Tag Archives: push yourself

Primal Progress such as NOT eating a cookie

Well, I know it’s only 3 days in to being back on Primal track. But the first few weeks of any new challenge is the hardest, so I thought checking in would be a good idea.

Overall, i’m feeling good. I haven’t had too many cravings – but I know it’s only been three days! I will say that I’m so much more aware of how temptation is everywhere. I went to a meeting on Monday and what did they have? Sodas (UGH I wanted a free diet coke sooo.bad.), cookies (work cookies are MY FAVORITE. As in, I want to steal them and eat more later). And brownies (just stab me).

I maintained total control. I was all “in your face, cookies. I don’t need you!

And I didn’t. I brought my water and focused on the content of the meeting, not on how good those cookies and brownies looked that everyone else was eating. I am not everyone else right now, I am a woman on a mission. And the only thing that will come between me and my goals…is me, right? (cue cheers from the crowd!)

I often hesitate to make any final decisions because I like to be open to changing things up, I like flexibility and the option to change my mind (hello fellow Perceivers for my MBTI folk). So making a hard and fast decision to go back to Primal eating is a challenge in itself. I’m really glad we built in the cheat day because knowing myself – I would probably crumble apart the first time I screwed up and throw in the towel. But life isn’t all or nothing, although I think we are all guilty of acting like it is sometimes.

I’m going into this new challenge with the idea that it’s going to be HARD. I’m not going to get to eat cookies everyday (I might need counseling about this). There will be some weeks where more than one fun event happens and I’ll have to  choose which thing will be my cheat and find a way to stay on track at the other one. In the end, there will be times I screw up and accidentally have a bite of cake that someone brought in before I realize the error of my ways. But that is okay. There have been a lot of things in my life this past year that have been way more challenging than this (like figuring out how to take care of a newborn) and I can figure it out.

I really wish I just didn’t care about food so much. I envy people who can really view food as just “energy” or “fuel” vs. an opportunity to experience food because it’s so delicious. It seems like changing up what you eat wouldn’t be such a big deal if I could get to that place. I remember when I was doing the Primal eating consistently last year and I definitely got to the place where I enjoyed foods differently. Like today I snacked on organic raw walnuts. Me from 2 years ago would have thrown up in her mouth a little at that idea.

But I like them now…I just needed to give myself the chance to try them. So I know that with this challenge, there is also great opportunity to discover new things about what I like and what I’m capable of (apparently NOT ending a sentence in a preposition is NOT on that list).

So as I head into the last half of this week – I’m feeling optimistic. And maybe I’m not so scared of the scale on Friday!

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Fighting My Way Back to You

Over the weekend, I made a decision. Screw waiting to “feel better” – I’m just going to go for it. I keep waiting for my knees to not hurt, to feel like they used to…but what if that NEVER happens? What if I always have knee pain from now on? Does that give me a good enough excuse to just not work out? Absolutely not.

I have always struggled with some different forms of pain during my working out years – foot pain, knee pain (of a different sort), back/neck pain…I’ve been through a lot of different scenarios – but I never let it stop me from working out. I realize this weekend that I may never be the same person I was pre-pregnancy again – my body will forever be different because having a child changes you. And instead of mourning that loss of who I was before, I have to start getting to know this new person. The new Dre. And if that means starting at square one again and building my way back toward regular exercise, then so be it. Rome wasn’t built in a day, folks.

And despite having some new types of pain and limitations – I can still work out. It just may look and feel different than it did before. I think a big part of this process was just not wanting to accept that I needed to start over, and what that would feel like. Being totally out of shape was something I could fortunately say I hadn’t experienced in awhile. Despite still having weight to lose before I got pregnant, I still considered myself to be more on the in shape side of things. I had great endurance and strength and I felt like my energy level was in a good place. When I got blood work done and my metabolism tested – everything pointed in a good direction.

