Monday Musings

Happy Monday you crazy kids.

I’m heading into a new week like….

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Well, I wanna get back to beast mode, at least in the realm of my athletic shenanigans.

I shared in a post last week, it’s the Small Things,     https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/05/16/its-the-small-things/   that I had hurt my hand and it was hindering me from everything but running.

I did get in some runs last week so that felt good. I did try and lift one of my light little weights yesterday (15lbs) and just the weight of it resting in my palm reminded me it might be a little longer till I’m hitting heavy metal again…weights that is…. music is an every day thing 😉

Anyway, it’s healing. Two nights ago I slept without any bandages on it. It’s been a cover of “protection”. I felt so free without it 😛

Today is the first day I haven’t automatically put one on, again, it shields it from those unexpected surprises.

‘Cause like, if you’re gonna hit any part of your body, ever, it will always be the part you may have wounded, right???

So yeah, hitting the week in uh… lurching beast mode… haha

Last week though…

I was a working woman.

Well. Wait. When am I not??

From the time I hit the floor till I pass out at night, I’ve got something going on.

This work though was actually going to a … job.

One where I showed up and worked certain hours and was given some money at the end of the week.

My boss was my son. A real tough cookie haha

He has a small engine repair shop and the lady who handles the front was going to be out and kinda let him know…last minute…

Could I help some? Anything? Please?

Well, me being me and Mom, how could I not get him through the week?

True, some discussion of mechanical parts was over my head but I’m pretty fast on my feet, and I’m good with customers and talking to people. I can talk on the phone and I have no problem dealing with difficult people.

I can take charge and I can see things that need done and do it.

Being strong doesn’t hurt either as I had to use my girl muscles to help him load a generator onto a truck.

Heavy. Those things are stupid heavy.

Grateful I had at least enough muscular strength to help him handle that.

A work horse and secretary all in one.

I may have done my job too well as he’s been broadly hinting he’d love to have me there all the time….

I’ve had part time jobs off and on over the years of being married and having children. I’ve been blessed to be a Mom who could be home and run the roost and all that goes with it. There is always so much to be done!  I’ve also worked the direct sales “business” for awhile ( not for me).

I’m having fun with my furniture flipping and sold enough last month to pay for some car work I needed done ( I felt like such a grown up) I’m actually, finally writing a post on that topic ( not car repairs, my furniture flipping 😉 ) it should be launched tomorrow.

Finally. I know. I’ve only promised for weeks.

All that to say… my work week.

I’d be up early, go for a run, clean up, and get a couple things done before I left.

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They just don’t make a “messy, sweaty” filter. I gotta dial that up myself. haha

 

When I got home in the evening, I’d do whatever was waiting.

I’ve always given a big nod to women who work outside home and have to come in and pick up the household reins again at the end of the day.

I continue to admire you.

This week reminded me of all that goes on at home when I’m not there or what will still be waiting when I do get there.

On topic of cool things that make me smile

I’m trolling the produce dept loading up on veggies and whatnot when I hear…

“Hey girl!” and see one of the women who works back there hurrying over to me.

She said “do you notice anything different?”

I laughed and told her “Yeah you look really thin!”

It should be mentioned here, I’m not uh, socially awkward, hubby frequently asking me if I could get a stump to talk.

I sassily remind him, it’s a gift 😉

Anyway, over months this woman had asked me questions that I get sometimes.

“What do I do?”, “How or what do I eat?” “What kind of exercise do I do?” etc etc.

I’d chat with her, encourage her, as she talked to me about wanting to lose weight and get on a path to a healthier lifestyle.

I asked her what she’d been doing and she said ” all that stuff you told me to do. I’m eating more green veggies and laid off junk food and alcohol. I’m sticking to lean meat and watching my food intake”

I gave her a high five applauding her efforts as she told me she’d dropped over 30 pounds in the last 3 1/2 months.

She said “Now I just need to know what to do to look like you do” ( as she gestures to my arms kinda flexing haha)

I told her.. “You’ve just gotta get faithful about lifting heavy stuff”

I gave her some suggestions and she got ready to scamper back to work looking back laughing she said “Hey, 61 is the new 50 for me!”

You know… some days… I wonder if what I do matters.

I use my voice fearlessly.

