I didn't want to go. I was tired. The kids were cranky. I had so many things to get done. My knee had been bothering me again and I was frustrated with my rehab progress. I knew I had a long workout planned for the day and honestly, I just didn't want to do it!
But I also knew I'd feel guilty about not getting it in all day if I didn't at least try. So I broke it up into segments. I completed my strength training before the girls got up. Then I did my physical therapy exercises for my knee while the girls ate their breakfast. I threw my stuff for the pool into my bag as I headed out the door. But to be honest, I didn't think I'd make it there. The excuses were already lining up in my head "The attendent didn't show up to open the pool. I had other things to do. I ran late with a client and couldn't make it to the pool." But the day went as scheduled! I pulled into the pool parking lot and still didn't want to be there. But heck, I was there, I might as well get it in. So I made it into a game. I threw out the workout I had planned. I came up with a game. Swim a mile...any way I could....any stroke I wanted,...breaking it up into as many consecutive laps as I chose. No set plan. I had so much fun! It was a great swim! I wasn't worried about times or drills, I just swam a mile. At the end (40minutes later), I was smiling and happy that I had gotten it in! I finished off the day with some yoga and foam roller while the girls napped to round out the workout.
While it wasn't a stellar day, I was proud of having broken through all the excuses and getting in my workout. I didn't feel guilty at the end of the day that I hadn't gotten it in. Because even if I had skipped it, I still would have been tired, the kids still would have been cranky and I would still have to many things to accomplish in one day on my to-do list! Those things wouldn't have changed even if I had missed my workout. But this way, even chopped up the way it was, I got in my whole workout.
The lesson learned, break it up, change it up. We have such hard, fast rules about what we have to do for our workouts. But that doesn't always work with our schedules or our moods. Sometimes you have to change things up. I've done this in the past when training for marathons. Broken my milage up into more manageable segments. The thought of going out for a 2+ hour run could be enough to send you back to the couch! So I'd tell myself, I was just going to run for half an hour or to a certain landmark. Most of the time, I was enjoying myself so much (the day, the scenery, feeling great!), that I kept running for the whole workout and was thrilled with that I had done it afterward.
When I find that my motivation for my workouts is waning, I change it up. I may add in a challenging exercise, sports drill, try a new class, or make it a game. Completing a workout, especially when I've struggled with "wanting" to do it, is motivating. You strengthen your resolve, your self-motivation, your ability to find inner-strength for your next workout. You also have past experiences to draw upon when you don't want to complete that next workout. The little voice that tells you that you'll feel good once you get it done, because you did the last time.
I know I'll draw upon that little voice the next time my motivation to workout starts to drop. I'll change things up. Compete against myself. Challenge myself to go just a little while. I'll try something new. Before I know it that workout will be in the history books and I'll be smiling through my day, knowing I achieved something.
Vacation....White, sandy beaches. Snow skiing. Family. Friends. Free time. Ice cream. Desserts. Fruity drinks with little umbrellas. Exotic, foreign locals. Everyone has their own idea of what makes up vacation bliss. It usually always includes lots of good eats, dessert, drinks and free schedules. Which also usually means that your exercise and healthy eating habits go out the window! But, does it have to be that way?
You work so hard during your workouts and then making healthy food choices year round to supply you with the energy needed to power through your day, a vacation doesn’t have to mean forgetting all of that or depriving yourself of some much needed frivolity. But it does mean making some healthy choices and choosing where you’ll indulge.
When it comes to exercise, why not explore the different options your vacation location offers. It may be a morning/evening walk on the beach (walking in the sand really tones those legs and buns!), skiing, mountain bike riding, a new exercise class, surfing, etc. Check out the options your location offers. Many local gyms and even hotel gyms these days, offer group classes that you can checkout. Try a new activity. Not only will you discover new muscles you haven’t used in a while, but you’ll also engage your mind, thus lowering your stress level (hey, vacations are all about relaxing right!) and maybe even discover a hidden talent! Look into ways you can work some exercise into your vacation before you leave. You can always bring some bands or a jump rope with you to get in a quick interval or circuit workout in your hotel room or anywhere!!! Exercising during your vacation will not only keep you looking and feeling good, but when you do splurge on those local food delicacies, you won’t feel so guilty.
So go ahead and eat those foods you’ve been looking forward to eating. Enjoy an ice cream sundae with your children, a lobster roll in Maine, paella in Spain, etc. One meal, one dessert, one drink, doesn’t mean that your whole day is ruined with poor food choices. Make sure that your next meal gets you right back on track. Eat your fruits and veggies, lean proteins and drink plenty of water. Think of your day like a passing grade. If you’re eating right 80-90% of the time, you’re a B – A student, easily passing the grade! Rather than beating yourself up over the splurge, enjoy it! You don’t eat that way all the time. Besides, the moment you say, “No, I won’t eat any more….”, you know you’ll only want it more, setting yourself up for failure. Rather, give yourself permission to eat those local, vacation delicacies. You may even find, that by giving yourself permission to eat them, you don’t feel the need to eat ALL of it!
