Welcome to the first installment of Saturday Snippets! I’ve had this idea bouncing for awhile and am finally getting it out.
Uh… what’s a snippet?
It’s a small piece or brief extract of information.
I decided this might be a fun forum to post a new recent recipe, a healthy tip that might not need a whole post, or just sharing a quote or thought I may have come across.
But overall, it will be a short and sweet post that will offer something positive, informative or maybe thought provoking and it won’t take but a moment of your time 😉
And on that note… today’s snippet…..
Time. It’s something we all get the same amount of. How we choose to use it is where we differ.
When it comes to health and fitness, specifically exercise, it seems that is the thing most often heard as to reasons why someone isn’t exercising.
It’s not that they/we/I/you don’t have the time, it’s just something that we may not choose to make a priority.
Move exercise into “priority status” like having a meal, brushing your teeth, being at work on time, watching tv or playing on the computer, meeting a friend for coffee or anything else you do in life that you may set aside as important.
Do this often enough and you’ll find you do indeed, have the time to exercise.
So I was bouncing around a lot of ideas for a new post (there are many to be had) I draw from so many places for inspiration. I’m often left looking at an over arching question of “what do my readers need?”
As much as I love writing from the trenches of life, I know if you take your time to read you wanna walk off with something that has encouraged you, motivated you, inspired you or educated you in some way.
One of my most popular posts, Healthy Eating For Dummies https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/09/05/healthy-eating-tips-for-dummies/ was the simple kind of education topic that people seemed to need. This was driven by talking to friends, and seeing posts from others that made me realize there’s so much in the health/fitness world that makes things seem hard and complex when in reality, they don’t need to be.
People often think if they are going to start exercising, it should be an all out, full speed, into what ever they are chosing to do without giving much thought to the fact they are in a body that isn’t used to that kinda work.
What happens then?
Usually, the day or two after, they are so sore they can’t move and the mere idea of going back to it makes the shudder.
If you haven’t been exercising, an all out approach is simply not smart.
Go Big or Go Home
I was scrolling through Pinterest one day ( follow me there) I may or may not have been looking for delicious chocolate recipes….
My newsfeed is a weird combination of wicked desserts they show me, and fitness plans to make me look like a MMA fighter.
I wanna have both please 😉
Anyway, there was this one that literally was a series of moves that totaled over 500 reps of several exercises.
The subtitle said get ready to wipe the sweat from your face or something like that.
What just stopped me in my tracks was the sheer craziness of it. Even as fit as I think I am, that would’ve been crazy.
I want to walk the next day 😛
Yeah there’s probably one or two people who’d go in and tackle it. Honestly though for the average person it’s aimed at, makes it dangerous, not smart.
It’s why I’m kinda not impressed with the current trendy “boot camps”
Because if you’re getting up one morning all fired up to start and “today is the day!” you decide the fitness journey begins, you will honestly hurt yourself attempting such a workout. Those environments although they modify, often are conducive with people working beyond what their current physical abilities really are because they will try and keep up with the guy ( or girl) next to them.
It’s so important to know where you are, what you’re starting point is, what (if any) physical limitations you have, and work from there. Literally that has to be the place you begin to build from.
And don’t feel bad about it or worry about it.
We all have our starting points. Consider it your base to your fitness foundation.
First, if you have any health considerations or concerns, talk to your doctor before you begin.
From that point, determine what goals you have or what you want to accomplish. We are all different in what we want to do and where our interests are.
Do you want to train for a 5k? Have dedicated time at the gym several days a week? Be able to walk around the block without getting winded?
Whatever it is, set a goal that can keep you focused.
There are so many activities to choose from but walking is something anyone can start at any time.
All doctors can support the idea of walking and often encourage their patients to do so. All you need is some good shoes and discipline to take yourself out and do it.
Walking is really a good, safe, and easy way to ease into fitness activities. You can adjust your pace as you feel stronger and you can lengthen distance as you get comfortable with your current distance.
Make sure your goals are clear, realistic, and concise.
It’s recommended you get in 30 minutes of brisk aerobic activity, 5 days a week for over all health. This includes things like running, brisk walking, cycling, swimming, rowing, dancing etc
To help with weight loss, more may be required.
Don’t under estimate that even small amounts in a day are beneficial to your health and wellness.
The more fit you become, the more you will most likely feel challenged to do. Don’t be afraid to extend your goals as you improve.
Aim for balanced fitness.
When I began my health and fitness journey, ( wow this is my anniversary month!) I started walking each day, about 2 miles. Eventually, I started running parts of it. At some point I turned into a runner ha.
But one thing I’m glad I learned early on is doing activities that work, train, and condition all of my body. Certain activities involve more muscle groups than others. Neglected, these can become weak areas in our body due to neglect of not using them as intensely as others.
It was on days I couldn’t run outside that I started doing strength training.
Let’s take a quick look at what these different activities are and how they can help us.
