When Nothing Goes Right…

I love what the “…go left” in the original version of this quotation stands for. . .but I *also* love the gym-rat-edited “…go LIFT” one, and not because it’s gym-leaning.

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Exercise is, 1,000%, a proven de-stressor (that happens to have added health benefits, vs. other known de-stressors, like comfort foods, binge eating, alcohol consumption, body-harming vices of whatever design…)

I think a lot of folks who haven’t had the opportunity to be (or exposure to being) active don’t know what they are missing. Whether it is lifting iron in a gym, taking a jog, or just dancing like no one is watching as fiercely as you can, physical movement and engagement can turn a very BAD day (or series of events!) into a much more positive one.  It’s not only for your heart and body, but your mind and emotional state too too… 

When nothing goes right, give your body a chance to work out the aggression, frustration, disappointment, whatever. . . It really doesn’t matter if it’s jumping jacks during commercials, going to a barre class, or playing in a soccer league.  ANY movement helps.

By changing your direction and focus, and letting your body do what it was designed to do – move – you can alter not only the tone of the day, but your mood with it.

Win, win.

Everything Changes, And That’s Okay

I definitely am not in the shape I was in when I was competitive figure skating as a child and teen… Nor am I in the shape I was in during college (when I hardly worked out, and ate like a horse!) Nor, again, am I the “fit” I maintained while competitive dancing…

But at 38 (and a half!), I feel really thankful, and incredibly healthy.  My muscle tone fluctuates, and I don’t necessarily look the way I did when I was training full-bore (“cut” is generally softer these days)…but my schedule and training load has also changed, and doing too much is more of a bad idea than a good one.

I woke up this morning feeling under the weather – not “sick” per se, but like I’ve done too much and need a break. (This happens more frequently in my 30’s than it did in the past.) I skipped my cardio, went to physical therapy, and I’m going easy.  Part of me plays that “I’m being lazy”game – the holidays are coming up and I won’t be able to necessarily get in as much exercise as I’d like to.  But sometimes that’s what we need most – REST.

My nutrition stays clean all year round – I stick to the foods that make me feel good, not only what keeps weight off.  Protein and veggies always help me feel full, and keep me from going haywire when I’m craving something less healthy.  High quality foods also help balance the days that I am not as “peak” and can’t do as hard a workout (if one at all.)

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I also try to get in some cardio, or lifting when I can – it isn’t as frequent as it once was, and (as with today) I  sometimes have to take the day off…and NOT beat myself up about it.  It is easy to forget that when we make healthy living a priority (it is a “lifestyle,” after all) there is room for taking the breaks we need.  

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So do what you can, and allow yourself a little room for when your body is saying “hello!?  I’d like a day off…or a few, please?!”  

You are perfect the way you are – a little fluctuation is not only normal, but healthy AND okay. ❤

Staying On Track When Away From Home

Actually…in this case, I was traveling BACK home…from my new home…for ten days to attend to wedding preparations – I therefore knew about a gym location in advance BUT…had I not, I’d have scouted one out for sure.

Fitness isn’t a once in a while thing – it’s a lifestyle.  Staying fit is a commitment to making good daily choices – keeping in mind, of course, that life is fast-paced, and sometimes unexpected.  

But when we are traveling, or need to be out of our regular routine, there are ways to keep up with some activities.  Your body – and mind! – will thank you for going the extra mile and making sure your hotel has a fitness facility, or that there is a gym, bike trail etc nearby.

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With all of the crazy things i had scheduled, fitting in my cardio and lifting wasn’t going to be easy – but I made it work.  I got up earlier than I might have otherwise, put on my spin shoes, and headed out the door. *Making the time* is a huge part of it – that’s where your commitment comes in.  Your goals are achievable so long as you seize opportunity.

I made sure that I specifically put in the mornings that I wanted to go to the gym ON my schedule, in advance – it mattered to me enough (knowing I would physically and mentally not feel myself if I skipped it!) to get there, and having it penciled in already meant there were no excuses.

