Monday, February 28, 2011

...LeArN tO aDaPt...

Mark Twight says, "THE MIND AND BODY ADAPT TO BOTH COMFORT AND DEPRIVATION...". I think that's true of every aspect of human life. We are made to survive and adapt. I've thought a lot about this as I've been facing some changes and adapting to a bit of a different life in some ways myself recently.

I remember a time in my life when I could not even accept a compliment. If someone said, "You are beautiful." I would laugh and say "No, I'm not!" It was a vicious cycle. I was in need of reassurance, but when I got it I discounted it. You do that enough and soon people stop wanting to compliment or reassure you.I started to break this cycle when I began working out and training with my friend, but it was not easy. In the beginning of my relationship with Wes, it was hard for me to adapt to positive reinforcement and encouragement..."comfort" if you will. I always thought it was a joke or a lie. It was almost like I felt I was being made fun of or patronized. It wasn't until I learned to trust and I adapted to the mindset of "I CAN!" and "I AM!" that I started to believe and appreciate the encouragement and compliments that I received. I stopped discounting them and started allowing them to build me up.

The "Strong is the new skinny" movement has began to really grow and people have become more vocal in their compliments towards each other and in sharing their accomplishments. Reading all the stories of transformation and seeing everyone there build each other up, makes me so glad to be associated with such an amazing group of people. I truly believe that the encouragement we give each other can help us adapt and become the best version of ourselves. If there is anyone struggling...anyone that wants to change but is afraid...anyone that is working hard but hasn't yet seen the results they are looking for...anyone that doubts their abilities and chooses to believe the "bad" rather than the "good"...I have something that I want to say that I mean from the bottom of my heart.
"You can do it! Everyone has the strength within to build the strength that people see on the outside. Believe in yourself. Learn to accept compliments and don't be ashamed to share your victories!"
I truly believe that because we have the ability to adapt to our environment that we should be careful about what kind of environment we put ourselves in. We should surround ourselves with people that build us up...not those that drag us down. We should choose friends that help us be the best we can be...not those that tell us we can't. We are going to adapt no matter what, so why not adapt to people and things that help make us great?!?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

...nO sHoRtCuTs...

I thought I'd share a few quick thoughts as I relax from my usual go go go way of life on this Sunday afternoon...

It seems to me that everyone these days wants a shortcut. We are all busy. Life moves in fast forward. We've become a society used to getting what we want now...of instant gratification. It seems there's endless gadgets and diets and pills that guarantee a quick fix to the same to get the perfect body we all want without having to change or do things we don't want to.I guess it's always been this way to some extent.

I found this picture above and I had to laugh. When I was growing up, my Mom had one of these contraptions in her dressing room. The idea was that you stood there with this strap across your hips/butt and let it violently shake you into shape. You didn't move a muscle or do a thing. You just stood there and let it shake you. I remember once walking in and seeing my Mom eating a cupcake while she stood there shaking. Sometimes I would use it myself too. If you want the truth, it didn't do a thing except make me feel motion sick and I feel certain that it did not shake away the calories my Mom consumed as she ate her cupcake that day.

People ask me all the time. "What's your secret?" It's funny to me because it is so complex, yet so simple at the same time. So, here's the secret (that's really not a secret):
( me doing a 1RM Deadlift of 245lbs...I went on to hit 260 a month or so after)


Work hard and get strong!

I loved to read the Sunday comic strips from the paper each week when I was younger. Here's a couple more funny cartoons that go right along with this!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

...eNjOy tHe RiDe...

I get motion sickness really easily, so I don't frequent amusement parks much. I do however go to the water park with my kids ever so often in the summer and will ride the rides there with them. One thing that I always find interesting is that whether I am at an amusement park or a water doesn't matter the type or length of roller coaster/ride I'm on, there's one thing in common. It's always a slow ride going up and a fast fall going down. Different people react differently. For some, the ascent is filed with trepidation and fear. For others, it is anticipation and excitement. Some scream or close their eyes on the way down. Others throw their hands in the air and laugh. When the ride is over, some can't wait to do it again...while others walk away vowing to never do that again.This reminds me a lot of life in general, but also of progression in the gym. I just said the other day, "It's funny how long it takes to build yourself up where you want to be and how fast you lose it if you stop working hard." I'm living that now. I am not out of shape by any stretch of the imagination. I can still hold my own in the gym, but I'm not where I want to be or feel I once was. There are many reasons for this. I could blame it on health issues or losing people close to me. I could say that it all started with friends that I let drag me down, but the end...I made the choices to skip days, or not go as long, or eat fast food in the middle of the night with friends when we were out. I take full responsibility.

