exercise

Question…

“If we had no winter; the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.”¬†
-Anne Bradstreet

That's how we roll at boot camp ūüėČ

How could anyone not feel grateful to be alive when it’s 75 degrees out and the sun is shining? ¬† ¬†Granted, we have had an unseasonably mild winter up here in the north east, but it hasn’t made me look forward to the beautiful spring weather any less! I mean, who doesn’t¬†feel happy at the first signs of spring? ¬†I for one can’t wait to get outside more!

I spent this morning cleaning the house and catching up on chores…like finally trucking over to the grocery store to buy some healthy food (I was delighted to have my sunroof open on the drive!). ¬†I was also delighted at just how many heavy bags of groceries I am able to juggle now- thanks to all my kick ass workouts. ¬†Pretty soon I won’t even need that second trip to the car! ¬†I know, yet another awesome reason to hit the gym!

Speaking of which,I luckily managed to get my Insanity workout in early before I distracted with the typical daily chaos.  I especially wanted to make sure I got it done today because neither of my planned workouts panned out yesterday.  In truth, though, I think I really needed the rest.  I have been dragging a bit and have been more sore than usual, which was part of my motivation to go get some healthy eats.

I decided to celebrate the gorgeous day by making some fresh guacamole for lunch…YUM! It’s always a plus when something tastes good AND is good for you. ¬†Of course the fact that I ate way too much was probably NOT good for me, but great eating habits has never been a strong suit of mine. ¬†What can I say; I’m a work in progress.

Tonight I’m looking forward to some more boot camp!!! I’ve been trying to convince Mike to let us have our session outside tonight- on account of the fabulous weather– but he has yet to cave. ¬†It might have to do with us acting like 5 years at our last outdoor session. ¬†We basically had a hard time paying attention because of all the excitement of “playing” outside. ¬†(There were a lot of punishment exercises involved…) It was still a great time though! (at least for us…maybe not so much for Mike) ¬†My favorite part was tire flipping, although the obstacle course Mike constructed was also fun. ūüėČ

That is all for now! ¬† It’s way to nice out to spend any longer on the computer!

I hope everyone is enjoying the day!!!!!

Insecurities

“Accept everything about yourself ‚Äď I mean everything, You are you and that is the beginning and the end ‚Äď no apologies, no regrets.”

Clark Moustakas

Image

****DISCLAIMER****

This blog is directed at the female population, not because I don’t believe men also suffer from insecurities (or because I don’t care that they do), but because it was in honor of Intentional Women’s Day. ¬†As such, I wanted a post something to make women feel empowered. ¬†It was not in an effort to make any of my male counterparts feel slighted, and I do genuinely appreciate all the gentlemen who stepped up to comment! ¬†If you are a man and you happen to be reading this, I do believe the core message here still applies to you, so feel free to substitute “man” for “woman” and “handsome”, “hot”, “sexy” or whatever other term you’d prefer for beautiful. Ultimately, I believe EVERYONE: man or woman deserves to be happy, and that starts with loving and accepting yourself. ¬†

I started this post yesterday in honor of International Women’s Day. ¬†I thought it would be a topic we could all relate to, and a nice break from discussing my daily workouts. ¬†Apparently, I was not the only one with this idea because when I pulled up Facebook this morning, there was a bunch of other chatter about this very issue. ūüôā

We all have them. ¬†It doesn’t matter if you’re a size 2, 10, or 20- if you’re a super athlete or super model- there are things you are going to feel self conscious about. ¬†Sometimes it’s things you can change like your waste line or thighs; and sometimes it’s something your stuck with (unless you opt for surgery…) like stretch marks, loose skin, or even a less than perfect nose.

I’m not sure why as a society we tend to value the appearance of beauty more than beautiful character (and diversity!), but it’s clearly something that impacts all of us. ¬†I’ve never been a “pretty, girly girl”, but I do have a lot of personality. ¬†I am also caring, warm, compassionate, and have a big heart. ¬†As you can imagine, I’m not the lady getting the most attention from the opposite sex. ¬†At least, not at first glance. ¬†I’m one of those people who becomes more attractive the more you get to know me, and I’m okay with that. ¬†Of course, that doesn’t mean that when I go out with all my gorgeous friends that I don’t get self conscious. ¬†As much as I appreciate being the girl with the personality and not the killer looks, it can still be difficult- at times– to live in a society where the latter is more prized. ¬†After all, everyone wants to feel sexy and beautiful every now and then.

