fitness and nutrition, perspective

From “They Think I Can” back to “I Think I Can”

 

One of my favorite kids’ stories is The Little Engine that Could.  This might surprise people who know me well, since I am not always known for my positive mindset.  I tend to be cautious, take baby steps, and keep my expectations conservative (at best.)

In case it’s been a while, the Little Blue Engine, when faced with an enormous task, takes it on, chugs along, and tells herself “I Think I Can” as she pulls train cars loaded with toys over a tall mountain.  At the end, she is a hero to the kids on the other side.

I think like this story so much because it is a challenge to me.  At time, my inner mindset is “What if I can’t? What if I hurt myself? Make a fool of myself? What if I fail?”  Then, if repeated often enough, it becomes “I can’t. I’ll fail.” End of story.

This is where friends and coaches come in.  I’m lucky to have several people around me who believe in me. Who challenge me. Who call me on my negativity. Who tell me that THEY think I can.

Enter Coach Alex.  I’ve talked before about injuries I’ve had at the gym.  I do modify movements, keep weights light, and scale in all kinds of ways.  Although it is mostly for safety purposes, there are still times I forget to challenge myself and just basically coast.

One movement that scares me is box jumps.  Body weight movements are just challenging and coordination is not my strong point.  An aggravated Achilles last year was another setback.  I had worked back up to step-ups, often with weight, but Alex got me jumping again.  He prefers jumps to step-overs and step-ups.  I moved from dumbbells, to two plates, up to three.  I was feeling pretty good.

Then one of those friends that challenges me asked me, “So how much higher is it to actually jump on the box?  It can’t be that much higher.”

Which got me thinking.  (Maybe I can?)

She had noticed I was jumping higher and thought that was great, but she isn’t one to let me just rest on my laurels.  The best kind of friend, even though being challenged may not always feel the best.

So between Alex and my friend, I knew the day to try was coming. Today turned out to be that day.  Box jumps in the workout.  As we were getting set up I grabbed the box and, unceremoniously, walked it across the gym to a tucked-away corner (in case I face- planted), set it down, stared at it for a minute and…

remembered what Coach Alex said.  Jump with everything you have.  Feet wider, pump my arms, focus on the box.

Then I remembered my friend, and thought “it isn’t that much higher than what I’ve already conquered.”  (I think I can….gulp).

And I jumped!

And I jumped!

And I jumped! Again and again, 52 times all together.  A few shaky landings and wobbly knees, but NO face plants or scarred shins.  Success.

It doesn’t read as nicely as the children’s story.  There’s not really a happy ending, cheering children, an unlikely hero…for me, there’s only maybe a happy ending to a chapter, then a look at what comes next. (A higher box?)

Thankful for friends and coaches who remind us that we can, when we’ve forgotten what we can accomplish.  Changing our minds can lead to changing our lives, whether in the gym, the classroom, in the living room, or just about anywhere.

fitness and nutrition

All that ASS!

Ass, buttocks, gluteus maximus, rear end, booty, butt and so on. We all have one or some version of one. The title seemed fitting as we will hear about my big ass and how my ass story has evolved over the past several years. Now that I think about it, I could have titled this blog differently but maybe you wouldn’t have been drawn to read it. Is the suspense killing you yet?

My ass used to be a bookshelf or so I called it. It seemed to have a ledge of some sort. (I will spare you a pic of this). One that could hold up a book if I leaned the proper way. I may be exaggerating a little but not much. My kids used to sing “baby’s got back” in the car and openly called it my jam. The lines of emphasis were her butt is just so big I can’t believe it’s so round it’s like out there…

I also coach lacrosse and parents sometimes catch my backside in photos when coaching their kids (again, I’ll spare you the pic). OMG that back side a few years back was like the side of a barn…again, maybe a slight exaggeration but one my loving and adoring family would point out. Was it out of love or other motivation? I don’t know but it’s in the past. It is just part of my story. I should have a new jam to symbolize my strength and new curvy backside! An anthem of sorts.

As my story unfolds, I can now say I’m a health freak, a workout-crazed woman, a food-weighing lunatic, a macro-mastering Mom, but guess what? It’s what I’m doing so others, including my family, will just have to deal with it. The new year is here and it’s time for new goals, new challenges and new dreams. I am ready for it all!

