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.

 

It Doesn’t Have To Be Your Best, Just START

I general dread traditional cardio – I DO it, because I know it’s important.  But…it’s a struggle most days!

I recently gave myself a lovely bout of plantar fasciitis from running too hard, too fast, too intensely – I woke up the next day and knew EXACTLY what happened.  

Frustrated I may have been, I knew it was a cue from the grand ol’ Universe telling me to slow down.  My feet have been hurting, I’ve been overly exhausted, and frankly. . .I’ve derided cardio even more than normal.  Did I take a break?  NOPE!

So…the Universe HANDED me one.

Instead of busting my buns of the treadmill, I’ve done a few days of moderate spin.  My session aren’t stellar – I haven’t drilled myself for a while, so my pace and power isn’t necessarily where it could be.  But, I put in the effort.  I get on knowing that it may not be perfect, and it doesn’t have to be – the point is, I’m doing SOMETHING.  I’m getting on and giving it a whirl – there’s no need to be breaking records every time you do an activity (maybe I’m writing that as an extra reminder to myself! 😉 

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So don’t worry about making one session or another your absolute best – just START.  A little CAN go a long way towards your goals of staying fit and healthy. ❤

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I’m Not A Cheerleader, But If I Were…

This would totally be my jam.

With black and red pompoms?  Hell yes.

INVADE DESTROY REPEAT

It’s a good tune for the gym, 1,000% – spin bike, lifting, sprints, whatever – and it totally has that “pep rally” sound.  You know, for when getting your ass on a treadmill is (and usually will be) the LAST thing you want to do?

Motivate with some metal!

(C) Powerman 5000 Official YouTube

(C) Powerman 5000 Official YouTube

Must Have Music…

When in doubt…crank up the tunes!  

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Some days you might find it harder to motivate – exercise is meant to be an effort, after all!  When at all possible, add in some music…whatever it is you feel in the mood for…and turn up the volume.  Once you hear a beat, chances are you will find yourself moving to it…!

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Get up, get out, and do it!  

Nothing feels quite as good as getting it done (even when it isn’t your record!)

😀

 

No Excuses

I’m not always up for doing my activities every day – I do seven Martial Arts classes a week, and go to the gym, and do cardio…  So honestly, I’m downright exhausted sometimes! 

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But for me, the end result is the important thing – if I truly don’t feel up for training, I give myself a break…  But generally, what I really need is to buck up and push through the sticky “ugh! Do I have to?!”s.  Yep, just a swift kick in the ass, folks!

There IS something to be said for overtraining – having been in that zone far too many times, particularly when training for a competition or event, I know my body…AND when I need to stop.  It is important to recognize that fine “overtraining” line, but ALSO to recognize when you are making excuses.  Be HONEST with yourself – your goals are your own, so the only person you hold back is yourself.

People often ask what I do to get through the tougher days…  My answer?  

  1. I take BABY steps…
  2. I change my language…
  3. And I focus on the goal.

1. BABY STEPS

I tell myself I only have to start.  I don’t think about the fact that I’d like to do eight HIIT sprints, incline walking, and jogs (which add up to about 40 to 50 minutes.) Instead, I tell myself that I just need to hop on, do one or two and see how I feel.  It WORKS.  I take the pressure off myself by not envisioning beyond the moment. Usually once I start, I feel up for more.  And, once I’m done, I am thankful (and thrilled!) that I pushed through.

2. CHANGE YOUR LANGUAGE

Instead of focusing on the tougher aspects of the activity…

  • It’s exhausting
  • I’m tired
  • I don’t feel like it
  • I’m already sore

I choose to focus on the positive.  I change those “negative” comments, whether internally or outwardly verbalized, to the reverse…  

  • I’m going to feel great once I get this done
  • I’m great at pushing through even when it feels tough
  • I know I can do it 
  • This is a perfect opportunity to remind myself I can do anything I put my mind to
  • I GOT this!

Positive language goes a very long way, and it acts as a bit of a hand-hold while you are struggling.  

3. FOCUS ON THE GOALS

I regularly remind myself why I do my sports and activities…  

  1. It’s my PASSION 
  2. I love feeling fit and staying in shape
  3. I love feeling strong, particularly since “strong” includes not just the physical, but the strength of my will and spirit, as well as command of my mindset, and my attitude
  4. I love that I don’t get sick and, on the rare occasion that I do, I bounce back quickly
  5. I feel sexier in my skin
  6. I feel proud of what I can achieve, and love that sense of accomplishment
  7. ….

