I Want to do ALL the Workouts…ALL of Them

I need a minute to complain. So hear me out for a lil bit – just humor me on this one. There is simply not enough time in the day to do all of the physical activities I love to do. There’s not even enough days in the week to plan out a schedule that allows me to feel fully fulfilled with the workouts I do have. It’s annoying. So I’m pouting right now.


If only…but yes, this is how I often feel.

Running has been my main hitta, my number one, for about 3-4 years. But then? CrossFit. And then? Olympic Weightlifting. I kept telling myself that I’d find a way to run still, that my forray into the world of wods and 1RMs wouldn’t stop me from hitting my favorite trail a couple of days a week. That I’d still find time to incorporate yoga into my routine. Lies. There are so many options…sooooo many. Of course I find happiness in several of those options, but I’ve yet to find the right balance – the right mix of things. Oh, and still manage to go to work, eat, and ya’know…live.

Here’s the real rub though…to be good at something, ANYTHING, one must put a good 85-90% of their efforts towards that. I’ve never been good with ultimatums though, so naturally I am having a rough time with that kind of logic. Oly makes me happy. Running gives me peace. CrossFit gives me community. Yoga gives me clarity. It’s beautiful that I can get all of these wonderful, beneficial things from such varied forms of working out. But how to successfully enjoy them all in a way that is not detrimental to my goals? And body?

Truth moment? I need to revisit my goals. Which is right on time actually, as I spent the majority of this year working on and working towards the goals I’d set for myself last year. I took a break from running to dedicate myself to CrossFit. I dedicated myself to CrossFit to figure out which competitive lifting style (strongman vs powerlifting vs Oly) I wanted to pursue further. Well? The verdict’s in and the lady has chosen Oly. Now that I’ve discovered what area I want to focus on, I’m hoping to build out a schedule that’s a little more realistic of time constraints and my rather divergent interests. Any trainer or coach will tell you that when it comes to setting goals for yourself, you need to make them SMART:


S.M.A.R.T. Reason being, if you start out with goals that are too vague and unrealistic, then you’re gonna bomb out. Know what you’re working towards and chart a course for getting there. I don’t always use SMART goals, but when I do, it makes my life a lot easier, as I have checkpoints along the way to map my progress. I start big, with my ultimate goal, and will work my way backwards from there. Detailing my steps helps to see what the steps are to get me to the goal. Then I assign a timeline to it. Or, if it doesn’t seem realistic…I’ll adjust. So, if right now my main issue is figuring out a way to do all of the physical activities I love to do, then I need to prioritize those activities and figure out what my baseline of participation needs to be for maximum happiness and wellbeing.

I’m thinking ahead to 2015 already…and I think my BIG goals for the year will be:
1. Participate in an Open (Olympic lifting competition)
2. Run a race – either a 10-Miler or a Half Marathon
3. Maximize the hours in a day to work, play, sweat, and rest.

It’ll get me back into running again and allow for me to push myself with the weights. Integrated training. It can work. At least I hope to stop whining about not having the time to run. *shrug*

Anyone else out there have that same issue finding balance? Or is it just me?

Taking the Guilt Out of Eating

I follow a couple of healthy food and recipe accounts on Instagram and have recently noticed a lot of them talk about “guilt free” recipes and snacks. And that phrase just…bothers me for some reason.

Why is the word guilt even remotely associated with food and the way we eat? It’s remarkable that such a strong emotion, guilt, is tied to something as basic and necessary as providing sustenance for our bodies to function. Eating is an essential function of the human body. You literally will cease to function if you do not eat.

It speaks volumes that, in an attempt to eat healthier, it’s become a trend to take some of our less than healthy foods, ya know the ones we love but end up regretting having eaten later, and make them slightly healthy enough, or not as fattening and dubbed it guilt free.


This kind of imagery is very detrimental. It just perpetuates the “fear” associated with gaining weight by eating a cupcake, which further exacerbates the guilt. If you want the cupcake, have it. But what you DON’T want to do, is have 10 of them in one sitting. MODERATION is key.

The term guilt free is a trap on both sides.

