Monday, December 20, 2010

...LiStEn uP!...

I'm not a middle of the road kinda gal. I take my time...worry...before I make a decision...but once I decide to do something...I grab the bull by the horns...all or nothing...full throttle. When I was fat...I ate to excess...I never worked out. Now...I tend to workout in excess. My addiction didn't go away...sometimes I think it morphed into something else.

I've learned to embrace pain. I know that pushing myself will making me more ways than just physically...and so I push myself...hard...every day. I never slow down. Many times, I don't take the time I need to recover from the stress I put my body through daily. The part of me that is scared of gaining weight and going back to where I was when I was overweight and unhealthy, convinces the smart part of me that rest is for wimps. I know that rest (in the right amount) is for smart people that don't want to injure and over train their bodies, but it's still hard for me.I was feeling strong...but then I felt worn out...weak...and broken. Finally last week, my body got tired of me not listening and it quit on me. I tried to workout, but my body just wouldn't allow it. I felt really upset...betrayed...but I then it was brought to my attention that maybe I was the one betraying my body. Even though I'm not a gifted, natural athlete...I want to train like an athlete...but then I deprive my body of the rest and good foods and sleep my body needs to perform like an athlete. I don't listen to my body.When my body got tired and MADE me listen last week, I was upset. I had a little meltdown, wrote about it, and then made a smart decision. I decided to rest. I got much more sleep than normal over the weekend and I did not workout...AT ALL...for 3 days. What a difference 3 days made! This morning I hit the gym early for work sets of back squats, bench presses, and power cleans and it was hard...and painful at times...but I felt great because I FINALLY gave my body the time to recover that it has been screaming for.I hate that I had to go through what I did last week, but I guess I needed a wake up call. I needed to be reminded to take the time and listen to my body before it shuts down and I needed to recommit to taking better care of my body not just in the gym but in other ways as well.


Thursday, December 16, 2010


Everyone has felt the sting of betrayal...that miserable gnawing pain that makes you feel regret...and makes you wish you had chosen a better path or different people to be in your life. Some of us have experienced this more than others and some to worse degrees, but every adult at some point suffers some way. I feel like I've had more than my fair share lately and honestly, I'd really like a break. I'd like a break from thinking about and reliving the hurt. I'd like a break from the pain I feel in my body and in my heart. I'd like an end to the frustration and the feeling of powerlessness.

It is not a person that inspired me to share these feelings. It's the feeling I had today as I cried in the bathroom at the gym. It's the anger that accompanies the pain and the fear that it will never be better. It's body...and my inability to make my body cooperate with my mind.

I'm not an athletically talented person. Nothing I've ever done in the gym comes easy...never has...probably never will...and that's okay. Some people are fast. Some people have great endurance. Some people are unusually strong or flexible or coordinated. I am none of those things, but I am stubborn and I work hard. I was taught to keep trying when I fail. My friend Wes taught me that...and I have missed him like crazy lately. I've missed his encouragement. I've missed his ability to help me change course when my day in the gym isn't going as planned. I miss how he would humble me when I was strong and cocky and how he would lift me up when I was broken or fragile. I miss him on days like today when I feel betrayed by my own body.

I learned years ago how powerful the mind is. I learned to make my body keep going when it was begging me to stop. I've learned to withstand pain and continue even when it seemed that reaching my goal was impossible. I am almost always able to conquer my body with my mind...but every now and body wins...and I am left feeling betrayed and cheated.

I've had health problems over the past few months and as a consequence of medication and the inability to always do what I want physically, I've gained almost 10 pounds. Everyone around me says I look the same and reassures me, but I can tell the difference and it has been tearing me up inside. I try to be positive and only those people closest to me, know just how really bad I have felt and how discouraged I have been. The intense fear of going back to where I once was...the paranoia that I will wake up 200 lbs again is torturous. So, I've resorted to doing what I do best...killing myself in the gym. It's been hard, but even on the toughest days...I seem to get through. I push and I push and even if it's not as much weight or as fast as I'd like...I'm able to physically get through whatever I plan for myself.

I am many things, but one thing I'm a quitter. Sometimes, I'm a "pauser". Sometimes I think about quitting...but in the end, I DON'T QUIT. Today I quit. My body refused to keep going when I told it to. With every painful repetition, I told myself I could finish...until finally my body just stopped. It quit listening and the pain became too much to bear. I found myself sitting on the floor of the bathroom, holding my belly, cramped up, and crying. I felt so disappointed. I felt cheated. I felt like I had been abandoned. I felt deceived. It felt like the betrayal of a friend that I have suffered lately. I hated it...but there is a difference. I can't make another person do right. I can't force an apology or go back in time. There's not a thing I can do to make that betrayal go away. What I can do, is wipe away my tears and pick my head up and know that even though I was not able to finish what I started today....even though my body betrayed me today...tomorrow is another day. Tomorrow I will march my stubborn butt right back in that gym and do it again...and tomorrow, my body won't let me down.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

...tiS tHe sEaSoN tO bE LaZy...

