Monday Musings

Welcome to another edition of Monday Musings where I let my thoughts out to play….well most of them… some need kept under lock and key haha

Here we are in another week and I’m ready to take no prisoners, carpe diem and all that, right boys and girls?

I ended my week yesterday by knocking out some miles on the bike. I always say it’s  not the “miles” but what’s IN those miles that really counts.  Sometimes it’s both as well.

Usually when I am training for something I do what I think of as “pieces” I’m putting together for a puzzle. I work sections and gradually put them together till I’m doing all of a long run or ride etc. Training for the duathlon has many pieces for me.  I had thought last week after finishing a particular section of road with some big hills that I’d branch out farther and start adding more miles and getting more time out on the road where the race is held.

But then…..

I had this great idea that I was just gonna go out and do the whole thing on Sunday. No pressure to ride fast or capture new PR’s or anything like that. Just ride,  get the course under me mentally and physically again.

I mean… if I started feeling like an old lady and needed to stop and rest under a tree I could, right? ( ha for the record I didn’t 😉 )

I know I have a good strong physical base so I thought if I got the whole thing under me, it would definitely give me a good idea of how hard I can start pushing myself.

I got about 5 easy miles in before I headed to the main road that took me all the way down, then back that encompasses the whole course.

I’m just gonna say… it’s work…ok? This race isn’t listed as the toughest in the state for nothing.

20180701_092752
I’m smiling ’cause I’m on top of the last hill of many AND that I set a new PR on this one and the one that drops off on the other side

So I did it. Did the whole thing. Finished with 22.5 miles although the mileage for course is a little over 16 beastly miles.

It was a good ride and I feel ready to really push into my training in these upcoming months.  And I do love getting back into the thick of training…. the tiredness that only comes from a hard workout, the fierce hunger I can only experience once my training increases, the solid night sleep where you can move the house from under me ( try it!) the increased strength and power I grow into again as my body adapts to the heavier training, getting more chiseled as I drop some body fat, setting new Pr’s… I love it all.

All that work though makes me hungry….

I had to venture to the store over the weekend ’cause ya know, I like to eat. And so do the other random people who wander into my house.

On a side note, it always amuses me how one of my married sons can venture into my pantry or ‘fridge and complain about what’s not there.

Like…dude. You’re married you have your own home and pantry…stock it with whatever junk food you wanna find.

Anyway… I went to the store. I was out of a lot of produce and I start to get concerned when I don’t have fresh stuff… well not really…  I wanted donuts too 😉

So I do all my shopping, find a lane that is open, and get the process rolling to get out.

The bagging part always makes me edgy.

Will I get a good bagger? Will I get the cashier having to do both? ( I usually jump in when that happens) or will I get someone who didn’t finish bagging school?

I got a bagger and a checker who didn’t make it out of bagging school.

Obviously.

Let me pose this question…. shouldn’t bagging groceries be a common sense act?

It should right?

Bananas should not be tossed into a bag with other things piled in on top. Chips don’t get tossed in with canned goods. Frozen foods and produce shouldn’t all be thrown in my freezer bag.  Bread shouldn’t be “pushed” into an already full bag.

Yet I watched all of those things happen… horrified… like I’m paying for this food you are bending and smooshing everywhere.

I paid, thanked them both, and left. When I got to my car I was rearranging my stuff. Does anyone else do that?

Tell me, IS bagging groceries a common sense activity?? Or is it a skill reserved for a few?

The joy of people watching

So I couldn’t help but noticing people when I was out…. noticing on a day topping into 100 degrees why so many were wearing … jeans??

My legs won’t see jeans till Oct… maybe…

20180313_144354
My fav jeans. Why do old people offer to buy me new ones?? haha for the record this pic was taken in cooler weather

 

I can’t think of anything more hot to wear than denim from waist to ankle. Maybe I’m weird… ok well you could take the “maybe” out…. but I just can’t do it.  Summer means cool, light, breezy, enough to be legal, fun clothes for all these sweltering hot months we’re in.

I’m just not in the “jeans in hot weather” club.  That my friends, are what shorts are for.

Can you believe it’s July already?

We’re gonna be celebrating the 4th in a couple days and that means food, and maybe a little more food.

