Category Archives: do something that makes you sweat

3 Easy Steps to Get Fit in 2014

1381532_648223808555104_266900310_nIf you have been anywhere around a TV set, a radio, or a computer, you have noticed the great abundance of “get fit now”. It is that time of the year again. The time when supplement companies and larger than though trainers are pushing their miracle cure all product on the unsuspecting consumers with low self-esteem. Do these products work? Some of them. Do they work safely and for a prolonged period of time? No.

We live in a society that is largely driven by instant gratification and impulse. No one wants to work to be fit, but everyone wants to have a fit body of a fitness model. After all, it is much easier to pop a pill and eat a pizza while watching football, than working out and eating clean. Does anyone think about the consequences of taking these drugs? Does anyone stop to ask why they work so quickly and so effectively? No. Why? Because blissful ignorance with a skinny fat body is significantly safer than a challenging and at times difficult reality in which one has to find information, process it, and work to get the results that they want. In short, half-baked approaches breed half-baked results and a lot of disappointed, misinformed consumers. So, what can you do to get lasting weight loss results? Read on.

What I have to say right now may not be what you want to hear, but I am not in the business of cuddling and propagating fitness myths. I am here to give you the hard truth and save you the time you’ll spend doing research on your own. Here’s the deal. Most “magic” weight loss pills, shakes, and powders are unsafe. If you have to order your food premade, you’ll gain all of your weight back after you stop eating “out of the box”. There is no such thing as getting “toned and fit” without changing your daily lives.

The only way to get true and lasting results is by keeping a clean and sustainable diet, maintaining a healthy attitude, and exercising daily.

Keeping a Clean and Sustainable Diet:

1238363_644675618909923_1184660794_nLet’s face it, if you drastically cut calories, completely cut out certain food groups or expect perfect rigid compliance to a dietary plan, you will eventually slip. In fact, when you slip you will binge, feel guilty, get down on yourself, and try to maintain the same diet with even more restrictions than before to make up for your pitfall. Does that sound like a healthy relationship with food? No. To me, that sounds more like an eating disorder and we all know that eating disorders are very unhealthy.

A sustainable diet should revolve around a lifestyle. When you decide to get in shape, you have to realize that you are on a journey and just like any journey, this one will have peaks and valleys. The secret to sustainable, healthy weight loss is realizing that a valley isn’t going to undo everything you worked for. So, if you make it a priority to eat healthy 90% of the time, that one piece of cake on your birthday, a plate full of delicious food on Thanksgiving, and a bowl of macaroni and cheese every other month aren’t going to send you on an express train to fat town.

A clean sustainable diet should involve all of the major food groups (unless you have a medical condition that prevents you from eating certain things) in moderation. Eating for weight loss is an art form that will take time to master fully, there is no diet that perfectly fits all, and there are no shortcuts. A clean, healthy diet with proper caloric intake (you can’t starve yourself!!!) takes time to develop and perfect.

I encourage you to do your research, look at various food plans, study strategic eating, and custom design your own eating plan. It will take time, but in the end you will be rewarded with energy, better health, and a lean, strong body.

Healthy Attitude:

quoteWe briefly touched on this subject in the previous section when we discussed a healthy relationship with food. You can’t punish yourself for slip-ups and deviations of off the plan, but you also have to hold yourself accountable for what you do in daily basis. Having a support group helps, but at the end of the day it is between you and your refrigerator, or between you and your bed.

You have to make a plan and stick to it regardless of what the world around you wants. If you know that what you are doing is right for you, then no one else has the right to keep you away from your goals and your dreams. Not even you. You have to push yourself every day. I wish I could tell you that it gets to a point where going to the gym or out on a run is automatic. No. I still have days when I question why I am up at 5 am on a cold winter morning. There are days when the last thing that I want to do is drive to the gym and lift a bunch of weights when the laundry is piled up, dinner needs to be cooked, and I still have a mound of paperwork to get through. However, I don’t make excuses. I put on my big girl pants, lace up my shoes, and I tell myself that it is better that way. I can say with full confidence,  I am yet to regret a workout that I did.

