Excuses Or Progress

hungry-excuses-graphic

I was in the cycling shop buying my shoes before I went to purchase my bike. Evidently finding cycling shoes for women in shops is …slim… and the odds get even slimmer when you you’re 6’0 tall and don’t have a small foot. What’s a girl to do ??? The visions of the hot pink and black ones I had seen online were rapidly vanishing from my mind… he presented me with a white pair that honestly, reminded me of nursing shoes.

The guy assisting me was super helpful patiently answering my questions and made a suggestion to try some neutral looking guy shoes all the while explaining it was just really hard to carry lots of styles in all sizes, especially larger ones where they might not sell them…. sigh.. ok…

He brought a few pair out and had me try them on. I did love one pair but the colors were neon yellow and black… and the fashion part girl of me… tells him.. “but my bike is red and black.. I really see it all clashing! haha”

He informed me that “I’d be highly visible on the road…” ok, well he had that right… I’d look like I worked for the road crew 😉

I finally settled on the red and black ones that I purchased. Yeah, ok, it looks all sharp with my bike, but I loved the style and fit too… so… that was a win.

While we  were doing all this he asked me what I was training for and what my goals were. I told him about my running history, my slow venture into the cycling world, my injury that forced me off running for awhile, and how that kept me on the road doing more cycling.

I told him I had a duathlon in my sights as something I really wanted to tackle ( A duathlon is a run, bike, run race if you don’t know)

He looked me over and said… “don’t discount doing a triathlon.”

I laughed and then I heard the same response come out of my mouth that I typically give when that topic comes up… “Yeah, well, I’ve thought of that, but I really kinda suck at swimming. I know I can train and be strong with the “run/cycle” thing. Not so sure about swimming part”

He looked at me again and said, “with your long arms and legs, you’d be strong and able to cover a lot of space in a single stroke. Don’t sell yourself short. Keep the tri idea in your mind. I think you’d be good at it.”

There it was. Again. I was making an excuse.

I’m a woman who has, for quite awhile now, not settled for excuses. Especially when it comes to pursuing fitness.

I’ve stomped down excuses that would keep me from working out, from pushing myself harder, from taking on new things, big things, that I would’ve never thought I’d do.

I’ve not let excuses stand in my way of doing something.

Yet…. I find myself offering up the excuse that I’m not that great at swimming so I probably won’t be doing a tri.

Excuse:  attempt to lessen the blame attaching to (a fault or offense); seek to defend or justify

It made me think again. Made me think about where I had come from.

8 years ago, I wasn’t a runner. Heck, I didn’t even want to do my 2 mile walk.

The idea of running a race was a far fetched and laughable idea to me. In fact, even after I had started running and a friend suggested I do a half marathon, I laughed and said “that’s what other people do!”

Yet, two months later, I quit making excuses, acknowledged I could do it and signed up.

I’ve made it my personal mission to slowly, steadily, remove excuses from taking on new things.

Half marathons, full marathons, a 50K… those things didn’t happen with me making excuses.

So… therein is my perplexity at allowing myself to hold on to an excuse that would keep me from something new, and holds me back from new hitting new goals.

“I suck at swimming”.

Ok, so I was always more about looking cute poolside, tanning, and swimming around a few casual laps to cool off over doing power laps.

That is definitely not the kind of swimming needed in a competitive sport like a triathlon.

May I be honest? I hate my face being totally in the water. I feel like a whale attempting to not beach itself. I feel awkward and out of my element.

Ah… is there a better breeding ground to stomp down excuses, learn something new, and prove to myself (again) that yes, I can do it ?

So that’s where I’m at. I don’t want an excuse to hold me back from a new experience. Oh, it will be baby steps. I’m not looking to accomplish this in the next few months. I’m going to be more purposeful in my swimming. I’m going to treat it as a new skill I’m wanting to improve on.  Maybe I’ll get a few lessons in to build my confidence.

I’m going to set it on the horizon as something I want to shoot for.

Then… when the time is right.. I’ll be ready to get my feet wet. Maybe a sprint tri to get the feel and rhythm of the whole entire event.

I will be competing against no one but myself, and the excuse I shot down.

I’ve realized I’ve worked to hard these past few years pushing through excuses to allow this one to stand in my way.

