Why Coaches Need Coaches (And Why Everyone Can Benefit From One)

I am a coach.  I am a personal trainer (and RKC!) who coaches strength and conditioning six days a week.  I am a nutrition coach (PN Level 1) who coaches individuals and groups on nutritional habits……every day.

I KNOW what to do.  I know how to program workouts and put together workout cycles.  I know how to adopt habits and tweak things and shore up nutritional deficiencies and find balance.

But I need a coach.

Like most everyone, I KNOW what to do.  But when it comes down to coaching myself, I have the tendency to let emotion get involved.  I know the reasons.  I know “why” I should do something.  I also know how to make things harder or easier as I need to.

But….I still need a coach.

I know my weaknesses.  I know my strengths.  I know my nutritional habits.

I like to train my strengths always.  And forget about my weaknesses.  And I am one to “stay the same” nutritionally, without trying new things, because I don’t like coming to head with old nutritional mind games that I used to play so I just roll the same all the time.

I need a coach.  Because I can get complacent.  Because I’m good at doing what I always do.  And I’m good at doing what I’m good at, and perhaps not so good at doing what I’m not good at.

Two things happen here.  First, it is REALLY easy for me to let emotions rule my world. Especially when it comes to what I think I should do for workouts, or when I try and talk myself out of something particular that could really help me be a BETTER mover, but I don’t really “feel like doing it” type scenario.  Second, if I don’t have a coach, I stick to what I know.  Which is all well and good…..but it doesn’t really let me LEARN more about what I maybe don’t know about.

Confusing, right?

I’ve always had a wonderful kettlebell coach.  In fact, she was so awesome, and so inspiring and helped me learn so much….that I made a job changed based on what I learned from her after spending some years learning about kettlebells, and after a few certifications.  I still see her, and will always continue to, because I am always learning cool stuff from her.

I KNOW kettlebells.  I KNOW I love them.  I KNOW they are good for people, and are a great tool for strength training and conditioning.  I KNOW I will always include them in my own training, and in my clients programming.

But I don’t know tons past the scope of basic strength and conditioning and kettlebells.

So, I hired a coach.  One that would help me learn, and help me with a training program that would make me learn and make me better…..in a skillset that had nothing to do with what I already am familiar with.

Three things happened as part of that coaching process (I’m about 12 weeks in)…..

  1. I learned that my kettlebell skills have prepared me WELL for future athletic endeavors that have zero to do with kettlebells.  I learned that I have a “base” of movement that travels well in and out of the kettlebell world.
  2. I learned that different coaches approach things differently.  And that being a student lets me see things with different eyes.  And this has already translated to how I communicate to my own clients (and to be honest, myself).
  3. I learned a few nutritional pieces that are HUGE for those people who want to be athletically and physically AWESOME, but also know that the basics are still the basics….for everyone, no matter if you are competitive, WANT to be competitive, or want to just clock in a few workouts a week.

Three things had to happen BY ME as a part of this coaching process……

  1. I had to get uncomfortable.  Doing something NEW, no matter WHAT it is, requires change.  Change generally isn’t comfortable.  So choosing to approach this with “I know nothing” so I could just sit back and absorb and learn were huge for me.  Even when I wanted to say “I don’t want to do that, I want to do it this way instead.”  I did it the way my coach said to do it….and as a result, I made some strength gains, and also learned some lessons.
  2. I had to do the work expected of me.  And be accountable.  And show up.  Even when it wasn’t fun or convenient.  Especially if I wanted to get better at this new skillset.  And this also included a few nutritional protocols that aren’t my “norm.”
  3. I had to leave ego and fear at the door.  I was a cautious student in this process, and I’m a cautious coach….I always go to the safest and most conservative thing possible (as I should!).  For this program, I trained according to my max lifts.  And I GREATLY underestimated my max lifts, because I’ve always sorta sorta maxed and not just sorta maxed.  So I checked my fear at the door when I had my coach help me work up my numbers to appropriate levels for me.  Which led to fear showing up the first few workouts of my new numbers. This was a GOOD THING for me.  I had to learn through this.

Having a coach made me a better mover.  But it also is helping me be a better coach.  Because I have some new skills and ways of approaching things that make sense for different people.  I think the greatest driver of this is that I had to be a STUDENT of a different “way” for awhile and learn myself.  Being a student helps me help other people BETTER.