However, healthy attitude goes far beyond building a healthy relationship with food and regular, hard workouts. A healthy attitude also encompasses how you view the world. It is easy to be mad and sad about your circumstances, but when you make a decision to take control and change, you become empowered. Feeling strong and in control is what gets people in the gym initially, but most quickly get discouraged because the results didn’t come fast enough. Here’s the hard part: you have to remain positive and have faith in the fact that the results will come if you actually follow a program that you set for yourself. You have to force yourself to become an optimist on those days when you just want to quit because the pudgy feeling isn’t going away fast enough.

Again, I wish I could tell you that feeling discouraged goes away with time – it doesn’t. But if you keep at it long enough, you will learn that the voice inside your head that tells you “it’s not working”, “you don’t have the body for this”, “you are too old” etc. is a total liar. With time, you learn to ignore your own little critic and you learn that when the voice rears its ugly head, you are closer than you ever were before to achieving that one goal that you set for yourself.

Exercising Daily:

Khloe-Kardashian-Fitness-MotivationA good diet and a great attitude aren’t going to get you far without exercise. Consistent, challenging, daily exercise paired with a great diet is a sure recipe for a fabulous body. Now, let me clarify, I am not telling you to go out and do Zumba (although it is a fun way to initially lose some extra weight). The exercise that I am talking about involves 3-4 heavy weight training sessions and 3 cardio sessions a week. You can’t be a cardio queen and expect a toned body of a fitness model. You have to lift HEAVY weights. Let me say this right now: there is no way that you are going to end up looking like a she Hulk unless you are SPECIFICALLY working to attain that aesthetic. So, no, don’t tell me that lifting heavy turns women into men. It is a total myths that is propagated by men who are scared of strong women, women who are scared of hard work, and skinny fat models who would be out of a job if the rest of us woke up and realized that having the ability to pick up more than 5 lbs at a time makes you more attractive and gives you the lean, toned look you actually want. Yes, I’m talking to you ladies.

Gentlemen, I have to caution you against trying to show off. Heavy training means lifting the weight you can ACTUALLY lift with PROPER form. Allow me to elaborate: that means that you shouldn’t be squirming under a barbell during your bench press like a deranged worm because you loaded the bar too heavy. You are not a hero if you get hurt, so why set yourself up for failure? Take it easy, maintain proper tension throughout your exercises and watch your body bulge with awesome rippliness faster than the guy who has been trying to “out lift” you all alone and has been doing it wrong.

trustI don’t know about you, but for me, a fit strong body is a status symbol. You can’t buy it, you can pay someone to surgically make it. You have to invest the time, the sweat, the tears and the doubts to achieve it. There are challenges to achieving your perfect physique at any age and in any circumstance, so don’t discount the efforts of the younger crowd just because of their age or the older crowd just because of their experience. We all face different struggles, have different body types, and respond to different things better than others. Building a body you want takes time, it takes trial and error and you have to be willing to invest in your journey fully in order to rip the perfect results.

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!

Run Therapy.

Yes, I know I missed a couple of days of posts. In the last few days I had a few family issues that will not be discussed here, and honestly, I just couldn’t bring myself to write. Today I feel much better so, here I am, back at it.

When I woke up this morning, the sky was gray and it looked like it was going to rain. I have been so stressed and angry during the last few days that I decided to go for a run regardless of the weather. I got to the local high school track, put on my minimalist shoes and went for a warm-up lap. I love my new shoes. I will post pics of them later this week.

Before my run.  I was much sweatier after. 🙂

The moment I took off at an easy pace around the football field, I felt my anxiety melt away. By the time I was done with my warm up I almost felt like a normal person. I started into my sprints, and after the first few steps, feeling the wind on my face, allowing the gravity to pull me towards my goal, I realized that I am so incredibly grateful for this thing called “running”.

