Goals And Challenges

Goals. Dreams. New adventures. New challenges.

2017 culminated for me with all of those things coming together at once as I finished the year with my first multi sport event, a duathlon. If you don’t know that is a run/bike/run event. Find my recap on it here…..  https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2017/12/05/duathlon-journey-the-recap/

It was certainly something I never saw myself doing a couple years ago, much less placing first in my age group, that’s for sure. I’ve found in the pursuit of these  sports I love, I’ve had to lay a foundation and then just start building on it.

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Yeah I’m smiling a little. All that hard work paid off.

 

Running takes some serious base miles before you start extending distance.  Even in distance running, there are days where I do interval runs to push myself faster. Short runs. Long runs. Speed. Or just easy miles.

Cycling in similar ways takes some base building although I found it fairly easy to transition to cycling. I guess all that running built some powerful legs that work on the bike too 😛

Of course, I can’t forget the strength training. Lifting weights, core work, and simple body moves all contribute to building a body for activities I love.

 

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Who says muscles and cycling don’t go together

 

Starting into this year, without a scheduled event at this point, I still practice a variety of activities during the week, just not as intense right now. Well.. mostly… haha

One of my training sessions is always a bit tough and it should be because it’s all about building strength.

What you may be wondering, do I speak of ?

Hills.

If you want to build your legs and butt, do hills. If you want to turn your cardiovascular system into an efficient machine, do hills.

And when I say do them, I mean frequently. Start walking them, eventually you can run a part, and then finally, you will scale up them like nothing.

Hills singlehandedly make me feel like a beast, whether I’m on foot or bike.

That being said, 5 miles on foot this morning, with plenty of hill repeats. As I turned around and headed back, I saw the hill in front of me, the one in this photo.

big hill
it’s way more fun running down this 😉

 

 

As I approached it I started thinking about what it felt like on the bike. I felt the familiar… I’m not sure what is the best word here… fear? it’s more like a healthy respect of something that is bigger than me. No matter how many times I do it, when I see it in the distance, I feel that anticipation and adrenaline rush.

Immediately the thought came to mind… “what are you afraid of?” I already knew the answer before it came.

“Failing”. My inner dialogue continued.. “and have you ever failed? Have you ever failed to do what’s in front of you?”

The answer was “No”. Not even in my beginning cycling days when I’d be in the wrong gear and have to muscle it up did I ever NOT ride all the way up.

I was reminded (again)  that if I dont do something that puts a healthy fear in me, it’s not a challenge, I might as well go home.

I just can’t do that.

It just feels so powerful when I accomplish something that challenged not just my body, but my mind. I’ve found tremendous growth occurs when I let that “healthy, fearful respect” of something challenge me. And when I’m challenged in that way, I’m changed.

It helps me see and understand I don’t have to be limited in what I do. The important part is being available and going after it.

I was having a tire fixed on my bike today. I thought it was “just” a flat. It turns out it was the tube and tire… gone… shot.

When I do it, I do it up right haha

Anyway, the guy who owns the place and sold me my little Cannondale has encouraged my cycling endeavors and made sure the bike was in top condition before my duathlon. He asks me today… ” soooo is a triathlon in your future?”

Why yes, yes I did laugh.

He looks at me… “you don’t swim?”

My response, “Oh I can ok enough, but I’m certainly not a competitive swimmer.”

He gives me that level look and says, “of course you know you can do it. Just get out there”

Here’s a little not known secret about me… I just don’t like having my face in the water. It really just weirds me out. And I will seriously need to move past that if I’m to consider a tri in some distant future.

Am I capable? I know I am. I never saw myself as a long distance runner or now a duathlete, yet here I am.

I guess you could say there’s a bit of healthy fear when I look a triathlon fully in the face. I’ve felt it each time I’ve considered a bigger athletic goal.

I either look it in the eye, stomp down those feelings and tackle it… or… I turn and run and never know what I’m fully capable of achieving.

What about you? Can you relate to any of this? Have you felt a healthy fear of pursuing something that seemed way bigger than you thought possible?

If something scares you… maybe you just need to go ahead and do it. You’ll never know how it will grow you until you let it stretch you outta your comfort zone.

It’s outside of our comfort zone we discover what we’re really made of.

 

terrifying

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Building Your Own Workout Plan

building-your-workout-plan

 

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!

New Year Goals Not Resolutions

Happy new year

 

Happy, happy New Year to you boys and girls! 2016 is upon us full of hope and new beginnings.

ok well, technically as I write this, 2016 is a few hours away and I am hanging out in Starbucks writing and enjoying a rare treat away from my usual black coffee. They offered up something this year called “Holiday Spice Flat White” and it’s a taste sensory of holiday spices. steamed milk and double shots of espresso

It’s amazingly delicious… and it will be gone soon… just like this year.

If you’re like me perhaps you look at the year ahead and are making plans and setting new goals…or resolutions….

I know the thing to do is make new years resolutions but I really wanna talk to you about goal setting instead.

What’s the difference you ask ? Let’s take a look….

A resolution is a firm decision to do or not do something. Do you see how that can go either way for your “resolutions ” ? Kind of subjective to your whim at the time, isn’t it ?  Not particularly concrete.