Having a coach helped me see, through a student’s eye, how it feels when I don’t WANT to, but I know it is probably the best thing for me…..to show up.  Not only show up because my coach expects it, but to show up for MYSELF.  I’m accountable to MYSELF.  Showing up doesn’t necessarily mean that every workout or every session will be or feel amazing, or even that it will go 100% as written.  But I still show up for myself appropriately when I need to.  Because I’m in this for ME and my skillset and learning.

Having a coach is HUGE.

First, it takes the guesswork out.  Someone else does the details for you after they get to know things about you.  This frees up your energy and time so all you have to do is show up.

Second, coaches don’t tend to be emotional about the things you can easily get emotional about.  So, suddenly the emotional piece is sorta gone.

Third, if you hire a good coach (please, please, PLEASE hire a coach based on knowledge, training, certifications, application, and someone who also does what they tell YOU to do), you will learn and make progress.  A good coach respects your body and your limits and will keep you safe, while at the same time helping you grow and push outside of your comfort zone.  A good coach will tell you WHY you are doing things and help you understand the process.

This experience solidified why coaches need coaches.  And to be honest, why pretty much everyone will benefit from a qualified coach.

KISS – Meal Templates!

Dude, does planning your meals seem like a monumental process?  

Like…..what should you eat?  Where is the protein?  How many carbs, but not TOO many carbs, because Dr. Oz says you shouldn’t eat too many, right?  And veggies!  Don’t forget those!  But, wait….I’m supposed to eat healthy fats, right?  What are those?  Where do those go?

So, then, we get overwhelmed and give up.

Or worse, plan a brand-spankin’-new meal for every night next week….

…..only to discover, those meals require ingredients that we don’t have, or don’t use.

So we hit the grocery store and spend a mint on all these ingredients we will probably never use again.

Money down the drain.

Blah, let’s not do that anymore.

Meals DO NOT have to be complicated.  They just don’t.  In fact, in most of my nutrition coaching experience, those that keep it simple actually ENJOY eating and creating new combos.  Simple combos.  And reach their goals faster, too.

Alright, so let’s talk about what makes a meal, yes?

Because I am a Precision Nutrition Level 1 Nutrition Coach, I tend to enjoy their guidelines (and follow them myself, with tweaks as needed).  I like how they build their meals, because it WORKS.  It is SIMPLE.  I feel FED.  And it is generally STRESS FREE when you get the hang of it.

Each meal, for ladies, includes the following:

  • A palm sized serving of lean protein (you know…chicken, lean beef and pork, eggs, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, seafood, etc), or about 20-30 grams of protein
  • A fist sized serving of vegetables (shortcut – eat the ones you LIKE)
  • A cupped handful sized serving of starchy carbs (whole grains and whole grain breads/pastas, fruit, oatmeal, potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice, etc.)
  • A thumb sized serving of fat (avocado, nuts, nut butter, healthy oils, some cheeses, etc) if you protein choice if VERY lean, or skip the fat if you are eating a less lean protein choice that meal

Each meal, for gentlemen, is about DOUBLE what ladies enjoy….or TWO palm sized servings of protein, TWO fists of veggies, and so on and so forth.

But how many meals do you need to eat?  Well, this depends on YOU, YOUR hunger, and YOUR activity level.  Most individuals do well on 4-6 meals per day with a serving of each of the groups above, or 3-4 larger meals per day, with more than one serving of each per meal if necessary.  My recommendation is start around four servings, see how it treats you, and work your way up as necessary.  Eat your first meal of the day, and don’t eat the second until you feel hunger for a bit (30ish minutes).  Then eat again.  Repeat this process as needed through the day.  **If you have been on a diet for your entire life, the feeling of hunger might not be familiar to you…..and so I recommend finding a credible (certified!) nutrition coach or Registered Dietician to help you sort this one out.**

Of course, there are ways to customize this if needed.  Those pursuing specific athletic goals generally need MORE food to fuel their athletic endeavors.  Those desiring to put on some muscle will need to eat a SURPLUS of food over time above the level they need to maintain their weight.  Those desiring to lose weight or fat will need to eat at a deficit over time.  Those that desire to maintain their weight…..just need to find the level of eating that allows them to stay status quo on the scale.  Can we get more complicated than this?  YES if we NEED to.  But, I like to start with this approach because it allows people to learn how to put together meals THEY like and MOST people get a lot of mileage out of this approach before complicating it further (if they ever need to).  Of course, like everything, there are exceptions to every rule.  But the basics, well….they serve MANY.

