Monday Musings

Hello beautiful people! It’s Sunday evening as I write this and I find it ironically funny I’m tossing down black coffee like it’s free beer night at the bar and following it down with some Peanut M&M’s while I get ready to write a post for my health and fitness blog.

I have weaknesses ok? Don’t judge me.

Anyway, life without some chocolate is just boring, can I get an amen?

I once was on a committee  with a man who always brought chocolate to our meetings, usually M&M’s. He called it brain food.

I called him a smart man.  I always angled to sit by him. We all worked better with that brain food 😉

It’s ok though, I’ve been grinding it out this week with my workouts so I’m thinking my treats are ok.

One of my training sessions was miles with a lot of big back to back hills thrown in. And I’ll tell you, I always know where my glute muscles are after those sessions!


Yes, I’m standing on the hill in the middle of the road. Check out the scenery I have to suffer through while doing hills.

It was one of those cooler than I anticipated when I took off kinda mornings. Perfect opportunity to rock a beanie for maybe like, the last time this season.

It’s cute. It doesn’t matter that my hair was soaking after 😛

But hills. Yeah, speed work in disguise so I try and make sure I hit them a couple times a week.  I weirdly like doing hills even though it really is hard work. It’s satisfying hard work.

Of course the week in training also contained things like heavy doses of strength training and some cycling.

Spring is coming though and I’m really looking forward to getting back into heavier workouts.

Hello spring 🙂

and by that I mean longer miles on the bike and back to once a week brick sessions, (run/bike/run ) to start whipping those legs back into shape. I am planning to do the duathlon again this year. I think it’s good to make those sessions a part of my weekly training even if I am months away from it happening.

On the subject of spring….

Am I the only one who lurched into last week with the whole daylight savings time business? Like those first few days feel all wonky. Midafternoon I think I have hours till dinner and I realize I gotta quit what I’m doing and make plans to feed the natives. Worse is morning when it’s pitch black out and I’m stumbling around looking for coffee trying to not think it’s really only 5 a.m. and that’s why my body feels like its still in a fog. Forget the fact I’m up to my usual time the night before which may contribute to said fog. Of course then I still think it’s early morning when it’s really later, especially if it’s cloudy or foggy out… bleh.

This week has been better though… I’m doing it… go me.

In other shenanigans of the week…..

My furniture adventures… yes I know I promised a post on that and it’s coming… sometime….

Meanwhile, while you wait…

I picked up some more cool stuff I just can’t live without being stored in my work barn. Ha, I kinda joke. Some pieces are for flipping and a few are because I don’t want to part with them.

I only celebrate my win after I bag the game and am heading home.  A few treasures back there…

It’s kinda hard, flipping stuff. I mean when I  invest time into it and love on it, well, maybe I don’t want it to leave. But for real, I pick certain things I know I’m going to specifically give new life to and then hope someone will want to take it and love it after I finish it. Then there are pieces that make my heart sing and I want to have hang around for awhile. Look at one of the little things I had stashed back there….

I loved this little piece immediately. It’s on castors, which I think are kinda old school cool. Those drawers are cute too. The top was a mess and I wasn’t sure what would be underneath,


Look at it’s fixtures
Look… some elbow grease and those water stains were only surface. Some pretty wood hiding under there.

So, yeah I kinda love this piece so for now, it stays with me…

I got this turn of the century Sligh desk on Saturday… gah… look at it….

Sligh desk circa early 1900s
So much pretty detail…soooo much work to do on her…

They just don’t make things like this anymore. I of course bought it off a lady who lived in the middle of nowhere and had it in her barn…lucky me.  More on this project later… oh and it should be mentioned I kinda name my projects ’cause “desk” and “dresser” just sound dull and boring.

Say hello to Anastasia. It’s the perfect name for such a lovely piece with so much lovely detail and delicacy.

ok and finally for this week on my side project… I introduced you to my early 30’s china hutch weeks ago. I did not tell you her name however.

Say hello to Scarlett. I’m sure you’ll understand why I chose it for this piece….

