Friday, December 31, 2010

Elevated Push-up

Some of you folks were around as I was struggling with every ounce of my being to master the push-up. For a very long time, it was my arch nemesis. As a matter of fact, my struggle with the push-up and how it has finally turned out is what allows me to continue to have hope that some day I will master the pull-up and the pistol. Last week on a whim I tried an elevated push-up...and was able to do several! So this week I thought I'd share a video.
The hubby, the girls, and I made a cold, snowy trip to Tennessee last week to see the family. I did well keeping up with the workouts and fairly well sticking to sound nutritional practices. I could have eaten less salt and more veggies, but I'll take it as it was. Before I left I snapped a pic of me with Mom and Dad and then one with me and the younger of my two brothers. They're fairly poor quality, but they're fun, so I thought I'd share. And of course, I have to throw one in of the girls and the hubby.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Fasting

In phase 5 of Lean Eating, eat Thursday's lesson has been a dietary one--"no added fat day," "no added sugar day," etc. This weeks assignment was a fasting day. Being on night shift, my Thursday assignment falls Thursday night to Friday morning, and I did my fasting day on schedule for once. I debated whether or not I should do it with my history of anorexia. Since it was over 18 years ago that I went through that and came out fine on the other side, I decided to go ahead with it. Gotta love what I came into yesterday.Honestly, I knew from the beginning this lesson would be no problem for me--even after seeing those desserts. As an "all-or-nothing" kind of girl, the absolute nature of it was good for me. What I didn't expect was the feelings of satisfaction I got knowing I wasn't going to eat. Some part of me began to gravitate back to those days of anorexia and the precise control over intake I had back then. That feeling, one that I really can't even describe, was one that until yesterday was tucked way back in some obscure nook of my brain, one that I hadn't felt for years, and feeling it come back , even a little bit, was bizarre. Pathology is pathology, I suppose, and never truly 100% gone.On a different note, I was only a hungry a few times, and the feeling passed quickly with only a few minutes of grumpiness associated. Understanding and internalizing that temporary nature of hunger was another valuable lesson for the day.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

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Monday, December 13, 2010

College Roomie & CME




I went to a continuing education conference this weekend on Amelia Island a couple of hours away. At times, I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone. I was in a room full of hundreds of other doctors, and I was one of a select few of them who was actually a healthy weight and who was active and fit. It was tragic. Equally tragic was the almost total focus on pharmaceutical interventions as opposed to lifestyle modification and assumption of personal responsibility. We had multiple lectures on diabetes with only one that mentioned lifestyle modification for prevention and reversal. We had a lecture on ADHD that didn't even ONCE mention management with proper nutrition and avoidance of certain food additives. It was truly dismal in many ways. I did include a couple of pics from the syllabus on the one good lecture addressing lifestyle modifications for diabetes treatment. That one lecture was quite refreshing.
I kept my workouts up while I was gone despite having forgotten any suitable shoes for the job. I had one pair of dress flats and a pair of ankle boots with heels and that was it! Soooo...I worked out in my socks in the fitness room. To use the elliptical, I had to put towels in the footwell for cushioning. Some other folks started trickling in as i was finishing up. I'm pretty sure they thought I'd lots my marbles. I had to get my workout it though!
My nutrition was good but not perfect. I had one completely non-compliant meal while visiting with my friend but otherwise did well since I packed a bunch of stuff to take with me. The food at the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island was amazing, like they had a garden out back where they just walked out and picked everything and grabbed a chicken just for that one meal. I don't know how they did it, but man, did they ever!
Before I went last week, I did a little shopping, and for the first time in years didn't hate every second of it. I needed to get a top to wear to a wedding that I'm doing the photography for on New Year's Day, so I went to White House Black Market where I thought I'd be most likely to come across something and where I knew they were having quite a sale. I discovered while I was shopping that I am a remedial shopper. I must be led around by my nose to accomplish anything. Left to myself, I never find anything. Nothing, I tell you! Fortunately, the manager at the store grabbed a ton of stuff and threw me in a dressing room. I came out with a ton of stuff and wore lots of it this weekend. You see two of the outfits below.The gal you see with me is my college roommate, one of my best friends in the world. I had not seen her for six years before this weekend. We spent hours catching up, and I enjoyed every moment of her company. I miss having her as a daily part of my life.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Promises, Promises

