My family had the pleasure of going to a change of command ceremony this past Friday. In the first five minutes, we were asked to "Please Stand Up!" and "Please Take Your Seats!", every 30 seconds. And because it was a USMC change of command, well, you did as you were told!
Afterward, I couldn't help but remark to a friend as to how, holding our youngest daughter in my arms, I started using the up, down, up, down, up, down, as a hover squat. Just touching the seat with my buns and then coming right back up to standing position. Hey, after all, I might as well get some extra exercise in right! I know my bum will thank me afterward!
Funny thing is, that was something anyone else there could have done too. (Ok, maybe not while holding a child, but you get the idea!) Those extra minutes of exercise that you throw into the day can count BIG toward your weightloss and toning goals. They keep your heart rate up, burning extra calories.
Think about it! There are lots of great places to add in extra exercise. Calf raises while washing dishes. Parking further away. Taking the stairs versus the elevator. Squats or lunges while rocking a fussy baby. (That was one of my favorites during those middle of the night wake ups. Hey, if I was going to be up anyway, I was going to get the most out of it!) Purse or diaper bag biceps curls while waiting in line. Plie squats while pushing your child on a swing. One push-up for every trip you make to put away a toy. (I bet that will make you carry more each trip to the toy bin and make it go faster!) Walking lunges to the mail box.
You get the idea! Think of all the extra calories you'll burn and the toned legs, etc you'll have with that extra bit of exercise each day. Not to mention keeping the oxygen flowing to help you feel and look great! (Rosy cheeks are in!) And it doesn't take any extra time or equipment, just changing the way you think. Seeing an opportunity everywhere to get in a little bit of exercise. Hey, we're busy moms, so every bit helps!
What are the ways you sneak in extra bits of exercise throughout your day?
There are events in our lives that shape us. We might not know it at the moment they're happening, but with time and reflection, we can feel and see the impact they have left. I had the opportunity to reflect on one such event recently.
This past weekend I was talking with a client and friend at my daughter's swim meet about body image. We talked about our children, girls, and family members and how their self-esteem is tied to how they feel about their body. How girls, as they grow, their body image changes and what a shame it is as a society and as females that we do that to each other. Often placing too high of standards and classifications on our shapes. Too fat. Too wrinkly. Too saggy. Too jiggly. Too big. Too skinny. The list goes on and on....
Isn't it our differences that should be celebrated? The strong legs of a runner and sprinter that carry them through the race. The lithe body of a dancer to glide gracefully through the air. Are both not beautiful, even though their bodies are shaped differently? Are both not strong, athletic, healthy and capable of awe inspiring feats, even though they are shaped differently? YES!!!! They are!!!! So why can we celebrate that fact in professional athletes, but not in the girls and women that surround us on a daily basis? Its disappointing.
I remember the event from my youth that changed and cemented my vision of my body. I was about 10 or 11 and was at an end of the school year pool party with my classmates. I had competed on a swim team for approximately 3 or 4 years at this point and was very comfortable walking around in a bathing suit and swimming. Everyone got changed and jumped into the pool. I was one of the first girls ready and was already swimming when most of the other girls came out to the pool side. It was then that I noticed they were all wearing t-shirts over their swim suits. I brushed it off thinking they were wearing cover-ups. Till they jumped into the pool with their t-shirts still on. I didn't get it. Why would you wear a t-shirt into the pool unless you were trying to create drag? You've got to remember I was a competitive swimmer, spending hours a day in a bathing suit, trying to be streamlined and efficient in the water. The idea of swimming with a bulky shirt on was not something I saw regularly.
I remember immediately feeling embarrassed, different. I was the only girl who was not wearing a shirt. At that age, being different is not something you aimed for being. I was getting out of the pool, to go in search of a t-shirt, when I over-heard my mom talking to one of the other mothers. They were discussing the same difference, how I was the only one swimming in a suit and the other girls were using the t-shirts to cover up. My mom explained my swimming committments and the other mother commented as to how she wished her daughter were more comfortable with her body.
