Sunday, October 23, 2011

Comfort zone? WHAT comfort zone?

Greetings and salutations my fitness loving friends! I realize it's been a LLOONNGG time since I've last taken the time to sit down and add to my blog. I had a busy summer accompanying my husband on the Nationwide Tour (my hubs is a professional golf caddie), and then the school year has gotten in the way. Just excuses, I know, but I've got exciting news!!

Many of you who know me already realize that I am a fitness enthusiast. I generally work out 5-6 days each week, combining strength training, cardio and flexibility training. Recently, I found myself wanting a new goal, a goal that was different from those in my past. A goal that would make me grow in new ways. That meant I had to step out of my comfort zone. That meant is was time to run.

I'm not a runner. I've always wanted to be one, though. I've longed to be able to run for miles and miles, the wind in my hair, the sun in my face, my heart keeping a steady rhythm. I've tried to become a runner, at one time working up to 3 miles several days each week. I just didn't love it. Unlike all of my running friends, I've never experienced that 'runner's high.' For some weird reason, I really, really want that experience.

A few weeks ago, many of my friends (with whom I connect regularly on Facebook) were running full marathons. I found their preparation posts motivating, and on actual race day, the excitement and pride that they had post race was simply inspiring. I realized then that I needed a true running goal.

Now, logic would say, "Self, why not train to run a local 5K race?" Sounds achievable and sensible, right? Well, I agree, but after hitting up Google to find some local 5 and 10K races, there was something else that caught my eye...the Augusta half marathon in late February. My mind screamed, "YES!!!!" while my body, quite repulsed, shuddered and shakily responded, "Are you serious?"

So that's the goal. I realize that while I'm in good shape already, this is one of those goals where I'm really going to have to listen to my body. The goal may have to change along the way if my back or my hips or my hamstrings revolt too loudly. But it's a goal, and it's one about which I'm actually quite excited. I haven't looked forward to this type of challenge for quite some time.

I'm now in week #2 of my run training. There are 15 weeks to go. I'm still strength training on alternate days and adding in lots of short yoga workouts to help keep the aches and pains (and possible training derailments) at bay. Yesterday's run upped the run intervals a bit, and while I thought I was going to lose my left lung while chugging up that last hill, I could feel the wind in my hair and the sun on my face while hearing the sing-song sound of my sneakers hitting the pavement.

Perhaps it's true...maybe I am a runner after all.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th!!!
Greetings and salutations everyone, and happy 4th of July to those of you celebrating today in America! In honor of those fighting for freedoms across the globe, I decided that I would pump things up a bit here at home, and I headed right into the insane asylum...well, sort of. Asylum is the name of a 30-day intense conditioning program created by Shaun T. I'll be honest...I stayed away from his program for a few months out of fear. The thought of it filled my veins with sheer terror. Alas, I put on my 'big girl panties,' and got to work. It's tough, but not worthy of sheer terror. Here's a little peak of what the Speed & Agility workout entails:

If you'd like more information, drop me a message and I'll fill you in. Perhaps YOU could join me in the ASYLUM!!!!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Moving forward by looking ahead
Greetings and salutations my fitness loving friends! I realize I've been gone for quite some time...I'm not even going to waste your time by giving excuses. I simply haven't given my blog the time it deserves. My apologies.

As you may see, today's blog is going to have a bit of a golf-themed feel to it as I've been traveling the road with my husband who is a Tour caddy (most recently returning from the U.S. Open in Bethesda, MD). Being on the road in a 35' RV with 3 dogs could provide me with weeks and weeks of blog worthy material. However, my point today isn't to entertain you with the details of leaking RV roofs, black water tank dumping, or walking into the campsite every night from the locked front gate, 1/2 mile, in a raging electrical storm. Today's point is about looking ahead at the possibilities rather than dwelling in the past.

