Busy girl

I’ve been a pretty busy girl lately!  I could give you a big run down, but let’s just say that I’ve been working out A LOT.  And because of that there have been some big changes in my life.  I’m really happy with where I’m at and excited about where I’m going.  So let’s just jump in to the here and now.

Never give up.

Never give up.

This week I’m starting an internship with my trainer – at the same time as I’m also going back in to a high volume week for workouts.  Lucky for me, these things happen at the same time, in the same place.

I didn’t think that burning 5000 calories a day would be achievable for me, but I’ve done it.  Sometimes it feels nearly impossible, but at the end of the day, I look back and I’m impressed with myself.  Pushing myself is something I’m familiar with, but digging in physically to beyond where I thought I could be is something else entirely.  I’m enjoying it because I’m learning more about myself at the same time.  I have a breaking point and sooner or later I’ll learn more about where it is before I hit it.

My life as a Beachbody Coach has been really rewarding.  I’m doing well at it – make a lot of connections and impacting lives.  That’s what it’s about for me.  Anytime someone tells me that something I said, wrote, or posted inspired them to make a healthy decision – well, that really just tells me I’m on the right path.  I’m still wrapping my head around the fact that I’m an example to anyone at all.  I know there are eyes on me and I know that there are a fair amount of haters out there.  I’m just doing what I can and letting the rest of it go.

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Umm, Have You Forgotten About Triathlon?

No, actually I HAVEN’T forgotten about my triathlon goals.  I know it seems it, with all this talk to 5K and Beachbody, and Shakeology, and eating Paleo, and all the other seeingly random health-related things I bring up here.  Finishing a triathlon is definitely still my goal.  Maybe my why has changed?  I view triathlon as something REALLY badass.  I think of myself as pretty badass.  Therefore, completing a triathlon would further prove that train of thought.  You really need a great level of fitness and endurance to finish one.  You can’t really just get away with being good at one event and phoning the others in.

I'm still regularly doing TRX and getting fantastic strength and flexibility gains.

I’m still regularly doing TRX and getting fantastic strength and flexibility gains.

I have started running.  Like, actually running, not just walking really fast.  I’m working with a trainer who is really helping me get my form down.  My fitness level and muscle development is good enough that I can venture in to this world and not have to worry about killing my joints now.  Sometimes my lungs keep me back, sometimes it’s my legs.  Strength and cardio endurance.  I’m going to piggy back with these, but I’ll get better at both.

Biking is still eluding me.  I have a bike, but I’m not super comfortable on it.  We’re going to get a trailer hitch on one of our cars so we can use a bike rack to transport our bikes.  As it is now, my bike is big and heavy and getting 2 bikes in our small SUV is kind of difficult.  My husband thinks that cycling will be the best way to improve my cardio output without hurting my body.

Swimming.  I could be swimming in the ocean *right now* but I’m using the excuse that it’s too cold.  Which, really, it is.  But I also have access to a couple of pools.  I need to get my butt back in the water.  It’s always awesome and I always think “Why haven’t I been doing this” when I’m swimming regularly.  I did practice water transitions with my trainer.  Unfortunately it resulted in the loss of my iPhone because, well, I have no excuse other than I didn’t think far enough ahead.

I’m going to find an event within a week and either sign up or set up an alert for it.

Life has been crazy.

Hello out there. I’m still here! Things have gotten nutty in my world and I am not really able to go in to the specifics. But, I’m still fighting the good fight. At the beginning of November I did the Awesome 80s Run 5K again. Two groups of girls wouldn’t let me pass them. It made me mad! I beat one group through the finish, with Patrick doubling back to run the last 0.1 with me.

Totally awesome post-race shot!

Totally awesome post-race shot!

I kicked my gym training up. I was going to 2 circuit training classes a week and 2 TRX classes a week. I did a 60 day Beachbody Challenge. Things were great. Then, 2 of my trainers left my gym. Don’t worry, I’m following one to her next thing. And the other, well, as soon as I know what he’s up to – I’ll be back with him, too. I’ve also decided to completely double down on fitness and Beachbody by becoming a Coach.

I am faithfully drinking my Shakeology every day and I’ve seen some great improvements to my health! I’m so much more regular, my energy is up, and I’m not hungry between meals.

I promise, I’ll be back with more posts and craziness. I just wanted to fill you in on what’s up!

Reboot, Reset, Regroup

I stepped on the scale today and I really didn’t like what I saw. Instead of getting angry with myself, going back to bed, or looking for the nearest sweet, I did something different. My rational brain spoke louder than any other voice in my head. “Well, why are you surprised? It’s been holiday time. You were given 2 plates of cookies. You had company and were out to eat every day. You drank quite a bit. And then there’s the NYE party where you drank more than quite a bit. This isn’t rocket science, kid. Time to get back to business.”

That’s what I’m doing. I’m eating breakfast. I have a healthy lunch planned. I have work to keep me busy all morning and not hanging out of the refrigerator.

I also have to remember that I’m keeping up with training, and that’s AWESOME. Yesterday I hit the strength deck hard, shredding my abs, and I’m upright and smiling about it all today. There are victories everywhere.