It is VERY easy to get lost in details.  Should I eat more carbs?  Less carbs, but more fat?  Really, my short answer is you have to find a way that YOU like to eat.  Some people enjoy eating more fat than carbs.  Some people want to eat carbs and skip out on fats sometimes.  Most of us can under-eat protein pretty easily, and I find that addressing protein first helps shake out a bunch of other things to work on.

So, let’s keep it simple.  What does this LOOK like?  Here are a few examples:

  • Ground beef, 85% lean (so I won’t add an extra serving of fat to my meal), seasoned with salt and pepper, sauteed onions and green peppers, and white rice (dash of soy sauce over the whole mix for good measure)
  • Grilled chicken breast over romaine, with extra fresh veggies (onions, mini peppers), with a sprinkle of shaved parmesan and a bit of Caesar dressing, with a bowl of sliced bananas and strawberries on the side
  • Pork chop, half or whole baked potato (depending on the size) topped with butter, steamed green beans (from frozen)

You see?  We don’t have to complicate this.  You can easily adjust these meals based on YOUR needs.    I want to add too, that some individuals do best learning how to eat a specific target of  calories or macros if they come from a background of chronic dieting….they literally need to learn how to eat an appropriate level of food with a “budget” of calories so they know what “enough” means.  Others learn best by eyeballing portions like I’m chatting about here.  If you’ve been a counter of calories or macros for some time, I encourage you to drop that for awhile and give this way a try.  It might give you a mental break, if nothing else, from all the numbers.  Remember, simplicity works, and when we can take away 100 details and break it down into just a few, this all gets easier…..and the easier this is, the more LIKELY we are to roll with it consistently, right?

Here are some more ideas based on MY preferences and needs, but you can always tailor servings to YOUR needs:

White sweet potatoes roasted in EVOO, chicken, snap peas, pineapple
White sweet potatoes roasted in EVOO, chicken, snap peas, pineapple
Ham, sliced bell pepper, toast smeared with avocado and sea salt
Ham, sliced bell pepper, toast smeared with avocado and sea salt
White sweet potato, ham, and egg scramble with cheese and raw mini peppers
White sweet potato, ham, and egg scramble with cheese and raw mini peppers
Bagel smeared with avocado, chicken breast tenders, mini peppers
Bagel smeared with avocado, chicken breast tenders, mini peppers
Kodiak power cake made with milk, stuffed with peanut butter, jelly, and banana, with a side of snap peas
Kodiak power cake made with milk, stuffed with peanut butter, jelly, and banana, with a side of snap peas

If you’ve never tried Kodiak cakes, they are delicious, and you can get a heck of a deal on Amazon for a bulk order.  Or, you can go to Target and get a 20oz box for about $4.99.

Mac and cheese, mini peppers, and chicken....because sometimes you need Mac and cheese :)
Mac and cheese, mini peppers, and chicken….because sometimes you need Mac and cheese :)

Is this post helpful for you?  Share it with someone who could benefit from it.  If you incorporate this into your life…..please keep me in the loop on how that is going for you, because I really want to know.  I enjoy hearing how others incorporate stuff into their lives.  It helps me learn :)

Need help sorting through this stuff and UNcomplicating YOUR nutrition needs?  I LOVE helping people do that kind of stuff.  Email me at tmwellnessrevolution at gmail dot com.  I do a face to face (or Facetime/skype!) session with YOU, plus follow up with you for six weeks to find YOUR level of eating that helps you rock your life AND reach your goals.  

Further reading:  The Best Calorie Control Guide Infographic from Precision Nutrition

How To Beat Cravings (The Legit Way)

I get asked a ton of questions as a nutrition coach and personal trainer.  More often than not, I have clients or prospective clients come up to me and start telling me how powerless they are around certain foods.  How they “absolutely have no willpower” or “stink at eating well.”  I also get asked the question “But how do I control my cravings?” almost every day.  

My tongue in cheek answer to the cravings question is simple – eat enough throughout the day.  And then I get blank stares because I don’t say the typical answers of “chew gum” or “drink diet soda” or “have a zero calorie snack like Jello” or “go to bed hungry.”  

That sounds super sassy to someone genuinely wanting or needing help.  It also sounds too simple.  Because we in the fitness industry have a way of complicating the life out of eating and moving our bodies.  Like, there MUST be a “grand plan” of doing this, then this, then this to arrive at your dream result.

