Monthly Archives: May 2013

Giving Up on Your Workout? Don’t! It’s All In Your Head!!!

We have all heard time and time again about the importance of not giving up. Every motivational picture and quote out there tells you to push through the pain, discomfort, bite down, and follow through. There are entire Facebook pages out there that are specifically dedicated to motivating people and dissuading them from loosing sight of their goals when “the going gets tough”.

Regardless of how often you look at the copious amounts of fantastic motivational material on the internet, it all means absolutely nothing when you are staring blankly at the loaded barbell, dripping with sweat, with your hands and arms numb from the weight, your hamstrings burning, unsure if you can squeeze out another rep and being absolutely positive that you are pretty much about to die if you try. Normally, during those times, I dig deep. I find that tiny, hard grain of rock solid “truth” that remains constant regardless of the circumstance and I latch onto it like a hungry gator and refuse to let go until I am through with whatever it is that caused me to go looking for “god” to begin with.

Moments like that are rare, but not so rare that I can easily forget the incredible feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction when I am done. After the “dust” settles and the feeling comes back to whatever body part I was training at the time,  I begin to understand how incredibly strong and capable I really am! I believe that, you can walk into training having your “beast mode” on, but you do not earn your beast status until you leave drenched in sweat, unsure if you can drive straight or if you can remember how to get home. That is the true finish to the “beast mode”.

This Wednesday I was all about the “beast mode”. I walked into my gym ready to do some serious damage, train dirty, walk out covered in sweat,  and later “strut my stuff” like an overconfident peacock (yes, it happens and I am proud of it. You have to celebrate small wins otherwise you spend your life waiting for something “big” and missing all the awesome, little details).

I got to the gym, set up my circuits, warmed up, stretched, rolled,  stretched again, and got to work. It was all going well until I noticed that I started getting in my own way. I noticed negative thoughts creeping up: “You can’t breath, this must be too hard of a workout. Why did you plan for 3 circuits with this weight? You’ll never last! You should drop the weight, take a longer break. You can’t breath!!! Stop!!!” Then the guilt chimed in: “You are ruining the whole point of the exercise by stopping. It is suppose to keep your heart rate up. Look at you freaking out, your heart rate isn’t even that high!”

I tried stopping and resetting mind and body. I told myself that I need to cut out the negativity and dig deep and just get through it. I told myself that I’ll be glad I finished. When that didn’t work, I promised myself a new pair of running pants if I finish (you know, reward system, you have to have one), that got me through the first circuit 3 times. Go figure, new running attire would get my butt going! I am such a girl sometimes.

After a minute of rest I moved on to my second circuit and that was when things got really ugly. My body refused to function. I was stuck in a squat for 10 seconds before I finally decided to put the weight down. I gave into my inner voice and lowered the weight. It did nothing to ease my pain. Now, before you start telling me that I was probably fatigued from the previous circuit, I wasn’t. I was just in my own way. It was not the muscle that I couldn’t get to work, it was my head. I got through my second circuit one time and by the end I was almost crying. I packed my stuff and snuck out of the gym with my “tail between my legs” being mad at myself and embarrassed that I didn’t finish.

I got home, put ice on my shins (I am not taking any chances this close to Peachtree) and posted on the Fierce Miles Facebook page about my embarrassing failure. Within minutes I had a text from one of my wonderful friends telling me to go back and finish my workout. The more I thought about it, the more angry I became. Me, not finish a workout? What kind of […] is that?! So, I got up, put my clothes back on and went to go finish. I am proud to say that I finished all of the circuits with marginally higher rest times than initially planned. I had to dig deep, very deep, to make it through. This time I did not allow any of the scary, negative thoughts to crawl into my head and ruin my performance. I did it. I finished, I walked back to my car, I crawled back to my house (I am not ashamed, it was a tough workout).

Today I am very sore. I haven’t been this sore in a long time. It was worth the extra time, and all the extra effort. The best part about it is that the farther I push through my limits during my training the more I realize that I can effectively push through difficult times in my day to day life. I heard from other athletes that one doesn’t simply just train their body, mind and soul need training as well and I see it now. I noticed that since I began my journey of “no excuses” I developed an ability to effectivley deal with some of the things that use to send me into a tailspin of depression. But I am getting ahead of myself, more on that in my upcoming post.

How’s that for a mid week check-in?

Workout Of The Month: The Eastern Bloc

Good morning, friends!
I was writing my workouts the other day and thought to myself: “I see a lot of “Eastern Bloc” named exercises and most of them, if combined together, could produce a butt kicking workout.” So, I sat down and wrote this little gem.  I give to you, the Eastern Bloc Workout! I did this one on Friday, 4 sets with a 60 second rest in between sets. It was incredible. Make sure to challenge yourself on the weight, and if the workout doesn’t seem too intense, do it for time with a 1 mile run (in the snow, while chased by an angry bear) at the beginning and at the end of the workout.  Leave a comment below and let me know what you think!