Cardio: It’s the activity people complain about the most because you have to work hard enough to get your heart and lungs really moving and well, that makes people uncomfortable. Mainly ’cause it makes them realize they are internally out of shape.
Start by doing an aerobic activity, like walking or running, for a sustained 20-30 minutes, four to five times a week. To ensure you’re working at an optimum level, try the “talk test”: Make sure you can carry on a basic level of conversation without being too winded. If you can sing a song, you’re going to easy.
Strength conditioning: I find this to be so important in supporting my other activities. Not only that, I can lift a sofa or heavy cabinet if I’m called upon 😉
Start by doing one set of exercises targeting each of the major muscle groups. Start by using a weight at which you can comfortably perform the exercise eight to 12 times in a set. When you think you can handle more, gradually increase either the weight, the number of repetitions, or number of sets. To maximize the benefits, do strength training at least twice a week( ladies this is SO important for us! You want to keep your muscle mass as you age and weights are where it’s at. Not only that, muscles look cool 😉 )
Never work the same body part two days in a row.
Flexibility training: This can be static stretching but I prefer some yoga to help keep me flexible and to help my overall mobility for life and my other activities. You not only want to stay flexible but mobile, meaning a complete full range of motion in your body.
Implementing all of these components will help keep you strong and fit no matter what activity you choose.
Find what you love, know your starting fitness level, start slow and gradually build on where you are.
Set small, concise goals to aim for.
Don’t compare yourself to others.
Make exercise a habit for life.
Don’t over do in the beginning.
Celebrate all your new victories!
If you have a developed exercise program, what tips or tricks helped you stay with it?
That’s such a relative term, isn’t it? What is easy for one person, may not be so for the other.
Webster defines easy as ” achieved without great effort, presenting few difficulties”
Reading has always come easy for me. I loved it as a child and was a classic bookworm. Summers were for dragging bags of books home to get immersed in.
Words come easy to me. It’s satisfying to use them in creative ways, to paint pictures and to be able to describe and tell a story.
Now imagine my shock when one of my sons really didn’t like reading. At all.
Why? Because it was work for him. It was hard and he had to have no distractions otherwise it didn’t “stick”. Words were hard and he did not find the joy in it that I did.
It’s precisely why one year, I too, read “Where The Red Fern Grows”, out loud to him. In reading it to him, it somehow stuck better, and even though he was older we both enjoyed that time each night reading a chapter so he was ready for the quiz the next day on it.
Word got around that was going on and soon his friends who hadn’t read would ask him…”so what’s going on in the current chapter?”
But ugh… seriously… damn sad book. Tears fell for both of us.
Reading and words were easy for me. My son struggled.
I guess we can see this applied almost anywhere in life, right?
The shining athlete, the top scholar, the jack of all trades who can seemingly do anything, the cook who effortlessly whips a gourmet meal out of nothing but flour, salt, beans and some peanut butter.
Ok, I’m teasing on that, but we all know that ONE person who can work with nothing and make something, and Suzy Q is struggling to follow directions on a box.
All of us can do things, can strive for improving on them yet it will never come easy.
For the love of numbers, I hate math. I’m always semi in awe of people who wield numbers the way I can words.
They look at those algebra equations and it all….makes… sense.
Amazing. Like how does your brain DO that??
I barely, and I mean barely, skated by my last math class in high school and I really think it’s ’cause my teacher just had a level of mercy on me.
And I did show up for extra tutoring so there was that…..
I was never, ever so glad to say good bye to math class. It’s what freaks me out about ever doing any college stuff. I took a practice exam once for the English and nailed it off the charts.
We won’t discuss the math one…… 😉
Easy for some, but not for me.
Hold on… I’m going somewhere….
I was thinking a few times this week during my workouts how some things I view as “easy”, most people think are crazy and can’t imagine doing. They view it as ridiculously hard. Hubby tells me all the time he doesn’t know how I do what I do.
This usually comes when we’re driving up a huge hill and I’m telling him what it feels like on bike or foot. Or telling him about my run/bike/run sessions.
I do it. I don’t think about it. It’s work but it mostly comes easy for me.
Recently doing dead lifts I thought how they weight was starting to feel not as challenging. I’ve been doing around 140lb, at a 3 set 10 reps as a part of my strength training.
Now some of you who lift a lot.. no laughing.
I try not to overwork my body on weights because training right now, I hit the road the next day and sometimes my legs and lower body are asking why I killed them the day before.
Strength training is icing on the cake for my other sports.
Here’s the deal.
In the term of being “easy”, it’s not.
Honestly, to think of lifting something weighing 140lbs straight up off the floor would seem like work.
My body is going through this wonderful thing called adaptation. I’ve been doing it long enough now that in some ways it’s starting to feel easier, but really, I’m just getting stronger and it means I’m going to have to up my game soon.
When it comes to exercise, so many people put at the top of the list, it’s hard.
Why? Well, because in the beginning, it is!