It truthfully isn’t that complicated.  The noise of Big Fitness and Big Diet just makes it SEEM complicated.

So, I stand by my tongue in cheek answer – eat enough throughout the day.  

But what does that MEAN?!?!?!?!?!?!

It means a lot of things.  But REALLY it means getting alllllll the big players into your meals.  I am a Precision Nutrition Level 1 Nutrition Coach.  So I tend to enjoy their guidelines.  I use them in my own life.  Sometimes I shift things, but these are the bulk of my “principles” to building my plates each time I eat.  I help my clients do this, too.  It works!  It sound simple, but it works!

To me, “eat enough throughout the day” means getting a palm sized serving of protein (meat, eggs, fish, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese) at each meal.  It means a cupped handful size serving of carbs at each meal (whole grains, whole grain breads and pastas, rice, beans, fruit, potatoes, bananas).  It means getting a thumb size serving of healthy fat at each meal (avocado, olive oil, nuts and nut butters).  It means getting a fist sized serving of veggies at each meal (I eat the ones I like).  To be clear, these are serving sizes for a WOMAN.  A man might need nearly twice as much.

I know how your brain in thinking about allllll the scenarios right now. But, what?  How many meals?  What if I have seconds?  What if I can’t finish my food at each meal?  

Details, details.  But seriously, get used to doing just one meal like that each and every day.  Breakfast, if that is easy for you.  Or lunch. Or dinner.  But please just pick one.  Picking just one meal helps you determine how long you stayed satisfied for after the meal.  Plus, it frees up mental space of changing your whole life with regard to your food intake, to focusing on just ONE meal.  Once you consistently nail that one meal, add another meal like that.  How is your appetite?  How are your cravings?  Get the third meal with all those components.  Assess your appetite and cravings again.  How are they?  If you still have crazy cravings, chances are, you need to add another meal like that, or some smaller snacks with those same food groups.  If your cravings are gone, well…..you might be eating enough now.  Let HUNGER be your guide.  If you are still hungry after slowly making your way through your breakfast, you might need MORE on your plate.  If you are stuffed and cannot finish your breakfast, make a smaller breakfast next time, until you find what is just right for you.

Cravings aren’t a sign of being weak.  Or having only a little willpower.  Cravings often times are a sign of low ENERGY in your nutrition game (not eating enough at meals or in total throughout your day).  They can also be a sign of not getting enough rest – which means taking rest days during your workout week, and not sleeping 7-8 hours each night.  We need REST from the gym and REST in the form of quality sleep each night.

Of course, there CAN always be other reasons.  But more often than not, with myself and with my clients, I find eating ENOUGH at meals and in total throughout the day often clears cravings up.  So does taking rest days from workouts and getting enough sleep at night.  These are great starting points to address first.  AFTER nailing these, and you still are having some craving issues, it might be time to get a bit more specific.  But first, why not give the basics a shot and see how you respond?

Of course, if you are on a diet or trying to lean up a bit, there WILL be times where you are slightly hungry and therefore DO have legit cravings.  But again, that is because you are in an energy/calorie deficit, not because you suck at life and have no willpower.

Are you going to try these strategies?  I would love to hear from you.  And, if you need HELP implementing these strategies with a Precision Nutrition Level 1 Nutrition Coach, please shoot me an email at tmwellnessrevolution at gmail dot com.  I would LOVE to work with YOU, and uncomplicate this stuff!

Further reading:  Precision Nutrition Calorie Control Guide Infographic

Camp Nanowrimo: Best Self….Impostor?

Impostor syndrome is alive and well in my world this week it seems.  And I feel like facing it head on is important for thinking about and addressing what MY BEST SELF means to me.

I actually wrote “impostor syndrome” up above before I wikipedia’d it, and found out it’s actual definition.  

To me, “imposter syndrome” is the comparison of myself to others, or the fear that people will expose my weaknesses and find out I’m a fraud, so I’m on track with what the googlez say at least.

I am three-ish years into a new business, and am learning every damn day.  In the grand scheme of things, I am lucky to still be here, because many small businesses don’t make it past the two-year mark.  But I think that’s the point of the post, I would say I’m “lucky.”

I am lucky to have a life, husband, family that SUPPORTS me in this arena.

