Category Archives: motivation

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.

Free Yourself by Learning How to Say “No”

life-motivation-0706-03We are all busy, at times stressed out, and occasionally extremely close to losing our minds.  We tend to begin engaging in creative procrastination just to get ourselves some breathing room and eventually end up even more stressed because the to-do pile didn’t get any lighter. Then the guilt kicks in. Why didn’t I go to the gym yesterday instead of sitting on the couch watching TV? You know I could have made some baked chicken instead of eating Chinese. Why didn’t I do that? Oh man, I wish I wasn’t so tired so I can play tea party with my kids! The list goes on. So, what can we do to prevent guilt, remain sane, and stay a little bit more rested, fit and healthy?

The answer is: learning to prioritize and, above all, learning to say “NO”.

Getting our priorities straight is the first step to breaking free from the endless cycle of being behind. Personally, I am a list person. Every day I sit down and I make a list of things that need to be completed by the end of the next day. I make the same list for every week and for every month. It puts my schedule into perspective. I know exactly how much I can take on and when I can do it without cutting into something that is important to me or my family. The list also prevents me from forgetting to do the small things that end up turning into frustrations and inconveniences (like forgetting to get the dry-cleaning, or picking up some milk at the grocery store). That’s my way, and I know that this may not be the optimal way for everybody. Some may stress out over the list and the sheer amount of things that are on it, others may find it liberating to check things of and see how much was done at the end of the day.

When I was talking to my friend about my prioritization strategy, she commented that she would be completely overwhelmed by the sheer idea of making lists everyday even if they weren’t written down. Her approach to setting priorities involved breaking her time into segments: Self, Family, Work, and Other. I know, some of you are looking at this and wondering what selfish person would put themselves before their family. I asked about that. My friend told me that the wellbeing of her family depends on her and if she is can’t be the “rock” for them, everything else will fall apart which is why she takes care of her health and mental wellbeing first.

Regardless of how you choose to prioritize your life, until you do so, your stress levels will not diminish. Now, I am not saying that through prioritization you will completely get rid of stress. That’s just impossible. However you will significantly decrease the amount of it. It won’t be easy, you will have to choose between things and people who seem equally as important and tasks that seem equally urgent which brings me to my next point.

No one likes to say “No” because no one likes to hear “No”. We, women, are especially guilty of that. We are the caretakers, we nurture and protect, we are the lionesses of our dens and god forbid someone tells us that we can’t do it all. But you know what, ladies? We can’t do it all and the sooner we understand that, the better of we will be.

The first few times you put your foot down and unapologetically say no to something, it will be hard and you will feel guilty, but after a while of staying true to that practice you will notice two things: 1) you feel better about everything that you do because you are not stretched so thin 2) the things you do carry more meaning, the product of your labors is of a better quality which in turn makes you a happier person. I don’t know about you, but I’ll take the cycle described above over stressed, unhappy, and unhealthy.

Now, knowing when to say “no” will largely depend on the priorities you set. When you are absolutely sure about what is important in your life, saying “no” becomes easier. And like with any other art form, the longer you practice the art of “No”, the better at it you will become and the more liberated you will feel.

I encourage everyone to take control of their lives and their stress levels because we are not the helpless victims of circumstance. We create our own realities and whether we choose to be miserable and exhausted or happy and motivated, the amount of work that goes into it is the same. Break the cycle, take control, and put your foot down in protest, stand tall and proud because you are strong and capable.

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?

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?


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!!!! 🙂 

6 Ps of Success.

I am still pretty sick, but today was a planned rest day anyway. As usual, every Sunday is my planning, packing, and shopping day. On Sundays I make sure that I am prepped for the rest of the week. After all, Proper Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance. It also prevents emotional eating, slipping off your diet, skipping on workouts, and bending your schedule during the week.  I am not  advocating inflexibility, but you are less likely to make excuses if you have a clear plan of action.  So, get to planning and if you slip, make sure that you built in a fail safe. 

Allergies? Cold? Weight lifting? Crossfit?

Although I am not too sure if I am having a really bad case of allergies or if I am beginning to get sick. Regardless, I pushed through my cardio today just in case it is allergies. I regret nothing! Well, maybe I regret that I only had 20 minutes… Either way, it is so unfair to feel this under the weather just days before my race. If I don’t feel absolutely horrible tomorrow, I have a date with Murph and hopefully some sore back muscles afterwards. I guess when lifting doesn’t get you sore, turn to crossfit! I have high hopes for you, Murph! Don’t let me down!

All I Need is 20 Minutes to Feel Human Again.

In the last few days my workout times have been all over the road. I am a person of routine and consistency, I got my body use to having a natural boost of endorphins in the morning and having to work out at night have turned me into a grumpy, stressed, mean girl. I am making it an effort to get my workouts back on normal morning schedule. Even if it means getting to the gym at 5 am.  
That being said, I dont know what I would have done to the world today if it had been for my 20 minutes of cardio this evening. I wish I had the time for a full 45, but 20 is all I had to spare. I guess you have to get it in where you can, right?

No More Doubting!!!

Oh, I really should kick all this doubting out of my life for good. My legs are sore today! Yay! I went out to the gym and hit the treadmill for some speed work on an incline. My legs began to feel weak 15 minutes into my intervals, but I finished strong. I can’t wait to be able to run outside! All this pollen is really getting to me today.