I didn't end up getting the t-shirt and instead jumped back into the pool. Within a half hour or so, most of the other girls had ditched the t-shirts as they started to weight them down in the pool. In the end it was a great time had by all of us, but I remember it being a turning point in my life. I knew at that moment, that I didn't want to be a girl or woman who was ashamed of her body. I didn't want to feel the need to "cover-up". And I've worked to be that woman all my life. I thank my 8 years on a swim team for that body confidence. Seeing all the different body shapes poolside and seeing all the different things they were capable of achieving. The strong, broad shoulders of those who were the best at butterfly. The long, lanky bodies of those who were great freestylers. The toned hips and buns of breaststrokers. And the different bodies that made up the best backstrokers. All different types were in their suits, taking the block, letting very little be left to the imagination and at that point it didn't matter at all. What mattered was what those differences could help you do in the pool that would get you to the finish first. Swim Team did that for me and I will forever be thankful!
Now don't get me wrong, I have areas of my body I'd like to work on. I have days where I'm not happy with my abs, hips, buns....whatever! But I don't let that define me. I am not my abs, hips or buns. I can work on those areas, improve them. I use that feeling of disappointment to cut back on the sweet treats and eat more veggies instead. Lets be honest, no one has a perfect nutrition or exercise plan 100% of the time. But I don't let my insecurities prevent me from enjoying or living the life I'm meant to live. I still walk around in my bathing suit and short shorts. I choose clothing I feel comfortable in and if I'm having a "bad" day, I make better choices.
I hope my girls see that confidence. I hope they see their mom walking around in a bathing suit and not "covering up" as I walk on the pool deck. I hope my athletic pursuits inspire them to live active, healthy lives, proud of all the things their bodies can accomplish. Because that's what it is all about! Living healthy lives, proud of all the incredible things our bodies can accomplish! Too much time and energy is wasted wishing for someone else's ________(insert body part of choice here). As women we're capable of doing amazing things with our bodies! Don't wish yours away! Celebrate it!
I became a mom 8 years ago this week. Wow how time flies! I've since had 2 additional children. In that time I've also had the priviledge to work with lots of moms with children of their own. We've worked one on one and in a group setting. During that time, I've learned a lot about the challenges and opportunities that working out as a mom with small children can provide. I still believe, in the depths of my soul, that as a mother you do an incredible service to your children to workout around them. They learn from your example what it means to live a healthy and active lifestyle. One they will be more likely to continue doing as they grow. However, that does not mean it is always easy!
Here are the Top 10 things I have learned as a mother and from working with mothers, with children.
10. That Exercise Can Be Done Anytime, Anywhere!
I first learned this when my first daughter was born. Those late nights, when colic got the best of her and me. After hours of walking the house, I learned to use those minutes to perform squats, lunges, calf raises, step ups, etc. They all rocked her to sleep and helped me get in additional exercise time to tone up and lose those pregnancy pounds. Hey, I was already awake right! I might as well make the most of those hours!
9. To Always Have A Back Up Plan!
Lets face it, our children don't always want to do, what we want them to do, when we want them to do it. And you can only take a crying child in a stroller for so long. When I'm not able to get in the workout I planned, I'll switch things up. I may break it up through out the day or take the kids to the park and let them play, while I workout there. I may look and feel silly, but I'll be looking good at the beach later that summer and will feel better about what I accomplished later in the day. Plus, hopefully, the kids will take a great nap from tiring themselves out at the park! A win/win for all of us!
8. Sometimes You Just Have To Stop.
As moms, we all know the difference between the whiny cry and the full, blown, there's no turning back, I've had enough cry. It could be that they're over-tired, over-stimulated, hungry, need to be changed or use the bathroom, whatever it is, there are those times when they have to come first. And lets face it, sometimes we're glad for the extra break we get between exercises. Other times, we're equally as frustrated. But remember, one workout won't make or break you. If you can, soothe them or help them, then get back to the workout. Or try including them. Squats, lunges, biceps curls, planks, push-ups, lots of exercises can be done with your child right there with you. Or just walk it out. You're still moving and they're getting what they need. Then try again tomorrow. Every day, every workout is different and it does get easier. I promise!
7. Always Have Extra Equipment.
This is a must! Without a doubt the moment you go for that jump rope, step, mat, tubing, whatever, your child is going to want to join in and do the same. If you can give them their own to use. You'll love that they're copying you and you'll still get your workout in!