I am lucky to have found just the right customer base in my lovely little town who want to come bust it with me a few times per week.

I am lucky to have found the right coach at the right time to learn from and to help me grow into my role step by step.

I am lucky that God smiled on me and the stars aligned and all of these things happened TO me.

Truth is, I AM lucky, and God smiles on me every day, even the funky ones.  I don’t want to not appreciate the gifts I have been given.

But I feel like my attitude towards “lucky” is an escape from me acknowledging that I did this shit so I don’t have to be mentally invested in it if it all crashes and burns.  If I call it luck, I don’t have to accept all of it and I don’t have to deal with the fact that I DID this shit.

I am able to make decisions and execute them.  I am able to learn from things that don’t go as I think they should.  I am able struggle, to persevere when things suck for a bit, and I am able to come out on the other side.  I am able to adjust the sails accordingly.

I DO these things.  I CAN DO these things.  I CAN achieve these things that are cool and great.  I DO cool shit.

I spend a fair amount of time each day reading up on my field, what the top strength and nutrition coaches do.  What they act like, what they look like, what they talk like, what their habits are, and WHO they coach.

I AM doing it.  I DO it.  It isn’t luck.  Why should I pass off my hard work to the concept that I “got lucky.”

No, I bust my ass, and I DO these things.

I am not an impostor.  I am DOING IT ALREADY.

I am not a fraud.  I am building my business, and sharing my knowledge, skills, and beliefs to make other believe THEY CAN.

Acknowledging that I AM these things, and I DO these things, without passing it off to luck is like trying to accept a compliment.

It.is.HARD.

And while I want to relish here a little bit and acknowledge that YES I CAN (and I am via a paper and pen journal), I want to actually transfer this thought into other people’s brains.  So…..why am I telling this to YOU?

I think, to some extent, that EVERYONE feels like an impostor, or that they will be “exposed” for not knowing the right answer, or the right way to do something or not having the perfect life, or whatever.  It is hard to acknowledge that WE CAN and DO and not attribute it to “luck” or “being in the right place at the right time”  or being born to the right parents.  Really, aren’t we all just regular people who have dirty bathrooms?  Who have to try at being a patient parent?  Who wear shorts and a t-shirt to bed and not super sexy VS nightgowns with our hair just so?  And who post pictures on social media of only the moments that we would define as our best and “good enough” to other people’s eyes?

We DO IT every dang day, no matter what “IT” is.  All of us doing cool stuff, on the terms we use to define it as cool.

Accepting a compliment from others is hard…..I think most of us can agree that it’s easier to dismiss a compliment than ACTUALLY just say thank you.

Acknowledging the fact that we ARE DOING IT and not FAKING IT is harder, in my opinion.  But I believe that being our best self, no matter WHAT that is or WHAT that looks like for any one of us, and ACKNOWLEDGING it…..needs to happen.

It isn’t luck.

We weren’t in the right place at the right time.

We DO it.  

Being confident enough in our best self to give ourselves some dang credit…..is NOT what an impostor looks like.

Camp Nanowrimo: Best Self Excerpt 2

Do you ask questions?

Welcome back to Dear Diary….or rather, another excerpt from my writing for Camp Nanowrimo.

My best self needs to ask questions.  

I heard this question somewhere in the past few months, and I think about it a lot.

Just because you CAN do something, does it mean you SHOULD do something?

For reference, I believe it was talking about choosing exercises for an exercise program.  Just because you CAN do a seriously complicated exercise, does it mean you SHOULD do that exercise?  The SHOULD part refers to a bunch of things, like does it fit your body, your goals, does it cause pain, can you do it well, is there a reason to be doing it, etc

I think asking that question during everyday life, at least for me, is huge.

I CAN do a lot of things.  That doesn’t mean I SHOULD do them.  In fact, SHOULDING all over myself sometimes leads to guilt and resentment and doing a bunch of stuff just because I SHOULD and CAN.

Instead, taking a step back and evaluating the things I CAN do against the things line up with my life priorities might help me determine if what I CAN do, I SHOULD do.  

I have a huge tendency to jump into things with both feet and say “Yup, I’m in.”  Only to get started and realize maybe they don’t “line up” with my life priorities and needs.  Committing to things when they don’t necessarily line up, even if they sound cool at the time, lead me to feeling stressed out and resentment about devoting my time and effort to things that don’t add value to my life.  That sounds selfish in a way.  But I also think it isn’t selfish at all.  Because I’m not whole heartedly participating when I’m stressed or resenting something.  At this point, I find myself doing tasks to do tasks, going through the motions, because I don’t like backing out on stuff I committed to.  Recipe for disaster, at least for me.  Because that resentment ick feeling carries over into EVERYTHING else I do….family life, my job, my thoughts, etc.