Firstly, the thought of something being guilt free can lead to overindulgence. Oh, it’s a guilt free cookie dough ball…it’s made with quinoa and all kinds of other healthy stuff – I’m good to down 6 of these right? I mean…it’s healthy! WRONG. Adding the term guilt free mentally flips a switch in most folks heads that gives them the green light to overindulge. Granted, the quinoa cookie dough balls probably have less sugar and fat that regular cookie dough, but either way you’re still missing the point of eating right if you down the entire batch in only a few (or one) sitting. Guilt free or no, you my dear, have failed in learning moderation.


Secondly, I don’t like the idea that guilt should in any way shape or fo be associated with eating. And if those feelings of guilt DO exist when it comes to a persons daily diet, then it’s time to take a serious look at the way in which you relate to food. Good isn’t meant to make you feel guilty. It’s meant to nourish your body. What makes things complicated is that in out day and age there are SO many foods that may taste delicious or are quick to make/consume, but don’t nourish us nearly as well as a more natural and whole food counterpart. Add to that the emotional value that we place on food…it may remind you of a special memory or a loved one or provide some kind of familiarity and feeling of pleasure when you are eating.

But does it FEED you? Really and truly, FEED you the things you need and not the things you want. Do you eat more for joy or more for necessity? And if it is more joy based eating, then I wonder how you feel…how you TRULY feel when that meal or snack is complete. These are questions you have to ask yourself. I know there have been times in my heavier days when I felt a little guilt about eating too much of a bad thing. Yea it felt great when I choked down, but afterwards I kinda felt like whatever pleasure I got from eating was gone once I stopped eating. And worse, I felt bad for indulging too much. I personally had to, and still do, evaluate the way I look at food. I am making myself take the time to cool for myself. I’m always short in time, so Sundays are my days to cool and prep meals and snacks for the week. I get excited about my prep time. I look forward to it. And best of all, I know what I’m eating and feel happier and more empowered by that. My indulge days or moments are still there. I allow for a meal out or happy hour with friends – I know that in out society food is a means of bringing people together socially, so I’m not trying to change the system…I’m finding ways to function within it and still come out on top. Guilt and regret are no longer words I associate with eating. My advice to you is to try having a quick check in with yourself before you dive into the “goodies.” My check in sounds something like this…

Me: I think I want to eat *insert unhealthy meal/snack here*
Myself: Are you sure?
Me: Yea.
Myself: Ok, then you’re not gonna feel bad about this later right? No moaning and groaning about trying to burn the calories later, because you know that NEVER happens no matter how much folks say it.
Me: Yep, I’m willing to take the hit for indulging this time.
Myself: Ok, cool. Enjoy!

That is how I manage my cravings. Sometimes a snack or treat just isn’t worth it. And in those moments I will swiftly say no. I’m a big believer in living with no regrets. Learn to question your dietary habits and question why they are the way they are. It’s completely fine to do a quick check in with yourself to make sure you’re making informed choices about what you eat and when.

Make every meal a guilt free one by practicing accountability and setting realistic expectations on what you eat and what your food can and cannot do for you.


Too Skinny?

By now, I’m sure that many of you have heard about the controversy surrounding the latest winner of The Biggest Loser, Rachel Frederickson.


All three pictures are Rachel, with the one on the right being her most recent.

A lot of folks have had something to say about her appearance, her rapid weight loss, and the message that The Biggest Loser and contestants like Rachel are sending to the American public. Some have gone so far as to suggest that she has an eating disorder.

I won’t speculate about this young woman, because I’m not in her shoes. BUT I will say that I think she approached The Biggest Loser like a competitor – this woman came to win. TBL is a competition first and foremost, and while I’m not a fan of the show itself, anyone who knows anything about it is aware that in order to win big you literally have to LOSE BIG. Personally, I don’t think the idea of TBL is the greatest one in the world. Contestants are challenged to lose a HUGE amount of weight in a very, very short period of time. Medical research tells us that healthy weight loss is around 1-2 lbs loss per week. Losing weight this way is easier to maintain because it is gradual, and along the way you are learning healthier practices that will assist you in the long run. But for a tv show like TBL, there’s no excitement in something like a 1-2lb loss per week. Folks want to see huge numbers on a weekly basis, so the show itself has oft been criticized for some less than healthy exercise and eating patterns, with past contestants like Kai Hibbard speaking out against some of the unhealthy practices learned while on the show.