So I started trying to get it back, but my impatience and fear got the best of me. I was like those people that fear the trip up to the top of the highest hill on the roller coaster. I wanted to close my eyes as I went further and further pretend it wasn't happening. It would've been easy to walk away and never go back because I didn't want to face the unknown or deal with the anticipation of what might or might not lie on the other side. All that did, was slow my progress. I made hasty decisions and kept changing "the ride" so to speak. It's hard to reach the top when you keep starting over.This writing was very much for myself, but it is also for anyone that has fear or wants to give up. STOP IT. Stop being afraid. Stop telling yourself you can't make it. If you want to run further, faster...then get your butt outside or on a treadmill and push yourself. Run a little longer than you want. Run a little faster than you thought possible. Learn to be okay with being uncomfortable. If you want to do a pullup...go and try to do a pullup...not once or 100 times. Do it until you get one...and you WILL get one if you keep trying. It took me 2 years to get pullups! What if I had given up at a year? So what if your hands hurt or your ego is bruised. It was all for nothing if you quit.

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to just embrace everything that goes along with change. I'm not where I want to be, but I'm on the way up with my eyes open and my arms in the air. I'm trying to look forward to longer workouts with nervous EXCITEMENT rather than dreading and fearing what will happen. I'm trying to laugh and enjoy the process, even when the fear takes my breath away. But mostly, I've decided to stop running away and get right back in ride over and over and over again until I get where I want to go. This "ride" CAN BE exhilarating if I let it be.


*Today's workout for anyone interested:

10 Ring Rows (with feet on a low box)
10 Jumping Lunges (each leg/20 total)
10 Knees to Elbows
10 Sumo Deadlift High Pulls (55 lbs)
10 Burpee Box Jumps (22 in box)
7 Rounds for time (33:18)

Followed by 30 minute of cardio of choice

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

...mUscLeS wOrK miRacLeS...

I believe in miracles. Miracles come in all shapes and sizes and they manifest themselves in many different ways. Some miracles save a person's life...or help the blind see. Some miracles simply make life a little easier...and some rid the body and mind of the sickness inside. Some miracles fix problems that once seemed unfixable...and some make things that seemed impossible happen before our eyes...the same eyes that once could not see.

I've experienced a few miracles in my life. I consider my three children amongst the best of those. They are not little anymore so I don't hold them like I did when they were small...especially not my oldest. She's 15. Need I say more? So last I cradled her in my arms and literally held her as she heart broke for her but I was also grateful that I had the physical strength to hold someone that is almost my same size.The crazy part was that she didn't pull away after a few moments. She melted into my arms and just let me love her. At one point, as I talked to her and felt her wet tears on my shoulder, she said, "You feel so strong. Thanks Mom. I needed that." A little stunned, I thought, "Wow...this is truly a miracle." Savy normally acts like she doesn't need me, but tonight she did need me...and she admitted it...and I was able to give her what she needed...strong shoulders to cry on, strong arms to hold her up with, and the mental strength to hold it together and let it be about HER even though I wanted to cry myself.

I have a shirt that says "Muscles work miracles" and I believe that they do. Actually, I know they do, because my life has changed significantly over the years as I've spent time in the gym becoming strong. MY muscles have saved my life in a sense. Before I became strong, I was not living. In a sense, I was dead inside...merely existing. My muscles healed me. My profound sadness and depression went away. Where I was once hopeless...blind in a sense, I now see endless possibility. My muscles have transformed my body and given me a mental toughness and a confidence that was not there before.Last night I witnessed yet another miracle thanks to my muscles. My muscles gave me the strength and ability to help heal my daughter's broken hold her up when she was too weak to stand on her own. Thankful does not even begin to describe the way I felt as she wiped her tears, thanked me, and stood to walk away. Muscles make us look good, but they can also serve a far greater purpose. Muscles CAN work miracles.

...if you want a "Muscles work miracles" tank...go to

Thursday, February 10, 2011

...iF yOu bUiLd iT, tHeY wiLL cOmE...