Oh the seems we spend all our time eating...buying...and partying. We make time for all these seemingly important things...but the things that REALLY matter...namely our health...gets put on the back burner. I use to never have a problem working out during the holidays. For years, I've had a personal trainer and I didn't have to think about it. I had an appointment...a set time and I showed up. Now..that I myself am a trainer and workout mostly alone, it's much more difficult. The past couple of weeks, I've gone through some serious friend drama, had some health issues, and I've struggled to get ready for Christmas but still take care of myself. I'm ashamed to say that today, Christmas is winning! The funny part is that I'm not even in the Christmas spirit. I've been a bit of a Scrooge all season. My formal tree is...has been up and fluffed for weeks but sits in the entry way...lightless...and ornamentless. It's the 14th and I'm not even 1/3 of my way through my shopping. Yet, I keep feeling like the holidays are keeping me from training and eating the way I want.

Today my entire day is full. I'm headed out to shop w my Mom ALL day in hopes of getting closer to being "done" and then I have my daughter's first band concert tonight. I shoulda already worked out...but I didn't schedule the time and now...once again...I'm regretful!

I am always getting appointments mixed up or showing up late or on the wrong's all part of my "blonde-NESS". I remember I once called my husband to lament this when I missed an appointment and hadn't worked out and his response was..."Hey....guess what?...There's this really cool thing called a calendar! You should get one!" Poo! No sympathy there. Sometimes, I'm left with open time...and I have a million things to do, yet I feel lost. It sounds like a snide comment that my husband made, but's true. He's very different than me. Together. On top of things. He brings things back down to earth when my head is floating in the clouds making excuses.

We all get upset at Christmas time and say we don't have time to work out. We behave as though it is out of our control and ACCEPT weight gain and losses in the gym. We rationalize and think up a million excuses when the solution is simple...a calendar. Get a calendar and make an appointment...everyday...with yourself in the gym. Keep the appointment just as you would a doctor's appointment or going to work. Make it a priority.Today was a fail in that department, so I guess I'll just "power walk" my way through Christmas shopping in heels and make the best choice I can when me and my Mom stop for lunch. I don't know quite how I'll do it, but I do know ONE THING...tomorrow...and every day after...I have to do better...and I will.


Friday, December 10, 2010

i wAnnA hAvE tHe hEaRt oF a LiOn...

I don't remember the man's name, but I still vividly remember the fight. My toes were hands balled into fists...oh, I was so tense! I use to tune in every week to watch what was one of my favorite shows at the time, "The Contender"...a boxing competition. I remember one specific episode, because one of the boxers that I really liked said something that spoke to me then and has stayed with me in the years that have passed. I remember watching on my bed...yelling...hoping...wishing...encouraging someone to win that doesn't know me...will never meet me...and can't hear me. "GET HIM! KNOCK HIM OUT!", I plead with my eyes glued to my TV screen. Then, the bell was over...the one I was cheering for lost. I knew it before the referee announced the decision. This man...this boxer...this warrior...lost the fight...but he was certainly not a "loser" in my eyes.

I love to watch boxing, but I hated that the fight didn't end in the way I wanted it to. I usually tend to cheer for the underdog...sometimes they pull through and surprise everyone with a win and other times they don't...either way...I express a lot of emotion. I'm either jumping up and down screaming, "YES!" or I'm ranting about how my fighter coulda won. This man I was cheering for, was in the worst physical shape of any of the boxers. It was obvious even just by first appearance. Amazingly, when he was called up to "tow the line"...he did so willingly...without any hesitation or fear. I wondered, "Is he brave...or stupid?". He was determined to give all he had and he did. He fought like a true if it were the last fight he would ever if his life depended on it. He was shorter and weaker, but he didn't just fight, he went to battle and gave it all he had. After the fight, one of his fellow "contenders" said to him, "Man, you have the heart of a lion! I'm proud of you. You have NOTHING to be ashamed of.".

Many times, when the losing boxer would return to the locker room to be interviewed, he was sad or frustrated or regretful. Sometimes, they would even cry...these big strong men...they cried...and they expressed regret. This man did not. He fought in a way that allowed him to hold his head high and make no excuses. When his children came in to see him, he sat them down and taught them. He didn't cry or ask their forgiveness. He told them that he gave it all he had, and he told them that in life they should always fight for what they want...that they should go after what they want with all they have. They didn't lament his loss or hang their heads...they were so proud of their dad...and rightfully so.

There was one comment this boxer made at the end that made me reflect upon my own defeats in life. He said, "If I had had one more round, I coulda had him." I think about the times when I lose...when things don't go according to plan...when life "knocks me out". How do I react? Do I stop or do I go ONE MORE round? My first natural to give up...feel bad...change direction...think of myself as a loser. That's the easy thing to do...but holding your head high no matter the outcome...because you know you gave it everything you have...that takes inner strength. I'm not there quite yet, but I'm trying to learn to have the "heart of a lion". I want to live my life in such a way that even when I am defeated, I can hold my head high with no regrets...knowing I fought...knowing that I gave it all I had and feeling good whether I win or lose.

I sat down to watch my favorite show that night a few years be entertained...but I learned something and gained a new resolve instead. I made a decision. I want to live as a warrior...with a brave heart...and an open mind. I want to live in such a way that even when I am defeated, others will say of me..."She has the heart of a lion."


Monday, December 6, 2010

...a fEw oF mY fAvoRiTe tHiNgS...