This summer, my family and I went home to visit family in the states for 6 weeks. We enjoyed ice cream sundaes at the Music Man ice cream shop in Lavallette, NJ (a local favorite), a clam boil in MA with my family, linquica pizza (a Portuguese favorite), fish and chips (a new England must have) and drinks with the family as we all got caught up. I made sure to keep up with my daily workouts, incorporating beach walks, swims and circuit style workouts to keep things interesting and to enjoy the beauty of MA and NJ.
In the end, I lost 3 pounds, enjoyed my vacation and came back thrilled to get back to my old routine.
Enjoy your vacation!!! You’ve worked hard for it! Making balanced choices regarding exercise and food will help you keep your healthy lifestyle on track without feeling deprived!
To say that I'm frustrated by how slow I seem to be recovering from this injury is an understatement. I haven't run in 6 weeks and I haven't had a hard bike ride in over two weeks. I've consistently gone to PT and still my recovery seems to be slow. I can still feel the pull of my adductors as they cross the knee. I still have pain at the pes anserine. Although the pain has disipated when I perform squats or lunges, I can still feel it when I walk at times or when applying pressure along the insertion points of the adductors.
I'm anxious to get back to training at full speed and am wondering how much longer till I can compete again. Not only is my body taking a hit, but my pysche as well now. Workouts are not as much fun as I'm always on the lookout for any pulling through my knee and I can't give an all out effort. I feel like a caged tiger or a racehorse in the corral. I want to get out there and run, but my body says no...not yet!
At first I looked at this period of rest as a opportunity to rebuild mid-season. Now that its taking longer than I thought it would (or think it should!), I'm just angry and frustrated. I keep wondering why the PT doesn't seem to be working. Is there something else wrong? Is this the end of running and triathlon for me? Why do I feel great some days and struggle with the pain and pulling others?
Honestly, I don't like the possible answers to any of these questions. I've spent all of my adult life competing in road races, duathlons and triathlons. To think that this injury could side-line that for an extended period or possibly forever, is a reality I'm not willing to face. I'm not sure I know who I am as a person without the competition. Who I am without running, where I think through lifes challenges and explore possibilities, coming back with a new perspective on things. Who I am without the rush of cycling, feeling the wind and excitement of going fast and taking risks. A lot of "who" I am is wrapped up in training and competing. I've never thought of myself as someone who exercises, but as an athlete who trains. I now wonder where that person is as I recover from this injury.
This is not the first injury I've suffered, nor will it be my last (endurance athletes experience their share of injuries over a lifetime and I've had few in comparison so far), but it certainly is the most challenging. I have a new appreciation for those suffering long-term injuries or diseases that alter their lifestyles. So much of who we are is wrapped up in what we do. Injuries and diagnosis are not just a physical challenge, but a psychological one as well. They test our spirit as well as our bodies.
I have good days and bad days depending on the pain. I continue to believe that this is just a temporary set back. An opportunity to learn more about the function of the body, new rehabilitation techniques and how to psychologically deal with setbacks. In the end, hopefully, this will make me a better person and a better trainer. Afterall, some good has to come out of this injury!!!!
Do you have a bucket list? You know, a list of things you want to complete during your lifetime.
A friend was just posting on Facebook about having completed one of his bucket list items. He was celebrating a birthday and was updating his bucket list. It was inspiring to see all the things he had achieved and to learn about the things he still wanted to accomplish.
I've kept my own bucket list for years now. It includes items that are both professional and personal. I try to review it once a year and map out which ones I'd like to work toward achieving in the next year. It's thrilling to check items off. Especially ones I've had to work long and hard toward. Things I once thought were not possible, now are with the proper planning and training.
In reading my friends list, I got to thinking about how his act of sharing his goals enabled me to cheer him on in his pursuit. How much richer his life was because he was involved in it, rather than just letting each day pass him by.
Think about it. We love to see others achieve things they've worked toward. It's why the finish line of a race is so exciting. The looks of exhaustion, excitement and joy as participants cross the finish line are priceless. Especially in endurance races like ironman triathlons or marathons where participants have put in long hours of training. We want to see them succeed. No matter how they finish, they've achieved a goal many others have not. Their personal win encourages us to reach for our own goals.
I've never shared my bucket list with anyone except my husband. Maybe out of fear (see an earlier blog about that from a few months ago!). Fear that others will laugh at my goals or tell me how unachievable they are (by the way...this only spurs me on to prove you wrong!) or how I'll respond to others if I don't achieve them. But as my friend showed me by sharing his list, I also lose out by not getting all the support friends and family can provide along the journey. Most people want to see you succeed. They want to cheer you on and see you cross your own personal finish line. It's the reason most people lose weight best and keep it off the longest when they have a support system or group in place to help when their own personal motivation is lacking.
Life is a team sport! And the finish line is that much more enjoyable when friends and family are there celebrating your success with you. Its the journey of achieving things you once only dreamed of accomplishing. And allowing that success to take you on a new adventure.