Stopping for a bit to “think on things” when I know I CAN do something, and asking SHOULD I do something…..might give me that time I need to determine if something “fits” or not.  

For the record, I also think it’s important sometimes to leap and take a chance and not should all over myself.  

There is a balance.

Camp Nanowrimo Excerpt: Thoughts On Best Self

I’m currently doing a little writing project in April through Camp Nanowrimo.   Ultimately, it’s about writing more during April – some people are writing novels, some people are writing feelings, and some are just writing to write.

I had intended to write material for my gym and clients, and I am…..

…..but this sort of has turned into a gigantic reflection on what I would call “My Best Self.”  Things my best self is NOT, and ultimately what my best self IS.

Here is ONE excerpt on some rambling thoughts.  Sometimes this stuff is a little personal, so hope you don’t mind my “Dear Diary.”

I used to chase a bunch of shit to “find happiness,” “become well-rounded,” and “find myself.”

Yes, that is a LOT of quotations.  

I think the quotations are important.  Because I think I was chasing shit that wasn’t exactly shit I needed to be chasing.

Here’s what I learned, Cliff’s Notes version.  

Happiness cannot be chased.  I won’t “find it.”  I am a happy person, by sometimes deciding to be happy.  And by sometimes deciding to not PRETEND I’m happy, and just letting my mood show, whatever that might be.  When I see someone always happy, it makes me think of all the times I pretended to be happy and smiley, and what I actually felt like some of those times.  Life is too short to fake smile/be happy.  If it is genuine, that rocks, in my book.  

Being well-rounded is a bit of a joke, at least for me.  Trying to be good at a hundred things on the spectrum really just means you are busy a lot, leaving little time to dive into the things that REALLY give you jazz hands.  I loathe being busy to be busy.  I’m also finding I loathe being bored.  The sweet spot, for me, seems to be having a good chunk of time doing the things I’m good at AND passionate about, and not wasting time and energy on things that don’t actually make ME and my family BETTER.  I am finding, with my young family, that time is already a precious commodity….time is the most valuable currency.  We cannot get MORE time.  We can make MORE money, but time we can’t get more of.  Doing the things as a family that keep us close, and allow us to just be family are KING.  In the future, when it comes time to register for sports, and science fairs, and summer camps, and allllllll that jazz, I hope we prioritize FAMILY time over activities to be well-rounded and “busy.”  I see the people trying to be well-rounded.  They look exhausted.  I don’t want to go through my life exhausted.  I want to go through my life, with my family, ENGAGED in what we are doing.  I don’t need my gravestone to say “here lies Amanda.  Dang, she was really mediocre at doing 100 well-rounded things.”  I want it to say “Here lies Amanda.  Dang, She really did a good job at helping people realize they COULD.”  I don’t need 2.5 kids that I can show off with excellent report cards, and scholarships, and flashy degrees (although, I DO think those things are cool).  I want a few kids that are good friends to others, respectful, try, and do things that they WANT to do because they are interested and invested.  And, even though I’m not eager to live with them during that growing up period…..if they were a little rebellious and pushed boundaries, well…..that will (eventually, after they move out anyway) be just fine with me too.  

Finding myself has actually meant cutting out alllllllll the bullshit that was actually disguising myself.  I started my blog as a means to record training for a specific event – Tough Mudder.  Truth be told, I thought Tough Mudder would help me “find myself.”  I had some cool experiences, but ultimately, I’ve realized…..training for “things” and “events” aren’t for me.  They exhaust me and stress me out (except for the RKC….that I very much enjoyed because I believe in what I was doing).  Incorporating strength, and movement and nutrition into my life though to enhance my life….that ENERGIZES me.  Teaching it to others gives me JAZZ HANDS.  Using it as a means to train for “things and “events” isn’t my answer, though.  Another huge piece that has helped me cut alllll the bullshit is growing up a bit and realizing my husband and I are on the same team, we don’t compete against each other….neither of us “wins” at stuff.  We just are, I am a part of him, and he is a part of me.  Having a sassy three year old right now is sort of really snapping this all into focus too.  The final big piece here is spending time with people that I want to spend time with.  Perhaps trimming down those relationships that are not good for me.  I’m ok with having less than a handful of really amazing friends.  I am not a social butterfly, I am an introvert, and my social energy budget is limited.  No need to impress people here :)  I’m also learning that it takes me a LONG TIME to share substantial things about myself to others.  I’m not a person to divulge a ton of myself to people.  And I’m kinda cool with that.  Although….writing blog posts about feelings sometimes seems like I’m a walking contradiction at times :)