For those of you know know golf, Rory isn't a stranger to the top of the leaderboard. He's been there before. What was so great about Rory's win at the U.S. Open this week, though, is how he handled the stress of coming up dismally short at his last major, The Masters, and how he handled the constant criticism and doubt that he'd play well on day 4. After the Masters tournament, I'm sure that Rory replayed his Sunday round over and over and over. If he didn't, the world's media did it for him. It was shoved in his face day in and day out. When he was atop the leaderboard at the U.S. Open last week, the world's media didn't stand idly by wondering to themselves whether Rory would play well...they questioned it hour by hour, day by day, as did all of the 'armchair quarterbacks' that follow golf around the world.

Instead of looking back and focusing on what he didn't do in his last major, Rory kept his eye on the prize and his focus on what needed to be done. He was there to play golf, not rehash what didn't happen two months prior in Augusta. There's no reason to constantly keep looking's another tournament, another golf course, and another day. Period. Simple as that.

If we think about our own lives, there are far too many of us who rehash, over and over, the ways that we came up short in our own lives. We may get to the end of the day and question why we ate as poorly as we did, or why we didn't push harder in a workout, or why we made the decisions we did for whatever reason. I'm not saying not to analyze those things, but at some point in time, you simply HAVE to move on from it. It's not going to do me any good three days from now to be beating myself up for eating cheesecake on Sunday or not working out for three days in a row, is it?

So if at the end of today, you're not happy with the way things went, vow to make tomorrow a better day. Don't beat yourself up over what happened 24 hours or even 24 minutes ago...MOVE ON and be better because of your experiences.

In my humble opinion, it's okay to make a mistake as long as you don't allow it to compound on itself. Make the mistake and get on with it. In golf, it's far better to go bogey, birdie than to go bogey, bogey. You just never know, with the right attitude and foresight, there might even be an ace in your future.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

What's it going to be?

Greetings and Salutations everyone! As many of you know, I'm a busy girl. I work full-time as an 8th grade teacher (and bring work home with me regularly), I'm a doggy mom to three pups who insist on 60+ minutes of walking every day as well as my undivided attention throughout the evening and on weekends, I'm a wife and manager of a household, I volunteer two days per week at the CSRA Humane Society where I'm an adoption counselor, and I workout a lot. Sometimes it's tough to find the time to fit it all in. But you know what? If you want it badly enough, you find the time. Simple as that.

The way I see it, you have a choice to make. You can decide to either make changes that will improve your life, or you can decide to just let the status quo in your life reign. It's about priorities. What do you want the most and what are you willing to give up in order to get it?

I have a busy schedule, just like the majority of you. However, I had to learn to let go of some things that were simply time wasters. If you feel you don't have the time to fit exercise or proper nutrition into your day, I challenge you to write down every single thing you do for a week. I'd venture a guess that you'll find 30-60 minutes, probably more, that you could utilize for preparing healthy meals or fitting in a short workout. My biggest time waster is the internet...I LOVE pogo and their games. I can pop balloons, whomp moles, and put numbered balls into a grid like no other. However, I need that time to fit everything in, so I simply limit my mental downtime to 15 minutes (I actually set a timer and when it goes off, I'm done with pogo) and then move on with my day.

Busy people are multi-taskers and prioritizers. They get the most important things done first, and combine things that can be combined. I have a fitness acquaintance whose priority is her personal fitness. She feels that she can't be the best mom she can be unless she stays fit and remains fit. It's important to her because she knows that the example she sets will affect her daughters. So, she wakes up at 4:00 a.m. every single day (except Sunday), goes into her basement and works out for an hour. It's her priority. It may not be fun getting up at that hour, but it can be done. I know a lot of busy moms who do exactly that.

One thing that's important to me is reading books that are going to help me grow as a person. Alas, reading takes time. Because time is an issue, I download a lot of books onto my I-pod and listen while I walk the dogs or listen in the car on my way to work. It's simple things like that that make fitting it all in easier.

So I don't want to hear the excuse that you're too busy for yourself. YOU are important and your health is key to the success of your family, however big or small it may be.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Team Gregor!!!
Greetings and salutations my friends! Today's blog is a bit out of the ordinary for does involve fitness in some ways, but it's main focus is the other passion in my life, dogs and dog rescue.