Exercise can quickly reveal to you that you are out of shape and need to be doing it more.
No one likes that feeling.
Exercise really, I don’t think, comes “easy” to anyone. Well, at least in the beginning stages.
And if you’re wanting to continue, grow and improve, if it starts to feel easy, you should be looking at the next step.
How do I get to the easy part?
In the running world, we talk about base miles. Basically, a foundation that you can build on. You train and work in certain mileage that allows your body to get stronger and make those adaptations that come from the rigors of running.
So many cool things change inside your body as it adapts to it. These changes are good and allow you to stay on your feet longer, work harder and go farther distances without injury.
I didn’t wake up one morning and just decide to go run a marathon. It took months of training building my body and adding more mileage each week.
This is how you need to approach getting into a new exercise regime.
It has to be slow and steady, no matter what activity you may choose to participate in. Doing it in this manner not only keeps your body from hating you the next day, it encourages you to keep pressing on to the next step.
And for you the next step might be literally committing to evening walks around the block. Or it could mean increasing your distance if you’ve stayed at the same distance forever. You could be thinking of dusting off the bike in the garage ( and you better be wearing a helmet!)
Maybe you want to start lifting some weights. I can’t stress enough to make sure it’s heavy to make you work. I mean maybe 4-6 reps before you can’t lift one more.
Find a starting point and then build from there. Always be mindful to do enough, but not to much in the beginning, to avoid injury.
With a careful, intentional approach, in time you will find yourself thinking that what once seemed so hard, now seems easy.
Tell me. Can you relate? Have you moved from a point of it being hard and painful to feeling easier?
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.
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.
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.
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….
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.
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?
Happy Monday beautiful people. Before I launch into todays ramblings, I want to pause and recognize that today here in the states, it’s Memorial Day.
If you don’t know, it is a day set aside to remember the brave men and women who died fighting for the freedom of our country.
Amidst the BBQ’s, and store sales, there is a far deeper meaning and acknowledgement of this last day in May. No words could ever express how we as a Nation feel for those who fought, and gave their lives for the freedoms we enjoy each day.
My dad served several years in the Vietnam war. He had Alzheimers and died from it a little over a year ago. To the end of his fading memory, he remembered he had served, he was proud of his service, and he still had pain in his heart for those he had served with in the war who didn’t make it back home.
As an American, I am grateful for those who have served, and continue to serve our great nation today.
I took off on a little road trip to see hubby this weekend. I always have fun exploring or doing things with him in different environments.
Saturday morning started off eating breakfast at this healthy little breakfast place we found before. They use like, real food to make your breakfast. As you can tell my eggs in my omelet are that creamy yellow. It also held all kinds of tasty veggies inside of it. Add to it hearty whole grain artisan toast and leafy greens with plenty of coffee, it was delicious
After food and some exploring we found ourselves at the pool later on. I was hanging off the side, lost in thought, watching the kids bounce around everywhere.
It should be mentioned, as a writer, my mind is constantly whirling, thinking, pondering. I observe the world around me and pay attention to people… the ways they interact, their conversations, body language etc. I can have a topic start forming in my head with just a casual observation of something.
I watched this little girl go skipping by in her little red bikini, blonde braids bouncing on her shoulders, goggles clutched in one hand completely enjoying the afternoon at the pool.
She was unconcerned over her body. She most likely wasn’t wondering what her stomach looked like or if she looked “fat”. She wasn’t wishing she had a bigger butt or wondering if people were looking at her judging her.
Nope. She was blissfully free. Sadly, in a few years, she may not be like that.
I began to share my thoughts with hubby who admittedly said he wasn’t sure he wanted in my head when I told him I had stuff whirling in there all the time…. haha
But he listened to my observations stating the obvious… well she hasn’t grown up yet and developed all those body insecurities. And this is true.
Family, society, friends, social media, even strangers are all big influencers of how we can lose our care free abandonment over time… meaning when we grow up.
When we grow up and determine we aren’t adequate or our bodies aren’t “good enough” or they could “be better” or worse yet, compare ourselves to others.
Sure, with good nutrition and exercise anyone could “be better”. But what happens that people can’t simply go enjoy life without being hung up on their imperfections, real or perceived?
We continued to talked about how beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And really, what IS a perfect body? That will vary person to person in what they believe to be attractive or desirable or whatever you wanna call it.
Yet the pursuit of these very things ( what someone believes to be desirable) will hinder people from going out and just enjoying life.
Really, no one cares if your thighs are super thin. No one is thinking you don’t fill out your swimsuit enough. No one is worried about the little extra pudge around your middle. Chances are, they have their own anyway.
Guys, no one is wondering where your washboard ab’s are or why your arms aren’t bulging in your t shirt.
Yet the times I hear women young and old lamenting over their “flaws” or imperfections ( how they view it) is staggering and they are held back by these beliefs.
Those ideas hinder you from just enjoying and savoring life.