Measurement day when I got up this afternoon... While it wasn't great, it certainly could have been a whole lot worse. I was up a pound from last week but if I had to bet, I'd say that's mostly a result of the mound of salt I've eaten the last few days. My measurements showed a slight increase through the waist and hips, again what I suspect fell victim to the salt intake. That I think I'm about to start a cycle doesn't help that any. I'm just feeling "doughy" right now. At least I'm hoping all these symptoms are hormonal. Otherwise I'm just losing my frikkin' mind. I've teared up about a hundred times tonight, and a Humane Society commercial started a sob-fest.

So now the holiday trip is over, and I'm more in my usual routine. The last week of less-than-nutritional-perfection is over. I'm not happy with the minor setback. I'm even less happy that a week of potential progress has been wasted.A new week full of potential is at hand and I am determined not to waste this one. Consequently, I have made some promises to myself and a couple of my buddies.

1. NO added salt after something is cooked (and only minimal before cooking)...This includes NO salted nuts and NO jerkey that I didn't make myself with limited sodium products. Whew, this one is a hard one for me! I like my salt.
2. Fruit and dairy products only on every 4th day. I wasn't able to stick to this recommendation from Krista last week, so I'm going to really focus on it now. GOTTA remember that with regard to cheeses. For whatever reason, remembering not to eat cheese is the hard one for me.
3. 90% or greater PN compliance or greater!

....Hella results to post this time next week!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

New "Toy"

For today's EEW workout, I got to take advantage of the half mile trail the dh had pushed through the woods while I was gone to TN. (Our neighbor has a Bobcat and gives us a great deal on work done with it.) It's about 4 feet wide and winds a path through the woods, starting at the front right side of the yard and ending in the back left side of the yard. Before he had this done, I was just running the perimeter of the 10 acre property. This is so much more interesting and fun! Luna loves it, too. During dinner last night, we were talking about placing workout stations along it at intervals. I know I want another pullup bar along it somewhere, but I'll have to think about what others I want... Any suggestions?

I have found myself with some pretty serious cravings the last couple of days. I'm not sure what that's all about, but I've ended up eating a bit too much salt (on nuts and beef jerkey) as a compensation. I guess we'll see what that does to the weigh in later today. Overall, I've felt pretty out of sync this week. Not sure if it's a result of the travel or if it's just a general "funk." Hopefully it'll be short-lived, though.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Back from Home

Finally back to the land of internet service...and back to work. I had a great visit with the family for Thanksgiving, but I'm glad to be home and in my routine again. Mom mentioned that I looked smaller, but no one else seemed to notice, and I hadn't mentioned to anyone up there that I was doing the program. I didn't meet my goal of 100% compliance, but I would say I did stay around 85% compliant, which for me is a big step during visits to the family. I don't think my weight went up this week which just might be a first for no weight gain while gone on a trip. LOL. I even gained weight when I went to the frikkin' RKC, the most physically demanding 4 days of my life. Oh well, we'll see what Saturday shows. It's all behind me now. I did get in my workouts, just shuffled them a little bit, and I have to say I have the utmost respect for you guys who have to go to a gym. That really is a totally different atmosphere. Some things about it help you push a little harder, but I'm not fond of people watching me while I work...or of sharing for that matter. I got to hang out with my godchildren for a little while while I was home. Here is the only pic I took or had taken of me all weekend which as to be some sort of record for this shutterbug.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

I love Thanksgiving. It's one of my favorite holidays, a day of celebrating and acknowledging the good and wonderful in life. And I have an infinite number of things for which to be thankful. Maia said it best today as she mentioned how grateful she is for our group of ladies here. You all make my life better, and for that I am quite thankful.