There are very few times in life when one can feel more alive than during a run. Think about it, you are more tuned in to your own body during a run then during any other activity (well, yoga and meditation aside). It is hard to explain to those that do not run regularly the joy that I find in the moment when I have to fully retreat into myself in order to push through a “wall” and realize how alive and how powerful I am. The combination of sounds of my foot falls, my breathing, my heart beat, all make a beautiful symphony or life. The burn of the quads (sprints), calves and hamstrings (hill drills), produce the pain that can only be described as “good”. After all, it means that I am getting stronger, faster, more efficient.  

In the recent issue of Runner’s World, there was an article about running and pain. What stood out the most to me, was the part where the author talked about his difficulty explaining to none runners that he enjoys the pain of the run.  It is true, I noticed that in my own daily interactions. Most normal people consider  pain bad and for a good reason. Nothing good comes out of pain, but for a runner the spectrum of “pain” is expended. There is a difference between being in pain, and being painfully injured. You stop running when you are injured, but you run through the pain. Pain simply means that there is a untapped potential. That there is still room to push and grow.

I remember running my first 10k. I pushed, I fought, and I finished. To be honest, it got painful on mile three and I still had more than half of the distance to go. I accepted it, I pushed through it, and with that acceptance came a personal victory and a 10k PR.

Same happened today. The weather was perfect: 58 degrees, overcast, low humidity, it was the best time to run! When I took off in a sprint, I felt free. Five laps later (sprinting the straights and walking the curves) I had to retreat inward to find strength, to fight through the wall. Lap six and seven felt easy. I even jogged the curves instead of walking. My sprint speed increased too! I went back to walking through the curves in  lap eight, but my sprint speed continued to increase. I was blown away and absolutely happy.

Yard Work

To those who believe that gardening is not a form of exercise I challange you to do the following:

Carry 12 large bags of garden soil up and down the hill,  5 bags of cow manure, 6 bags of rocks. After you are done with that, squat and pick up one bag at a time depositing it into a planter. Then, go dig a trench for a retaining wall. After that, do some planting yoga to stretch all of the muscles you just used.

I hurt. That is all. Even my fingers are too tired to type. But in a few weeks I will be making salads with organic, home grown vegetables. don’t worry, I’ll share if you ask nicely.

I Have a Love Hate Relationship With Burpees. Seriously, I do.


I feel that a workout full off Burpees is a fitness metaphor to life. 

