One Door Closes…..

Can you believe 2014 is almost complete?

Yeah, I dunno if it is age, or the fact that I have a kid now, er what……but time FLIES.  I feel like we just started 2014, and now we are wrapping it up!

I wanted to take a minute and write about the things I’m grateful for this year.  And about lessons learned.  And about feelings.  And, you know….just stuff!

You know what?  I started 2014 being a little frustrated about where I was at physically, like strength wise.  And then I sort of told myself to STFU (shut the front door, er…I’m going to assume you can just imagine what I’m REALLY saying here).  What good did it do to be frustrated?  Especially if I couldn’t say to myself, “self, you’ve done the work and you should be farther along than you are now.”  I couldn’t say that.  And….

……I also don’t feel bad about not being able to say that.  I was 9 months post-partum, oh, and like 8 months post birthing a new business.  Not that I like to tout the use of excuses, but…..I had a few things on my plate and training MYSELF got pushed back.  Whatevs.  The world didn’t end, you know?

You know what though?  Once I REALIZED that, I made my strength a priority again….when it made sense.  Which turned out to be about July.  And you know what?  I’ve made GAINS since July.  Very deliberate gains.  I can press my heavy bells again.  I have been hitting the deadlifts weekly if not more frequently.  I have been healthily and happily building an ass ton of muscle.  And, dare I say…..even a little bit of endurance in the kettlebell swing arena.  Who am I????  I don’t even know this girl…..who….you know, like, DOES CARDIO sometimes.  Willingly.

But, it is time to switch topics, lest you think all I care about is working out.

You know what was REALLY cool about 2014?  Ok, for real.  REALLY COOL, but we have to talk about feelings?

One of THE COOLEST things about 2014 was watching my husband be a really phenomenal dad.  It is ABSOLUTELY true.  Having a kid changes things.  When you get together as a couple, you are together for a reason(s).  When you have kids, shit changes.  2013 was our year of a first child, and you know what?  It is cool watching your husband hold his baby girl for the first time, and snuggling after bottles and bedtimes and all that jazz.  It really is.  But my favorite part has been 2014, when our babes has gotten a little older.  My husband is a really great dad.  And I love him more and more every day because he is a great dad, even though I loved him a lot at the start of our relationship.  Does that even make sense?  Ugh, all the feelings, guys…..sorry.  Anyway, the babes and I are lucky to have Todd as our provider, dad, husband, and caretaker.  Here is the little note he left for Miss Emma a few weeks ago:

photo (14)

 

And let me be clear – me and Mr. Todd have had our moments this year fighting over petty shit.  Every couple does.  But in the end, I CHOOSE him.  I love him.  I love him as my husband, I love him as my bestie, and I love him as my baby daddy.

Alright, new subject, let us move to Miss Emma.  Every mom thinks their kid is awesome.  I’m no different.  My kid is awesome.  We are literally lucking out as parents.  I am going to knock on wood here, but this kid is raising herself.  We are getting awesome at saying words and stringing them together, we are talking about things like poop and knowing when we go and heading towards potty training (TMI, I know, but this stuff is exciting as a new-ish mom), we’ve had the bumps and bruises of falling and getting back up, and we are learning our letters.  As parents, we are also probably getting worked over by Emma’s cheesy smile when she did something she knows she isn’t supposed to do, or whatevs.  We are fascinated by books and play-doh, and coloring is a big hit.  We are learning.  The thing I’m most proud of with this kid is the fact that she says “I Love You.”  We say “I Love You” til the cows come home.  We say it in the morning, at daycare drop-off, at bedtime, in the middle of the afternoon, but we all say it.  It is awesome.  We also hug (HUG!  From the awkward hugger!).

I think the biggest thing about 2014 for me was that my family life got awesome times a thousand.  I LOVE that.  I really don’t want that to sound like a braggy Christmas letter, because, you know….we go through the same stuff every other family goes through with ups and downs and all of it.  But this year was a great family building year for us.

Alright, time to push the feelings to the side, and move on to…….my lovely little gym!  2014 was a great learning and building year in my business!  I have learned so many lessons – some good, some not fun….but still good.  I have FABULOUS clients.  I am excited each week to see them, and to hear more about their lives.  I have watched so many amazing things happen this year, it blows my mind.  I have been with some of these peeps for a little longer than two years now, and to watch people with two years of growth is absolutely awesome.  Expectations change on their part, and mine.  It is really fun to see, and more fun to be a part of.  Mostly I am just really happy to be a tiny piece of many different lives.  And on top of it, I have some fabulous instructors to help as well!

