08 September 2014

Everybody Is Different, Every Body Is Different.

The gym missed me yesterday and the day before, but I had to say "Look, gym, I need a couple of rest days.  It's me, not you"

Actually, I missed the gym.  Though after talking to Big D about workouts and meal-planning, I had plenty of time to reflect on some key ideas during my rest.

My fitness journey, very much like my blogging journey, has been two months (give or take) of learning. If there is one piece of knowledge I gained thus far that I could pass on to any of you, I would say "Everybody is different. Every body is different."  It's like a mantra, you must say it often.

Tweet: People who have joined the fitness train are all on their way to their own destinations with all sorts of baggage in tow.People who have embarked on the fitness train are all on their way to different destinations with all sorts of baggage in tow.

Some people face obstacles with their bodies that are apparent to an outsider, while others have internal battles going on. From being overweight, to serious diet modification, to working around diseases like celiac, they all need different things. Different workouts with different intensities. Different diets and different meal plans.

Sometimes I too easily get caught up in comparing my body to the next person's body. The impatient me wants it and I want it now!  (This is where that mantra comes into play.)  I have learned that like most things, building my ideal body will take time, and effort, and dedication. There won't be an overnight express for these baby muscles. Rome wasn't built in a day, as they say.  And I get it now.

These two days of rest have been really good for me. When I can't work out in the gym, I'm busy flexing my mind, researching and applying techniques in the kitchen, and with weight in my hands.

One should never cease to learn, especially with how often change occurs.
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30 August 2014

Why I Do It

Morning starts off at about 5:00.  I wake up ready to get the day started (most mornings).  I round the kids up and drive S to her elementary school around 7:00. We come home and I have a pre-workout meal. Then I pack the rest of A's and L's things and off to the babysitter we go. I make it to the gym at about 11:30, where I stay for roughly an hour before hitting the showers. During my walk to the truck, as I feverishly gulp down my protein shake, I wonder if I worked hard enough.  Can I wholly admit that I left it all at the gym?  Or did I walk out of there with a little bit of umph left in me?

On the way home with A and L, I'm hoping against hope that they will get in some sort of nap before we pick S up from school. It would be nice to have a little bit of me time.

It's lunch time for me at home. More like my second lunch. I break out my tupperware with my meal already prepped. I wolf that down, barely tasting or enjoying it. And then it's time to take care of business, whether it's some homework or cleaning up the house a bit.

Evening has arrived and I know that the day is nearly over.  Dinner is on the table, and everyone is happily eating. I try my best to make myself a well-rounded meal with chicken and veggies. I'm most likely the last person to put fork in mouth. Oh the life of Mom.

Bath time! It's probably around 7:00 at night and everyone is getting bathed and pajama'd up. L has his milk and his beloved Kipper. The girls get about half an hour or so to do something like color or watch one show on Netflix. I make sure S is ready for school the next day.

8:00 rolls around, and the kids are all put in bed. I start packing my gym bag, which is a process.   Can't forget toiletries, hair band with clips, socks... All things I have forgotten in the past. Protein powder is divided and shaker bottle is clean and assembled. Workout gear is set aside. I'm ready!

I want to watch some TV or write a quick blog post, but time does not allow for these luxuries. A little bit of homework will suffice. Once I've met my daily goal for school work, I allow myself some planning time for tomorrow's workout (if I haven't already done so). This prepares me mentally for what is to come. Then it's time for me to catch some Z's as well.

My nightstand is littered with random things to include a shaker bottle and a cup of water that were forgotten in my haste.  My laundry consists of gym clothes.  The only thoughts that comfort me before bed are about what muscle group I am going to tackle tomorrow.  And I'm ready to stretch from one side of the bed to the other, until I succumb to a deep slumber.

This pretty much sums up my week this week. There's a little shifting here and there with classes in between, but this is how it all unfolds.  It sounds busy, doesn't it? It sounds like too much work. Are you tired yet?

So why do I do it?

Tweet: The path is rugged. It's hard. It's exhausting. But I don't want to give up the drive. The path is rugged. It's hard.  It's exhausting.  But I don't want to give up the drive.
I do it because I am reaching towards a goal. Every day I am a little bit closer. I set my mind on something and this is the path I have carved out for myself. There are no short cuts.  I am walking to the beat of my own drum.  I am driven.