6. They Love To Copy You!
This is related to number 7. Children are little mimics and there is nothing better than seeing them light up as they try to do what you're doing. Whether its a push-up or plank, running next to you or competing in their own race. They will grin from ear to ear, and so will you, as they show you that they can do it to! And you'll know, with much pride and satisfaction, that your dedication to exercise and eating healthy is paying off, for you and your children.
5. That Exercise Can and Should Be FUN!
Have you ever played a game of tag or frisbee with your child? Swam with them at the pool or played with them at the playground? Children can keep going and going and going. They are endless bodies of energy and every game they think is play, can be exercise for you. And why not?! You're both having fun, possibly learning a new skill and moving your body. Isn't that what exercise is all about?! I know at my group classes, Mommy Recess, it is! And boy do we get a workout with those childhood games, like duck, duck, goose!
4. That When You Think You Can't Go On, They'll Give You The Strength You Need To Continue
I remember running my first race pushing a jogging stroller when my daughter was first able to talk. It was a hilly course and we were coming into the finish line. I was tired, but there she was, "Go Momma! Go Momma!". How do you let that down? I couldn't! I pushed through to the finish, beaming that my little girl, was proud of me and was my biggest motivation. Afterall, how could I let her down? Children love to see their moms succeed. From them, you'll find all the strength you need to continue on.
3. You Will Laugh.....A Lot!
Have you ever seen your child try to do yoga poses? Or push-ups? They may copy the faces you make, or the sounds?! :) You can't help but laugh at their antics and laughter always makes you feel good and makes any workout easier!
2. You Can Get Lots Of Extra Kisses And Cuddles.
My girls love to lay near me or under me as I do push-ups, planks, inch worms, etc. They know what's coming....kisses and lots of them depending on the number of reps I'm doing. And talk about extra motivation. Its hard to let yourself collapse from push-ups when your child is laying under you! They're counting on you, and their kisses help to keep your mind off how much your arms, back and chest may be burning!
And the #1 Thing I've Learned From Exercising With Children........
If You Lay Down, They Will Use You As A Trampoline!!!!
It happens everytime, with every child. It doesn't matter if you're doing push-ups or crunches. It doesn't matter how old they are or how tired you are. That loving child, laughing and grinning from ear to ear, especially when you start grunting about how tired/hard/heavy this is, will straddle you and start bouncing up and down. And the funny thing is, even though you're tired and know this is 10 times harder with them bouncing up and down, you'll love every minute of it! And so will they!
So enjoy exercising with your child, the opportunities and the challenges. Its so worth it, for both of you!
I had the opportunity to compete in my first team triathlon this past weekend. It was soooooo much fun! I can't wait to compete in another one.
I've often competed in individual sports: swimming, track, road races, duathlons, triathlons. My efforts were all based on how well I trained and how well I did that day. Sure, in some of these sports I trained and competed as a team, but my event was solely mine. My efforts helped and supported my team, but I was the only one who could do the work for my event.
I always liked that part of the sports I chose to compete in. Individual effort with team support. It was like the best of both worlds for me. So I went into Sunday's race not knowing what to expect.
I certainly was not as nervous as I normally am for my individual races. It was easier to pack and prepare all my gear, just a bike vs. a whole triathlon. I didn't have to plan out nutrition or transition staging. All I had to worry about was my one event, supporting my teammates and making sure my transitions went smoothly from one member to the next.
What I didn't expect was how much harder I would push myself. I didn't want to let my team down. They had given me such a great place in the race. First woman on the bike leg. I needed to hold my place. I was competing at that point with all the men. My legs burned, but I pushed on. They were back at transition cheering for me, I told myself.
Together we all did great! Transitions went smoothly. I had a PR on the bike. And was thrilled with the way a team works together, but still can have their own individual efforts and PRs. Our swimmer, Heather, also had a PR that day!
I'll definitely sign up for another team event. Its great to have my own races, but to also have the fun of competing with a team and sharing both the workload, as well as the fun.
My oldest competed in her second triathlon last weekend. It was wonderful being a spectator to such a sport! A sport I love competing in and now get to share with her.
I'm not clueless to the fact that she has taken an interest in this sport because of me. I don't force her to compete and she has taken an interest in the sport without any proding from me. However, I also understand that she does so because it is something she knows I love and as such she wants to share in that with me. Its something her younger sisters can not yet participate in due to their age, so she gets some alone time with me. (Gosh these races start early! 6am was check-in!)