This morning I went in to the gym to cover the 9AM class. Anyone that knows me, knows that I talk...A LOT...sometimes too much. Not much shuts me up, and when I am very's a clue that something is wrong. So in my usually chatty way, I was talking with the two people that were in there training. I was saying how I'm sore, because I started a new program and yesterday was a "heavy lifting day" of Back Squats, Press, and Power Cleans. They asked a few questions about what I'm doing and I told them what my plan is. I also explained that I am doing things differently. Yes, I have yet another NEW plan...different from the last new plan...but the thing that is MOST different, is that I am NOT changing it again!
I was telling them that I was going to treat MYSELF more like I would treat a client that I am training, because so many times I do things that I would never tell them to do. I was also telling them...but really reminding MYSELF...that it takes time to SEE results and that just because you work hard for 3 or 4 weeks and don't magically transform into something else, it doesn't mean what you're doing isn't working or won't work in the future. It takes time.
I thought about this as I ran after wards. I thought about what my Mom and Dad always told us growing up..."Your body is a temple. Take care of it accordingly."...and it made me think that building a house is similar to building muscle and gaining strength in some ways. Houses are not built in a day. Architects draw up plans. Many different contractors come and do their job one by one. The pipes are layed and the foundation is poured. Once it is ready, the frame starts to go up. Piece by by day...a patch of dirt becomes a home with a yard...but it doesn't happen overnight or in a few weeks. It takes months of hard work. You don't give up and start over after a few weeks because a perfect house does not suddenly appear. If so, you'd never have a finished house.
Everyone knows the famous line from "Field Of Dreams"..."If you build it, they will come." People didn't show up to the farm the first day they started building. I remember when we were building our house. At times, it seemed that things progressed so fast, and other times it was a painfully slow process. Eventually, we got what we wanted...a finished home that we could live in and enjoy. And it is the same in the gym. Sometimes we see quick or major progress...and sometimes we suffer setbacks or don't see results as quickly as we would like...but the only way to get the body you want, is to keep working. You have to create a solid foundation and build up from there. If you work hard and don't give up...if you build upon what you have...eventually, the muscles...the results...will come.


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

...nO cRyBaBiEs aLLoWeD...

"Chicken pox!!!"...that's the text I got from my almost 12 year old daughter this morning. Mystery solved. We now know what the crazy rash she's had for 2 days is...

I've had chicken pox. I'm not scared of getting them, but that was NOT what I wanted to hear. My child having chicken pox is not enough to bring me to tears, but it was just another drop in the bucket...the drop that made the bucket overflow. I crumbled and called my lil sis. I sobbed and told her all the things that are bothering me. She listened and comforted me. I whined and cried for quite some time.

In my defense, I have had...and still have...some seriously upsetting things going on in my life...things that won't be resolved in a day or week or even a month...things that can take even the strongest person down. I don't cry all that often, but the past 2 weeks it seems that's what I've spent a good part of my life doing. This is something I hate to admit because it screams weakness rather than strength to me.Everything I write...all the feelings that I share...are real. They are personal. They are mine. I was embarrassed to share this because as I said before, it doesn't seem very strong or motivational. And after all, that IS the point of this blog...right? I thought more about it...I realized through my tears that I'm stronger than I think I am. It takes strength to admit you need help. It takes strength to let people see your weaknesses. And it takes strength to wipe away the tears and DO something.

There's a quote that says, "If you have time to whine and complain about something then you have time to do something about it." Whether it's the disappointment of failure in the gym or a sick child or a broken relationship or an injury or the loss of a job...whether it's in or out of the gym...whether it's in your control to "fix" or not...we can always do SOMETHING about the things that weigh us down...because at the very least, we can do something about our reaction to those things.
I've always found it interesting to watch people go for their one rep max in the gym. I think the way they react says a lot about them. Some people think that a weight is too hard for them, when I can clearly see it is not hard at all. Some people give up the second the weight stops moving, while others hold on just a few more seconds and fight to get the weight up. It's not that one person is always stronger than the other. It's about not giving up when the going gets tough. It's about finding the resolve from within to push back against the things that push against you. It's about knowing that if you hold on for just another minute and take a minute to rest and WILL make through. It's also about being humble enough to ask for help when your load becomes to much to bear.
It's time to stop crying. It's time to keep pushing when I'd rather just let go. It's time to rely on the people that are right here...ready and willing to help me when it gets too heavy. I'm ready to stop being a crybaby and start doing something.