Monday, August 27, 2012

Blue Jean Baby

This weekend was - in a word - FAN-F*#$ING-TABULOUS.  So grab your coffee, lean back, kick your feet up, and listen.  Because I wanna tell you aaaaalllll about it.

Size FOUR. 
First up - didn't workout once.  Sorry...didn't mean to make you spit out your coffee in shock.  But it's true!  Normally, not a reason for fantabulousness.  And I should rectify that statement by saying I had no formal workout.  I did, however, walk my lil' butt off.  Literally.  As Hubby and I perused the Gettysburg Outlets, I walked that lil' butt right into a pair of size four jeans.  I never thought these hips or quads would see the day!  But I was walking right out of the 6's I had on, so I figured I'd make the attempt.  Left the store with spankin' new skinny jeans AND trousers.  BOTH 4's.  And all this after a month of that nasty scale not budging.  So once again, I am proven RIGHT.  Screw the scale!  Use the jeans!

And now I'm extra energized for my back-to-back workouts today (Insanity and an easy run).  My legs feel strong, my lungs feel ready, and my enthusiasm is obnoxiously high.  Sometimes, I need a break to remind me just how much I love what I do.

Mine at last!
Second - Hubby surprised me with a chinup bar AND Selectech dumbbells!!!! Now, of course we left on our mini-vacay before I had the chance to use either piece of equipment.  And of course nothing in my training currently necessitates either piece of equipment.  But I cannot keep my sweaty paws off of 'em so I see a lifting session in my very near future (translation: Babe's naptime).  I've been dreaming lustily of this since I helped Hubby carry the weights inside on Friday.  Today, my dreams reach fruition.  *blissfulsigh*

Third - I discovered our favorite restaurant in Gettysburg (Gettysburg Eddie's) has added a vegetarian menu!  I was not relegated to pale lettuce leaves and lemon water!  Instead, I feasted on portabella, roasted red peppers, and an incredibly vibrant salad.  My drool is making the keyboard kind of slippery...My only regret nutrition-wise while we were out and about?  Nary a blender in sight so no Shakeology for TWO DAYS!  And I forgot to take my vitamins along, so I was feeling mildly sluggish by the time we returned to the M&M Estate last evening.  Today, however, all is good and back on track.  Shakeology has been consumed and Mama is on the verge of a workout.  Things are back to healthy!

Last (but not nearly least) - I handed out copies of my book to my sisters and my mom.  Autographed and everything!  There's something about a book that just feels good in my soul.  Those are my words and my ideas between those covers...and that's my name on the front cover.  My bucket list would be shorter if I wasn't constantly adding new goals to replace those accomplished.

It's good for your FitLife AND your soul.
Great weekend.  But it's over...and now we're movin' into a new week, a new school year, and a new challenge group.  Just because I've had an awesome three days, don't expect me to slow down and become a slug.  I've got plenty of awesome to keep going.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Can I Get A WootWoot?

Let's take a moment to truly appreciate just how far I have come, shall we?  A moment to reflect on the changes and triumphs of the last year, a nod to my goals reached and accomplishments made.  Because, well..freakin' BOOYAH, BABY!  I've busted out of so many ruts the path ahead is all smooth now.

Last summer, I was wearing a body covering black bathing suit (we all know the benefits of black), the skirt very thoughtfully covering my thighs.  This summer?  BAM.  That's a leopard print bikini, and it's one of FOUR bikinis I sported all summer long.  I have actual abs now and I really want everyone to get a good look at 'em.  On particularly good days, I find myself looking for an excuse to run errands in workout gear so strangers can be motivated by my gloriousness as well. 

Last summer, I started running and completed my first half marathon, donned in a long running skirt and tank top.  This summer, I emerged from a winter of beastly training and ran my first full marathon, donned in a sports bra and mini running skirt.  This summer, I completed my first Spartan Race and jumped over fire.   Last summer, I used walk/run intervals to train for my race. This summer, I am simply running as I train for the Runner's World Half Marathon and Festival.  (You may want to put on some sunglasses; my awesomeness is getting kinda blinding.)

