Monthly Archives: April 2013

Ego Boost: I am Still Pretty Awesome

I am a CHAMPION!!! RAAWRR!

You know that time, when you walk into your gym in giddy anticipation of a complete butt whoopin’? Today was that day! I showed up and I brought it! I am so proud of myself! I knew that today was going to be a great leg day and I made it so. My glutes are on fire, my hamstrings are slowly joining them, my quads are a touch shaky, all in all, I did well!

Today I made sure to squat looooow, push hard, and not to rest until it was time to rest. I think it made all the difference. The only thing that could have been better today, is the combination of heat and humidity in the gym had me slightly panicked when I began to fatigue. 

The longer I train, the colder I like it to be around me, otherwise I can’t breath. The weather getting warmer simply means that I will be a tiered, wet cookie for the next six months. I looked like I jumped into a pool with all my clothes on after my workout today, gross (and awesome. It was a very confusing moment for me).

Tomorrow is a scheduled group workout, so I should be nice and gassed by the time I get home. Crossfit-like excersises, here I come. God help me!

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Getting Back In it Slowly

I am having one of those days.


I can’t wait to get to the gym tomorrow and get some work done. Tomorrow is a leg day, my favorite day of the week. I began to love the responsibility of taking care of my own workouts.  I get to do everything that I want to do and nothing that I don’t. So, tomorrow I will lift, squat, lunge, and step-up on boxes to my heart’s content. Maybe I will even row a little, you never know. I am looking forward to a nice, slow, intense session of lifting heavy things and putting them back down.  After almost a week of being out I desperately need some “bar” therapy.

I had a training session with a new trainer today and I am not sure if I can truly roll with this trainers style. It’s fun, it’s new, but I am use to a more methodical, scientific approach to training.  I am not saying that it is all bad, this trainer had some great moves that I will be incorporating into my routine, but today was not the day to do them. The entire workout my body was not cooperating, I could feel my elbow swelling, my lungs being full of post sickness “gunk” and my body was slow and sluggish. Most of the time I could not breath and my energy levels were in the dumps. That’s what I get for being sick this long! It’s okay, though, tomorrow is a new day and tomorrow I am going to be in a full -on beast mode!

In other news, I spent almost the entire weekend researching topics that I want to write my “in depth” weekly blog entries about. I am excited to say that this Saturday I will have something special up for you guys. Also, I just received the NASM book, so I am extremely excited to start reading it. Stay tuned.

"No Sweat" Workouts = Unicorns

During the past few days I was sick, couldn’t workout, so instead  I spent my time roaming around the internet looking for some fun content ideas. What I kept stumbling into were workout routines that were titled as “easy”, “fast”, “no sweat” etc. I also saw a lot of “diet plans” and supplements that claimed: “eat whatever you want, as much as you want and still loose weight, just take this magic pill, drink this magic shake, shake this magic powder” on your food and you are on your way to weight loss. I think my favorite things to find were the training machines, though. “Get this machine and just after 10 minutes a day you will loose a bazillion pounds!” one proclaimed, another stated that they found a revolutionary, new way to a “fast and easy way to get abs”…  Seriously?

Here we go, people, I’ll help you out right now and tell you this: there is no easy, no sweat, fast, and effortless way to loose fat. There are no magic pills, no “easy abs now” kind of things. If you want a body, stop looking for a hack. Put down the cookies, fried chicken, and coke, put on your big person pants and get your butt to the gym!

Over weight? Have injuries? Other limitations? No time?  Ok. So? None of us have time. Some of us have serious limitations. I have seen many new moms in the gym with their baby in the car seat next to them pumping some serious iron. I have a friend in a wheel chair who can do more pullups than most bodybuilders, I know many seniors who still run (or at least try to) daily. One of the people I admire greatly returned back to her competition physique 7 months after having twins. Another one of my great friends who has significant back issues is an amazing crossfitter.  We are all slammed with family, work,  and school. Some of us have long standing, chronic problems, we still get up and go. Every. Time. Behind this drive is a determination to succeed.You can’t just show up, you have to commit. I am telling you this as a person that “showed up” for years.

One day, I reached a breaking point and realized that nothing that is worth having is going to be easy. There are no easy ways to achieve physical and spiritual development. You have to relentlessly work at it every day, even when you don’t want to, even when it gets hard, even when it seems that the world is against you and will do anything to derail you. There are no “magic”, quick ways to get you there. So, stop spending money on “no sweat” workouts and  10 minute ab machines and commit, truly commit to commitment itself. You will have the body and life you want. That is the only way.

Strange

Today I received an extremely strange piece of mail. It was a silver salad fork. There was no return address, postmark, or note. I have no idea where it came from or what it means.