But still…the reaction to Rachel’s dramatic weight loss doesn’t surprise me, because she is REALLY thin. Putting it in perspective though, she was on a show that offered a LOT of money to whoever could lose the most weight. I guess in my head, I figure she played to win, and yea the before and after is SUPER dramatic, but at the end of the day that girl won her money AND lost a good deal of weight. Will she gain some back? Possibly, probably…I know that a lot of us are hoping so. Either way though, I think what bothers folks the most is that her weight loss is being celebrated while she herself looks so very emaciated. Not much different than what we do with models these days if you ask me. However, we never see the models before hand…most never had an issue with obesity.

When it comes to a bigger person losing weight, I think there is something that people like to call “too thin.” Now…what exactly constitutes as being too thin? If you ask anyone who has lost weight or is in the process of losing, I’m sure they’d give you a different answer. I’ve had people in my circle warn me against becoming too thin, or losing “too much” weight, or even tell me that I’ve lost enough weight already. What does that mean, though? What is it REALLY all about?

I think, for the average person trying to lose weight and be healthier, not only do they have to confront their personal issues with body image and food, but eventually they end up confronting the issues of others around them as well. The bigger you are and the more weight you begin to lose, the more drastic the difference becomes. It’s apparent to those around you that you are doing something healthy and beneficial for yourself. And if I’m laid back doing my same old unhealthy thing while you’re kicking butt, I start to look bad in comparison. Your weight loss journey then pinpoints the inefficiencies of my own personal lifestyles. The better you look, the worse I look in comparison. And so some people in your circle may start to make remarks that sound something like…

“Make sure you don’t get too skinny!”

“You’ve lost enough already, slow it down some!”

“Be careful, you don’t want to become a bobblehead!”

“Men like women with some meat on their bones, don’t go losing your curves!”

And I could go on…and on. But you get my point. I think that people offer up this commentary with the best of intentions, but at the end of the day the journey you’re on is the one YOU are on. For anyone who has ever been overweight, you know what it feels like to get the stares, the backhanded compliments (Oh, you have such a pretty face…), and to feel self conscious where ever you go. Likewise, you will notice that as you start to lose, those around you may be concerned because they don’t want you to lose too much. But “too much” is really between yourself and your medical provider. In the case of TBL, the goal is to lose as much as possible to win the monetary prize at the end. Not all of the past contestants have kept the weight off, but a number of them have been able to maintain the weight since leaving the show. In the real world though, the only incentive for losing weight is to get healthier. There’s no rush or timeline, no big crowds to cheer you on, just the voice within you telling you that it’s time to make a change.

It’s literally all on you.

A Word on Transformation / Weigh In (January 25, 2014)

12/31/13 : 265
1/4/14 : 258.6 (-6.4)
1/11/14 : 260 (+1.4)
1/18/14: 256.7 (-3.3)
1/25/14: 255 (-1.7)

If I can say just one word about transforming your body, I would have to sum it up in one word: Slow. Now, this is not a complaint, more of an observation. For those of you who have just begun to lose weight, please know that it tends to fall off really quickly at first. Especially if you have a lot of weight to use. I remember when I first started, it seemed like I could lose 5lbs by just LOOKING at a carrot. But at some point, the shedding of the the pounds slows down to a near crawl.

What gives, right? Continue reading

Product Review: Fitbit Flex

Photo Jan 01, 3 11 23 PM

In an effort to keep track of my daily steps and my nightly sleeping patterns, I purchased the Fitbit Flex several weeks ago. I’ve been playing around with it for some time now, and wanted to give my unbiased opinion for those of you who might be considering making a similar purchase.

Look and Feel
It’s pretty light…I wear it right next to my road ID (which I wear ALL the time), and you really can’t notice that it’s there. The set comes with two different sized bands, a larger and smaller one. I think the default is the larger one, but for those with smaller wrists, no need to go and purchase a separate set. The Flex also comes in several colors – bright green, pink, blue, and black. I opted for the simple black one, since I really didn’t want any flashy colors this time around…surprising, right? It’s waterproof as well, so if you want to wear it in the shower or while washing dishes, it seems to hold up just fine. However, sometimes I’ve noticed a little bit of condensation in-between the tracking device and the bracelet. Nothing major though, because it ends up drying.