 

I found this amazing looking baked bean recipe that’s gonna be on the menu, among other things 🙂  The chocolate coffee/mocha brownies have been requested and I will make a double batch having learned from my previous experience a single batch was not enough.

I’m sure there will be watermelon and I will have my once a year participation in eating hotdogs. 😛

We won’t be purchasing any fireworks as there is a ban on them since we’ve had no rain and everything is so dry here.

July also means birthday month for yours truly so there will be a post on getting another year closer to my senior breakfast discount as well  thoughts, observations and life lessons learned from the year gone by.

You know I gotta keep you posted on my furniture shenanigans…..

I finished this little table off yesterday and I love it so much. It’s had lots of positive feedback and I’ve had a couple people come look at it….20180630_193835

20180630_194335

 

Here’s a reminder of what it looked like before….

20180506_195210

 

20180519_150801 (1)

A nice little improvement, hmmm? Once I got the top sanded down I decided the ebony would be a nice change but I did it light enough so the wood grain would still show through.  It’s fresh and crisp and ready for years of service. This is a Mersman antique table, I thought the fold out part was rather cool. I literally picked it up on our trip to Canton last month as we were heading out of town.  It was like it was just sitting there waiting for me haha I’m glad we found each other 😉

Oh, and in other exciting news, I sold several pieces this week so that always encourages me to keep on going. Heaven knows I’ve got plenty of projects waiting for me to set them free from ugliness 😉

Ok that’s a wrap on today’s edition… there’s a lot more I could blab on but… we both have lives to get to, right?

Have an amazing week beautiful people!

Ok it’s your turn to weigh in…. thoughts on my question of bagging food… is it common sense to bag groceries a particular way?  Will you wear jeans when it’s hot? If you live in the U.S. what will you be doing for the 4th of July? Any fun foods or treats?

Advertisements

No Exercise Required

It was early morning and I was still bleary eyed, sipping on my first wonderful cup of hot coffee slowly coming to life.

For the record I’m not “anti” morning. I mean most weeks I’m out on the road running or cycling while people are still crawling outta bed. On the other hand, I may just prefer to cuddle and be alone with my coffee for a bit till the fog clears my head 😉

I am more of strong night owl if I had to label myself … anyway…

I’m waking up, laptop in front of me as I do a final read through and edit on my post before launching it into the world and blog land.  I do my level best to make sure you, my faithful readers, don’t stumble through to much of my ramblings haha

And can I take a moment to say thank you?

However, you follow me, whether through e-mail, Facebook, IG, Pinterest or on WordPress, thank you for taking your time to read what I write.  I know our time is valuable and I appreciate you taking yours to read my offerings.

I will always attempt to make it worth your while, to keep it sassy, and hopefully to educate, inspire, or challenge you.

Now, where was I?

Waking up, drinking coffee and proofing my post… yes that’s where I was. So while I’m doing that, the morning news is on and the morning commercials.

Sweet heavens.

It must be the cheapest time of day to advertise ’cause obnoxious car sale ads are on along with ads for medical clinics, lawyers and all kinds of other services I can do without hearing about that early in morning.

All of them are so… loud. So very, very loud.

Anyway, this weight loss commercial comes on advertising how you can lose weight with some miracle something or another and “no exercise required!!”

I guess that’s where my still sleepy, yet slowly coming alive brain kicked in.

I thought, how is that a good selling point ? But then I realized, to a lot of people, that IS a good selling point.

Lose weight and you don’t have to exercise? Heck yeah.

I get it. Exercise is work. If you do it right, it’s hard work.

Of course, if you’re out of shape it really feels like hard work. Your heart and lungs are screaming at you and you get all red and you are breathing way to hard so of course a weight loss offer of no exercise might seem like a good deal.

oxygen

 

It’s just not.

Let’s just forget losing weight here as we discuss this. Really, exercise shouldn’t be what you do to lose weight, it’s really what you put in your mouth and how much of it that matters more.  Exercise can just support those efforts.

Exercise offers so much more to us than being a weight loss tool. Think about how you feel when you leave your house on a nice evening to go for a short walk. Chances are it gives you time to think, clear your head from the day, brain storm ideas, and just unwind a bit. When you come back in you probably feel rejuvenated and refreshed, even if you may be sweaty 😉

In time, you most likely will want to walk a bit further as you start to really enjoy it and look forward to it.