I'm a dog mom...I have three boys, all multi-cultural canine Americans, aged 12ish, 8ish and 1 1/2ish. They're as different as can be, but they truly bring joy and fitness into my life. Dogs need walked. Period. In my opinion, a walked and tired dog is a happy dog. Thus, every day I put on my walking shoes to the tune of happy tails beating the ground in delight. My boys know that walkies will begin shortly! During my 45-70 minutes with the dogs, I'm improving my own fitness while aiding in their physical and emotional fitness as well. It's win-win for all involved.

My youngest dog, James, came to us from the CSRA Humane Society animal shelter in November of 2009. He was the last in a litter of 4 puppies left at the shelter (the photo is of all 4 littermates when they had reached an appropriate age for adoption--James is on the far left and Gregor is in the back right of the photo). His brothers, Ian, Samuel and Gregor, all founds homes before James was able to enter our lives. Unfortunately, Gregor's home didn't work out and he is back at the shelter awaiting a 2nd chance for a forever home. Gregor (his photo is at the top of this blog) is the reason that I originally began volunteering at the shelter and became an adoption counselor. As James' brother, I wanted him to have a great home, too.

The shelter is run mainly by a large group of fantastic volunteers who raise over $300,000 each year to house, feed, and provide veterinary needs to over 200 cats and over 50 dogs each day. On March 19th, the shelter is having their annual "Paws in the Park" pet walk in an effort to raise much needed funds to care for the animals until they can find their forever homes.

In honor of Gregor, and the other great dogs and cats that are at the CSRA Humane Society waiting to find their 'people', James and I will be walking in the 4th annual Paws in the Park pet walk for "Team Gregor." If you would like to sponsor James and I in this endeavor, we would greatly appreciate any financial contribution you would be willing to donate. You can do so by going to the donation page and clicking on the "In Honor Of" in the 'One-time donation' section of the page. Your donation can be in any amount, and simply mark that it is for Team Gregor. If you would like to write a check, please make it payable to the CSRA Humane Society and send it to: P.O. Box 14667 Augusta, GA 30919. Be sure to mark that it's for "Team Gregor" in the memo. Of course, as a non-profit, your donation is tax-deductible.

Of course, if you're in the area and are looking for a dog or cat of your own, PLEASE stop by and see if one of our current residents might fit into your family. We are open for adoptions on Wednesday night from 5:30-7:30 and Saturdays from 11:00-4:00.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

That Tastes Grea...YUCK!
Greetings and Salutations everyone! Hope this Super Bowl Sunday finds you in good spirits with good weather (especially those of you who have been dumped upon by the snow gods of late!).

As I'm sure you're all aware, Valentine's Day is upon's a mere week and a few days away, and of course, along with Valentine's Day comes all kinds of confections sold in the store that promise someone will feel loved only if you offer them such a wonderful delight.

Just yesterday, I was offered a Valentine's cookie from a friend. She had gotten them, and not really wanting them herself (smart girl!), wanted to pawn some off on me. I hadn't eaten yet and was feeling a bit hungry, so after looking at the label to see what sort of damage would be done, I allowed myself one of her tempting looking Valentine's cookies (they were small, a serving size was actually three cookies). I promised myself to truly enjoy that little morsel of delight, so I promised to take small bites of the almond cookie dipped in white chocolate frosting with pink sprinkles on top.

So there I was, cookie in hand, ready to take my first bite. And I did. I was bound and determined to REALLY enjoy that cookie, so I chewed slowly, allowing my taste buds the time to really savor the almondness and the white chocolate. However, about three chews in something happened. I realized that the ONLY thing I could taste was the sprinkles on know those cute sparkly little pink ones I mentioned? Clearly, a dye had to have been added to make them that shocking pink color, and that was ALL I could taste. Chemical dye. It left this aftertaste that was not appealing in any way, shape or form. YUM! NOT!

I think you probably get my point. Far too often, we rush through our food, not really even tasting it, just eating it to eat. If we were to slow down and really savor the taste of our food, how many of us would eat less because our brains realized it doesn't really taste as great as we thought it would?