But after almost a year of just being out of synch with that part of myself, it just felt like a long journey to start again. And I think that first step was the hardest one for me to take. But I decided to just jump back in and see how things went. So last night, I re-entered our make shift work out room, dug out one of my turbo instructor dvds and pressed play. I determined I would do 30 minutes of turbo and just modify it to avoid the jumping/high impact stuff as I knew my knees wouldn’t like that.

My joints screamed a little as I did my double bob and jab knees. My hamstrings screeched a little during those front and back push kicks. My shoulders and arms complained about the 4 crosses and triples to the left. But, man – my heart sang. It felt good to lose myself a little bit – or maybe it felt good to FIND my old self again. To put back on her shoes, to listen to her music – I found myself signaling the imaginary participants behind me to punch right. I found myself smiling as my heart rate climbed, and even though I couldn’t jump, I could still reach high and practice good form. It felt good, even if I felt different.

My workout was bittersweet. I was pleased with myself in just following through, and being able to do 30 minutes without stopping. But it was hard because I know that the old me would have had a lot more pep in her step and would have been able to do more. I know I’m on the way back to that part of myself, and I realize that it’s not going to look or feel the same for me in a lot of ways. But not trying isn’t an option. That is not a good enough excuse.

Becoming a parent involves a lot of sacrifices, but it also means that you have to take care of yourself in order to take care of someone else. And I won’t let myself forget that.

I’m setting small goals for myself – 30 minutes of cardio 3x a week. I plan to do it after Daxton goes to bed around 8. I can carve out 30 minutes of my day three times a week. And maybe 30 minutes a week will turn into more, or maybe 3x a week will turn into everyday. Who knows, I just know that life is going to go on whether I participate or not, so it’s time to take matters into my own hands and try to figure out who this new version of me will be.

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Finding time for fitness

Today is a big day. It’s not my first day back at work – that was Tuesday. But it IS the first day that I’m able to hit the gym since I gave birth! I can’t believe it has been 12 weeks (almost 13) since I’ve set foot in a gym. But then I think about all the other things I’ve been doing these past few months and I realize it’s not all that unbelievable that I haven’t had time to go to a gym, especially since my gym is located where I work!

Anyway, today is the day. We have two weeks of summer schedule left so I’m taking advantage of my little one already being settled into daycare for the day and I’m going to go to the gym. I keep trying to think of how I’m going to fit gym time back into my life on a regular basis and I still am coming up short on ideas. I understand now why so many parents give up on their fitness goals – it’s REALLY difficult to find time to do it all. My biggest obstacle at this point is finding a window of time where I can go to the gym. Daycare is only for so many hours a day and with travel time – we are right on the cusp of having him there too long (and having to pay more). So that knocks out gym time  before or after work. My other thought is lunch time – but since I’m still breastfeeding, I have a pretty rigorous pumping schedule to fit in during my work day and lunch time is one of them. So by the time I pump – I don’t have much time left in my lunch hour…plus I have to actually eat during lunch as well. I just can’t fit it all in. Since my gym is where I work – and work is NOT close to my home, it presents a problem because coming BACK to work/gym isn’t an option in the evening.

So I may be looking at transitioning to home workouts only, or finding a gym closer to my house so that I could potentially hit the gym after Daxton is in bed for the night. Once I am done with breastfeeding, I’ll be able to re-evaluate my schedule and make the commitment to lunch time work outs although those are limiting since sweating hardcore means you have to shower and get ready all over again.

I thought I was busy before in my life, but now that I have a child and am working full time – it’s unbelievable how every block of my day is already accounted for – how does that happen?!

I’d love to hear how other folks have fit working out into a busy schedule. I’ll put it out there that I am in bed at 10 so that I can pump (asleep by 11 hopefully), up again at 2:30am to pump and then up for the day by 6am. So I’d prefer NOT to get suggestions on waking up earlier to work out because at best I’m getting 3 hours of “uninterrupted” sleep at a time each night. I just don’t think I could exist on any less sleep right now.

I am proud to say that making better choices this month has been helping. I am now only 7 pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight, so that is moving in the right direction!

Wish me luck at the gym today and I hope I get some interesting advice for fitting in my workouts from some of you fitness folks!

