How Do You USE This Thing?

So admittedly…it’s been FOREVER since I’ve written something.

And I’ve wanted to – no really, I’ve wanted to write something…I just didn’t have the words. To be honest, I still don’t have the words. But I figured, even if I don’t have the best things or the “right” things to say, that in this space…saying something is better than saying nothing at all. Who knows, there may be a person or two out there who can identify with what I’m going through.

So what am I going through, exactly?

Well…in short…I’m comparing who I am to who I used to be. I used to be a solid 60lbs lighter. I used to be a person who ran at least 15 miles per week. I used to be someone who had a BOOKED running schedule. I used to be a regular(ish) blogger.

And I miss that person. No, if I’m going to be honest, I miss the way that person looked. I loved running, hell I STILL love running. I went for a run this morning and felt that familiar glow and sparkle…that feeling of peace and the satisfaction of completing a run. But my eating habits have changed along with a number of things…and yes I have gained that weight back, but with it I have gained a couple of other things.

…like muscle and strength

…like a love and appreciation for the power of the female body

…like the ability to see in myself, even my heavier self, an athlete

…like an appreciation for and a commitment to regular physical activity

…like the ability to cook real meals (versus those pre-packaged messes I used to eat)

It’s a journey they say – one filled with ups and downs. So this might be a down swing for me…and I’m trying my best to fight my way through it. Someone close to me told me to focus on appreciating me NOW and not looking back on the me THEN. And that’s been good to reflect upon. We never really stop and admire who we are – when I look back even to my smallest days I know this to be true. I remember being happy with my progress, and feeling great – but not really being full on satisfied. I still wanted and tried to push for more. Looking at those old pictures now though? Man…I was FINE! And I still am. *smile* but I want better. Not to chase an image, but to chase a feeling.

That feeling of looking in the mirror and seeing the person you believe yourself to be reflected back to you. I had that at one point. I am working on finding her again. And as I continue that search for her, I will try to share my story along the way. Inch by inch. Mile by mile.

workout-motivation

The Nose, The Tongue, and Me

I’ve been on travel for work for the past 3 weeks and somewhere along the line I got this lovely little cold. But for the first time ever, I lost my sense of smell AND taste…for a foodie like myself this was hell. Not to mention the last leg of the trip was in New Orleans…my favorite city…land of beignets and etouffee. *sigh* Yea, so my tastebuds wound up kicking in after about 2 weeks of bland land and I could enjoy my jambalaya in piece, but I’m not here to talk about that.

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Sorry, lol.

But seriously, a funny thing happened when I lost the sense of taste and smell. My entire relationship to food changed. At first I went through denial and tried my best to find the enjoyment of some of my favorite foods, but it was no use. I couldn’t taste a damn thing. And then I got angry because I found the whole point of eating to be an exercise in futility. For someone like myself, eating is an experience. It’s the look, the smell, the taste…all of that. Part of being a foodie I guess. But with 2/3 of those vital elements out of order all I could do was look at food. I quickly lost interest in eating. Don’t get me wrong – I didn’t starve myself nor did I stop eating, but eating was really just something to do to keep my stomach from growling. It messed with me mentally. Eating without tasting…and all I could rely on was texture, which wasn’t SO bad, but it’s not the same.

I got to thinking…and noticing…that it’s super easy to allow your body to tell you when you are ACTUALLY hungry when you can’t smell or taste a thing. It’s crazy, but the nose plays a pretty big role in how we taste food…and when combined with taste the two can play a doozy on how you interpret hunger or desire for food. I was just kinda “over” eating just to eat, because I couldn’t really get any enjoyment out of it, lol. It was boring and pointless. I got over my resentment in time, and now that I’m close to being normal in that department again I’m trying to allow my stomach to speak for itself. Hopefully, this will mean some additional weightloss in the near-ish future.

Have you guys ever lost the sense of taste? How’d you deal with it?

Dear New Years Resolutioners….And Gym Regulars

Welcome to a new year of fitness. I see you in the gym, working out hard every day (sometimes several times a day), trying new classes, and searching for a healthier and fitter version of yourself.

To the gym regulars…I see you too. The look of annoyance and utter disdain…the side glances at gym newbies…the audible displeasure at how crowded the gym floor or locker room may be.