What happens along the way that we can’t just go out and enjoy things with a child abandon instead of sitting on the sidelines, watching.
I’m in decent shape for a woman close to collecting her senior citizen discounts on morning breakfasts.
I wear a bikini because I can. Because I want to.
Because I hate having a white belly. hahaha
I don’t consider my body “perfect” in that unattainable sense. I’ve had babies. I have marks to prove it. However I also have some decent muscles now in my belly that I think, trump that. I have strong powerful legs, largely a side effect to my athletic endeavors. I don’t have “skinny” legs, but then I don’t want to have them either.
Oh. And I really don’t care if some random stranger may make a judgment on me or not.
But then again, as mentioned , I’m older. I’ve had time to get comfortable in my skin and be ok being me.
I won’t sit out watching from the distance while other people are having fun and doing stuff.
I will never sit on the side watching and not doing.
So as I sat, and watched these children so happily playing, still comfortable and untainted in their skin, I wondered why that has to be lost. Why so many will go through life burdened or feeling like they are inadequate or not enough and how if ever, that tide will turn.
Can I just say this? You are enough. Really. Your body is fine and no one is responsible for it but you.
If you need to lose some weight to feel better, do it for you. Do it for your health. Do it for the way it will make you feel.
I will always support good health and wellness ( mentally and physically)
Love yourself, learn to be a little more free, and enjoy the life you have to live without being hung up on if your body isn’t some particular “way” you think it should be.
Sweet heavens. I’ve been preaching. I shall now stop that…..
let’s be real. When we aren’t on our “home turf” it is harder to get a workout in. We may feel like we are on a break and can step away from it.
I do it most days, so time off makes me feel more tight and achy than when I do workout. My muscles are used to frequent movement!
Thus started my Sunday morning pondering what I could get in to shake out legs and a body that had driven quite a bit the day before and was begging for something.
I decided to go on a quick, brisk explore walk, 30 minutes. It was already warm and humid so it was easy to start working up a sweat. After that I decided to finish it off by running three flights of stairs for 10 minutes.
Let’s just say, if you wanna test your cardio endurance, go ahead and get after some stairs for awhile!
Ok so all that was great and awesome. I wasn’t thinking that later in the day, I’d be driving for awhile again and that my legs would be sitting and still.
I stopped for gas and a coffee and got out trying to not initially hobble like an old woman till they stretched out haha
Speaking of that… I had been craving an iced coffee for miles. The place I stopped is like this mecca in the middle of nowhere. It has the usual gifts, and more food than you can imagine to tempt you to take back on the road. It boasts I’m sure, a hundred gas pumps. And it definitely boasts the cleanest bathrooms anywhere on the highway.
Oh… I did mention observing people. If I had time to just sit outside and watch….
It’s an adventure unto itself to stop there.
Since no Starbucks was around for miles, I was thankfully, able to improvise with what they had for sale and settle my iced coffee craving.
Anyway, it kinda fortified me for the remainder of the trip so I won’t complain.
A holiday weekend isn’t complete without food
We will be doing a Memorial meal like most of America so I thought I’d share a couple of recipes I plan to use.
Yay for new recipes!
I’ve kinda really been wanting to try this, so better to do so when I have other people to test it out on .
But let’s not forget dessert….
Mocha brownies with coffee cream cheese icing. How amazing does that sound??
Two new recipes on the menu for dinner so we’ll see how that goes.
Before I go…..
As we head into a new week they are promising record breaking temps topping us into the 100+ degree range.
Ah. I know we are getting into summer months I’m just not ready for that rough heat yet. It also means I need to be up and on the road to bike or run before that sun starts getting to high in the sky. It’s a complete sweat fest with heat and humidity combined with the work of what I’m doing.
But, it’s summer and summer in the south means blistering hot days. Ready or not, here it comes.
Your turn! Tell me something from your week. Anything new, different or fun? Or was it the same ( yet sometimes comfortable) familiar grind for you?
One 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?
Meetings. School, work, volunteer groups seems like no matter what kind of group you may be involved with at some point they have meetings you attend. Some you may be able to get out of but something like, work, you really don’t get an option.
When you have a meeting with the boss you better make sure your happy little self is there ready to do what needs to be done.
A scheduled meeting with yourself to get your sweat on should be no different.
I’ve been asked how I manage to “stick with” exercise. I’ve been told that my “dedication” is to be admired. Often the person I’m talking with is wanting to know what the magic potion is that has helped me maintain my exercise regime for 8 years now.
I hate to tell you, but there isn’t any magic potion.
In the beginning it involved some whining and complaining ( to myself) but I made myself go do it.
And those are accurate words… made myself.
No athletic clothes, no heavy sweating, no techie gear, no athletic goals dancing in my head. Just a decent pair of shoes, I’d dutifully walk off my 2 miles.
I wasn’t excited about doing it. I did it because I knew I needed to and if I wanted to live a healthy life I would move my body purposefully every single day.