I’m to bold for some, and yet resonate with others. I’m at an age that I don’t care if I’m someone’s cup of tea or not.

Then I get a gift like that, someone who I had casually talked with, encouraged, answered questions and applauded her efforts come to me and share and it’s so freaking satisfying to hear stuff like that.

It reminded me again, I need to just be me. Do what I do. Use my voice, be bold, be who I am.

My voice can impact the world.. I tend to forget that.

You.

You are no different. You have a voice and a personal world to touch and interact with.

Our “vehicles” might look different…. I have a health and fitness blog and a talkative mouth and an occasional… um.. attitude.. ha.. but I use of all that and then some.

You might have coffee with a friend at your kitchen table and that is where you excel and make an impact.

Use your voice in whatever way that looks like.

I’ll stop preaching now….

I finally got around to listing some of my furniture pieces I finished off last week. You may remember my fun bright pink chair?

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it was the first piece to go! Now as a creative person I know this and I do what I want to do, but there’s that “what if I have a pink chair for the rest of my life??” thought too.

This piece was so easy and I had such a clear vision for it and honestly I just let my free spirit out all over it.

I also understood that I might have to wait for another fun, free spirited person to come along and embrace it…. however long it might take.

An hour after I posted it a lady messaged me she wanted it. That it was “perfect” for her daughters desk.

And off it went to it’s new home.

Yet, the clean, “safe” neutral one that I absolutely adore and love and “want to maybe keep” that I thought would go first, is still with me.

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I think it’s just so feminine and pretty….

 

Go figure.

 

I told hubby this business will teach me patience in a myriad of ways.  It can be one of my um.. short comings… that patience thing haha

I can’t end this post without talking about food, right?

 

As mentioned, it was a busy week. Crock pots are always a hero for, well just about any time. This hooked me when it said I could “toss chicken in, whip up sauce, pour over it and leave it.”

6 hours later I steamed broccoli and made some rice and dinner was good to go.

Oh. It was super tasty too.

Oh but wait…

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Why yes, yes that’s an old weight on top of my crock pot….

So I decided to make beans last night with a ham bone left from a meal this past week.  I guess I got a bigger bag of beans than usual, and the ham bone was pretty big too. Anyway, the lid wouldn’t entirely sit flat like it needed to so I kinda improvised.  I used one of these old sanded weights that’s probably as old as I am that I had laying around… it neatly smooshed the lid down so the crock pot could do it’s magic.

Ham and beans… I’ve now neatly labeled myself for sure as a southern girl haha

A final thought….

 

Apples have been on my snack list a lot this week. Crunchy, sweet, good for your teeth and your body, I’d say they are up there on the perfect snack list.

Hmmm maybe a food spotlight on them for an upcoming post?

Ok your turn! Top my week. What have you been up to? Do you have a favorite healthy food you’d like to see me spotlight? Let me know!

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It’s The Small Things

You know that saying “it’s the small things in life?”  Meaning it’s those things we might not think much about that really matter in big ways. Things we seemingly take for granted and don’t often give maybe a lot of thought too.

Sometimes, the small things really are big things.

For example, my week. I hurt my hand last week.  And not just “a little hurt” but hurt enough to make some things not only painful ( as in make me sick to my stomach pain)   but also super inconvenient as well.

My advice… don’t stick your hand in when two dogs are at odds with each other.  Dumb I know. It’s an unthinking move at the time.

Of course, it was my left hand.  And yes, that’s my dominant hand. I’m one of the few unique ones operating with a hand many of you still express surprise over when it’s revealed.

Ha… where… do you think all my artistic creativity comes from ? 😛

I’d never view my health or body wellness as a “small” thing, it’s just that I’m used to going through my days fairly effortlessly and without dealing with inconveniences.

I never really pondered the ease of doing zippers, buckling belts, tying shoes, doing my makeup, driving! , writing,  waking up without my hand instantly aching or attempting to grasp things with my hand.

I have now pondered it a lot.

What physical activities?

Given my hand had some serious injuries, it’s curbed me from activities like boxing, rowing, cycling, weights.. pretty much anything that requires me to have a good strong grip.

Yes, I can still run but my hand was swollen and I didn’t think it was a great idea to be out swinging it and running and all that would come along with it.

