Tag Archives: motivation

To Count or Not to Count

So…I’ve been doing a lot of thinking over the last month as I’ve been out of commission on working out with much cardio (and I’ll be honest, I’m not doing strength either). I’ve been wondering if perhaps it’s time I go back to Weight Watchers. I tried it for a while and it worked but I had issues with the fact that I felt like once I stopped using it, I’d gain the weight back. To me, counting points or calories only works while you’re counting. So when I stop…it doesn’t work. But here’s the thing: I can’t stop for a while. I mean like a long while. I have a significant amount of weight I want need to lose. I don’t like the idea of dieting. I don’t like the idea of counting anything. But I keep thinking back to a conversation I had with my personal trainer right before I had to stop going to her. She was telling me how she keeps track of what she eats and she counts most days but not all. But she’s earned that right to slip off for a bit. She talked about how when she first started losing weight she had to be strict. She talked about how now she can loosen up but she also knows that this kind of “dieting” by counting calories is kinda forever if you want to keep yourself in check. So counting calories and using MyFitnessPal are kinda gonna be it if I want to lose and then maintain. But I think for me, I need to get back to basics a little and learn to get myself back under control with eating and maybe Weight Watchers is the way to go. It lets me have my convenience. It takes the guess work out for me. Maybe I only do it for a while and then switch back to MyFitnessPal once I feel more in control. But do I? Is that what will work? Or do I need to try harder with MyFitnessPal? Or maybe there’s some other “thing” I should try. What do you think? What has worked for you if you’ve ever felt out of control and in need of structure again?

Mental Block or Mental Crackdown?

I’m studying for a professional certification for my job. It’s an intense experience and rather difficult, particularly for someone who hasn’t studied in over 7 years. The plan was for me to take a mock-exam this morning but yesterday I decided there was no way I was ready. Well, this morning I woke up and decided I would take it but I would use a cheat sheet of things I should know by the test…just like I did in the course I took a few weeks ago. Well, I took the test and didn’t perform as well as I wanted (but better than I thought I would as I was taking the test). The good news is I discovered a lot of areas I need to work on in my studying. So I’m bummed out by the amount of work ahead of me but I feel more focused.

Well, I had a few hours before needing to get ready for my plans later this afternoon. So I decided, why not go for a run? Well, I laced up my shoes and out I go. I got shin splints FAST. I realized I’d be walking more than running but my head got in control and I started feeling down about the test, I started feeling down that I couldn’t run, I started getting in my head about every little thing I get bothered by about myself. So instead of pushing through, I turned around and came home. This, of course, made me feel worst initially but I eventually worked it out in my head that maybe it was my head saying, “Take a break.” Maybe it wasn’t and it’s just me justifying giving up but I do believe sometimes our heads say, “That’s enough. Give up now and start fresh later.” I also believe that sometimes you have to push through the pain, through the hurt, through the frustration, through the negative talk. Regardless of what I was supposed to do today, I gave up. The only way I can be ok with that decision is to not let it result in a downward spiral of beating myself up for giving up. Otherwise, it truly is giving up and not just taking a break.

What do you do when your head gets the best of you? Push through or give in?

When an Instructor Doesn’t Suit You

Y’all may know I love my Spin class. I try to go every Wednesday evening and every Friday morning. Last week my gym began offering a Monday morning class. The instructor is one we’ve had as a sub for a few of the regular classes. I don’t love her but I don’t hate her either. This morning I was able to go to the class for the first time. I have to say….I didn’t really get my normal Spin workout. Sure, she followed a lot of the same moves and her playlist was great but…I wasn’t super sweaty. I didn’t really care for the fact that she still seems a little….stand-offish…and not in an “I’m an introvert” way. Now, I can’t really say it was all her that I didn’t get a good sweat session in. The room was cold, which probably prohibited my normal sweat fest. My pedal cages were too short or something so it was making my feet weird when I stood. I should’ve taken the time to get a new bike but I didn’t want to cut into my time and I really thought it would get better. Plus, one of the other class members was having some issues. I don’t know if she was dizzy or what but she clearly was not feeling well so she kept getting off/on the bike to rest and it was distracting me. So while other factors played into my lack of sweat, I think the instructor isn’t a great fit for me. However….should that matter? Yes, it’s nice to have a high energy Spin instructor, but it is one of those classes where I get out what I put in. Many times I’ve zoned myself in and pushed harder than what was “required” so should the fact that she’s not the best matter?

