In my mind I can swivel my hips like the sexiest brazilian dancer at Carnival. In reality....I'm a portuguese mother of 3! And while I do great following the beat and dancing to my own moves, Zumba has done me in.
I can see what all the excitement is about. The music is wonderful and having a dance party, instead of an "exercise" routine each day is a lot of FUN! But I just could not get my body to bump, flow and swivel the way that everyone else seemed to be able to do. I had trouble following the limited cues and found the lack of cueing unnerving.
After completing P90X, I also did not find the workouts, hard enough. After two weeks, I was dreading each workout more than the next. Everyone looked like they were having such a great time on the dvds and a lot of my clients LOVE their Zumba classes. But after two weeks of forcing myself to complete the workouts and trying to learn the moves, I had to admit to myself, Zumba just wasn't for me.
I'm thrilled that soo many of my clients have found a workout that they love in Zumba. Zumba has helped a lot of people get out of their chairs and shake their booties to increased weight loss and increased healthy living. I'm just not going to be one of them. I gave it a try and while I could think of this as a failure, something I just wasn't good at and couldn't master, I could also think of it as a learning experience. Finding about more about myself. I love to dance, but I just want to follow my own moves. I love aerobics classes. I just need constant cueing to remember what comes next. And I'm ok with that! There are plenty of different ways to get your workout "ON". Mine just doesn't include Zumba .
So my goal of completing a 3 hour zumbathon will probably not happen, but there is a 3 hour aerobathon the same weekend that seems right up my alley! So I'll set my sights on that! And rewrite my goals to include becoming profecient at jumping rope, a new obsession.
So don't be afraid of failure or not liking something. Just follow your heart, rhythm or feet to the workout that "works" for you. Its out there! Try something new! You may find something you really like (like jump rope) or not (like Zumba)!
So my first big challenge of the year has passed. My husband and I completed the 90 day P90X challenge. It was certainly quite the challenge. When I started I could not complete a single pull-up. By the end I could bang out 6 without any assistance and at least a dozen chin-ups. All of my weights went up on each exercise and my upper body strength has increased dramatically.
While I didn't see the weight loss that others tout in their on-line testimonials, I didn't have a lot to lose. I actually saw my weight increase by two pounds, while my body fat went down 3%. Most of this is due to an increase in muscle mass, mostly in my back and upper body.
My husband saw even more dramatic results. He lost 8lbs and dropped 5% body fat. His diet has drastically improved to the point that he is no longer drinking diet coke. He's committed to a program and has even started P90X over. The hard part for him has been trying to complete the program while traveling and working a 80+ hour workweek.
My overall thoughts....P90X is not for the faint of heart. You have to work hard, work your muscles to fatique and follow the diet. There's no room for junk food and you definitely can not cut your calories. Your growing muscles need the fuel for you to see improvement. You'll find your weaknesses (mine is yoga) and be able to identify what you need to do to improve them. (I'll be adding a weekly hour long yoga or stretching session each week from now on!) After a while, Tony gets to be a bit annoying and pushing yourself that hard for that long is tough, but its worth the work. The program is challenging, invigorating and works all your various fitness components to give you a well rounded fitness program, with modifications for those who have injuries or are not quite ready to do the more advanced moves. I would recommend it to anyone who has worked out before steadily and has some experience with weights. Its a great off season cross trainer for runners and multi-sport athletes. I know it has made me a better runner. Without much focus on my run in the last 90 days, I easily ran sub-8 minute miles for a 5K last weekend on a very hilly course. I can't wait to see how much faster I am in the pool now that I have this added upper body strength!
Overall....go for it! P90X will change things up for and challenge you! And to my partner during the last 90 days....Great job, hubby! You look great!!!! And are stronger and healthier than I've ever seen you!
One of my fondest memories as a little girl is working out with my dad. I can remember being 6 and going with my dad to the YMCA. I can remember the mirrors, the smell of sweat and old gym socks, the sounds and sights of all the weights. It seemed like a fun place and my dad enjoyed being there. And I enjoyed spending time with my dad.