Getting Back to The Gym After a Vacation

This is a reminder to myself to be patient. 🙂

It is hard to get back to your fitness routine if it has been interrupted by something like an illness or a long vacation. Although my vacation was far from long, it was just long enough to make me miss my gym, the people there, and my weights. It just isn’t the same working out at the Hilton! I am still on island time which means everything takes on average 30 minutes longer than it normally would and it drives me nuts. I am a perfectionist, so I expect a lot out of myself and I thought that I would bounce back a whole lot quicker. To help accelerate the process of getting back in the groove of a fast paced life of a fitness addict, I made sure that I concentrate on my scheduling and list making skills.

While in the airport on Sunday I made a list of everything that I needed to do this week, organized my calendar, made the necessary lists, and made sure that I had all of my planning and strategy tools available to me when I got home. On Monday I planned and organized the rest of my week by writing workouts and cooking. Yesterday  I was catching up with everything that I missed and today I am back on normal schedule. Phew! That only took a couple of days, no wonder I was stressed and anxious!

Let’s talk about training! Yesterday I trained upper body and a little bit of abs, today is my run training day, then legs on Thursday, whole body/ cardio on Friday, and run training with my wonderful coach early Saturday morning. I am very excited about that last part. I haven’t had official run training since the end of December and I missed it so much! I am almost giddy, I am that excited to run with Nicki again.

I am hoping that by the end of the week I will have some free time to garden and redecorate my office. There is so much to do!

Keep True to Your Goals While Traveling

Pensacola, FL

This weekend Lenny and I went to Pensacola, FL for his brothers wedding. I had every opportunity to make a bunch of excuses and toss my healthy eating and exercise to the wind.  I could have said: “It is just a few days, a vacation, I’ll get back on track when I get home!” But I didn’t, because this journey isn’t a quick fix for me, it is a life style and a commitment. That is not to say that I didn’t have a little cake (hey, my cheat day was planned into this vacation).

Eating clean and staying on track while traveling doesn’t have to be exhausting. There are a few things that you can do to minimize temptation and maintain all that effort you put into getting your body to where you want it to be.

Planning:

Planning is the most important part of staying on track. We plan our workouts, meals, vacations, work days, etc., why shouldn’t we set a travel eating plan? It makes sense, but I know a lot of people neglect it and end up running to a fast food place to grab “just a little bit” of something to hold them over before they get to their destination. There is a better way.

If you are traveling by car, pack a cooler with some veggies, nut butter, fruit, and nuts. You can also bring along some hard boiled eggs, just make sure that they don’t over heat or you’ll have a big problem on your hands.

If you are traveling by plane things can get a little tougher as you can’t bring food and drinks through the TSA. My suggestion is to do research before hand. Find out what your meal options are in the terminal and stick to the healthy varieties. You can always find some nuts, granola, or healthy food options around. Just make sure you read the nutrition labels.

Before you get to your destination, look for grocery stores around your hotel. Most hotels have a small fridge in their rooms so you can store some of the basic foods like protein shakes (the pre-made kind) and  some fruit to curb those late night cravings.

Make sure that you have a few workouts already planned. Some hotels will have a gym or at least a set of dumbbells for guest use. If you are staying somewhere with no gym access, plan a body weight workout. I recently found a knock of version of a TRX system at Wal-Mart for 40$ and it is a life saver! It packs up neatly, takes up only a tiny amount of space, and can go over any door. Seriously, if you are training hard and traveling a lot, this is a must have!


When you get there:

 Now that you have planned out your vacation it is time to enjoy it. You will likely go out to eat while you are vacationing. Here is a link to a helpful article that will help you eat clean when you go out. Make sure you drink plenty of water and most importantly use you vacation time to sleep and regenerate you body.

I hope you all have a great time vacationing this summer. Stay strong, keep on track, review your goals daily,  and believe in yourself. If you believe you can do it, there is no telling what you can achieve!

New Posting Schedule

I was doing well posting every day but sadly, I fear that I have become boring going on and on about things that could easily just be a Facebook status update. In the interest of all of my reader, followers, and friends, I am going on a new posting schedule. I will be posting twice a week: on Wednesday I’ll do a weekly check-in and talk about how I have been doing and how my workouts are going, on Sunday I will be posting a “special topics” post. Special topics post could be anything that relates to food, fun, fitness, and running. So, book mark this page, subscribe to my feed, and like my page on Facebook.

Help me spread the word so we can all build a better, safer, healthier community!