If there’s one thing that troubles me either talking with people or maybe working with them one on one or even a group, is when they use excuses to stand in their way of accomplishing what they need to do. Maybe because I’ve seen them before in my life it’s easier for me to call them out, to see and hear them clearly.   Excuses can hinder us from living into our full potential or growing ourselves in exhilarating ways we never thought possible.

Don’t let excuses stand in the way of what you’re pursuing. Excuses hinder our dreams and success.  You can do anything you set your mind to.

Have you been hindered before by excuses from doing something? How did you overcome them? Do you feel you are making an excuse now for not doing something?

 

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To Exercise Or Not To Exercise

I exercise

 

Ever have a morning where you wake up and you know right away, you’re just not gonna be on your game that day?

That’s where I was yesterday morning. And by that I mean I woke up not feeling “bad”  just not feeling awesome.

My tummy was growling for food, but I wasn’t sure if I should give it food ( know what I mean?) I kinda felt like someone was just in my stomach stirring it. I didn’t feel super energetic and eek… coffee… made me feel a little queasy.

I know things aren’t going well if coffee makes me queasy… that is just so very…wrong….

Anyway, as I was waking up and determining what exactly the deal was and why I wasn’t feeling a 100% impressive, I was also weighing out this….

“Am I on for my workout? Is what’s going on enough to call it a rest day or is it something that I can stomp down and plow through?”

I’ve always been really in touch with my body and listening to it. In the past few years, as an athlete, I’ve become more aware and conscious of it. Running has taught me a head to toe awareness when I’m on the road… a constant assessment of all systems.

On rare occasions when I didn’t feel something was right, I’d cut my run shorter.

So here I was this morning doing the mental assessment. I didn’t honestly “feel” like it but if I listened to my feelings there would be a lot of times I didn’t get out there. I was trying to listen to my body and determine….

was I trying to make an excuse to not workout ( hey, you could make today a “rest” day) it seemed like a good morning to just put my feet up…sip on coffee that was making me queasy…. OR…

get my gear on and head out for a little and see how things went. I convinced myself I could go try 30 minutes on the rowing machine and if I wanted to do more, I could. If not, I’d wrap it at 30 minutes. I can do anything for that short length of time.

I grabbed the weights thinking I’d do a short session with them first before the rower. That was my first clue… they felt so…heavy. Now I hear you… “aren’t they supposed to be?” but you see there is the heavy I’m accustomed to and prepare to engage with and then there’s the “it feels heavy ’cause I don’t feel so strong this morning”  feeling.

After a few minutes with them, I left that behind ( no weights today) and moved to the rower. Again, 10 minutes in I was feeling warm but not the usual way I feel when my body is getting fired up from a workout.

I finished out my 30 minutes (cause I’m stubborn like that and knew I wasn’t going to die for doing it)

I headed in and feed the body a protein breakfast with some veggies which it handled fine.

And you know what? Mentally I just felt better for having done something. It’s crazy but I feel so “off” when I don’t get a workout in.

I knew I wasn’t totally on my game so I adjusted my plans. A little bit was better than nothing.

Don’t get me wrong or hear me wrong…. if I’m really sick I won’t work out. That’s just paying attention to my body and listening and honoring it.

But I’ve learned that I have to discern sometimes between my mind and body connection and fight down things that come to all of us.

Do I have a valid issue for not working out? Or am I leaning into the “being lazy” zone?

I’m no different than you. There are days I want to make excuses to not get up and get out there and do it. Trust me… I’ve had those thoughts. It’s just way easier for me to stomp them down and keep moving and not listen to the voices that are encouraging me to be lazy ( because that’s what it is for me).

I know that my workouts empower me and make me feel strong and energetic for my day. I feel worse not doing them. I feel out of sorts and not myself.  These reasons are exactly why I push through the ideas suggesting I not workout.

Maybe you struggle with similar things. Perhaps you have been in places of assessing if your workout needs to go on, or if it’s a time for you to rest and come back stronger for the next one.

I want to encourage you to listen to your body and do what you need to maintain your health, but also be mindful of those lurking excuses that might keep you from doing what you need to do.

Tell me… do you listen to your body when it comes to working out? How do you call a workout? Are you able to see excuses over valid health concerns?

I Don’t Feel Like Working Out

exercise motivation

Happy Weekend boys and girls =)

I shared this on my Facebook page yesterday and decided that maybe you, my 1.5 readers in blog world, might occasionally suffer with this problem too.

And the problem is?  You get hit with the “I don’t feel like doing my workout” bug …. the following is how it went down….