These three things are huge things for me on a discovery of what “my best self” actually looks like.  Feels like.  Thinks like.  Acts like.  Lives like.  

Rucking It Up!

YO!

You guys!!  I’m still doing this ruck thing!!  The magic hasn’t worn off yet :)

Who knew?!?!  Me + endurance really CAN exist together peacefully in the same world :)

So, I’ve graduated to 30 pounds for all rucks, or heavier if it is a short distance day.  And I can FINALLY say, five weeks in, that I feel comfortable pushing distances of 4-5 miles with 30 pounds.  It took a bit to get used to!  My legs are getting used to this business, and they feel stronger.  Ankles, calves, and the like have all gotten stronger, and to be honest….ankle mobility is better too (I can have REALLY tight ankles sometimes, which makes some squat days a B word).

I’m getting comfortable wearing a ruck for workouts.  I do a lot of squatting and lunging wearing it, some push-ups and lots of plank holds.  I’ve been “cleaning it” sort of like a kettlebell and doing thrusters with it.  Basically, I’m owning this thing.  I’m getting good at taking it on and off now without having to sit down on the steps with it on the stair above me to put it on :)  And, I’m getting creative using a suspension trainer for rows and flys and stuff with it.

So, as part of the Team Spearhead Pathfinder program, I have to do some things to finish the program:

  1. Be team leader three times for a workout.  I just checked off my second team leader workout TODAY :)
  2. Ruck a minimum of 75 miles total.  I’m at 35 so far, and have longer ones scheduled now, from here on out.
  3. Accomplish 20 Ruck WODs (workouts).  I’ve done 8.
  4. Pass (or continue taking) the ARMY Fitness Test, showing improvement each time.  I knocked out my second attempt this past weekend, and showed improvement.
  5. Complete a 12 mile ruck in 3.5 hours.  I have this tentatively scheduled for next weekend.
  6. Complete a 15 mile overnight ruck.  This is in April on my calendar I think.  This one scares me.  Mostly because the dark scares me :)
  7. Ruck 4 miles before OR after a Ruck workout, nine times.  I have three done.  I need to get cracking on this one.

So, I’m making progress.  I’m learning some things too.  Logging miles TAKES TIME.  So I’m having to be strategic about when I schedule them.  Much like a someone training for a marathon…..scheduling your long mileage days probably needs to be on a weekend if you have kids, a job, and commitments.  Because TIME.  So, I’m shooting for a Ruck workout AND 6 miles on Saturday morning.  I need to block out almost two hours for that, you know?  And I don’t like giving up that much time on weekends because that is our major family time….so it will likely require getting up early on a weekend and getting it done so it is complete by 9ish in the morning.

3 miles in!
3 miles in!

Shoes are IMPORTANT.  I wouldn’t advise slapping on the same running shoes you’ve worn for five years (I hope you aren’t a runner who never replaces your shoes!!).  I got a new pair of shoes in January.  I needed them….my other pair was REALLY giving me hot spots on my feet.  This pair feels good now, but I can tell that I won’t have months with these if I keep up my mileage.  I will need replacements.

Being outdoors is HUGE for my mood.  This literally is a game changer for me.  Outside is a MUST.  A serious stress buster.  And I’m getting more and more creative planning out routes and trying to take some gravel roads here and there.

I’m digging listening to podcasts lately.  I get tons of learning done WHILE doing my workout, so I’m killing two birds with one stone.  I’m really digging the Eat To Perform podcast…..SO INFORMATIONAL and SO AWESOME.  I took the Eat To Perform certification last year, so this is a really great way to review some things.  Of course, I beast it out to Metallica a lot right now too.  My ultimate favorite song to ruck with is Bull on Parade by Rage Against The Machine (rally round yer family, yo!).