I made a commitment to it. If I couldn’t do it in the morning ( my preferred time) then I’d come home in the afternoon, change shoes, and go get it done.
In time something crazy started happening….
I don’t remember exactly when the shift occurred. The shift from dutifully doing it and checking it off my list, to something I looked forward to and began to guard and schedule as anything else important in my life.
In a 24 hour span of time, my workouts sessions were my time I scheduled with myself. I learned to view them as important as anything else I’d be doing in my day.
I learned to structure the rest of my day and appointments around my scheduled workout time, allowing for clean up and getting to my destination.
Some mornings are tight but I’ve become a wizard at transforming from sweaty, grime crusted athletic girl to someone who smells clean and looks respectable in an almost Ninja fast way.
Why? Because those meetings are important to me. They set the tone for my day. Workouts wake up my body, clear the night cobwebs and get my blood flowing. If I miss it, I honestly feel “off”.
I’ve learned a lot about myself in the process.
When you commit to something and faithfully follow through it turns into this crazy thing called… a habit. Once that habit is established it doesn’t cross your mind to make excuses to not do it.
I’ve spent a lot of time on the road and putting miles under me is a great way to learn things about myself.
I haven’t learned those things by not keeping my scheduled meetings to be there.
Over these past years I’ve seen what I’m made of when I have to dig deeper into myself for the challenge in front of me. I’ve learned I can continue to push past limits and head to new ones, and then push past those too.
In keeping those meetings with myself, fitness has taught me so much.
I’ve learned more about discipline, consistency, hard work, perseverance, sacrifice, goal setting, the strength of not just my body ( which at times I’m amazed at what it can do) but how it’s forged a fierce mental toughness in me which comes in handy for the rest of life. I’ve learned with training and determination I can do things I used to think were only for an elite group of people.
And in a cool way, I learned that I was pretty good at it. Something else I would’ve missed out on not keeping those early morning meetings with myself.
So what suggestions do I give to people?
As mentioned above, that is one of the things I get asked mainly because I think people do find it so hard to stick with. They want ideas and help to get rolling (and hopefully ) staying with it.
They have a genuine desire but I hear them, it’s hard in the beginning! You have to fight back against all the things that come at you, especially yourself.
Excuses can be easily made to justify not getting it done. Work, family, school, other activities all clamor for our attention and we wonder if it isn’t easier to just let it go.
So here are my pointers, for what it’s worth.
~Determine what time of day is best for you. This will be a totally personal thing depending on the schedule of your life and if you function best in the morning or evening. Find a time.
~ Start with something you enjoy doing. You will stay with it if you actually like what you do. And why you’re doing that, be thinking of something else you can do. Having a couple activities keeps boredom from setting in.
~ Just start. Don’t wait for Monday or till after a holiday or your grandmothers birthday. Just get up and start.
~ There are days you’re gonna think you’re to tired. Do it anyway. You’ll feel invigorated I promise.
~View it as important as anything else in your day and don’t allow it to not get done. ** I will say here, sometimes life just happens, even for me. If things go beyond your control and it just doesn’t, just regroup and get at it again the next day.**
~ Zealously guard your time. In the beginning when I started exercising I kept at it because I felt like the alcoholic who, if they had a drink would fall off the wagon. Only I worried if I made an excuse one day, then it would lead to another day, and I’d find myself in the land of excuses again for dropping my exercise habit. Honestly, it scared me enough to make me stay at it. Sometimes a little fear doesn’t hurt.
~ Consistency and discipline have payoffs. Not just the side effects of helping you lose weight or how your physique may change with it, but you will build that discipline into a new habit, and new habits have this crazy way of sticking.
~ Be kind to yourself. Remember an unexpected set back or off day isn’t a reason to forget the idea. Several years ago I hurt my knee, and no, not from running. It was from learning to ride a motorcycle 😛 the doctor wanted me off running for 6 weeks. I was devastated. But I was more terrified with that much time off I’d be out of my routine and not want to go back to it. Not true. I counted the days and when I got back on the road for the first time, I literally cried. ( something I do not recommend as running with a snotty nose hinders your breathing a bit haha 😉 ) I cried to be back out. I cried that my desire hadn’t gone away. I cried for the pure freedom of doing something I had been learning to love.
That’s when I realized that exercise thing really had stuck.
Yes, there are days now I wake up and as my brain is focusing on my training for that morning I think am I gonna have all I need to do this ? Of course that’s my “foggy, I haven’t had coffee yet to remind me that, yes I do” brain speaking.
I do have all I need. I love what I can do and am thankful to be able to do it. I’m thankful I pushed on in those early days and didn’t quit.
If you’re struggling to get started understand we’ve all been there. Just make a commitment to yourself and get rolling with one day at a time. Schedule your meetings with yourself and before you know it, you’ll be eager to show up for them.