Each day we start over and reset. We each have the ability to have a good or bad day. We have the ability to eat healthy or not. We can choose to exercise or not. We each make those choices each day. As I found my inner spirit and what makes me launch forward each day with positivity, I celebrate each and every day and laugh with those I surround myself with. I make a conscious effort to remove negative influences from my life whether it be a friend who sucks the life out of me (not really a friend) or a food that just makes me sleepy (like cakes filled with carbs) or toxic work environments. When one can find the life balance that excludes or keeps these nuisances at bay, progress is easier to attain.

What changes can you make in 2019 to realign your quality of life?

Fast forward to now, today and I’m rocking the booty in my mind. Heck if I compare to my past buttocks size it’s definitely factual to state I’m rocking the booty, but others may have their own opinion. I have had my ass spanked more than once, in public, yes, by others who check its firmness jokingly, lovingly, or in a humorous way. That is cool, I guess or it doesn’t bother me. (I am flattered by the attention, I suppose) but for the purposes of this blog, we are going to see my ass through my eyes as it represents progress with my coach and my fit journey thus far.

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All those squats going up down, up, down, up, down. You get the song reference right? Lunges for days that make you feel the pain in your glutes the next day. So many reps that getting up from the toilet is a major struggle. Pelvic thrust in the early am when the gym guys think you are practicing sex moves or that’s where their mind goes. Anyway they are all worth it in the end when you put on that new pair of jeans and you can see your hard work via definition in the tight ass that you now proudly prance around with. Yes I said it. Prance, strut, flaunt. If you work for it be proud of your progress and show it. It also helps when you bump into people you haven’t seen in a while and they say “wow, you look amaze.” That does wonders for the motivation bucket! #bootygains

This week’s blog is dedicated to all those working on stepping up their ass game and all those who motivated me during my fit journey this far. Everyone needs a David (yeah, David), Geovanna (best butt in town), Mount (get lower he says), John (keep pushing), Noy (Tabatha who?), Vic, Lexie, Stefan & Kelsey (power couple), Tasha, Sarah, Tommy Morris (Mr. Faded Glory himself), Shane (getting dainty), Nick and so many more I forgot to note here. One squat at a time. One pistol at a time. One lunge at a time. One macro at a time.  You can improve your ass game if you commit to the process.

You don’t need a Brazilian butt lift, ladies or gents, to get results. You just need some sweat, some time, some effort and some motivation. Maybe even a kick in the ass from a workout buddy, coach or dear friend. A new pair of jeans is a great place to start for motivation of course. Don’t wait get that ass moving now.

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As I close out this post I sigh deeply knowing this month marks the 3-year benchmark of my health and fitness journey so far. Midlife crisis to some. Inspiration to others. Peaceful hustle to me. I have accomplished so much yet have so much further to go. Buckle up folks, you are in my story. Fab at 50 here we come!

This is what my last 3 years of fitness looked like:

2016 – 24/7 workout place with a friend 3-5 days a week then we added some fun 5ks. The Foam Glow Run, the Bubble Run and the Color Run. The add-on 5ks were to step out of my comfort zone and no, I didn’t run them all 100%, but I finished.

2017 – I was going to CrossFit after finishing up a bootcamp the previous fall. I competed in my first CrossFit open and that was when I could really see how I did against others in my age group across various strength and stamina workouts. I upgraded my runs to challenge me as well. I completed a Tough Mudder, Terrain Race and ran a 10k. What was amazing about the 10k was I hadn’t done that race since 1997 or 20 years prior. Talk about a milestone and recommitment to fitness.

2018 – This was the year I would stretch even higher. I would visit other CrossFit boxes when I traveled to see if I could fit in outside of my comfort zone. I did my 2nd CrossFit open and worked hard to improve my personal ranking overall in my age group and complete more movements than I could the year before. I ran the same 10k again but focused on trimming my time which I did by over 10 minutes.

My most exciting challenge of 2018 was competing in CrossFit competitions. One at my local box, one as a three girl trio, one as a dynamic duo with my workout buddy and then finished out the year with a squad competition with five fit people from two different boxes that I met over the years. Each team member has been important to my growth and development and this was a time to celebrate progress in a fun and dynamic way. I am so thankful for each of them and stoked I got to create a big memories with my badass squad to finish out 2018.