As a mom of three little ones, I now know that my mom probably told my dad to "take me somewhere" or "go do something with your daughter". And dad, not knowing what to do with a 6 year old, took me to do something he really enjoyed...working out. To me, exercise and lifting weights at that time, wasn't a workout. It was something that only I got to do with my dad. My brother was too little at the time. It was a special time between a father and his daughter. I can still remember holding a small weight and doing bicep curls facing the mirror with my dad by my side, both of us grinning ear to ear. I was so proud of myself, but even happier that my dad seemed proud of me.
These days its my children who are sharing in a workout with me. They're in the stroller with me as we go for a walk or run. My oldest rides her bike as I run along side. (Talk about a run! Try keeping up to your child while they're on their bike!) They're doing yoga, lifting weights, performing pull-ups or doing jumping jacks as their dad and I complete our P90X workout for the day. My oldest swims in the lane next to me and trys to race me as I get my laps in. They're there to cheer me on as I cross the finish line. My own personal support team. Their laughter, giggles, smiles and enthusiasm can get me through some of the toughest workouts.
Exercise and working out isn't something that "has to be done" in their eyes. Its a game. Its family time. Its FUN! And while working out with small children can be a challenge (running with a jogging stroller is no run in the park and lifting weights or boxing is an adrenaline rush as you're always making sure that no one gets hit, kicked or knocked out!), but its also incredibly rewarding. Our children are learning that exercise is part of a healthy life. Its as normal as breathing or the sun rising each day. Having young children doesn't have to be an excuse not to exercise, it should be a reason to exercise! Showing them that exercise can be fun. That there are different ways to exercise. That challenging your body keep you young and your mind sharp. They're learning from your example.
I hope my children will take away memories of working out with their dad and I like I have from when I was little. I hope that its a positive and fun experience for them. I think we're on the path to success. Our oldest already is looking forward to competing in a TriKids event this spring. Our middle child asks for our help in lifting her up to do pull-ups (as much a workout for us as it is for her). And our youngest gets a great belly laugh as we lower ourselves to do a push-up and give her kisses as she lays underneath us.
Thank you Dad for the great memories and instilling in me a love of exercise. I hope I'm passing along the tradition!
Have you ever watched a child or infant sleep? Not only is it a completely peaceful process, but watch them breathe. Their lungs and belly completely fill with air.
So often in our busy lives, we forget to breathe. Sure we take a breath...or else there would be a lot of dead bodies lying around...but we don't really breathe. We don't fully fill our lungs with air and then expell all that air out. We don't take a moment to inhale, feeling our bodies fill with oxygen, rejuvenating our muscles and mind, and then push all that air out, as we let go of all the tension, stress and toxins our bodies have accumulated over the course of a day.
We all know that breathing and oxygen are essential for life to continue. Ask a patient who is put on a breathing machine how vital oxygen and taking a deep breath are to healthy living and you'll have a whole new appreciation for the process we take for granted each day! Oxygen fuels our whole body, without it our muscles (heart, lungs and brain included) can not function at their best.
So take a minute...or 5 if you have the time....and focus on your breathing. Slowly inhale, feeling your lungs fill with air and your chest and belly rise. Then exhale it all out, pulling in your abs and pushing every last drop of air out. Feel your body start to relax as you focus on something other than that growing to do list. Feel your muscles come alive as they receive the oxygen they need to thrive. Feel your mind become more alert as you breathe deeply and give it a chance to rest and rejuvinate. Feel your abs contract, getting stronger and toner without performing a single crunch (deep breathing really is the best ab workout you can do for yourself!).
The best part about breathing deeply, besides feeling better, lowering your stress level, and strengthening your abs (and who doesn't want a better looking mid-section with swimsuit season coming up!), is that you can do it anywhere. While waitting at a stop light. At the doctor or dentist office. In a dull office meeting. Watching the kids play at the park. Watching tv. The list goes on! No special equipment or exercise clothing required!
So take a moment today to really breath! Your abs, muscles, lungs, heart and brain will thank you for it!!!!
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!!!