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.

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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?

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?

Find Your Fit

My mind has been all over the place lately. I’ve had so many things I want to say/write about and yet, I don’t know how to start or where to begin.

This blog is changing. If I’m honest, it’s changed and has been changing over the past year or so. It’s changing because I’m changing. I’ve changed. I’ve grown.

When I started writing, it was about running. How to do it. Why to do it. The reasons I love doing it. I was an absolutist. If it wasn’t running or yoga…meh, not interested. 

Then came CrossFit…and you saw so many posts about that. Lifting heavy things. Double unders. Squats. I was, ever so briefly, a CF fanatic. 

Any then I found my way to olympic lifting – or oly for short. I love it. But I’ve learned something along my journey.

There’s more to life, to fitness, to wellness than being crazy about any ONE exercise routine. Being healthy…now that’s the goal. That’s MY goal.

I don’t want to be a runner girl, a crossfit girl, a yoga girl, or even an Oly girl. I want to be fit. And fit by my own standards, not anyone else’s. What that looks like? Well, I’m not sure…and I’m not in a hurry to define it. There is no ideal weight or physical form that I am pursuing. I am doing things I love to do, and enjoying the physical progression of the experience. I’m finding my fit.

That’s what life is for me. Finding my fit. Be it hiking, biking, lifting, running…I’m on a quest for self. 

So this blog is going to have to be a reflection of that quest. It’s only my hope, that through finding my own fit, someone out there may be inspired to find theirs.

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Amazing Apple Recipes for Autumn

..oh hey there, remember me? I haven’t forgotten you guys, but the life is quite busy these days. 🙂 Now that the seasons are changing, I’m KINDA excited – fall is one of my favorite seasons…pumpkins, cinnamon, apples, caramel, cardamon…ugh the warm spices of the season are just lovely.

Now, if you’re like me, you really enjoy the flavors of fall. So this week I’ll be sharing some lists of healthy fall meals and treats that you can try out at home. I’m a simple kinda girl, so I’ve looked all over for simple recipes that don’t take a lot of work, special ingredients, or time. Keep it simple, keep it healthy, keep it delicious.

Up first, we have the apple!!!! (click on the titles/image for the recipe).  And make sure to check out my Facebook Page, as I’ll be posting more nummy recipes on there all week! 🙂

Apple Pie…In An APPLE

Apple Pie In An APPLE

 

Paleo Apple-Cinnamon Pancakes

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Apple Pie Blondies

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Caramel Apple Protein Shake

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Roasted Applesauce

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Caramel Apple Popcorn

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Paleo Apple Crisp

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Gluten Free Brown Sugar Apple Oat Muffins

1