Category Archives: Determination

Throwback Thursday


BHAG!

 

Remember the time I decided to do a bikini competition?  And then I found out I was pregnant!?  Haha.  I don’t think this will ever be on the bucket list again, but notice how I didn’t say never?

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5 Things you need to be doing to lose weight


5 things you need to be doing to lose weight

You know the saying “If it was easy, everyone would do it.”?  Well…It’s not that hard.  It’s hard work, but not impossible.  Everyone should be able to do this.

Now I know that I am not 100% healthy all the time, nor am I the world’s most fit person nor will I claim to be an expert on fitness and nutrition.  I just know what works for me and based on my personal success here are some things that I do to live a bit healthier and lose weight.

  1. First…just say no!  To over-processed foods, fast foods, non-foods.  To soda, to super sized, to drive thrus, to GMOs, to hormones in our foods.  Convenience foods may be “easier” and “cheaper” but you are paying for it 10 times over with an overweight, sick future you.  P.S. An apple is way cheaper than a burger at McDonalds.
  2. Get moving!  Our bodies evolved because we became more mobile…they are beautifully evolved to be in motion.  Get your rear in gear and just do it.  Every damn day.  Yep, it’s hard.  You are going to hurt.  But what hurts more, being sore from a workout now, or being too overweight to play with your kids, or do the things you want?  I choose sore from a workout anyday.

  3. Don’t give into diet fads.  They might be great for a week or two, but once you resume your “normal” eating, and you know that you will…all that weight that you lost will come right back on, plus some.  You have to change your lifestyle.  And it has to be forever.  If you want to be healthy, then live it.

  4. Read food labels.  Take a moment and educate yourself.  It’s amazing what “food” companies will put in food these days…yoga mats as bread at Subway??  Eww.  No thanks.  If you are looking to Eat Clean (which, by the way is not a fad…that is what humans used to do before fast foods, and all of the above crap was invented to make you fat, and sick), try to stick to 5 ingredients or less, or at least be able to pronounce ALL of the ingredients and know what they are.

  5. Accept that you need to eat MORE to weigh LESS.   Restricting calories below 1200 per day, which is the minimum your body needs to function, will not help you lose weight.  And keep a food journal.  Especially if you are just starting out.  I know that I used to mindlessly eat.  Totally unaware…but tracking my food BEFORE it goes into my mouth makes me far more aware of how many calories I am eating.  I use My Fitness Pal, and I now know that I have to use it all the time.  It’s sort of like balancing your checkbook, you gotta know what you’ve got in the bank, or what you’ve spent…

These are things that I do everyday.  I give myself a cheat day every week, as a reward for working hard and kicking butt.  I don’t go all bananas and eat crap all day, but a little treat here and there is perfectly ok.  I sort of forgot about what hard work it is to live a healthy lifestyle (Mommy brain!) the first few months after #babylove was born.  But in the 8 weeks that I have been really buckling down and getting serious again the changes in my body are amazingly noticeable.  It does take work, but it doesn’t take long for it to pay off!

(Half) Marathon Monday – The nutrition post


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If you’ve been training for a while now, and were thinking:

  1. How have I not lost any weight yet??
  2. I want to eat all the things all the time!!

You are not alone.  When I first started training I used a mad fat stack of pancakes as a reward for just getting out and doing the training.  Keeping in mind that the basic formula for weight gain is calories in vs. calories out I would often “reward” myself for doing 5 miles with a 1,000 calorie breakfast because I was famished after exerting all that energy.

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But then I took myself on a little fitness journey and learned a bit about nutrition, and how to train and lose weight, or maintain my weight.  So I thought I would share some of what I learned with you!

Think of food as fuel.  In order for your body to get through a run, short or long, it needs some carb action.  Eating the correct combo of foods before and after your run will help you have a great run, and ensure that you recover without eating all the things.

Example:  Before your run – Toast with peanut butter and a banana.  this is a good balance of carbs, fats, and the banana has potassium to help with those side stitches and cramps.