Last summer, I was smack in the middle of TurboFire and it was the hardest workout I had ever managed to do.  This summer, I'm smack in the middle of Insanity and it IS the hardest workout I have ever done.  But I'm doing it and getting in even BETTER shape.  Traffic may stop by the time next summer rolls around...

Last summer, I was just beginning my road to a FitLife.  This summer, I am firmly entrenched and helping others as they begin wading in the SweatItOut pool.  I am running challenge groups, maintaining a business, and self-publishing a book.  I am on the road to certifications so I can get back to personal training and instructing.  I am headed towards even greater heights of awesomeness.  And the good news is - I'm taking YOU with me. 

All you gotta do is decide, commit, and succeed.  Three simple words.  The first two can be rough...but that last one is so terrifically sweet.  Trust me.  I know from personal experience.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

To The Max

After a simply lovely recovery week with Insanity, I entered month two feeling strong and relaxed.  For about 30 seconds.  My intense love of Shaun T nearly spiraled into a dark hatred, that spiral being full of curses, tears, and copious amounts of salty sweat.  Then I remembered, oh right...It was I that chose to do this.  I'm doing this to myself.

And I dug deeper.

It sucked big balls, I ain't gonna lie.  I hurt.  I did not feel strong or badass or powerful.  I felt like the last kid picked for dodge ball and I wanted to curl into a little ball with some mint chocolate chip ice cream and watch Designing Women reruns.  But I didn't.  I stood tall when I could muster the strength to do so and pushed right through that workout.  And once it was over, it didn't seem so bad.

Then today, I did the next one.  SWEET MOTHER OF GOD.  I must continually remind myself that this feeling right here, this is what week one felt like.  And then week two was better.  Never easier, mind you.  Never easier, just better.  You will only understand if you are also doing or have done an intense workout - Insanity, CrossFit, TapOutX, or the like.  (And yes, I want to try the other two as well.)

Now, I get those last few paragraphs are not exactly what we in the biz call "selling points."  So let me show you some of the "pros." 

1.  I am stronger than I have ever been.  I did freakin' BALANCE PUSHUPS today.  Ten of 'em. 

2.  I am in the best cardio shape I have been in.  Running is pretty easy now, and I'm faster too.  Popped in TurboFire Fire 55 EZ the other day - still a great and fun workout, still love it - BUT...not the absolute killer it used to me.  Not even with my weighted gloves. 

3.  I am getting clear cut results.  As in, my muscles are cutting through my skin.  My arms, when relaxed, now look the way they used to look flexed.  Take that, First Lady Obama.

4.  I just plain feel great.  I take a lot of pride in completing these workouts and doing more and more of them every week.  It's the toughest thing I've set out to do thus far and I'm doing it.  That kinda spills over into non-workout life as well.  More steps have been taken towards teaching and training.  I self-published my first collection of posts from this lil' ol' blog.  My business is growing steadily.  Because my body is functioning better, my head is clearer, I have more energy and drive and focus...if you can believe that it was possible to have more.

I'm not saying Insanity is the program for everybody.  But I bet it is the program for more than you think.  That's right - YOU.  What are YOU doing today?  Wanna get crazy with me?

Friday, August 17, 2012

Yesterday You Said Tomorrow

"Tomorrow is another day." - Scarlett O'Hara
"The sun'll come out tomorrow." - Annie
“Tomorrow you promise yourself will be different, yet tomorrow is too often a repetition of today.” 
- James T. McCay

Tomorrow.  I hear that word so frequently it's nearly lost all meaning.  When I actually use it, it's a word full of anticipation.  Here are a few examples:

Tomorrow, I am expecting copies of my book to arrive.
Tomorrow, my order of Brazil Butt Lift will be one day closer.
Tomorrow, I have a long run scheduled outside.