Today was my first venture back out, a short 5kish distance to see how it felt. I tried to be mindful to hold it up more and not let my arm move as freely as I usually might. I guess it worked ok ’cause I didn’t feel awful after.

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It’s a good thing I like running ’cause it appears I will only be doing that for awhile. I’m ok with the idea since there are so many ways I can adjust running to mix it up and not get bored.

Running let’s me plot different routes, distances and I can determine how easy or hard that will be.

Do I include a route where I know I’ll get plenty of hills? Or do I keep it mostly flat? Better yet, do I want to do just hill repeats which is a strength and speed workout all in one? I really, weirdly, love doing hill repeats. If you’ve read my posts before on them, they aren’t your average “hill” but literally are mountains that have been paved over. It’s really quite a nice workout.

I was picking up my mail one day and one of my neighbors was there at that time. Our conversation went like this…

“Hey! I saw you running up that big hill this morning!”

Me… “yes, yes I was.”

Neighbor… “Running. You were running up it.”

( he said it like a statement of something I may or may not have been aware of)

“Yes sir, I was running up that hill. You are correct.”

“Girl you are crazy. I don’t even think I could manage to walk up it.”

Ha I should be semi amused he called me “girl” and  it should be noted this isn’t the first time my neighbors may have referred to me as a little crazy in regards to my cycling and running on some of the tough terrain we live on.

So yeah. Hill workouts will definitely be a part of my regime as my hand heals until I can get back to that other stuff I love doing.

But I digress….

in this week as I’ve dealt with it I have thought about those things, big and small, I can take so casually. Perhaps it’s when you go through struggles or difficulties that you focus in on it more.

It should be noted, I really don’t do confinement well. I don’t do good with clipped wings. I don’t do well not being able to confidently take care of the things around me I need to.

I literally have grass threatening to grow over my head…. I need to have a strong enough hand for that push mower.

Perhaps it’s in these times that I am more aware of those seemingly small things I assume is a privilege and it’s really not.

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None of us are really, entitled to anything. Which makes the gifts we have so much more treasured and valuable.

Being able to freely use my hand to drive, to cook, to grasp, cut, lift, do my makeup or blow dry my hair, to do all of the creative artistic things I’m enjoying ( ha I’ve just sucked it up and endured some pain to keep on with a few of my projects) write something without looking like someone hijacked my penmanship, so many things I’ve found myself considering.

In the course of life, this isn’t earth shaking and awful.

Certainly people daily go through so much more. It doesn’t have to be huge to make us stop and think and reflect on what we’re given and how precious it is and how we should value the abilities and gifts we have.

It’s all about gratitude

perhaps it comes down to that. Understanding that no matter what our situation we can choose to have a grateful attitude. Not for what we’re going through necessarily, but for all the small things, big things and everything in between.

For me, it’s simply easier to stay there than focus on the negative.

So I will try and appreciate all those small things in life that I previously hadn’t. I will celebrate daily improvement getting back to “normal” ( hahaha well that will most likely never happen as I’m far from that 😛 )

I will fully embrace my abilities when I get them again to wrap my hand firmly around heavy metal and lift it. To ride my bike at swift speeds and feel my hand clamp down on the brakes slowing my speed.   To slip into my boxing gloves and sink my body weight into the bag. To be seated on the rowing machine hands wrapped around the pull as my entire body responds to the work.

Sometimes the small things aren’t so small. Sometimes it’s those very things that make us feel alive and quicken our spirits.

Tell me, how do you embrace difficulty? Have you ever given much consideration to those “small things” in your life? Can you choose to be grateful in those times or are you annoyed to be in them?

 

 

Monday Musings

Hello boys and girls. Monday again. Time to let the random collections outta my head from this past week. I appreciate your encouragement and appreciation of these posts. They are fun for me in the sense I can just literally write on anything and everything. It gives you a little insight into other areas of my life that aren’t “just” health and fitness.

But health and fitness is really important to me

it’s pretty much why I started this blog. I found in my sharing on social media people were uh… hungry… for encouragement and sane, sensible ways to live a healthy lifestyle.  I love sharing my personal athletic shenanigans and  love sharing simple tips that can help and work to get fit and healthy. I also like being able to direct people in ways to get exercise into their lives.

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A morning ride, the road behind me and more miles in front of me

But I was thinking as I often do when I was out on the road the other morning. I was thinking about how grateful I was to be doing what I was doing. You see I never take it for granted or believe that I’m entitled to do it.