Being away from home meant I was missing eight Martial Art classes a week, and regular other exercise – without making the time, I’d have fallen into a slump for well over a week, which – for me – equals a terrible mood, and a tired body.  Don’t forget that exercise boosts your energy, and happy chemicals – endorphins to the rescue! Just because you aren’t home doesn’t mean  you can’t keep up with SOMEthing.  It’s worth looking into your options ahead of time so you don’t fall into a cycle of doing zero.

 

Fitness Humor – The Reality

I know a lot of people who love to exercise, and enjoy being fit.  Some of them also, however, LOVE food – enough that they gripe about their “pooch” – regularly – in spite of the substantial amount of working out they squeeze in.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news but…nutrition matters.  I daresay it matters MORE than exercise (though both are incredibly important in maintaining the health of the one vessel we have this go ’round!) 

But it isn’t all so dire – small changes CAN make a big impact.

If tweaking even on a minor level is too hard, though, you can always hire someone to help you outside the gym.  You know, when you sneakily reach for that donut. (Claiming it called to you isn’t going to cut it, sorry! 😉 ) 

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FY-EYE

New jazz from Maybelline that wasn’t supposed to be out quite yet…but that IS.  Ballroom dancers rejoice – less need to wear the falsies (which I couldn’t STAND!)

The Falsies Push Up Angel Mascara promises to sweep your flutter to the side, giving a lifted, winged effect – how pinup and fabulous!

Ulta.com

Ulta.com

Maybelline’s Brow Precise Fiber Volumizer is hopping on the heels of the brow building trend, not only adding color, but filling out sparse areas with its fiber-infused gel formula.

Maybelline.com

Maybelline.com

Selfie Silliness

I wonder if there is a term for taking a group selfie.  I hate the word “selfie” to be completely honest, but I suppose it’s just the way of the world these days.  I’m not actually sure what you’d call what my friends and I take, but they’re maybe more on par with “sillies.”  Can we add that to the dictionary too?  It’s so much more positive sounding (and definitely less narcissistic!)  

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Blooper Reel

My friends and I are always laughing, even when we are working our buns off at the gym.  Maybe that’s what’s so funny – we are all panting, huffing, and puffing, but still pushing through as if we have more steam….which sometimes we don’t.  When we tucker out, one of us might chime in with “EXCUSE ME?!”...as in “and just what the hell do you think YOU are doing stopping?!”  Inevitably whichever one of us is being scolded will offer up an “oh really?!  I am working my ass off!  You want to come over here!?”

Therein lies a whole other layer of humor – one of us is a purple belt in Jiu-Jitsu, with multiple high ranks in MMA and fighting Arts.  One of us is a 3rd Degree in Taekwondo.  I’m a 2nd Degree in Taekwondo and Hapkido, and working on Ninjutsu and JiuJitsu…and there are a bunch more folks studying ground fighting and boxing. So if we really did go at it (which we won’t, of course) it would be incredibly entertaining.  

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Maybe not *quite* as cool as watching Holly Holm take Rhonda down (sorry, I’m NOT sorry, she needed to be checked!) or as Nate choking out Mr. McGreggor… But it would gather a crowd! 

As I’ve said so many times, physical activity isn’t always easy, even when your passion is very much tied to it.  Having fun while you are at it, and engaging with people who have similar goals, upbeat attitudes, and the ability to push you when you need to kick in the rump…it can make all the difference in you keeping it up.

 

Keeping Up

I’m a little bit ambitious with my goals – but it’s always been that way.  Career, education, sports…if I don’t get more responsibility, harder work, or opportunities to grow, I go bananas!

Fun for me is learning, growing, and ultimately achieving – when asked why I don’t dance “for fun,” for example, I’ll say “the fun for me is in training, competing, and reaching new levels.”  I want a challenge, and I want to progress – plateaus don’t work for me.

As soon as I moved to a new state some months ago, I knew I had to find a place to train – not just lift and workout, but to TRAIN.  My Grandmaster in Teakwondo is the real deal, and I feel a bit reluctant to go to another Dojang right now.  But I NEED activities – I did my due diligence and found a Ninjutsu school, as well as  Gracie Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy, as well as a place to do Aerial Yoga.  