The gym is a place for all people, of all shapes, sizes, and athletic ability. It’s where folks go to sweat, do good work, and push through plateaus. It’s hard enough in a world of fast food convenience and sedentary complacency to make your way to the gym. Whether you’re a noob or a vet, there’s a place at the gym for everyone. What bothers me most about this time of year is the way some, and I will say some, gym regulars make comments aloud – either on the gym floor or in the locker room regarding noobs. Hey, if someone decided that 2015 was the year for them to lose that last 20 lbs, or to gain a little more energy, or to try yoga – CHEERS TO THEM!!! It’s not your place, vet, to make someone who’s probably already nervous as hell that much more uncomfortable. It’s mean, rude, and really…really annoying.

To my newbies, I hope this year you find yourself getting ever the more closer to your goal of a healthier you. Workout out, eat well, hydrate, rest, and repeat. Have fun with it, make new friends. In no time you’ll know the lay of the land at your local gym, which instructors you like, and which trainers are really cool (et ehm…ME). 😉 But most of all never forget, no matter how long you’ve been a member at a gym, everyone was new once. So be nice to one another, aight?

Now go be active. 😀

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Welcome 2015!

Happy New Year to you lovely, beautiful people out there! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and that you’re as jazzed as I am for what lies ahead in 2015.

Now, it’s been a minute since my last post, and a couple of things have been happening. The biggest and most exciting thing has been my latest job – I’m now a trainer at a local gym. I started in December and so far I really enjoy it! The more I’m around like minded folks, the more I realize that I just LOVE being in the fitness world. Also – I just get a kick out of talking to people about fitness and helping them figure out the best way to get to their goals. There are just so many ways to be fit and healthy – it’s so awesome to hear what other people think about when they think of being fit.

BOOM.

BOOM.

Another thing that’s happened recently…

Mohawk!

Mohawk!

Cut my hair, kinda love it. Makes me feel a lil more badass and I think I look extra cool when I’m lifting heavy things. I feel very Grace Jones/Xena Warrior Princess these days, lol. So the look just fits. 😉

I’m trying to take it back to basics over the next couple of months. I really miss running…but I hate the treadmill. (snoozefest) So I bought a new toy since I lost my Timex Run Trainer 2.0 and have been running on weekends where I can.

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Haven’t tested the watch out yet – just got it this weekend, but I plan to share my thoughts on it shortly.

 

It’s good to run again. Fun and relaxing as always. Having some kinda goal in mind usually helps keep me on my A game, but I haven’t decided if I really want to run a race this spring. I miss half marathoning, but realistically speaking I want more time running outdoors as part of my training. Meh. Maybe I’ll finally run that Philly Half Marathon this November. I’ve only been trying to do it for several years, lol. Maybe this is the year I don’t wait until the last minute to register. Maybe.

Want to know something really random? CrossFit helped me with my running last year. Seriously, it did! The metcons (metabolic conditioning) we did helped keep me on point with my aerobic ability and the strength training helped make me stronger. That kinda stopped when I switched jobs and focused on lifting exclusively, but that’s the ebb and flow of life – right? I’ll be doing some of my own programming over the next couple of weeks until the weather gets warmer and I can go back outside to run again.

Btw, this blog is 4 years old! Can you believe it?? Nope, neither can I. 😀

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.

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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:

Specific
Measurable
Attainable
Realistic
Timely

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?

Why I Love Olympic Weightlifting

I’m approaching a year of CrossFit…and you know what I’ve learned? I really…REALLY love Olympic Weightlifting (“Oly” for short). Love it to the point where I’ve actually stopped participating in CrossFit wods at my box and have been Oly training exclusively. Hadn’t thought I’d get this into the sport, but yes…I am a big fan.

Where CrossFit builds workouts (wods) around several different types of sports (gymnastics, powerlifting, oly, running, strongman, etc) with the goal of building athletes that are functionally fit, Oly focuses on two lifts. The clean & jerk….and the snatch. Both lifts are very explosive and require a great amount of control – both of your body and of the weight on the bar.

Both sports produce amazing athletes. Both demand you to face your fears and dig deeper.

Oly just speaks to me more. I’ve tried to deny it. To ignore it…nope, I’m a CrossFitter!!! But let’s be honest here, I spend more time thinking about or looking at Oly vids than I do anything else. When I go into the gym I get annoyed when there are guys deadlifting on the only pad where you could actually do Oly lifts – meanwhile there’s a perfectly good deadlifting area in another part of the gym that is hardly ever used.