Photo Jan 01, 3 47 29 PM

Set Up
To set up the flex I had to go to Fitbit’s website and follow their prompts. It was pretty simple, each step was illustrated and clear to understand. When it came to syncing the Flex wirelessly, the set up prompt would not let me advance until it could verify that the sync was established – I liked that. Depending on the kind of phone you have, you can even sync the Flex wirelessly to that as well. Otherwise, you’d use the little device that’s included with the Flex to sync it wirelessly to your laptop. The Flex came out of the box with a charge already, so I didn’t need to charge it immediately, but it seems like the battery itself will last about a week or so fully charged. Charging it only takes a couple of hours, so I would just charge it overnight so as to not interfere with tracking steps. I was able to find a copy of the Owner’s Manual online here
App Integration
For those of you who use GymPact app, good news! You can sync the activity tracked on your Flex to GymPact and it will count as a work out as long as you hit over 10,000 steps in one day. Not too shabby! Also, for those of you who use MyFitnessPal (app or site) you can sync the Flex to that as well and between the two apps you can see the calories you’ve burned and calories you’ve eaten too! You will want to look at the walkthrough that MyFitnessPal does for syncing the two apps, as they do have certain tips and rules that you’ll want to follow to make sure that your activities and food are not double counted in the two apps. For iPhone users, the Fitbit app will enable you to see your progress as you go throughout the day. Even more awesome is the information from MyFitnessPal will also sync to the Fitbit app, allowing you to see the calories you’ve eaten in comparison to calories burned. There are a ton of other apps that will sync with the Fitbit, and you can check them out here

Literally, I put the thing on and don’t take it off unless I need to charge it. In order to track your progress throughout the day, all you have to do is tap the Flex screen quickly two times and a display of dots will appear. Each dot represents 20% of your progress for the day. Meaning, if I’m checking it and 3 dots show up, then I’m 60% to my 10,000 step goal (you can adjust your goal too btw!). Once you’ve reached your goal for the day, the bracelet will “do a little dance” and vibrate on your wrist. For when you want to go to sleep, you’ll have to tap the display on the Flex about 5-6 times quickly and the display will change to two dots on either side of the screen. Then, just got to bed! When you wake up, just hit the display 5-6 times again to turn off the sleep tracking. Oh, and if you forget to turn the sleep tracking off until mid-morning (like I’ve done a few times), no worries! Just turn the sleep mode off when you remember, as it will still be tracking your steps regardless. In regards to accuracy of steps taken, I must warn you that it is not 100% accurate. I’ve done a couple of “test walks” and have found that the steps I’ve counted do not match with the number of steps the Flex says I’ve counted. On average, the difference seems to be about 1.56 steps (Flex) to every 1 step (actually taken). Now, you can do with that what you will, but it’s not a major thing for me. As long as I have a general approximation of the steps I’ve done, I’m ok with it. Actually, If you want to adjust the goal to compensate for the difference you could adjust your daily goal to about 15,600 steps, which should be the amount the Flex would track for your to actually hit about 10,000 steps. I haven’t done that, but it’s not such a bad idea. 

Final Word
All in all, I like the Flex. It’s simple, easy to use, and does what I need it to do. For $99, I would say it’s a good investment for someone who wants to begin tracking their steps and sleep in a more meaningful way. Also, the app integration makes it a lot of fun and can provide some pretty useful information!

My Runner’s Evolution…or Runvolution

I have felt a change coming on in my approach to running and races.

When I first started running, it was a round the time when a lot more folks began to hit the road as casual runners, and with that came an increase in the numbers of folks that participated in races. I remember what it was like trying to make it into the Broad St 10 Miler and then the Marine Corps Marathon a couple of years ago. Big name races that attracted a LOT of notoriety on a local and national level…and also sold out VERY quickly because of it. I remember my first 5k and 10k races were small races; nothing big and fancy, both were relatively ‘young’ in terms of years the race itself had been hosted, but they were both meaningful to me because they were a chance to get out there and prove to myself that I could run. Continue reading