On days when my face won't smile, I can always refer to my smiling teeth cast to get through.

On days when my face won’t smile, I can always refer to my smiling teeth cast to get through.

Tales of my Fitness Past – Part 3

Continuing on my journey to write about my fitness past to have a better fitness future.

Oh college.  I loved college.  I was a serious kid who got to college and became an immature adult.  I didn’t gain the Freshman 15.  I lost about 30 lb.  How?  Being pretty stressed about the transition and having to eat at the dining commons.  Ugh.

This is Fall of Freshman year. I cut out the guy I used to play tennis with. I’m bending at the waist very oddly.

However, the weight loss stopped and reversed itself quickly when I started underage drinking.  Fitness in college was sporadic.  I did like to dance at parties and later the one dance club in the area.  My former roommate got me to go to the university’s gym with her a few times for some weight lifting.  I played intramural mixed doubles tennis with a guy I wanted to date.  We actually did really well and it was nice to be able to show off what I could do on the court.

Sophomore year, my job in a call center definitely wasn’t enough activity over the summer.

Although this blog and these posts are about fitness, it wouldn’t be right to not address the stuff that was going on in my head.  I continued to struggle on and off with depression.  Fitness was part of the cure, but getting out there and starting was the hard part.  I kept working in the spring and summer at my mom’s greenhouse off and on.  I even took an additional summer job in conservation biology because the field component would be physical. It wasn’t enough.  But my emotional issues were big.  To compensate, I ate out a lot, drank, and paid for eating out and drinking with my credit card.  I was circling downward.

Junior Year. I always say I look better front on that from the side, but here’s the side view.

Before my senior year, I began the most significant relationship with a guy that I had up until that point.  It was wonderful for me, and terrible at the same time.  He appreciated my body and for the first time that I can remember, from his influence, I gave up a little of the loathing that I let seethe within me about how I looked.  Unfortunately I hung too much of my own perceived worth on to what he thought of me.  The relationship was not going to end up in the direction I wanted it to.  I was looking for things he either couldn’t or didn’t want to give.  But, I hung on, despite the fact that I knew all this down deep.  I held out hope that things would change, and if I was better, if I was prettier, if I was thinner, I would get the happy ending I wanted.  I didn’t.  Things between us went from combustible to nuclear, and I was alone, left feeling like I wasn’t good enough.  I obviously wasn’t good enough for him.  I wasn’t pretty enough, I was too fat, and everything about me was just wrong.  And it was all my fault.  If I could be different, I could be happy.  These thoughts were just too much to deal with.

Not surprisingly, I ended that year at my heaviest.  My self hatred was deep, and I took it out on myself in so many unhealthy ways.  While I never feel that I had bulimia, I did force myself to vomit.  Somehow I felt better by purging.  In general, I was taking my self loathing to as much of a physical materialization as I could stand.  I know it could have been much worse, but it was bad enough for me.

Senior Year, right before graduation. I told you I had a drinking problem. Why was I drinking such crap?

After graduation I started working with my mom by day, and then spending my evenings being a professional drinker.  And I mean, every evening.  It was really ridiculous.  It is not good to be that much of a regular at a bar that the staff and other patrons save you bar stools.  (Some good came from this – my friend and drinking companion met her husband from our season as floozies. And they have 2 awesome boys that I am a proud Auntie to.)

Sometime in the late summer, another friend and I decided to get serious about fitness.  We joined a gym and got a trainer to show us around.  We held each other accountable, and we tried everything we could.  Weight training, spin class, lap swimming, cardio, we signed up.  Amazingly, we were even able to go separately.  The gym had a cool little community.  If I went alone during the morning, I’d sit on a stationary bike near some older men who watched the stock market on the television and tried to teach me about finance.  They front desk workers knew us and made sure that they told us they were glad we were there every time.  Still, I had some rough spots. I managed to fall off a stationary bike once (the seat pin wasn’t in all the way) get a death glare from another patron, but I still worked out beside him anyway.  Too much strain weight lifting sent me to the ER once.  In essence I made the equivalent of cracking my knuckles, but in my cervical vertebrae.

I fell in love.  With Step Class.  I made a good friend in the instructor and went to her class faithfully.  Step just was something I embraced entirely.  I came home feeling exhausted and accomplished.  By Fall I was really on my way.  I saw numbers sliding off the scale, and I saw changes in my self.  I got a new trainer, who was really frenetic, and someone convinced me that a 3 hour cardio and weight training session was a good idea.  As December approached, I was feeling awesome.  My workouts were on point, I was a devotee of the Zone diet, and I was fearless.  I booked a trip to San Francisco to job hunt.

An after-college photo.

The job hunt didn’t work out as well as I had hoped, but I did have a full-time job offer wait for me when I got home.  I struggled on whether or not to take it because I knew it would probably lead me back in to my depression and  bad habits.  I accepted the position.  It was 1 and 1/2 hours from home, at a world renowned lab that happened to be on a island that was a tourist destination.  I moved at the start of Winter when nearly the whole town was boarded up closed.  For a girl who thrived on being in the middle of things, this was not the best choice in starting my career.