That is where working out comes in for me. ¬†While I can’t go out and make myself as stunning as some other women (ok maybe I could, but it would be extremely expensive and likely violate my low maintenance nature), I can work hard at being the best version of myself. ¬†That means making myself as fit and strong-¬†mentally and physically- as possible. ¬†Working out can boost your confidence and give you more energy to conquer your day. ¬†Let’s face it, endorphins make you feel good in the moment, and getting results will make that feeling last. ¬†Plus, THERE IS NOTHING MORE BEAUTIFUL OR SEXY THAN A WOMAN WITH CONFIDENCE- ESPECIALLY WHEN SHE TAKES CARE OF HER BODY. ¬†Go get that PR you’ve been working on and then tell me you don’t feel good about yourself.

All that being said, even a person like me- who works out like a nut– can still have body image issues. ¬†Even getting in great shape won’t take away all your insecurities. ¬†For example, when I was training for the marathon and lost weight no matter what I ate, there were still days I felt fat (stupid hormones!). ¬†The image of myself in the mirror was dramatically affected by my mental image of myself, and it wasn’t until Adam took pictures out on the boat one day that I realized just how thin I had gotten. ¬†I immediately asked him “Why didn’t you tell me I looked like I needed to eat something!?”

Even now, ¬†I sometimes have a hard time adapting to a more muscular build than I am used to. ¬†Runners normally have very lean muscles, but since I started doing so much cross training, my calves and quads have gotten huge (not really huge- ok maybe my thighs are huge. And my butt! lol). ¬†I know in my head that I am still thin. ¬†I fit in a size 2 for Pete’s sake! ¬†But, it’s something I have to remind myself of on a regular basis when I look in the mirror and see a “stockier” version of myself than I am used to seeing.

I also remind myself that I am a STRONGER version of myself than I used to be, and THAT is well worth the trade off. ¬†The truth is that the more I strength train and run, the more my muscles will become lean and stronger. ¬†Besides, there is nothing wrong with the way I look now. ¬†Every time I feel that urge to pick myself apart I remind myself: 1) I have WORKED HARD for this body. ¬†I earned every muscle through sweat and determination. 2) This body has carried me through a Tough Mudder, a marathon, several half marathons,¬†hundreds and hundreds of miles of training runs,¬†and numerous insane workouts (with minimal injury!).¬†¬†It is strong, and THAT is beautiful. 3) My body is a work in progress. ¬†It doesn’t need to be perfect. ¬†My flaws are part of me and I like who I am.

Every woman is beautiful. ¬†No matter what shape, size, race, or background. ¬†No matter where you are in your journey: ¬†YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. ¬†Your flaws are part of what make you, and¬†you are¬†exactly¬†the way you were meant to be.¬† ¬†Perfect is boring and unoriginal. ¬†WORK WITH WHAT YOU’VE GOT. ¬† Everyone has insecurities no matter how perfect or put together they seem. ¬†Not everyone makes the choice to get over them.

I spent over 5 years of my life with a person who picked me apart on a daily basis, pointed out every flaw, and continually tried to convince me that “[I]¬†make everyone around [me] miserable”. ¬†It took a LONG time to let go of any lingering belief that it was true- especially the last part, but I did and life is better now than it ever was before. ¬†If I could learn to love and accept myself again- after all of that– then there’s no reason you can’t too. ¬†No one has the right to pick you apart- including you! ¬†You deserve better than that!

LOVE YOURSELF!

If You’re Happy and You Know It…

“Think big, believe big, act big, and the results will be big.”

Raise your hand! ūüôā

I bet you can guess why I’m so happy today! ¬†That’s right!!! I got to workout this morning!!! I was pushing hard, exploding with power, and jumping leaping all the way through the LAST Insanity workout of month onewithout feeling like I was going to die. BONUS!!! ¬†Okay, maybe not through the WHOLE thing, but that’s only cause basketball/level 1 drills suck royally. ¬†(I was extremely grateful to say goodbye to that specific workout of month 1 ;))

Anyway, the good news is my body cooperated. ¬†I’m so glad we are finally on the same page again. ¬†This makes me feel completely prepared to go to the group training session today. ¬†It has been WAY TOO LONG since I’ve had a tough workout with Mike and my boot camp peeps. ¬†I was completely bummed to miss SNOW DAY boot camp Wednesday night, but I knew it wasn’t a good idea when I actually had to pause the Insanity workout and dragged my way through it that morning. However, now that I’m all mended I am totally ready to ROCK IT tonight.

