fitness and nutrition

And Just Like That…

I was sucked in. Sucked in to the leaderboard. The invitation. The competition. The unknown. The opportunity itself.

What could I possibly be talking about? I made it to the national leader board for the Masters of the Masters competition. The #2 spot. Who me? Yes you! Boom. The invite hit my mailbox just before the holiday hustle and bustle went into full swing. Should I travel to compete? Should I just be happy with where I made it to? So many questions.

I was on the fence for days. Should I? Should I not? At the end of the day, I took the plunge. I went for it. I signed up for round two of competing and the training. This time in the grand state of Texas. A plane ride away. A different dynamic for round 2. 

An unknown location and facility. A new state which requires a day of travel. Sleeping in a bed aside from mine can impact my preparedness. No community cheering me on. So many variables.

I thrive under pressure. I live for new experiences. I meet new people all the time. I learn and grow when I’m out of my comfort zone. For all these reasons I said yes. Yes to the comp! Now I need to prepare for the unknown. 

I need to dial into my nutrition and commit to working hard the next several weeks. I can do it. I will do it. No matter where I end up on the final leaderboard I can say I took a big step in just showing up.

I’m not fearing the competition movements or my competitors.

I’m not giving into self doubt. I know I can do my best and be okay with the results. Showing up is half the battle.

I don’t know how to quit. That means I will push through even the hard stuff.

At my age, I’m lucky I can move to the extent I do. I’m even more happy to say I’m a competitor. I don’t worry about others judging me because if it was easy everyone would do it. Even if you are not built to compete. You can get moving.

I hope this post inspires someone to start moving to a fitter self. The first step is the hardest, but anyone can move. Look for updates next month on my big adventure. 

challenges

I’m Not Afraid

I’m not afraid of burpees anymore.

I am no longer dreading 72 burpees in workout because I’ll be the slowest to complete them.
I am no longer completely wiped out by burpees. 10-15-20 easy peasy.

It might have taken me over 1,200 burpees in a short period of time to realize this. I learned practice makes perfect or it definitely builds confidence in your weak or feared movements.

In the past, I would do pushups instead of burpees in a workout. It wasn’t that I couldn’t do them. I didn’t want to do them. I would just prefer not to do burpees. I took the easy way out time and time again.

Then one day I said yes to a burpee challenge online. Little did I know that burpee challenge would teach me to endure in many ways. Little did I know it would help me stabilize my breathing while doing burpees with other movements. Little did I know my fear wasn’t worth fearing anymore.

I slowed down enough to take it all in. To practice vs. rush through. I am still not fast at burpees and never will be thanks to my hip mobility but I can get them done in much larger sets. I am not that graceful when I do burpees either. They are what I call sloppy burpees.

Nonetheless I can drop and do 5-10-15-20 or more at my pace without hesitation. I may not love to do them but I can and I will because they have provided many benefits in a short time.

My bench press one rep max has improved. All those extra burpees have caused me to push my body weight up from the ground repeatedly, increasing my pushing strength without me noticing. On that same line, my push ups have improved drastically. My overall form. My endurance. My strength. My ability to do unbroken sets with strong form in my core.

When we mention core muscle, I recently started doing more planks. Not a movement I’ve feared but one I really don’t like to do: well guess what I noticed my time for holding the plank and the the firmness of the plank itself has also improved. Crazy to think how much consistency plays a role in success.

Consistent and persistent are two words that are forever defined in my life in many ways. Sometimes you need to slow down in one area of life to see how you can adapt consistency and/or persistence in other areas.

Trust the process of life. Absorb the learning experiences around you. Test your limits often. Growth comes when you are stretched, fatigued and out of your norm.

Change your surroundings. Try something new. Challenge yourself to do hard things you fear. Growth is a mindset. Sometimes it takes practice. Consistent practice yields results. 

business

A Numbers Game

I work in a profession where numbers are king. Pre-post data. Year over year growth. People love numbers. But not me, at least not always.

I have a love-hate relationship with numbers. I like the scale when the numbers go down. I’m not happy when the number goes up. Ever since I started Weight Watchers for the first time at the ripe old age of 12, I’ve watched that number on the scale with trepidation.

In my last round of weight loss, I learned that the scale can sometimes be a damn liar. There are all kinds of reasons for the scale to go up or down, some of which have little to do with what I did or didn’t eat. Maybe it means muscles are growing. Still, sometimes, I forget and get all tied up in what the scale tells me each morning. It becomes more than data and sometimes inches in to my judgment of self-worth.

Perhaps the number I fear the most has a dollar sign in front of it. For a long time, I have held on to a number as a symbol of my security, my prosperity, my future. That number meant a lot to me. So much that I refused to change it except when I was forced to.

It took a push from a dear friend and the universe to finally change that number from something that just appears on a screen to something real. Yup, I doubled down on my dollar sign and transformed that number into grass, soil, and timber. I changed in what I thought was the security of being a passenger and put myself in a driver’s seat.

So, the digits after my dollar sign may be smaller now. It’s what I have always feared. I have to look at it with a deep breath sometimes and remember…instead of disappearing, I am taking that number and transforming it into something new. Betting on my sweat and effort instead of just watching the screen, crossing my fingers and hoping it goes up. I’m taking the reins, moving in new directions, from the ground up.  Using my roots to create something new, beyond numbers.