I must confess though, I stood there with pride as she pushed herself to new limits. The swim and bike were farther than she had ever gone consecutively before! And the run, came after she had already completed both the swim and the bike. I knew she was tired. I could see it as she began her second lap on the bike. I knew she'd walk most of the run when I saw her transition. What I didn't know, is if she'd complete the whole thing. Would she give in to the fatique her muscles were feeling?
I cheered her on of course. Before the start of the race, we went over the course, transitions, starts, etc. I told her to do her best and that I was proud of her. I encouraged her through out the race. Impressed first by her swim. She's been working so hard this past year at swim team and I could see it all come together. She transitioned like a pro. She knew right where to go and just what she needed to do. On the bike, a new one just purchased that week as she had outgrown her last one, she was all smiles. Even as she finished her second lap, tired from the effort she was putting out, she was all smiles. As she started the run, she went all out as kids do. I told her to pace herself. She started to walk and I saw her shoulders drop. She was tired. I was proud of her! She kept going. I cheered her on, telling her I was proud of her. She ran some. She walked some. As she neared the finish line, true to her mom, she sprinted it out, a grin so wide you could have seen it from the space station. I was as proud of her as I have ever been.
You see it wasn't where she placed, what her time or splits were. It was that she tried. She gave it her best race. She showed us what kind of a child she was and hopefully, what kind of young woman she'll become. And that was the effort I was most proud of! And then, this incredible 7 year old, surprised me still. She walked back up to the pool to cheer on the younger competitors in the mini-kids race. She was tired, but she stood there and cheered them on to their finish. She stood at the finish line and welcomed in friends, classmates and team members. And I, once again, was a proud momma!
I'm often asked why I compete. Why do I train so hard, so long, so often. Its for moments like this. You see, my children, my girls, are watching. They're learning more lessons from my example, than my words. And I hope they're learning the same lessons my oldest exhibited last weekend.
- To give each race, each effort, your best.
- To cheer on and support those around you.
- To smile through the fatique and finish strong, head held high.
- To enjoy the process, celebrate with those you love and let those who've helped you know what they've meant to you.
- That you can be healthy and happy!
- That exercise can be fun!
- To face your fears and the unknown, because you'll grow a lot in the process.
- To tackle a challenge and not back away from one.
- That you can be a woman, a wife, a mother, a entreprenuer and still pursue your dreams.
- That through sports and competition, you can learn so much about yourself and how to navigate this world both for the good and the bad.
- That self-confidence is a good thing.
- To not be ashamed of the body you have as it can do amazing things.
My next race is tomorrow. Together, we'll both race in July. All the while I'll know they'll be watching and learning. Learning how to be a competitor, a member of society and a woman.
I ran the Kinser Sprint Reverse Triathlon this morning. And for anyone who has ever competed in a race of any distance, at some point during the race you have time to think. As another female competitor in a bright pink jersey passed me on the bike, that was my time.
I couldn't help but think about how we compete in a race is similar to how we engage in other situations in life. You see as she passed me, I had two choices. I could sit back, make excuses as to how I was feeling and let her get the upper advantage. Or, I could laugh it off, give her credit for the good play and catching me off guard, put my pedal down and race on. Which do you think I choose?
Of course! I laughed it off, put a target on her back and reeled her in. I caught her on the next hill.
As I thought more about it, that's often how I approach life. I might get caught off guard, get a little down, lose faith, but only for a moment. I soon regroup, plan a new approach, give myself a little pep talk and set my next target.
You see anything you attempt, weight loss, a competition, a new business venture, etc, is all in how you approach it. What is your mind set? Are you thinking you're going to win, succeed, lose the weight, or when faced with a set back, do you lose hope and let the competitor or opportunity pass you by?
After the race a friend asked me "I need to get faster. How do I get faster?" I told her, she enjoys the race and thats huge, but to be competitive, in life or in a race, you have to be uncomfortable. Your muscles have to hurt. You have to be a bit scared. Then you have to push past that feeling. Because you still have more to give. Its that feeling of uncomfortable where change lies. Where things that once seemed impossible, become possible.
So the choice is yours, how will you embrace your next challenge? Will you let "her" pass you by when a challenge or obstacle comes up? Or will you, laugh it off, regroup, give yourself a big old pep talk, place a target on "her" back and go after it?