It’s a privilege to exercise and use my body.

It kinda makes me sad when people make jokes about not exercising or being lazy or choosing not to do it.  I guess I want them to “get it”. That once they push past a point where they have to make themselves get out, or have to set their alarm earlier (or whatever they need to do) that they will actually begin to look forward to it.

Crave it even.

It becomes a key part of the day. Not only that, it begins to build energy in me and clears and centers me for my day.

I mean really you only have one body. Shouldn’t you do things to take care of it? To keep it strong and healthy?

Exercise has multiple health benefits and yet, is the most unused activity to help our bodies not only physically, but mentally too.

If you don’t do anything yet, at least make a commitment to yourself to begin walking. Everyone can do it, it’s easy, and you don’t have to go anywhere except out your front door.

After exercise, we eat

Ok ideally food is good after a workout. I am sometimes bad about coming in and jumping to my to do list and not getting food ( bad girl I know)

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Most mornings my breakfast starts like this… a healthy dose of spinach

I try and make a breakfast that is really heavy in veggies with a side of fruit to start my day and nourish my body post workout.  Spinach always makes an appearance. If you missed my post on spinach and why you should eat it, find it here……https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/01/19/spinach-benefits-and-great-hair/

Starting your day with a good breakfast helps give you energy, keeps your blood sugar levels steady and keeps you from over eating later in the day.

Oh, and it keeps you from being grumpy with people ’cause you are starving 😉

Breakfast is often the most skipped meal because people (mistakenly) think it will help them lose weight by doing so. Yet really it can have the opposite effect. Eating a good breakfast helps fire up your metabolism and will keep you from grabbing a donut in the break room later.

Speaking of sweets….

you may have read my most recent post on adoption and celebrating our daughters 20th birthday. If you missed it, you can read it here….https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/04/26/the-beauty-of-adoption/

Anyway, we kinda had celebrations through out the week for her with Saturday culminating with one of my delicious 3 layer homemade cakes.

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I have mad cake baking skills

The frosting is so decadent, an entire package of cream cheese and lots of real, creamy butter.

Are you drooling yet ?

Because I’m nice, I’ll give you the recipe here. I have tons of tried and true cake recipes at home. However the day I was out running around and going to store I didn’t have a recipe so I reverted over to my go to place now days, Pinterest.

Ah… it didn’t fail me. I found this great cake which was proclaimed by the fam as “the best one ever” ( they kinda say that about every cake which is nice 😉 )

 

So here you go… the recipe if you wanna whip up something oh so good and earn some points with those you love 😉

In my other obsessions… uh…hobbies..

I’ve been sharing with you some of my adventures in flipping vintage and antique furniture.  I’ve finished two pieces this week and I’ve got a couple getting close.  I find a crazy satisfaction in doing this. The more horrible the piece, the happier I am. Because it means a cool transformation.

Check out this little Drexel side table. Like most of the things I scoop up, it had been someone’s ” better idea” project. They had applied some kind of goop to lift the varnish leaving it thick and bubbly. I took a strong arm and hand to it( having a strong upper body really pays off when you’ve got to hand sand forever!)  knocking all of that crusty finish off to do my own magic….

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This Is what I started with…

 

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And here it is looking fresh in cream and black with a little light distressing.

My other project I finished off I will admit I’m a tad bit obsessed with. I caught the vision for it quick and it was so exciting watching it seamlessly come together. I shared last week some color ideas I had picked up but didn’t tell you how I was using them…

 

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A vintage telephone bench

 

 

 

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I kinda used the colors like this….
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Eek… tell me how cute it is!

This is one of those pieces I love but it’s meant for someone else. It’s fun transforming bland, tired furniture into something fresh and a bit more modern.

I’m excited over how that 1930’s tea/beverage trolley is turning out. I got that a couple weeks ago for a total steal.  You can see it’s first day home pic here from last weeks post….. https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/04/23/monday-musings-10/

I have so many ideas bouncing in my head with projects. Add to it writing and other creative things…. my head is full of constant busyness…

Tell me I’m not the only one, right??

Ok your turn! Tell me about your week. Do you have any interesting or fun hobbies? More important , do you like chocolate cake? If so, do you need milk or coffee with it? 