I love cute workout clothes, and I love feeling strong and tough in the gym. I love the feeling of keeping up with or even passing "the boys", but I especially love doing this WITHOUT looking like one of the boys! My good friend Arik, once turned to me in the gym when we were in there working out together and said, "You'd be better off wearing no makeup, big basketball shorts, and a loose t-shirt in here!" My response..."Why?...because it would make it easier on you to workout with me?!?" He rolled his eyes and I'm sure had some snappy comeback that I've sense blocked out and we both laughed. I love him to death, but I have never...and don't plan to ever take his suggestion as to what I wear in the gym. I like looking pretty...even in the gym.
There are piles and piles and piles of workout clothes in my closet. I'll admit that at times, it's hard to even find a certain pair of pants or a tank. It's like finding 20$ in your pocket that you didn't know was there when I come across one of my workout outfits that I love, but has been buried under other things. Some of my MOST FAVORITE workout clothes are from Otomix.I love their clothes because they are different and fun and sexy and feminine! I wear most of their stuff to workout in, but some I wear on days like today...when I wanna be comfy...but still cute! They are not cheap, but they send 20-30% off coupons constantly once you place an order and they have held up and washed great for me! Here's just a few of my favorite pieces from Otomix.

The Racy Sport pant

I have these in white and turquoise w the matching "Butterfly Cami" and I LOVE them. I also have the shorts version.
Racy Sport Pant cost...$89
Butterfly Cami cost...$49
Racy Sport Short cost...&39.88 (on clearance)
Feelin hot while suffering in the gym...PRICELESS!!!

Lycra Tops (different styles)>>

Rose Cami cost...$39
Wearing something to the gym that doesn't look just like what EVERYBODY else is wearing...PRICELESS!!!

Comfort Shorts and Pants
I have these in both pants and shorts in every color they make and they really ARE comfortable. Only prob is that I get stopped all the time to ask why there's an "arrow" on the back pointing at my butt! ha ha!
Comfort Pant cost...59$
Comfort Short...$32
Being comfortable while suffering in the gym and still looking good...PRICELESS!!!

Cotton Tanks (different styles)^^
Heart Tie-Dye Tank cost...$32
Tribal V-Cut Tank cost...$14.88 (on clearance)
Tribal Heart Tank cost...$14.44 (on clearance)
Going from the gym to the grocery store lookin cute...PRICELESS!

Rainbow Lycra Pant

I have these in pink and white and LOVE the fit! They come in a mid rise and a low rise.
Rainbow Lycra Pant cost...$44.88 (on clearance...get em before they are gone!)

Having people stop me and ask me how I got the body to wear these at 41...PRICELESS!!!

There's so many other things they sell that I could go on and on. I'm wearing my grey dragon comfort pant and the pink dragon thermal (below) today and I'm comfortable, but I don't look frumpy and can still turn a head or two. ;)


Friday, December 3, 2010

...ruNNinG aWaY fRoM mY pRobLeMs...

The broken up asphalt from a country road was under my feet and the sun was shining on my face. It was a warm November warm in fact that my tank top was wet and I had to keep pushing my big sunglasses up on my nose because the sweat was making them slide down. Music was playing in my ears, but not my usual selection of rap or pop or loud angry rock music. That day the music was different. They call certain foods "comfort foods". If I had to describe what I was listening to, I'd say that this music was like "comfort food" for my that I've loved for a long, long that is that calms me and reminds me of good things.

My legs were sore and my right knee was aching from a tough workout earlier. I knew I had no business running...that I had done enough and needed to rest...but I couldn't stop. I NEEDED to run and I was not going to stop until it was time...until I felt better. I didn't know how long it would take and so I dug in and got into a quick but relaxed pace...trying to ignore the tears that fell from underneath my big black sunglasses. The tears were not because I was tired...or because of the dull ache in my knee. The tears were for other reasons...hurt feelings...disappointment...frustration.

This scenario is not uncommon. The background or the reason varies, but the way I tend to get through it does not. I run. I run away from my problems when they begin to overwhelm me. The music sort of fades into the background and I have conversations in my head. Sounds crazy...I know. Sometimes it's me talking myself through something...a regret...or a bad choice...or a heart ache. Sometimes it's me telling another person what I desperately need to tell them in my head, because I can't find the courage to do it to their face. Sometimes I try to think of possible solutions to my problem. Sometimes I just plain feel sorry for myself. The "conversation", weather, location, music, and subject matter may vary, but one thing never changes. No matter how tired I am or how much it hurts or how dark it gets, I run and I don't stop until I feel better...because I ALWAYS feel better at some point.
Some people say that you can't "run away from your problems", but I disagree. Running and crying and thinking helps me sort things out. It gives me a chance to fall apart without anyone else around. It's a chance to step back and look at things in a different way. It's a release. And sometimes it's a way to let go of things I can't change. It's like I get so tired that I decide I can't carry those things with me any more and I have to drop them on the side of the road in order to continue running and make it back home.

It may seem crazy, but it works for me. And it may seem weak, but I know how hard it really is. Sometimes running away from my problems is just what I need in order to face them head on when I get back home. So, as long as I have problems, I guess I'll have to keep running way from them.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

...iT's HaRd tO mAkE iT LooK sO eAsY...