I joined a gym that was off-island.  It was a 30 min drive to get there.  But I made a great effort to do it.  I tried embracing island life.  I trained, I took classes, and in the summer, I hiked.  I’m not the most outdoorsy person, so this was a pretty big deal.  The job, the island, were just not a good fit for me.  After nearly one year, I was back at home, back to my old gym, trying to get back to the fit,  fearless girl I had been the year before.

Another post-college shot. I went to a formal as an alum, but was in the smallest size dress I have ever worn as an adult.

A friend and I moved on to the largest city in our state. My career was not skyrocketing, in fact I was long term temping, but I joined a gym there. I made a couple of new friends to go to the gym with. My eating patterns were much better since I live with my good friend and didn’t always have to cook and eat alone.

Tales of my Fitness Past – Part 1

Today was a fabulous day at the gym.  I had my weekly training session with my personal trainer, who is just about the best coach, EVER.  Seriously, I can’t even tell you how motivating this man is.  He gave me the heads up that this week we’d be going heavy on the weights, so I came prepared.  Monster Smoothie AND a breakfast sandwich.  I was ready.

I lifted to total failure on every set and did things I never thought I’d be able to do.  Dumbbell rows with 35 lb weights?  That was me.  Bench presses on the Smith Machine, watching over 100 lbs get racked on a machine and then killing it.  It’s empowering.  I love it.  I feel so kick ass.

My trainer was pretty giddy, too.  Maybe he’s being complimentary to motivate me, but it’s working.  He kept remarking how surprised he was by how I take to these workouts.  We don’t do them every time for sure, but when we do, it’s awesome.

We talked about my fitness past quite a bit during cool down on the crank cycle.  Yes, my nemesis is now my cool down.  He told me that I was about to start seriously shedding weight and I’d be left a skinny, tough, strong, chick.  I told him that strong and tough would not be a problem, but I’d never be skinny.  As we talked it became obvious that he thought I had been a lot fitter in my past than I have been.  And that I’d been a lot smaller.

My truth is, I really haven’t!  I was a short skinny kid until I finally got my tonsils out at age 8.  Then, I started to grow.  Everywhere.  Even when I was active, trying to play sports, I was still a sturdy, thick girl with more than a little baby fat.  Since I’m a big believer that you have to understand your past to make sure you’re on track for your future, I’m going to revisit that kid, and bring any readers who are interested along for the ride.  There will be photos and embarrassing hair, I promise.

Here are me and my parents. My dad had a lot more hair! My mom had a lot less chin. I had fewer teeth. It’s a little scary how much I look like both of them.

Let’s talk about my parents briefly.  My mom is very petite.  And before she got in to her late 30’s, she was also extremely naturally thin.  It didn’t last once her metabolism shifted, but she definitely was a twig!  Look at that photo, she’s totally a babe.  My dad has always been a solid guy with some extra pounds, but strong as hell.  From his side of the family, I am descended from farmers and sailors.  We definitely have the body for manual labor, and the asses and guts from being sedentary from not having to do that kind of work.

My parents had a meat and potatoes diet.  (We *are* Irish after all.)  Vegetables came from a can.  Soda was the beverage of choice.  I went from a bottle for milk to a Pepsi bottle as a kid.  Still, I was skinny.  I took after my mom.  I was short, not the shortest kid in the class, but short, and very tiny.  I was also really, really sick.  I acquired a Strep A infection that did not go away.  I was a carrier.  I missed a ton of school and was always, always sick.  The doctors didn’t want to take my tonsils.  It’s a pretty invasive surgery for a kid and they wanted to make sure they exhausted all of their options.  By 2nd grade, the options ran out.  I saw a specialist and was scheduled as soon as school got out.

Also at this time, my mom noticed that I’d fall down a lot.  I was always taking a dive in the dirt when running around, twisting my ankles constantly.  Come to find out, my hips rotated ever so slightly inward.  Also, my knees were normally hyper-extended when totally straight.  I share the trait with a couple of cousins.  There was nothing to do for it, since I was still growing.  But I definitely heard the message – you’re fragile, you’re broken, and you have to take extra care.

I was a typical little kid.  I liked to run around, swing, play kickball.  I learned to swim as soon as I could.  Mom made sure of it.  One thing I didn’t have was much upper body strength.  I could climb a rope or a tree.  I do think the tree thing was scary because I thought about falling.   I had a pretty crappy diet, and carte blanche to eat ice cream after surgery.  I probably wasn’t getting enough exercise because of being sick, and I have some genetics working against me.

Then, 3rd grade.  It was the worst school year of my life.  I drew the teacher that seemed to like to pick on a couple of kids in her class every year.  And I got to be that kid.  My body was recovering from being sick for so long, and I was starting to really stand out in school.  My teacher made a point to constantly criticize me.  How I looked, how I performed in school, everything about me was fair game.  I was miserable, and despite their very best efforts, my parents couldn’t get me out of her class or her job dismissed.  I had to suffer through it for the school year.  At the end, I was left damaged.  And I turned to things to make myself feel better.  That included food.  Lots of food.  Especially sweet things.

So genetics, behavior, diet… You can probably guess what happened next.

(Stay tuned for Part 2)