Maybe going to a yoga class let’s you feel more connected to yourself, makes you more aware of your body.  For me, yoga definitely slows me down, but it also let’s me have some time that is a bit more quiet and reflective.

Whatever activity you may enjoy, if you get started in it, you will most likely enjoy many benefits that have nothing to do with losing weight.

heart cardio
Remember, your heart is a muscle that needs work too 😉

 

 

So…get this…..

Exercise is the single best thing you can do for your brain in terms of mood, memory, and learning.  Even 10 minutes of activity changes your brain.

Jumping on the treadmill or cross trainer for 30 minutes can blow off tension by increasing levels of “soothing” brain chemicals like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. What’s fascinating, though, is that exercise may actually work on a cellular level to reverse stress’s toll on our aging process. according to a 2010 study from the University of California—San Francisco. The researchers found that stressed-out women who exercised vigorously for an average of 45 minutes over a three-day period had cells that showed fewer signs of aging compared to women who were stressed and inactive. Working out also helps keep us from ruminating “by altering blood flow to those areas in the brain involved in triggering us to relive these stressful thoughts again and again.

I wrote a post on exercise and aging… find it here….

https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2017/05/24/exercise-and-aging/

https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2017/07/24/aging-and-the-fountain-of-youth/

It can help with depression. Research suggests that burning off 350 calories three times a week through sustained, sweat-inducing activity can reduce symptoms of depression about as effectively as antidepressants. That may be because exercise appears to stimulate the growth of neurons in certain brain regions damaged by depression.

Exercise can improve our learning. Exercise increases the level of brain chemicals called growth factors, which help make new brain cells and establish new connections between brain cells to help us learn. Interestingly, complicated activities, like playing tennis or taking a dance class, provide the biggest brain boost. You’re challenging your brain even more when you have to think about coordination. Like muscles, you have to stress your brain cells to get them to grow.

It improves self-esteem and body image. You don’t need to radically change your body shape to get a confidence surge from exercise. Studies suggest that simply seeing fitness improvements, like running a faster mile or lifting more weight than before, can improve your self-esteem and body image.

It may keep Alzheimers from setting in. The Alzheimer’s Research Center touts exercise as one of the best weapons against the disease. Exercise appears to protect the hippocampus, which governs memory and spatial navigation, and is one of the first brain regions to succumb to Alzheimer’s-related damage.

Is that enough evidence for exercise?

Those are some pretty convicting reasons to exercise, right? Yet not a single one of them have to do with losing weight. The point being, exercise benefits all of our body, soul and spirit.

Exercise is a good tool to help with weight loss but as you’ve seen it offers so many more benefits to keep us healthy and whole.

It shouldn’t be viewed as something you don’t “need”. Our bodies are made for and are designed for, movement.  So many of our modern day illnesses and health issues could be helped and improved with regular consistent exercise.

What exercise has taught me

ok admittedly, a few years ago when I was an out of shape middle aged woman, I wasn’t totally sold on the idea of vigorous daily exercise. As I mentioned earlier in this post, it’s hard, and it’s really hard when you’ve been doing nothing and  then start doing “something”.

I purposefully made myself go walk each day. I dutifully walked 2 miles. I did it no matter what was going on, some days I had to fit it in at different times, but I did it.

I did it enough it turned into a new habit.  One day I got brave and actually went farther. One mile turned into another, before I knew it I was running some, and then, well the rest is history…

Exercise was certainly a good discipline tool. Those scheduled daily times on the road disciplined me to getting up and making a commitment to something.

That discipline eventually carried over into other areas of my life.

When I trained for my first marathon I learned a lot more about discipline, sacrifice, and some serious hard work. Honestly, once you run a marathon ( I actually went on to do more and eventually in 2014, a 50k) you develop the feeling and attitude you can take on the world.

I learned more about concrete goal setting, short and long term.

Exercise has built my confidence in what I can do and what I’m capable of doing.  This translates far beyond what I do on  the road.

The more I’ve grown athletically, the more I’ve seen that transfer into my daily life.

Becoming mentally strong dealing with physically activity has given me a tough mind in dealing with life.

I shared in a recent post about my yearly check up with my doctor.  My HDL ( good cholesterol ) was 75 on the lab report. It should be mentioned the highest number they had as “good” was 39. My doctor just gave me a level look and said… “it’s from all that exercise you do”.   So exercise is good for stuff like that 😉

I’ve also learned I can do some of my most creative thinking out on the road. It’s a time to process, discard, think and get clarity.