And finally, I focused on my nutrition and macro counting to get my weight in tune with my fitness. This was definitely a battle but I have learned to love water and learned I don’t need pizza and my chips in my life on the daily. I can be content with a high protein yogurt or chocolate covered nut instead. Life is all about choices and so is nutrition. It takes patience and commitment to stay the course.

2019 will have new goals for me to embrace. I am hopeful you all can get after your goals list and be a goal getter just like me. Next book title was firmed up as this blog post hits the internet. Big news. Big year. Big goals ahead. 2019 here I come!

More scribbles and rants to come from me in 2019. #kt247 #2chx #1095days

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fitness and nutrition

A few recent (small) victories for Chick 2

As I’ve probably mentioned in one way or another, my gym progress may look different than many CrossFit athletes.  I started CrossFit about 16 months ago as an uncoordinated, imbalanced stranger to my body.  I am not far from that start in some ways, but I continue to push forward.  Here are a few little proud moments from the past few weeks.

I jumped up on three 45-pound plates. This is maybe 8 inches off the ground. Previously, I had only jumped about 5 inches so this feels like a big deal.  My Achilles has given me problems on and off which has derailed jumping for a while but I am back to working on it.  Losing weight is also a huge help in getting higher off the ground. Soon I’ll be jumping on a 12-inch box.

This week, I did a kipping swinging knee raise as a start at transitioning from hanging knee raises to toes to bar. Awkward and tests my grip, but a good challenge.

I used thirty pound dumbbells in to do alternating dumbbell snatches in a WOD.  My previous gym didn’t have all the increments so I now feel like I might get to the Rx 35#s sometime!

Not every attempt is successful, of course.

I attempted a double under and have the slap mark on my ankle to show for it.  Not pretty, but failure is a start.

Today I did backwards lunges with dumbbells off a 6-inch platform.  This was a total fail since lunges are a challenging movement for me on flat ground with no weights.  I eventually did backward lunges with dumbbells on flat ground in the daily WOD.

I may not be doing movements as prescribed.  But, I’m still inching along toward them.  My path is long, but I am moving in a good direction.

New coaches have helped me see where I have become complacent in my progress.  They are encouraging me to push forward and, because I’m accepting new challenges, I am not pushing back.  Instead, I am giving it a shot and going after it.

fitness and nutrition

Water Weight?

I started a little competition at my box in the month of December. Eating clean for 25 of the 31 days of the month.

Pretty easy for me since I already count macros but this challenge has some interesting accountability points that I thought would give me another layer of accountability this month. Here I am with the challenge to combat This holiday month that is full of many temptations. #Decembergoals

Enter water: drink a full glass with every meal on day one!
Drink 6 glasses of water today. Ha, this was easy as it was the same day as my competition.
Drink 8 glasses of water.
Drink 1 glass of water for every alcoholic drink…on New Year’s Eve #evil

But I decided to set out a glass each day and fill it up at meals and make it a priority to drink my water. I then made it a point to bring water to the gym which I normally don’t do but I can now chug said water after the workout. Then I changed out my Sparkling Ice drinks for regular water. This is major for me!

Before starting the macro movement I struggled with water. Ice drinks got me through the first six months, no joke. And right about now I was getting sick of the Ice drinks or favorite flavors so now I am making the move to just plain old water. This is a miracle in my mind of some sort, but a lesson learned. You can overcome anything you set your mind to. Seriously, start small and test the theory. You can and you should!

And now that I am embracing water I have to deal with water at restaurants. I have a hard time drinking nasty tap water and sometimes that’s what you get. Sigh! Anyone have any suggestions? Send me a message or post. I’d love to hear about some trick to get over this small hurdle.

Scale report: I think the first week the water intake increased my scale but it could just be a coincidence. However I did feel like I went to the bathroom every minute on the minute. #realworldissues

Before I wrap up this blog I wanted to share a mid-week update. I have been in a YASSO mood. As in YASSO desserts. They have an amazing array of flavors but then they taunt us with their holiday treats just like Starbucks does! This time I fancied the sugar cookie flavor and it didn’t disappoint. If you are looking for a little pick me up snack, give the YASSO bars a try.

