ever get started.

It will be an event with athletes half my age and in amazing physical condition. But then I remembered it’s really not about a competition with anyone but myself and going out and doing it.. even if I might be the last one crawling in 😉

It’s all the time I will spend training and the lessons I’ll learn on the road doing it. It will be the sacrifices and tired legs. It will be hours on a bike. It will be learning to move fast on legs that are tired after running and biking.

So I’ve started…small… but with an eye towards moving forward. Todays brick work was small. It was 2 miles on foot, 10 on the bike, and 2 on foot. It gives me the chance to work with moving out of gear and into it, of mentally shifting gears of activities, and mostly, learning how to move my legs quick after being on the bike!

I found myself wanting to push more this morning.. thinking… maybe I should move the distance up some.. or move faster… and I had to remind myself of this…

Know your limits.

Yes, I’m a runner. Yes, I’ve been cycling.  Yes I’m in a good physical condition. But it’s a different ball game putting them together and only my second training session out doing it. I had to remind myself for now, a few weeks, these are my limits of distance until I acclimate then I can add a bit more in the distance area.

To protect myself from injury or doing to much to soon I need to know my limits and operate there as I adapt to the challenges of doing both at once.  I’m fiercely competitive with myself so to say it’s hard reining myself in is an understatement.

That’s what I want to tell you, to remind you of. You might be new to a fitness program or toying with the idea of doing something. Maybe your friend has been after you to go to the gym or go out on the road.

Know your limits.

If it’s been awhile since you’ve done anything you need to know what those limits are and operate in that zone. Maybe for you your limits are just moving off the coach and out the door for a walk down the street a few times. Perhaps you’ve been running but are thinking of taking it up another notch…increasing miles a bit…again.. know your limits to protect against injury.

Don’t go out and decide you’re just going to run when you haven’t even been walking.. you’re setting yourself up for pain and failure.  Don’t go to the gym thinking you’re going to keep up using heavier weight when your milk carton is the heaviest thing you’ve been tossing around.

Take a critical look at where you are, what you’ve been actively doing,  and how long it’s been since you’ve done anything physical.

Understand what those limits are and operate within them. You will be constantly assessing and reassessing what those limits are as you get stronger.

Most of all, never be afraid to constantly be stretching those limits to new, exciting and more challenging things. Nothing feel better or makes you feel more successful than new physical goals that are accomplished.