Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Channel Your Inner Athlete

I see my personal trainer every week. When I first started seeing her, I am slightly embarrassed to think of how often the words "I can't..." came out of my mouth, not to mention tears and frustrated strings of profanity that would make a marine blush. I was frustrated with my injuries, my slow weight loss, you name it. I was focused on the negative and couldn't shake it. My lowest point was when I walked out of a TRX class halfway through because I was so pissed off that I couldn't do what the rest of the class was doing. Soon after that, I decided I was done with the self-pity and negative self talk. I'm an ATHLETE, for frig's sake, I told myself. I ran a marathon in 2005, when my two oldest daughters were 1 and 3.   I completed a triathlon after singing the national anthem for the event (see photo). I ran a half marathon less than nine months after my son was born, despite the fact that I still had over 50 pounds left to lose to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight. Whether I'm kickboxing, running, or lifting weights, I can channel my inner athlete - my own Sasha Fierce (though she's more like Gabby Reece in my head) - and kill it in the gym. I don't care WHAT the devil scale says.

Today, when I got to my trainer's house, everything looked wrong. The garage door was closed, which it never is. Her car was nowhere to be found. I wondered briefly if I had the day wrong before realizing I was parked in front of the wrong house. I felt like a douchebag for a minute, then shook it off (or so I thought). When I finally got to the right house, my trainer had a circuit of exercises for me to complete for 50 seconds each, with squat jacks in between. The first exercise was called "Get Ups," and you're supposed to squat down and sit on a bosu ball (that sort of half exercise ball thing that's flat on the bottom that trainers seem to like to use to make already near impossible exercises like push ups and planks virtually impossible), then stand up from sitting and do a quick jump. I couldn't do it. I just couldn't do it. My trainer was so sweet about it, and just went on to the next exercise, Ball Rolls. You put your feet on an exercise ball, lift your butt up so you're in a bridge position and then lift it up higher and pull your feet in and then back out. I personally think the bigger your ass, the harder this exercise is to do, but then, I guess that's the point. You feel this one in your hamstrings, glutes - whoa mama.  I couldn't do it. I just couldn't do it. Then, when we went back up to squat jacks I realized I had somewhere along the way slipped into my preteen picked-last-for-the-team persona where everyone could run the 600 meter and I was walking by myself (or with one of my equally non-athletic friends) around the field as the gym teacher surreptitiously checked her watch and reminded me that I still had to make sure I had time to change out of my gym clothes before next period.

Just then, I literally shouted (out loud) "SNAP OUT OF IT!" Of course, then my trainer just chuckled to herself, maybe nervously wondering if I was actually going bananas in her garage and if any one would hear her scream. (Not really - her husband is a bad ass cop who completely adores her and would probably have Special Forces all over the house if I so much as stepped on her toe by accident...) Better safe than sorry, I explained about my new Gabbi-Reece-esque persona and how she had just left the building this morning, without a permission slip. I needed her, and I needed her fast. Maybe only for this 45-minute session, but I would be damned if I would go through the rest of that training session as the girl whose wrap-around skirt fell down during basketball drills in the 6th grade. I was going to snap to attention and give it my all. 

To achieve my goals, I need to be present and accounted for at all times.

Right then, I did exactly that - I snapped to full attention and you know what? That bosu ball was my BITCH.  I rocked those Get Ups and the Ball Rolls right after, like it was nothing. (Although my hamstrings and ass muscles beg to differ, given how sore they are...) I felt so much better as I left and even now as I remember.
So, I offer that to you today as a word of strength and encouragement. Whether you're running on empty and still have to cook dinner and get the kids to bed, whether you're facing an intimidating coworker who's undermining all your efforts at work, or whether you're training for a distance run and trying to find the courage to lace up your sneakers and take those first few steps, find your inner athlete and let her take over. Flex your muscles, stand up tall and GET IT DONE. Nothing can stand in your way.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Just eat a meal already...

My day started off great, but way too early. I have been in a TRX challenge at my gym that has me getting to the gym at 5:50 AM every Tuesday and Friday. This is about 3 times earlier than I usually workout. I'm up for it - three more weeks, so I'm gonna have to be. (Or is it four?)

Anywho...if I didn't believe how important sleep is to the weight loss journey, I believe it now. Not only does it dull the intensity of your workout, it also makes you more susceptible to making poor food choices. Case in point - after a fairly healthy breakfast, I proceeded to have chocolate for lunch. I came home from an afternoon meeting STARVING (oh wait - maybe I had a healthy salad at lunch...good veggies but more calories than I thought I had today) and then had protein pancakes followed by pretzel nuggets for dinner.

In the end, it's more important to have healthy meals, even if you have more calories, than to eat crappy snacks all day. The good news is I was able to stop eating after the pretzel nuggets and keep a handle on things. In years past, I would have just said "screw it..." and ended up eating thousands of calories over my goal and gaining back some of the pounds I worked so hard to lose. Not this time. I'm staying the course and I will have the beautiful, fit, toned size 8 body of my dreams.