As a way to wind this post down, I think it is time to say a great big “thank you” to the friends in my life.  I have some great ones – some that have been around for a bit and some that are brand new.  I have learned a lot of lessons this year from my friends.  One in particular – the one I think I have chatted with every single day in 2014 so far – you have made such an impact in my life, you don’t even know.  To all my friends, THANK YOU!

And finally, there is one MAJOR piece I must address here.  This year, I made an extra special focus on choosing to be grateful for things and seeing the good and the glass half full versus the glass half empty.  All of these things I’ve talked about above are nothing different from what everyone else goes through.  Except, this year, I could SEE it.  I don’t know if I would have been able to SEE these things if I hadn’t made the effort to CHOOSE to.  You know?

So, if you are EXCITED to head into 2015 like I am…..promise me ONE thing.  You will make a conscious effort to CHOOSE gratitude.  And to be present in your life versus always looking ahead.  Just make an effort at those things, even if they feel awkward to start with.  You won’t regret it.

Cheers to 2015!  Bring it on, baby!

 

I Loathe The Glorification Of Busy

Most of us have a nasty habit of over-committing.

I think it is the secret killer.  The thing that drives stress, poor habits, over-caffeinating and under-resting.  The thing that makes us resentful of the time we DON’T have to spend on ourselves, our loved ones and on things we love to do.  Phrases like “You can sleep when you’re dead” and “I’m pulling another all-nighter” are not healthy, even if we think they sound cool.

I also understand there is a balance between making a living to pay the bills to keep living life, and QUALITY of life.  We probably have to keep working, I mean…..that is sort of a given.  Groceries don’t buy themselves, you know, that old chestnut.

But what about the rest?  Like, do we REALLY need to say yes to every committee, every volunteer activity, every opportunity to be on a board or represent something, every free shift available at your full or part-time job?

Do we really want to go through the rest of our lives saying things like “I’m so busy” and “You need to get on my calendar if you want to see me”?  Doesn’t that suck just a little bit?

I think it’s great to volunteer for things that MEAN something.  I think it’s awesome to lead committees that you are invested in.  I don’t think it’s cool to do ALL OF THOSE THINGS to please everyone.  Or as a way to take the focus off your own life and quality of your own life.

I also think this nasty little habit spills over into our kids lives.  Soon, our kids think they need to be on EVERY team, every activity, every sports camp, everything.  Cool right?  We call that “well-rounded.”  Except, sometimes…..it seems like “well-rounded” means spread too thin.

What happens at home when mom and dad have meetings or functions most nights of the week and little Johnny and Jane have games, practice, and whatnot every weeknight?  Is it really fun to spend two days on the weekend winding down a little before starting again?

I dunno.  Maybe I’m the whiner.  But it just all sounds exhausting to me.

What is wrong with a little prioritizing between what you HAVE to do….like jobs and such, and school for the kids.  Then, scheduling in YOUR time – free time, family time, time for hobbies.  THEN deciding what else you have room for and can realistically commit to?  And being very careful deciding between what you WANT to commit to and what you feel like you HAVE to commit to so you don’t feel guilty.

Unfortunately, it seems like being “busy” is an excuse for avoiding real life sometimes.  Or….accumulating tasks and committee titles is a way to feel important.

Except being important and being content start within.

Right now – the cool new thing is to UNDER-commit and OVER-deliver.

I don’t think that sounds like a bad plan if you ask me!  Get content, figure out what you HAVE to do, make time for YOU and for family, and THEN dole out the rest of your precious minutes.  Only if you WANT to.

Never out of guilt.

 

Training Log: Listen!

This past week was a mediocre one in the workout department.  Everyone and their brother is down with the sickness.  I got the sickness Wednesday.  Blah.  I had planned to do a bitchin’ workout that  I ALWAYS look forward to, because it is in the gym with just me and the good ole Christmas tunes.  I LOVE it.

Got to the gym, walked in….thought I might get sick, walked right back out and drove home and rested all morning and afternoon.

I took it easy because my body said to.

I took it pretty easy most of the next day as well.

I didn’t actually do much until Saturday, and that was a yoga class, so easier than my usual.

Sunday, I was ready to kick ass.  Except my ass wasn’t ready to be kicked.  I did a partial workout.

Bottom line.  Listen to your body.  ALWAYS.  Don’t force it to do shit if the energy isn’t there or if you feel down and out or injured.  REST always trumps a crap workout.  ALWAYS.  At least in my opinion.

So I guess I had a successful week.  Lots of rest.  Some so-so workouts.  But I focused on feeling good FIRST and then returning to my workouts.  I hate the message that one must go hard all the time to be successful.  Nope – just not the case.  Some times it is A-OK to just clock it in and be done.  Sometimes it is better to go to bed early or take a nap than workout.  Sometimes, it is better for your mental health to go to the gym and kick ass.  You just have to listen.