See how fabulous tomorrow can be - if you're actually going to utilize the day?  Too often, people use tomorrow as an excuse to make today lackluster.  As though promising a workout tomorrow makes them healthier today.  Guess what?  It doesn't work that way.  The results that you're looking for only actual occur if you DO THE WORK. 

And yes, I get that it's not all fun and games in the beginning.  The beginning is HARD.  The beginning is TOUGH.  It's all about the front of the mullet - business.  But if you wanna get that party in the back, ya gotta work through it.  And trust me - there is a party in the back.  And it's fun, and it's filled with fantabulously gorgeous people, and it's where all the cool kids are hanging out - and living longer, fuller lives.  Because, seriously - you can't live your life to the fullest if you're dragging around even 20 extra pounds.  You can't live life to the fullest if you're thin but have no strength.  When walking up the stairs is enough to take your breath away, that's not the best you can do.  If you're tired after carting the groceries in from the car, that's not the best you can do.  It's the bare minimum, and you'll get far fewer years out of the bare minimum. 

Hard truth: if you're inactive and scarfing grease-covered potatoes, you are doing yourself and your body an injustice.  This isn't about being thin or looking a certain way.  This is about your HEALTH.  I don't care if you're skinny or if you're fat - if you're not taking care of your body, you're at risk for a whole list of nasty, icky stuff.  And if you're a parent - shame on you.  What do you want for your kids?  Would you hand your child a cigarette?  Alcohol?  Poison?  Then WHY for the love all that is holy would you stuff 'em full of chemicals, dyes, and hormones???? 

And before you roll your eyes and call me a "health nut"...I get the need for treats.  I get the need for a day off now and again.  It's all about moderation, but come on.  Moderation does not mean eating something unhealthful on a daily basis.  It's not having a side salad followed by fried chicken and gravy.  It's about recognizing how much good stuff is required to outweigh the bad stuff.  It's more than you want to deal with, I'm sure...but too freakin' bad.

Now, let's have a fun truth: If you start today and keep at it for just three weeks, it becomes a habit.  Stick with it another three weeks, and it becomes a lifestyle.  You stop exercising because you have to and start sweatin' because you want to.  You stop craving chocolate and start craving vegetables.  You stop being tired and start feeling energetic.  You will participate in life in ways you never contemplated or even realized you weren't participating before.  That's right about the time you send me a message on Facebook, or email me, or text me - and say "Hey, thanks! I am kicking ass like nobody's business! You were right about all that healthy shit!"  And I humbly give you all the credit (because it was YOU who did the work, after all) and tell you to KEEP GOING. 

Because even if you've taken care of today, tomorrow is still all like "What about me ova heah?"  (Tomorrow has a New York accent, just in case you were wondering.)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Yearn to Learn

I'm teacher AND student - so I get the apple.

I am always learning, and my favorite things to learn are things about - you guessed it - myself.  Here is what I'm learning this week:

1. Insanity has kicked my cardio capabilities into another hemisphere.  I began training for my half-marathon/5k/10k combo scheduled for October, and - miracle of miracles - I no longer need those pesky walking intervals.  I can just run.  Now, I may add in the the walks when I increase my time and mileage simply for fear of injury - but they'll be few and far between (and weeded out as soon as possible), but for right now, my sports bra is near bustin' with pride.  (It has very little else to bust with these days.)

2.  My heart rate may get all kinds o' jacked up while pushing through Insanity or a speedy run interval, but it drops right back down the way a healthy person's would.  I no longer need long cooldowns to return my heart rate to its resting rate; it gets there lickity split all on its own.  Stop yammering!  I still cool down and stretch because I like it and it's good for my pretty muscles.  I'm just sayin' that before, I would still be huffin' and puffin' like the Big Bad Wolf after some bacon.  Now, I'm just as serene as the brick-layin' pig.  (But much leaner.)