After your run – Chocolate milk immediately (Carbs, protein, and fats), followed by some fresh fruit like watermelon, oranges or grapes to rehydrate you and replenish some of those carbs you burned up.

Remember that you burn about 100 calories a mile, so if you track your calories and are looking to lose weight choose foods that are low in calories, but have a lot of bang for the buck, like a salad with grilled chicken breast and tons of veggies.  You will fill up, without totally negating your run.  If you are looking to maintain, feel free to eat back those calories…but don’t choose a bag of Doritos and a pint of Ben & Jerry’s (that is what I did after my last half!  I burned 1344 calories and amazingly a bag of Doritos is 1300 calories.)

The night before a long run, or race day grab some yummy pasta, but skip the garlic bread.  The pasta is, you guessed it…carbs for your run.  But don’t go nuts.  Stick to portion sizes.  I avoid the garlic bread because of the massive amounts of sweating I do…garlic tends to ooze out of my pores and nobody needs to smell that.

HYDRATE.  But please remember that your body also needs salt too…when you sweat your salt contains a little sodium, and if you don’t replenish that too you will swell up like a balloon!  So during your long run, or race day, carry a few salt packets with you or pretzels.  A lot of gels, goos and chews have sodium in them too so do what works for you.

Finally, on the topic of gels, goos and chews.  Try out a few on your training runs.  I like Goo Chomps, and gummy bears.  I have a few gels but they are just not great tasting.  My go-to is gummy bears.  They are the perfect amount of chew, have some sugar for energy and feel like a treat so that at the end of my run I don’t go bananas eating all the things.

I hope these tips help you with your nutrition plans and keep you on track with your training!!

Progress report: Goals and rewards check in


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So last week I earned my 20 lb reward (again…I gained and now lost again).  I am so excited to be halfway there!  It’s only taken 9 months, but at least it’s coming off and not going on!  I am switching around some of my awards…because I made my bib and medal racks/displays a while ago.  And I got my massage and mani/pedi for Mother’s Day.  And I traded my Fitbit for a Garmin 220…and I got 2 new pairs of shoes.  Plus with the added bonus of losing some of this weight…all of those cute workout clothes from pre-pregnancy are like new!  I was really excited to pull them out of storage a few weeks ago!

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So I need some new rewards!  I decided that my 20 pound reward was to be personal training!  I adding personal training to my gym membership this week as a way to keep me motivated, and give me some new stuff to work on!  So once a month I will be meeting with a trainer!  Woot!

And this time I am posting progress pictures!

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Please excuse my dirty mirror!  I love that I can actually see the progress now.  For months now I’ve still been seeing this same chubby Mama, and felt like It just was not changing.  But now I can see the changes.

I had sort of forgotten how skinny I was until I saw this photo while looking through some old pictures for a project.

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This was during our honeymoon, and I was about 15 weeks pregnant here…but I was so small!  Crazy…

The next milestone is 30 pounds…and I am already 1 pound closer!  So 9 more pounds to go until I get a… ‘nother massage!  I really need it with all of the hell the trainer has put me through over the last 3 weeks… and by hell I mean awesomeness.

Do you give yourself rewards for accomplishing something?  Do you have to have a race or an event to keep training for?

 

 

(Half) Marathon Monday – training in less than optimal weather


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Training for any endurance is event is never easy, and getting those trainings in no matter what is crucial.  But there is always the question: do I run in the rain/snow/cold/heat?  And the answer to that question is…what if it’s raining/snowing/freezing balls/hot as hades on race day?

When I was training for my first half it rained so much I coined the phrase “it’s not Team in Training unless it’s raining”.  Not to mention the insane weather here in Minnesota, cold one day too hot the next…

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It was always a miserable time.  But if I skipped every wet, or cold training I would have never gotten any of my miles in.

So I thought I would share some of my training tips for getting some miles in during those not-so-awesome weather days.