I have been withdrawing from exercise BIG TIME! I HATE when I can’t workout. ¬†My eye was twitching the ENTIRE time I was sick. ¬†I had no alternative form of stress reduction. ¬†Alright, I admit I cheated a little and did some pull-up training on occasion. ¬†This morning, though, for the first time in several days I was FINALLY able to work out at full capacity, and voila!¬†Eye twitch extinguished!

I’m not sure what Mike has in store for us tonight, but I AM READY!!!! I think I may even see how high I can jump next to the tall box with the small one on top of it since I am completely determined to get up there at some point! ūüôā

Happy Friday Everyone!!!! I hope you get your weekend started right!

I’m Seeing Double!

“Run with your heart instead of your mind.

When you think with your mind, you think of the things you can and can’t do.

But when you run with your heart you forget about what you can’t do, and you just go out and do it.”¬†
-Gerry Lindgren

 
Double digits that is!  Woohoo!  Today I ran 10.3 miles as part of my training for the Colchester Half next weekend.  It was the first time I covered that amount of mileage since the Marathon in October.  I have run periodically since then, but never more than 8 miles, so this was a big deal for me.
Up until now I was pretty nervous about how my IT bands would behave during the half, and whether I would be able to finish at all. ¬†After a lot of talking myself in and out of going, I ultimately decided to run to my mother’s house. ¬†I picked it based on the fact that it’s a tough, hilly ten miles (almost every street on the route has “Hill” or “Mountain” in the name if that helps you get an idea). ¬†I figured if I could get through it, then I’d probably be okay this weekend. ¬†Plus, it’s straight shot instead of a loop, so I knew I would have to keep going. ¬†Quitting early wouldn’t be an option, unless I called for a ride. ¬†I was extremely grateful that Adam offered to pick me up if my knees acted up, even if he and I both knew I wouldn’t. ¬†In reality, I think he could tell I how nervous I felt and was, thoughtfully I might add, trying to reduce some of my anxiety. ¬†He also gave me a big hug before I left, which I appreciated IMMENSELY.
The first mile of the run only served to strengthen my fears.  I had to walk a few times to get up the hills because my quads were burning.  I instantly started kicking myself for picking such a challenging run when I was already doubting my ability.  However, once my legs were warm, I ate those hills like they were breakfast!  I tried to visualize myself as a little Pac Man munching up all those little tenths of a mile.
Overall, I was surprised at how strong I felt, especially after my painful Vermont run. ¬†I did some SERIOUS training last week and really beat up my body, but it didn’t seem to affect my run at all. ¬†Not to say I wasn’t miserable at times, but it was SO MUCH BETTER than my previous ten miler on the same route. ¬†It only took 1:48- less time than my previous attempt with more distance (since I couldn’t see Runkeeper in the sun, I ended up running¬†extra because¬†I was so afraid of coming up short on miles). ūüôā
I was BEYOND GRATEFUL that all the Insanity and boot camp have been paying off.  I felt so much stronger than I expected.  I was able to keep
my form for almost the entire run.  It was such a great feeling to run easily so long into the run- especially when I was able to let go of all that anxiety!  I was so glad I dragged myself to do it!
The best part was the look on my grandmother’s face as she drove down my mom’s street and watched me run toward the driveway. ¬†She asked where I came from, and her jaw dropped when I told her “from home”.
In the end, I outlasted my hydration pack which sprang a leak at some point during the run. ¬†It actually turned out helpful as the cold water and weather effectively iced my lower back. ūüôā ¬†However, by the time I finished I was soaked (and stoked!).
It was a small victory, but a victory none-the-less.
I hope everyone else is having a terrific day and going after some goals and dreams!

Running, Llamas, and Too Much of a Good Thing

“Beautiful women are strong and powerful.

They are athletes, capable of every feat under the sun.

They have muscles borne of hard work and sweat.

They gauge their self-worth through accomplishments not by numbers on the scale.