Tell me have you overcome the lack of exercise in your life? How did you do it? Or is this an area you still struggle with ?
I get asked a variety of questions when it comes to health, exercise and weight loss. For the record though, let’s establish I’m not some “professional something or another” .
I am however, a normal (ish) middle aged woman who has had 8 years of plugging along on this journey.
I’ve lost my weight and kept it off. I’ve gone from being non-athletic to doing more than people half my age consider doing. I get asked often “who I train with”… I train myself and I guess I’m fairly motivated to keep pushing harder and working towards new goals.
I’ve learned a lot about food and more importantly nutrition and how important that is for us in the context of living active, strong, healthy lives.
I experiment on myself, if it works, great. If not I toss it. I read tons and am always trying to learn.
I don’t buy into hype and commonly pushed weight loss products, supplements, enhancements etc.
My take on things in regards to weight loss and health is that it should be sane and sustainable… meaning you can keep at it for a lifetime.
I never assume that what works for me, works for you. Mainly because biologically, we are wired differently and secondly our daily activities and exercise will greatly vary. Put all of that together and it will have a different impact on our weight loss and fitness goals.
All of that being said…
People still ask me questions 😛
I thought I’d field a few of them here ’cause they are pretty common to most people.
Here we go … buckle your seatbelts boys and girls….. ready ??
I’ve been exercising but I’m not losing weight.
Here’s the deal. Exercise is great. I love it. I highly endorse it for a wealth of reasons. Please, keep doing it no matter what. If you’re exercising you’re well ahead of a lot of people who haven’t gotten to that point yet. But if you aren’t losing weight it simply means…. you are eating to much. A negative people get with the exercise idea is that they can eat (more) or have (treats) ’cause they walked some that morning or hit the gym for 30 minutes. It means, you greatly over estimate your actual calorie burn. Without creating a deficit at the end of the day, you won’t lose weight. Eat good food, in moderation. Know the calories you need to operate on in your day. To lose weight try reducing them by maybe 20%. For example if you can eat 1800 calories a day ( this includes calories for purposeful exercise and just being alive) that means you’d subtract roughly 360 calories.
As long as we’re on this topic…. you won’t lose as quickly or much if you eat crappy food…to put it bluntly. You must not only learn to listen to your body and eat in moderation, but stop when you’re hunger is satisfied, not till you’re stuffed. Learning to eat healthier foods is definitely going to put you on a faster track to weight loss. Exercise alone will not do it.
I’m not losing weight, so I must be gaining muscle.
Oh boy. I hate to burst anyone’s bubble here… but….if you’re starting on your journey or even if you’ve been at it for a little while.. you probably can’t count “muscle gain”. If you’re a guy reading this, yeah, you have an advantage over your more feminine counter parts ’cause you’ve got all that testosterone roaring through your body helping the process. If you’re a woman, you still have the ability to gain muscle. But here’s the deal… very few people are going to work with the all out intensity required and eat in the manner necessary to accomplish muscle gain that fast. At best, even if you are committed to actively lifting heavy stuff and eating well, it could be a solid 6 months ( and longer) before you could think you’ve “got gains” that affect your weight.
Consistency to it is key. You have to work and stay with it several days a week. The next part of that is working your muscles to the point of fatigue ( meaning you cant do another rep). And then of course, feeding your body adequate protein and enough food to build muscle. You have to eat plenty of food to build serious muscle.
Yes, long before that happens you will start to see a difference in your body, but to claim weight gain as gaining muscle when you either a) don’t lift enough/do enough strength training consistently b) or haven’t been at it long enough is well, just lying to yourself.
But for heavens sake. don’t stop what you’re doing! You’re exercising and that is great. If you’re working at it, the muscles will show up, in time.
I don’t really like veggies/ green foods. What do I do?
This one, I always want to say, I’m sorry! Why don’t you??? I mean seriously, I think veggies are the cats meow. They offer fiber, vitamins, minerals, are low in calories ( there are tons even referred to as “zero” calorie foods) and you can eat so many of them and not have to even worry about it all the while, staying full and satisfied. How can you go wrong with that??
Usually, there are a variety of reasons what I’m told. Everything from ” I just don’t THINK I’ll like them”, “I never had to eat them (bad mom)”, “I’ve tried some and they are gross” and the list goes on….
First, if your idea of “good” veggies is from a can… you need to expand your horizons to the real, fresh produce department where there is a plethora of tasty things.
Or, if your veggies were always steamed to death until they were totally unrecognizable, then again, you need learn about cooking them in tastier ways.
I’m telling you… nothing.. is better than roasted veggies with some olive oil, and cracked pepper and sea salt.
Bottom line: you’re going to have to be willing to experiment and open yourself up to new things. You’ve learned and trained your body to eat junk food, you can train it to eat good food.
Start small. Find what you like. Look for new recipes. You might surprise yourself at what you come across and actually enjoy. But, you have to be willing to try or it will never happen.
