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!
I've often joked that when they were handing out virtues in heaven, the line for patience was too long and I just couldn't be bothered to wait! Hey, I had to hurry up and be born already! I had an amazing life to get to living! (I was born a month early and have been going ever since!)
In life at times, being impatient has served me both well and, well, not so well.
I'm quick to make a decision. Sure I'll research all avenues to make sure its well thought out, but when the time comes, decision made. That has served me well in both life and business. When I decide to run a race, I submit the paperwork while charting out my training plan at the same time. I waste little time getting to "work".
The downside, is I hate waitting for things to happen. I like making them happen! But we don't always have that luxury. Sometimes we have to wait for others to make a decision. We have to wait for our training plans, our physical therapy, our healthy eating plans, to kick in to see results. But we're so conditioned to want things to come our way FAST. To have success, money, weight loss, six pack abs...yesterday!
The truth is, patience is something we can learn and practice, just like exercise and healthy eating. Some days are better than others. But working hard toward a goal, be it success, weightloss or six pack abs, is a process. Each step gets us closer to that goal. Each step teaches us something about ourselves and what we're willing to do to succeed. Each step begs the question: Continue along the new path, no matter how difficult and reap the rewards? Or continue doing the same thing you've been doing and get the same result?
Its a great question to ask when faced with a piece of chocolate cake, when you're frustrated with the number on the scale or spare tire around your middle. But will the cake "change" those things? Or will you feel worse after eating it? Would it be better to exercise the virtue of patience?
You see, great success, be it in business or in weightloss, is not about one step. Its about the culmination of many steps and the patience to see them through. To know that even though its taking more time, more effort, than you thought, you're on the right track. You're making progress. Change is happening. We just need to be more patient. The results will come!
I will never like waitting. I hate waitting in traffic. I hate waitting for an answer. I hate waitting for results. But that's life....and as the saying goes, "The best things are worth waitting for." So I'll do my best to practice patience. I may still get frustrated. I may still be impatient. But I'm working on it....and next time....I'll wait in line for that virtue the first time out!
Life has been busy lately. I'm working more hours, carting the children around to different activities and playing the single parent role as my husband travels for work. Its tough and at times, emotionally exhausting. I love that I'm able to lose myself in a workout. I don't work out with any music playing in my ears. I really use the time to explore my surrounding on a run, zone out on a swim or focus on not getting hit by cars on a bike ride! (I do live in Japan after all, where the roads can be tiny at times and the drivers, not so careful!)
I also use my workouts as a time for reflection of the day before, of the day to come, of something I'm struggling with professionally or personally. I do some of my best thinking and get some of my best ideas while working out. Its my own personal inspiration finder! Must be all that extra oxygen!
Lately its been finding ways to balance motherhood, marriage and work. Something I think all of us women, who get married and become mothers, struggle with at some point. There just never seem to be enough hours in the day or enough arms to juggle all three of those roles with finesse. So lately I've been watching and reading about other women I can aspire to. Women who acknowledge their failures, but have a plan in place to deal with them. Women who support other women. Women who are happy with who they are and what they're doing. Women who are healthy, confident, strong, empowered. And I've come to realiz e that those same qualities are the same ones I try to empower in my clients, in my Mommy Recess classes and in my business partnership with Usana Health Sciences.
Mommy Recess did not take off as I had hoped it would when I first started the classes in January. And I had thought about cancelling the classes, going back to the drawing board and creating something different. But I really believed in the classes. I really believed in giving moms an opportunity to workout with their children and other mothers. I really believe that when women help and support other women, everyone wins! And that when mothers workout and adopt healthy exercise and nutrition habits, the whole family wins! They feel better about themselves. They cook better meals for their family. They participate more in family activities and outings with their children. They sleep better, stress less, have more nutritious food options in their home. Society as a whole gets better, when women, when mothers are healthier, stronger, happier because they pass those same traits to their children, who then do the same and the tradition continues.
So Mommy Recess continues. And each week new moms come out to play. They find support, fellowship, new friendships, laughter and even get in a heart pumping, muscle strengthening workout along the way. The smiles on their faces and the faces of their children makes it worth it. The high fives from 2, 3 and 4 year olds who are just as thrilled to be running around and exercising with their mom, makes it worth it. The words of thanks from the moms who attend, makes it worth it.