Outside Your Comfort Zone

Comfort….. a state of physical ease and freedom from pain or constraint.

Zone…. this has many definitions but the one that may be suitable here is a region or area set off as distinct from surrounding or adjoining parts.

Welcome to todays word dialog and discussion boys and girls. Today we are talking about that invisible boundary in our life often referred to as our comfort zone.

If we combine our above definitions for the purpose of this post we could say our comfort zone is a area or distinct part of our life where we maintain a state of physical ease and discomfort. It is a zone where we can comfortably abide in our daily lives and activities without feeling pain or constraint.

I hope that’s a good working definition for this post…

I did find an example that calls it like this: A comfort zone is a psychological state in which things feel familiar to a person and they are at ease and in control of their environment, experiencing low levels of anxiety and stress. In this zone, a steady level of performance is possible.

So with those thoughts firmly in hand let’s begin our discussion of this invisible place we all know and have in our lives.

Don’t get me wrong. There are lots of ways I love my comfort zone.

Normal daily life activities that can be boring, yet are also comforting and familiar.

The consistency of daily tasks that need done.

The routine and rhythm of daily life. The things we know and understand need to be done.

All those things that make up life, when they are rolling along , keep us in that zone, right?

Let some rough times and bumps come along and we get jostled out of it. we don’t like it. We want that soothing and comfortable place back.

That level of our comfort zone is security and safety and we all need that.

But then…..

As we move through our lives we have things like jobs, education, skills, hobbies and other activities we do that challenge us and if we’re willing to learn and grow we can be pressed out of our comfort zone.

Remember, that state of physical ease I mentioned a bit ago? If we are going to grow and become more we must be willing to be pressed out of that zone of ease.

That idea was strong in my mind yesterday morning as I geared up to get on my bike. As I clicked and locked my cycling shoes into place it gave me that “all business” feeling. It’s knowing and understanding what I was about to do, slipping into my mental mindset as much as I was slipping into my cycling shoes.

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Locking down my cycling shoes, is a mental preparation as well as physical.

 

Out on the road, as the miles went by, I made intentional choices in things I did. To push a little more, to turn those pedals a little faster, to know and understand that I needed to get to the point where I started to feel it, where the work felt harder, to more effort.

You see in running or cycling or really anything physical I have my own comfort zone. These are areas I can operate in easily. I know what it takes to maintain that level and it’s not really “hard”.

On the other hand I also know that if I want to continue to grow, get faster, stronger and more powerful at what I do I have to be willing to get out of my comfort zone, that area of ease.  I  need to get into that place that makes me work harder, that makes my lungs burn and keeps my heart rate in the red zone for awhile. I need to get comfortable being uncomfortable if I want growth and improvement as an athlete.

Pushing outside our comfort zone isn’t always easy, and really, it shouldn’t be.  And the weird thing about pushing out of our comfort zone, you begin to get comfortable eventually in that new place that once seemed hard and then, well, you gotta push out of it again.

I’ve talked before about the mental aspect of our comfort zone. Your mind is a very formidable opponent and you need to be able to overcome the self defeating thoughts it can churn out. And believe me, when you are pushing yourself and your body is in a place that it’s not used to, those thoughts can come.

Your mental muscle needs to be as strong as your body, if not more so I believe. when you push out of your zone of “ease and lack of pain.”

I’ve learned so much as an athlete what it means to get out of my comfort zone. I’ve done more than I would’ve ever *intellectually* thought I could do.

Of course this applies to anything in our lives that challenges us. I’ve taught myself new things that seemed a bit out of my range.  Sometimes it’s kinda that “sink or swim” mentality in doing stuff.

I’m not sure, but maybe being a bit fearless sometimes helps too haha

Our comfort zone can cripple our dreams..

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Anytime we prefer to stay within our comfort zone, we risk not growing . We risk not learning new things or taking on new adventures. We potentially let our dreams go if we can’t or are unwillingly to get out of our level of comfort and ease and sameness that we know.

Any of my major athletic events I took on, initially scared me. Not in the sense of being frightened but more that healthy respectful fear of knowing I was going up against something I had no previous experience in. It does seem daunting when I’m considering a 50k race ( 31.7 miles) or a multi sport event as in the duathlon I did last year.

