Monday Musings

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.

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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.

Weekend adventures

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

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A wholesome veggie omelet. Hubby isn’t ever impressed with the greenery though 😉

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.

For instance…..

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…..

Weekend exercise…

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.

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cool down time at the top of the third landing

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.

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I shoulda bought two…..

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?

 

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Time Vs. Priorities

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can do it too. Trust me.

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

The question that begs to be asked….

Is it worth it to you?

Simple and straightforward, right?

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

How do you spend your time?

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

More than you realize I’m sure.

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

What if I want to start? How?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Time vs. priority. What will it be?

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

.

 

 

Your Schedule And Exercise

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

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

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

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

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

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

And those are accurate words… made myself.

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

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

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

In time something crazy started happening….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So what suggestions do I give to people?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

~

Common Weight Loss Questions

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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 🙂

Building Your Own Workout Plan

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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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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!
  8. 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.
  9. 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!
  10. 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!

The Wonders Of Walking

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?!?”

 

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This particular evening walk was actually for my son… he was playing that crazy Pokémon game and needed a 10K distance. The things I do…..

 

 

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.

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I was out of town here. I was actually walking this huge mountain in the area I was staying. The added bonus? All the signs telling you to watch for snakes 😉

 

 

 

So You Hate Exercise

hate exercise

 

I’ve heard it all now at this point. The exercise jokes. The good natured teasing. The “hey can you do this?” as friends share crazy exercise stunts with me. My son calls me when he needs muscles for a project. If I mention needing something from the store I’m told “well, run and go get it” Recently with the Pokémon Go games going on my sons are asking me if I want to walk 5/10K’s  to “help them out” …..

Ah yes… and you know what? I love it.

Exercise has made me strong and fit and able to do things in the rest of my life when I’m not exercising. When I’m jokingly told to run to the store for something, I honestly know I could do it. When I’m asked to help lift heavy things, I know my body has been trained and I can respond and do the task at hand.

I haven’t always embraced the workouts or been excited for the new  adventure for the day.

Oh no.

I grumbled. I  whined to myself. I found excuses. I pondered ways to wiggle out of doing it. I hated how hard it was.  I didn’t like how my heart felt like it was going to explode out of my chest or my legs felt like rubber.

No, I wasn’t a huge fan of working out.

And from what I’ve gathered, a lot of you aren’t either. You cite many of the same reasons.

I’ve talked to so many people, trying to encourage them, that if they just start, just take the steps to do something every day they will be on their way.

It isn’t easy. I won’t lie. You have to intentionally get your body dressed, up and out for whatever fun activity you have planned.

exercise motivation

You have to determine that your workout is just as important as the breakfast your going to eat, or the job you will go to, or the grocery shopping you will do or anything else.

That, is a very intentional move my friends.

I talked to a young friend recently whom I hadn’t chatted with in awhile. He told me he had gotten into a routine, going to the gym, and that weeks on vacation had derailed him. But, as he was eager to tell me, “I could hardly wait to get back to it. I know you always told me I could get to that point  ( of wanting to do it) but I had to get started to understand that”

He was a former ” I hate exercise” person.

I know others who were in that club and who have come to the other side 😉

I think, there are some common threads that the former “I hate exercise” club members have in common ( I included myself in this club too)

  • There is a desire, a wish, to improve and be better.
  • The individual learns to ( daily) power through any excuses and go get the job done.
  • They are realistic and start with small goals and gradually increase their activity.
  • They select something they enjoy doing, want to do, and look forward to doing.
  • They understand they are in a competition with no one but themselves.
  • Set backs can happen and you just get right back at it again.
  • Strength isn’t built in a day and you learn to appreciate your body for the amazing machine it is as it adapts to the demands you put on it.
  • You recognize that giving your body purposeful movement isn’t to be viewed as a negative, but rather, a way to show love to it.
  • You begin to love the changes and all the energy you get from your exercise.

Perhaps even now, you are still in that club, but you have the desire to change.  Awesome!

Consider these things as you make that move:

Be patient with yourself.  Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Commit to the process. Make no excuses. None. ( unless you are honestly ill or injured )

Pick an activity you WANT to do. Heck, pick a couple. I think variety is what keeps you from getting bored. Not only that, multiple activities work all of your body.

Buy the right gear or equipment for your new activity. Even now nothing makes me more excited to get to my activity than knowing I have something new to wear 😉

Focus on the day you are in and just do that day.

Celebrate yourself when you are done. It’s ok to tell yourself “good job!” I mean, honestly, when I come flying back in from a run or miles on my bike, I have no one standing there cheerleading my efforts. It’s ok to be proud of yourself for getting out and getting it done.

Share your accomplishments on social media. Not only do you have accountability, whether you realize it or not, you will be an encouragement to someone else.

Finally, learn to view exercise as a way to love your body and to celebrate all the amazing things it can do.

What motivated you to start exercising? Has it been easy to stay with it?

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