Be Ridiculous

Once upon a time I worried about what people thought.  I worried about if they’d like what I was wearing, if I looked silly, or if the things I enjoyed weren’t “cool.”  But it didn’t last particularly long, those worrisome spells, because I simply couldn’t mold myself to fit within the confines that others did.

Boxes didn’t work for me, and I made myself sick – in the short time I tried to care – trying to figure out what I was “supposed to” do, and “supposed to” be.  Based on someone else’s definition, by the way.  I was like a dodecahedron trying to fit into a triangular shape – I had so many facets, I’d make a gemologist spin, and the “mold” simply didn’t work.

I feel like that was fortunate for me, though. . .because I learned to just do my thing and be, unabashedly, my curiously off-beat self. It’s so much easier when you don’t have to squeeze yourself in to other shapes.  It’s SO much easier being authentic than having to remember the details of the “lie” that you pretend to live.

The world doesn’t need more conformists…it needs the beautiful variety that all of us bring to life. It’s not only okay to be you, it’s what you, and everyone else deserves.  If someone takes issue, that’s okay – that’s for them to worry about.

Do your thing, and be ridiculous if you want to.  Even if it means wearing obnoxiously-printed leggings, leg warmers a la 1982, and Thundercat shoes at age 38. 

Happiness is the heart of the beholder. ❤

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Courage

Courage isn’t always that stoic, fearless lion’s face people post all the time.  It isn’t necessarily stronger than the storm, like quotations always say…

Courage isn’t necessarily so earth-shattering that anyone else even sees it but you. . .

Often, it is that gentle whisper in your ear. . .that feeling within you that says, “I have tomorrow to try again.”  

Don’t give up, or allow discouragement to take hold – small steps are still progress. One day at a time is more that good enough.

Morning Tabata

I’m not sure about other people, but without my music, I’d have a seriously hard time getting through my cardio.  

I know cardio is important – not just for weight loss or maintenance, but for my organs, my body as a whole, and my emotional state!  So three times a week I hop on the spin bike and jam for about 50 minutes.  

I used to do a lot more but with added Martial Arts classes, and weightlifting, anything BEYOND this is far too much – it’s a delicate balance and each person has to feel out the best approach and volume. For me, four rounds of tabata thrown into peddling seems to help.  My sprints aren’t always ultra difficult – I try to do enough, but not so overboard that I can get through four-minute (eight set) rounds.

But to get me there in the first place…I put in my buds and set the iPod to shuffle. I like not knowing what will come on, and I allow the songs (and types of music) to dictate my rhythm – without it, it would be a painfully long almost-hour, and given that I want to get through it, I set myself up for as much success as possible.

 

Giving Yourself A Break

I had a really rough week last week with a loss in my family.  It’s one of those things that I know takes a long time to “get over” – I’ve been there before.  

But. . .I’ve also had a lot of conditioning that makes me feel that I’m a burden if I’m feeling down, or that I have tp put on a happy face…even when it’s the last thing I want to do.

Part of me agrees with the idea that I need to keep going – one foot in front of the other, and sticking to my routine is more helpful than it isn’t – I get out of my brain, for one (which frankly isn’t firing on all synapses at the moment.)

And part of me feels like…let me get through this, and then I can go home and cry when I need to…because it is just as important for my wellbeing to “allow” my emotions” as it is to be stoic.

I haven’t had much energy, but I still go through the motions.  Form is integral, though, and no matter if we are doing lighter weight, or just running our “usual” on autopilot, we have to pay attention to the form.  I’ve made it a habit to really focus on the muscle that should be working when I exercise, so fortunately I’m in tune with what’s moving (and what shouldn’t be.)  I listen to my body and always try to respect when it needs a break…and to give it a little bit of a push if it needs it.

Today was one of my leg days – I have two.  I used to do EVERYTHING on one day, but it’s overboard for me at this stage in the game. Instead, I like having two manageable but challenging days that aren’t to the point that I make myself sick thinking about them (which used to be the case.)  What’s the point if you are stressing about what’s supposed to be fun and / or good for you?!