What scared me more was backing off because then I’d always wonder if I could’ve done it or if I had what it took. Or worse yet, hating myself for not having the strength to stand up and do it, for quitting before I started.

All of those things seemed worse than just jumping off the deep end and doing it.

And I did. I’ll never be the fastest or most impressive runner or cyclist or monkey juggler.

What will set me apart is that I didn’t make excuses, I was willing to get uncomfortable and in doing so, I accomplished things I never thought I’d do.

There is nothing.. that feels better… nothing.

What about you?

Are you more comfortable staying in your comfort zone? Are you comfortable staying where you feel safe?

Maybe you are a risk taker and know what it takes to reach new goals or see dreams realized and you know getting out of your comfort zone is how it happens.

No matter what goals or dreams you have, there will be continual times you are pressing out of your comfort zone, and then you’ll be pressing out of it again.

It’s an ongoing cycle if we want continued growth and want to achieve our goals and dreams.

Don’t be afraid of leaving your comfort zone behind, there’s only new adventures in front of you and those can be exciting places to go to.

Tell me, are there specific times you’ve left your comfort zone? What did you accomplish doing so? How did that change future new ideas/ adventures you encountered?

Fitness Goals, Do What You Can With What You Have

2-Do-what-you-can-with-what-you-have-where-you-are_-Theodore-Roosevelt

 

So it’s that time of night I should be doing stuff to get ready for bed, instead I have ideas bouncing around my head and I’m sitting down to write with a few pieces of Easter candy that somehow landed next to me and coffee to go with them.

Have mercy, I may never sleep tonight 😛

But when ideas come, it’s hard not to let them out. They tend to swirl around like the dog under your feet when you’re cooking chicken.

Obnoxious. In the way. Won’t leave you alone till you acknowledge them.

Welcome to the brain of a writer.

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Often the truth of the matter….

 

I’ve come to accept this, the ideas that come at any given moment. They can wake me up, leaving me scurrying for a note pad to hastily scratch out the idea with beady eyes seeing it later wondering who the hell wrote something so illegibly, or as mentioned  it can keep me up till I get it out of my head.

I’m feeling a bit victorious today. I finished off another one of my furniture project pieces and it is the sweetest thing ever. I mean, I’ve got a few others under me but I’m pretty sure this is currently my favorite.

No… no photos right now. You’ll have to check back and see those soon 😉

I will just say I love having a vision in my head and then having it all play in life is so satisfying. And when I look back at photos from day 1 when I dragged something home I’m always a bit shocked to see how much it really has changed.

Ok.. on with the show….

As things go with me, my ideas for writing come from all directions at any given time. Ideas come in subtle and not so subtle ways. Sometimes, it’s conversations with people that trigger it. When a similar thought comes from several people within the week, if I’m paying attention, I see it as a possible idea for a post.

Really, if it’s the same idea from a few people, there are most likely others out there who have thought or dealt with similar things.

For example; I’ve been encouraged to talk to some of my friends who are getting started in a fitness program. As I listened to what they were doing and heard the excitement in their voices there was the usual….

“Well, I’m not doing what you do.” “or  “I’m not where you are” or ” I can’t do what other people in class are doing”

No, they probably aren’t doing what I do.  And no, they can’t keep up with me or someone else who’s been at it awhile.

Here’s the deal….

First, you should never, ever compare yourself to someone else. On any level. And especially on a physical level.

I would never start someone off working out where I am now. I wouldn’t have started in the place I am years ago.

Where I did start was at my level of physical abilities at the time.

I did what I could with where I was at.

Truthfully, I was a middle aged, sedentary, slightly overweight woman at the time who had no previous physical training or athletic abilities to fall back on. My best course of action was having a smart plan that allowed my body to adapt and change with my activities.

Of course at the time, I didn’t really see myself as a future athlete.

Nope… never even saw that coming, but I’m really glad it did. The athletic lifestyle is my niche and it comfortably suits me now.

However what did I learn that I believe is important to anyone getting started on a fitness program is this…..

Do what you can with where you are.

I know that sounds cliché but the reality of it is true. You can’t show up at the gym and think you’re going to just start lifting heavy things or grinding out miles on the treadmill if your only activity has previously been sprinting to the ‘fridge.

Trying to keep up with others in a class or at the gym or even your neighbor isn’t only not fair to you, but not healthy for you either.