It’s taught me to get out of my head, get out of my way, so I can see what I’m made of.  I’ve learned I have strength I didn’t know I possessed, mentally and physically

Oh yeah. and somehow along the way of learning that, I lost weight and got decently fit.

So yeah, you do need to exercise

So if you’re one of the “anti-exercisers” 😉 I hope I’ve given you something different to think on.  Find something you enjoy and want to do, then commit to getting good at it. DO it often enough and frequently enough and it will turn into a habit, a good one at that.

And then, before you know it, you too will have lost some weight and be getting decently fit too.

20180625_093035
I love and anticipate my workouts now, physically and mentally.

 

Your turn… tell me… do you wish you didn’t “have” to exercise? Do you wish you could lose weight and get all the benefits without doing it, or are you at a place where you love it and would miss it? Have you ever considered exercise as beneficial to you in ways besides helping with weight loss?

Strength Training And Every Day Life

So I’ve been kinda lazy lately… you know with the writing thing. Sometimes I just feel like there’s to much up there in my brain and it’s all clamoring to escape and in turn it comes out with multiple ideas and story lines. Sometimes, I’m just lazy and don’t want to be still long enough to write.

That my friends, is the usual more likely culprit.

It’s hard for me to contain myself at blocks of time to sit and write. Probably why I will never be the next Stephen King or whomever.  It’s why I  remove myself from home so I don’t start thinking about the projects beckoning me to come play with them,

And if you’re following me then you know what I mean by projects, my antique furniture flipping adventures. I have my list of what I’m doing with each and seeing that by my laptop makes me want to go get creative. And yeah, I’ve heard you. You want a post on my furniture flipping shenanigans and it will be in the works. It will be a fun post on some of my recent projects and what I’ve done with some of them.

So, I remove myself to get creative with words for awhile, ’cause you know, use it or lose it.

I mean, in actuality, I’m not really you know, lazy. I can be selective about things I give my time to, is that different?

Over the weekend I was sharing some stuff with hubby, namely how my legs were tight and whining that I needed to be more diligent to rolling them out on my pvc pipe to keeps my muscles loose from what I do to them.

Rolling on the pipe is the poor mans equivalent of a deep tissue massage.

Yes, I willingly hurt myself to get my muscles loose to keep doing the things I do.

Mind you, I like what I do. The running and cycling and lifting heavy things with doses of boxing and rowing in the mix.

I like it.

But putting my body through constant rigors also demands that “after/before” self care that goes alongside being athletic. Sometimes I get lazy with that too.. I will admit it…

So I get these words from hubby “You need to remember you aren’t indestructible”

Me: ” Uh, yeah, I tend to forget that” hahaha

I’m not reckless, I’m just a bit fearless and don’t like backing down from things. I do believe there is a difference.

So with a nod to the reminder I’m not indestructible, I’ll seque into the topic for today, building strong bodies.

Today was strength training day. This usually unfolds for me with my time involving some type of cardio warm up for 10-15 minutes then spending the remaining hour (ish) on strength training, using my body and weights.

I’ve evolved a lot in knowing what I want over these past few years getting fit. I finally know where my “loves” are and what makes me feel alive. That is, being outside and going at 90 on foot or bike. I’ve also learned the  weather can shut those activities down and strength training was always a good plan B. But then I started understanding how important those days were to my other activities and strength training days stopped being the ugly step sister.

Strength training is important for you too

You might be reading this thinking it’s not so important for you, but really, being strong for life IS important for you. My training time takes a small part of my day. The rest of it, I’m on the go doing life. Sometimes, it’s heavy work.  I like to be able to do tough stuff on my own. I will freely admit to wanting to be able to handle it without waiting for someone ( and boy do I get frustrated when I have to!)

I don’t mean “oh, I can get it done and grind it out” I mean, I like doing it with ease, and there is a difference. The stronger you are, the easier things are.

It makes me laugh every time I go get some big piece of furniture and get on the end to lift it when I get the warning:

“It’s heavy”.

I kinda like being underestimated.

Now I’m not reckless ( see my comment above on that) nor am I stupid. I hear the warning, I engage my body just like when I’m lifting stuff in training, preparing for the weight of it, and it turns out to be a piece of cake.