I can tell you from personal experience, the second choice is much more satisfying! She never did catch me after I passed her. I was reinvigorated for the remainder of the race. Placing "targets" on a person's back just slightly in front of me. Cheering on fellow competitors. Giving pep talks as we raced. And finishing strong. Knowing I had this!
The choice is always yours! Make it a good one!
I had the pleasure of speaking to a group of moms at with our local MOPs group (Moms of Preschoolers) about nutrition and exercise. I can only hope they got as much out of the program as I did.
It was a rainy day outside, but you would never have known that by the cheery smiles and supportive chatter amongst all the women I met that morning and evening. I was expecting to teach them a bit about proper nutrition and lead them in a mini-Mommy Recess class, but instead I was the one learning from each of them.
These 30-40 women, all of different ages, different backgrounds, different beliefs, different ethnicities, came together with one common bond: motherhood. Every woman in that room was a mother. Some had come to motherhood by way of adoption or fertility struggles. Some had one child or multiples. Some had newborns and others had grown children. But they could all share in the challenges and successes of motherhood.
As with any group, there were the women who had known each other for years and the new women there for the first time. But as we talked about nutrition and then got to play a game of duck, duck, goose, I quickly grew to realize how much this group supported each other. They nodded in agreement as I talked about my stubborn 4 year old and her food challenges. They laughed with me as I discussed how we can quickly give a child an unhealthy snack just because we want the "Mommy! Mommy! MOMMMMMMYYYYYYYY!!!!!!" to stop. They offered up suggestions and hugs as women shared their struggles with making healthy food choices. And it was all done with a look of understanding, of acceptance. That no matter your struggles, it was ok. Others had been through it and you'd get through it too. These women, this group, would be your support.
As we transitioned to our mini-Mommy Recess game of duck, duck, goose, none of that changed. They cheered each other on to catch each other, to continue with the strength exercise for just a few more reps. They laughed and shared in the process. And when the "goose" caught the "duck" and the "duck" had to pay the 10 jumping jack penalty for getting caught, everyone clapped and cheered when they were done.
You see they weren't in this alone. Be it exercise, nutrition, motherhood or any other goal they had in mind. They were supported.
And that's the great thing about group fitness, group wellness programs and support groups. There is power in numbers. Research shows that when we share our goals with others, that those goals are more achieveable. When we have the support of a group, you're more likely to lose the weight or stick to an exercise plan, because when you're having a bad day, some one else is there to say, don't worry, it'll pass, we'll get through this together. There is strength in numbers. In knowing that someone is traveling the same path as you. That they have or are struggling as you have/are. Life is not meant to be a solitary journey. Its meant to be shared. But choose wisely.
The MOPs club moms were very positive, uplifting. The moment some one brought up a negative comment about themselves or their struggles, there was a hug or someone would bring up a way to reshape the comment to see the positive side of it. You want to surround yourself with those same people when on your journey to health and well-being. Those people, who no matter your struggle, will say..."Uh-huh, you've got this! or Nope, lets go for a walk instead or Don't say that about yourself. You're stronger and more beautiful than you know." They're the ones who are there to support you and help you grow...not just jump on board you're pity party, sabotaging your efforts.
Those two presentations to the MOPs groups of moms was a true blessing for me. A wonderful representation of how we should act as mothers, as women, as citizens of this great planet. They lifted my spirits that day and evening. And served as a great reminder of how beneficial the right support system can be in helping you reach your goals, no matter what they are. It could be a close friend, an on-line support group, a group exercise class or a wellness class. Finding the right support group, sharing your goals, hopes, dreams with them, can really help you reach them.
So find a support group or friend in your area that you can team up with to help you reach your goals, be them weight loss, exercise, a race plan or whatever! And if you're here in Okinawa, Japan, check out a Mommy Recess class or the local MOPs chapter. You'll find the supportive, positive, uplifting women you're looking for there and be that much closer to achieving your goals.
It was 7am and I was on my way to the race. I was nervous about the swim. It was where I had gotten crushed the year before. Ocean swims were not my strength. I grew up swimming in a pool. The biggest wave you got hit with in a pool was from the swimmer next to you or from the feet of the swimmer in front of you. Swim team was completely different from the crest and fall of an ocean wave. Not to mention the fact that there are no walls to grab onto in the ocean if you get tired or need a rest!