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It’s been a long time….

I have to admit, I’ve been cheating on you.

I’ve been blogging elsewhere privately during my pregnancy as I didn’t want this blog to become a pregnancy blog. I thought I could still write broad yet meaningful topics here on ThirtyStory while experiencing this life changing event – but, turns out – I couldn’t. I’m sorry about that – and sorry about my disappearing act.

As the day draws closer to actually having my son (we’re due April 23 – just a few weeks away now), I’m definitely feeling that same old current sweeping by me that I had before – that overwhelming feeling of “Can I do this?” And not the be a mom thing. Obviously, I’m doing that whether I’m ready or not, right? But my mind has turned toward those days and weeks after my son is here and I have no excuses to not be exercising regularly again. When I’ll be self-conscious again about my weight (not that that has truly stopped being an issue for me during pregnancy) and I won’t be buying clothes that are made especially for my large belly. At least, that’s the hope, right?

I’ve witnessed more than a few of my friends whip right back down to pre-baby weight and then some – and I wonder, will that happen for me? I’ve struggled with being overweight my entire life, can I honestly let myself believe that I’ll be one of the lucky few that bounce back to their pre-pregnancy bodies? Not that I was even all that happy with where I was BEFORE getting pregnant, but it would sure be nice to at least bounce back to that instead of staying bigger.

I am trying to prepare myself for battle. I know that finding the time and energy to exercise is going to be much harder as a new mom. Working full time, teaching, and having a little one is going to eat up most of my time, so I have to have a game plan. I know other moms and dads who find the time to work out – so I know it’s possible. I just have to find the right work out plan, the right timing and all that jazz. Unfortunately, I won’t know what the “right” plan is until I’m living it. I can’t predict what life will be like in less than a month for me. All I know is that I still have goals for myself – that I still want to reach toward being a healthier and fit person. I don’t want to lose that part of myself and I start this new chapter of my life.

Knowing who you are and who you WANT to be is a big part of any successful goal setting process. I think I have a pretty good grasp on both of those things right now – so it’s all about finding the right path to the goal. I know it will be another adventure – something totally new and different from anything I’ve experienced so far in my life. I’m nervous. I’m scared. I feel like I did the night before my first 5K – so afraid I’d fail, but excited to try.

And that’s what I’m sticking with – the excitement of trying.

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Half Way There

So – life has been busy lately. Somehow 20 weeks have passed and I’m sitting at the half way mark of this pregnancy. How did that happen so quickly? It terrifies me that in another 20 weeks, my whole life is going to be turned upside down.

20 Weeks! (and sorry! I am not giving anyone the bird, it's extremely hard to hold my phone and take a bump photo - WOOPS!)

20 Weeks! (and sorry! I am not giving anyone the bird, it’s extremely hard to hold my phone and take a bump photo – WOOPS!)

It makes me think about training for my first athletic races and how nervous I was….how much I was scared to even say out loud that I wanted to consider training for my first 5K, and then my first triathlon. Saying it out loud made it so real. And that meant that I had to actually start preparing my body for the upcoming race. Preparing myself for something that I had never done before and something I wasn’t 100% sure I could do.

Being pregnant is sort of like that (but on a much more epic scale). I knew I wanted to start a family, and that once we decided to actually do something about that idea, it was really throwing all control up into the wind. And when we were blessed to become parents – it’s been this really exhilarating and frightening experience – one that feels much like a race. Of course, it’s important to mention the races I’ve participated in have never been about beating anyone – it’s only been a personal challenge for myself. Being able to answer the question, “Can I do this?” with a resounding YES!

And so here I am, at the half way mark of this crazy adventure and I’ve had some major ups and downs, there have been tears, enormous physical obstacles to overcome (and more to come), there has been joy and fear. So much – and yet, I am still moving forward with my eye on the prize. I can do this. I am “training” for motherhood at this point.