Why? I practice getting strong so when I’m doing life, those things are easy.

Same for you. You are doing life and I’m pretty sure encounter things that require you to put some energy into your activities. When you practice it, then in real life, your body just does what you’ve trained it for.

I’ve upgraded

20180315_085813
Curling up a bit more now days to build those arms.. I’ve made progress.

 

 

I didn’t start off this way. It’s what I remind people when I get asked about my journey and where I am. I didn’t wake up one day and just grab the heavy stuff. No, I had these baby 5lb weights that looking back were, really, useless. I mean I carried several grocery bags at once weighing more than 5 lbs why would I think that would help. I then made the “huge” jump to 8lbs and that offered a bit more challenge esp on high reps. I stayed there for awhile till it felt to easy.

I then upgraded again. I remember the trip to the sports store. Hubby bought me what I wanted, 15 lb little suckers. I could just do about 6 reps before my arms were shaking.

Perfect.

That’s what you need to do as well if you start. Find something you can barely do like 6-8 times and start there. That’s a challenge for you.

Over time that got easier although my 15 lbs are my go to for high reps. I have a variety of things  I use including a 35lb kettle bell that I use for everything from kettle bell swings to deadlifts to single leg deadlifts and everything in between.

This weight works for me ’cause I can use both arms to toss it around but I cannot curl that weight with one arm.

I have however recently upgraded to curling like 25 lbs so I’m kinda excited over that.

And by that I mean I’m in the “curl 6-8 times before arm falls off zone” and that’s good ’cause it’s gonna make me work harder and well, build my girl arms some more. I rest a minute, and go at it again.  And it’s almost tank top season and I live in those so the arms get some decent exposure 😛 time for that hard work to hang out in the sunshine haha

It’s a progression

When I talk to people they always feel overwhelmed like they need to start where I am or their friend or whatever.

Uh. No.

It takes time, energy, patience and a whole lot of stubbornness to keep at it and for your body to grow and adapt to the changes you put it through.

You cannot jump in where someone else is.

You can find where you are, what you are capable of and start there. As I always suggest find a weight that is hard for you, that you have to really work at doing those 6-8 reps on. Even in the beginning if it’s all you can do at a time, start there. You most likely will be able to do those reps, rest a bit and do another set two or three times.

My weight progression has been gradual and I still have tons of room for growth and improvement! I have lots of body building friends who spend way more time lifting than I do, but then, ha they spend a lot less time on cardio than I do 😉 In time I will slowly and steadily increase what I do. Of course my goals are also different from those who have a focus on body building.

Get your equipment

You can use things as simple as milk jugs with some water in them and lift those, adding as little or a lot as needed. You can add sand too.

Craigslist  and local sale sites have  a plethora of “better ideas” people are looking to unload for cheap. I’ve spent very little money getting stuff, and no, I don’t go to a gym. I work out with lawn equipment and  my projects in a building with no heat or air. This is probably good as it keeps me acclimated for my outdoor activities. But there have been mornings I could see my breath in the air and I will just say that metal is crazy cold.. but I do it.

20180227_095245
One of my projects photo bombing me 😉

 

 

 

20180315_090057
My toys

Of course, using just your own body is the perfect way to build more strength by doing body weight exercises that can work specific muscle groups.

Some life thoughts

You may never care about having a defined muscle, although, they are cool to have. But do you know the reason so many people are in nursing or care homes? They lack muscle strength to get out of chairs or off the toilet and a whole lot of other reasons as well. As we grow older, our skeletal muscles tend to wither and weaken, a phenomenon known as sarcopenia. Sarcopenia, which begins to appear at around age 40 and accelerates after 75, is a major cause of disability in the elderly. Exercise can help counter the effects of age related muscle loss. We begin to lose muscle mass as we age and if we aren’t actively using them they can become weak and not support us in the normal daily activities we need to do. That might be a good reason to schedule some active strength training several times a week, right?

If you need help getting started, look around you and see who’s out there doing it and learn from them. I shamelessly pick brains of people who know more on things I’m interested in to learn from them.

And of course, there’s always Google search and the internet too, right? Just find your place where to start, make it a commitment to yourself several times a week and then break out those sleeveless tops 😉

Tell me, do you do strength training? what do you incorporate? Or, do you want to get started in it?