But I was focused. I had spent the last 3 months perfecting my swim. Practicing different breathing techniques to handle the waves, no matter how rough. To maximiz e my stroke, making it more efficient. Strengthening my core, so I could improve my breathing, while still moving forward. And swimming longer than the distance of the race so mentally I knew I could do it. The night before I visualized the course, my swim, how I felt, how I looked. Each little detail was not overlooked. I wanted my mind to be as prepared as my body for the swim.
The year before I had nearly panicked as I got hit by that first wave and took in my first mouthfull of salt water (YUCK!). I spent most of the swim that year, doing breaststroke, side stroke or even backstroke to get through the swim. I remember the thoughts going through my mind, "I'm never going to get through this!", "Oh my god, I'm going to drown! My husband is away and the children are with a babysitter! You've got to swim for the girls!" and "I'm not ready for this! What was I thinking!" My mind turned to fear, panic, worry, and really worked against me as I swam for shore. I made it through that ocean swim last year, but I knew I could do better.
This year, I had a better plan. I knew my weaknesses. I sought out a swim coach. Spent more time working on my stroke, breathing pattern, swim endurance, learning all I could about how the body reacts in the ocean vs. a pool. I prepared both my body and my mind for the swim. I was determined not to panic this year once I hit the water, once I got hit by that first wave, once I took in my first mouthfull of water. I was also prepared for all of this to happen and visualized what I would do when it did.
As I stood on the beach, looking out at the water on race day, I immediately noticed that there were more lifeguards than last year. The seas were looking rough! My mind started to list the reasons this wasn't such a good idea. I turned it off, listing the reasons I was ready. I spoke to my coach, who gave me some last minute tips, things we had already covered. I stuck to my plan. I was ready. I found a quiet place, or as quiet as you can get in the transition area on race day, and focused on my breathing. Calming my mind, my heartrate, my nerves.
I was ready!
The gun went off. I took a deep breathe and walked into the water, letting a few stronger swimmers go before me, but not wanting to get caught up with other nervous swimmers. I got over those first few waves, I was doing good. Then the waves got bigger! I could feel my body cresting over the top. My mind started to wander. No stay with me! We can do this! We practiced this! I tried my breathing patterns. This was working. I was staying with the crowd. I rounded the first buoy and, because I had visualized the course, knew I had to start breathing on the other side so as not to take a wave to the face. I was ready! It worked! I got stuck on buoy number 2, sandwiched between 2 people. No problem. I'm good. I'm strong! I've got this! I changed up my breathing pattern as the waves were cresting on me, took a few breast strokes and stuck to my plan. The beach came within sight. I had made it. I hadn't panicked. I was tired, but felt good. Better than last year.
As we exited the water, they were counting us to be sure they had accountability of everyone who had entered the water. As I passed by the counter I heard him say "51..." I was number 51 out of the water. 51! I was elated! Last year I had exited the water in the bottom third. This year, the top third! I went into transition on cloud nine! I had already won. I had bested my goal. I had already set a personal best! (I later learned that it was one of the roughest swims in the last several years of the race. No wonder they had all those extra lifeguards this year! It made being number 51 that much more special!)
I finished the race 2nd in my age group, 3rd overall. But the place I was most proud of, number 51!
My preparation is what got me there. Both the preparation of body and of mind. Visualizing all possible outcomes on the swim and being prepared for them before I hit the water. Knowing how to quiet my mind and replace those negatives with positives. It improved my overall experience and placement.
The great thing, its a technique that can be used in many areas of your life. Visualizing how you'll answer people who ask you out to lunch if you're trying to lose weight. What you'll eat when you get there. How you'll respond to their comments. Preparation is as much physical as it is mental. And the great part is....you're extremely capable of making it happen and will be so much stronger both physically and mentally for having taken the time to do it!
So practice visualization of your goal today!
1. What you'll look like when you achieve it down to what you'll be wearing, how you'll act, where you'll be, what you'll say, how you'll feel....
2. Then visualize overcoming any obstacles you think may come into your path to derail you from your goal. How will you act, what will you say, what will you do..
3. Lastly, practice rewriting any negative speak with a positive. "Its never worked before" with "This is my time!", "I can't do that." with "This is hard, but I know I'll get it.", "I've failed again." with "Ok, that wasn't the outcome I was looking for, what can I do differently?"