As women, we tend to beat each other up a lot. We're very critical of each other. How someone dresses, talks, walks, what they do, what they don't do, who they hang out with, who they don't hang out with, etc. We judge each other for those things. I wish we could spend less time judging and more time supporting each other. Lifting each others spirit so we can be the best women we can be and therefore, the best mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, friends....
I've really enjoyed the soul searching I've done lately. The research into amazing women who are examples of what it means to be a strong, confident, successful, healthy, happy, peaceful woman. I know I'm on the right path. One that I firmly believe in....Helping women, especially moms, be the best women and mothers they can be through healthy living, exercise and nutrition. That they can be the strong, successful, powerful, confident, happy woman God intended them to be. That's my passion. That's my goal. That's a message I hope I pass on to my girls, to all my clients, to all my associates with Usana and to all the women and moms who come out to Mommy Recess each week.
My husband has been traveling a lot lately. When he's gone I'm a single (married), working mother of 3 small, active little girls. Time is in short supply (which is why I haven't posted a blog in awhile!). There never seems to be enough hours in the day to get done what needs to get done.
Over the years, I have found that breaking up my tasks into parts of the day helps me to get more done and to stay on top of the things I need to get done. And for any parent of little ones, you know its wishful thinking to think you'll get more than 20minutes into something before being interrupted because someone wants a snack, someone needs to go potty, someone is bored, someone is fighting with someone else, and the list goes on! I can see the nodding heads from here!
During the last few weeks this strategy has worked not just for household and work items, but for my workouts as well. Not only have I been able to get in my entire daily workout (foam rolling, cardio, strength, stretching), but I've seen improvements in endurance, strength and explosiveness. I've maintain my weight and improved my workouts. And as an added benefit, I'm less stressed over HOW I'm going to get my workout in because I'm not looking for a full hour or two hours, its just a matter of WHEN I'll get in my workout(s)!
To give you an example, the other day I had to be out of the house earlier than normal. Hubby was traveling and the sitter was showing up early and would have the additional task that day of getting our eldest off to school. There was no way I could get in my whole workout in the morning hours before my kiddos are up like I normally do (and I'm already up at 5am for a workout as it is!). So I got up, like normal, and completed my foam rolling and strength workouts. Then it was time to prep for the sitter and get the girls up and started on the morning routine. I left for work and started my "work" day. I had a half hour to 45minute break between clients, so I went for a quick 3 mile run. Knowing I had to get my run in, get back and get changed, then get our middle child to school and then off to see another client, made me pick up my running pace. My run had to be more efficient! At the end of the day, after dinner, before the start of the bedtime routine, I put on a favorite show for the girls and got in some stretching. Sure it would have been better to have stretched right after my run, but I didn't have the time then. The way I figure it, stretching after a workout is best, but stretching at all is better than not doing it at all!
It may not have been the way my workout was planned out. But I completed it all and have seen benefits to boot! Some of that is by way of just changing things up. Some is as a result of needing to be more efficient as I don't have all kinds of time. Some of it is the ability to focus on one thing because its only for a short period of time, rather than a long workout where after an hour+, not only is your body fatiqued, but so is your mind, concentration and focus.
And that's just one example, the other day I couldn't get out for a ride, so I put the bike on the trainer. Couldn't get in a swim, so I did pilates. Couldn't get out for run, so I ran circles in the house or completed high intensity intervals. In the past I've done stair workouts, on-line workouts, dvds, you name it I've tried it all in the name of not missing a workout!
The key is working with the time that you have and not using it as an excuse. We all know them. We've all used them in the past. And we've all paid the result of not putting in a full effort: bonking before the finishline, not finishing the race, not losing the weight, still having flabby (insert body part here) when summer comes, etc We can choose to believe that our "excuse" is valid and true. And it may be (I don't have the time? I don't have the money? I'm not strong enough? etc), but so is the fact that if you want to make it happen, you'll find the time, the money, the belief that you are worth and capable of so much more than you could ever imagine. Whatever YOUR excuse, someone, somewhere is dealing with the same obstacles and they're making it happen.....and SO CAN YOU!