Your body will tell you what is best.  Respect it.

Training Log: Swing!

I always joke about how I hate cardio.

you-can-t-flex-cardio_design

 

Truth is, I DO prefer strength, and loathe traditional forms of cardio like ellipticals, treadmills, and dare I say running distance (and I’m whispering that lest my friend Jen comes to kick my ass).  However, give me a good hill and some sprints, and I’m in.  Or a great obstacle course with the threat of electrocution!  Apparently, give me a few cool swing routines and jack my heart rate up to Jesus and I’m game as well!  At least this week!  And, well, the rest of December.  I joined up in a kettlebell swing group for the month of December!  And my heart rate has been plenty up there thankyouverymuch.  So has my pounds moved each week :)

I think I did a hair over a thousand swings this past week.  For some, this might not sound like much, but for this strength lover, I do about 4-500 per week, so I’m at least doubling my normal.  This is the PERFECT amount for me right now to kick ass in December, take a little breather from swing volume in January and then kick it into high gear for RKC prep.  BOOM!

Again, I’m sort of amazed by what kind of weight one can move with just a little focus, discipline, a positive attitude, and just 3-5 workouts per week.  Seriously.  This past week, I think I moved about 56,000 pounds.  And it was FUN.  And my body didn’t get tore up, it actually felt pretty damn awesome.  Huh.

I’ve done two sort of awesome swing/strength routines this week influenced by Artemis Scantalides and Dan John.  A sort of swing/strength ladder, and they have ROCKED.   Normally this is something that doesn’t suit my short attention span, but these days I am loving the feel of a very, very, very simple workout and FEELING each exercise.  Seriously.  Who am I?

Earlier this week, one of my workouts looked something like this:

5 2H swings @ 24KG

– 1 rep each of double floor press, pull-up, windmill each side

10 2H swings @ 24KG

– 2 reps each of the above exercises

15 2H swings @ 16KG

– 3 reps each of the above exercises

20 2H swings @ 16KG

I did five rounds of that.  And just worked through the strength slow and easy.  I’m gonna tell you something here that will blow your mind…..this is about an 18-19000 pounds moved workout and it FELT EASY.  Because the strength reps are low, and the swing volume is manageable.  It took about 50 minutes.

Today, I did something similar, except I rotated through strength moves.  I did:

5 Hand 2 Hand Swings @ 16kg

– strength rep x 1

10 Hand 2 Hand Swings @ 16KG

– strength rep x 2

15 Hand 2 Hand Swings @ 16KG

– strength rep x 3

20 Hand 2 Hand Swings @ 16KG

I did five rounds again.  The first round, my strength exercise was a double press with 14kg bells.  The second round was pull-ups with one assistance band.  Third round was get-ups with a 16kg (see here).  Fourth round was presses again.  Fifth round was pull-ups with two assistance bands.  Again, it was a TON of volume, but felt freaking easy.  This is crazy fun stuff, yo!

My friend Jen and I are sort of doing a little challenge – how long it takes the two of us to move a million pounds.  So far, since about the second week in November, we are at a little over 226,000 pounds moved.  It has been fun doing this because we each are doing our “normal” stuff.  But I will tell you that it keeps you accountable to hit your workouts when you know your workout buddy is moving weight.

If you have some bells laying around, give the two routines above a try.  If you hate any of the exercises, sub something else in – heavy goblet or front squats are fun.  As are military presses.  And rows……row ALL the pounds, yo!

 

 

 

What Peace Feels Like

If you’ve ever wrestled with some major life changes, you know how they can sort of insert themselves into the rest of your life, sometimes without you even realizing it.  You might slowly find yourself consumed by them.  Or, you might not even know these issues have inserted themselves into your life, you might just always feel a sense of dread, or something you just can’t quite put your finger on.  Things are just not right.

If you’ve ever been at war with your body, the same thing happens.  You constantly fight with it – trying to change it, make this part smaller, this part bigger, wish you could remove this part or make it looks like someone else’s.  You are so busy fighting with it, that it starts to trickle into the rest of your life.  Soon, you find yourself consumed with it either by working your ass off trying to change it, or being ashamed of it, and avoiding social situations or using humor to make a joke at your body’s expense to try to make those around you think that you are cool with the way things are.

If you are like me, you have dealt with both of those issues – and they may always be ongoing.  Everyone has issues, right?  Issues are bound to happen in life.

Let me tell you how I USED to deal with them.  I used to not see those issues.  I used to read an ass ton of books on how to be happy, on finding happiness, because I thought I was unhappy.  I thought by chasing happiness, I would somehow find it, and those issues would go away.  I have a bookshelf of fitness books and self-help themed “happy” books to prove this.