There are so many great reasons to take up activities, and taking a moment to appreciate why I do what I do…even when the going gets tough…helps me to stick to my plan.

So when you are having one of those tougher moments, and struggling to motivate yourself…try the steps above.  They really DO help…I’m walking proof! You will amaze yourself with what you actually CAN do when you put your mind to it, and your feet where you mouth is. 😉

Excuses are like little devilish phrases that try to commandeer our attitude and mindset – don’t allow it!  They only have power over you if you let them!

For more Fit Jazz…

Leg Day Changes

I LOVE leg day(s) – they are definitely the most exhausting workouts of the week, but…I love them.  

I know perfectly well that “no pain, no gain” doesn’t completely hold water but…I’m “one of those”! I like to feel the soreness because it indicates I’ve actually done something worthwhile.  (Zero soreness?  Sorry, I didn’t put the effort in!)

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I generally do HIIT sprints on the treadmill the same mornings I have leg workouts – it is a lot, but I balance it out with days of active rest, or Martial Arts training and less stressful lifting.

My routine can vary but I do have a few favorite “staples” like squats, deadlifts, and leg press – I mix it up so I have both “heavy hitter” exercises, with less heavy-duty supplemental ones.  I also generally add abs in there at the end…

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The other day, though, our Smith Machine broke… It’s funny because I know a lot of fitness gurus who might well have gone to pieces! Can’t do a staple you are used to doing, and suddenly the world ends!  (Do you know the type?!)

Well…it SHOULDN’T.  Changing things up, even if we are forced while the equipment is down, isn’t a bad thing…  (I don’t do free bar squats because I have one reconstructed knee, and one missing an ACL – the Smith offers a security my physiology does well with!)

So my regular squats were out, as were my single leg lunges on the Smith.  End all be all?  

NOPE!

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I supplemented the workout with Goblet Squats (using a kettlebell), extra dumbbell curtsey lunges, and weighted walking lunges (love these!)

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It was a nice change because sometimes by the time I’m done with cardio, I just want to plow through my “regulars.”  The forced change offered me the opportunity to jump to a few other exercises, equally as effective, that kept my body guessing.  

So if change indeed DOES occur, especially the unexpected kind…just embrace it and do something you haven’t done in a while.  Your body will actually appreciate the alteration and give you some lovely gains in return! 🙂 

 

 

Encouragement

The other morning my exercise-induced asthma kicked in – not fun, and not expected.  One of my Gracie Jiu-Jitsu instructors said “how ironic!  Of all the people, the one who is always active has exercise-induced asthma!”  Sigh.  I know!  (Still, how blessed I am to be able to BE active – health is a gift!)

I was fully determined to sprint hard that day, and I was feeling incredibly disheartened…not only about my poor performance and inability, but the fact that I had set my bar so high, and I wasn’t going to get there.  Ugh.  I got to my fifth sprint (I usually aim for 8 to 10), and I had to call it quits.  As I walked to settle myself down, the lady next to me took out her earbuds…

“You’re doing GREAT,” she said with a smile.

My spirit lifted. Immediately. As if rainbows illuminated the room. (And they did!) 😀

“Thank you so much for saying that!” I replied, aware that my displeasure and difficulty was obvious.

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She continued to speak to me, sharing kind words of encouragement, and truly generous compliments.  At that moment, I really needed it!  I love to encourage others, particularly when it comes to exercise – I love to remind them that just being there is a wonderful start and that they should be proud. But at that moment, I was the one really struggling, and this sweetheart of a lady just lit me up! 

I gave up on the rest of the sprints, feeling a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction despite that I could only get about a third of a normal workout in – typically, I’d feel down about it but there she was telling me how hard I work all the time…  

“Wait…I DO,” I thought.  “It’s okay to slow down if I need to…”

Her thoughtfulness was so appreciated, and reminded me that it was okay if I wasn’t 100%.  It was OKAY to rest.  So often we share kind words with others, and advice about allowing ourselves to rest…and we don’t heed the counsel ourselves!  The reminder was needed.

I’m also blessed to have an amazing man in my Life, who supports and encourages me with my sports (and all that I do.)  He is the first person to tell me to take it easy, and it is often the one thing I really need!  He tells me I work hard enough, and it’s okay to be gentle with myself, especially if I’m not tip-top.

I’m so thankful to him, and to my new gym bunny friend…who is always working her tail off too!  What goes around comes around, for sure…and in this case, it was a wonderful thing. ❤