Doing more than your body is used to is a recipe for injury that will quickly derail your budding fitness plans.

Even now, I know I’m stronger and more fit than I’ve ever been and I don’t back down from much. I do however, know when I hit my limit of what I can handle. There’s a fine line between pushing out of my comfort zone where continued growth occurs, and not overstepping into the arena where my body hasn’t gone yet and needs time to grow into.

For instance I shared recently that I had “upgraded” to being able to use 25lbs to do curls with.  https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/03/16/strength-training-and-every-day-life/

Now for some of you, that’s baby weight. For a lot of you, you’ll never see it happen.

For me it represented another step to getting stronger. Could I have done that several years ago when I was starting out?

No. Way.

It’s taken time and practice and work. Lots of work. And my body has done what yours will do as well. It responds and it grows, changes and gets stronger and you can keep a forward moving process of improved strength and endurance.

Don’t apologize

Seriously. Don’t apologize for not being where someone else is.  We are all on our own journeys. Some of us are going to be a bit more focused and intense about getting better and improving.

**** cough, cough who me??***

Some will be happy with slow progress being content to rock along in a comfortable place. Some will form specific intentional goals while others will just take each day as it comes.

The important thing is that you are starting. Making a choice to get physically fit will have lots of rewards for a healthier life.

Better mental clarity, less body fat, an elevated mood, bright skin, a healthier more energetic body, improved lab results, or even learning a new activity all have big payoffs.

Learn from others

When I start into a new adventure, I am notorious for keying in on people who know more about it than I do. I then shamelessly pick their brains to gather useful information to add to my collection of growing education.

Thank goodness I’m not shy or socially awkward haha

Don’t be afraid to do that with people around you who have been on the journey longer. I love being able to offer advice and help to those seeking information on nutrition or who want to get physically active.

In both cases, I never suggest they start off with extremes.  A modest tweaking of the daily diet for awhile or encouraging them to get off the sofa for an evening walk is always a good place for anyone to start.

A few tips and tricks

Small steps are better than doing nothing. All of us have to start small.

Find something you want to do and will look forward to. This will help you stay committed.

Applaud your own efforts, really, it’s ok. You’re doing it!

Share your efforts or goals on social media. Really. You’ll find there will be a group who rises to the top who will cheer and encourage you. And you don’t know who you’ll be encouraging as well when you do.

Don’t.. don’t… over do. If walking 2 miles feels good, don’t think you’ll just do a few more. You don’t want to risk injury to a body that isn’t used to certain activities. Worse, when you are sore and can barely move the next day you’ll not want to do anything.

Small, slow, gradual increases will keep you moving and keep you from injury.

Focus just on you. Not the other girl or guy at the gym who appears to have it all together. Not the person who can do more reps in a class than you or the one who runs like lightening.

Focus on you.

Do what you can with where you are . Don’t be afraid to modify workouts if they are to hard. Don’t be afraid to walk if you can’t run. Don’t try and lift weight that could hurt you if lifting less can help you get stronger.

Be persistent and before you know it, you’ll be in a stronger, healthier, more fit place in your life.

Tell me… have you ever played the comparison game when it comes to exercise or fitness programs? What tips or tricks have worked to keep you on a fitness path?

So You Want To Be A Runner

I was checking my notifications the other day and realized someone had tagged me in their friends post. This person was looking for advice on starting to run, ideally when the weather was warmer and how did they start?

Ok, first of all, running is a pretty natural thing. Our bodies are designed for it and most are capable of doing it.

Most don’t do it because well let’s be honest, it’s hard.  I was thinking on a run the other day the only way to get better or stronger at it is to constantly push myself out of my comfort zone.

I can run decently fast ( I think) for a middle aged woman tipping into her senior discount years. Speed is relevant depending on the individual and certainly not a factor to being a good runner. I just like being able to do it. I know when I get out of my comfort zone I’m capable of delivering up faster speeds…

 

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Somehow my running evolved into doing a run and cycle event with my first duathlon last Nov.

 

 

Faster speeds though are hard, require a lot more effort than an easy run, and can make me feel powerful and helpless all at once.

So that being said, anyone can run if they don’t have some health limitation ( and thinking it’s hard doesn’t count)

The next thing. I’m not an expert, ok?