This mentality goes for any goal you might have. If you really want something, you will find a way. You will carve your own path. You will walk to your own beat. It may not be pretty and fun and easily traversed, but it's your journey.  Accept the challenge and reach for your goals.

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21 August 2014

Please Don't Judge Me By The Contents Of This Blog!

So long sweet summer.  I must bid you adieu. 

My Fall semester has officially begun, and let me just say that my head is already spinning.  I got a little confused with the start date on classes, and forgot to check my intranet account.   

At least nothing is overdue and I will get my books in enough time.  (Praise the almighty Amazon.com Prime Membership and expedited shipping for inexpensive overnight shipping.)

I went in there, and checked out the assignments.  One of them happens to be to update my profile.  Okay, that one is fairly easy.  I went in and completed my bio part, and I was a little hesitant to write down my blog URL under "Website" but I did it!  Why the hesitation?  Well, I don't openly share my blog to family and friends.  I like to casually let my posts slide underneath all of the other hoopla on social media, like the hotel bill underneath the door the next morning.  You never hear or see it coming.

That, and I decided to major in English Education.  What's that one thing you do the most when you blog?  Oh yeah, you write!  The way I write to all of you is different than how I would write a research paper.  This is done with ease, with every intention of being fun.  I don't follow the same format.  Should I?  I feel like this is my creative outlet where my thoughts can run wildly onto the page through my fingers.  Of course I care about grammar and punctuation, and that my sentences don't run on and on and on.

Maybe I'm thinking too much into it.  I just wouldn't want any of my future classmates to visit me here and think "Wow there is no rhyme or reason to what she is saying."

I can flow, I promise!  I have the ability to construct a decent paragraph, a meaningful thesis, an argumentative essay in MLA format.  Please don't judge me by the contents of this blog!

Ha-ha, it was worth a shot.

Happy English Major-ing to me!
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20 August 2014

I'm Gym-less

There is no questioning or deep thought needed here.  I have accepted a fit lifestyle.  Lately, I've been feeling like I'm in a rut though.  For several reasons.

For starters, I am still not in a gym routinely.  I know, I know.  How so-not-like-me.  I belong in a gym.  If you need to catch up, here is the reason I stopped going

In the past, I tried several of these at-home workout DVDs.  Envy Girls was honestly a pretty good one, which came with 5 discs, each targeting a different group of muscles.  I borrowed Carmen Electra's strip tease from my cousin.  All I learned how to do toss a fedora and look sexy while doing it. (At least I thought so.)  Denise Austen made it into my collection as well, but I cursed every minute I spent with her.  P90X as well. 

These gym-less solutions are alright if I were not easily distracted.  My house life is a distraction.
While I'm waiting in limbo, I found that making up my own workouts in the garage is actually working.  This provides some separation, relieving me of duties for a bit.  (Not gonna lie, it's really hard to ignore the washing machine when it's right there.)  

Tabata works great when I don't have a lot of time, which happens to be my situation on most days.  I also do other high intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts.  Some of them I have found on the Internet.  Others have the privilege of being made up at random.  A mash-up of sorts.  This may sound odd, but Instagram is the best for researching and learning for me, lately.   
I know this all happens in due time and with hard continuous work being put into it.  With that said, the comparison monster is still known to rear it's ugly head every once in a while.  It gets me down when I start looking at other people around me, reading about their gains and personal records.  I see people on Instagram posting about epic workouts in the gym and I sigh.  I'm here like "I can dead lift a 20lb kettlebell."  Womp-womp....Impatience won't get me anywhere any faster.  Need to remember that.

I can't rightfully complain much.  I have a pull-up bar, a few kettlebells of different weight, a single 10lb plate, a medicine ball, some 8lb dumbells, and a couple of 3lbs. (Where did those come from?!)  And my trusty yoga mat.  I'm not truly wanting for anything.  There is a lot that can be done with this randomly purchased equipment.  It just takes a bit of creativity and researching on-line. 

I am still healing from my last pregnancy.  Our #4 really did my body in.  I have tummy muscle troubles, resulting from diastisis recti (separation of muscles) and there are some workouts that can't be done without possibly furthering the damage.  I happen to love ab workouts too.

Instead, I have been doing my special exercises to strengthen my transverse abdominals and I really think it's working!  It will take time, especially since I was not doing these 6 weeks or so after #4.  There's more to this story, but another time.  Ask your doc about when you can start these.