I promise you, it works! It may take practice, but all good things do. But if you put these exercises into practice, you'll be ready both physically and mentally to succeed. And you'll be taking the steps to make it happen!
It's PCS season again as we say in the military, or for you civilians...moving season. Each year at this time I prepare to say good-bye to clients who have become more like friends and family, than just clients. I also hear the same concerns from my clients, "I'm so concerned I'll gain the weight back." " How am I going to keep up with my training without you here?" And my favorite, "Can I stuff you in my suitcase and take you with me?!" While all of this is flattering and I'm glad they've experienced the value in our sessions, my real work comes in educating you, so you won't need me any longer. So that you can take the skills you've learned during our sessions, from workouts that can be done anywhere, to correct body alignment, to nutritional facts for lifelong health.
So as PCS (moving) season is here, I find myself preparing programs for my clients that they can take with them. Lets face it, moving every few years can be a challenge. Getting a new house, setting it up, registering the children in school, finding doctors and dentists, etc. For many of us, seasoned military spouses, we know the drill, know what needs to get done and set to it with military precision. But that doesn't make it easy. And finding time to exercise, eat healthy, take care of yourself, seems near impossible when pcsing! So here's a three part series on why you should do just that, even when, literally, your house is laying in boxes!
So before we know the "How", we need to know the "Why". Why when in the midst of a move, when everything is still packed, when you may not even have an address, let alone phone number to call home, you should put energy into exercising and eating right? Your to do list is a mile long, and you should take time out to exercise and eat right?! I must be smoking "funny" cigarettes right?!
But ask yourself these questions, do you usually feel better after working out? Do you have more energy after eating a healthy meal or at the local fast food joint? How much harder is it to restart a habit after you've stopped? Did you really work this hard to (lose the weight, tone up, train for an event, detox from sugar overload, etc), to forget it all now? How will you feel about yourself if you do? I can tell you from experience that I feel worse in the midst of a move if I don't maintain my exercise and eating habits. Those habits are the one constant in the midst of the chaos of a move. They keep my mind clear. A good run gives me the opportunity to think about what I have to tackle that day. They help me to feel good about my body. Especially when ordering more pizza (gotta feed the movers so your stuff is well taken care of!) or eating out (after all it takes a few days to move and unpack the kitchen, let alone stock a fridge!). Plus, it feels good! Mentally it keeps me from feeling overwhelmed. My exercise and healthy eating behaviors are still intact. Physically, I'm still challenging my body and feeding it, at least in part, the nutrients it needs to power through packing and unpacking boxes. Emotionally. Lets face it, no matter how many times we've done it, saying good bye is hard and moving to a new place, even one you've been to before, is a bit scary. Exercise gets those emotions out without stuffing them with food. And while traveling or once you've gotten to where you're going, exercise can help you to meet new people, explore new surroundings and quickly get you set up in your new place.
The benefits of eating right and exercising are well documented: reduced stress, increased energy level, improved muscle recruitment, better self confidence, reduced disease risk, weight loss or maintenance, healthier outlook on life, better sleep, etc. Those are all things that will help you power through a move, get set up more easily and handle the change a move requires better.
The biggest obstacle most clients tell me is time. But with so much going on in prep, during and following a move, they don't have time to exercise. The truth is, you don't need a lot of time to maintain your current fitness level and reap the benefits listed above. But you do need to make the time. In the next blog, we'll discuss exercise options that can be done anywhere while moving. But till then, think about this. Where we place our energies, is where we see progress. There will always be an excuse. Life will always be busy. There are no "perfect" moments. A commitment to you, to your health, to continue with your healthy habits, is worth your energy, worth your time, worth your commitment, as much as any other thing on your move to do list. It's taking care of YOU, so you can take care of the move.
I hope you'll be placing exercise and healthy eating at the top of your move to do list. The next two blog posts will show you how!
Its funny how life works sometimes. I often find that when looking for answers to a question or a problem I'm dealing with, life often sends me signs all over the place. That's been true for me this past week.