It was quite the epiphany moment for me...a reminder to slow down, taste the food, really enjoy it, but if it tastes like crap, don't shove another handful into your mouth! Heck, even if it doesn't taste awful, does it taste good enough to want to eat more of it? Probably not.

So slow down and take your time with your food. I know it's tough husband was a Marine and eats a meal in about 15 seconds flat. I always feel rushed to keep up with him. He, however, can learn to wait...I plan on enjoying the taste of my food from now on.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Back in action!
Greetings and salutations my friends! So, here we are, 10 days after my first experience with shin splints, and I can honestly say that I don't ever want to experience them ever again as long as I live! I'm no wimp, but geesh do they hurt!

I'm not 100%, but I did do a very low impact workout yesterday and walked one of the dogs. There's no way I'm going to try to go full-bore with a workout until I know that I'm ready to go. If I do, I realize that I'll just be back to square one, icing my shins and feeling icky about how I feel because I can't workout.

All too often, those of us who live for our workouts push ourselves to get back into the game too soon. When I rode horses competitively, if my horse had a tweaky tendon, or some mysterious lameness, there's no way I would put him back into work until he was ready to go. Six months of hand-walking an off the track Thoroughbred who is on stall rest is no fun. That said, I now totally understand their exuberance when finally put back to work. It's easy to do too much too soon. You just have to ease back into it, whether you're a human or equine athlete. Somehow, some way, you have to temper your enthusiasm at first. It is for the best.

So, no impact exercises for me during the next week. I can walk the dogs and do my weight workouts, but sadly, no Turbo Fire, no plyometrics drills, no running. It's for the have one body, and you need to take care of it.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

No pain, no gain, right? WRONG!

Greetings and salutations everyone! I know that all of us have experienced some sort of pain caused by injury at some point in our lives, right? So, what do you do? Does it require an immediate trip to the doctor, do you rest, or do you push through?

Many people, myself included in the past, would just push through the pain. We would grit our teeth, hope that we 'worked out of it,' and push on. No pain, no gain, right? Sadly, it really should say, "Pain, no gain," simply because if you ignore it long enough, the pain is going to get louder and louder until you finally are forced to listen.

The problem is this...if you're anything like me, I LIKE to workout. In fact, it's a major part of my day that leaves me feeling good about myself. I feel sort of lost without exercise every day, even if it's just a walk with my dogs. There's a part of me that NEEDS to exercise. So, if I'm injured and need to rest, I have some major issues with the fact that I can't walk the dogs, do P90X, or push play with Chalene and Turbo Fire. Injuries just honk me off!

Alas, here I am again, injured (insert frustrated sigh here). On Monday afternoon I did my scheduled P90X Legs and Back workout, bright and early Tuesday morning I did a 30 minute HIIT, and by Tuesday afternoon, the front of my left shin felt like it was on fire. Wednesday was a rest day, so I didn't workout, but I did walk my 3 dogs for an hour. Just walking, right? I figured it would be no big deal. Sadly, by the end of the third mile with the third dog, I had to grit my teeth against the pain in my left leg just to make it home. My poor little pupster, James, couldn't quite figure out why mom was walking so blasted slow!

It's been four days and I'm SO sick of this. But here's the deal. When you're in pain, your body is screaming at you to listen up. If you hurt enough to notice it, you had better listen to what your body is trying to tell you. If you choose not to, a week of inconvenience may very well turn into a month or longer.

I did manage to do some push-ups and core work today, things that won't aggravate my left shin, and I am icing and stretching the injury like a good girl. I am feeling better...almost good enough to walk some dogs! But, I am going to force myself to stay immobile for a few more days to make sure that I've given my body time to heal.

Pain doesn't necessarily mean you're doing something right...pain means you'd better listen and you had better listen NOW!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A New Day Dawns--Facing Reality and Taking Action
Greetings and Salutations! Today's blog is a challenging one for's one in which I finally take a really close look at the things that stand in the way of my goals regarding my personal fitness. It's a look I've been dreading, but one that I know must be dealt with.