Electric Run

After being sidelined by a shin injury for months, I could not wait to get back to running. What better way to restart my preparations for Peachtree than to run a none timed, fun, easy going event? Yesterday, Lenny and I went to the Electric Run that took place at the Atlanta Motor Speedway.
While I made my way to the Start line through crowds of glowing, dressed up people, I couldn’t help but notice how excited everyone was to be at this event. It took about an hour to begin the run due to the sheer numbers of participants there. People were dancing, jumping, singing along with the 90’s “techno” remixes and overall having a great time while awaiting their turn to cross the Start line. Honestly, I don’t think I ever had this much fun with strangers while trying to find my friends.
By the time I gave up trying to look for the group of people that I was planning to be hanging out with during the run, I saw a familiar face in the crowd. Heather and her group of fun loving peeps have found me despite the crowd of 10 000 people that were there. Thank god for cell phones and perseverance of awesome people.  
Once we finally got to the Start, we found Lenny, standing at the start line with his camera ready to document the event just like I asked him to. He did a great job and captured a lot of great photos.
I think the crowd expected much more out of this event. Although, it was a great low key event with a lot of pretty lights and great music, but I think that the advertising overinflated the event and our expectations were too high. 
Light tunnels
I expected more out of the “wonderland”, I thought that there would be much more lights, installations, and speakers placed throughout the course. There were stretches of the course that were completely devoid of anything extraordinary or fun with zero light.  I felt let down any time I entered those stretches. 
The crowd also seemed to lose a lot of enthusiasm after we left the first mile (which is where most of the lights were). Most people didn’t run, those that were taking pictures, stopped, and the rain started. About a mile and a half into the event, after the first water station (which was awesome), I said goodbye to the people I was with and decided to run the last 1.5 miles.
Water Station
 It was a good thing that I decided to go ahead and run, because the rain picked up, the rest of the course was fairly dark and the energy of the crowd was slowly dying around me. I was the only one who was running to finish, and I was excited when I finally did.  The promised after party was rained out and we drove home tired, wet, and slightly disappointed.
I will give Electric Run another chance next year, hopefully they’ll put up more lights and the weather will be nicer. As it comes to my injury, I have learned that it is time to start running short distances, I did not hurt after the run, and I am excited to begin training again.  
Heather and I

Found a Great Website Full of Treats

But these treats are not all that dangerous!

After my tough leg workout today I was craving something sweet and rich. I didn’t want to throw away all those hours in the gym for a quick moment of enjoyment, so I got busy combing the internet for a great high protein dessert since I am pretty bored with what I have been making lately.

On my quest for sinful deliciousness I stumbled on Protein Pow(D)er food blog and spent most of my evening studying her recipes. I found some of the most incredible things there that look great. I think I am going to make her version of Protein Fluff tomorrow and maybe make a protein cake this weekend to eat after the Electric Run. I hope you guys enjoy this website as much as I did.

Running

National Running Day is coming up on June 5th and there are plenty of great running communities and causes that need your help. Donate to a cause or volunteer at a race and spread the word about this wonderful sport.

The One Fund was formed to help those affected by the Boston Marathon bombing and their families. If you have $10 you can make a difference. Remember, every little bit counts.

Atlanta Track Club is a wonderful community of runners in Atlanta Georgia. Visit their website and sign up for on of the races or volunteer at a race and help spread the love and good cheer of running in your community.

Run Now  is an organization that promotes the wonderful sport of running. So, if you run, know anyone who runs, go and pledge miles or buy their “run now” bracelet and they will make a donation to The One Fund.

The Cool Hulk

Hot and humid summer is right around the corner, and if you are like me, staying cool while training hard are about to become two main priorities. During the summer, I shift my workouts to an earlier time in hopes of escaping the heat. This tends to pose another problem: waking up. Although drinking Advocare Sparks to get going is incredibly effective, I am easily bored with flavor and begin to crave new and exciting things. So, here is my newest creation that tastes great and helps me cool down!

THE COOL HULK
(pics are coming soon)

1 Scoop Vanilla Protein Powder
1 Tsp Macha Powder
1 Cup Organic Coconut Milk
1 Frozen Banana*
3/4 Cup Frozen Watermelon or frozen Mango*
A few mint leaves (optional, but they add a refreshing flavor)
Stevia to taste (I find that this shake does not need any)

Combine everything in your blender and blend until smooth. The shake has a tendency of being incredibly thick. If the mixtures has a hard time moving, add a little more coconut milk.

* A note on freezing bananas and watermelon.
I prefer to freeze bananas that are very over ripened. Usually they are sweeter and work better in breads, pancakes, and smoothies. Cut the banana into TINY pieces. Small pieces of banana will liquify easier in your blender.

When I get my watermelon ready for freezing, I prefer circular shape rather then square (although there is nothing wrong with cutting your watermelon into small cubes). I use a melon baller to make a few hundred tiny balls of watermelon, freeze them and use them in my smoothies and instead of ice in my summer time drinks and in my water.

Visiting Friends

I went to visit a friend at her fitness studio today. I had a blast catching up and seeing how other  private gyms do things. It is also interesting to see how different private gyms concentrate on different aspect of fitness with one thing unifying all — health and satisfaction of the client.

During our conversation, I brought up my disappointment with the fact that I lost muscle mass during the last month of training. She reminded me that of a very important fact that I didn’t take into consideration while writing my previous post: muscle mass will be lost during cutting phase and in order for me to gain bulk, well… I’ll approach that when I get to the bulking stage.

Today was a good day, I did freak out a little bit when I realized that Peachtree Road Race is 9 weeks away and I am nowhere near ready, but that’s ok. In a week I will resume my run training (provided my shins allow it) and I hope to be lighting fast (for me) when I  step over that start line.