I can. I will. I am. Those are my action lines for 2019. No more I can’t. I won’t. I shouldn’t. Out with the negative in with the positive. All this stems from a silly water challenge. Funny how life flows. Glad to share my life views with you all over the 🌍.

fitness and nutrition

Squad Goals

It’s Saturday, the week before the competition. One week until the big day. I already worked out at 8:00 am but I am back at the box for a Squad Games team practice at 3:30 pm. Practice makes perfect (or it is needed) so that we can work together as a team since this is, in fact, a team event. But let’s just say my legs are screaming at me (due to soreness).

What is so great about this squad? It is made up of some amazing people and folks that I am happy to call friends. Our team name is “All Jacked Up” which you can read into  for multiple meanings but for me we are each jacked up in our own way. Different backgrounds, different careers, different lifestyles, but one common passion: CrossFit. We are not set to win per se but we set out to compete to win. Is there a difference? Yes. All-male teams can dominate some workouts and coed teams can compete but most likely can’t put up the numbers needed on the top of of the leaderboard. All-female teams would likely struggle a bit more in this area as well but they show up and compete for their own personal best performances as did we.

I was going to introduce each squad member in detail here with how much each person means to me but instead I am opting for the condensed version. Drumroll for Chris our fearless leader, but on completion day he is a little under the weather, fighting off a cold. He is still going to give it his all because I know he doesn’t give anything less than 100%. He should get props for still competing!

Then we have Lisa, who threw out her shoulder doing split jerks the other day and the doctor didn’t release her to compete. This means I have an IOU on the table to compete with her sometime in 2019. What a let down for her but we found a fill-in at the last hour.  Enter Nick who already had a 5k to run at 8:00 am across town, but don’t worry he will just jump in when he gets there. Yup: 10:30am arrival after his 5k and ready to put in work.

Then we have Sarah and David who are both long standing buds in the 6:30 am time slot I workout in. Both are nervous in their own way but they will crush their movements and be great teammates.

It appears we are all jacked up in our own way as we enter the competition. The name we chose a while back couldn’t be more fitting. As I mentally prepare for the games at the wee hour of 4:00 am I am jotting down these notes so this is as raw as it gets.

T-shirts are in for the Squad. Carpool is all lined up. Everyone is nursing their pre-comp jitters or sore muscles. Snack prep is happening for some. Let the countdown begin…

12/8/18 Squad Games

It began with the packing of the bag and a good night’s sleep with an alarm set to meet for carpool.

The weather was cold and rainy in the early hours of the day and I woke to darkness outside. My nerves were at bay but my energy spark hasn’t hit yet. Time to rev that engine and get those muscles ready to go go go.

A long hour drive happens. Sign in and then off to another table to get the floater WOD assignment. Workouts are firm for 11:00 am, 1:00 pm and 2:40 pm. Lots of waiting and time to mentally prepare and bond with the team and meet lots of new faces from around the area. Did I mention lots of potty breaks, too?

WOD 1 has a Part A and Part B back-to-back. First flub-up on this was my weights. Somebody put the wrong weight on one side of my bar when we were climbing. I was lopsided overhead with about 105 lbs on one side and 95 lbs on the other. Definitely not a good moment overhead, but a teammate picked up my share while we fixed the issue. We finished a notable 5th in both these rounds which was pretty good.

Next WOD was the floater WOD and the judge gave us the wrong weights so we had to shift our game plan on the fly to adjust to the higher weight. David’s shoe fell off during the sprints and we fumbled a little on double unders. We came in about 9th this round I think despite the flub-ups. I guess the point I am sharing is nothing goes as planned and you need to adjust on the fly and work it out as best you can. This is one of those aha moments that you realize this can easily crossover into life…you don’t need to be perfect all the time, just try your best all the time and results will follow.

