Ok, don't judge...I enjoy watching The Vampire Diaries. Now you're thinking, what does that have to do with exercise, nutrition, healthy living? Nothing! Except that during last week's episode they did something interesting. While trying to "leave their past behind" and become the person they knew they could or wanted to be, they wrote their obituary, had a going away party and said "good-bye" to their old self. Literally, they said good-bye..."Here lies _______, she was a good friend,...."
It reminded me of an exercise a high school english teacher and then again a college professor, had me complete. We had to write our obituaries and answer the questions, "Who am I? What is my place in the Universe?" Thats a tough thing for a high school student and then again a young college student with very little life experience to answer. I can't even remember how I answered them at this point. It was probably something trivial about success, being a good wife, friend, daughter in there. Honestly, I don't think I really knew how to answer those questions. But that doesn't mean that they didn't change my life.
I often think about those two questions as I've grown older. When I'm faced with a difficult decision. When I have to choose between following my head or my heart. When a new opportunity presents itself. Even when I'm tired and just don't want to face the responsibilities I've committed to completing. I find myself asking those same two questions..."Is this who I want to be? Is this helping me along that path?" For some reason those two questions help me find my answer. I still may not like the answer. The answer may mean a lot of hard work, saying "no" to a few things I'd really rather be doing, but in the end, they're the right decision for me.
So how does that translate into exercise, healthy living, eatting well? Well, what is it that you need to say good-bye to? What bad habit do you need to let go of? Too often we say, I'll start that exercise program Monday. I'll eat better tomorrow. I'm too fat. I can't enter that race, till I can run fast. I'm just not ready. Its that little voice in our heads that is already making excuses for us based on past experience. What if we said "good-bye" to that little voice? What if we just didn't listen? What if we envisioned the life, the person we want to be? The person we want written about in our obituaries. The person we want our children, friends and family to remember us as being? The person we know we can be! What if we lived our lives by those rules, rather than the voice in our head?
So start today, this hour, this minute! Say good-bye to those bad habits! Say good-bye to the excuses! Say hello to the being the best person you can be! It doesn't even have to be a big change that makes all the difference. Sometimes its the small changes, done multiple times, over and over again that make all the difference. Just don't let past experience hold you back.
When I'm long gone, I hope that my children will say, "My mom...she was the best! And oh the life she lived!!!"
Fear. We all have them. Fear of spiders. Fear that our children are in trouble. Fear of the water. There are too many to list. But they all have one thing in common. They prevent us from living our best life. They prevent us from enjoying the environment around us or the moment in which we are living. Often times we just ignore them, make up an excuse to ourselves and to others and move on. We don't like acknowledging that we're afraid or that we have fears and even less, that they may be holding us back from being even greater than we are today.
So what about those fears? Those little every day "worries" that prevent us from doing something. The ones that make us lie to our friends, to our family, even to ourselves. You know the ones I'm talking about...."I can't go to the gym till I lose some of this weight.", because you're worried what others will think about you as a person. "I can't join you on that walk or hike because I have _____ to do." When really you're just concerned that you might not be able to keep up. "I can't eat healthy because its too expensive." When it may be that you're just not sure how to do it, it seems really overwhelming and you're afraid you might not get the results you want any way. So many times during the course of a day, a week, a month, a year, we say "I can't" to ourselves or others. Sure sometimes there really is a conflict, a reason why we "can't" do something. Most of the time, its just an excuse. That little voice that says, what if I fail? What if I really can't do it? What if they laugh at me? What if I look like a fool? What if.....?
Last weekend I had the opportunity to run a Functional Fitness 5K run. I was nervous. I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I was afraid it was going to be a bunch of pull-ups and really intense exercises with high reps and weight that I wasn't used to doing. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to do it. I was afraid that everyone else was going to be able to sail through and I'd be the last one to cross the finish line, unable to complete some of the exercises. It didn't help that friends were telling me how tough it was last year when they ran it. It didn't help that only 2 months before I had attempted my first pull-up and that only the week before I had finally completed my first pull-up without assistance. So as race day approached, I started making excuses as to why I couldn't make it. "I wasn't ready." "I could run just a 5K without the functional fitness circuits." "Hubby would have to work and no one could watch our children." (Truth is, he could go in later and would be home to watch the girls so I could race.) But they were all excuses. When I thought about it, I was afraid of failing. Afraid I wouldn't be able to complete the tasks asked of me. Afraid others could do better.
So after some thought, I asked myself, what would happen if I failed? I would learn where my current strengths and weaknesses lie and be able to train for them. I'd still go on. What if others did better than me? It would provide me with an opportunity to push my goals further so I can beat them next year. What if I couldn't complete the tasks? That happens every day. There are things I can't do. Things my clients can't do. If I ask my clients to "give me the best they can", then I have to be ok with asking the same of myself. I'll just do "better", do more, next time.