Workout done.  Soooo…..what’s new you think? You’re always working out…big deal.
Flat out… I didn’t feel like it…at all.

A restless night, up earlier than usual to get kid to first day of work, and a creepy, yucky morning had all the makings of me wanting to crawl in clothes two times to big, get a huge cup of coffee and watch mindless morning tv.

I think it’s important you know I have occasional times where I wrestle with wanting to make excuses to not get my fitness time in. I don’t always feel like being the Energizer Bunny.

Given todays weather I had decided it was strength training day. Then the ancient cd player I use out in my “gym” decided it didn’t want to spin discs  which almost seemed FURTHER confirmation maybe I should be lazy…but no…

’cause now I was just …mad…. and that is definitely fire to move me.

Fine … I’ll take it in the house where I can use my Ipod.

Give me 30 minutes, my body, 35 lb weights and I will kill it. Add the fire of being super annoyed already…. hello sweat fest and a good ( fast) solid body workout.

And it’s done. There are ( occasional and appropriate times) where a workout just might not happen…. it’s life.

I gave up years ago making excuses to…. just…not do it… based on random feelings. Sometimes your mental muscle has to kick in and take over your body and determine you are going to go get the job done.

When I feel an excuse coming on it’s even more compelling for me to push through it and make it happen.

I know I will feel better afterwards mentally and physically. And I do. I feel amazing and am so grateful I did do it.

So will you. Don’t let excuses hamper you from positive forward movement.

If you have made exercise a habit in your life, do you have times you wrestle with doing a workout? How do you talk yourself through it? How do you feel when you’re done ?

Obsessed Or Dedicated ?

obsessed

Hey boys and girls =)

Yeah, I’m still around. A busy week juggling life and others lives, mile long to-do lists and let’s be honest, sometimes, at the end of the day, it’s hard for me to think of putting two words together ( I know, you’re shocked).

So, it’s the weekend and my morning has been productive and right now I’m taking a break from cleaning the pool.

I seriously need a pool boy. 😛

I decided I should sit down and get my blog outta my head or you might think I’d left you or something….

Alright, so as things go, this post was generated by a comment I heard this week and something hubby and I have discussed before.

When it comes to exercise, at what point does it become obsession or just plain dedication ? The picture I used for this post has been widely circulated and I’ve seen it in a variety of forms but the meaning is still there.

Those who don’t exercise can take a view point of those who do as perhaps, an obsession. Before we move on let’s just take a quick gander at the definition of obsession.

to preoccupy or fill the mind of (someone) continually, intrusively, and to a troubling extent.

Now I can tell you with confidence, although I love my workout time, it doesn’t preoccupy my mind to a troubling extent.

I’ve got wayyyyy more going on in my life to occupy my mind all day…..

And I dare say, for the majority of those committed to a disciplined exercise program, they feel the same way. Their workouts are a part of the day, and then it’s on to the next item on the agenda.

Like all things ( drugs, food, alcohol, sex) there can be a level of addiction that feeds the mind and body. If someone talks about being at the gym for hours, I’d raise an eyebrow. If it’s mentioned someone feels it necessary to have multiple workouts in a day in a frequent pattern, that would be concerning. If there are no days off or rest days within the week, that is a concern. A constant push for more without a break will only break down the body.

These behaviors could definitely signify an obsessive tendency with exercise. It can, and does happen.

Now with that addressed……

Myself and many others have made a dedicated choice to have an active lifestyle. Just like we wouldn’t consider not brushing our teeth, showering or eating a meal, we can’t imagine not moving our bodies with intentional and purposeful exercise.

Honestly ? We feel pretty crappy when we don’t do it. We’ve moved past the point of hurting from not being used to exercise to feeling worse when we don’t do it.

Not an obsession, just a dedicated commitment to our health and wellness.

My workouts usually go no more than an hour… unless I’m specifically training for a running event… then some days I know I’ll be out for a few hours.

One cannot simply knock out a 20 miler in an hour 😉 that’s what training is about. Training for a specific event is very intentional in the work involved.

I’ve also learned how to pack a lot into a 30 minute window when my morning is crunched for time. I have had days where I’ve gone running in the morning and maybe cycled in the afternoon. And why not? there are times I just want to be out… moving… being active is good for the body, mind and spirit.

Obsessed? No. Committed? Yes.