It's not easy to go into the gym day after day and give it your all. Working out hard hurts. No one likes to hurt, but some of us are willing to withstand some pain or discomfort in order to push ourselves to excel at whatever it is that we do in the gym. I see the contorted faces and I hear the grunts and groans of the people I train and workout alongside as they suffer through a particularly difficult workout.

This morning I came into the gym to train the 9AM group. Only two guys showed up. Sometimes when there are few people there, they will ask me to workout with them...because it creates a little competition. Because they are both experienced and there were no movements that they were unfamiliar with, I decided to join them. They were both facing me, so I could watch and stop to help if I needed to. After the warmup, the workout was:
25 Kettlebell Swings
25 Pushups
25 Squats
AMRAP (As Many Rounds As Possible) in 20 minutes

So I counted us down..."3...2...1...GO!", hit the stopwatch, cranked up the stereo, and grabbed a 44 lb KB. We struggled through and afterwards as we were sittin on the floor talking, Brad said, "That was good! Man, you did good! You kept me going. There were times I wanted to stop so bad...times I wanted to put my KB bad...but I'd glance over and see you just swinging yours like it was nothin...and I knew I HAD to keep going!" I laughed and said, "Well, honestly...I was thinkin the same thing about YOU!" Then I told him how I love to look like it doesn't hurt a bit when I'm trying to beat someone in the gym...just to psych em out and make em think it's "easy" for me...but's anything but easy!I was real pain. My grip was shot from swingin that 44 lb KB. I hate pushups, but insist (internally) that I always do as perfect of reps as possible...down til my chest and thighs are touching the ground and all the way up to locked out arms. I was out of breath and when I was tearing through those squats like it was a breeze, my quads were ON FIRE! I may have made it look easy, but it was anything BUT easy.So how is it that I kept going when it hurt so bad? Why didn't I just stop and take a break? I did it, because I knew that I could. I knew the pain would eventually subside and a feeling of accomplishment and pride would take it's place. It's hard to make something so painful look so easy, but if it pushes me and the people I train with to do a little more, or go a little further or's worth it. I feel certain that BOTH Brad and I did more than we would have if I had been weak and stopped. Don't stop when it's hard. Don't quit when it hurts. Fight your way through and make it look easy, because whether you do it fast or slow...or whether you whine or hang tough...the pain won't stop until you finish!


Friday, November 26, 2010

...wAiTiNg tO fAiL...

Why is it that a NASCAR race is so much more exciting once someone crashes? The Miss Universe pageant has never been so amusing as when Miss USA fell on stage and popped right back up. A hockey game sucks if no one throws a punch...and while we all agree it's sad...we glue ourselves to the screen during the Olympics to watch both great accomplishments, as well as, heartbreaking failures. If we miss one of those tragic events, we turn to the internet so that we can watch "the agony of defeat"...over and over and over again. Why is it human nature to love to see others fail?

We all want to be more...the best. We all want a better car...a bigger house...a more impressive job title...a skinnier waistline...more intelligent children. The desire varies depending on the person...but EVERYONE is always looking for more of something. We hate the people that we perceive are better than us or that have achieved what we want to achieve. We work hard and if we're lucky...we make it too...only to find out that it's not as great as we expected it to be.

It's not as great, because when we are succeeding...there's always someone hoping...watching...waiting for us to fail. People smile and congratulate you to your face, while privately they cut you down and secretly hope you will faiI. I feel that way sometimes. For years, my husband and I were so poor. We worked so hard and went without for so long. The hope of a better, more secure future is what kept us going when we didn't know how we were going to pay the bills or when we had to wear coats inside our house, because we couldn't afford to heat it. I dreamed of the day that I could have a nice purse or drive a nice car...the day that I could be proud to bring people to my home...the day that I didn't cry when it came time to pay the bills. After many years, lots of hard work and sacrifice, and thousands of dollars in student loans...we have achieved a lot of our goals. We are not millionaires, but we are more than comfortable...successful by most people's standards. There are many people that have more, but we have a lot and we appreciate it, because it was not easy to obtain.There are other successes, besides monetary successes that people resent as well...especially women. We women have to be the meanest, most competitive creatures to ever walk this earth. I know that there were people that were much more likely to approach me and like me when I was beat down and overweight. It was easy, because I was no competition. I made the person standing next to me look good. When I took control of my life and problems...lost weight...and gained a bit more confidence...everything changed. People stopped approaching me. I went from being invisible to being talked and whispered about. The sad part is...I'm still me. The inside is the same. I'm still nervous and insecure...I still struggle not to over eat...I still have the same worries as every other 40 something mom. I think that's one of the reasons that I'm so scared of gaining weight. I know that there are people that would revel in my failure, because then they could feel good about their own short comings and weaknesses. People don't always see the successes of others as simply a success to cheer for or congratulate, but as a personal failure...a reflection of what they, themselves, did NOT accomplish.