The last WOD was running behind so our muscles where starting to get fatigued and this workout was a doozie. It had compounding burpees each set. 5-10-15-30-25-30 and of course I am thinking “I am going to die” as burpees are my worst movement by far and these are synchronized burpees so my whole team has to wait on me. Holy cow! And that didn’t even count the 12 grueling calories on the death bike, or the 10-15 overhead lunges assigned to me that took place each round either. Holy leg burner at the end of a long day. 5 burpees was easy enough. 10 was a short chipper. 15 was taxing. 20 was a lot of self talk one by one. 20 was: damn we really have another round! 25 wasn’t so bad when I started but but about 18 it was all mental. Another round in and the team was wearing down and splitting movements to get it done. We entered the round of 30 but only made it to 13 burpees. I was not sad about that timing because I’m not sure I would have made it so thank god for the clock! And believe it or not we finished third in this round even with me slowing us down in the burpee area.

We nailed a 6th place finish overall and the point difference was ever so close in the top section of the ranks. Out of 14 teams we didn’t do too bad. There were three other teams from our box competing in a different division, one taking home first place. It was amazing to watch that team and know you are a part of their community and they are all down to earth.

Loved working out with my crew. We had a couple of friends cheer us on including the amazing Lisa who was unable to compete and the fabulous Beth aka chick 2. Beth was also the one who ran around to take pictures and videos so that we have all of our blood, sweat, and tears captured. So thankful for her dedication to get all of us documented as it is no small task. Even those who hate taking pics love to go back and review photos and videos to see how they can improve under pressure.

Well, I am pooped to say the least. Up at 4:00 am, on the couch showered by 8:00 pm. What an adventure. But at almost 47 I can say I definitely kicked ass today and did it amongst those in their 20s on up to their 40s…and maybe older but that is just my guess.  #girlswholift #girlswhocompete

Competition is a whole different level. Mental toughness, physical strength, team unity, stamina to go the distance and sheer willpower to push through all that is thrown at you. I love to compete in life at every level.

Hope you liked my blog this week. I ended on a high note and I am definitely sore but it’s all good. Until next time get off the couch and get moving. #beyourowninspiration

fitness and nutrition

Behavior

Oddly enough, I said at the end of my 12 weeks of posting on fitness and nutrition that I would take a break from posting weekly. Shocker, here I am again!

It almost seemed like I needed to take a break mentally but then I realized I was in a routine. I modified my behavior to include writing/blogging into my week for 12 weeks. What an irony? But then again it’s no different than establishing a fitness or nutrition routine.

You have to commit to your goals, set a plan of action and then follow through. When you do all that you are essentially creating a routine, a habit, and ultimately your behavior is modified.

So here I am blogging again and it’s just Monday. The start of the week. I have a hefty to-do list today but thankfully I started my day at 6:30am surrounded by people who make me feel strong and confident. I start most days this way at the gym, my box or home away from home.

I also get to exchange communications with my nutrition coach on Mondays which is always amazing in itself. It’s a positive and reflective interaction that provides an outside look at my eating habits from the previous week. It lets me realign and adjust where needed for the upcoming week. The lessons I learn here can be applied to other areas of my life making this coaching experience extremely valuable. For this encouragement I will give a shout out to my coach, the wonderful Jodi Bainbridge of Stronger U. #sherocks

If you think about what I wrote above about feeling strong at the gym, I mirror that by being strong in nutrition and it’s almost comical that the company I chose to work with on nutrition is called Stronger U. Odd but interesting little tidbit. If you have been looking for change I would encourage anyone to check out this program. It is pretty unique and I don’t get paid for any endorsements, This is honest. Stronger U is life changing for many and I don’t have to inflate that, I can see it through testimonials. #strongeru

What I think I rediscovered over the Thanksgiving break is that progress isn’t immediate. It happens over time. It’s a moving target. Whether you are focusing on weight changes, nutrition changes, or business changes they happen over time.

When you get a new job you are not the best employee on day one you have potential, and if you work hard and master your role you become an asset to your organization. If you start your own business venture you don’t become an overnight hit, it takes time. If you go to school to get a degree, you graduate in time. Why because it’s a process and not everyone have the same timeline or the same path. That is what makes us all special.

Today’s post is for those who watch the clock or desire instant gratification in every aspect of life. Take a breath, enjoy the ride to whatever destination you are heading to. You may meet cool people, learn new things, and grow as a person along the way. Trust the process. Enjoy the journey. The journey is unique to you and it’s one that others can’t take away from you.