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.

shaping_glutes_scr6

 

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.

20170929_092933
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 ?

Goals And Challenges

Goals. Dreams. New adventures. New challenges.

2017 culminated for me with all of those things coming together at once as I finished the year with my first multi sport event, a duathlon. If you don’t know that is a run/bike/run event. Find my recap on it here…..  https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2017/12/05/duathlon-journey-the-recap/

It was certainly something I never saw myself doing a couple years ago, much less placing first in my age group, that’s for sure. I’ve found in the pursuit of these  sports I love, I’ve had to lay a foundation and then just start building on it.

20171119_141839
Yeah I’m smiling a little. All that hard work paid off.

 

Running takes some serious base miles before you start extending distance.  Even in distance running, there are days where I do interval runs to push myself faster. Short runs. Long runs. Speed. Or just easy miles.

Cycling in similar ways takes some base building although I found it fairly easy to transition to cycling. I guess all that running built some powerful legs that work on the bike too 😛

Of course, I can’t forget the strength training. Lifting weights, core work, and simple body moves all contribute to building a body for activities I love.

 

20170716_091024
Who says muscles and cycling don’t go together

 

Starting into this year, without a scheduled event at this point, I still practice a variety of activities during the week, just not as intense right now. Well.. mostly… haha

One of my training sessions is always a bit tough and it should be because it’s all about building strength.

What you may be wondering, do I speak of ?

Hills.

If you want to build your legs and butt, do hills. If you want to turn your cardiovascular system into an efficient machine, do hills.

And when I say do them, I mean frequently. Start walking them, eventually you can run a part, and then finally, you will scale up them like nothing.

Hills singlehandedly make me feel like a beast, whether I’m on foot or bike.

That being said, 5 miles on foot this morning, with plenty of hill repeats. As I turned around and headed back, I saw the hill in front of me, the one in this photo.

big hill
it’s way more fun running down this 😉

 

 

As I approached it I started thinking about what it felt like on the bike. I felt the familiar… I’m not sure what is the best word here… fear? it’s more like a healthy respect of something that is bigger than me. No matter how many times I do it, when I see it in the distance, I feel that anticipation and adrenaline rush.

Immediately the thought came to mind… “what are you afraid of?” I already knew the answer before it came.

“Failing”. My inner dialogue continued.. “and have you ever failed? Have you ever failed to do what’s in front of you?”

The answer was “No”. Not even in my beginning cycling days when I’d be in the wrong gear and have to muscle it up did I ever NOT ride all the way up.

I was reminded (again)  that if I dont do something that puts a healthy fear in me, it’s not a challenge, I might as well go home.

I just can’t do that.

It just feels so powerful when I accomplish something that challenged not just my body, but my mind. I’ve found tremendous growth occurs when I let that “healthy, fearful respect” of something challenge me. And when I’m challenged in that way, I’m changed.

It helps me see and understand I don’t have to be limited in what I do. The important part is being available and going after it.

I was having a tire fixed on my bike today. I thought it was “just” a flat. It turns out it was the tube and tire… gone… shot.

When I do it, I do it up right haha

Anyway, the guy who owns the place and sold me my little Cannondale has encouraged my cycling endeavors and made sure the bike was in top condition before my duathlon. He asks me today… ” soooo is a triathlon in your future?”

Why yes, yes I did laugh.

He looks at me… “you don’t swim?”

My response, “Oh I can ok enough, but I’m certainly not a competitive swimmer.”

He gives me that level look and says, “of course you know you can do it. Just get out there”

Here’s a little not known secret about me… I just don’t like having my face in the water. It really just weirds me out. And I will seriously need to move past that if I’m to consider a tri in some distant future.

Am I capable? I know I am. I never saw myself as a long distance runner or now a duathlete, yet here I am.

I guess you could say there’s a bit of healthy fear when I look a triathlon fully in the face. I’ve felt it each time I’ve considered a bigger athletic goal.

I either look it in the eye, stomp down those feelings and tackle it… or… I turn and run and never know what I’m fully capable of achieving.

What about you? Can you relate to any of this? Have you felt a healthy fear of pursuing something that seemed way bigger than you thought possible?

If something scares you… maybe you just need to go ahead and do it. You’ll never know how it will grow you until you let it stretch you outta your comfort zone.