So on a cold, rainy Saturday morning I stood on the starting line with 50 other competitors and "did my best". And you know what....I loved every minute of it! I loved the competition. I loved trying to catch the women in front of me. I loved each of the circuits and testing my body to see how far it could go and how all my last few months of training have prepared it to compete. It was an incredible experience. And I wouldn't have had it if I had let my fear stand in my way.
Fear, excuses, challenges can provide us with an opportunity to better ourselves. Just take the leap! Be willing to fall, to fail, to lose, to walk, to throw-up. There is so much out there to achieve if we don't let our own fear and excuses stop us. So what fear are you going to ignore? What excuse are you going to walk away from? What "I can't" are you going to laugh at and say "You wanna bet!"?
Just think of all the things you could achieve, if for just this year, every time you or someone else said "I/You can't", instead you said "Sounds great!", "See you there!", or "Just watch me!". What a year of achievements and memories you would have!!!! Why not give it a try!!!
Oh and on a side note....I came in second out of the women in the race, 8th overall. But the best part, I met some incredible women who also love to run and train. What a rush to be surrounded by nice, supportive, goal-oriented, healthy, strong, athletic women and like minded moms!
Happy New Year all! I always love the "possibility" the start of a new year brings! So dream big and live the life you want now. You've got nothing to lose!
I've only got 5 weeks of P90X left and my first functional fitness 5K planned for next weekend. I see big things happening! I can't wait!
Dream your dreams!
New Year's Resolutions. We've all made them. Some we've kept. Most we haven't. I'm no different. There's something about the promise the start of a new year brings. The hope that we'll be "better" than we were the year prior. That's exactly the reason why so many of us make health related resolutions. To eat better. To lose weight. To tone up. To decrease our cholesterol. To cut out the sugar, carbs...You name it, some one has made a resolution regarding it. Like I mentioned in my previous blog, its great to have a goal, a resolution, in mind. But with all that hope, all that promise of what accomplishing that resolution will bring, why then do soo many of us fail to see them through!?!
We've all seen them. The gym newbies who walk in that first week in January. They take our spot in our favorite class. They hog the treadmills and bikes. They crowd the weight room. As gym veterans, we get frustrated, knowing that our routines will be interupted for a few weeks till things calm down and most of the newbies lose interest. Usually by mid-February. 6 weeks. Thats the average number of weeks that most people will keep their New Year's resolutions. By Valentine's Day, February 14th, most of us will have given up on our resolutions. We had good intentions, but good intentions alone won't see those resolutions become realities.
It takes an average of 3 months, 12 weeks, for a resolution to become a habit. Something that we will continue to do because it has become a part of our daily lives. How do we increase our odds that our resolutions will become a habit and not be forgotten by Valentine's Day? We break it down. We make it more managable. We take baby steps and reward ourselves along the way. We think about what we'll do to achieve that resolution each day, week, month. We encourage support from family, friends and co-workers. We talk positively about our resolutions as though we know we will accomplish them. And we accept that there will be days that we don't achieve our goal. Rather than giving up completely, we get over it and start again. It doesn't matter if a day has passed or a month, just try again. You never know if this will be the time when you succeed. After all, what do you have to lose?
So go ahead, don't be afraid to make that New Year's resolution. The promise of a "better" you awaits!
What kind of results are you looking for? Is it a number on a scale? Body fat % loss? Cutting sugar out of your diet? Running a fast 5k? Crossing the finish line? Everyone's reasons for embarking on a fitness program is different. But we all embark on one with a goal in mind. Or at least we should.
If you're just mindlessly lifting a weight, running on a treadmill or going through that aerobics class, are you really living your best life? Sure you may feel better afterward, but are you really seeing all the benefits you can out of that fitness program? Everyone, and I mean everyone, has something they'd like to see improved. That's why so many of us make new year's resolution. Its the promise of being better tomorrow than we are today. But if we never make that goal, state that goal, then how can we know if we're truelly working toward it? How do we know if that run or that weight lifted is helping us be "better"?
So think about what it is that you'd like to do. What goal do you have in mind? What is the best life you'd like to live? Then put a plan in place to make it happen. Write out your goal. Write out the steps that you'll need to take to achieve it. Success doesn't just happen. You need to MAKE it happen.