As usual, I had to work tonight. I almost always work Thanksgiving night and often work the whole weekend. Missing holiday dinners is old hat for me, and by default for my husband since he often won't go to group get-togethers without me. This year I was almost a little pleased not to be tempted, but when some friends of ours invited us to share a place at their family table this evening, we just couldn't turn it down. They are our "family away from family" here in Florida, and sharing the afternoon with them seemed appropriate. While I had already planned not to do the "sugar-free" day until tomorrow (Friday), I hadn't planned a splurge. My planned splurge was for Saturday, when I'll fly home to TN and share a meal with my wonderful family. Life, and living, is about flexibility, so I decided to go ahead and make a splurge out of it but to do it sensibly. "Sensibly," for me, has historically been a nightmare. I am an "all or nothing" kind of gal. One bite often sends me over the edge until bedtime and a fresh, new start the next day. I did it tonight, though. I ate small bits--1/4c or so--of each dish, maybe 1/2 c of my favorite. And the slice of pie I had for dessert was half the size of my first piece of pie that I usually have. No seconds. All post-workout. My friend even insisted I bring the pie to work with me since she had three more that she had fixed, and I haven't continued to nibble at it or have another piece. It has beckoned to me; I have been tempted. But I haven't touched it. I have resisted. This, for me, is huge.
I will still splurge for dinner Saturday night but do so more sensibly than usual, and I'll be able to manage "sensible" again, no problem.

For the last couple of weeks I have been pondering my splurges. I usually do a splurge meal once a week, part of my routine of maintaining sanity. Otherwise everything stays PN compliant. I know, though, that to finish strong I need to tighten up the nutrition some, so I'm going to decrease the frequency of those splurges. I can't decide exactly when and where I'll place them, but they are going to be limited to get-togethers with friends and family instead of my usual splurge piled up on the couch with the girls--and no more all-out glutinous debauchery.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The End of Lean Eating Phase 4/Month 4

As we approach the end of Phase 4, they ask us to reflect, and find 2 ways that our mindset and our habits have improved in the last 4 weeks (as they do at the end of each phase).

Before I even get there, I find myself flabbergasted that we are 2/3's of the way through this program. Johanna mentioned in her log the impact of fully internalizing the knowledge that our pictures are 2 short months away, and I sympathize with her. TWO MONTHS! OMG! It just doesn't seem like enough time to be where I want to be when I dump a chunk of money into some pictures. They will serve their purposes, however. One, I will have pictures for the end of the program. Two, I'll have a Valentine's Day picture for the hubby, and while I might like it better if I were all buff and defined in those pictures, he loves me and finds me beautiful as is, so he'll love them regardless. But, really, two months?!

And I'll not even begin to get into the sense of loss I already feel not having the daily lessons and the online connection with "my girls." I really hope the alumni program is all that I want it to be.

About two of the ways my mindset has improved...I find myself obsessing less about the details of everything and just doing what needs to be done. Mentally, the habits are just that. They are automatic, so much so that I had to delay the "Low Fat Day" assignment because I took my fish oil before I thought about it. Another thing I have noticed is that I find myself less "food motivated," to borrow a term our vet uses to describe Luna. I look forward to and enjoy my treat meals, but I do not obsess over them. I definitely feel much more in control of what I choose to eat and when.

My improvements in my habits really overlap my mindset improvements quite a bit. I consider the rote nature of practicing the habits one of my best improvements. My other habit improvement has been to truly begin to internalize the eating only until 80% full. I no longer feel disappointed with this. I do occasionally have difficulty finding balance with getting my veggies and protein in without becoming too full, but most often I do ok.

I feel myself settling into this as a permanent change. Occasionally that concept--of its being the way I will live from here on out--begins to stifle me a little, to give me a small sense of panic. Then I begin to think rationally about it, about having lived this program for the last four months, about its being a choice that I make with each meal, one that I can continue to make, or not continue to make. But I am internalizing it as a part of how I function. I have done this before with nutritional habits and "fallen off the wagon" as life stressors hit. I think, though, that with age has come a wisdom that will allow me to resist that. At least I hope it will.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

From My Lean Eating Log...

