Monday Musings

Happy Monday boys and girls… here we go again! A  week behind us and a new week of adventures ahead.

Since it’s Monday, I think it’s appropriate we talk about M&M’s.

Candy. Yeah I know.

You like hanging out with me ’cause I’m sane and sensible when it comes to health and fitness and treats are an allowable part of a good life.

But there’s a story here…

You see our local store has been hawking them like crazy for weeks now.

Why? I’m not exactly sure. But they are everywhere. On the end of every aisle and literally all down the center of store right before check outs with huge signs that say

“BUY 1 GET ONE FREE!”

They have them in baskets right where you pay with the same sign.

Ok, I just can’t be tempted that easily. You gotta come at me harder.  I mean I do have many moments of temptation in the store but can usually dodge stuff like that.

The checker the other day was prompting me…

“Don’t you want some? I mean, you get an extra bag”

Me: “No, I still have candy from Halloween, Christmas, and Easter laying around” ( I didn’t buy any for Valentines day)

I’ve managed to avoid temptation until I realized they were peddling a new flavor….  which would be Crunchy Mint.

I bought into it like a fish going after a June bug. A girl can only take so much pressure, right??

Chocolate and mint are in my opinion, have the right kind of relationship going on

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It says “Sharing size” I’m not sure about that idea 😉

This is evidently one of their new flavors you/we the public get to have a say in. Let me say this about them… have you ever had the Girl Scouts Thin Mint Cookies?

Yeah… like little crunchy, chocolate morsels of ground up Girl Scout cookies.  They are up there in ways of tasty deliciousness.  Vote for these little suckers to stay around all the time.

Ok and I may share with the fam…  maybe….

Anyone tried these?

A deep thought provoking question for you

Hubby shared something last week, one of those meme’s that said something like ” being an adult is a lot like trying to fold a fitted sheet”

Well, the topic of folding fitted sheets got more discussion than the actual funny intended meaning of the post.

Which got me to thinking… weird.. I know…

I pretty much stated how I felt about folding fitted sheets.  I find them annoying. I can fold them, my mom and grandmother taught me well. It’s just I don’t spend any amount of time trying to “get them right” or perfect or whatever.

Sometimes they might be a loosely tossed folded ball  hahaha

Not really. The point being, I find it largely irrelevant. I don’t care if they are folded right or just clean and put away.  I understand no one is patting me on the head if I do it “right” nor do I get an award for being awesome at it.

I’m to much of a free spirit to worry about many things, that being one of them.  I’d rather get on to something more fun.

Lots of people though, seemed to take their folding fitted sheets pretty seriously.  I guess the older I’ve gotten the more I seem to not worry or get hung up on a lot of things that don’t need so much of my attention. The sheet thing just got me to thinking about it.

How I’d rather get done necessary chores, in as quick a way as possible while keeping a clean, organized home, so I can get on to stuff that’s fun and enjoyable to me.

As in I like a clean house, but it’s not something I love doing.   I like the final result but  I don’t get a thrill out of.

I save that for flying off hills on my bike 😉

What camp do you fall in? Are you super particular with sheet folding? Or do you just hit it and get on with life ? Or are there other things that you prefer not to do but get done to move on with something more fun?

Then there’s life in the hill country

Nothing makes my day more complete than coming home and realizing two of my goofy dogs have gotten a wild hair to dig out under the fence.

Nothing really makes my day more complete than one of them coming home looking like this….

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Yep, a face full of porcupine quills

The sad thing is, he’s so goofy. This isn’t his first time. Or his second time.  I wasn’t feeling super happy with him at this point… the next day and hundreds of dollars later he came home… much happier than when he went in.

Goof head. All he had to do was stay in his safe yard and not go running through miles of rugged country and he wouldn’t have to go through that.

But before that unexpected surprise

I had been out shopping and gathering ideas for some of my furniture projects I’ve been working on

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these colors 🙂 you’ll have to see they all play out

 

 

You will just have to wait and see what unfold with this scheme 😉

Oh but I did collect some fun new goodies this week! The best part, they’ve all been super cheap.