Gear:

*I covered a lot of this in the Gear post, but this is just a recap…

  • If you are training during the spring for a summer event, rain is inevitable so you might want to invest in some rain gear.  You could always wait it out, and go later…but some good rain gear will make a soggy run less miserable.  A jacket, pants, and good moisture wicking socks are great items to have in your rain gear arsenal.
  • When training in the cold, be sure to layer!  And layer smart.  Your base layer should be really moisture wicking.  You want that layer to pull all the moisture away from your skin.  It’s nuts I know, but even though it’s cold you sweat.  You mid layer should be a good insulator, but again moisture wicking.  The outer layer shouldn’t need to be too bulky, but if you live in the north where the temps dip…and the wind blows look for something that blocks the wind.  Not to mention the extras to keep you warm…hat, headband, gloves…that is all personal preference.
  • On the hot days…wear something lightweight, breathable and moisture wicking.  Don’t forget the sunscreen…and HYDRATE.

Personal Safety:

  • Use your best judgement…if the weather looks unsafe, it probably is.  Don’t run in blizzards and thunderstorms…just hit the dreadmill.  It’s not the most optimal training scenario…but you can get some miles in that way.
  • Always let someone know where you are going, but especially if the weather could be not so awesome.  There are a few great tracking apps for iphone and android that your SO or family can use to track you.  Wear a reflective vest, or light, and stay clear of roads with no shoulder.  Too many runners are hit and killed every year…be sure to be seen!
  • If you will be on a long run…get a friend or family member to set up shop at your halfway point as a water stop, or check in.  This is great if it’s raining and you can have a change of shoes and socks there…this is a good thing to have planned if race day is rainy too.  You’ll lose a few minutes changing; but avoid blisters (try to anyway) in the end.

So those are my tips for training in crappy weather…do you have any go-to tips for training is not so awesome conditions?

5 Things Friday


5 Things Friday

I cannot believe that July is halfway over.  Stop it time.

I feel like this summer is getting away from me.  I was doing some calendaring this afternoon and flipped to October…omg #babylove is going to be a year old in like 10 weeks or so…wtf.

It’s been a busy couple of weeks but here the 5…

  1. Last Saturday I ran my first obstacle race.  While I was running it I kept thinking how much I hated it and that I would never do it again.  But now that the pics are in…I might change my mind.  It sucked at the time, as all races do.  But I feel super mighty and super strong for having done it.  Not to mention badass. race_70_photo_5296516
  2. A while back we took the 28 Day No Spending challenge, well we decided after this last trip to Florida that we were going to a cash based system.  EEEEKKK… and it’s a tight one too!  It is helping us be more strategic in our budget and weekly grocery shopping.
  3. I got my hairs cut this week.  And my fab mommy friend also debulked the holy bejeezus out of it.  We swept up a whole entire other head of hair.  I never actually lost all what I had gained during pregnancy, and when I got it cut in December (yes, that was really my last cut) we didn’t do any thinning of any kind because I had no idea if I would lose a bunch or not.  It looks amazeballs.
  4. I tried “that crazy wrap thing” this week…stay tuned for a post next week on that…but the skeptic in me has been silenced.
  5. Sam’s Club or Costco?  Opinions?  Go…

I hope everyone has an amazing weekend!

Warrior Dash Race Review


On Saturday I completed my first obstacle race.

It was rough.  Like really rough.

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I could not find an elevation map…but suffice it to say the hills were insane.  I am pretty sure that I can cross off ALL of my hill training until the end of time now.  It’s Monday and I still am not walking right.

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The course started out flat for about a tenth of a mile or so and then we hit the first hill and they just kept coming.  The first of the obstacles was “Storming Normandy” where we crawled under barbed wire on our bellies.  Then the mud mounds, another belly crawl through PVC tubes, a wall climb (I had to skip the first part because there were no handhold within my reach…no help for the shorties WD?!), then the two X Fall, which I also had to skip because I could not keep my balance and fell 3 times before I got both feet on the board…but I walked through some crazy mud to get around it.  Next was a cargo climb, a blizzard to water that was a total shock to the system, and then the warrior peak (skipped that too because…heights) and then the FIRE PIT, Goliath…and mud pits complete with more barbed wire.  Which I almost grabbed onto to keep my balance but realized seconds before my hands grabbed it that it was infact barbed wire.