Ok I will say I don’t know if I like the terminology in this phrase “lazy”… although… in regards to exercise… that term used to fit me quite well.

I could come up with a lot of reasons not to get my butt out the door. I could decide I was to tired, it was to hot/cold, someone needed me for something, it was to late, I had to start dinner, I had an appointment, I wanted to see something on tv, I would feel it the next day blah, blah, blah.

excuses

Excuses that kept me in the lazy zone.

And I’m talking about myself here…but I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who was or is in that club….. it’s just easy to find reasons not to….

Why? Well lets be real shall we?

Exercise is work. Hard work.

exercise motivation

And in the beginning when you’re taking a body out and making it do things it hasn’t done in a long time or ever, it hurts and you’re out of breath and that’s when you realize…. omg… I am so out of shape…… and you need to decide who’s gonna win… you? or your body that’s squawking like a chicken at dawn…?

To develop a dedicated and committed exercise regime requires a healthy level of discipline, structure and hard work to set it into a permanent place in our lives.

four percent

A willingness to be uncomfortable. A mind that can envision the future of success and achievement. A visionary that can set realistic goals. A desire to be strong and healthy for living life. A commitment to eating nutritious foods for health and wellness.

Staying my course over the past few years and building a disciplined exercise plan into my life has taken work and commitment to not give up, give in, or sell myself out. I’ve stomped down excuses more time than I can count. Each time I’ve done that it’s built my confidence that I really could do it, and be successful at it.

I exercise

And then along the way, my commitment to myself, and sharing what I was doing actually has encouraged others to get out and get moving and change their lives.

What an awesome thing to be born out of my own personal struggles… empowering others… is there a better reward ?

What is your perspective? Have you ever struggled in either direction ? To much or not enough? How do you view your exercise regime?

30 Minute Workout

Can I publicly admit to moments of wanting to be lazy ? As in… think of a reason I might not wanna workout ?

I know… you’re left speechless right now haha….

Keeping my mantra in mind of “no excuses” to not workout loomed in my mind yesterday morning. ( you can read what “no excuses” really means to me in another post titled the same)

To me, it’s the semi-crappy thing of not having a “structured” training schedule. I do what I want and how I want. I get stuff done and usually try and mix my days up with cardio and strength training as well as rest days ( which are vitally important to the building of a better body =)

but some mornings waking up and knowing there’s nothing written in concrete makes it easier to talk yourself into something else…

like my mile long to-do list that loomed before me….. “Hey !” that negative little voice whispered in my head.. “it won’t matter if you skip today, you can do it tomorrow… what’s one day?”

“Shut up.” I growl at it….” go away….”

I’ve learned from past experience, workout or no, my junk still gets done.

I do know though that I can pack a lot into a 30 minute workout when I’m scrunched for some time. As much as I enjoy a good long sweat sesh, it’s not always necessary and a shorter one can be just as effective.

I certainly had 30 minutes in my morning. And hey…. so do you… and if you think you DON’T  have time in your day for yourself … you might wanna restructure things.

So with no further arguments from lil Ms. Negativity inside, I threw on “the gear” and prepared to get after it. I was kinda down for this challenge and wanted to really time myself to see what I could hammer out in my 30 minute block.

The goal…. end sweat drenched.

What did I do ? Ok, I won’t ever be one of those bloggers who tell you all my per mile splits,  reps done etc etc but I will shape out what my quick workout entailed to show that any average person can get it done and move on. The beauty? You make it what you want… which works splendidly for Ms Free Spirit me who doesn’t always want the same thing.

Ready ?

I allowed a few minutes to basically do some light stretches and shake things out…after all it was 7:30 in the morning and my body was still a bit tight from sleep mode.

I moved from stretching into using my lighter weights (15 lbs) for some easy upper body(modify to your needs) Curls, over head press, front lateral lifts and did 2 sets of 10 of each.

Hit the floor for some push ups (20) flipped over grabbed my small exercise ball ( goes under small of my back for crunches) this is not a full blown sit up but small tiny, tight and controlled movements (40) ( please don’t be doing old school sit ups!)

From that into bicycles, which l love ’cause it’s like running on my back haha… I just do those an entire song on my ipod… or till I’m squealing 😛 this is really good for those deep lower abs which are often the hardest and most stubborn to hit.

From those to oblique crunches (40)  then bridges, 3 sets of 15 reps center, then left and right leg

Finish off with about 30 butterfly situps.