Now, let’s look at goal setting.

goals

 

Goal setting is a powerful process for thinking about your ideal future, and for motivating yourself to turn your vision of this future into reality. The process of setting goals helps you choose where you want to go in life.
It’s a pretty big difference from an ambiguous “resolution” isn’t it ?
At the top of so many peoples list for a new year is losing weight and starting an exercise program.
Setting small specific goals that are measureable and attainable will lead to your ultimate goal. Making a blanket statement that you want to “lose 25lbs.” without specific steps to get there will leave you most likely abandoning the idea fairly quick.
However, if you set out a specific goal to lose 1-2 lbs per week that is measureable, attainable and time bound. If you lost 2 lbs per week you would realize your overall goal within about a 3 month period give or take depending on how diligent you were.
Same for exercise. To just determine you’re going to go from doing nothing to taking off for a 5 mile run is crazy.  You’ll hurt and pay for it and vow that running really will kill you and you stop.
However,  beginning with a program where you implement walk/run and starting with 1-2 miles you can ease into it allowing your body to make changes and adaptations so you can run farther and longer.  You might have a goal of wanting to run a 5K race maybe 3 months out. By doing a walk/run method with your goals specific to increase your running time, and gradually increasing your distance will prepare you for that 5K (3.1 miles).
One of the things I thrive on is setting up a training schedule for my marathons.  I love the structure of a training program that leads to my ultimate goal of running 26.2 miles.  There is something about seeing my month already written out on a calendar that feels comfy to me… mainly ’cause I know those are steps to where I’m going. Without  specific, measureable, attainable, relevant, and time bound steps I’d never make it to the starting prepared and ready for that distance.
Let’s look at it from a nutrition stand point. So many people approach eating healthier as a do or die attempt. They think there must be great suffering and no fun stuff ever.  They believe they have to nail it every single day and if they don’t then they’ve “lost” and might as well “give up”.  (Please don’t give up… even on days you might feel like you’ve failed… you just pick up and keep going… that’s called progress)
When you take steps to make one better choice at a time it’s less painful to adjust. In time, you probably won’t think about some of those changes you’ve made as they become more habit for you.
If you drink sodas and you want to cut back or cut them all together you simply begin making small cuts to let your body adapt to that change.
Not a veggie eater? Why not try one or two new things a week ? You might be surprised at what you like.
Always take seconds at a meal even when you aren’t hungry anymore ? Train yourself to eat slowly and really focus on savoring your first plate of food.
Set specific, attainable,  and measureable nutrition goals for yourself.   A notebook or planner can help keep you on track with your goals.
I can’t claim originality for this but I love the quote “progress, not perfection”.
We aren’t ever gonna have it 100% “right” but we can keep on track to living a healthy, strong, and productive life =)
Tell me…. what goals do you have for yourself this new year ? What steps do you need to take to make them happen ?

Setting Realistic Fitness Goals

When I kicked started my little blog a few short weeks ago, it was to hopefully, share, encourage and motivate those who stumbled across me in the vast cyber world of blogville.

It’s a big place out there boys and girls. And wow, ya’ll have been so…. nice……

I wanted to take my voice into the world to do what I’ve been doing in real life and through my Facebook page, motivating and encouraging people to pursue a lifestyle of health and fitness.

As you know, and as I’ve shared in other posts, I’m a runner and love running and will talk a lot about it ( as in, I have a half marathon this weekend, so spoiler alert, you know what’s coming 😉 however, there’s a lot more to me,  a person, and much more to our lives we deal with so I will also venture into other topics and ideas to share with you as we move along.

I think when people are setting out to do something as (big) as get on their health and fitness journey, they really need a cheerleader, a mentor, and someone who’s plowed the road in front of them to say “hey, I got through this, you can too!”

It can be hard…. frustrating… overwhelming. As one reader commented to me the other day on my post, they hadn’t “thrown in the towel yet”…..

That means a lot … if you can press on taking one day at a time and just focusing on it…. and not the rest of your life….or that you feel like you’ll be fat/out of shape/ unmotivated whatever… you WILL make progress.

Trust me.

There will be days you’ll look at yourself in the mirror in that self-loathing way (don’t… do … that… or I will…come beat you) and you think there’s no progress going on… but there is…. you must give your body time to adapt and adjust to what you are doing. Remember part of the process is knowing that there’s a lot of changes going on…. not just physically inside and out ……but mentally and emotionally as well….

Our bodies really are this cool science experiment.  Work them, feed them good foods, be consistent in that process and in this slow steady way…. stuff happens….

Honestly, I’ve been at this for 7 years now. I’ve kept my weight off, built muscle, gotten stronger, leaner,  have more energy and can physically do more than I did half my age ago. I realllllyy l that 😉

Did you notice something ?

 7….. years…..

I’ve made forward progress by being consistent and letting changes happen in the way they need to……over time.

Are my fitness goals different now, than when I started this process? You bet they are ( and that, boys and girls will be another post)

The important thing is this. I just lived my life each day…. purposefully and intentionally  with forward progress. This is not something you can manhandle out quickly. You’re living your life, settle back and enjoy  the journey.

I still have people who will see me and say “when did you get like that??” and my response is “I’ve just been working at it for awhile”.

May I offer some suggestions if you are thinking of starting your journey or maybe you’re on it and need encouragement.

Ready ? Take notes 😉

Be kind to yourself when you start the process. Firm, but kind.

Don’t tolerate excuses from yourself (you can read more on that in my “No Excuses” post)

Set reasonable goals.

Make a vision board of ideas or goals you want to achieve. My closet door is littered with ideas/quotes/goals.

If you’re serious… tell people! My Facebook page has been a place where I post what I will be doing and I know at least one person is going to ask about what I’m doing and if I did it. Not only that, you are also going to motivate someone else… win/win!

Educate yourself in what you are doing… read and learn.

Finally, make it fun! You are doing this as a “lifestyle” enjoy what you’re doing!

With consistent daily progress you will hit your goals.

But no matter what….. don’t you give up and throw in the towel. You will never reach your goals by doing that!

Have you thrown in the towel before? How many times before it “stuck”? What things  helped you ? Share =)

2007/2014 7 years into my journey
2007/2014 7 years into my journey