Look how lovely she looks now.
A peek in the drawer. I love how old and vintage it looks with the wood still showing through and some stenciling to dress it up a little.
The day I brought it home. Sad, dirty and in desperate need of an updated look

So there’s a little snap shot of some of my projects. I’ve got several in the works right now that I hope will be finishing in the next week or two. A few are flips so here’s hoping they find new homes quickly 🙂

And before I leave you….

You know I’ve gotta talk a bit about food right? Have you ever realized when you are really, truly, deeply hungry it tastes amazing in a way it doesn’t when you aren’t that needy? It’s true.

That being said, I’d be remiss to not share a couple tasty things I whipped up this week. One pan meals… cause I’m all about getting a healthy meal together without being in kitchen all night….



And that’s a wrap boys and girls. Tell me how this past week went? Have anything fun or exciting ahead of you?


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

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.


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.

One of my projects photo bombing me 😉




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?

Focus, Perspective And Weight Loss

Focus. Perspective. Seeing something in a different way. Clarity.

Focus: the center of activity or attention .

Perspective: a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something.

When it comes to pursuing personal goals regarding weight loss or improved health and better eating habits we all have that “thing” we focus on that keeps us in forward movement to (hopefully) achieve that goal.



We might post a picture of ourselves from years back from a time where we felt like we looked good or were at a good weight.

We could use certain items of clothing as a goal to work back to wearing that we’ve out grown.

We may restructure some of the foods we eat and how much we eat of them.

For many, the scale is the judge and jury of our success, or lack thereof.

The scale of course, offers a visual reward or assessment of how we’re doing in our week with our weight loss goals.

Back in the day, when I was just starting my journey, I’d hop on it almost daily wanting positive rewards and feedback from it.

I’ve written a couple posts on the scale….

If it told me what I thought was “good news”, my day was made. I felt awesome. I felt like I was being a superhero in the weight loss department.

If it told me less than good news ( in my mind) and by that maybe I lost no weight that week or had “only” lost a pound ( have you ever seen one pound of fat?? You’ll never say that again once you do) or worse yet, worse than the coffee pot not working one morning, was the dreaded I had gained a pound or two that week.

That was enough to make me feel like a failure. A bit of a loser. Those nagging self-defeating thoughts could creep in….

“why bother? You are never going to do this anyway?”

“wow, after all you’ve done and no weight loss, but a gain?”

“Just give up”

“Might as well just eat ( you fill in the blank here) whatever thing I had withheld from myself.

Lots of ways for me to get de-railed from my goals. The scale was definitely one of the bigger challenges to overcome.

I know I’m not alone in this misguided perspective of the scale and our weight loss and fitness journeys.

The scale and I  are like friends who meet twice a year for coffee.



Where it changed for me.

When I first started out, the scale was a tool to show me that I indeed, was having less gravational pull 😉 that did help to offer motivation.

But after I’d had my mental “ah ha” moment of keeping the scale in it’s place it became easier for me to embrace other things that offered a “reward” for my work and diligence.

This shift in thinking offered me the encouragement I needed to keep going. Maybe it will offer you encouragement too.

My perspective had to change.

When I first started getting out and moving again, I realized after finishing up my walk one night how good I felt. I felt proud of myself for moving and getting out, I felt happy and I felt strong. None of that had to do with any weight loss. The numbers on the scale had no bearing on how good I felt overall when I finished what I was doing.

Not a lot had changed at that time, really, as far as obvious outward changes.

But there were things that  I felt that made me feel good, mentally and physically. I liked the tired feeling, or having sweat running down me from exertion. I liked how I felt good and strong just from the act of doing it.

I loved the accomplished feeling of doing it.

Nothing feels better mentally than wrapping a good workout. I’ve come a long way since my beginning evening walks


My perspective changed in learning to embrace new changes in myself as new disciplines were being formed and slowly put together. These changes had nothing to do with a changing scale or looser jeans.


What does your perspective look like?

If you’ve been on a journey to get fit yet are often side tracked, where is your perspective? How do you approach getting to your goals? Is it based solely on having less gravitational pull ( i.e. the scale? ) Do you determine your success by that alone?