Wow, almost a week since I posted an update! Jeez, time really flies. I worked three of the nights then headed north to do a photoshoot for a friend's daughter. I did my measurement and weigh-in on Saturday before I left and had actually been looking forward to it because I was certain I was going to have favorable results. When I stood on the scale and saw that it had not budged, my heart sank like a stone. I just KNEW it was going to have gone down at least a couple of pounds. Ugh. I was nervous going into the measurements. I just couldn't face another week of miniscule change. I needed affirmation of what I had been feeling all week. Fortunately, I got it. I was down in girth several different places. Thank goodness. I'm so glad we measure progress multiple ways.

I completed our "Fit Friends" assignment today. Only my buddy and his wife were able to play, but we had a good time. We did a six station circuit. Thirty seconds at each station, 10 seconds to change stations, rest 30 seconds after the sixth station. Repeat for a total of 10 circuits: Swings, Burpees, Ropes, Farmer's walk, Sandbag cleans, Jumps onto a plyo box.
I had someone take a pic when we were done. Although I taught them to be able to swing properly, I failed to show them how to clean the kettlebell properly. So, the picture isn't the best. And I'm a total goober, also reflected in pic.
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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Positive Attributes.

This week has been a hard one for me with lots of soul searching on many levels. I was ridiculously sick this time last week, and thanks to life lessons and having a job that keeps me from having to formally go to the doc when I'm sick, I figured out on Tuesday that it was an early pneumonia. As badly as that sucks, I jumped on it full force with antibiotics, and I feel infinitely better this Sunday.
I missed a couple of workouts, and definitely let the nutrition slip a bit. Yesterday's intake was just plain ugly. That's the first time in over 3 months, though, and the binge was no where near as out of control as it would have been in the past, so I'll take it. Another difference is that I'm back on my game today. In times past, a day like yesterday would have sent me into days if not weeks of poor intake, of giving up.

Some of my frustrations this week stemmed from my wardrobe. The weather took a cool turn this week, and I dragged out some jeans from last year. I was anticipating their fitting better than they did last year, but they didn't. They fit about the same. This sent me into a tizzy. For a couple of days I was wondering why I'm even bothering with all this. I'm doing it to feel better about myself, to be able to do a pull up, to look like I'm as fit and strong as I know I am, to be a better example. So I think today I have my head out of my ass and screwed on straight again.

It seems like it's been a tough week for a lot of folks in the LE program. Maybe we're just reaching one of those times in the program where human nature is to begin to question things, and when life's stressors begin to overwhelm our initial resolve. On one log, there has been a conversation about how hard it is for women to acknowledge their positive attributes. I believe that we can overcome this difficulty if we put some effort into it and suggested that we spend a little time on our logs doing just that. I promised to start the trend with 5 of my positive attributes:
1.I am smart, with the precious gift my husband has given me to be able to think "outside the box".
2.I am tenacious.
3.I think I am good at making people feel cared for.
4.I am flexible, both physically and mentally. If one thing doesn't work out, I'm quick to move along to the next option without letting the change in direction throw me.
5.I communicate well.

For me, it's even harder to think of positive physical attributes, so I think I need to do an additional exercise. I think I need to think about those.
1. I love my hands. They are strong. My fingers are nimble. The palms are calloused, a testimony to the hours of work they do each week.
2. I like my neck. It is long and slender.
3. I have big eyes that I can really dress up with a little fun eye shadow.
4. I have fairly strong legs.
5. I have interesting teeth--just crooked enough.

People are starting to notice that I've lost weight. I've had two remarks from friends in as many days.

Friday, November 5, 2010

On the Mend

As much as I try not to take them, antibiotics are a wondrous thing. I am feeling infinitely better, thank goodness.
I was able to get that upper body workout in today--albeit minus any extra cardio. I even did it with the same weights I used last week and didn't have to decrease them. It did stimulate a hefty cough reflex, but not so bad as to be prohibitive,and it calmed down after the first 15 minutes or so.
I've had to make myself eat the last several days. Being sick has hammered my appetite, but I've stayed compliant.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Again!