My usual Tuesday exercises include the following (I try to keep some of my rests “active” to knock out my ab work without tacking on a ton of time – I don’t want to live at the gym the way I used to back in the day!)

  • SQUATS – 5 sets, narrow and wide stance (with a reconstructed knee and no ACL in one, I opt for smith machine for these.  Yes, Physical Therapist approved! 🙂 )
  • PLANKS – 4 minutes total, main core and obliques, interspersed with squats
  • LUNGES – 3 sets each side, smith machine (free weight done on my other leg day)
  • CRUNCHES – 2 minutes total, varied, flutter kick and bicycle variations, interspersed with lunges 
  • STEP-UPS – 3 sets each side, smith machine and bench
  • BULGARIAN SPLIT SQUATS WITH DUMBBELLS – 3 sets each side
  • DUMBBELL DEADLIFTS – 3 sets of 12 to 15 (using 2 45 lbs dumbbells. If I’m at another facility, I’ll use the 110 lb bar.  Too much weight here really hinders kicking in Martial Arts!)
  • AB VACCUUM – 3 minutes total, interspersed with the three exercises above, as they fit
  • DUMBBELL HIP THRUSTS – 3 sets of 16, using the 45 lb weights.. (If at another gym, Ill use an 80 lb bar.)
  • JUMP SQUATS – 2 sets for 30 seconds each
  • BENCH JUMPS – 3 sets of 8 to 10 (IF my legs aren’t total jello)
  • KICK UPS – 3 sets of 15 (with a dumbbell if I want to add one more exercise in)

As I look at it here…it’s A LOT.  I’m even happier that I split it up!

So today wasn’t my finest – I wasn’t feeling great, and I’m incredibly over tired.  BUT…

BUT…

I went to the gym, I put on some music, and I went through the motions (carefully.)  I didn’t get upset if I couldn’t do everything as well as usual, or if I had to cut my reps.  Movement is helpful even when it can’t be as much as I normally do.  It’s SOMEthing, and that’s what matters.

We have the opportunity to melt down at any given time.  We also have the opportunity to pick ourselves up and move forward as best we can.  I choose both, and that’s okay.  One allows me the freedom to be comfortable with myself and what I’m feeling – to acknowledge that those emotions are acceptable.  The other reminds me that I’m goddamn strong, and I will get through ANYthing.  

 

Committed

I have come a really long way, and I’m incredibly proud of that.  But I also know I have much to learn. . .and that’s okay. The journey is a lifetime.

Each day is a new opportunity to be a better person – a better human being to myself, and those around me. We all deserve a happy and fulfilled life, but that very much begins with US.

My competition, much as they say, is myself yesterday.  It isn’t a friend, neighbor or celebrity. It’s me, myself and I.

I am committed to choosing the high road.  To standing up for what I believe in, and loving life fiercely.  

I am committed to holding myself accountable, and to the standards to which I hold others…at a level just above that.

I am committed to being kinder to myself, because I’m a goddamn powerhouse with a heart the size of the globe.

I am committed to seeing the good and the beauty in all things, and to always make “the best of it” – worse isn’t a long shot for many, and I guarantee hundreds of thousands of people want what you have! 

I am committed to being a better and better version of myself, to bring hope and joy to those around me, to give back as much as I’m able, and beyond…but also without losing myself in the process.

I have a list of goals and dreams miles long…and I believe they are all achievable.

It starts TODAY.  Ten minutes ago.  Life beats to time, and time is a drum that doesn’t stop.

The only control we have rests with us – LEARN. Live. Be kind to others, especially those who are there along the journey with you.  

There’s room for all of us to succeed in our pursuits – Let’s be better together.

Imperfection

I sincerely, and truly believe this. . .

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“Perfection” feels so boring-Ken-and-Barbie-doll.  It’s a plastic word, and sadly one many of us strive for – to our detriment – with ferocity.  

But it’s the IMperfections that add the layers of depth to an otherwise mundane surface. . .and mundane just won’t do.  It is – without question – a matter of how we perceive our surroundings and reality, NOT the surroundings and reality themselves.

We get to choose how we see.  We get to choose the light in which we cast our experiences.  We get to choose “positive,” if we want it.

How beautiful is that?