It’s outside of our comfort zone we discover what we’re really made of.

 

terrifying

Time Vs. Priorities

i_dont_have_time-960x675One day. 24 hours. 1,440 minutes. 86,400 seconds.  Time. It’s something we all start off with the same amount of each day but that is where any similarities stop.

How we spend this daily valuable resource largely depends on our lives and what we choose to do with it.

There are some things that are non-negotiable in our days.

Work and travel time to and from. Sleep. Meals. Appointments to be kept are all things that automatically deduct from our daily bank account of time.

Then there could be everything from caring to our homes, raising kids, doing laundry, cooking, cleaning, doing errands the list goes on.

Of course, there are important things ( priorities) in each of our days. You know, those things that are always at the top of the to-do list to get done and HAVE to be done. We may wish we could be doing something more fun but those priorities have to take place first.

In the ways of fitness and exercise, what I hear most is… “well, I just don’t have time to exercise”… which always confuses me ’cause an hour or so is such a small part of a 24 hour day that I’m not sure what keeps someone so busy they don’t have time for themselves.

Is it guilt? Or is it just a convenient way to dismiss working out? Or is it just letting other  things have precedence over the equally important task of taking care of our bodies.

The quote I’ve used today I’ve shared before on social media.

It’s often met with crickets in regards to exercise.

Why? Because I guess at a basic level all of us intellectually know we need to do activities that support us and encourage health and wellness in our lives.

However, those activities are often hard.  Learning to eat better or say no to things isn’t always easy. Teaching ourselves to eat less or make better food choices isn’t easy. We like our old comfortable ways and want to stay in them.

Getting out of our house and outdoors to walk or ride a bike takes effort. Driving to the gym means planning and making it work in our schedules. And let’s face it, when we’re out of shape, exercise is hard and it sometimes makes us ache! It might  not be the thing you wanna sign up for initially.

You don’t get it, I don’t have time…really.

Hey, I understand! Life does get busy. There are some days for me that I just don’t see anything else fitting into it. Literally, I’m up super early for an appointment or something equally important and the rest of the day seems like I’m running and not the kind of running I’d prefer to be doing. I’ve learned to not stress over those days because I know I’ll be at it the next day.

I’ve had days where I’ve been up earlier and restructured my workout to fit the time I had in the morning to still get ready and be on time for where I needed to go.  Do you know what you can pack into 20 minutes??  A lot.

As I’ve trained myself and built new habits, it’s become something I automatically do… structure my day to accommodate my exercise.

You can do it too. Trust me.

Will you have to be intentional? Yes. Will you have to get out of your comfort zone? Absolutely. Will you have to plan and make it a part of your new schedule? Yep.

The question that begs to be asked….

Is it worth it to you?

Simple and straightforward, right?

What’s it worth to you? If it’s a priority, you’ll make it one. If not, you’ll continue to talk or think about it but never be intentional at making it happen.

How do you spend your time?

Seriously. How do you spend your free time in your day? How much time is spent on your phone playing games or surfing the web? How much time is spent laying on the sofa or sitting in the chair watching tv?

More than you realize I’m sure.

Remember we’re only talking about an hour of your day to do something positive for yourself.

What if I want to start? How?

Awesome! Making a commitment and having that desire is the most important one to take. I’ve said so many times before, scheduling your time is key to success and making it happen.

. determine what you want to do. What sounds fun or interesting that will hold your attention?

. Once you decide that, you need to determine what time of day is best for you. Are you a morning person? evening? Your job might determine when you schedule your time. But figure it out.

. With an activity, and your best time determined, now write it down or put it in whatever digital device you choose to use.

. What other steps do you need to take to make your commitment happen? will you need shoes or any type of gear? Join a gym? Schedule a personal coach? Get up a half hour earlier?  Figure it out.

. The final thing would be making sure you keep your appointment with yourself. This honestly comes down to your own determination and not quitting on your commitment. This can take a little time as your build this new habit into your life, because it will be a new habit, hopefully a positive lifelong one.

Time vs. priority. What will it be?

Have you had to learn to make exercise a priority? How did you accomplish it?

.

 

 

Your Body. Rest Or Rust.

if-you-rest-you-rust

I’ve seen this quote before and it always resonates with me. Of course it refers to working hard and the value of perseverance but I see it in a different way too.