Truth is, I WAS unhappy.  But not because I wasn’t HAPPY.  I was unhappy because I was choosing to find outlets from the issues instead of facing them head on.  With some of those life issues, I chose to shop away my problems.  Or waste time doing useless shit.  Or submerging myself into my job.  With some of the fitness issues – well, I was a cardio queen and a workout-aholic for a long time.  And a dang pro at knowing the macro-nutrient and caloric content of most foods.  Obsession is another word for it.

Except, I could chase and chase and chase, and NOT get anywhere.  Because, instead of dealing, I was avoiding.  And by avoiding, I was prolonging.  And by doing those things, I was probably not a nice person to the people around me.  Sounds gross, yeah?

When I realized that I wasn’t dealing, I took some steps to start dealing and addressing those things that were issues for me.   In my own way sometimes, and others in a little more organized fashion.  What I started to realize is that I no longer felt the burning need to “get away” or “dread” things….or have something that just didn’t seem right sit with me any longer.

I started to feel tiny bits of peace.  INNER PEACE.  And contentment with my life, with my body, with ME.

And the coolest shit started to happen.  My life GOT BETTER.  I felt HAPPIER, without having to CHASE happiness.  I started to appreciate things I HAD versus long for things I wanted.  I’m EXCITED about life.  I don’t dread things (well, many things) anymore.

Don’t read this all to say I don’t have icky days……I do!  But I can always tell when I have an icky patch or when those dread feelings crop up and the inner peace fades away a little bit, that it’s time to do a little internal examination with ME.

Inner peace has become the best kind of addiction.

Guest Post: Who Cares?

This post comes from my friend Jen.  I asked her to write about this topic awhile ago, because her self-care routine is on POINT.  Here she is:

You care about every member of your family, and you prioritize your time to ensure they’re well cared for and their daily needs are met.  But what about you?  How well do you take care of yourself?  Do you practice daily self-care?

Say what??  I actually need to take care of myself?!  Bahahaha, you’ve got to be freaking kidding me!  I think this girl has been hitting the spiked egg nog a lil too much; if you know what I’m sayin’.  Seriously, when am I supposed to fit that in-between work, my never ending to-do list, taking the kids to and from activities, grocery shopping, cooking meals, laundry, and all the other things I need to get done in a day…because I AM Wonder Woman!

Well sweetheart, I hate to break it to you but you can’t be Wonder Woman if you’re not taking care of yourself inside AND out.  You can’t effectively take care of others if you’re not making your well-being a priority.  (The key word in the last sentence being “effectively”.)  Yes, you’re getting through your days and you’re taking care of everyone else with little time left for yourself.  But how do you feel at the end of the day?  Drained, frazzled, stressed to the max, unhappy, I can go on and on here, because believe me I know…I used to be that girl.  Are you sick of feeling this way?  Then keep reading.

When I say self-care I’m not just talking about exercise or eats.  I’m talking about the whole package of wellness….physical, mental, and emotional.  It’s a bright, shiny package topped with a big, red bow.  At least it should be if you prioritize it in your life.  If you don’t then that package probably looks like it’s wrapped in last week’s newspaper, has dents in the box because it was drop kicked by the UPS driver, and the bows gone bye-bye because the dog ate it.  Does the latter look (or should I say feel) familiar?  If so, then it’s time for a little shift in your world to include some “me time”.

The need for self-care is so important for your well-being, and the importance increases even more especially this time of year when the days are shorter and colder so we get less sunshine/vitamin D because we’re cooped up inside more.  A lot of people struggle with seasonal depression, so self-care should be even more of a priority for them this time of year.  And let’s not forget about the hustle and bustle of the holidays which can make stress levels skyrocket if we’re not finding ways to slow down and alleviate your stress.

There are several things you can do to care of yourself inside and out.  The list can be overwhelming at first so I suggest starting with one item and make it a goal to practice it every day for a week or two until it becomes a habit.  Then add another ritual from the list below to your daily, self-care routine until that one becomes a habit, and so on.  Practicing the following rituals daily will help you to regain the centered feeling you may have been lacking in your life.  What we focus on grows – both positive and negative.  So by practicing the things below you are choosing to focus on the positive and by doing so daily you’ll notice a shift in how you feel inside and out.