I have often wondered about how my resolve wanes in times of illness or stress or duress otherwise unclassified. A trainer and friend of mine once shared some wisdom about that with me that made a lot of sense. He described it as a glass of energy that started out full, but it is all we have for any particular time period. The more we have going on, the more that energy gets drained into various directions. As simple as this is, it made a lot of sense to me and had never occurred to me before.

I have been quite sick the last few days, sleeping more than I have been awake, dragging around like the undead, living off of ibuprofen, vitamin C and zinc. My symptoms have been fairly nonspecific, just fever and lots of aches and pains, and a migraine most of the time--with the occasional cough. As I started to think about it, I began to realize it was the same way I felt last year when I ended up in the hospital because I'd been ignoring a pneumonia for 10 days. Sooo, tonight at work we snapped a couple of quick x-rays, and sure enough, there was one sitting in there. That's the bad news. Good news? Antibiotics should make it go away fairly quickly, and I got those started tonight.Needless to say, I haven't had a lot of surplus energy to put in my workouts. I did do the whole body workout yesterday, but I didn't do any cardio after like I've been doing. I did the lower body workout today, but I did decrease the weights some to get through it. Again, no cardio. Tomorrow is supposed to be EEW. In the beginning, they told us EEW could be any of a number of things, including rest days if that's what our bodies need, so tomorrow will be a rest day for me. Hopefully, I'll be feeling well enough to hit some kind of workout on Thursday.I had a splurge meal on Sunday, but otherwise I've kept compliant despite a seriously jacked-up appetite. I'm having to make myself eat because nothing sounds good at all.Ahh, the bumps in the road!

OH! I ALMOST FORGOT! Biggest week ever last week--2.5# down!
__________________

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Relinquishing

I have been reciting my mantra like a woman crazed. It hasn't left my mind for more than an hour at a time. Each time a negative thought pops into my head, immediately I think, "I am getting lighter and leaner every day." I try to internalize it, to feel it, to visualize myself leaner and taking up less space. Part of my heart feels empty and sad as I do this, as if I am the disillusioned Margaret chanting "I must, I must, I must increase my bust," while doing my chest exercises. (Did anyone else read this book as a young girl?) But then I try to combat that emptiness with hope. I am still not weighing daily as a way to combat the negativity if there is no daily change, or worse, if there are intermittent gains.

I find myself better embracing the changes I am undergoing as we go along. I've not ever been too fond of grocery shopping, but I kind of like looking for new healthy challenges to add to my repertoire. And, I have to admit, I puff up a little bit as I push my healthy cart through the store. The workouts, well, I love to workout, so that is good, as always. Weight used for each movement is increasing over the weeks, which is good. I have stopped stressing over someone else having control over their direction and instead embraced their knowledge and wisdom.

I suppose, in a nutshell, I am embracing the changes in habits and finally relaxing a little and hoping the visual changes will come. The little green monster does occasionally creep into my world, though, as I read about others who have had these wonderful losses. I want what they have--progress. But each person's progress is her own.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

RKC Orlando

Back from a great weekend! Being around other fitness-minded people is so nice for a while--especially when they are fitness minded but not full of themselves but instead all about teaching others the way of fitness. This RKC in Orlando was held at ESPN's Wide World of Sports Complex where they took great care of us. Fortunately they had a huge tent under which we were able to do the majority of the things we did. We had a great group not only of Team Leaders and Assistants but also of candidates. I had the honor of having Brett Jones be my team leader and Ryan Blackburn and Antonia Cordova be my fellow assistants.
I was able to get all my workouts in despite being out of pocket for a few days. I also got in all my veggies even though I wasn't able to eat exactly every 3-4 hours. I did get in 4-5 feedings per day; they just weren't spaced exactly right.
Here are some shots from the weekend. I have to admit. I am a bit disappointed with how I look, but I keep repeating my mantra, "I am lighter and leaner every day." I did this a lot this weekend as I frequently had feelings of inadequacy looking around at all the athletic beautiful women. And I am truly lighter and leaner. I had a 2 pound weight loss when I weighed in this week.
Oh! I almost forgot to mention my new acquisitions from the weekend: another 20kg bell AND 2 24 kg kettlebells, my heaviest yet.
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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Thanksgiving--Not the Holiday

Today on one of the Lean Eating logs one of the coaches posted a little piece of wisdom that really hit home with me.