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1930’s beverage trolley

this little piece I got from a girl selling some random things out of a storage building. I knew it was old but took it and knew I’d research it more when I got home. It was 15.00 so I was willing to take a chance on it.  It’s an old school beverage cart/ trolley. How clever right? They actually used to use carts for teas and other drinks. I love the little drawer that I guess, held utensils.  I also got a cute solid wood accent table that I have ideas for, I just need to get to it.

I’m excited to have several pieces I’m working on that will hopefully be ready to go to new homes in the next week.

Sunday I picked up some chairs that I came across. I haven’t really gone after chairs as I haven’t been sure exactly what I would do with them. But these were so cute and old and she was selling them for next to nothing, I couldn’t resist.

I couldn’t resist, especially since I immediately had ideas bouncing through my head for them.

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those legs!

ok what I love most of all is how perfectly, horribly needy they are. It’s my idea of perfect project pieces.

 

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I’ve only learned to celebrate my win when I’m actually driving home with my prize

 

Random fact

If there’s one thing I get a lot it’s comments on my smile and this week I guess I heard it more than usual.

So I’ll just say this to the questions I get often.. yes my teeth are naturally like this and no I never had braces 😛

I’m a good girl and see my dentist twice a year for cleanings, floss most of the time and eat foods that keep my mouth healthy.

Are you good about flossing? We all should be 😉

Speaking of food…..

I came across this tasty looking recipe a day or two back. I haven’t made it yet, but think it will be on the menu sometime this week.

 

Have you whipped up anything new this week?  What new adventures have you been on? What are you most looking forward to in the week ahead?

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Motivation And Muscles

The question came at me again. I get a lot of questions but this one comes up often….

“How do I get abs?”

Realistically we ALL have them.  The strong muscle structure that supports our back and inner organs come as standard equipment on all human bodies.

I know what the well intending person means.

How do I get defined abs? ones that show and pop ?

This really depends on your goal, what you’re wanting to achieve. For many people on their weigh loss journey, just losing fat off of their belly is all they want. Less around the waist, nothing rolling over the top making that awkward “muffin top”. Less around the middle is better for your health even if you don’t care if you ever see a defined ab muscle.

Excess fat around the belly can contribute to heart disease, diabetes, and some types of cancer.

Aesthetics aside… losing it off your middle is in your best health interest.

But… what if you do care and want to see those clear cut and chiseled ab muscles ? or  muscles of any kind?

You ready ?

It takes work, dropping enough body fat and having a wicked eye towards your nutrition.

Muscles are simply not visible with to much fat.

There’s this little saying that ab’s are made in the kitchen and it’s true. What and how you eat definitely comes into play in the muscle game, especially with your abs.

And what you eat is crucial to dropping fat while striving to maintain muscle mass.

But in the process of losing weight it’s important that you are building muscle.

If you diet down without building a solid foundation of strength and dense muscle tissue you’ll end up “skinny fat” ( it means you are under lean, your body has less muscle than fat) , weak and unhealthy.

What does that mean for someone wanting to have muscles that show up ? It means even if you are packing some extra weight, you are working on building muscle. It means you have a good strength training plan to build muscle mass while you work at cutting fat… so when you’ve slowly and steadily dropped that… you will have a muscle base to show up.

No matter how thin you get, if you haven’t built the core muscles in your abs you won’t have the results you are wanting. In fact if you haven’t built muscle anywhere, it won’t be there when you drop the fat.

I have been my own sort of experiment these past few years. I see magazine pictures of people like “before/after” but I don’t know them. I don’t really even know how they got to where they are today. But I do know myself and understand what it’s taken to get me where I am and the fact it’s taken time to achieve it, and I know it will take more time and discipline to further myself.

 

Jan '10 tummy
Fall 2010

 

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Moments after the finish of my second marathon Dec 7, 2014

 

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After a long ride earlier this year

 

 

You have to understand, I am a fairly ordinary woman who has done this on her own with no coaches, trainers or anyone else. I work hard, read a lot, use things I think are helpful for me, reject what I don’t think is helpful and I’ve continued to move forward a little at a time.

Do I want to be stronger ? Yes. Do I know I can have better muscles and definition? Yes. Do I understand because of where I am now it will take more disciplined work and time?