Then the work starts,

Grab my 35 lb kettlebell.

3 sets of 8 reps single leg deadlift (my fav new move)

followed by 4 sets of 10 reps with kettlebell

deep squats, into deadlift, to kettlebell swing ( I just moved through that with maybe a minute rest between sets)

I’m not joking when I say I was breathing hard and sweating like crazy.

My final move? A plank… a 3 minute one was my goal if I hadn’t trashed my body out yet.

I allowed a couple minutes for my breathing and heart rate to settle before I hit the floor for that.

I had four minutes left of my 30 minute time block. If all went well, I’d finish with a minute to spare… assuming I could hold out that plank.

I started a new song on my ipod and hit floor.

If you do planks you know there comes a moment where you have to just  mentally key in on only your body and your breathing and think of nothing else. I find this to be the exact strategy I use in the midst of a super long run when I start getting tired.. that laser mental focus is soooo important.

Keeping perfect form is key in a plank… everything in you should be straight, strong and tight while you hold it. The song was over half way through I was feeling ok…. a little further in…. I start  telling myself to just sustain where I’m at.

Then it was like “OMG the song is almost over…I can be done when song ends! Don’t quit…”

I collapse looking at clock which had rolled past my 3 minute mark…yay…. leaving me with 1 minute left of my 30….. AND I was a drenched sweaty mess. Holding a plank will bring out sweat in you in no time flat haha

Mission Accomplished.

You’ve got 30 minutes in your day to do something productive…. you do.

What’s your fav go to quick workout ?

No Excuses

20150224_120352-1If you’ve spent any time on the internet, or follow any fitness pages, you most likely saw a post with a young woman in extremely good shape, with her kids, and the title “No excuses” posted over it. Besides her age, it’s also evident she took care of herself before, during, and after pregnancy. And let’s not forget this too…. she’s also blessed with some really good genetics.

It got a lot of attention in good and bad ways. I’m not naming names here ’cause I think there’s been enough advertisement on that particular person. It made some people mad. It “inspired” others. There was LOTS of conversation in both directions.

Don’t get me wrong. I really understood what she meant. I did. It was simply meant to say (now this is my opinion here) I have a life, family, work, and stuff going on but I make time for my workouts as well.

See, I get it, ’cause several years ago when I started my own health and fitness journey, I had to remind myself…. “No Excuses”. As you can see in my pic, I made a simple Post-It note that was in my bathroom staring me down. .. reminding me… every morning…..to do it.  As my journey progressed and I lost weight, I added my labels from my diminishing pant sizes to remind me why I wasn’t making excuses to not put my workout into my day. Those were victory moments for me at that time. I cheered myself every time I finished… sometimes… I still do.

You see, in the beginning, it wasn’t easy. Some mornings when it was cold and grey it was tempting to say…. “not today, but tomorrow”…. and I realized if I succumbed to that thought…. day after day…… could potentially go by with me finding an excuse to not make time to take care of my body.

You know what’s way cool ? You do something long enough it turns into a habit.

Something you can’t imagine NOT doing. Like the “OMG I forgot to brush my teeth!” kinda feeling.

And as time went on, it got easier. I got up in the morning and landed in my running gear prepared and ready to do it as soon as everyone was launched for the day. I got over the “it’s cold, grey, wet” whatever feelings and just did it.

Now days the only thing I won’t run in is 1) lightening 2) icy conditions… both are obvious safety issues. On those days, the plan I developed years back, was to start strength training or boxing when I absolutely couldn’t run. I’m glad I did because the strength training has also made me a stronger, more fit, and healthier runner.

That Post- It is still in my bathroom.

I really don’t need that reminder anymore. I’ve landed in a comfortable, slim size pant so those numbers really don’t drive me so much either. I moved to a point of viewing exercise as a gift to my body and to my mind as well. Now I schedule appointments around my training!

Maybe, you’re somewhere in that zone. Perhaps you need “no excuses” to be a challenge to you…. that you are worth that small investment of time in your day to be a better person, parent, spouse, worker. I realized after my workouts even being tired, I felt better prepared to deal with the rest of life… and I don’t know about yours…. but mine can get crazy at times! It might be clichĂ© but running really is good therapy for me, on a lot of  levels 😉

Don’t let the words “no excuses” be a form of condemnation, but rather, allow it to challenge you, to move you onward to your goals and overall health and wellness =)