I don’t have time to exercise. How do I do it?
OK. This one. We’re all given the same amount of time in a day, it just comes down to, how do we use it? Obviously, we have necessary things in our days that demand our attention.
Jobs, families, house keeping, shopping etc.
But then, you have free time as well. If you have time for computer play, surfing the internet, playing games on your phone, watching shows on TV etc… then… you really do have time for some exercise.
It just becomes a matter of where your priorities are.
Exercise is work so I get that it just seems easier and more relaxing to just lay on the sofa instead of heading out the door to sweat. Exercise takes a bit of will power and intentional determination in the beginning to make it happen until it becomes a habit to you.
I always suggest making your exercise time a daily appointment with yourself. Schedule it like anything else. You know your day and you know what times you have that there are lesser demands on you to get it done. I’m up in the morning, my workout clothes on, my brain is already preparing for what’s about to happen ( although now it’s simply something I do and look forward too) I figured out a long time ago what time worked best for me to get it done. Doing it in the morning is a great way to clear my head, get my blood moving and my body warmed up for the day.
Do something you like and will stick with. Find your time. Schedule it. Make no excuses to get it done.
I know I need to drink water but….ewwww! Ideas on doing it?
I get it. If you’re used to sugary drinks, this will be a big jump for you. I’ve lived off it for so long that I actually crave it now. Do you know we all have a natural thirst? Over time, it’s quenched by the other things we feed it ( i.e. sugar filled drinks). Start by drinking some water when you wake in the morning. Try and keep it with you at all times.. you will drink it. If you drink sweet stuff, it will be an intentional practice to drink water. Start with reducing one sugar drink a day with a bottle of water. With a little practice, you will be increasing your water intake in no time. If it helps, you can add fresh lemon or lime to give it some flavor. Again, this is something you will need to be intentional about doing until it begins to feel more natural to you. With practice, you’ll be drinking more water in no time 🙂
Ok that’s it for today! I’ve used up my word allotment. ( well just kidding on that.. I never run out of words 😉
If you have any questions or comments feel free to add them or contact me 🙂
Let’s talk a little about building your own fitness plan. It should be easy, right? Just decide you wanna lose some weight or gain some muscle or train for a race and do it.
Ah if it were only so cut and dried!
The best way to success is to have a plan, something that you develop, that will work for you, your life, your schedule and your goals.
Let me outline a few things that may help you
Goal setting. I know this sounds cliché but if you don’t know what you want or how to go after it, how will you achieve it? Whether you want to start walking, running, training for an event, lose some weight, or get into a schedule for the gym… whatever it is… your choice… It’s old school now days but I just love having a basic calendar to outline what I need to do. When I’m marathon training I sit down and mark out the mileage for each day, as well as days I strength train and have active rest days. There’s something satisfying about blocking off each day when I get it done…and it gives me a visual tool moving me closer to my goal.
Be real. No one knows your life better than you do. Don’t plan to train for a big event if you work full time, have a family and other obligations that won’t let you do what’s necessary to prepare. Or don’t set a to lofty goal to lose a big amount of weight in a short time. Better to be realistic and maybe overshoot what you have planned than be frustrated you can’t get it done.
Know where you are. If your intentions are to lose weight, you’ll want to gather some measurements so you have a baseline from where you start from. I know it can be rather…sobering… but if you want more than the fickle scale to give you feedback you’ll also want some starting measurements. Be honest and be real with yourself. Also, you might consider taking a “fit test”. This again, will give you a baseline for your strength and cardio abilities. A. Record time it takes to walk a mile. B. How many push ups can you do in a minute? ( knees on floor if needed) C. How far can you reach to your toes, seated on floor and leaning forward? D. Pulse rate before and after test. You won’t need to reassess but every 4-6 weeks.
Commit to exercise, most days of week. No matter what your goals are, exercise should be a part of them. Start small, but start. Get a partner if you need accountability. Again, you use your planner to track your activities.
Finding balance. Rest days are just as crucial to your success as time in the gym, or out on the road. I’ll freely admit to chafing at rest days. I feel..lazy… or like I should be doing something. Until I got that rest days aren’t about being lazy but should be active…as in… feeding my body good food, and doing things like stretching, or yoga to keep my muscles in working order. Having a rest day also gives you some time to be more mentally focused for when you’re out again.
Speaking of stretching. This is something I’ve really learned the value of and have tried to be much better at doing it before and after a work out. I use a variety of things from the standard foam roller, to a pvc pipe to roll out on. A lacrosse ball is also awesome for feet or really getting into a tight knotted muscle.
Mix things up. I learned early on that having several activities would keep me from getting bored with always doing the same thing. Later, as I learned more, it just made sense to incorporate a variety of things because it worked my body differently to make me strong all over and not just good for one sport. Not only that, doing things like strength training if you love running or cycling will hopefully keep your body from injuries. Find things you love doing and then make a rotation in your week with them. For instance my week might look like: run, cycle, strength train, run,cycle, rest day. Sometimes I put my rest day midweek. Other times I might have an extra strength training day if the weather is really awful and I cant get outside. Sometimes I have two rest days if my training has been more physically demanding. Making your own plan is flexible!