Mine is working just dandy, thanks.
3.  I can make my goals happen all on my own, even if they aren't fitness-related.  I wanted to be an author; yesterday I made it so.  Thank you to and their helpful step-by-step into the world of self-publishing.  Now, you can take me to bed with you!  I will post links to buy the physical copy of SweatItOut: My Journey From CouchSpud to FitGal as soon as everything is a go.  For now, you can find me on Kindle by searching "SweatItOut." 

4.  My love of fitness is spreading, and it's spreading because of me.  The Werewolf is doing yoga all on his own and loving it.  He's namaste-in' with Rodney Yee two or three times a week and becoming more and more intent on maintaining his focus - so "please be QUIET, Mom and Sissy."  This makes me incredibly happy and even bustier with pride (well, maybe not bustier, but a gal can always dream).  This weekend we will be shopping for yoga supplies so he can try out some backbends.

The Werewolf's yoga partner
5.  Exercise is the key component to my productivity.  Days that I don't work out, I don't do much else either.  I allow myself to slump in front of the computer, the television, my iPhone.  My energy piques around 1:00 pm.  I begin getting cranky around 4:00.  Days that I do work out, my chores are done by noon, I'm chipper and ready to get outta the house by 1:00, and the kids typically follow by 2:00.  (I wait for them, of matter how tempted I may be for a solo trip.)  Nutrition - the same!  When I take my supplements (added in a B-Complex to support my Iron) and eat well, my body thanks me with energy and good moods.  Why mess with it?  Sloth and gluttony just aren't my sins.

Those are all pretty kick ass new things about me.  But know what's better?  Next week, I'm gonna find out something else.  Fact is, I just get better on a daily basis.  So try to keep up, would ya?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Once A Runner...

Get ready, Readers.  Today marks the first day of Trifecta Training and as such, the first of many posts regarding my incredible gains as a runner.  If you're a runner, you're bound to find my itty bitty increment improvements interesting (notice the alliteration? I'm good.).  If you're not a should be.  It's awesome.  It's addicting.  And you have the added bonus of being able to race with me, because I am dying for some running buddies! 

What exactly am I training for, you ask?  The Runner's World Half Marathon and Festival in October, right in Bethlehem!  (I say "right in" because it takes me less than hour to get there, and when you live in a town without even a grocery store, that's "right in.")  They are offering not one, not two, but THREE RACES!  Now, of course you can sign up for just one or two...but that just seems like something I would not do...So I'm doing all three!  Saturday it's the 5k followed by the 10k and Sunday it's the half.  I am looking to bust my Rock N' Roll Half time (2:37) and really don't think I'll have a problem. 

I took an easy 20-minute treadmill run today, increasing incline to decrease boredom (I am more of an outside runner, but the treadmill is fab for days I can't get outside) and was impressed with myself.  I know, never happens, right?  Today it DID.  I didn't feel the need for a walk break at all.  This may sound like a small step to you, but it's a giant leap for me.  That Shaun T has turned this runner into a cardio MACHINE.  I had to repeatedly remind myself that today's schedule called for an easy run and it's perfectly okay to not want to keel over.  Add in that I'm technically in recovery week with Insanity and today felt pretty restful.  (Except that all of my challenge groups are participating in a low-to-high plank hourly challenge - 10 an hour - and I'm setting an example by doing it too...)

Rock N Roll
Anyway - I kept a 5.0 mph pace for my easy run.  Not Speedy Gonzales, but not Me From Last Summer either.  Not even Me From This Past Winter.  That used to be my top speed, not my easy peasy lemon squeezy pace.  I just busted through ANOTHER wall.  Thank you for your applause, but really - the roses aren't necessary.  (I prefer crowns and tiaras.)