As many of you know, I've been able to lose just over 30 pounds in the last 20 months by revamping my nutrition and working out regularly. I'm excited about the changes I've made, and proud of what I've accomplished. But now I'm stuck...and I know exactly why. It's 100% my nutrition.

Now, keep in mind that my nutrition has improved by 150+% in the past two years. I was a Dorito eating, drive-thru loving, Starbucks caramel macchiato swilling girl. I ate too much and I made really bad nutritional choices. Fast forward to today...for the most part I eat about 85% 'clean,' I combine a complex carb with a protein at each meal, I eat 5 small meals per day, and I really try to fuel my body rather than just 'eat.' On most days, I stick to my caloric allowances. Alas, Houston, we still have a problem.

I overheard one of my family members last summer mention that if he or she worked out as much as I do, that he or she would easily lose weight. Granted, I do workout for 45-60 minutes each day and then I walk my dogs on top of that. I probably workout more than the average person, but I relish in it and I love it. That I'm not going to change. But I don't 'easily' lose weight like my family member would...what, pray-tell, could be the problem with Nancy and her struggle?

I've known for quite sometime that I have emotions that trigger certain eating behaviors. I don't binge or purge or starve myself...but I'm a habitual 'snacker.' I'm learning that food, to me, is comfort. When I'm bored, I grab a handful of pretzels or peanuts. When I'm stressed, I dip into the peanut butter jar. I also tend to look at my day as time between meals. Instead of planning my workout mid-morning on Saturday, I have to schedule it appropriately around the mid-morning snack time. It's just ridiculous that I allow the concept of food to control my life the way it does.

I also am learning that I tend to use food as a showing of love. In fact, just last weekend when I was at the grocery store, I bought a chocolate cake mix and icing for my husband because he likes cake (seriously, I affectionately call him Mr. Little Debbie, which is his favorite food group). Back in the recesses of my mind, there was probably some pleasure sensor going giddy with delight because that stinking cake proved my love for him. WHY?

So today is the day that I start working as hard on this aspect of my fitness as I do the actual workout aspect. My plan is to utilize a workbook that came recommended to me by another emotional eater, "The Food and Feelings Workbook: A Full Course Meal on Emotional Health." I'm excited about the next phase of my journey and welcome any comments you may have along the way.

Feel free to drop me a message or stop by my Facebook page if you'd like. If you're on the same journey, support is always welcome!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Greetings and salutations my friends!!! I'd like to start off this Sunday with a quote from Jeff Olson who wrote the FANTASTIC book, The Slight Edge. In it he says, "Success doesn't come from nowhere; it can't be conjured up out of thin air. It comes from a very small, tiny beginning--but there has to be a beginning. That beginning is the thing (other) people miss, the thing they don't see. And they don't see it because it's so tiny, it's almost invisible."

For those of you who are contemplating a beginning, be it for your fitness journey or some other lifestyle change, what is holding you back from achieving your dreams? I know, I know...change is hard, but you have to start SOMEWHERE. If you don't take that first step, you'll never get whatever it is that you want. Period.

Maybe yesterday you said, "Tomorrow I'm going to start." Perhaps its the beginning of an exercise program, or you're going to create a budget and stick to it, or you're going to work more on your faith. Well, guess what? TODAY IS TOMORROW. Don't fall into the rut of always waiting for tomorrow because tomorrow never comes. It's always a day away...get it going NOW.

Perhaps you've already had your beginning. If so, how's it going? For many of us, when we commit to change, we tend to get discouraged because change doesn't happen fast enough for us to see. If we're working on fitness goals, too often we want to see a drop in the weight on the scale, or smaller pants, but we expect it too soon. I hear from people all the time who tell me that they worked out for a week and NOTHING. You know what, though? You DID have was just so small at that stage that you couldn't see it with your own two eyes. But, the change was there. Perhaps it was only an improvement of 1/3 of 1%. Sounds tiny, right? But what if you keep proving by that much every day? In three days, you will have improved your fitness by 1%. What if you keep going...where will you be at the end of a year, 365 days of improvement?

You have to be patient, you have to keep diligent, you have to keep at it to see those results over time. You can't just expect to wake up the next morning and see a svelte new you the next day. It just doesn't work like that. But compare day 1 with day just might be surprised at the change you see then.