Each year I plan out what races and events I'll compete in. I then break down those races/events into the times or results I want from each. Then I plan out my training sessions to get me to that goal. When I started P90X 6 weeks ago, my main goal was just to change up my fitness routine. I've achieved that and many other things along the way. I've seen my strength improve. I can now perform a pull-up. Even my 5K race pace has improved. I did not anticipate some of these improvements, but they have spurred me to set even higher goals for myself as the year continues, comes to an end and a new one begins. And each goal achieved, gives me the added confidence boost to achieve the next one!
So what is your goal? And what are you willing to do to achieve it?
As the holidays approach, our lives seem to take on a mind of their own. There are holiday parties with work, family and friends. Then there is the gift buying, wrapping and mailing that needs to be done. Don't even get me started on all the baking and cooking! There seems to be little time left for ourselves, let alone to exercise. When you add in all those extra commitments it can be easy to skip a workout here and there. Unfortunately after awhile those missed workouts start to add up. And before you know it you've packed on a few extra pounds and find that you haven't worked out in weeks! It happens to the best of us.
I wish I could say that I have a magic spell that will allow you to stop time so you can get everything done each day, but I don't. It really comes down to making yourself and your workout a priority. Learning to say no to some of the commitments, letting others help and scheduling in those things that just can't be missed. I usually look at my schedule in segments: a month ahead, a week ahead, the next day and today. Based on travel schedules, work, family obligations and other odd things that I've committed myself to, I plan out my workouts. I also plan in my rest day for that week. Knowing that I'll have a day off from my workout, and an extra hour to hour and a half to get other things done, keeps me sane. I may be tired that morning waking up and as a result not look forward to that mornings workout, but knowing that in a few days I'll be able to get a few more minutes of sleep helps me get out of bed. There will be a day to rest coming up soon. I also think about whether or not I'll feel guilty about missing that commitment. If the answer is yes, then I keep it. If the answer is no, then its something I can easily pass up. Then there are the long term results that I think about. Working out helps me to feel good, gets out any pent up frustration or stress and wakes me up in the morning. So even though I may have to drag myself out of bed, I usually feel better after my workout and am ready to tackle the day ahead.
My husband has been doing P90X with me each morning. For the last 2 weeks he's been traveling and has been in a different time zone than where we live. To keep each other motivate, to stay on track with the program and to push each other to our max, he got up at 4am each morning to workout with me. I admired his commitment and it kept me more motivated each day. Knowing that he was waiting for me to skype in with him to start our workout meant I couldn't press the snooze button and go back to bed.
Find what works for you. Do you need to schedule in your workout? Do you need a workout buddy that will be there for you and won't let you skip a workout? Do you need to get up a little earlier to get your workout in? Do you need to rearrange your day so you can find some down time to get in your workout? Do you need to change up your workout so it can fit this busy time of year? Sometimes changing your workout by breaking it into 20, 30 or 45minute sessions will help.
Keep the good habits going. You'll not only feel good about yourself, but you'll be doing something good for yourself as well. And come New Year's Day, you won't have to start that same New Year's Resolution again to exercise more, lose the weight, etc, because you'll never have stopped!!!
It has been a month since I started P90X. There have been some ups and downs, but it has mainly been an incredibly positive experience. I've enjoyed the new workouts and the change to my routine. The focus on upper body has been wonderful. After training and competing in road races, triathlons and duathlons for the last 14 years, this area has been lacking from my training. I've enjoyed these workouts the most and seeing the visible changes to my upper body. Being able to complete a pull-up and chin-up, even with a little assistance, is a big accomplishment. The workouts have been challenging, but doable. There seems to be enough rest time worked into the week to fully recover. I certainly am never bored! Very few exercises are repeated within the same week. And the added flexibility work each week has really been helpful. I don't think I knew how tight my hamstrings, hip flexors, shoulders and back were getting after years on the bike and running. Better to know now than to be sidelined by an injury later!
The most challenging aspect of the last 30 days has been the nutritional piece and staying on track. Some of the workouts last an hour and a half. With three small children, finding the time for that extra 30 minutes of dedicated workout time can be a challenge. Some days I'm just hoping it will end so I can get back to my "real" life as mom, trainer and wife. Luckily my children have embraced Tony and P90X as much as I have and they often are getting in their own workout right along side me. I hope that they'll grow to learn that exercise and healthy eatting should be a part of every day life. I think my middle daughter summed it up well when she posed and said "I'm getting STRONG!!!" I laughed and couldn't think of a better way to sum up the last 30 days. I'm getting STRONGER!!!