The best part of today, though - feeling like ME.  The iron levels seem to be evening out - or maybe it's just the return to running.  I love it.  It totally gets me high on endorphins.  I can't wait for my outdoor early morning run tomorrow.  And I promise - I will remember every detail of every step my little Ghosts take (although they will soon be traded in and take their place on the closet floor next to my Frees, as their tread is all gone)...because I know you'll be waiting and anticipating, wondering and worrying.  Fear not, dear Readers!  We, friends, are BACK ON TRACK. 

And you're running with me, right?  Oh YAY!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Pounds

I still step on the scale nearly every morning.  Call it curiousity, call it habit.  I sometimes still feel that initial prick of irritation at the numbers' refusal to lower, but it's pretty easy to kick that downer to the curb.  And this is what I always want to tell people when they start their own fitness journeys.  STEP AWAY FROM THE SCALE.  Picture me holding a tape measure instead of a badge and a camera instead of a gun.  Because really, those are far better measures of progress. 

Depending on your starting point, yes, I get it.  Pounds can be pretty important and an easy tracker.  They were for me, too.  I dropped over ten pounds in my first round of TurboFire.  Even better, I dropped from maternity clothes to a size 8.  Even better, my arms went from flab to FAB.  Even BETTER, I went from schlepping through life to racing through my goals. 

Which is good, because those numbers on the scale stopped dropping midway through ChaLEAN Extreme.  I got angry, frustrated.  Then I realized I was in a size 6.  Muscles were forming and they just take up less room than fat.  A pound of muscle weighs the same as a pound of fat - it just looks a hell of lot sexier and fits into far cuter clothing.  True story.

It's an ongoing battle with me - what is actually happening versus what I thought when I was younger and far less knowledgable (and also certain that I was immortal).  I was always concerned with poundage and convinced that was the ultimate key in what I was trying to achieve.  But I was also convinced that tanning was a "healthy look" and cigarettes had no effect on my skin, let alone the rest of my carcinogen-racked body.  Oh, to be young and stupid...No thanks. 

Luckily, my brain has settled into FitLife Truths and only requires a spanking every now and again.  I still have those moments of basking in the sun and thinking "I could get some good color today" before I give myself a little mental ear pulling and admonishing.  And I still have those moments when I read the numbers on the scale and put one foot over the edge of the Grand Panic Canyon.  You know that canyon; it's filled with things like the Atkins Diet, Thighmasters, and ShakeWeights.  I don't sightsee there anymore, though.  Which is good, because I'd be a fat and miserable bitch.

Me, 1/17/12
Me, 7/31/12
In my not-even-close-to-humble opinion, the two best ways to track your ACTUAL progress are photos in which you wear as little clothing as possible while still being able to share them with others and monitoring how you feel.  I am a HUGE proponent of the Before&After Pics.  They grant you amazing bragging rights and help keep you in check when you wanna go into that ScaleRemainsTheSame tailspin. 

Now the other - how you feel - is incredibly subjective, isn't it? But let me share this incredibly fascinating tidbit with you: I can bust through Insanity workouts in ways I couldn't just weeks ago.  No lie.  When I began this program, I wanted to vomit and had to take breaks with nearly every move.  The first time I did Pure Cardio and realized there are NO SCHEDULED BREAKS I thought I might die in a puddle of my own sweat and tears.

Today, I did EVERY SINGLE MOVE.  And I did the majority of them without ANY BREAK AT ALL.  Now that, friends, is progress.  Slice it any way you want, I am stronger today than I was four weeks ago.  I am stronger today than I was YESTERDAY.  Who the fuck cares how much I weigh?  Not this FitGal.  And if you do, I double dog dare you to tell me...

So yes, I'll grant you the pounds lost when you're just starting out.  But when the plateau hits - and it will - I will not pat your back or hand you a Kleenex.  I will roll my eyes and tell you to grab the tape measure, go shopping and try on a new size, and for the love of all that is sweaty (mmmm...Shaun T's chest....what were we talking about again?) - TAKE A PICTURE.  It's worth a thousand pounds.