Making tough decisions about work, my personal life, my health, my home, my finances – and mentally and physically preparing myself for what happens when I cross this finish line. Today definitely marks a special day in this adventure – where time seems very real to me and I can sort of see the outline of the finish line ahead. I can see the calendar months flashing by, taking me quickly to the point where I must be ready for what’s next. Or, at the very least, open to learning what I need to learn to move forward.

It’s definitely the most important challenge I’ve ever accepted in my life. It’s bigger than any other item on my bucket list and it’s a game changer. Every other decision in my life will be impacted by this one decision I made with my husband months ago – that we would try and start a family. And now – this little life is taking form inside of me – becoming it’s own little person. And somehow – at the end of another 20 weeks, I’ll be able to call myself a mom. That is pretty amazing.

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Water Running: Great Change Up to your Current Routine!

I finally got to try out a Water Running class this week. It wasn’t the normal instructor – so I’m curious to see how the next class will differ. Either way – I sort of went into the class wondering what we would be doing for an hour and if it would be a decent workout or not. I was pleasantly surprised by the variety of movements we did and how fast my heart was beating! For those of you with access to a pool but perhaps no access to a class version of water running, I thought I’d give you a run down (no pun intended) of things you can do in the water to get a good workout aside from simply swimming laps (which is no small feat on it’s own if you’ve tried it in your adult life).

You can start in the shallow end to get warmed up. Our pool has an open area and then about 4 lanes blocked off for swimming lanes. So we used the width of the pool in the shallow end from wall to first swim lane to do some shorter laps if that makes sense. We did the following:

Jog in the water (just like you would jog on land) forward to swim lane, return jogging backward. Keep your fingers uncupped so that you aren’t propelling yourself forward with your arms.
Move toward swim lane with alternating high knees, come back to wall doing butt kicks – focus on speed.
Move toward swim lane using a “skip” style – focusing on jumping out of the water and forward. So not focused on speed, but on height of your jump. Make sure you are switching which leg you are leading/jumping with. Return to wall in same style

Of course – you can repeat all these several times for a nice warm up.

The instructor also used Tabata style format to get our cardio workout in. If you aren’t familiar with Tabata – it forces you to work at high intensity for a short period of time and then rest and repeat. You can pick the times and how many times you repeat. For our class – we did different versions of Tabata. For example:

Shallow End Tabata (move so you are shoulder deep)
20 seconds: Sprint in place (focus on moving as fast as possible with hand/arm movement in water)
Rest 10 Seconds
20 Seconds: High Knees in place (focus on crunching and make sure you have your arms going)
Rest 10 seconds
20 Seconds: Butt Kicks (in place, quickly)
Rest 10 seconds

And then we would change it to 30 seconds with 10 second rest, etc. You could pick a variety of movements to suit your own needs and amount of time you have to spend for each section.

You will definitely feel all of these exercises in your hamstrings!

To really get into water running you have to incorporate the deep end – because jogging in the shallow end is super easy when you compare it to trying to propel yourself forward when you can’t touch the bottom. A few things on form when water running:

Don’t cup your hands – you want the forward motion to be coming from the leg movement. Pretend like you are doing a leg extension in the weight room – move your right leg to a 90 degree angle in front of you and pull back, repeat on other side – this is the motion you are doing to water run in the deep end. Your hands are moving, but fingers are straight, not cupped. Work to keep your body straight – not leaning forward or backward. You will feel like you are barely moving – but your heart rate will tell you otherwise!

When we got to the deep end wall, we did short kicks while holding onto the wall and  long scissor kicks (using Tabata style again). We also put our backs against the wall and arms on either side to support us as we lifted our legs straight up (back flat against the wall) and pushed them back down into the water. This was extremely difficult!

If you are comfortable in the deep end, you can move away from the wall and do another set of workouts such as the following:

30 seconds: Tread Water using hands and legs
30 seconds: Tread water using hands/arms only – keep legs straight (if this is too difficult, bend your legs some and that will help)
30 seconds: Treat water using legs only – put your arms out of the water to make sure you aren’t cheating!

You can repeat that several times and change up how long you are doing each thing until your hearts content!

Obviously once you are done with that you have to water run back to the shallow end!