Of course I do. I’m ok with that since I know it’s a process.

The same goes for you. You won’t have visible results without a strong foundation. You will need significant muscle mass before you see abs and  work before you see other muscles.

But hey, remember in the process, you are getting stronger for living your life and that is a total bonus 🙂

What about you? Do you seek a strong, muscled or what people refer to as a “toned” look? Is that a goal? Or are you happy just being strong enough to cart the groceries in with less trips to the car ? 😉

 

 

Muscles Are For Girls

weight

I’m a wee bit competitive.  Ok, well depending on who you ask, perhaps I’m a lot competitive.

That’s not a bad thing, right? I’m a fierce competitor against myself and when my sons were younger and we had those side yard football brawls my middle son and I could either make a fierce team, or we were angling to take each other out as opponents 😉

That being said, when I’m around guys and they start talking about muscles and flexing their arms, I need to stop flexing mine 😛

I mean, why can’t I do show and tell along with them ?  ** note to self: don’t flex when you have more muscles… and you’re a girl….**

Seriously though… muscles are for girls.

In the beginning of my fitness journey, that never really crossed my mind. In the beginning it was all about losing that fat.

I guess I never pondered much the idea that there were muscles hiding out under the fat. Or that once it started to go away, I’d see those muscles that had been growing and changing.

But then one day I realized I could see definition in my arms, legs and other parts of my body. It’s taken time.

I often have women ask me what do I do or how can they get arms like mine? It’s usually said in a teasing way but they are serious.

I simply tell them I practice lifting heavy things.

I am kinda surprised how many women still worry that if they lift some weights they will be transformed into some kind of bulging hulk.

Listen, you won’t spend enough time lifting, and lifting heavy, or consuming the large amounts of food needed to get to that point.

You can get shaped, lean looking, and that illusive “toned” word that gets thrown around.

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Funny, but kinda true….

I was telling someone the other day when the whole arm convo was going on… go get weights that you can curl about 6-8 times before you can’t curl them again. Those are heavy enough for you to start with.

Forget those dinky little 2 lb pink weights… I’m not even sure why they were made. And even 5 lbs…forget it. Your grocery bags you carry in weigh more than that. The idea is to work and tax your muscles forcing them to grow and change.

Find your starting point and work from there. In the picture below is how I’ve progressed along the way…. and looking back… if I knew what I know now… those 5 lbs wouldn’t be there. Missing in the lineup are my 8 lb weights as a part of the group.

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Slow, steady progress over time….

 

 

These are my free weights I work with…35 being the one I primarily use. It’s hard for me, don’t get me wrong. It’s work. And that’s ok. The 15lb ones I use when I’m doing high reps. ( for the record I’m just showing one of each… they all have mates 😉

Now when I work with the bar I lift a lot heavier for things like squats, deadlifts, overhead presses and moves like that. I also have a bench that I do chest and leg work on.

I do strength training a couple times a week.. nothing crazy. Of course my other athletic activities have definitely contributed to muscle building. Running and cycling have really built my legs.

Alright, but other than muscles shaping our bodies, what about practical ways we use them ?

That strength you build is essential to the tasks you take on every day. Lifting, carrying, moving, pushing, whatever it is, you need to be strong for those tasks.  The practice of lifting heavy things prepares you for your daily life.

During Christmas, I had to carry my nearly 40 lb grandson blocks to the Christmas parade we were going to because we had to park a distance away from parade. I was easily able to carry him. Why? that weight was something I was accustomed to handling… I had practiced it enough that it was easy for me.

Ok besides the daily practical part… having strong “toned” ( and muscle is what gives you that look)  arms is high on the list for many women.

How to go about it? First, understand it takes time. You can see in photos below how my arms have progressed… but it’s within a span of several years…

 

 

April '10 arms
Aww…. baby arms.

 

 

Aug '10 (2)
Losing fat, finally getting some definition.