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At first, I had thought about just doing one sport – one is often enough, and really who has the time!  But like I said…I’m ambitious, and usually have a goal in sight with anything I do.  I have wanted to trade the spin bike for something more fun, in part – I get bored very quickly and I need change.  I also wanted to fill in what I perceive as gaps in the training I have had thus far.  So…I took on two new Martial Arts (one of which exposes me to a third, traditional Japanese JuJutsu), as well as the Aerial Yoga (which I do once a week.)

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It’s a lot, there’s no question…  It is a lot to keep up with, and it requires as much discipline to train as it does to take days OFF (I’m MUCH better about that now!)  But as exhausted as I get, I feel like keeping involved also fuels the fire – I love acquiring and honing skills, and I can’t do that from the sidelines.  So no matter how whooped I feel at the end of the week, I am elated to get back to it.

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Some people think I am overly ambitious…but I don’t feel like I’m chasing after anything.  More so, it is aiming to keep up with my passions… Easy?  Not all the time.  Worth it?  1,000%!  

The fire is already coursing through my veins and I know if I didn’t get it all in, I’d not only get ancy, but I’d feel downright glum!  Keeping up means staying in the game – not only is my body happy, but so are my mind and spirit – and I need ALL cannons firing! 😉

 

 

To Be A Lion…

I love this quotation because it stresses the importance of giving your all – not just in a competition, but every day in practice.  To be a lion, we must train with lions – we have to get right in the middle of it.  Doubt, ego, embarrassment, and insecurity have to take a back seat.  We all start somewhere.

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Today I had the fortune to participate in a wrestling class along with some of my fellow Ninjutsu classmates.  Wrestling is a completely foreign language to my body, and I LOVE that.  I love that it doesn’t matter how much weight I can press in the gym, how many weighted walking lunges I can do…  It doesn’t matter that I have trained my whole Life in other sports… Something as simple as shuffling, dropping into a sprawl, and jumping up to take a shot is E X H A U S T I N G.  

And…

It is and AMAZING feeling.  

Why?  Because it reminds us there is always more to learn, and always ways in which we can grow positively.

Some of the students knew more than I did – I respect and appreciate learning from them as much as the Sensei (wrestling, but also Ninjutsu) who was instructing us.  I sincerely believe that all of us can learn, and all of us can teach – not only at the dojo, but in all areas of Life.

The irony also holds true – there is a true sense of empowerment born of stepping outside our comfort zone.  It’s important to challenge ourselves – physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  By so doing we learn, we grow, we enhance the richness of the experience we call Life.  Trying something completely new and different is a perfect way to change the pace and avoid plateaus.  

After a number of years in three Korean Arts I began to feel that I had some real holes in my training.  I believe most all Arts have MORE than enough material – beyond Lifetimes of learning, without question! A person could do only one Art and still have areas to grown and improve – even the Grand Masters.  There is no limit, nor perfection, but rather the endless pursuit of learning and movement.

That said, however, each Art has a different focus, leaving other areas exposed.  For me, I was lacking in ground skills.  I also felt that I had less time for the self defense than I did for offensive techniques.  So it was very much a matter of putting my training and rank to the side, donning a white belt, and walking into a new environment all together.  

It can absolutely be intimidating – not just for those new to a given sport (Martial Arts, in this case), but also to those with a background!  There is anxiety, a huge learning curve, and some discomfort – when an activity is new, it is just par for the course – frankly, I don’t think there is any way to avoid it!  But that discomfort is HEALTHY.  It is important for our own overall growth!  Stepping outside that comfortable zone is vastly more rewarding the security of staying “safe.”

So when it comes to our training…if we are SERIOUS about what we want to achieve, and serious about our learning and growth, we MUST jump in the ring.  

It isn’t enough to watch the lions at a distance – we have to get right out there with them, make mistakes, be corrected, and humbled by being at the end of the line.  These things keep us grounded, they build a solid foundation, they remind us that there is ALWAYS room to grow.