The message on the fork can be read as a NOM NOM or a WON WON depending on which way you look at it. So, is someone trying to tell me that I need to “NOM” more salad? Or are they trying to tell me that I “WON” by eating salad?  I am confused. Regardless, it is a nice gesture, I just wish I knew who sent it so I could thank them and find out WHY they sent me this fork.

Do What Your Coach Tells You

Seriously, there is something to be said about the famous phrase: “I told you this would happen!” Although my coaches are much too nice to say something like that, I can sense it. Hopefully, if I tell you what happened to me, you will not ignore your trainer/ coach when they tell you that stretching (much like diet) are an extremely important part of your exercise routine.

Stretching helps relax tight muscles, makes the muscle stronger (by relaxing it), prevents the  formation of “lumps” in your muscle tissue, and it melts the stress away. There are multiple ways to stretch and it mostly depends on your routine and problem areas. As an ex fencer and a current runner, most of my stress settles in my right shoulder and elbow (previous injuries) and in my legs. See, I know all of this and yet somehow, I ended up getting caught up in everything else and skipping out on stretching this past month. Yes, amateur mistake! But I am here to keep it real, to be accountable, and hopefully to inspire you guys to pay attention and learn from the mistakes of others.

As you already know I had to stop running due to severe shin splints and I am going to have to cut back on my lifting, due to a tennis elbow flare up. What will I do? Not sure. There aren’t a lot of options remaining when your upper and lower body are out of commission. I guess I’ll pick up biking, maybe concentrate on that swimming thing I have been meaning to pick up. Basically, the past two weeks have taken their toll on me mentally and physically. It is hard enough to deal with an injury that threatens to take you out of commission for a while,  but when you learn that it could have been prevented by doing a few simple, quick stretches in the shower, well….  I am still keeping my head up above water, though. I look at it as an opportunity to reevaluate my training, concentrate on activities that will eventually prep me for a triathlon, and potentially convert friends that do not normally exercise into fitness people. 

 So, the lesson here is: listen to your trainer and do your stretches as often as you can. Do them before you work out, do them in the shower, do them before you go to bed, do them at your desk during the day, just do them!

My Brain Keeps Playing Tricks On Me

Right after the cleanse, I noticed an increase in anxiety and general feeling of dissatisfaction. At first, I attributed this to the lack of running due to shin splints and inability to do some upper body work due to an inflamed case of tennis elbow.  After further examination of my daily routine, I came to the conclusion that although injuries play a big part in my disheartened feeling, what makes an even bigger impact is diet. I can’t say that I slipped. I still eat clean (except for last Saturday. I paid dearly for that one), I just don’t eat enough. 
I realized that as I switched from running to swimming and elliptical for my off day cardio and eliminated certain exercises from  my upper body routine, I have been feeling less hungry. Naturally, I started eating less. What I didn’t take into account was that I am still burning about the same amount of calories. Basically, my feeling of “satisfaction” had to be completely mental. 
Today, I made a concentrated effort to get my food intake back on track. It would be traumatizing to wake up one morning and realize that I began to lose all this glorious muscle.

Taking a Weekend Off

After much thought and deliberation, I have decided that due to my hamstrings and my quads being so incredibly tight, I am going to take this weekend off and do some stretching, planning, and healing.

Today I will be writing my workouts and compiling a list of blog topics for the next few weeks, tomorrow I will be prepping and cooking my food for the upcoming week and organizing my home office. I decided that most of my anxiety comes from the fact that my house is not properly organized and my papers are not filed correctly. 🙂

Cleaning time, here we go!

The Day I Said "No" To Fear

Today was my video interview at Revolution Fitness, the gym that I have been a member of for about 3 and a half years. I wish I wasn’t so camera shy and didn’t stutter as much as I did. I think I relayed all the information that I wanted to relay in a concise and laconic manner, but I do wish that I talked about my current trainer more. Since I don’t think that I gave her enough credit, I’d like to write a short bit about how she changed my life.

…and then those people become your friends 🙂

Since I met Nicki last July,  I have changed dramatically not only physically, but also spiritually. In part my change came from my inner desire to change and part of it was her contagiously positive attitude. Through my training with her I have learned the power of positive self talk, benefits of various exercises, and the necessity to truly believe in the goals that I set for myself. I have to say here, that I knew all of these things before, I heard these things before, I just needed to be ready to accept them.Whether it is through a specific method of delivery or just because I view her as a true inspiration, my eyes were opened and I saw myself for who I truly am– an ATHLETE.

I have to tell you a story about this woman’s dedication and passion for what she does. This is also a story of a defining moment in my training, the movement that I truly committed and became fearless.