 

 

Sept '11
Finally… can I compete with these things ? 😉

 

 

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Second photo taken from Runners World photo shoot 2012
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Yeah that’s my arm they used in the cover story for the 2012 Body Issue
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2014
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Dec 2014
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Sweat time… Oct 2015

 

 

 

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And working out a few days ago…no flex in this pic ;)… Feb 2016

 

OK…so you know it takes time. Go get yourself some weights, start slow, but make sure they are heavy enough to make you work hard.

Oxygen magazine online has some great exercises with helpful tips and proper form photos for doing various arm exercises.

** oh and on a side note. You can use all kinds of things at home as weights if you can’t/don’t want to buy any. Milk jugs filled with sand work great…fill to the limit of what you can “lift”.

Spend a few days a week consistently working your arms and you’ll never consider buying clothes to cover them up again 😉

Yeah I’m a Runner With Muscles

I have a friend who always tells me….

“I’m glad you don’t look like a runner”  the first time that surprised me ’cause I’ve had perfect strangers assume I am.

What she meant was that I don’t fit the typical profile… if there is such a thing as one… (see my Runners World page on that topic)

Well, first of all, blowing me out of the running for any “normal runner” profile is the fact I’m 6’0 tall. I’m definitely an easy target and I’m often paced off of… or targeted to overtake ha

Yes, my legs are long and my stride is one to some of my much smaller counter parts two strides, I’ve had to deal with the fact I’ve got a lot more…. body… to move along and my pace might not ever be that of my smaller, whippet thin running companions.  I’m just stupid happy to be in the club…..

Besides, those obvious things, I pack a decent amount of muscle and that is what my friend means. She likes that I have muscles….  more than the average person/runner …..I kinda like it too 😉

As mentioned in another post, a few years ago, I started doing strength training on days I couldn’t run because of really bad weather ( I hated the treadmill and found it to be sooo boring) so I started doing my own “routine” I’d do some boxing and some weights. Nothing crazy, but enough to give me a decent workout.  I’d do it a couple times a week.

Well, it kinda stuck.

Over time I tried to actively incorporate that into what I do. In the beginning I was a kinda ….uninformed.. runner. I am pretty much self taught, read voraciously, and do a trial and error thing.. if it works for me I keep it… if it doesn’t I toss it out. I shamelessly talk to people who are more experienced and knowledgeable. It’s how I’ve learned.

So imagine my total delight, when I started seeing articles and suggestions that runners needed to do more than “just” run. That strength training/cross training was beneficial on so many levels. I was ahead of the game!

Injury prevention/protection

Overall body strength for those last, long hard miles.

Not to mention, it’s good to work all muscles in your body not just running muscles.

I think my body responds well to some weight training, I don’t go all crazy with it. And genetically, I might have something going on that helps.  But I do know I am more aware than ever of how all my body works together running and how I am aware of the strength coming from other areas and not just my legs/glutes.

Of course, being strong and having muscles helps greatly in my daily active life too =) and let’s not forget… summer and tank season 😛

Dec 2014
Dec 2014…..front view……..
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Dec 2014… and the back… I was surprised… I hadn’t really looked at them in awhile 😛                                                    

So what do I do ?

It’s all stuff I have at home. I have weights of all sizes which I use for upper body ( I really do prefer them over machines as I feel like it’s a little harder and makes me invest more of myself) I spend some time on that as well as core/ab stuff too. Squats of all kinds are my newest fav move….weighted and not weighted. I also use a jump rope and love explosive move exercises like jump squats….. which are not recommended to do a high volume of and then go wear heels 😛

and yeah, I end with a plank. I’m up to 3 minutes which makes me feel super bad ass crazy sweaty and breathing harder than an old horse out to pasture when I finish.

The most recent thing I’ve picked up working on is a single leg deadlift.

BOOM. There’s a move that singlehandedly kills your ass haha.

Seriously, it totally isolates one hip/glute area, develops balance (yikes) I do think I need a lighter kettlebell than my 35lb one to do this move with. I’ll keep you posted on my progress with this. It’s one of the harder things I’ve tried.

Basically, if I have only 30 minutes I cram it with constant movement…. if I have more time… I put more in. I prefer 45- to an hour if I can.

Ah……… all for the progress of becoming a better, stronger runner 😉

If you run do you strength train?  Cross train? Tell me what you’re up to incase I wanna try that too 😉