Daily Self-care Rituals

  • Nutrition – make a point of eating whole foods
  • Hydration – drink plenty of water
  • Move – exercise, play with your kids, do yard work….just move
  • Outdoors/Nature – get outside even if only for a few minutes even when it’s cloudy
  • Sleep – aim to get at least 7 or more hours of sleep
  • Time Alone – in a quiet place even if it’s just for 5 minutes
  • Journal – either a regular journal where you jot down your thoughts/feelings and/or a gratitude journal where you write things you’re thankful for

Some other rituals you can choose to do are:

  • Deep breathing (quick, easy and very effective at reducing stress any time of day)
  • Meditation practice (there are guided mediation apps and/or You Tube videos that are free)
  • Read a daily devotional

I’m sure you’re thinking to yourself this is going to take tons of time that I don’t have.  It does take time but it doesn’t need to take tons of time because these rituals can be spaced throughout your day, and I find it’s about quality and not quantity.  I find the best time of day for me to do them is either right away in the morning with my first cup of coffee before anyone else in the house wakes up, or at the end of the day after everyone else goes to bed.  It’s quiet and I can focus.  Since no one else is awake I don’t feel guilty about taking time away from them, because this time is about me.

If you like what you just read in this blog post and want to learn more then I highly suggest you consider taking the “12 Months/12 Habits – A Super Simple Guide to Feeling Amazing Inside AND Outside The Gym” class series that’ll be offered at TM Wellness Revolution starting January 2015.  Self-care will be just one of the many important tools taught during this 12 month course.

So, who cares?  YOU DO!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your Junk

I mean, I don’t know if I talk about Erin Brown enough.  This woman has helped me in more ways than I can count, and I don’t even know her.  Please give her a follow on Facebook or wherever she hangs out via social media.  She will make you think about the things you need to think about.  She just posted this little gem on Facebook that really started a fire with me:

Growth isn’t always pretty. Sometimes it means re-evaluating everything you “know.” It might mean considering ideas that make you uncomfortable. It can make you defensive, trying to hold on to old ideas and patterns. It often means moving in a direction that is starkly different than your comfort zone. For me, it always seems that the more painful it is to face, the more spacious and glorious the reward.

Don’t stay stuck. Look right at your own pile of junk. YOUR junk. Your old ideas. Your behavior. Your patterns. Facing it is freedom. ~Erin Brown

Wow.  Not gonna lie, this one smacked me in the face in the best way possible.

2014 has been a year of that really, really, really uncomfortable growth.  But, I say that with a smile because it was the growth that needed to happen, even though, at times, it sucked.  I felt like I dealt with some junk this year, and am still dealing with a lot of that junk.  And if we are being honest here…..who doesn’t have junk to deal with at times, right?

For instance, I am learning how to deal with a TOUGH concept as someone who writes her own paychecks……putting a price tag on my time.  Or, as I am recognizing it now…..knowing my true value.  When you just start out running a business, you do ALL the things for ANY dollar amount.  Almost two years in, I’m still a total newbie, but I am very much learning how to prioritize MY time and MY value over just doing a bunch of shit to generate the mula.  Kind of a tough lesson, but also one I’m glad to be learning.  Truth be told, I think I will ALWAYS be learning on this one.  And “my junk” related to this topic is INSECURITY.  Dealing with insecurity and my self-worth makes learning this lesson a little harder, you know?  Because why is little old me worth money?  Why is MY time valuable to others?  How do I RESPECT myself and my time by setting boundaries around it (and a price tag)?

Oh yeah, my TIME.  Let us dive into the topic of time, yeah?  How do you budget your time?  I’m learning how to best budget my time for ME.  I’m very much learning how to guard my time very, very carefully.  I am happy to spend my time on things that are positive for me, that lead to growth for me, that lead to happiness for me and my family.  I’m happy to spend my time with the tribe of people I surround myself with on the regular and invest in with my time.  I am learning to be very cautious with things that suck my positivity away.  I’m learning to be very cautious with people who take away my happiness.  I’m learning to be very cautious with those people who bring about characteristics in myself that I don’t enjoy at all or that don’t make a positive impact in my life.  That sounds selfish.  It also is one of the best things I’m learning how to do.  Because that selfish me who is limiting things and people is maxing out on being freaking happy.  You know what happens when you are happy and when you are able to see things from a positive place?  You end up being a more patient mother, a more loving wife.  You also end up realizing YOU are worth taking care of in the best way possible.  Take it from a person who used to try to hate herself into submission via low-calorie meal plans and an insane workout schedule – this “I am worth  it” way is MUCH, MUCH, better.  I sleep well at night and ENJOY who I am.  Eff yes.  And please don’t read this paragraph thinking that I live in unicorn and sunshine land.  I don’t – my kitchen counter usually has a running stack of dishes, our house could use a dusting, and you know what, some days I am one snarky chick….but those things will be there tomorrow to deal with, right?  I also spend some time journaling and learning about the things that are the “icky unmentionables” in life that I need to face and deal with.  But again, those icky unmentionables that I am dealing with……are helping me GROW because I am CHOOSING to own them.