I have found myself actually being embarrassed at times...embarrassed when a fellow PTA board members husband complimented me instead of her...embarrassed when my children's friends come to the house and say, "Wow! You have a nice house! I wish I had this house!"...embarrassed to admit that I have a nanny even though I work a very part time job...embarrassed of the amount of shoes and purses and belts and clothes in mine AND my childrens' closets. Personally, I think that sometimes I am embarrassed and I fear success because I don't feel worthy. Failure is comfortable in some sick, twisted way...familiar. Maybe part of it is in my head...maybe it's me...the dark insecure parts of me...that are waiting for...fearing...expecting failure. It would be easier in some ways...but would I be happy...settling for less?As I sit and think about the dilemma between "having it all" and being hated for it or being just like anyone else and easy to like, I realize that while it hurts to know that there are people waiting for me to fail...people putting me down in whispers...I could never live with myself knowing that I didn't try to be the best I could be. I realize that deep down people don't really think of me as a jerk or think I'm bad, because if they did...they wouldn't be talking...they wouldn't be competing...they wouldn't care. So, yeah people might love to see other people, but personally, I would rather be Miss USA and fall onstage in front of millions, then be the fat girl eating popcorn and laughing from my chair at home. I'd rather be the Olympian that trips and loses the chance to win a medal...the one he has been working for his whole life...than the guy with a spare tire...sitting alone...watching it over and over on youtube. It hurts and it's hard, but I'd rather be the best version of myself, then wonder what could have been. So, I'll keep working while others sit and wait...for failure.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

"mEaSuReMeNts aNd sTaTisTicS"

Sometimes I feel like I'm an actress playing a role written by other people. There are times when I feel as though much of what I do is for other people, even when I am doing things for myself. It's like people need me to be this person, and I need to make them happy. And they are...most of the time...except sometimes the very thing that people love...the very "personality" that they have created, becomes the thing they criticize. Sometimes, just when I get good at being what I think I am suppose to be...the standard changes and I feel like I can't measure up.

I truly blessed to be different. I am a complex, multi dimensional, sometimes contradictory person. At times, I feel I am the sun amongst the stars. I feel like people can relate to me and I can speak to them in a way others cannot. I feel loved and appreciated but I'm not always sure that it is for the best parts of me. Many times it is for the parts of me that are the least important...the parts that can be seen on the outside...while the most amazing parts stay tucked away inside...hidden. They are not locked away. Anyone can see them, but only if you look closely...only if you are patient enough to peel back the layers to get past the initial "illusion"...the blonde hair and the boobs and the high heels and the funny stories and ditzy moments. These things are not an act. I do not pretend. These are all a PART of who I am...but there's so much more.

I was so struck when I saw the Nike ad above, because it so perfectly stated the way I have felt lately. There have been times when people have judged the "appearance" in a photo put on the "Strong is the new skinny" page on Facebook. There is talk that someone doesn't look strong enough or is too skinny or sometimes it's too sexy etc. There have been times when I have been judged for the words I choose or how I choose to portray myself. I'm smarter than I look, and I understand that if I am going to stick my neck out and open myself up, there is a chance that I will get my proverbial head chopped off. I accept that and I am okay with it, because if I can grow and learn from it and I can help other people evolve and TRULY change their way of's worth a bruised ego every now and then.

I feel sorry for people that only see what I look like in a bikini or judge me based on a single word or description in a post I write. I feel sorry because the person that only focuses on the superficial structure, misses the strength of my foundation. Don't make that mistake. There is no one standard or measurement or statistic for strength or beauty. It comes in many different forms and takes on many different appearances. Look further and be yourself and others. "...And if a woman is to be measured, let her be measured by things she can who she is and who she is trying to become..."


Thursday, October 14, 2010

...mOvE yOuR bOOgiE bOdY...

I grunted. I screamed. I sweated. I cussed like a sailor the other day in the gym all alone as I did a workout that included lots of heavy-ish dead lifts with pushups and inverted rows in between. I was pushed to the limit of what I could do. When I got done, I collapsed on the floor...lying there in my own sweat...thinking how exhausted I was. My lower back was tired and my legs felt shaky, but I was happy.

I've thought a lot about what I and many other strong women do in the gym on a daily basis. It's so different than it was back when I was in 10th grade gym class and I remember doing Jane Fonda. The "burn" I feel much different! There's no comparison between what we do now and what women in Jazzercise classes in the 80s did! I don't dance in the gym...okay well once I lost my mind (normal) and started dancing and spun around the pole of the pullup bars as if I were Demi Moore in "Striptease". I thought I was all alone until a lady came in off the street to try and sell me something. She was surprised and I was embarrassed. I didn't buy her tamales and she left...quickly...looking back with an expression that said, "What just happened in there?!?". So while I may have been dancing in the gym, it was in no way my "workout" that day! My work in the gym does not include choreographed movements in unison with other girls to songs like "Move Your Boogie Body". My work consists of strength training and high intensity workouts. I'm all about chalk and barbells and pullups and dragging or flipping heavy tires...etc etc etc.

I have always said "There is more than one way to skin a cat." One form of training may be great for one person, while another responds better to something else so this is not a post to bash on Jazzercise. Obviously, I think what I do is amazing, but I am not one to say other people are wrong for choosing something different than me. However, I am so glad to live in a changing world where it is becoming more and more acceptable for women to be strong. I'm grateful for Crossfit videos that show women working hard...right alongside the boys. I'm grateful that I have so many choices available to me. Nobody loves to "move their boogie body" more than me. I just prefer to do it on the dance floor and not in the gym.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

...tOniGhT tHe fAt GirL LoSt...

"Every fat girl has her own fat story. There are different ways fat folks get fat and lose fat and stay fat.