Listen to your body! I’m not talking about that part that is encouraging you to skip your workout… tell that part to shut up and get after it. I mean if you feel “off” or not well, are running a temperature or something is really hurting you take a rest day. That is far more beneficial than doing it to just “get it done”. Chances are, a day off, you’ll come back stronger the next day.
Make a commitment to consistency. I won’t lie. It is crazy hard in the beginning to commit to anything new, especially exercise! I would encourage you to make a daily commitment to it, not make any excuses for not getting it done, and challenge yourself to systematically take one day, one week at a time doing it. Habits take a few weeks for form. Give yourself time to develop exercise as a habit… once it is… you will not be able to imagine NOT doing it!
Finally, have fun! Yes, I said have fun….exercising… have fun. Find things you love and commit to becoming the best student you can of it. Enjoy how you feel and the things you will learn and accomplish. Enjoy new strength and energy and being fit.
Now… get busy… grab a planner… your ideas…. and get started on your own personal fitness plan!
This mornings athletic adventures had me out on foot…. and no… not running. I’m still refraining from that.
Walking though does give me that same sense of being out on the road… the preparation and the feel. The excitement of being out and…going…
Mind you, I don’t just stroll like I’m with my grandma…
My walking speed usually throws me into what is a “slow” running pace so needless to say I’m breathing hard, my heart is working and sweat is free flowing which I love.
Chatting with my big kids over the weekend about various athletic adventures my oldest son throws out at me….
“Don’t you ever like just… walk?!?”
Haha that made me laugh, I mean I do, it just seems so tame to me now days compared to you know, running forever, or flying down the road on my bike like a demon.
Not just that.. it’s the miles.. mentally it’s hard to not want to go long….
However, if you’ve read my beginning story, I started off as a walker. I did my “token” 2 miles a day and that was enough. I never envisoned doing more or running or anything like that.
I walked 2 miles and it seemed adequate. And it was… for awhile.
(Side note…. never stay doing the same thing forever. Your body is an amazing and adaptive machine and you stop losing ongoing benefits or changes in your body. Always look to add or change things up in your workouts)
Anyway, obviously my walking mileage did increase and it did eventually turn into running.
You know the biggest reason why? As I mentioned in the beginning, I walk fast. It just became easier to trot along than trying to maintain a constant fast walk pace. When I tried it for awhile and realized the wheels didn’t fall off and running wasn’t so hard, it was just a natural progression to keep increasing my running time to the time I was actually walking.
Great was the day I celebrated I could run a mile without stopping. Of course, after some time, it seemed crazy I could run miles. That my friends, is just disciplined training to get to that point….
The rest is history.
I turned into a lover of running. At the top of the list is the fact it makes me feel so strong and empowered. It shaped me up physically and became a way to clear my head, unwind, let go of the things bothering me and I often do my most creative thinking out on the road.
I get running isn’t for everyone. Heck, even my doctor gives me a hard time about it ( but freely admits he isn’t a runner and doesn’t get the whole “runners high
thing so there’s that….)
Some people want to run and have physical limitations as to why they can’t. Others just don’t want to. Some think they can’t, but the reality is, our bodies are made for that kind of movement and they really can.
It’s just hard and in the beginning people don’t like it ’cause that’s when they realize they are really cardiovascularly out of shape and they hate it. In time though, as those internal muscles are consistently worked out, they get in shape too and you can put out more effort and feel amazing and not like you’re dying 😛
However, if there is one thing that doctors get behind is that anyone, and I mean anyone, can get out and start walking.
Coach potato to athlete, walking has benefits.
If you’ve been sedentary walking is something you can very much taylor to your needs and abilities. You can then add on a little more distance at a time as your body adapts and handles the new stress you’re putting on it. ( this isn’t a bad thing) with consistent effort walking is a great tool to help with weight loss. Just be reasonable in the beginning and set realistic goals for yourself. Having aching muscles from to much over use will only sideline you… and you don’t want that.
As an athlete, it’s a great recovery workout allowing your muscles to work, stretch and move but not overly tax them . I’ve found it helpful after my marathons to just be out stretching my legs to keep any soreness from setting in.
Of course your pace should be brisk, making you breath hard with your heart beating strong too. If you sweat, that’s a total bonus 😉
Walking not only conditions your body but it’s also good mental therapy as well. Not surprising that some articles I’ve read talk about how walking ( or exercise in general) can help reduce depression and negative feelings.
Of course it can… I think exercise is the least under-used drug out there. But that’s just my opinion….
If you are looking for something to get you out the door walking is free and all you really need are a decent pair of supportive shoes and a willingness to explore.
Then the only one who will limit you is well, really, you.