I like lifting heavy things…while being smart about it, of course. I learned several months ago that I need to “respect the bar” at all times – I dropped a bar with about 160 lbs on it and let it roll away…and right onto my shin. It wasn’t a major injury, just a little blood. But I’ve got the scars as a reminder of the importance of respecting that bar and minding the bar at all times.

With that said, if you’re thinking about getting into lifting…I would say to give it a try. Make sure you’ve got a good coach to teach you the basics and make sure you are safely progressing along. It’s not as scary as it may seem, but it is something that does take a certain amount of time, dedication, and attention. If I can do this…YOU can too. If it’s your thing – of course. 🙂

Here are some clips of some of my fave ladies from across the globe kicking ass. Various ages. Various nationalities. Various body types. Same level of awesome. Be inspired.

Tatyana Kashirina – Russia

Lidia Valentin – Colombia

Zoe Smith – UK (she’s only 20!)

Holley Mangold – USA 

Fitness = Bubble Butt + Thigh Gap + Body Shaming?

I was on Pinterest this evening, looking for some worthy motivational and inspiration messages to both share with you all and to keep in my personal collection. It’s been awhile since I’d been on the site, but I happened to type in “Fitness” as my search term and these were some of the top images that popped up:

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Nitpicking…dissecting…and shaming of the female body as a way to inspire fitness? Is that really the way we want to go? Is this truly inspirational, or are we playing on the fears and worries of many women who may already have a number of body issues. Is it not enough that we are bombarded daily with society’s standards of what beauty is? So now we have brought that same comparison and shame to the world of fitness. Now, don’t get me wrong, I recognize that you can tag a photo with as many keywords as you’d like and perhaps I just got the unluck of the draw this evening, but as I’ve been observing the fitness movement that is sweeping the nation, I can’t help but think that there is a bigger issue that we are just NOT addressing.

If we’re going to talk about physical fitness, we are going to also have to talk about health – mental and emotional. Shame and fear are both terrible motivators. Health, true and lasting health, should come from a place of love and understanding. You want to be a better, healthier person because you love yourself and perhaps even because the love you have for those closest to you motivates you to take certain steps to ensure you can maximize the time you are able to spend with them. Understanding comes in as you recognize that there may be ebb and flow in your day to day healthy living, but that these changes are natural and a part of life. Personally, I do not think that chasing after an ideal body part(s) or running from the fear of cellulite is a way to have sustainable and healthy weight loss and fitness goals.

And what really gets me in the midst of all of this – is that all of these “fitness motivation” imagery is more or less targeted at women with a very distinct message..

“Who you are isn’t good enough. You need to have these physical qualities to be considered healthy/fit/sexy.”

*yawn*

*yawn* …riiiight.

The feminist in me isn’t buying that one bit. And while I know from a professional and personal standpoint, that naturally as you reduce caloric intake and increase calories burned (aka good eating and exercise habits) you will see a physical change in your body – depending on HOW you’re exercising and WHAT you’re eating, results WILL vary. And that’s not even getting into what kind of body type you may be. Fit looks different on every…body. Why then, do we insist upon driving home such a narrow and frankly superficial view of what fitness is. And further more…who the HELL are you to tell me what’s wrong with my butt/hips/thighs? I really…REALLY wish that society would spend LESS time concerned with the female body and MORE time focused on promoting holistically healthy imagery, guidance, and examples of the multiple avenues to fitness.

Which brings me to yet another question…what is fitness anyway? What does it mean to be fit? These are questions I’m posing to myself and you as well. What are the goals that you’ve set for yourself? And why? What is your motivation? What drives you to get up in the early morning or go out after a long day at work and put in some time at gym? I hope, that after some thought and reflection, that the answers you come up with are ones that make you happy and will do no harm in the long run. I want everyone to reach their highest self, to be the best they can possibly be. Fitness looks and feels like whatever works best for YOU. Perhaps isn’t thigh gap, or super chiseled muscles. Maybe it’s a dress size or two less coupled with the ability to run around with your dog or kids a little more. Maybe it’s reducing the number of medications you need to take. Or being able to walk or run up a flight of stairs without losing your breath. It could be something as simple as being able to bend over and touch your toes.

It could be any of those things.

It could be all of those things.

But it’s YOUR choice…and you have the power to decide what fitness feels like for yourself. Please, don’t let society or family and friends try to define your personal goals and aspirations for you. You’re the architect here. Make sure you are building on a solid foundation.

Does anyone even hear me out there? Am I the only one who’s kinda over it? What do you all think?