The next best thing I can possibly do for myself is eat properly, which is the one thing I am actually quite proud of.  (Have you seen me on Instagram?!)  It's not as challenging as I thought it would be, cutting out a lot of terribly delicious carbs (like cookies, doughnuts, cupcakes, homemade bread, etc).  I also cut out boxed and packaged foods, and eat as close to fresh as possible.  Increasing my protein intake wasn't hard either; I accepted the chicken life with ease.  

Buying protein is the next step, which to me is so hard!  It's like standing in the oil aisle at an automotive shop.  They all pretty much do the same thing, right?  I am in the middle of a trial can, and it seems to be going down alright.  Some of them taste horrible and I can't help but gag.

Ugh.  A challenge for another day.

What are some challenges you face on your path to fitness?

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18 August 2014

Tray Jolie! Washi Tape & Mod Podge Makeover

I love it when I'm asked to do something crafty for someone.  It really gets me going, thinking "Wow, they really think I have talent!"


I told my best friend that I would fix up her plain wooden tray.  I was originally going to give this to her with some paint sprayed on it but, in the heat of the crafting hour, this washi tape/Mod Podge idea completely took over.  The usual manner of business, no big deal.

I was able to present this tray to her when we celebrated her graduation together, a few months ago.  The tray was used as surprising decor in basket.  I think she loved it!


What you need
Wooden tray (I believe this one is from Michaels)
Fun print-out (This is from the Graphics Fairy)
Spray paint
Mod Podge
Self-healing board
Small paint brush
Exacto knife
Emory board

And of course your camera! :-D

After you have spray painted your tray with a few coats (drying between each) you want to cut your print-out to fit the inside of the tray.  I don't know what the exact science is for doing this, but I started off by placing my print-out on the underside of the tray.  I made creases where the edges were, cut them off, and continued to cut down some of the edges until it was a perfect fit for the lining of the tray.

Now for the Mod Podge.

Mod Podge can be a little tricky, because you want to aim for the in between.  It can't be too small of an amount or it will dry too quickly.  But it also can't be too much, because it will be a mess, probably causing your paper to bubble up.  These were mistakes I've made in the past, and I'm still attempting to finesse my skills in this department.

I applied Mod-Podge in sections of three.  I painted the Mod Podge on the top of the paper width-wise.  Then attached the paper really well, smoothing it down.  Next, I did the middle in the same manner and then the bottom.  I worked the long way so my sections were shorter, using a rolling action.  To me, this is much easier than applying the Mod Podge all at once and attempting to place the paper down perfectly.  The Mod Podge may end up drying before you set it down.  Again, this has been my experience.  (Yes I learn a lot through trial-and-error.)
Allow the paper to dry, then apply Mod Podge on top to protect the paper.  I'm sure you could also use the Mod Podge sealant in a spray can, or maybe a shellac, especially if it will see a lot of action with keys and other sharp items.
And now for the fun part!

Have I ever mentioned that this was my first time using Mod Podge with washi tape?  I have yet to post about the wooden frame that I used washi tape to decorate, but I did not use Mod Podge.  Big mistake.  Washi tape, I learned, is not as sticky as your normal tape.  So you need to use an adhesive.

Anyway, I applied Mod Podge in sections again.  Top, middle, bottom.  In between applications, I pulled out more than enough washi tape to cover the area, and placed it on the surface where I just applied Mod Podge.  I left it to dry and worked my way around.

Once it's dry, take your Exacto knife and carefully cut off the excess washi tape.

Using an emory board, go around the edges and sand down the rough cut areas.  If you're a pro with your Exacto knife, then you don't have to worry about this step. :-)  Obviously, I cut it too quickly.
And, I could use a little finesse here too.

I will admit, I had the goofiest grin on my face when I got to this part.  The washi tape part was a success and actually fun.  I'm a nerd about Mod Podge.
It just had to be perfect. :-)

Here she is!  My bestie has her Bachelor's Degree!  I'm so very proud of her!
I took pictures as she went through her basket of goodies.  (Hmm, that goofy face on her crafty card looks familiar.) 

Maybe by the time I graduate, she will learn how to use Mod Podge too.  She needn't worry, she has a few years to practice.  ;-)

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13 August 2014

Modified Burpees Workout

If someone were to ask "Who loves burpees?" you would not see me raise my hand.