A few years ago I had the opportunity to hear Tony Horton (of P90X fame) speak. What he said was so powerful to me, and you might use it as a reminder for yourself. "If your worked out today, you're already healthier than you were yesterday." What a concept, right? It also works for quitting smoking, or eating healthier, or using stress reduction techniques. If you make the change today, you've already improved your health. What happens if you do it again tomorrow? And the day after? Eventually, you'll string 30 days in a row together. Imagine how much improvement you will have invested in your health!

If today is the day, then let's begin. If you're struggling, don't give up. Invest in yourself. You deserve it.

Drop me a message if you'd like some help. I'd love to chat with you. If you're a Facebook user, please feel free to drop by and 'like' the page I created to support others who are on this same journey.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

You ARE Great!

Greetings and salutations my friends and happy 2011!

I realize that every time we roll into a new year, millions and millions of people make resolutions. They resolve to make changes, to do things better than they have previously. Sadly, much of this resolve will dissolve over time, and many people feel stuck, and sad, and frustrated, and angry at themselves for not following through. Others will make excuses why their resolve failed, pointing fingers are others rather than looking inwardly at him or herself.

I'm not here today to try to make people feel badly about not finding success in past resolutions...instead, I'd like to offer hope in a new way. Positivity.

You see, I've been the 'big boned girl' (that's the nice way my friends and family would help me to defend the fact that I was fat/overweight/obese) most of my life. For awhile, I'd resigned myself to staying firmly in that role, as it seemed that there was no way to make those changes no matter how hard I tried. It took its toll, though. I felt pretty worthless in my own isn't a good place to be, even for a short period of time (let alone for 20 years).

Finally, for whatever reason, I had my epiphany, my breaking point. I WAS going to do something about my weight. I knew it wouldn't be easy, I knew there would be good days and crappy days, but I would push through. Along the way, I learned something really valuable...positive self talk. Too often, we get stuck on the negative aspects of ourselves. We focus on our fat thighs, the last minute run through the McDonald's drive-thru that resulted in 1000+ calories consumed, the 'muffin top' above our jeans, or whatever negative aspects of you that you just don't like. Let me share a little secret with you...and listen up because this is big...the more you focus on loathing who you are, the less successful you'll be in changing any of those things.

When you start to make changes and work towards goals, you CANNOT focus on those stubborn things that are refusing to get with the program. I'm almost 2 years in on my own fitness journey...I've lost a considerable amount of weight, I've built a lot of lean muscle mass, but you know what? I still have fat thighs! Yep, there I said it...the top six inches of my thighs still carry a lot of lumpy, gross fat. There's clearly still work to be done. But you know what else? There's several inches less of lumpy, gross fat there now than there was two years ago? And you know what else? I can do push-ups on my toes! LOTS of them. And guess what else? I have developed some abdominal definition, and shoulder muscles that look good in a tank top, and calves that look great even when I'm not wearing heels! Most importantly, I've realized that I'm not worthless, that I'm intelligent, have a great sense of humor, am eloquent, have a kind heart, and that I'm strong both physically and mentally.

So while you may feel discouraged during parts of your journey, I have to ask (and I'm borrowing this quote from Chalene Johnson--the creator of great fitness programs such as Turbo Jam, Turbo Fire, and ChaLean Extreme), "What positive things have you said to yourself today? Acknowledge your greatness." Come on...shout it out there, if not to the world, at least to yourself. It's important, it will help you stay on track and remain true to yourself.

Take a look at the picture at the top of this blog post. That concrete block wall and concrete pad are pretty darned ugly. They're a bit crumbly around the edges, it's a boring grey's tough to find something beautiful and great in that. However, look at what it was able to allowed a beautiful pink flower to grow in its midst. Instead of seeing the ugly crumbling concrete block, see the beauty in you. Look for and find your beautiful pink flower and remind yourself daily of how great you truly are.

Drop me a message or join me on Facebook so you can have the opportunity to share with me your greatness. I'd love to hear all about it!