The world is full of thin women who behind flat stomachs shelter fat girls. You can tell who those women are who give refuge to a fat girl. When they see the buffet table they square their shoulders. They ready for combat with Virginia baked ham, sweet potato souffle and those puffy dinner rolls with butter and a three-layer chocolate mousse cake.

Food is the enemy. Food is also the mother, the father, the warm hearted lover, the house built of red brick that not even the wolf can blow down."
excerpt from "Fat Girl: A True Story" by Judith Moore

The excerpt above is not intended to make fun of anyone or say there is one way to be. I hope that no one takes offense to the term "fat girl", because it is JUST that...a term. This is NOT about what I think of other people. It is not to point the finger or say I'm better. Actually, it's quite the opposite. This is one of those times when I am honest and imperfect...when I chose to share my personal weaknesses in hopes of strengthening someone else.

I am feeling a little selfish. This is all about ME at this very past and present experiences...and the struggles that I personally face on a daily tonight for instance. Tonight, I am feeling some disappointment and some sadness...and all I can think about is how bad I want to get up off my bed, make some cookies and eat them. I have gone in the kitchen THREE times and turned around and come back to my room. I don't want to eat cookies because I am hungry. I want to eat cookies for comfort.
I am a fat in a fit with a flat stomach...and a tight butt...and toned that fits into a size 4 and turns heads. I lost 70lbs six years ago. It took me a whole year...a year of hard work and sacrifice to do it. There was no surgery. There were no pills. Other "girls" sometimes think that I don't understand...they think that I have no concept of the challenges they face when it comes to weight and self image...but I do.

Somedays I am strong and I make good choices. Other days...I feel like the fat girl inside me takes over and I eat things I shouldn't and I feel insecure. The other day I crammed a candy bar in my mouth and then I regretted it for the rest of the day. I work out hard...I always do...and one candy bar on one day won't make me fat...but I still get mad at myself because I feel like I've I've let the old me take charge of the new me.

It's amazing to me that even after all these years, being fit is not always second nature to me. I have to make a conscious effort every day to maintain the progress that I have made over the years. I have to decide which "me" I will be. Will I be the strong, healthy me? Or will I let the fat girl in me...the old me win?
Throughout the night, I have felt like a junkie "jonesin" for a hit...just one...just enough to make anything that's bothering me go away...just enough to make me feel better. But here's the problem...just like the junkie's high eventually goes away, the comfort from the food goes away and I am left with guilt and shame and the same feelings that led me to that place. I made the decision to change my life almost 7 years ago. The tough part for those of us that struggle with weight issues is that it is not just ONE's a SERIES of decisions every day.

Tonight I made the decision that I was not going to mask my pain with the comfort of a cookie. It hasn't been's been a wrestling match between the fit girl in me and the fat girl in me. I did have to "square my shoulders" and "ready myself for combat" with a plate of cookies. I went to battle and I won. There are no freshly baked cookies here. I'm incredibly proud to say that tonight, the fat girl lost! And because I made the right choice...I am going to bed feeling a renewed sense of STRENGTH and hope.


Thursday, October 7, 2010

...bEaUtiFuL aGoNy...

Several years ago, my then trainer and still great friend Wes, introduced me to a author named Mark Twight. I should say that he didn't introduce me to him in person...I could only dream...but he introduced me to him through his website, GYM JONES...and through one of his books. Wes had read his book called "Kiss or Kill : Confessions of a Serial Climber" and then lent it to me. I devoured the book in just a few days, which is crazy for me because I can be quite A.D.D. at times.It was gritty and in your was extreme and unapologetic. Some people would probably find his ideas and the way he expresses them, offensive, but his words and experiences are motivating to me. I have since gathered many quotes from Mark Twight's book and from his website that motivate me on a daily basis. Some hang on one section of my mirror in the bathroom and some are in my computer. I look at them often for inspiration. Everything I have ever read of MT's makes me want to push faster...and continue when it hurts and I want to stop. One of my favorite short quotes of his is: "Punish your body to perfect your soul."

I was thinking about this quote today while I worked out...alone in the gym I train at. My back hurt. I was winded, and I was feeling a little...okay, make that VERY...defeated. I've had a lot going on lately and I have let the length and intensity of my workouts slide a bit over the past couple of weeks and I was feeling the effects today. I wanted to just stop but I refused to. I left the gym shaking, nauseous, and utterly exhausted. I know I looked a mess when I stumbled into the burger place on my way home with white chalk from pullups on my hands and black shorts and a tank top soaked with sweat. I thought to myself, "I'm definitely punishing my body, but my soul does not feel perfected today!". It got me thinking about why I do the agonizing work that I in and day out in the gym.I was never one for working out. I am not naturally talented when it comes to anything athletic. I always hated P.E. class in school. I usually just walked to lose weight when I was younger. I was not interested in anything too vigorous or challenging or painful. In my late 20s, I started running, but I never lifted weights and it was always a means to an end...once the weight was gone...I would quit exercising. After I had my third child, I was overweight, overwhelmed, and I didn't like myself very much. I fed the pain, frustration, and the loneliness. In my attempt to comfort myself, I abused my body with food. I became very overweight and very depressed. I felt trapped in a body that did not belong to me, but I wouldn't do anything about it. When I hit 200 lbs, something changed in me and I became motivated to do something about my weight. I started slow and worked my way up in difficulty ...and down in weight.