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Fitness Friday: Being OK With Not Being OK

This week started out ok health and fitness wise. I went to the gym and saw my trainer on Monday night. I had a date with my man planned for Tuesday. Then Wednesday I was planning on Spin and Thursday I was going to try a new cardio/weight class. Neither of those things happened. Wednesday I actually got to my gym parking lot and then proceeded to have a melt down. I called my fella and bawled about how I didn’t want to work out but I felt like a failure if I didn’t. In the long run I went home and I sat on my couch and watched the series finale of Dexter. Thursday night I still didn’t want to but I’d pulled myself together enough to be ok with it. I went out to dinner with my guy and had drinks with a friend of his. I had a great time and then this morning I woke up and dragged (really had to pep talk myself into it) myself to Spin and PT.

What I realized on Wednesday was that I haven’t just sat on my couch and really truly relaxed and had wind down time in weeks. I needed it. My brain had been pushed to the limits with work and my social life. I needed some “me time” and I needed it bad. So my brain just refused to let me want to workout. I tried everything under the sun to convince myself to go in for a workout. I even tried saying, “Just go home and get a walk in.” Nope. I was falling apart. I wish I could be ok with it when my brain says, “Go home and relax.” But I feel like a failure and that starts a downward spiral. Now, I know all of the things I should focus on. I know that I need to focus on how far I’ve come, the fact that I rarely talk myself out of a workout or even miss a planned on, etc. But the fact is, my brain is a little broken when it comes to positive talk like that.

Nonetheless, I worked at just ignoring the negative committee on Thursday and tried to enjoy myself. Sure, I’m kicking myself a bit today but I’m trying to just be ok with not being ok all the time. I’m a human being after all.

Fitness Friday

I figured I’d bring back Fitness Friday. It’s been too long and it’s been a week of pushing myself at the gym.

During last night’s training, we ended with a quick hill interval on the treadmill. I didn’t die, but I thought I might have a heart attack at the end. Seriously. It started with a 30 second warm-up at 3.5 speed, where I stayed the entire time, with no incline. Then from 1:30 to 3:30 I increased my incline from 4 to 6 to 9 to 12, increasing every 30 seconds. Then back down to 4 and hop off for tricep work. Back on at incline 4 and up to 3.5 speed. After 15 seconds I went up to incline 7 to 9 to 12 to 15 (every 30 seconds there was an increase). At 15 I kept one hand on for most of the climb but took them off for the last 5 seconds. Oh my heavens. Quickly back down to flat surface, catch my breath, and finish tricep work. I’m pretty sure my HR monitor would’ve registered nothing but it wasn’t working properly because I was so sweaty (it’s bandless and I wear the sensor on my wrist). It was a TOUGH workout yesterday because I also did some bench presses with the bar and an extra 20 pounds. I was hurting but I felt accomplished.

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Fast-forward to this morning where I started with a one hour Spin class and finished with 30 minutes of training. I pushed myself hard in Spin. My quads were on fire quickly into the workout. But I needed it. Then I went outside for training. I pushed the sled, I flipped tires. I tried jumping in the tire and it wasn’t happening. I did manage to jump on it 3 times. But I wasn’t loving how my attempts turned out. There’s always the next time.

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I did do more than I thought I was capable of this week but I didn’t do everything I know I can do. I didn’t know I could do 30 seconds at an incline of 15 at 3.5 speed. I didn’t know I could bench press a total of 60ish pounds (bar plus weights). I know I can jump in that damn tire, I just need to get my brain to catch up.