They understand muscle weighs more than fat, and they love the fact that their designer jeans don‚Äôt fit over their well-developed quads¬†“

‚Äď Jon Gilson

(I love this quote!!! Borrowed from Fit and Feisty)

Yup, that pretty much sums it up!

So I haven’t posted in a little while because I took a little mini vacation for my B-day in the Green Mountains in Vermont for some relaxation. ¬†I found an awesome deal on Groupon to stay at the West Mountain Inn¬†for more than 50% off their regular price. ¬†ūüôā ¬†I was totally sold by all the pictures on their website of the amazing scenery and hiking trails… okay it was mostly the¬†LLAMAS!!! ¬†I love llamas!

llamas!!!

It was definitely worth the money and the drive. The food was AMAZING. ¬†In fact, told Adam I was going to get fat because their were always yummy fresh baked goods out. ¬†Luckily, I was able to control myself…

Despite the tranquil atmosphere, Adam and I still got a chance to get in a tough trail run (only 6+ miles, but the hills were so steep it felt like double that!)  I pretty much felt like I was going to die for the majority of it while Adam bounded upward like a damn gazelle.  Needless to say, I hated him.

I spent half the trip sick (again!) with sinus/cold symptoms, but after a day to recuperate at home I got back to Insanity and boot camp and have been getting my butt kicked! ¬†Thursday night Mike had us doing the beyond insane workout from the week before, but made it even more difficult by changing some of the exercises and making us do all the circuits straight through without rest at the end. ¬†I was happy to make it through without any palpitations or near fainting spells (I only almost threw up once!), but my body has been hurting everywhere ever since! ¬† I’m sure it didn’t help that yesterday I did Insanity and a group session where Mike had us doing 400 reps (split with a partner- my partner was AWESOME by the way)¬†of all different types of upper body torture including battle ropes, curls, dead lifts, punches, and some other fun stuff. ¬†We were definitely creating some liquid awesome!

We also did a mile run as part of our warm-up (outside, in the cold, in shorts…I hate you Mike ūüėČ ) and I finished in a respectable 6:54 (motivated primarily by the fact that I was COLD and wanted to get inside). ¬†Adam finished a full minute ahead of me, but his legs are twice as long as mine.

Nothing says "I love you" like a SUPER BLENDER

After our super tough workout, Adam and I treated¬†ourselves to some chocolate peanut butter protein shakes in the new industrial strength blender he got me for Valentine’s Day (because nothing says “I love you” like a blender with more horse power than your car…I told him the only thing that would make it better is if it came in pink or orange). ¬†In case anyone is wondering, I can now make a protein shake in 3 secs. Hardcore, right?

That pretty much catches us up to the present- with the exception of a Birthday recap, which I still need to post. ¬†I’ll get around to it…eventually.

I hope everyone is having an amazing weekend! ¬†I started mine off right with some more Insanity- that means 3 weeks down! ¬†I’m also hoping to get a long run in at some point to help prep for the Colchester Half Marathon next weekend (Yikes!!!) ¬†I’m a little nervous about my lack of training (in terms of not having run much recently), but I keep reminding myself that it won’t be as bad as a marathon.

Later folks!

PS. The torture was worth the great view ūüėČ

Dig Deeper!

“If you always put limit on everything you do- physical or anything else- it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there. You must go beyond them.”

-Bruce Lee

Amen!

Oh yeah, I pulled out the Bruce Lee today. ¬†Maybe I was inspired by my new self defense lessons. ¬†Speaking of which, maybe I’ll start adding a self defense move of the week you tube video with my posts so everyone can learn how to kick ass with me… ¬†

Today I worked my second 13 + hr shift this week and came home exhausted (saving lives is hard work ūüėČ ) ¬†I considered going straight to bed, but decided to “dig deeper” and do my scheduled Insanity workout instead. ¬†On the agenda today: pure cardio and abs. ¬†I did the abs first because I didn’t realize initially that they were separate workouts. ¬† Anyway, the ab workout was only an additional 15ish minutes, so even combined with the full cardio workout, it was not as bad or long as boot camp. ¬†Tomorrow is supposed to be a rest day, but since I’m a couple days behind I think I’m going to skip ahead to the fit test and possibly the next workout.