"How would you like to work really really hard and have someone crap on you? It sucks, right? Now imagine your body as that person who toils away thanklessly, day after day. It loves you and wants you to survive. Spend a few minutes with it and say thanks."--Krista Scott-Dixon

I try to be particularly vocal of my gratitude toward the people in my life. In general, I feel like voicing one's gratitude is not only the right thing to do, but I think it is good for the souls of both parties. Recognizing another's contribution to one's life increases one's appreciation of it, and in turn makes the other person feel appreciated. So, I try very hard to be grateful and to show that I am grateful. That I would be such a horrible ingrate to myself is not only ironic but tragic, but I am. I see little more than disappointment when I look in the mirror. I am over-analytical and harsh. I can look in the mirror and be thankful for my dear hubby who loves me regardless. And more often than not, when I see that reflection and am disappointed in it, my next immediate thought is of how fortunate I am to have a husband who sees me with love-blurred vision. Reading Krista's words, however, started my day off differently today.

Today, I spent the day trying to be thankful--of myself. I am always, each and every moment, thankful to the point of tears for my life in general. I am quite literally the most fortunate/blessed woman on the planet. I am, not, however, very thankful for my body in the way that I should be. I look at and focus on its faults and disappointments. How wrong of me! Look at what my body can do...what it does for me! It allows me to live an independent, mobile, active life. I do not struggle to complete simple daily tasks. I am flexible and strong. I can roll around on the ground and take pictures or pull a patient up in bed by myself. This past spring I taught my nieces how to turn cartwheels. I am not limited in what I want to do by any physical weaknesses. I am 37-years-old, and I don't even think about my age being a crutch. Patients I see and people I work with practically have themselves in the grave by the time they're 35! How inconsiderate of me to think so poorly of this body that does so well by me! I would be so pissed if anyone talked to a friend the way that I talk to my body. So it changes. From here on out, my body is my bestest friend.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Scrumptious

Today is my first night back to work for a four day stretch, after a glorious 3 days off. I slept well today then got up for a great workout. I'm "greasing the groove" a little bit with turkish get-ups for my RKC retest next week, so I did a few of those. Then I got to the meat of the workout with swings, snatches, and burpees. Felt good.Yesterday's upper body workout was solid as well. I pushed my weights up on a few of the exercises as compared to last week. I've decided that I need to err on the side of heavier at first because I surprise myself with what I am able to do. Once I pick the weight up, I'm much more apt to go on with it. I can always back down if needed to hit the reps on the next round.Today is day two of keeping a detailed food journal for Krista. I'll turn three days of that in day-after-tomorrow for evaluation and hopefully some ass-kicking recommendations. I've been eating well today,but for some reason I have stayed hungry all day. Stayed on track, though

!!!
I almost forgot to mention the highlight of my night!When I got to work tonight, one of my friends who is fit and gorgeous (can I just tell you she is 6 feet of blonde, volleyball-playing gorgeous) told me my "ass looks scrumptious in those pants." I had to ask her if she was making fun of my pants because I was afraid they were too tight. But after she assured me she wasn't, I was SO tickled!.............my husband didn't happen to notice as I left......