So here's your challenge.....How will you change your habits to rid yourself of your excuses and make your goals, your dreams a reality? Post to me below or on Facebook (www.facebook.com/beyourbestpersonaltraining), email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let me know! Its the first step to overcoming your excuses and getting your closer to your goals and dreams!
Just one more rep! Feel the burn! Give it all you've got! Don't quit till you've crossed the line! You've got this! Just 5, 10, 15 more seconds!
You've heard them all before. It may have been a coach, personal trainer, friend, team mate, spouse who uttered those words. At the time, you may have been ready to quit. You were tired, sore, fatiqued. You had had enough and you just wanted to stop. But you didn't. You found the strength for that one last rep, the pep in your legs to go that extra 100 yards, the mental toughness to hold that pose for 10 more seconds. You thought you couldn't, but you did it! And you were stronger, faster, more confident for having done it!
There's a reason you hear so many coaches, personal trainers, physical therapists utter those words. Its not that we want to torture you (it may seem that way at the time as we smile at you and ask you for just one more!). We're not trying to punish you (though the screaming of your arms and legs may beg you to differ). We're challenging you to challenge yourself.
You see most people give up, just when they're about to see results. Its that place in your workout where things get tough. When holding that pose seems impossible. When just one more rep seems like asking you to lift a 1000 ton elephant. When going all out for just 5 more seconds will make your lungs burst. When you think you have nothing left to give, that's when results, be it strength, speed, agility, balance, stability, endurance, etc, are made.
Its that place where you're uncomfortable. When you have the choice to give in or to give it just one more. Be it exercise, nutrition, work, family, life. Its the things that make us the most uncomfortable. The things that challenge what we think we know (I can only do 12 reps. I can only run a 5K. I could never compete in a triathlon. I could never be..... I could never have.....). Those are the times, where if we're willing to be a little uncomfortable, to challenge the truth we think we know to be absolute, those are the times we change and grow the most. Those are the times we see the biggest rewards. Those are the times we get results.
I ran my first 5K the other day. My first 5K since coming back from a knee injury. My first real run without stopping in 10 months. I knew it was coming. I had planned for it. I had completed all my rehab and was keeping up with my training plan. But I was still nervous. Would the knee hold? Would the pain return? Could I do it? As I started my watch, my nervousness grew. By the end of the run, the results were clear. I was good! I felt great! Sure, I'll always have to take care of that knee. Make sure I'm doing all my exercises. But it was my physical therapists, massage therapists and myself who kept going with the exercises even when they hurt. Even when the pain made tears come down my face (I don't recommend that to anyone! Remember, I was under a physician's care!). It was those extra reps that got me here. Challenging myself, even though it was difficult and uncomfortable at times that got me here. I am, once again, a runner!
So the next time, your coach, your personal trainer, your team mate, your therapist says "Just one more rep!", "Just 5 more seconds!", "All the way to the line!", choose a moment of discomfort for bigger results and rewards later. Not only will you not regret it, but you'll grow as a person. Becoming more confident and reaching all your goals and dreams in the process.
As a mom I hold various roles in my children's lives: chaffeur, disciplinarian, chef, teacher, personal shopper, errand runner, cheerleader, supporter, bank.... The one I hold most precious is that of teacher. I'm the one who has the first opportunity to instill in my children the values, morales, behaviours, experiences I want them to have to help shape them into young adults and to help them later navigate the often harsh, world we live in.
One of the behaviours I hope they will always remember is that of an active and healthy mom. I've often said that I think my children come out running, with how active I was during all my pregnancies. Being pregnant never stopped me from exercising. Sure I may have modified some exercises, but I was out there each day, running, swimming, lifting weights, riding the stationary bike. Not only did it make me feel better about myself, especially as my waistline disappeared, but also relieved stress, kept those pregnancy hormones in check, and kept me in shape for my role as mom once the baby came. Those bucket car seats are no joke once you add in a 10lb baby!
As soon as I was able, I started walking with my girls. I'd load them in a stroller, sling or baby bjorn and away we would stroll. It wasn't about the pace. It was about moving. Being up late, or early, with an infant can make for a long day and a very tired mom! Getting some fresh air and exercising, even at a light intensity, renewed my energy and helped me get through the day. Plus it was a great way to bond with my child. I could explain to them all about what we were seeing or hearing. Or just feeling the rise and fall of their chest as they slept to the rhythm of my heart beat and step, well, there's just no better feeling than a baby falling asleep on your chest!