Do you ever think of your body and how you use it ( or don’t use it) in terms of “getting rusty”?  If you’re like me when you hear the word “rust” you get images of weathered worn pipes or an old car that’s been left to sit for years, the paint long faded and gone and the metal rusting through.

For anything to not become rusty requires some work and care to keep it in good condition and working order. Without proper care (that item) will not function in the way it was intended to function.

Now let’s apply that concept to our bodies.

Without proper work and care they can become less functional as we age. They can get achy. We can lose muscle mass and strength. We lose the ability to bend well and move in ways that are free. We get out of breath doing easy tasks or walking short distances. Walking a flight of stairs can make us winded and the idea of bending to touch our toes or place our hands flat on the floor could make us laugh.

Our bodies are designed for daily, vigorous movement. To bend, stretch, lift, walk, run, jump and play.

Personally, I’m soooo ready for hard work again!

Doing the duathlon at the end of November and coming off a year of hard work and training I let myself do some easier work in the weeks after. Mentally it can be hard for me to “rest” but intellectually I know it’s good for my body to have a little down time too.

But then… it was December and life just happened in ways that slowed me down. Then hubby was off  2 weeks for vacation and as awesome as that was hanging out, doing stuff together, sleeping in some,  going out for breakfast and some days just being a little lazy, it shot my “normal” schedule. I loved every moment of having some relaxing weeks with him and having a mental break from my usual routine is good… but….I have been reminded of this more than ever…

I feel way more energetic and my muscles feel less tight when I’m working out, than when I’m not.  My body has now been trained for that work and needs it as much as it needs food.

I don’t see this as a “bad” thing, but it does show me it’s a most necessary thing. Purposeful, daily movement is essential for our well being.

It’s essential for MY well being.

With that being said… I’m more than ready to get back at it.

What about you? Have you had some time off or done less in the past few weeks? Perhaps you’re inspired by the start of a new year. Maybe exercise has only crossed through your mind but you have the thought you’d like to get started doing…something…

Depending on where you are and what you do or have done will determine the level of what you get out and do.

For me, as you’re reading this and maybe drinking your morning coffee, I’ll be out getting some miles under me on the bike. I will most likely do yoga on Tues and some strength training a couple times this week as well.  I won’t push myself hard but will ease back into it letting my muscles get used to the activity again. I know my body will quickly adjust to the routine and I will be pushing myself harder next week.

But what if you’ve not done anything since you were like… 12… on the school play ground playing tag with your friends? What if you haven’t done anything physical in so long you wonder if you can but you are willing to get out there and give it a try?

Good for you! There’s no better time to get moving and long before you might see results outwardly, mentally, you will always feel great doing something positive for yourself.

Ok.. I’m motivated. Give me some tips.

I always tell people I talk to, find something that you can be excited about doing or want to go do. It will ensure you are proactive about doing it each day.

If you are unsure, start with walking! All doctors will support walking as a healthy way to help with weight loss and to get fit. You can walk at your own speed and increase as you get stronger. All you really need are some good shoes and you’re set to go.

Start small. Don’t try and walk 5 miles your first day or anything like that. It might just be a couple laps around the block and maybe it’s what you do for a week or two until you are comfortable to increase distance.

Don’t like to do it alone? recruit a friend or family member to workout with you.

Write it down! Scheduling a time in your day should be just as important as anything else you do.

In the beginning  you might need to start with every other day to help you get going and to protect from doing to much to soon.

If you have health issues or concerns, always consult with your doctor first.

Imagine yourself getting stronger at the activity you choose. The massive hills I ride don’t necessarily get easier,more like I get stronger for the task of doing them. Think of being able to walk faster, for longer periods of time, or maybe even eventually running.

Look locally for free or trial classes to experiment with a new activity before you make a commitment to it.  Local gyms will often offer free trial classes before you commit.

Be willing to grow and learn new things and to challenge yourself in new ways.

Finally, celebrate as you get stronger and have more energy for living your life. Embrace the changes of your hard work and most of all, have fun with it!

 

IMG_20171201_151834_403
On the road… my happy place….running, walking or cycling… this is my gym.

 

 

Do you have a favorite activity you enjoy doing ? Is there something you’ve learned to do that you previously didn’t know how to do?