What does this all have to do with growth and my junk (ha!  that’s what she said!)?  It is funny, but I have a journal that I started at the beginning for 2014.  These two pieces have been very big themes running through my journal throughout this year.  I am learning about how I deal with things, and how I used to deal with things, and how I maybe need to deal with things in ways that are different than how I did in the past.  Because I have grown.  Because the old ways I used to do things don’t serve me.  Maybe parts of them do, but maybe some parts just need a little overhaul.  Maybe some of those parts need a massive overhaul.  Maybe some areas are just absolutely fine right now so no worries.  You know what the outcome has been on just these two issues?  Peace.  A little more inner peace.

That inner peace came after a long time of resistance, of feeling REALLY uncomfortable, and sometimes just plain old planting my feet in the dirt and REFUSING to acknowledge that shit needs to change sometimes and get ugly before it gets better.

Dealing with my junk, for those bits of inner peace, is absolutely worth it.  That inner peace, though, is MINE to own.  These issues that I deal with have a common undercurrent – how I respond to things is MY junk.  How I choose to receive things is MY junk.  I want to respond and receive in the most peaceful way possible.

To 2015!  May we deal with our junk and learn and grow!  Cheers!

 

 

Training Log: Weird Sh!t

The journey continues…….move weight.  That’s my goal these days.

Move weight to get stronger, move weight to develop power, move weight for “cardio”……er, I mean like kettlebell swings, snatches, cleans and things.  Build the work capacity to move more weight.  Just move the effing weight.

Wanna know what weird things I’m noticing while moving an ass ton of weight each week?

My flexibility is improved.  WTF?  Like, I’m not joking.  Shit that I struggle with on the regular now seems easy.  You know….shit like bending over to touch the floor.  Hamstring tightness is non-existent.  Oh, and those tight hips and shoulders aren’t a “thing” anymore either.  WTF.  I actually have no clue WHY moving weight would contribute to greater flexibility for me.  I’m going to take a stab in the dark and guess though.  My STABILITY is much improved.  I’m solid in my lifts.  My joints feel stable.  Shit, my EVERYTHING feels stable.  I’m going to go with feeling stable tells my brain to just chill out and relax, and thus let me be more flexible.  I have no other guesses, I’ll just go with that one.

I’ve written before a bit about a random shoulder weirdness I get sometimes.  Truth be told……not knowing what the hell I was doing with lifting years ago, and a large ego in the weight room….well, that isn’t a great mix.  I’m also going to knock on wood as I write this – I don’t notice a shoulder issue anymore.  Whaaaaaaaat?  A balanced (yet challenging) training program, it seems, really DOES WONDERS towards a balanced body, and helping manage/clear up those weird little issues.  To be fair, I’m also beginning most workouts with some arm bars with a 12kg kettlebell.  Just hanging out and holding.  I believe these are a big help as well.

Uh, I dunno why the flip my workouts back in the day when I used to “do a lot” were taking so long.  I’m moving anywhere from 10,000-15,000 pounds per workout…..and getting done in less than 50 minutes (usually).  And I’m resting plenty during my workouts because my lifts feel great, and controlled, and strong.  I’m curious to see how this one goes as the weight gets heavier.

Recovery.  I’m recovering (resting, active recovery, paying attention to how I feel and training as needed and backing off as needed) like a champ.  While moving an ass ton of weight.  I will mention here that my stress levels are NOT high, so that helps.  So does the fact that I’ve been (for the most part) sleeping like a champ as well.  I love this new me who recovers well.

I’m just gonna go ahead and say it.  Strong DOES matter.  Working at getting strong within ones abilities trumps a lot of other shit.  Hitting the major movement patterns with exercises that work for YOUR body are ticket.  Respecting your body and listening to what it says is another great idea.  But strong DOES matter.  Whether you want to lose weight, gain strength, lose fat, feel awesome, or just plain learn a new skill – focus on getting stronger.  It really is the simple little thing that you should do that accomplishes MANY things simultaneously.

For funsies, here is a little gem I accomplished with my lifting buddy this week:

Hang Clean practice – 3 x 5 @ 65 pounds, super-setted with 40lb “prying” goblet squats to get the kinks out

(I actually don’t practice barbell hang cleans a ton, I usually get my blood flowing with some kettlebell work instead.  However, we were at a different facility that didn’t have ‘bells, but DID have some awesome strength equipment, so we took advantage).

Jefferson Deadlifts – 6 x 5 @ 155 (effing LOVE this lift.  I am so thankful Jen Sinkler talks about these on the regular so I could discover them!)

Double Military Press – 3 x 5 @ 30’s

DB Row – 3 x 6/side @ 30

Then, because we had time to screw around……..we did the following:

1 farmer carry – roughly an 1/8 of a mile – I carried 60 pounds (yes, it sucked the big one), immediately followed by a jog of the same distance

Then……..