A lot of the articles I looked at about water running show people running with floatation belts on. In our class, we didn’t utilize these, but I could see how you could probably work on speed more if you had a belt on to help you stay afloat. I’ll have to try that out one time to see what different it makes. Without the belt, I think it would be difficult to keep doing laps without stopping because it does require so much effort to stay afloat on your own and move forward!

This would be a great alternative to just swimming laps if you are bored with that routine. It’s also great if you are injured or pregnant and can’t do high impact stuff anymore! As always, check with your doctor before taking on any new exercise program as I am not a doctor and can only tell you my opinion of the workout!

 

 

 

 

 

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Water Wings & Things

I have no idea why I decided that reconnecting with my inner swimmer was a good idea as we start moving into the winter months. There is nothing more fun than being freezing cold BEFORE you jump into slightly chilly water and then being even more cold as you desperately grab your towel and gear to get back to the locker room to shower and dry completely off before you head outside into the windy night.

Great idea, Dre!

But, I have to be realistic with myself that “going for a walk” every day is just not going to cut it. First off, I only ACTUALLY go for a walk maybe 2-3 times a week even though my goal is every day. So that isn’t a great success rate. It’s not that a walk is difficult, it just seems boring to me after years of high intensity cardio kickboxing or classes set to fun music blasting over the speakers. I need something that challenges my coordination and my mind in addition to just being a good workout.

On the other hand, I realize that working out while pregnant is a different story than just working out in general. I have more things to consider, and like it or not, it’s harder to catch my breath now that things are starting to happen inside me. Walking up stairs winds me more than usual and doing something as simple as vacuuming couch cushions got me out of breathe. It’s super annoying. And then I remind myself that there is a greater purpose  behind all of it and it’s not a forever thing. That helps. A little.

Exploring a New Workout

I’m sure my aerobics class will be pulling moves like this in no time.

So, yesterday I checked out a water aerobics class offered at my gym. Other than it being sort of freezing, I thought it was a good class. Definitely more low key, low intensity than I’m used to – but that IS sort of the point, I guess. And she did have us do some drills where I got to push myself a little harder and I liked those. We worked a lot on resistance stuff – so I felt like that was something I don’t do often enough. We used water weights and did some shoulder work, triceps, biceps – it was good stuff. Everyone was super friendly, and I definitely think I’ll go back.

It’s sort of interesting being back in the “searching for what works for me” stage of exercise. I feel like I went through this process several years ago and discovered I really liked TurboKick and group exercise. So in going back to my roots, I’m remembering that I’m way more likely to keep up with work outs if I’m part of a class/group program. So the water aerobics fits the bill for that. It’s definitely a class you can chat during which is different for me – but I liked it.

On Wednesdays, our gym offers another class called Water Running. The same instructor leads it and she said it’s more cardio focused – so I’m curious to give it a go. Of course, I’ll update you on my thoughts. I’ve never considered a water running class before – so I’m not even sure what to expect! But the part I hate about running the most is the pain in my joints and injuries – so running in the water might be an awesome solution.

Hey – maybe I’ll even find a 5k water running competition. It’s always fun to train for something!

So – in going back to this place in my life where I’m trying to find what works for me again – it’s reminded me of a few key decisions you have to make if you want to try and lead a healthier life. Funny enough, deciding to be healthy is only one piece of the healthy lifestyle puzzle. You have to do a little soul searching, too.

1) What are your priorities? Write them down & rank them.
2) Does your schedule reflect those priorities? (As in: If your #1 priority is your health….are you making time to prepare healthy meals and work out? If not…this is a red flag!)
3) Think of a time in your life when you were successful at something – what were the key factors? How can you replicate this in your current situation? (Example: I’m always more successful when I’m part of a group who are trying to accomplish similar things – so I know for me, finding a workout I can do with a group of people will help me stay on track vs. just trying to do something on my own 100% of the time).

Once you have these three items checked off – you can move to the next step which is actually making changes to your schedule and exploring options that are a match for your preferences. Of course, we’ll talk more about those next time!

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