Now that my girls are older, they still accompany me on workouts. My oldest joins me for a swim at the pool each Sunday. She may not swim laps next to me the whole time, but I try to be sure that we have time at the end of each workout to play a game or two. We both get a workout in, create memories and get a chance to chat, just her and I, without a sibling interupting us. My middle child is an early riser. She often joins me in push-ups, crunches and strength training as I finish up my workout. She's learned that pull ups aren't just something boys can do and that building muscle and staying strong is important to a healthy body. My youngest, only 2, is not able to join in on many workouts yet, but she watches. I take opportunities while the oldest two are participating in their sports to run around with her. We chase each other, a ball, bubbles or just play hide and seek. Those games may not seem like exercise, but they are! And we share lots of giggles at the same time.
And that's what I want all my children to learn from me. That exercise can be fun, no matter your age. That being healthy is more than a number on a scale. Its running, jumping, building muscle, stretching, trying new activities, eating a rainbow, eating a healthy snack after a not so healthy one (they can all repeat this!). Exercise can be found anywhere, easily incorporated into any lifestyle and FUN.
As my girls grow and the pressures society places on young girls starts to reach them (you're too fat, too skinny, not pretty enough, smart enough, don't have the nicest clothes, etc). As peer pressure and societies expectations of what a young woman should look like, dress like, act like, etc, starts to influence them, I hope they'll remember some of these early teachable moments. To be healthy, over being thin. To eat real food, over chemicals and sugar. To laugh when things get hard. And to always make it fun and enjoy what you're doing.
On New Year's Day, while waiting for 2013 to arrive, I watched the movie "We Bought A Zoo" with my daughter and husband. The movie is an inspiring story about Benjamin Mee. Benjamin has lost his wife. In a bid to start his life over, he purchases a large house that has a zoo. This is welcome news for his daughter, but his son is not happy about it. The zoo is need of renovation and Benjamin sets about the work with the head keeper, Kelly, and the rest of the zoo staff. But, the zoo soon runs into financial trouble. The staff must get the zoo back to its former glory, pass a zoo inspection, and get it back open to the public. In a scene with Benjamin and his son, where his son is having trouble talking to a girl, Benjamin says "You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it."
That quote hit home. I loved it the first time I heard it. The first time I watched the movie, but this time...well this time it was just what I needed to hear.
I had been thinking of starting a group fitness class for moms and their children for a couple of years. I wanted it to be different. I wanted it to be inclusive. I wanted it to be challenging and fun. I had tried out a few different programs over the years and had finally found one that fit me and what I wanted the moms I trained to gain from such a class. But I was dragging my feet on putting the class into motion.
I knew there was a need for such a class, but, well, its scary putting yourself out there. Would anyone come? Would they like the class? Would it be successful? Am I capable of this?
My current clients, who knew of my desire to get this off the ground, were incredibly supportive. They lifted my spirits and encouraged me that if I put it out there, they would come. My husband was equally supportive and reassuring. But I was still unsure.
That night, New Year's Eve, I had everything put together to launch my first Mommy Recess class. I just needed to take that first step and put the announcement out there. As soon as I heard that quote, "You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it." I turned to my husband and said, "That's it! That's my mantra for 2013! 20 seconds of courage...and something great will come of it!"
I launched my Mommy Recess class announcement the next day. Repeating "20 seconds of courage." over and over again as I put it out there.
Tomorrow is my first class. I've received a lot of positive feedback already and excitement over the availability of the class. (Thank you Jennifer and Katie for signing up in advance! I can't wait to see you there!) I'm still nervous and wonder if I'll be standing there, alone, waitting for participants who don't show. But I'm putting it out there. I'm trusting in my skill, feedback and trial runs, that this will be successful. But in the end, I need to take a leap of faith.
The quotes are endless...."With much risk, comes much reward." "If you don't try, you won't succeed." "20 seconds of courage...and something great will happen." So that's what I'm doing. Putting it out there. Taking that 20 seconds of courage and hoping that it will indeed lead to great things. I guess I'll find out tomorrow.
Till then, I challenge you....What 20 seconds of courage will you take this year to make great things happen?