Plus, TOMORROW IS BOOT CAMP ūüôā YEA!!!!!! ¬†Can you tell I’m REALLY looking forward to it? ¬†Is it still sadistic to look forward to torture and pain when you know it’s good for you? ¬†In reality, it’s not really boot camp I get excited about- it’s SURVIVING another boot camp and the associated post workout high (not to mention hanging out with my awesome “other family”!) ¬†

So here’s to rising above plateaus, digging deeper,¬†and being the person you are meant to be!

In the words of Caption Planet :The Power is Yours!"

So, for anyone interested… here is one of the useful moves Adam taught me called the “Rolling Knee Bar” (or “How to Break the Bad Guy’s Knee”). ¬†Enjoy!

Why Boot camp and Decongestants Don’t Mix…

“If you are hurt, whether in mind or body, don’t nurse your bruises.

Get up and light-heartedly, courageously, good temperedly get ready for the next encounter

This is the only way to take life‚ÄĚ

‚Äď Emily Post

Ok so this post is a little late.¬† Normally I don’t post twice in the same day, but this workout was entirely blog-post-worthy (and I found a bunch of great pics to use). lol

Wednesday night I went to boot camp (yes after my Insanity workout that morning-despite being sick).  I knew it would be a tough workout, but figured I could muddle through it.  I HAD NO IDEA WHAT I WAS IN FOR!  I keep telling Mike that the Insanity workouts are not as hard as boot camp.  Apparently he got the signals crossed and decided boot camp was too easy.  He KILLED US.

unless you pass out, then you're screwed...

Now, let me tell you why boot camp and decongestants don’t mix.¬† I have been taking pseudoephed (possibly pharmacy’s greatest gift to mankind) for the past few days in an attempt to relieve the intense pressure in my sinuses and help fight this God-forsaken bug.¬† What I didn’t realize prior to heading to our session, was that Mike had beyond insane (because let’s face it, Insanity isn’t that hard) interval training in mind.¬† The problem: the point of interval training is to adequately recover in between.¬† That means getting your heart rate down.¬† Side effects of pseudoephedrine: tachycardia, palpitations, dizziness, and blurry vision (ie. boot camp and decongestants don’t mix).

I can’t tell you exactly what exercises we did (because it’s sort of a dizzy, fuzzy blur!).¬† The warm up was pretty much the same as Insanity.¬† As for the rest, all I can say is there was a lot of jumping, punching, and push-ups involved.¬† There was also a lot of yelling to “PUSH HARDER!!!“.¬† I kept my eyes closed for most of it in a desperate effort to stop the room from spinning.¬† Every time Mike told me to move faster and “run it out” and wanted you yell “Are you serious?! This IS as fast as I can go right now! I’m happy to still be upright!”¬† It was honestly the closest I’ve come to passing out since the first session.¬† Someone actually threw up (I think a first while I’ve been there), and a few people had to stop at various points.¬† I think there would have probably been a lot of swearing and complaining if any of us had breath to spare.

I could feel my heart pounding in my chest, and it wasn’t in a good way.¬† When I did fleetingly open my eyes to glance around the room, it pretty much looked like a bunch of zombies.¬† Mike asked how I was liking the workout, and I told him I couldn’t wait to get back to my “easy Insanity workout”.¬† It was true.¬† His workout made Insanity look like kindergarten recess.¬† Every time I tried to move faster, I would get dizzy and have palpitations.¬† There were a couple points when I was really sorry I came (especially being sick), but by the time it was finally over I snapped out of it.¬† After all, I was happy to at least be suffering in good company. ūüôā

¬†After that crazy workout, I took a day off from exercise and went to bed early last night instead.¬† I definitely needed that extra rest.¬† This morning I was back to my Insanity workout, and tonight I’m hoping to make a group session at the gym with Mike where I will be getting my sexy face on with some fabulous ladies- because there’s nothing sexier than a girl who knows her way around the weight room.

PS. Anyone looking for a little daily inspiration, here a a few of my new favorite Facebook sites.¬† They all have great inspirational photos and great tips on living a fit/healthy lifestyle.¬† If anyone has any other sites or blogs they recommend, I’d love to hear about them.

Kendrick Fitness

ShaBAM Fitness

Fit and Fiesty

The Optimism Revolution

Healthy Body Project

Oh and just in case anyone in my awesome family is still looking for a last minute birthday present (we’re getting down to the wire people) feel free to pick up any of the kick ass apparel on this site.

Have an amazing day everyone!!!!!