10-8-6-4-2 Goblet Squats @ 60 pounds, with a jog/run of an 1/8 of a mile in between each round

This little farmer carry/goblet squat/running drill was FUN.  And I don’t run.  But the run sandwiched in between the lifts felt like a game to me, which I love.  

So, there you have it.  Some random sh!t I’m noticing already in my workouts.  Not much else to do now except move some more weight this week!

 

 

Holiday Help

Social media is ablaze with things like:

“How to avoid the holiday weight gain.”

“Eat THIS to avoid gaining an ounce this holiday season.”

 “Do these seven workouts to get your metabolism revving to help blast through those Christmas cookies.”

Dumb.

Phrases like that only promote an unhealthy relationship to food and fitness.  Why do we need to take space in our brain during this joyous season to worry about a couple Christmas cookies?  Or the evil Thanksgiving dinner that is going to pack on the pounds?  I mean…..how in the HECK is a big old slab of Grandma’s turkey really the bad guy?  I am literally drooling thinking about eating turkey, mashed potatoes, possibly some green bean casserole, and CORN BREAD STUFFING this year!  And probably drinking wine.  And eating a piece of my mom’s butterscotch dessert (*hint hint*) and possibly a slice of my aunt’s cranberry cake (*double hint*).

If you jumped into reading this post frantically looking for help on how to avoid holiday weight gain, you will not find it here.

Instead, I’m sharing this message as a public service announcement:

Please enjoy this season.  It is a wonderful few weeks of family and friends.  We don’t get these weeks back.

Yes, there might be a little stress with extra parties and some presents to buy.  Ok, life is stressful sometimes.  Big whoop.  Thinking of how stressful it is going to be, stressing on how stressful it is going to be, and the age-old concept of worrying about which foods you can and cannot eat…..well, that is only adding fuel to the fire.

Quite often, these are the weeks that are easy to just “give up.”  You know, check out, indulge in all the things, because January 1st is a chance to start fresh.

Well, January 1st IS a chance to start fresh in a brand new year. But…..does “giving up” sound like good advice at ANY time?  I mean, why can’t we just go on through these next few weeks as we always do with eating and working out, and then squeezing in an extra trip or two to the mall, attend an extra party or two, and eat a few amazing meals with family on the big days?  Isn’t “giving up” just a form of not thinking you are worth taking care of?

So, I actually AM going to give you some advice of things that work for me (and some things that might be stolen from a friend).  Here they are:

  • Be MINDFUL these next few weeks.  Want to eat something?  Eat it!  But do it because you enjoy it.  Then enjoy it while it tastes good – that might be just a few bites of it, or an extra few bites of it.  Then move on.  It is really that simple.  Don’t NOT eat that something, then crave it, then binge on it times a 1000, then feel guilty or shameful.  That guilt and shame bit….well, that will keep you in an ugly cycle.  Choose NOT to buy into them.  But remember, this is a practice.  And if you don’t get it perfectly this year, that is fine.   Which leads me to my next point…….
  • Have COMPASSION.  For yourself AND others.  Give yourself the benefit of the doubt.  You aren’t an idiot.  If you feel like you screwed up, forgive yourself and move on.  Don’t dwell.  I guess that is good advice for how we deal with the rest of the world as well ;-)
  • Practice SELF TRUST.  Try allowing yourself to navigate each situation without judgement.  Trust yourself to make the best decision for you in each moment.  Again, easier said than done.  But….if you find yourself standing next to a buffet line of awesome desserts, refer back to the Mindful tip from above, and choose the one you want.  And TRUST your decision.  And also TRUST your response.  Enjoying it?  Keep eating it!  Had enough but the dessert is not gone?  It’s ok to NOT be a member of the clean plate club.
  • Start JOURNALING (stolen from a friend).  You know what?  If you find yourself wigging out about a bunch of feelings or food issues this year, take it out on a piece of paper.  Write your thoughts.  Write your feelings.  Write your worries and stresses.  AND WRITE YOUR BLESSINGS.  My guess is that you might learn a few things about yourself during this very important practice.  Try it!
  • Prioritize SLEEP.  Get your sleep in, yo!  Take your sleep SERIOUSLY.  If you are particularly wound up….try a bath before bed to help you wind down.  But please, please, PUH-LEEZE prioritize your rest.  A well rested you is ready to face challenges.  A well rested you is fully present and MINDFUL.  A well rested you knows when you are heading into MINDLESS choices versus MINDFUL choices.  A well rested you allows you to say “Merry Christmas” to someone in passing versus ramming into them repeatedly with your cart while making your way down the aisles at Target.
  • Keep TRAINING.  Don’t NOT train just because we are in the holiday season!  Keep your workouts!  Use them to help you FEEL GOOD, and to BOOST YOUR MOOD, and to GIVE YOU ENERGY.  Don’t use them to burn off the Christmas cookies!  One rule though, at least in my opinion….if you are seriously feeling frazzled, I would opt for a nap or going to bed early in place of a training session.  Seriously.  But don’t read that statement and think all workouts should now be nap sessions.  Manage this one accordingly.  With SELF TRUST.