Squats, push-ups, and measurements

Well, I did it. I finished the 30-day squat challenge. It started on July 1 with 50 squats in a day and gradually built up to 250 squats in a day yesterday. Since yesterday was a training day I asked my trainer if we could do some so I’d save some throughout the day. So when I got to my training session I had 150 squats left to do. I did them all in my session. She had me do a circuit workout yesterday and in sets 2 and 3 there were various squats added in to total 80. So that meant I had 70 left. She said if I could do 70 squat pulses in a row, she’d consider them done. Done! Um…except that by squat pulse number 40 I thought I would die. And by squat pulse 50 I felt like someone was holding hire to my quads. Holy moly! But I did it!! I took measurements on July 1 and then again last night. I saw a change!

Waist – down half an inch since July 1 (down 5.5 inches since Jan. 9)
Hips – down half an inch since July 1 (down 3 inches since Jan. 9)
Thighs – no change since July 1 (down half an inch since Jan. 9)

I think thighs are a slow progression for me because I have a very strong lower body and there is a lot of muscle there for me. But there’s definitely improvements I can make still.

So for August, my fellow blogger and great friend, LindyC, are doing a push-up challenge. It starts with 10 push-ups in a day and works up to 50 by August 30. The important thing I’m working on this month is depth. I’ve been working with my trainer to get the depth in my push-ups so I do them on a low bar that I’ve slowly progressed to. Getting my chest down to that bar is key. By the end of the month I’d like to be chest on the low weight bench or half the depth of a standard push-up on the floor. Consistently. Not once. Consistently. So if you can’t do a push-up on the floor with good form (your hips should drop), use a bar in the gym, your bathroom counter, even the wall. Just make sure your back stays in an even line and your hips drop. Don’t let your butt pike up when you push yourself back up.

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Join us! Take measurements of your arms and bust (and other places if you’d like) today or tomorrow and then again on August 31. See the change you made in your body just like I saw changes from squats!

Other measurement changes since Jan. 9 (since it’s been 6 months since I started training):

Neck – down 3.5 inches
Calves – down half an inch
Bust – down 3 inches
Arms – down 2 inches

So we’ll see what the push-up challenge does for my measurements. But more importantly, we’ll see what it does for my push-up progress!

 

I let a tire beat me

It’s been a pretty stressful week. Put that on top of raging hormones and I’m just about beat. This morning after Spin I had a training session. I was excited to finally get outside and do tire flips. My trainer set up a circuit of plank holds, curb jumps, squats, and tire flips. Except she wanted the curb jumps to turn into jumping in and out of the tire after a flip. I tried, y’all. But I could never make myself do it! She let me assess it. She gave me time and she never forced me. She had me jump a million ways to show me I could do it. But every time I faced that tire my mind beat me. I couldn’t do it. Fear. It’s a horrible thing for a workout. I left the gym feeling frustrated with myself but I still wouldn’t give it one last try. I don’t think even if you put that tire in front of me now I’d attempt it. My mind has taken over. I called Kev on the way home. And I let it go and by that I mean I sobbed. All the way home. Almost the entire time I showered and got ready for work.

My trainer says we’ll try it again on Tuesday, weather permitting. I want to beat it. I do. But I don’t know. I’m not good with jumps. You can tell me I can clear it and maybe I can but I can’t make myself believe it. Box jumps scare the hell out of me. Basically put me in a situation where I can trip over what I’m supposed to jump and I can’t do it. I mean, I could, but my mind wins. Every. Time.

So this week beat me down hard. Despite Kev’s best efforts to beat the week back.

These beauties came with chocolate and a note.

These beauties came with chocolate and a note.

These beautiful flowers worked on cheering me up. I looked at them this morning and smiled because not only are they gorgeous but they mean I’m loved. So I’m going to try to focus on that and not that damn tire.

Why do we complain?

Tuesday I was in the gym for PT with my trainer. My back was/is still bothering me so she had me working my lower/upper body on the machines. I rarely get to use machines when I train with her. She hates them (as do most trainers at my gym and likely everywhere). Machines are “easier” in that you don’t have to engage your core and lower back as much so they’re great for when you’ve got back pain but they’re not good for a true all over workout. However, when you’re working on machines, you can typically get a heavier load because you don’t have to lift it to get in position to really work. Ya know?