Learning to shift your perspective to the whole picture will help you move along celebrating other things that are happening with you as well.

You know that discipline you are building from making a daily commitment to get your exercise in?

Don’t underestimate that. When you learn to train yourself to daily exercise it makes other things in life easier to be disciplined in.

As an endurance runner, I’ve learned I have to put out a lot of strength and not just physical, but mental too. Once you’ve run 26 miles, or better almost 32 you realize you take can anything in life head on.

I learned that strength I built in training carried over into all areas of my life and that was pretty cool.

Building your new habits and practices can help give you confidence in all areas of your life too.

Focus or perspective

So as you pursue whatever you’ve set before you the question to ask is are you focused on it? Or do you have a positive perspective on it?

If you are “just” focused on weight loss, making it the center of your attention, then it will be all you can see.

If you have a broad perspective approaching weight loss and fitness then you will be able to see all different aspects of the process and can embrace those things alongside the visible change of numbers of the scale.

You can learn to celebrate changes in how you are eating, the choices you make in food, your approach to eating, and how much you eat.

You can see improvements in your overall fitness when you climb a flight of stairs and aren’t out of breath, when you can walk briskly and it just feels good, when you can lift heavier things with ease, or when your body begins to reflect a new overall strength in tasks.

As your perspective changes and you embrace all of the changes you are going through you will begin to see there is more to having a whole balanced perspective on health and wellness than the ever shifting numbers on a scale.

Are you a more focused person or one who has more perspective on the big picture?


The Tortoise And Hare Weight Loss Approach

Do you remember the kids story “The Tortoise and The Hare”? It’s been in existence since the dawn of mankind.


A quick summary, the rabbit challenges the tortoise to a race, confident of his abilities to win he dashes so far ahead that he decides he’s done enough and has it solidly in his paw to win, so he decides to take a quick nap on the roadside.

Meanwhile, tortoise who has been plodding along, is taking it slow and steady, keeping his little beady eyes on the goal of the finish line.

He eventually passes sleeping hare and ultimately winds the race and the big time bragging rights in the forest that he beat the mouthy, sassy hare in a race.

hare 2

I hope tortoise worked it for all he could.

Today we’re gonna talk about the goal of weight loss and fitness journeys in that context.

I did a mini post on it for my social media last week and the idea has kinda kept growing. Basically, I thought about how there were two types of people when they decided to get serious with the idea of weight loss and fitness.

They are either the tortoise or the hare in their approach to it, go all out, or slow and steady.

The Hare approach

Don’t get me wrong. I think the hare had a crazy amount of confidence. I like that. Confidence is good. It can help you take on things you never thought possible and help you own yourself in a whole new way. Hare was a bit too confident though in his approach to being successful at reaching his goal. I’m pretty sure he didn’t plan well or make provisions for the unexpected.  Hare was going to go all out with everything he had and thought he’d accomplish his goal in a quick amount of time.   Unfortunately, by the time he knew what was happening his prize had slipped away from him and he didn’t hit his goal.

All to often I observe people decide that they are going to lose weight and start exercising. It’s a common wish and desire among thousands. Making it happen for them is often another story.

So when they decide it’s time, they are possibly armed with a little information and a long ago workout idea or plan they haven’t done in years.  They decide “come Monday, it’s time to diet”. All the negative not “good” food is gotten rid of, sometimes by consuming it in preparation for Monday.

They make radical, broad, sweeping changes in their daily nutrition often cutting out the very things they enjoy. They restrict their calories in a way that leaves them feeling miserable most of the day ( hungry) and embark on a to vigorous exercise plan that their dormant body isn’t used to.

They may often have goals that are to lofty for the time frame they have in mind ( to much weight loss to soon, a fitness level achieved that might take longer, getting into a certain size etc) they weigh in constantly hoping their restrictive diet and new exercise will work wonder miracles in weeks.

They are often very focused and determined, but miserable along the way. After weeks of drastic restricitions and their bodies hurting from doing to much to soon, they begin to make excuses or begin to revert back to those comfortable old eating habits. Eventually, they lose sight of the goal, their prize, and lose the race they set out for.