Alright, there you go.  My unsexy ways to help you through the next few weeks.

Gonna try any?

 

 

Training Log: Moving Weight

Yikes, I haven’t shared a training update in quite some time.

I am still training :)  Promise!

Right now, my focus is still set on the RKC in June.  I spent the summer building up some decent strength.  I still have it.  I just don’t quite have the conditioning/endurance down.  Or the snatch test.  But I’m not far off!  Truth be told though, my training sort of hit the wall.  I was getting bored with everything I was doing, because there was a lot of time between this summer and next summer, you know?

So, in October, I sort of just had fun with my training.  Not doing anything super structured, just what felt good.  It was fun!

Then, starting the first week in November, I shifted my focus from strictly kettlebells to moving weight.  In my workouts, I’m trying to hit all the big movement patterns, but I’m really, really, really focused on moving a lot of pounds per workout.  You know what?  It has been a nice mindset shift for me.  It has helped me focus on volume of work, and it has been an eye opener as well.  The weight I was moving over the summer wasn’t really a challenge, even though I made it seem like it was during my workouts.

This moving weight challenge has really been a positive shift.  I am really, REALLY looking forward to my workouts.  I’m also still really only lifting 3-4 times per week, which is awesome because my recovery from these workouts is also awesome.  And my non-lifting workout is a cardio kickboxing class once per week for funsies and for something completely different.  During this challenge, I’m still primarily using kettlebells, although the barbell does come out occasionally.  I’ve been really digging Jefferson deadlifts with the barbell.  I’ve been pulling 4 sets of 6 for about 135 currently, and will probably bump that up soon because I’m getting really comfortable with this lift, and because 135 is starting to feel pretty easy.  This version is very friendly on my low back.  I’ve dealt with quite a few low back issues in the past that probably stem from some random injury stuff when I was growing up.  Although I like deadlifts and think everyone can benefit from them, the conventional way with a barbell doesn’t always work for me.  Heavy kettlebells do, and sometimes sumo stance does, and these Jeffersons are really working, so there are plenty of options to choose from!  Which makes my heart happy.  I will try to video a set of Jeffersons sometime soon.

The other nice thing about this challenge is that I’m finding myself getting through my workouts quicker.  I mean, I still have about 4-6 exercises to knock out, but I’m not screwing around texting/Facebooking during my rest periods.  I’m sort of just going with the flow and taking rest as needed, but not too much and not too little.  And most days finish up with a sweet dose of ballistics with kettlebells (which will only help me in January/February when I really start building up my endurance/conditioning for the RKC).  And if you know how to swing, clean or snatch a bell, you know that you can rack up a lot of pounds moved in a short period of time.  Thank goodness for kettlebells!

I was kickin’ it last Sunday with my workout buddy and was sort of screwing around the whole session.  Then I got the idea to try a get-up with a 24kg (53 pounds).  I had a spotter there, so I knew I wouldn’t die.  I’ve done get-ups with the 20kg before solo, and I am very confident in those.  24kg felt like I should have a spotter on hand.  I sort of surprised myself, but I knew as soon as I nailed the get-up sit up, I’d be fine.  Nailed both right and left.  Felt pretty good too, although my left side is way more stable.  FUNSIES!  Heavy get-ups will be around more in the future!  I will try to video one or two sometime.

Here is a snapshot of yesterday’s training sessions in case you are curious as to how I structure my solo workouts:

Double Bell Swings – 5 sets of 5 reps, two 16kg bells

Pull-up Practice – 3 sets of 5 reps, using 2 bands for assistance (soon to drop to one)

Double Bell Floor Press – 3 sets of 5 reps, two 14kg bells

KB Windmill – 3 sets of 5 reps/side, 14kg

Double Bell Front Squat – 3 sets of 5 reps,  two 14kg bells

Conditioning Focus – 10 minutes, on the minute training 12 one hand swings with the 16kg, rotating back and forth between right and left side each minute.

Short, sweet, fun.

PS – the trick to moving weight during the weeks leading up to Christmas is to rock out to Trans Siberian Orchestra.  The badass songs like Christmas Even in Sarajevo and Carol of the Bells are the ones you should blast during the big lifts :)

Originally this was my journey to Tough Mudder…now it's my record of all things fitness and health!

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