So, I was working on machines and apparently one of my trainer’s other clients was on the treadmill behind us. She made the comment, “How come she gets to sit down?! That’s not fair.” My trainer immediately said, “The only reason is because she’s having back trouble, otherwise she’d be off these machines, too! She normally is.” The woman still sounded pouty but whatever. It got me to thinking though about other comments I hear from folks who have trainers or even just go to the gym for a class or a treadmill workout. So many of us (myself included at times) whine about exercise. We don’t like it. We certainly don’t like it if someone doesn’t seem to be working as hard as we are. Really, though, why do we give a shit what anyone else is doing? If it’s more than us, we should use it as motivation for ourselves to do our best. If it’s less, we shouldn’t assume it’s because they’re lazy or are taking the easy way out. Maybe that’s really hard for them. Maybe they’ve got an injury. Maybe, maybe, maybe. Whatever it is, we should all be supporting each other because we’re all exerting ourselves, even if it’s small. It’s more than we’d be getting on the couch.

Comparing myself to others makes me crazy. I can’t help but do it. But, I’ve found that I don’t do it as often with exercise as much as I do with my eating habits. But that’s for a different post. When I watch people exercising/training, I’m watching for reasons other than seeing if they’re working as hard. I’m watching for new ideas to either try myself or ask my trainer about. I’m looking for motivation to push myself. That’s what we should ALL be doing. Pushing ourselves. Worrying about ourselves. So I leave you with this little girl’s “advice.” (Side note: This is often what I tell my trainer when she tries to help me at the end of a set with a heavy load.)

30 Day Squat Challenge (and looking for another)

So…my trainer initiated a 30 day squat challenge that began on July 1. It started with 50 squats a day, by the end we’ll be doing 250 squats on Day 30. Ow. I love squats. I really do. They suck. But they’re fantastic and I truly love what they do for my body. So it’s no joke when I say I’m on Day 10, only 50 squats into my 105 for the day and I want to be done with this challenge. Maybe if I was only doing squats, it wouldn’t be so bad. But I also workout 3-4 days a week and those workouts usually incorporate squats. Like yesterday…I had done my 100 squats for the day and then did 30 more in training. I could should have saved some for training but I’m stubborn and task oriented. But I guarantee as we get further along I’m going to be saving some for workouts. Currently I’m torn as to whether I should do my remaining 55 or try to knock out some that will surely come in Zumba toning tonight. Decisions. Decisions.

I did a similar challenge in January but it didn’t start off quite so ambitious. 🙂

If you’re curious about the one I’m following this month, this is the challenge plan:

squat

As much as this is hurting me today, I know I’ll feel accomplished at the end. Hopefully, I’ll see results. My trainer did official before mesaurements and she’ll take them again on Day 30. So because of this good burn I feel in my quads and glutes, I’m thinking about a challenge for August. I’m thinking an ab challenge. I’ve done some searching and I think I found the one I want to do but still looking. More on that later if it happens. 🙂

Have you ever done a challenge like this? What was it and how did it go?

Motivation Monday

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Saturday I had plans to go to Spin first thing in the morning. But my mind just wasn’t with me. I had a small “moment.” But I quickly recovered and decided I was taking Saturday (and to some extent Sunday) to remember to enjoy life. I spend most of days being a slave to workouts and how many calories, carbs, and protein I’m taking in. Even on the days that I slip and have something not great, I beat myself up over it. I don’t even enjoy it. So Saturday I didn’t work out and ate what I wanted. Yes, it’ll have some consequences, but I enjoyed my day and my life. Health and fitness isn’t just about your physical body and well-being, it’s about your mental well-being, too. Remember that.

And I have to say, my life is pretty darn perfect. That picture of the sunset up there? I took that Saturday night after finishing a delicious dinner with my guy. I have people who love me no matter what and I have the fortune to live close enough to water to have views like that in less than a hour from my house. Life ain’t bad.