I started lifting weight and doing high intensity workouts. It was no longer a means to an became a new life for me.I have come so far from where I was. I am a different person now. I love to workout, and I do so 5 to 6 days a week. I try never to miss a day...even when I'm sick. I work hard and I am sore all the time. I punish myself and try to push myself to the limit every time I workout. Some people may be disturbed by the word "punish", but to punish is not necessarily a negative thing. When a child does something wrong, the parent should punish the child appropriately. This teaches the child and corrects the bad behavior. The punishment is not always pleasant, but it is productive and necessary to help the child become the best person possible over time. On the other hand, abuse is not productive. It hurts, but it doesn't make a child stronger. It does not teach. It weakens the body and destroys the spirit. Years ago, I abused my body with food and neglect, and it destroyed my body and it bruised my soul. Now, I do punish my body, but my soul truly is stronger for it...and why I do what I do.

I've been made fun of by a family member and told that I have a "problem". Many people just do not understand why I push myself the way I do. I've been called a "freak" and a "masochist". You'd think I'd be offended, but I wear both labels with pride. I am amused by it, because in my life before I got in shape, I would not have understood either. I too would've scoffed at the idea that putting your body through pain, could make you physically strong and heal your heart in the process. Some today...I am miserable while I work out...but as miserable as I felt, there was a strange calmness I felt after wards...a sense of pride and accomplishment. Some days are harder than others. Today the pain I felt while I was working out was pure agony, but when all is said and done...I am grateful for that agony...that beautiful agony that keeps me healthy and strong and proud...the agony that has strengthened me...taught me...refined me... and healed me.


Monday, October 4, 2010

...iT's nOt eAsY...

WARNING: Some parts of this post may be T.M.I. for you boys...but if you can handle might help someone you love...

Does being "strong" mean you can't be scared? I felt scared...really scared. The problem is that I always feel like I have to be Supergirl...that I should be I'm less than if I cry or feel scared...and that makes days like today a challenge...

I have not always been very good about getting my yearly "girly exams". Maybe it's because I haven't taken "the pill" since I had my oldest daughter that is now almost it's easy to forget or blow off. I finally went a few weeks ago because I wanted to talk to a doc about another issue (that I will spare you the details're welcome) and it had been nagging at me in the back of my mind that I was waaaaaay overdue. I just assumed everything was okay. It always was before. I expected a call a week later to say "The results of your pap smear came back normal." because that's what they always said before. No such luck this time. This time I heard the words "pre-cancerous cells" and my heart sank. The nurse reassured me that everything would be fine...that this happens all the time...yada yada yada...but all I heard was "pre-cancerous" and that I would have to come in for more tests and procedures.

So, today I went in for a more "in depth" exam. Yay. (insert sarcastic tone here) I'm usually tough. I handle stuff...but I felt kinda scared...and angry. I don't know why or where the anger came from...but I definitely felt it. I'm just glad that I did finally go in after being 4 YEARS overdue for an exam and didn't wait any longer. I left the office feeling much better than when I arrived stressed and shaking. The exam was not fun but it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.

You may be wondering why on earth I am talking about my irregular pap smear results on a blog called "Strong is the new skinny". What does that have to do with being strong? It has a lot to do with it in my mind and so I'm writing this is for these reasons...

1. I want to encourage women to keep up with their yearly exams. It's easy to get out of the habit or put it off. Cervical cancer does not JUST HAPPEN. It takes time and can be caught and treated early if women get a pap smear yearly. We eat right and train hard in the gym, but it takes more than that to stay healthy. Cancer doesn't care how big your muscles are or how fast you can do a workout...and it doesn't discriminate either. It can happen to anyone, and no one enjoys going to the doctor for these types of things, but it's worth it. Girls, keep your body healthy and strong in every way. And guys (if you're still here), encourage the women that you love to make and keep their yearly appointments.

NO one here is a super hero. We are all human and it's okay to be scared sometimes. My fear going into the office today doesn't make me weak. It's what I do with that fear that determines that. Ignoring the problem or letting it swallow me up would be the weak thing to do...and I don't want to be as much as I HATE going to the doctor...I'm seeing this thing through to the end and I will NOT be throwing any pity parties in the meantime. I'm going to stand tall and be a "big girl" because anything else would not be in keeping with the way I try to live my life these days...with strength and courage and a positive outlook. When faced with the choice to laugh or cry...I will choose laughter...always...and I hope everyone here makes the same decision.

3. Lastly, I wrote about this because I feel like the things I do in the gym...have helped me outside of the gym once again.
My fitness goes beyond my appearance and yours should too. Sure, it's great to turn heads in a bikini or be able to fit into a pair of tight jeans, but there's more to it than just that. Mark Twight says, "Tough workouts that push an individual to the very limit of his or her capacities may become the gateway to higher consciousness. And that awareness often leads to confidence." I have to agree. The mental toughness and confidence that I have developed through the suffering I've felt during my workouts is what makes me strong in these types of circumstances. The ability to keep going when I don't want to...when I'm tired...or when it hurts...makes everyday stuff like today's exam, a piece of cake.

Days like today are not easy, but I know I will be okay. I know that because I KNOW I can handle anything that comes my way...and true strength.