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But let me go back to the Goliath…it was a HUGE gauntlet of insanity…a cargo climb up, then a belly cargo climb to another platform where a waterslide of misery was waiting for me, to a gigantic pool of mud that was up to my chest.  I slid down into it and went straight to the bottom and freaked out.  I am so glad that I plugged my nose.  It was cold I went I got out I was started to hyperventilate from the shock of the cold and having the muddy water over my head.

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But boy was I glad when I saw the finish line.  I don’t think that I will ever do one of these again, it was really out of my wheelhouse and although the “fun” part was the after party; I was totally miserable during the event.  I heard tons of huffing and puffing from other warriors during the entire event.  And many thanks to Tattoo Guy for checking in during one of those last hills…I was about to cry I was in so much pain and so exhausted.

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I was part of Team Anytime Fitness Plymouth…seriously love that place, so I am super thankful for the entry to the event, and the experience.  One of my friends mentioned that I looked happier in the after photo…I said “that’s because there was beer at the end.”

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So that was my first obstacle race.  And probably my last.  Except the Hubs said it looked like so much fun.  Crap.

Sh!t no one told me about having a baby that I wish I would have known


Making a baby is hard work, yo.  But the hardest part comes after that sweet little bundle comes home.  The day we were discharged I kept thinking…”This is really happening?  They are actually going to let me take this itty bitty thing home?  Shit just got real.”

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I really thought I had prepared myself for what life was going to be like with a new baby.  Afterall, I had babysat pretty much my entire life, nannied all through college, even lived in for a while, I majored in Early Childhood Ed!  But in all honesty I had no effing clue what we were in for.  A while back I shared some things that I had learned as a new mommy, but that was only the beginning.

As the Hubs and I continue discussions about going through this all again, I am quite confident that adjusting to life with a newborn will not be as challenging the second time around because I know so much more than I did before she got here.  And I have adjusted my expectations to a more realistic level.

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There is so much that I wish I had known before my disgustingly adorable daughter came into the world, that no one bothered to tell me.  I really wish that close Mommy friends, or family would have shared how it really is.  Instead everyone tells you the Hollywood version of Motherhood.  And that it is beautiful and blissful.  It’s not like that 100% of the time.  I have learned so much about this new role in my life, so much that I could write a book…but I will share my biggies…

Biggie number 1: No matter how many books you read, or classes you go to.  You don’t know what the hell you are doing.  No clue.  It’s fly by the seat of your pants time now that you are home with a baby.  A real for real baby that cries all the time and poops all over you (YES it happens).  You won’t know why she is crying, and you will try everything that your hormonal, exhausted brain can think of.  And it still won’t fix it.  Just know that you don’t know what to do.  Until you do.  Also know that you are a great Mommy, and you are doing an amazing job.  It will also be impossible to ask for help.  So just take it when it’s offered.  Take people up on their offer to help.  No one cares that you have not showered for days…they are there to hold the baby…so that you can shower, and eat.  And sleep.

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Biggie number 2: You might want to leave.  Some days you will want to leave, and never come back.  Somedays you will want to just take the baby and go.  Sometimes you will want to not be married and not be a mom.  You will imagine yourself in a cabin in the woods, where no crying babies live.  Or in a tiny town by the sea, with no husbands and no babies.  You would never actually leave, but the daydream keeps you sane.  Or you will tell your husband to leave…like I did the first weekend home.  Thank god he came back!  Side note: I told him to go to the gym, and that I needed to be alone.  Not to leave forever.