I’m not some running coach or a person who’s run their entire life. ( I was in my late 40’s when I got started) I never, ever would’ve thought I’d become a runner. Ever.

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And then… all the sudden…. I’m finishing a 50K….  am I a runner now??

 

 

I do think now in terms of miles and distance. I think that a mile driving or on a treadmill is…. for….ever….but a mile on foot can go by rather quickly. I can grumble driving behind a slow person that I could run there faster… yeah….

I guess I’m a runner.

I believe anyone can go run without having to focus on all the technical stuff, unless you have big goals and want to keep improving your game.

Then we need to talk about intervals, speed training, long runs, negative splits and pacing etc….

Well how do I get started?

Listen, you don’t need a lot of fancy gear to run but you do need some solid good shoes under you.

** hubby does delight in reminding me how my low maintenance, not expensive athletic shenanigans have changed** haha the more you get into it, the more cool stuff you find to make it fun…

I spend more money on my running shoes than anything that goes on my feet. Other than my cycling shoes but thankfully those last longer since they aren’t taking a pounding.

Go to a sports store and try several on. Don’t drag out shoes you’ve had 5 years… please don’t.

And don’t buy the prettiest ones. I’m right there with you on liking those but you really need to go for what fits and supports you best and then go for your color.

Once you get set with your shoes, you can pretty much wear what you’re most comfortable in.  Again, the more time you spend doing it, the more you’ll figure out how you’re most comfortable doing it.  What you choose to run in will be determined by your budget, how much you like to be covered, and how you can stay cool/warm enough doing it.

I’ve actually learned to shop discount type stores and have found name brand sports bras and the boy shorts I prefer to run in at a fraction of the cost as the sports store sells them.

The weather, to run or not to run

 

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Enjoying a rare sunny warm run in Feb.

 

 

When I first started off with my running adventures I was what I now think of as a “fair weather” runner. If the weather was the slightest bit not good, I stayed in for another type of workout.

Funny thing over these years how that has changed. I’ve trained in everything from pouring rain, to freezing cold with wind slicing through me. Maybe I am crazy.. or ridiculously disciplined.. there could be a fine line there..

If I have an event I’m training for my take is, I have no idea what the weather will be like on race day. If I train in it all, then I’m better prepared for whatever it is.

I weirdly now like being out when the weather is a bit rough and less than perfect. But that’s me… were talking about you…

This will all come down to what you want to do, your commitment, and if it’s a matter of staying in for safety ( I won’t run in fog, lightning or icy roads there is to much risk)

If it’s cold, layer up accordingly but keep in mind running warms you up fast! I know once I hit my first mile all engines are go and I am often tossing something in the trees till I come back by to claim it. I just don’t run as well being to warm, and you probably won’t either.

You will have to determine how much layering you need to stay comfortable.

Same with hot weather, getting over heated or having soggy clothes hanging off of your body isn’t fun ( hello dri-wick fabric) how much you run in to stay cool will be determined by your personal level of modesty and what you can move best in. I spend most of my time in boy shorts and a sports bra and I’m comfortable in that.

Hitting the road

Assuming you’ve not run before, or haven’t run in a long time, I’m going to suggest you start the way I basically fell into running…

the walk/run method. It’s a great way to practice running yet allowing your body to adapt to the rigors that running places on it. It can also protect you from injury when you do to much to soon.

You start off with small increments of  walking,  and running. If you’ve never run before those running seconds might seem like eternity to you, trust me, the wheels won’t fall off, hold on.

Using a walk/ run method allows you to gradually increase your running time and ease into your mileage.

Start with this plan to get you going

So that’s about it peeps. If you want to run, it’s easy to get started. You just have to get your mind in gear to make it happen, and hey, don’t forget to go get those cool new running shoes!

Do you run? What do you enjoy most about it?  Do you want to but haven’t known how to get started?

 

Focus, Perspective And Weight Loss

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

Focus: the center of activity or attention .

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’ve written a couple posts on the scale…. https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2017/03/29/why-ive-given-up-on-the-scale/

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

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

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

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

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

“Just give up”

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

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

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

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

 

 

Where it changed for me.

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

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

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

My perspective had to change.

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

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

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

I loved the accomplished feeling of doing it.

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

 

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

 

What does your perspective look like?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Focus or perspective

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

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

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

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

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

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

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