Another fun fact about me: I used a countdown clock to reach a specific goal recently. It was a countdown clock that was started over 1.5 years ago. This clock told me if I hustled and worked hard and chipped away for the duration I would accomplish big things. I set benchmarks along the way to give me celebration points. Mini-milestones that I shook my head at each time saying “I did it, I really did.” This clock was a gift from a dear friend but provided lots of encouragement as I plugged away at my goal(s). The hashtag #rearview symbolized letting go of the old and embracing the new. As I near the end of the countdown I figured I would share this tool with you in case it influences others to try this method.

As for me, once it runs out I will reset the clock. Most likely for three years this time while I catalog and chart a new path for myself. I will just need a new hashtag for the new duration. #namemyhashtagpeople Drop me a note and you can be part of my next story!

As I recap the rear view (not my butt, people) of my fitness journey, I am approaching the three-year mark of committing to a regular fitness regimen. I didn’t start at CrossFit on day one but I found a passion in CrossFit about 8 months into my journey when I embraced change. Along the way I hit milestones and created new goals to attain. My body is being sculpted over time as is my mind and my can do attitude. I’m embracing new tools along the way that are new parts of my personal maintenance plan. Remember the past or rear view doesn’t dictate your journey or your happiness, rather it’s part of your story. The memories, the lessons learned, the pictures taken, the people you meet along the way all play an pivotal role in your journey. Embrace YOUR path.

Until next time. And when will next time be? I am not sure as I am not watching the clock right now. I’m looking ahead to see what is on the horizon for me as 2019 approaches…

fitness and nutrition, perspective

Going the Extra Mile

It’s a phrase we hear often…someone who “goes the extra mile.”  But what does it really mean?

I’ve been thinking a lot about that phrase for the past few days.  I went to the gym on the day after Thanksgiving.  There wasn’t a workout at the times I could make it.  So, I took advantage of the open gym and walked in between classes. My goal was 10,000 meters.  My legs were screaming sore after a long Thanksgiving Day workout so I started by hopping on the bike erg and did a pretty quick 5,000 meters.

Then, moved over to the rower for a somewhat slower 3,000 meters.

Finally, I faced down the dreaded ski erg and did 2,000 meters, split in half.  (Ski is much more challenging for me!) I had stretched in between, so I was feeling pretty good and sweaty by this point.  I had a few minutes left before I had reached my hour-at-the-gym benchmark, but I had already met my 10,000 meter goal.  What to do?

Enter the Assault bike.

And on that, I just decided to do skip meters and do a mile. And as I rode, I got to thinking about the extra mile…which is what brings me to this post.

To go the extra mile is to go beyond what is required.  What is expected.  The minimum.  As my kids say (or used to say, since once I understand this kind of thing it is definitely past its moment) you can be basic or you can be extra…regular or over the top, I guess.

There are areas of life where I want to work harder to go the extra mile.  Friendship. Family. Fitness / Nutrition.  Those are probably the big three for me right now. Ones I want to work on.

How can I go the extra mile?

-Send a note or out-of-the-blue text to a friend who may need a pick-me-up (and couldn’t we all?)

-Remember to get all the things my family needs as I shop / do errands, etc.

-Check in with family and friends more often

-Make time for meaningful conversations and traditions as the holidays arrive

-Commit to both staying consistent and challenging myself as I workout

-Get serious about nutrition; buckle down (instead of backing down) in the face of challenges

-Give in unexpected ways: time, care, gifts, resources

I am not going to lie.  There are many areas of life where I am struggling to meet basic expectations.  But, at the same time, I feel a deep level of fulfillment when I exceed what I and others expect of me.  Over the next day or two I’ll be planning and making moves to get these things in motion.  Even just this list with a daily checkoff can be a step toward accountability and progress.

So, readers, how are YOU going to go the extra mile in the next month or two? How can you extend kindness, comfort, or even badassness to make your life and the lives of those around you a little more over-the-top-amazing? Tell us in the comments.

Here’s a glimpse of the sunrise that surprised me mid workout that morning, a brief break in a week of dreary rain. Be the unexpected, the surprising light for others and yourself.