Biggie number 3: You will probably get depressed.  Big time.  As in don’t leave the house, why bother showering, don’t even think about touching me, depressed.  And because you have thoughts of leaving, and you are exhausted you have zero filter, and spew a verbal vomit of hateful things to your partner; things you don’t actually mean…because they are mean.  You get through it, but you can’t get through it alone.  PPD is serious, and if you are feeling down…please, please, please talk to your partner, a friend and fellow mommy, your OB/GYN, someone…you don’t have to deal with it alone.  I was silent way too long.  Until I wasn’t and I could have done some serious damage to my marriage with the above verbal vomit.  I am thankful I have an amazing Hubs.  I shared my PPD struggles here but in truth, I struggled more in silence than I anyone knows.

Biggie number 4: Motherhood isn’t all encompassing.  Nor should it be.  Don’t lose yourself in the mounds of laundry and diapers.  Having a standing coffee date with a friend, and talk about non-mommy things.  In fact institute a “No baby talk policy”…that way you are free to dish on the latest celeb gossip, new book you are reading…oh yeah…read books.  Do something for yourself, by yourself.  When I finally opened up to The Hubs about how I was feeling, I told him I felt like the person I was before my daughter was born was dead, like she no longer existed.  She was lost and I couldn’t find her.  (Good news…I found her in Florida and she came home with me. :))

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Biggie number 5: You will feel guilty.  All.  The.  Time.  For no damn reason, and for the stupidest things.  I spent months agonizing over my milk supply.  My daughter had SUA, and IUGR and “it was my fault” was the lie I kept telling myself.  Clearly I had done something wrong.  Not only that but she has Polydactyly on her right hand…meaning she has an extra finger.  Yep…that is the first time I have mentioned it here because…I feel immense guilt about it and I still do every damn time I look at it.  So let go of the Mommy Guilt, it will all be ok.  And don’t worry about screwing up your kid…WE ARE ALL SCREWED UP.

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Biggie number 6: You might not fall in love with your baby right away.  You might have a shitty birth experience, like me, and be a bit traumatized and drugged for a while.  You might feel like you are no longer connected to your baby because she is not physically a part of you.  Just remember that she is now a spiritual part of you and that it will come.  You might be sitting up with her at 2am one night and the love will reach out and smack you in the face.  And then you will love the shit out of her.  She will be the most amazing, and awesome creature you’ve ever met.

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Biggie number 7: You might miss being pregnant.  You will miss the connection, and the comfort.  It’s hard to explain, but a lot of women experience it.  It’s totally normal.  For me, I felt disconnected from her…and even though she was there for me to hold, I had a hard time adjusting to her being in the world.

Biggie number 8: Find a mommy tribe.  And don’t just stay with the first one that you check out (I happen to still be with my same group, but did check out one other and it just wasn’t for me).   Make it new people that you don’t know.  Find your tribe, and get real with them.  Seriously.  My mommy tribe mommies are the most amazing, supportive, beautiful, non-judgemental women and our babies are all besties…or BF/GF.  Our group is changing, 2 of our mommies and babies are moving away and change is hard.  I will miss them so very much.  Oh, and stay away from Mommy groups online…for real.  They are nothing but drama, and you don’t need that.

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Biggie number 9: Get active as soon as possible…be a mall walker, join a gym, get outside if you can.  Don’t sit inside and be alone.  It’s no good for either of you.  I seriously cannot stress this one enough.  Remember: endorphins make you happy.

Biggie number 10:  You might not like being a mom sometimes.  You might have regret for the decision to procreate, and you might resent your child, especially when it’s at 2 am and you are beyond exhausted.  But that is only .01% of the time…the rest of the time is filled with bliss and sunshine and rainbows…oh wait…no it’s not…that’s the cartoons that you will watch!  Motherhood is hard for real…but it can be a blissful time if you let it.  It does get a bit easier.  I am sure that there are Moms out there that have been in the trenches a lot longer than I that will say it does not get easier…but I think it has gotten tremendously easier.  Or perhaps I am finally getting the hang of this.

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Much of this post was written in jest, but there is a lot of truth to it.  This journey is a challenging one, but one that I love more than anything in the world.  My daughter is everything to me and I love the crap out of her.

 

#FFPushup Challenge


This month I have been doing the #FFPushup challenge…that is 31 push-ups a day in July.