I am starting to be able to “feel” my pace.  I use Map My Run to figure it out for real, but I’m starting to get used to feeling a 17:30 minute mile.  On short rucks, I push the pace way faster than that though.  On long rucks, I try to stick around that pace.

And….I’m getting my family to come with me for parts of rucks sometimes, which is a bonus.  I think two weekends ago, I had a long ruck, and I did two miles, and came back to the house and met my hubs and kid, and then we did a few more miles together.  So that’s cool!

I am doing WAY more ruck workouts than I will after the Team Spearhead Challenge, because I have a good strength training plan anyway.  BUT, this is forcing me outside the box a little and making me a learn new things, which isn’t bad.  However, I can see two rucks a week staying with me after this challenge is over…..a shorter one, and a long one.  Mostly because I just like them and how they make me feel.

So far, this experience is still a win in my book :)

PS – and autocorrect still revers to DUCK instead of RUCK.  But not the F word :)

 

 

Three Legit Workout Selfies

I’m not gonna lie.  I don’t mind a good selfie.  Yeah, we can all think they are self-centered and whatnot, but if you want to selfie, own that shit.

I do, however, get ANNOYED AF with some workout selfies floating around there.

The “oh hi I just woke up in my lululemons and matching workout tank and I’m off to tone” selfie.

The “look at my glute development” selfie, where the model is clearing sticking out dat ass and showing off “gains” that were made in the 10 seconds it took to hyperextend and snap the picture and upload it to Instagram.

The “these abs were made in the kitchen” selfie, where the model is clearly pulling down her waistband, pulling up her stomach, and sucking in all at the same time.

The “it’s a lifestyle, not a diet” selfie, where someone is photographing their perfectly squeaky clean snack plate of organic free range egg whites, four raspberries and two almonds and their proud face.

That shit annoys me.  There, I said it.

Here are my selfies.  That are realistic FOR ME.

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This is upon dragging myself down to my basement for half of my workout today.  I made myself commit to half because the full thing seemed overwhelming.  Upon starting, I had a pleasant surprise on my windmills……which was……

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A 16kg top windmill, with FULL RANGE!

And how I spend 95% of my day:

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I love my RBF.  It is literally a lock and key system that I can open or close at anytime, depending on my surroundings :)  If I’m walking into a public gym, this says “don’t disturb me because I’m super serious about my workout” OR “don’t offer me your lame advice for quarter rep squats to go heavier.” I’ve also used this when training a client in my own gym, but interrupted by a salesman for the latest MLM being pedaled in my town.   No words necessary sometimes with this face :)

Own your selfie, yo!  I dig the selfies that show the struggle.  Like the ones where you have an awkward bead of sweat somewhere.  Or SAS (sweaty ass syndrome).  Or when you look like you are going to push out a child (or #2) when you are at the top of your deadlift.  I also dig the ones that show off your face when you get the PR, FINALLY nail some yoga pose you’ve been after for awhile, feel at peace with your eats, no matter WHAT those eats are, etc.

The real ones.

 

Thoughts: Assumptions

Although in my neck of the woods, the tides are starting to turn (and so is the language and talk about our bodies and ourselves), there is an undercurrent of assumptions made towards the bodies of women.  At least around my news feeds.  I have honed my social media down to not much anymore, and so I’m pretty proactive about what I see and let come across my eyesight, but the undercurrent is always there.

There is an ASSUMPTION that we women should be smaller.

There is an ASSUMPTION that we women should be toned (I LOATHE that word), but not too muscular.

There is an ASSUMPTION that our destiny is to eternally be on the quest to shrink away to nothing, jumping from diet to Pinterest workout, to 90 day this or that, clinging desperately to “small.”

There is an ASSUMPTION that in the winter, the only desire we have to is “build our summer body.”

There is an ASSUMPTION that we should always feel positively positive and if we don’t, and we are sometimes not happy, that we are defective.

There is an ASSUMPTION that we WANT random, uneducated advice on how to “tone up” or “follow this meal plan” or “drop the last 10 pounds” or “get our post baby bod back ASAP.”

You know what they say about ASSuming.

I choose what I look like.  And what I feel like.  And where I put my efforts.

So do you!

Please pay attention to the language you use on a regular basis about your body and about other bodies.

Please pay attention to the ads and pages and pictures that come across your eyesight in your newsfeeds, and start screening out the crap ASAP.

Keep fighting the good fight in blocking out those messages that ASSume those things we “should” want for those things we DO want.

 

 

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

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