I did not feel like going to the gym today at all. In fact, all I wanted to do today was sleep, and maybe stay on my sofa, watch trashy TV and eat plums all day long. However, what we want and what we need do not always coincide. 
What I needed to do was to get up, take a cold shower, start working on my research for the next article I was writing, and then go to the gym, write the article(S), go pick up more research material, go to a meeting, meet with a friend for dinner and IKEA trip, come home and go to bed so I can get up, go run, plant, etc. Wow, I am tired just thinking about all of it! So, how did I get myself on board with my own day today? Simple.
 I made myself get out of bed and did 15 squats, drank and ice cold glass of water, put the tea on, and stuck myself in the cold shower. That got the ball rolling. By the time I was done and sort of dry, I had my morning green tea ready, my hard boiled eggs (that I peeled the night before) were waiting for me in the fridge and all I had to do, was grab a hand full of spring mix, one orange, and one small whole grain pita and I had my breakfast ready. I love pre planned breakfast because it is so quick and portable, I don’t even need a plate most days! 
I sat down to do my research with my breakfast in my lap, and I have to say, by my third bite and my forth sip of hot tea, I was awake and ready to put some damage on the topic I was writing about! By the time my back started to hurt from all the sitting it was already time to hit the gym (don’t you love the timing? Your body always knows when it is time to get moving) . I put on my running shoes (still with that vague “but I don’t wanna” whining in the back of my head). I told myself that those who give up and skip workouts do not get abs. So, I grabbed my bottle full of Spark and left to go get some burpees done. I hate burpees. I hate them, hate them, hate them. I hate them more than I hate Steve the kettle bell. Yes, I named the kettle bell. It makes it easier to throw my fist up at the sky when my butt is thoroughly kicked by the workout and dramatically curse the day Steve the kettle bell was forged in the deep fires of pure evil. 
My workout today consisted of the following: 
15 pushups (no knees allowed)
30 walking lunges (sing it with me Alicia Keys style: My Quads are on FIIREEE!!!)
15 Dolphin Pushups
15 Mountain Climbers
30 sec rest
So far pretty easy right? Gooood.
15 triceps dips
15 jump lunges
15 pile squats (45 lb KB)
15 burpees
30 secs rest
I HATE BURPEES!!!! (but you have to do them until you love them. That’s how that works)
15 curtsy lunges
15 bicycles
15 mountain climbers
15 spiderman plank
Repeat 4 times, for time, trying to beat the previous try each time.  
This almost made me cry. Especially after burpees. I think because I hate them, I try to push through them as fast as I possibly can which just causes me to get more tired and wanting to cry. Usually I feel really good about this workout and can take at least a few seconds off, but today, today I wasn’t with it fully. 
At first I blamed in on the fact that I didn’t have my pre-workout protein shake. Then I remembered that I did, in fact, have a protein shake 30 minutes before I left. Now, I blame it on not having my head in the game fully.  That’s ok, though. At the end of the day, calories burnt, are calories burnt and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. There is always tomorrow to have a great, hard, enjoyable workout. That is exactly what I am planning on. In a few minutes I am going to leave my office and go to Big Peach Running Co. to pick up my sexy, shiny, pair of brand new minimalist shoes which I am planning to begin breaking in tomorrow.
How did your Friday workout go?

FINALLY!

I can’t tell you how excited I am today. I finally felt good enough to go to the gym and lift some weights! Yay!

When I got to the gym I felt like a child that was released into the candy store. I wanted to do everything all at once. The voice of reason, however, reminded me that I must not give in to my fitness ADD and just stick to the program. So, I stuck to it.

Today was my upper body day. After going through my first set of exercises  I felt a touch “fried”. I think I over zealously pushed myself a little harder then I should have after a long absence. Second and third set of exercises I breezed through, which tells me that I probably need to increase the weight or the number of reps, and finally when I got around to training my biceps, I was completely bored. I need to come up with a more creative ways to train my biceps or at least get them engaged when I am doing my lower body. Finally, I trained abs today as well. Again, I need a more creative way to train abs. I am very bored with my Russian Twists and V-ups and Captain’s Chair exercises…

The more I continue working out at the small, private gym that I go to, the more I realize how much I miss having  someone to spot me, talk to, and workout with. I use to dislike training with other people, now I feel like I need a pack.

I think I am going to start looking for an excepting bunch of body builders to take me under their wing. I think it is time to be part of a group.

Living Vicariously Through My Friends


I think I already said this before, but being sick or having to stay away from my normal workout routine due to an injury turns me into  an incredibly grumpy person. I am on day four of forced rest and I am itching to go back to the gym. Logically I understand that rest is required, that I will be able to come back to my routines quicker if I give myself time to rest and rejuvenate, but emotionally I am a mess. Over the last few years I have gotten use to leaving my stress at the gym, and although there were moments of self doubt about my fitness progress, I never doubted one thing — working towards my fitness goals made me very happy.
Since I could not go to the gym this morning due to this incessant sinus infection, I decided to relive some stress by doing simple meditation. Granted, I haven’t meditated in a long while, but I have to say, it has nothing on lifting heavy weights or doing 30 burpees. It just isn’t the same for me. I am really looking forward to finally being able to keep my date with the Smith machine at some point this week.  
So, dear friends, since I can’t be out there doing pullups, pushups, squats, and deadlifts, get off your butts and go do something active for me. A few pushups, a few bench dips, some jumping jacks, superman planks, and burpees will totally make your day! Seriously, go do it, then call me and tell me all about it. ’cause I AM DYING HERE!!!! 🙂