Watch it grow.

working women

Wah

Work at home or wah has been something I have been accustomed to for over 20 years. I am not a newbie to juggling work and home life. Wah requires a certain kind of discipline.

School holidays, summer vacations and digital learning days have always added a layer of distractions over the years but they were managed with care. Even when the pandemic popped up tolerance was built up and grace was given across the board. A juggling act of sorts began. The tolerance was temporary.

Fast forward four months and patience weakens when the reality sets in that one’s wah environment changed permanently. The distractions become coworkers. A teenager, a spouse, a token visitor, and a dog are now fixed figures much like a coworker. Don’t be fooled. These coworkers are not on your team.

Their output doesn’t impact your quota or goals. In fact, their production counts against you in ways that are hard to articulate. Their mere presence over time can counteract your goals.

Each new coworker has needs. It could be bandwidth for zoom meetings. Background noise for calls. Your favorite snack in the pantry. The list could go on and on. Now let’s compare that commotion to the once quiet and peaceful singular employee wah environment one was used to. There is no comparison!

The world around us has changed as well. Neighbors are also working at home due to environmental conditions. They may now mow the lawn more mid-day. They may let their dog(s) out in the yard during the day more. There may be neighbors talking over the fence more. There may be kids playing in the pool next door. There may be more UPS deliveries next door more often. That means noises, distractions, and so much more.

A chain reaction can start quickly. One dog barks in the area then five dogs bark. One toilet flushes then another, then another. School starts at 6:20 am for one. Work starts at 8 am for another. Work starts at 10 am for another. End times, lunch breaks, naps, and meetings all fluctuate between the pop-up mini-team. The poor dog is like a ping pong ball. No more daytime naps for the dog. Too much stimulation.

Somebody turns on the laundry mid-day. Somebody has a visitor pop over. Somebody burns something in the kitchen. Somebody takes a TV break and turns the sound up too loud. How does anyone get anything accomplished?

Work conference calls. School zoom classes. Chaos on the home front. Home and work is now mixed without barriers. Temporary is now more permanent.

I almost forgot the annoying coworker. The one who reads an article and wants to discuss it with you. The one who can’t focus on their own work so they ask you irrelevant questions. A coworker who looks to you for motivation or that mental push. Remember your coworker isn’t on your team but they need you to solve their perceived problem. Today it could be motivation. Tomorrow it could be world news they want to have a chat about. The complexities of wah with coworkers that have independent goals and objectives are many especially if they are related to you.

Was your home office really designed for one or four? Do you have additional responsibilities during the pandemic to keep your job? How is your performance holding up? How is your mental toughness?

How will businesses survive when employee productivity declines even further because their impatience and stress at home become too much? How will kids develop when we take away their social environment and replace it with forced digital environments that  are unhealthy in the best of situations?

So much chaos today. I didn’t even have to mention the fact that no masks are required at home. But is home really home when you make it a workplace, a school, a gym and force so much change on everyone within the home walls that the seams are ready to bust?

Wah no longer means work at home to me. It now translates to what a haze. A haze not traditionally discussed. One that will cause some to revert to drugs, alcohol or other self- medicating or self-harm measures to cope.

Each of the above coping mechanisms present another layer of negativity in the home which is now the school which is now the conference room and maybe even the church and so on.

I can’t wait to see the statistical reports in about 3-5 years. The data that will show all that was lost and learned in 2020 during the pandemic. Statistical data is going to pack a punch down the road. Many are in the moment not thinking about long term consequences.

There will also be stats on kids’ vision and how it was impacted. All the screen time between video games, social media and now online schooling. I know in our wah environment we have made adjustments from varied background screen colors to glasses to keep up with changes in digital hours.

2020 is definitely a year for the record books. Wild, crazy, unpredictable. I think I’m going to work at the office. I have that choice, many don’t. It will most likely be less chaotic.

perspective

Timing

I am finding myself reflecting a lot about time lately. What do I do with my time? Who do I spend time with? What do I need to spend time on? What do I not need to spend time on?

Oddly enough I ran into a very special person at the gym this morning. I hadn’t seen her in a while. Pre-corona to be exact. So four months or so. Not forever but a long time these days. I hadn’t noticed she dropped off social media and our schedules hadn’t overlapped. How did I miss something so obvious? Maybe I let negative time get in my way.

What a pleasant surprise to see her. Then the notion of time surfaced and how she avoids social media due to its impact on her mental state. She stated she got more done not worrying about who looks at what or who says what online. That got me thinking again about time.

Time is precious. How you use it. Who you spend it with. How valuable time matters. Your time matters. My time matters. My time belongs to me not others. I get to choose how I spend my time.

I can do something or nothing. I can be in the sunshine or the darkness. It doesn’t really matter as long as I’m happy with my time investment. Are you content where your time is spent?

As I wrap up this rant on time, I will say I often have to reflect in order to take back what time is mine. Sometimes I allow others to use my time for their benefit. When I do this most take advantage. I have to be aware of my time and it’s value to me because at the end of the day nobody donates time to me.

Does anyone steal your time? How much time do you spend on social media? Is it a need? Is it a want? Can you do without? Time is precious. Spend it wisely.