I enjoy listening to motivational speeches. Watching motivational videos or movies that talk about a struggle and how someone worked hard to achieve what they were after. They keep that fire in me stoked to work just a little bit harder to achieve the next goal I'm after. They prove to me, that you can get knocked down and get back up and not only survive, but succeed! There are so many lessons to be learned from motivational speeches, videos, books, movies. From how one person overcame injury, to cross the finish line. From how one person lost it all, only to be more successful than before. From how one person lost the weight, gained it back, lost it again and kept it off. There are so many stories out there that you can find inspiration from. The motivation to keep going when things get tough. I've been listening to a lot of those lately, and finding motivation in the strangest of places.
This weekend, my husband and I took our three girls to see the movie "The Croods". Its about this caveman family that does the same thing day in and day out. Fear is good, it keeps us alive they say. Change, exploration, the unknown is dangerous and to be avoided or as the father in the story says, "You'll die!!!!" The eldest daughter doesn't believe this. She believes that there is more to this life, her life, than habit, than normal, than the usual, than death. She tries everything she can to break away from her family, her "normal" life and explore the unfamiliar. But every time her family pulls her back in, warning her that curiosity = death!
I couldn't help but think, while watching this film, how similar this is to our lives. Sure, while change, exploration, curiosity don't equal death and we all know that, we still "fear" change. We still "fear" breaking from our habits. We still "fear" doing something different.
And by fear, I don't mean the same fear that we may have of spiders, snakes, riding a roller coaster, etc. I mean those self limiting beliefs that you can't really have the goal you're after. That voice in your head that says, you won't really achieve what you want to achieve. You know the one I'm talking about....the one that says, "Why would that diet work? The others haven't." or "I could never be a runner, swimmer, triathlete, tennis player, roller derby girl, etc" or "I'm not smart enough to do that." The "I can't (insert your own reason here)."
The reality is, you can do so much more than you're capable of if you would just believe that you could. You were put here on this earth to be special, to achieve great things, to "experience" life, not just to live it. Those self-limiting beliefs, the ones we think protect us from failing. Making us feel that its ok to play it "safe" because then if we fail, well, we figured we would anyway, are not helping us at all! They're preventing us from living the life we were intended to live. The life God wants us to live.
You see while its ok to "try" to do something. Its better to "believe" you'll do something. If you "try" to do something, its ok to give up if you never achieve it, to throw in the towel before you've seen it completely through, to give in just when you're about to see results. But if you "believe" in something, you'll keep going even when you fall, even when you're not quite seeing results yet, even when things get tough. Because that's when things change. That's when success happens. That's when goals are achieved. That's why we find motivational speeches, videos or movies so uplifting. People, just like you and I, achieve things even when things get hard, even when they doubt it can be done, even when the world/family/friends say they won't, because they believe they can, that they will succeed and they find a way to get it done.
Its the reason professional athletes use visualization techniques to get through races. They don't just visualize the race, but they visualize the finish, the podium, the cheers, the awards. The same reason successful business people can fail, overcome bankruptcy and still be wildly successful. (Heck, Donald Trump failed numberous times and filed bankruptcy more than once! And no one would dare call him unsuccessful or a failure!) They visualize themselves as a success, even though others, life, the world would call them a failure. They don't "label" themselves as a failure. They may have failed, but THEY are not a failure.
The Croods movie ends with the family following the eldest daughter's lead. They embrace change, the unfamilier, curiosity to survive. They go to the edge of the cliff and as the father puts it, they "follow the light and fly."
We all have an inner light. We all have the ability to fly. We all can achieve our goals, our dreams. They may not come in the fashion we want. They may not come easily or without challenge or setbacks, or even failure. But that doesn't mean we can't achieve them. It just means that we need to "Look to the light and fly." To find another path, to try again, to brush off our self-limiting beliefs, our doubt. To ignore the naysayers, be they family, friends, co-workers, etc and believe that you are capable, worthy and placed here on earth to LIVE the only life YOU can live!
So I challenge you to leave the self-doubt behind. Ignore the self-limiting beliefs. Set a goal, be it weight loss, success, a race, etc. Step to the edge of the cliff, Your cliff where doubt, fear, excuses, those self-limiting beliefs of yours and others tells you that you won't be able to achieve "it". And follow the light. The light that says you can, you will, you deserve this. Then, enjoy the flight. The incredible, wonderful life that you will experience when you believe you can achieve a goal, go after it and achieve it.
Step off that cliff, now, follow the light...and fly! I can't wait to see your journey!