The Tortoise approach

Those who are the tortoise in the pursuit of weight loss and fitness know that it will be a slow, steady race. They understand that getting to the goal isn’t going to be fast. They don’t look for weight loss schemes to get them there faster. They understand that they just need to settle into a new routine and let their bodies naturally do what they are meant to do.

They don’t wait for Monday or a special occasion. When they determine they are going to do it, they just start.  Even if it is on a Wednesday.

They won’t throw in the towel if they have an off day. They will simply keep going focusing on those positive changes.

The tortoise people will learn to make slow steady changes in how they eat, and they will eat enough food to keep the hunger away and not to much to allow for weight loss to occur. They will not have a “last supper”  mentality that says to eat everything “bad” in the house because they will never have it again. They begin to understand that if they want a chocolate chip cookie along the way, they can have it and still keep moving to the prize. They learn to appreciate healthy, nutritious foods and not view them as punishment because they aren’t eating a big burger and extra large fries.

They start to see how their body feels and looks from eating healthy foods and then those less nutritious foods seems not so desirable anymore. They have new energy and realize, hey! I think I’m gonna win this race. Along the way, they may pass others who sped off in the beginning with some weight loss gimmick or shake or whatever but because they’ve learned to sustain their bodies with real, whole foods they’ve not only got energy but they’ve been slowly, steadily losing a bit of week each and every week and those little amounts are now starting to add up.

Each day that has gone by they have tried to make small, healthy, choices and decisions everything from passing on the stale office donut to getting up 30 minutes earlier to get a workout in and the prize is in their reach. At this point the tortoise is so comfortable living a new lifestyle with healthy habits they have no worries about getting to the goal.

It may have taken a bit longer, but their results will be permanent.

Which are you?

If you are among the many who desire to make changes in their life by  losing weight or getting more fit how do you approach the race?  Does the speed off and get there fast seem appealing? You just want the weight, flab and lack of energy to disappear over night so you’re willing to try whatever the new kid on the block is with weight loss sorcery. Maybe you don’t buy the sorcery but you just think the extreme cut everything out and be restricitive approach will get you there already.

Or perhaps, you’ve already been around the block a time or two with that approach and know it’s a process going nowhere.

You’ve learned and know and understand you haven’t gained weight and gotten out of shape overnight and it’s going to take some time to reverse the process. You just settle in for the long haul, taking it one day at a time celebrating each new day as you make decisions that will transform your life, physically, mentally and emotionally.

I want to win this race!



The first step to being successful is having a desire to do it. An understanding that it will take time is your first move to being a tortoise and not a hare.

Allow for changes to take place that need to take place. You didn’t gain weight overnight, you won’t lose it overnight.

Make small daily dietary changes, not broad sweeping ones that leave you feeling hungry and deprived.

Eat a bit less. Don’t eat seconds. Add in a veggie or fruit if those are low on your nutrition list. Go for a walk if you haven’t exercised in a long time.

Schedule activities for yourself that you enjoy that make you feel good, mentally and physically.

Make new healthy recipes instead of eating out.

Learn to find activities to do when you feel like eating.

Weigh in only once a week. Look for other ways you are improving mentally and physically.  There is much more to process than your gravitational pull on this earth.

Settle small realistic goals. Continue to adjust as you reach them. ( i.e. focus on losing only 5 lbs at a time and not the whole 50 you really want to lose)

With some consistent, slow and steady moves, you will reach your weight loss and fitness goals and maintain them forever.

Tell me. In your approach to help and fitness are you the tortoise or hare?


The Rewards Of Rest Days

One of the hardest things I’ve had to learn as an athlete is the importance of rest and recovery times.

You’d think it should be easy, right? It should be easy to just take a day off and not train. It should be easy to come off of months of heavy training for an event and greatly reduce my training volume and just enjoy some easier workouts.

There’s a couple factors that can come into play here, well, at least for me. Once I’m disciplined to something it’s very hard for me to not do it. I can be rather driven with whatever I’m focused on.  Mentally as well, it’s hard to not do it although I intellectually grasp the importance of focused rest. My body and mind thrive on it, that structured often intense training.