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It’s not too late to join us…the challenge is through Fitfluential and they’ve got a pretty sweet prize for for two lucky winners!  Head on over to their blog to check out more details about the challenge!

I’ve been doing the 31 push-ups per day, on the Bosu Ball  and amazingly now in week 2…they are getting easier!  The challenge is a minimum of 31 per day and I am hoping that by then end of the month I can double that!  Bosu push-ups are my fav.  I pretty much never do regular push-ups…but next week I am planning on changing up my push-ups and do some decline push-ups!

What is your favorite way to do a push-up?

(Half) Marathon Monday – 4 tips for injury prevention


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3 years ago when I was training for and completed my first half, I ended the season with a hideous IT Band injury.  My pace sucked during the actual event…nearly a 20 minute mile.  I should have quit, and had a DNF and not pushed through the pain.  But I didn’t.  I just kept going, pushed through the pain, through the tears and the inability to breath properly  I was determined to cross that finish line.

This is me, fighting the tears of agony of ITBS
This is me, fighting the tears of agony of ITBS

No…I was stupid.  And foolish.

Why did I have an IT Band injury?  Because I failed to train properly, and recover properly.  I skipped a lot of my weekly training walks/runs that I was to do on my own; and only went to the group trainings.  (dumb, dumb, dumb)  I didn’t stretch after a training when the miles got up there.  And I didn’t take a break when I first felt like I had hurt something.  And, I honestly believe that my shoes had a lot to do with it.  They didn’t fit properly, and while there were a name brand…they were not the best.

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So, how does one avoid injury while training for an endurance event?  While first, don’t over-do it.  Don’t increase your milage too much week to week.  The standard rule for most training programs is 10%.   Also, don’t push through the pain!  If you feel like you may have injured yourself, take a rest day or two.  Do not hit the pavement until you feel 100%.  If after a day or two, you still feel as though there is an injury talk to your doctor or PT.  Continuing to train with a minor injury could lead to a more serious injury or permanent issues.

 

Second, make sure to warm up and cool down with dynamic stretches before a run; and long, slow stretches after a run.  Some good dynamic stretches include:

  • Jump squats
  • Power skipping (long strides, fast pace)
  • Jumping jacks
  • High Knees
  • Arm circles

Stretching after a run is just as important as the warm up.  Long, slow static stretches will help to ensure that you do not over stress a muscle, tendon or ligament.  Common static stretches include:

  • Side bends
  • Runner’s pose (yoga)
  • Shoulder stretch
  • Standing Quadriceps Stretch
  • Seated Forward Bend
  • Hip flexor stretch

There has been a lot of controversy over whether static stretches work…and my take on it is that they do infact work when used properly and at the correct time.  Static stretches elongate the muscle and then in turn help the muscle to enlarge upon recovery.

Take for example a rubber band.  If you stretched it as far as it could go it would snap.  But, if you stretched it a little bit a few times and warmed up the rubber, similar to how dynamic stretches warm up your muscles, you would then be able to stretch the rubber band farther, without snapping it.  Doing static stretches prior to running, or other physical activity might do more harm than good.  So save those static stretches for your post run cool-down.

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Another way to avoid injury is to use a foam roller or The Stick to do a little myofascial release.  There are too many different positions to describe here, so if you need some instruction head over to YouTube…there are tons of instructional videos there.  Also, a lacrosse ball works well too!  I keep one in my gym bag for those hard to reach spots.

Lastly, know your limits.  Don’t push too hard, don’t go overboard on the stretching or foam rolling (it can hurt so good, but it can also huuuurt).  Listen to your body and let it lead you (pun intended).  Learning to read your body’s overtraining, or under training  queues can be your number one defender against injury when training for an endurance event.  It took a full 6 months before my IT Band issue was finally resolved.  It went from lower back pain, to knee pain, to finally some plantar fasciitis…but 2 braces, a gallon of advil and 10 miles of KT Tape later it finally went away.  Why did it take so long?  Because I didn’t listen to my body.  But I am listening now!