Ask my friend. The numberous posts he received on Facebook were all positive, encouraging and supportive. I can't wait to hear about his latest achievements and what he's ticking off next on his bucket list. And if I can help in anyway, I'll be there!
What's on your bucket list? Don't let fear hold you back, trust that friends and family will be at the finish line to cheer you on. Dream Big! Then revel in the achievement of that dream when you check it off your bucket list.
So here goes! Here's MY current bucket list:
1. Complete an ironman triathlon
2. Complete the Hawaii Ironman
3. Run a mudrun
4. Compete in an adventure race
5. Go spelunking
6. Ice skate at rockafella center
7. Take piano lessons
8. Take a martial arts class
9. Take ballroom classes with Jim
10. Visit all 7 continents (5 down!)
12. Go to a vacation spa with ggod girlfriends
13. Go on a sailboat cruise
14. Own a waterfront home
16. Play paintball
17. Ride in a hot air balloon
Which to tick off next?!
I'm often contacted by clients who want to lose the weight they've gained through pregnancy. They long to get back the body they had before they got pregnant or, in some cases, even a healthier one! Most of the time they have a "number" in mind. A number they want to see on the scale or a number of pounds they wish to lose. Sometimes they let me know that number right off. Sometimes I have to ask some questions, but almost all of them have a "number" they want to achieve.
While "losing the weight" or "toning up ______ (insert body part of your choice here)" is a goal that will certainly help you to achieve a healthier lifestyle, its often a longer-term goal. Meaning, the road to weight loss is more of a roller coaster than it is a set path. You're bound to have stumbling blocks, weight loss plateaus and set backs. How you address all of these will help you to achieve your long term goal, but it can often be a frustrating journey. One where you can easily give up on your goal all together, thinking you'll never achieve it.
I often try to ask my clients "why they want to lose the weight?". This doesn't always come about in one session, but usually after I've gained rapor with them and they begin to trust me. At the beginning the answers are usually, "Because my doctor said I needed to." Or "There's this great pair of shorts I've had in my closet for ages that I'm dying to get back into!" As time passes, the answers become "I want to be here for my children and set a good example for them of a healthy lifestyle." Or "I want to be healthy for my next pregnancy so I don't have so many complications."
Now we're getting somewhere!
The next question is....What does this look like? For some this is a hard question to answer. They haven't given it much thought. For others they have an answer right away..."They want to be able to complete the Thanksgiving walk their church does every year." "They want to run their first marathon." "They want to be able to walk up the stairs at work without being exhausted or having to stop."
These are the measurable, achievable goals that always make me smile and get me excited! Why?
- You know when you've achieved them! Be it a race, a walk, climbing the stairs without stopping, being able to touch your toes, complete a pull-up, push-up or sit-up. You immediately know when you've achieved this goal. And so does everyone else! The smile, joy and enthusiasm you radiate at that moment is infectious to everyone around you.
- Success begets Success! Along your journey to achieve your goal, you'll find that if you don't change certain behaviors you won't achieve your goal. Its hard to finish a marathon if you've fueled your body on french fries and diet coke! Just as its hard to complete a pull-up, push-up or sit-up if you don't train the muscles (strengthen & stretch) that you'll need to complete those moves. You'll make the positive changes in both your diet and your exercise habits as you start seeing your goal becoming more of a reality.
- A clear path to success! Physical goals tend to have a set path. Rather than the roller-coaster of losing weight, gaining some back, plateauing, etc. The steps to running your first 5K are easily measurable. First you walk, then add some running, then you're running. Increase distance slowly and strengthen/stretch the muscles you'll be depending on to get you across the finish line. You can see yourself getting closer to your goal each step along the way.
- Lots of additional achievements! As you progress along the path to your set goals, you'll find some incredible benefits along the way you didn't know you'd achieve. As you get stronger, you'll start taking on more risks and responsibilities in your personal life. If you can achieve it physically, you can achieve it mentally! Your self-esteem will grow! Things that you once thought tough, may not be so tough any more. You're more likely to face the challenge head on, than shy away from it! After all look at how much you've achieved physically! You'll empower yourself to make those same changes in your personal or prefessional life. Who knows maybe a promotion, new career or new relationship is in your future!!!
- Others will want to join in on the fun! Very rarely do people achieve a goal or finish a race with a frown. You've seen them. They're grinning from ear to ear, arms raised, maybe they're laughing or crying, family and friends are there to greet them and celebrate in their success. Maybe you've felt that excitement, that winning attitude when you've been there to cheer on a family member or friend as they achieve their goal. You understand then how contagious that excitement can be! It encourages others to set their own goals, to make healthier food and exercise choices, to start living a healthier life! And whats even more exciting than celebrating achieving your own goal?.....Celebrating achieving your goal with a group you train with who are also achieving the same goal!
So examine the "Why?" behind your weight loss goals and consider setting a physical goal. It will help you achieve your long-term weight loss goal and soo much more!!!