When I work this hard, rest days are essential.


My mind and body need the work but they also need the rest.

I’ve also learned active rest doesn’t involve laying on the sofa eating crappy food and being lazy.

Well what is involved with recovery?

Recovery times are designed to let our muscles heal and recover from all we put them through in training. It allows the body to repair and strengthen itself between workouts.

In a crazy way, when we exert stress on our muscles, it damages the muscles fibers causing them to break apart.  During recovery these fibers heal stronger than before, which in turn makes your muscles stronger.

When we rest and eat good foods, our body heals, recovers and builds new tissue.

Active rest for athletes can mean anything from a brisk walk ( what I’ve used when I recover from running a marathon for a couple weeks after) to short easy runs, cycling or anything that doesn’t stress the body.

For me in the past year, yoga has been a good form of not just active recovery but  it’s also a wonderful, different form of strength training. Not only that, it also stretches and works those areas that tend to get tight from my running, cycling and strength training.

I’ve come to embrace so many of the moves that although sometimes at the start are a bit stretching, lead to feeling so good. It gives me some looseness and I feel better with it.

And although it helps with recovery, I think it’s also a wonderful strength tool as well.

I did a couple articles on my yoga shenanigans, find them here….

Stretching, bending, flexing and whatnot

Ok I’ll admit. For years I was awful, totally awful, about taking time to do some dynamic warm ups before running or anything else athletic.

I just wanted to get at it.

I was a wee bit better when I finished, but after always feels so good and my body has earned it after working hard.

Since then I’ve learned more importance in taking that time to do activities to  help keep me loosened up and prepared for what I love to do.

…..although… I can still be bad about short changing myself on it….. you have permission to give me a hard time if I don’t.

Tools of the trade

There are other things I’ve been schooled on my road to being a ordinary, middle aged female athlete.

It took me a few years to get through this  “school” but now I know how important some things are.

For instance a foam roller. I would’ve never believed how amazing a cylinder of hard foam could feel on my body.

Foam rollers if you don’t know, are a method of self massage that lets you really key in on areas that are tight and achy. They also can help promote blood flow to recovering areas and break up knots and tension in muscles.

Then I went to Airosti for some treatments a couple years ago and the therapist told me I should be using a pvc pipe to roll on ’cause my muscles would adjust to foam.

I laughed. I told her she was crazy.

A hard pipe??? to roll my body on?

Ah well, laughing isn’t what I do with it now days as it’s my favorite device of torture… I mean… recovery haha



She was right. The pipe presses into muscles in a different way and doesn’t give as foam will. I use it on my back and roll up to my shoulders.

My quads seriously have a love/hate relationship with it. It kills my calves in a good way.

The pipe wasn’t the only thing I was schooled on.

A lacrosse ball became really good friends with me too. It’s perfect for working into arches of my feet into those muscles and tendons that need released. It also becomes a device of torture when you lay on the floor and position it in a tight muscle in your shoulder and press into it.

A solid ball of torture


Sweet mother of heaven. It puts me somewhere near death and blissful relief, I’m not sure which.

Another acquisition I got for Christmas is a roller with knobs all over it.

Are you seeing a weird pattern here? Devices that hurt, yet weirdly help haha

it looks something like this…..


and it’s perfect to get areas that are knotted or tight.

All of these are wonderful tools for recovery to help tight muscles, to increase blood flow, and promote healing.

And of course, let’s not forget ice and heat which not only help recovery, but gosh, they can feel so good too.

Of course other factors like staying well hydrated and eating good whole foods also contribute to a good rest/recovery day or days.

Learning to embrace days of rest and recovery goes with the athletic process, I’ve learned. slowly but surely. You too should learn to embrace those days as times of healing and restoration for not only your body, but your mind too.

Tell me, if you train or workout, do you allow or take rest and recovery days? Is that hard to do? What are some methods you use for recovery?


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.

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”….



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.



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.

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.




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…..

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.

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.


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 ?


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.