Thanksgiving and the Christmas season have made sticking to the "diet" a challenge. I did indulge more than I should have. I figured that some of those family favorites are only made once a year and I was not going to miss out on them. After I had my taste, I moved on. All the cookies, candy and goodies my child has been bringing home from school have been handed out to friends and neighbors so they don't stay in the house. I don't do well when temptation is sitting on my kitchen counter! I've planned out our holiday dinners so we can have our favorites and not go overboard with days and days of leftovers. I've also asked people to take extra helpings home so they can enjoy some leftovers too and I don't feel like I have to eat it all. I've done my best to follow the nutritional plan. Some days are better than others and the results have proved that I didn't do so bad afterall. I'm down 2% bodyfat and 2lbs! Not much you say...but I didn't have anything I wanted to lose. I just wanted to be more toned, stronger and to change up my routine. And that I have done. I'm excited for the next 30 days and the new routines coming up this month. I'm sure there will be more challenges with Christmas and New Year's just weeks away, but I'm up for the challenge!
Just as my daughter said....I'm STRONG! And getting STRONGER!!!!
I have officially completed 4 days of P90X, chest and back, plyometrics, biceps triceps and shoulders and YogaX. Surprisingly the most difficult was not the pull-ups, but the yoga. One hour and a half of balance and strengthening yoga poses. This is not your average stretching class. It was INTENSE! After 45minutes I was done. But I held on and completed the whole cd. The lengthening of my muscles felt great after 3 days of intense strengthening and cardio. Flexibility has never been my strong suit and this cd proved this again. I thought about giving in, but how would I get better. I could hear my own voice telling my clients that they could do it. "Just stick with it. It will get easier." Its good to know that over the next 90days I'll have a chance to improve and eventually make myself more gumby like than when I started.
I've been happy so far with the cds. I've enjoyed quite a few laughs, both at myself and at my husband who's completing the program with me. I've challenged myself and found some new areas of strength and areas where I'll have to keep working at it (someday I'll be as flexible as I am in my head!). I like the modifications to some of the exercises. I could not do a pull-up without the assistance of a chair. But I'm confident that by the end of 90 days, I'll be able to bang them out!
There's a confidence that comes from learning a new skill. From challenging yourself to do something you once found difficult. Other things don't seem as difficult. You look up more when you walk. You embrace other new challenges with gusto. And failure doesn't seem so scary anymore. Everyone needs to change things up every so often. To challenge themselves to do something they once thought they couldn't. It all starts with one step, one phone call, one email or as Tony puts it, continuing to press play. You never know what you can achieve if you don't keep trying. Sometimes you learn just as much from the process as you do from the achievement!
As 2011 comes to a close...what new thing are you going to try this year?
Yesterday I completed the baseline assessment for P90X. I can honestly say that I have a new appreciation for my clients. Standing there getting your photos taken, feeling like every imperfection is on display and being noted is a humbling experience. It is something all trainers should experience at least once. Put yourself in your client's shoes. Even knowing that this was my baseline and just a starting point did not make the process any easier.
It did give me a good feel as to where my weaknesses are and what areas I need to pay more attention. I was able to see how I compared to the minimums set for the program, where I could push it hard and where I might struggle and need to modify. For that reason, its a necessity to complete baseline assessments. But moving forward I'll have more compassion for my clients and the situation they're in while we're completing the assessment.
As for my assessment, it went smoothly. I'm already excited about how I'll progress through the next 90 days. I'm already eager to see my results and I have super high hopes for what the program will bring. In that way, not only have I learned something about myself as a trainer and how I approach my client assessments, but I've already re-energiz ed my training. That has been my goal through this whole process.
I'm looking forward to what this first week of training will bring. I anticipate sore muscles, a few laughs and a tough workout. You know what I say to that.....Bring It!!!!!
My P90X package arrived this week. I quickly opened it up to see what I had gotten myself into. My first impression...this is going to be hard and boy am I going to be sore! It seems doable though and I'm excited about the challenge of it all.
This next week is all about preparation. I've already watch my "How to Bring It" video and downloaded all my workout sheets. I've chosen my workout schedule and nutrition plan (I'm still nervous about this most of all. I love my food!). My darling husband is joining me on this adventure. We're not usually the best workout partners, but due to the weights, pull-ups and pushing yourself to fatigue, its best to have a partner. I've been completing the level 3&4 Power 90 dvds for the last 2 weeks, so I should have a good baseline.
The next step comes on Saturday. I'll complete my "before" photos, take my measurements and body fat and complete a basis fitness assessment. There are recommended baselines to meet before tackling P90X. I'm pretty sure that I can do most of them, but the pull-ups have me worried. I've never been able to complete a pull-up. I'm hopeful that by the end of 90 days I'll be banging them out. Won't I feel like a Strong Woman then! And that's what this little year long experiment is all about. Changing things up so my body is challenged in ways that I didn't think possible. Where I'm not just have fun, but also thinking "Wow! I didn't think I could do that! How cool is that!" Now that's empowering!!!