At the beginning of September 2012 I was in a very dark and lonely place. I was lost in doubt, in self hatred, and a sea of overall negativity. That sunny, September day I had a rough workout, I was not feeling well, I had zero energy, and the only thing that I wanted to do was to stop feeling like I lost control of everything.

As I was walking up to the towel rack, feeling discouraged, clear as day I heard Anna’s voice in my head (Anna is my previous trainer and owner of Revolution Fitness who first introduced me to quality training) “Kseniya, I don’t understand what you are doing! Are you running a race or are you not running a race?” these words were said to months before in part out of concern and in part out frustration over my own frustration with the lack of my progress. Anna was right, I wasn’t committed, I was just talking about being committed. In that moment, it was clear to me, I have to stop talking and start doing. I had all the resources available to me: a wonderful trainer, a great gym, an awesome support system, there was nothing in my way!

When I got home that night, I signed up for my very first 5K race. I was very nervous hitting “submit” on the registration form, but I knew that if I didn’t hit that button, I’d be full of it again.  During my next training session, to cement my commitment, I told Nicki that I signed up for my very first 5K race. She looked at me and asked with a smile: “Really? Which one are you running, I’ll run with you!”I was in disbelief. Really? She is actually going to go and run a race with me? Me, a slow poke, who will probably throw up 5 minutes in? Wow! Why would anyone do that? (didn’t I tell you that I was really down on myself?)

Up to the time that I saw her at the number pick up table, that early Saturday morning, I don’t think I fully believed that there is a person willing to help me battle, what seemed like, a perpetual uphill struggle. The horn went of and immediately Nicki began pacing me, talking to me, walking me through this new race thing. She ran by my side the whole way, helped me stay out of my own head by calming me down when I freaked out about a side stitch, helped me fight the hills, and got me to the finish line with a better time then I expected. When I crossed the finish, I wanted to throw up. I think I even teared up a little from pure exhaustion. Nicki stayed by my side, made sure that I was ok, and talked to me the entire time. She was trying to take my mind of off feeling the discomfort of a hard race.  After that, we got bananas and walked back to our cars. I drove home in stunned disbelief because I just finished my first 5k in under 40 minutes and Nicki went for a long run with her friends (yes, 5K was just her warmup).

 I heard from other runners that you will never forget your first race. My race was made that much more memorable by my resolution to never again allow myself to go backwards or give up on myself. There was a person out there that believed in me more, at that time, than I believed in myself, which means that there is never a reason for me to doubt what I can do. You are your biggest fan and cheerleader, after all!

I don’t think that there will ever be enough words to describe the multitude of ways in which fitness and running impacted my life. I honestly don’t think that I would be here if I never crossed the threshold of Revolution Fitness and consequently I would have never met a person that I consider  a great friend and an amazing trainer.

Still Sore But…

My Purple Pavement Eaters

Despite how sore and awful I felt, I still went out for a short run in honor of those that could not run today. I probably should have taken it easy, but with all the anxiety and stress, I wouldn’t have been able to move on with my day without doing something active that I enjoyed.

Yes, it was just slightly painful, and yes, I will have my legs and my back look at tomorrow by Neurosport Atlanta. Hopefully they will be able to give me an answer as to what has been going on with my body and why I am unable to handle stresses that I would normally have no issues handling.

On a side note, I am glad to say that I will be resuming my training with my wonderful friend and trainer tomorrow. I have missed all the encouragement and all the “good” pain that she can deliver. Her workouts never disappoint and the passion and energy that she feels for her job and her clients is contagious to say the least. Easily, she is the most positive person I know. I am so glad to be back working out with her!

Boston Tragedy: Stay Strong, Guys!


I have no words to describe how deeply upset I am about the tragedy that happened today. So many runners dream of the day they take their place at the start line of Boston Marathon. Some train for years to get their chance to run  in one of the most revered marathons in the world. Some never get in, others get in with mere seconds to spare. It is an iconic running event, for some, it is a privilege to run it.  My personal goal is to run Boston in two years and I know that there were runners there today that  visualized the day they take the Heartbreak Hill the same way I do during my training.  It saddens me that such an event was targeted. 
Despite the fact that any deliberate harm brought to a person by another is just wrong, what makes this attack absolutely heinous,  is that most of those runners had very little left  in their “gas tank” after already running 26.2 miles for 4 hours. I can only imagine how defenseless and weak some must have felt trying to save themselves from the blasts and being unable to due to pure exhaustion. 
My heart goes out to all runners and their family members who fell victim to this awful attack. I hope that whoever did this is brought to justice.