I do not like burpees.  Everyone has that one workout (or several) that they really dislike.  They cringe at the thought of doing it when it's the day to put in some work.

For me, it would be burpees.  I'm sitting here sore from my shoulders down to my feet.  This workout nearly wiped me out yesterday.  I felt great afterwards, but the soreness hit me this morning when I did a sad roll out of bed.  I mean really.  It was sad. 
Modified Burpees

My history with burpees goes something like this:
  • I do a burpee. 
  • I curse under my breath about how much I loathe them.
And that's pretty much how the entire set and all the rounds go.

When I went into this workout, my attitude was not a good one.  The monster of uncertainty was nagging at me, saying "I'm not sure if we can do this."  So of course, being my own worst enemy, I said "Alright, I will only do 5 rounds."

What a terrible attitude.  Am I right?

I told myself "If I can't do this home workout today, what does that say about me a few weeks later when I'm in a gym again with weights?"  I had to prove to my monster of uncertainty (like that?  I borrowed it from a new friend on Instagram) that I was going to do this in its entirety.  Listening to that negative voice in my head was not going to do me any good. 

It did me no good in the past.  It won't do any good today.  And definitely not tomorrow.

If I want to conquer anything on this journey, I have to start from within.  And that's what I did.  And that is how I finished.

Modified Burpee
2 Push-ups
4 Knee-to-elbows
4 low hop squats

Do 10.  Then take a small break.  Then do 9, break, 8, break, et cetera.

Watch the video!  Follow @fitgirlvideos for inspiration!

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12 August 2014

A Duffle Bag, Cooler, And An Open Road

Road trips.  They make it look so easy in the movies.

Just you and your suitcase.

Or in my case a duffle bag, a bag of heels in their boxes, 3 outfits on hangers, a first aid/safety kit, and road munchies. The healthy kind of course.

It was just me.

And my things.

But I promise I needed every single piece that was packed. 

Before I could begin to load the truck, I needed to:
Clean out a battery hold on my roadside flashlight
Re-stock my first aid kit
Look for a Rand Mcnally but my husband assured me Google maps would prevail.
Plan my meals (around chicken I cooked that day)
Borrow a small cooler
Remove and transfer all car seats to my mom's vehicle.

The upholstery underneath looked brand new, what with the seats and towels and kid things gone. Had to take advantage of the opportunity, relish this temporary look, and give the seat a good dusting off. 

 My trip down started out as an exciting one-woman adventure.  There I was, riding solo, wind whipping stray hair from beneath my 'Bama hat, music up as loud as I've never had it before...it was great!  I even had uninterrupted phone calls while using my Blue Tooth in the truck. 

Everything was awesome! 

4 hours into the drive later.......

I'm bored!

Are there any other interesting channels on Sirius XM?

I think I'm getting hungry.

Pretty sure I need gas.

I think I need to stretch.

I wonder how the kids are doing?

Desperation was the cause for all of my stops.  I ended up taking breaks purely out of boredom.  And with all the water I drank of course the bathroom was calling.  Stretching felt so good, for my sore muscles.  And people-watching.  That's always fun and interesting.

I drank lots of water.  Stuck to eating my chicken.  Snacked on protein bars.  No need for fast food.  It was a first, traveling while sticking to my cleaner-eating diet.  I think went pretty well. 

The drive home went pretty much the same way, but with less pictures.  There's something about heading back home that makes me lose interest in smelling the roses along the way.  I just want to get there.

I went shopping and bought pre-cooked chicken, fruits, some milk, and water.  Had the radio on.  Windows down.  Though this time the sun wouldn't give me that weird tan on my legs, as I headed north with the sun on my right. 

Being on the road all the time, I honestly don't know how truck drivers do it.  It would be way more fun with a partner.  The conversations would be balanced, instead of my one-sided stream of expletives towards other drivers. 

And, there would be more pictures....

This is where my friend took me, after arriving in Clearwater.  Beautiful, isn't it?  
Gorgeous sunset from Clearwater, FloridaCan't believe I used my cell phone and it came out this good.

I am thankful for the experience of once again riding solo.  Hadn't driven alone for that long, in a while.  It wasn't as easy as I had remembered, but I'm not complaining.  I found the peacefulness I needed on that drive down.  If you can imagine what a drive would be like with the entire family, then you know I deserved it.  :-)
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