Friday, October 1, 2010

...aLL i eVer rEaLLy nEEdEd tO kNoW i LeaRnEd fRoM wEs...

There's a book called "All I Ever Really Needed To Know I Learned In Kindergarten" by Robert Fulghum. I have often thought that I learned all I ever really needed to know inside the walls of a gym...or outside on a track...or in a park on a trail. I learned them from the man that once pushed me hard in that gym...and held the stopwatch as I ran on that track...and ran beside me on my favorite trail at the park...a man that can still inspire and encourage me from over a thousand miles away. That man's name is Wes.

Wes and I were an unlikely pair. Wes was much younger than me and a talented athlete. He was handsome and good at everything he did. Everyone likes Wes and he has the ability to command respect like no one I've ever met since. I was a mother of three and my life was in a rut. I had lost 75 lbs but I was not yet comfortable in my own skin. I was bored and felt inept at most everything I did. We were forced together for a free training session in the gym I had joined when the women only gym I went to went out of business. I had NO interest and did not think I needed a trainer...and he did not act excited at the prospect of training just another Mom. I gave in to the pressure from the gym mgr at the time that was tired of seeing me come in the gym and spend 2 hours using every single machine in the gym, every single day of the week. I decided that I would just take the free session and "get it over with" so I didn't have to hear it again. Wes did his job and gave me a free session...never expecting me to actually sign up for more.

I think we both surprised each other. Wes is tough. He pushed me...hard...harder than I've ever been pushed that first day...and in the days and months to follow. I responded and did what he told me. I gave him everything I had and never stopped. He was my coach...and in time became my friend. Over the next year, he taught me things that have shaped me...things that have helped me rise to my true potential...not just INSIDE the gym...but in my personal life as well. The "old me" died in the year I spent training with him and a "new me" was born...the "me" that I was always meant to be.

Wes taught me that most of my limitations are self imposed. He taught me to stop saying "I can't" and try. Nothing comes easy for me and so at times I had to try over and over and over again...but eventually I would knock a wall down that had once held me back. With every wall that I knocked down, my limitations became fewer and my accomplishments became greater. I did things wasn't comfortable with...things I had never done before and never expected dragging and flipping tires and swinging a kettlebell. My confidence in and out of the gym multiplied.

Wes taught me to laugh at myself. When I was in my 20s, I was always embarrassed. I lacked the ability to find humor in my short my mistakes. If I tripped and fell...I was devastated. I would cry and close myself off. There were many times that I did things that I once would've found humiliating, but with Wes I felt safe. He helped free me from that awful feeling I once felt and taught me to laugh and move on.

Wes taught me that everyone needs a friend. When I met Wes, I was very lonely. I've never had a lot of girlfriends. Most of my friends growing up were guys...and that got complicated once I got married. I had closed myself off and held everyone at arms length. I kept most people around me as acquaintances and never really opened myself up to anyone. I didn't think that I was worthy of true friendship and let very few people really come inside my life. Not only did Wes become my friend...a person that I could talk to and text and share my life with...but he helped build the confidence and self love in me to realize that I am worthy of friendship. He never gave up on me...ever...whether I was humble or had an ego...whether I was focused or difficult...he believed in and out of the gym. That in turn has helped me learn that no one should ever be counted out...that everyone deserves another chance.

Wes taught me that I can do whatever I set my mind to. I never played a sport in my life before I met him. P.E. class was torture for me my entire life growing up. I am awkward and clumsy and nothing athletic comes naturally to me. He once sd to me when I was "warming up"..."Holy Shit! I've never seen anyone do jumping jacks WRONG before!"...and in case you are wondering...yes, you can in fact do them wrong. None of that mattered. Wes didn't cut me a break or give me any excuses. He taught me and then it was my job to keep on working until I got it down. This has helped me succeed in many areas of my life since then. I don't give up or count myself out just because I'm not good at something because I know that eventually, I will be successful.Wes taught me that failing does not make me a failure. I am such a perfectionist that I don't like to do things that I am not good at and so I avoided many things up until I met him...and if I did try and fail...I would hate myself and never try again. That was not an option in the gym with Wes...and neither was feeling sorry for myself. Some days, we would abort the mission and move on...but I never got out of trying again. He worked with me on dead hang pullups the entire time I trained with him and I never got one...but he never stopped trying and shortly after he moved away...I got it and he was the first person I wanted to tell. He was thrilled because my successes were his successes too.

Wes taught me respect...for myself and others. He taught me to trust. He taught me that sometimes it's okay to give up control and allow someone else to help. When he would train me and I would literally think at times that I might die...I knew I could keep going...because I knew I could trust him. When I thought I couldn't and he said "YOU CAN!"...I believed him and he never lied to me. The mental toughness that I found has gotten me through things that I never thought possible...things that even he does not know about.

I was a scared, lonely, weak person when I met Wes and I blossomed into the confident, friendly, strong woman that was trapped inside me all along. The lessons I learned from him in the gym, have forever changed my life. I have often thought about how different my life is because of my time with Wes. At times, I feel bad because I feel like he gave me so much more than I ever gave him and I know that there is no way to ever really repay him. So, I try to continue to grow and do the things he taught me as a way of paying respect to him and I do my best everyday to "pay it forward" and try to help others the way he helped me.