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Weigh in yesterday was no fun. I was up half a pound, which is my second week of increasing weight instead of decreasing. My measurements were pretty much the same, though my chest measurement was a half inch smaller.
The Thursday before we started this adventure, I weighed 170.5#. The hubby and I went to a friend's wedding that weekend. I did the photography for it and splurged a bit at the reception. When I got home, I weighed 174.5#, and that is where I started the program. Now, 9 weeks in, I find myself still above the weight with which I went into that weekend--with negligible changes in my measurements. A couple of weeks ago I was finding it fairly easy to maintain a positive attitude. That, however, has become increasingly more difficult which ends up stressing me more because I know it is counterproductive. So I decided this morning when I weighed in that I wouldn't weigh in anymore until Saturday when it is scheduled for the program. What I've been doing obviously isn't working, so I will start with this simple step.
At the risk of TMI, it's now been 2 months since my last period. My headaches, too, have become much more frequent, and I'm finding myself taking ibuprofen and/or Imitrex what seems like four or five days a week (maybe I should track this better) and other times just suffering through to see if they'll go away on their on. I have thought a lot about this over the last week, and finally last night realized something.
My last period was the first of August. Shortly thereafter my parents' began have some problems with their already failing health. I spent all of my days off in August in TN as a result. Problems continued in September but began to smooth out some. Work, too, has been increasingly busy and more stressful with pressures coming from multiple places. Before we moved to FL, I had gone 3 years without a period and headaches were a constant issue. Both returned to normal after we moved. My perceived stress level was really no different, but obviously it was. I certainly think stress is playing a big factor here. My question is, "How much is it playing into my difficulty with weight loss?" The knee-jerk answer is "a lot," but I didn't lose a bunch of weight when everything improved after we moved despite continued effort. So who knows?!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wednesday, September 29, 2010.
170.5#

Eight weeks into the Lean Eating Program, and I am 4.5 pounds down. I've got to say, not the start I was hoping for. And, yes, we are taking pictures every four weeks and measuring once a week, but honestly, the progress there is even more dismal. One could easily confuse the three sets of pictures. I have promised myself to follow this through the whole six months, though, so that is what I'm going to do.
Our workouts change every 4 weeks, and this is week one of phase three. So far, this is my least favorite phase, but we'll see. I'm usually slow to warm up to a new workout.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sacrifice

As I was cooking lunch for me and my husband this morning, I was looking at his part of the meal, Ro-tel dip and BBQ cocktail wieners, and wondering if I wanted just to make this a splurge meal for the week by eating a little and following it up with some ice cream. I would be cooking some steak and super-lean ground beef anyway to keep it from going bad while we're gone the next couple of days. The beef was to be my lunch, along with some squash, peas and tomatoes, all fresh. The whole time I was cooking, those two crazy voices were conversing in my head.As things were about to be finished, Marc went out to swim and asked that I bring a drink to him. I did, and as I was coming back inside, I caught a glimpse of myself in the windows of the back door. A whole new line of thought immediately started.

The glimpse I caught was enough to dissuade me from splurging on the Ro-tel and weiners. After having eaten my steak and veggies, I acknowledged the desire for those foods was just in my head. My plate was infinitely more enjoyable than Marc's.

But another line of thinking started with that glimpse as well. For a while now--a couple of years maybe--I have wondered if having the physique that I want is worth the "sacrifices" I will make to get it. After all, even though I'm not satisfied with the one I have now, I'm not grotesque by most standards. Stirring the Ro-tel, I realized that it is worth it--at least for now. At least, when I find myself looking in the mirror at what I want to see, it will be. I want to see that reflection, just for a little while. Then I might reconsider the "sacrifices" made to be there. For too long, my sense of self-worth, my opinion of how I represent to the rest of the world, has been wrapped up in this endeavor. I have allowed being chubby to make me miserable, to take from me things that it never should have. I have lived for too long in anticipation of what it would feel like to visibly show the hard work I put in working out. To say that sacrificing some to reach my goal is ludicrous. After all, how can I, in good conscious, call it sacrifice when truly it is fueling my body with wonderful food that keeps it strong and healthy?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Precision Nutrition Lean Eating Coaching Log

I am starting a "log" over on the Precision Nutrition site. Periodically I will cut and paste those entries here since this is the more permanent of the two. Here is today's entry:

I am now in my seventh weak of the Lean Eating Coaching program. While I hate to start in the middle of things, I have enjoyed reading others' logs here, and I have learned from them. And, honestly, part of me feels like in order to fully invest in this endeavor, I need to do this part as well, so I am starting a log here to compliment the blog I have had for years.

I have come to this project, like many others, out of desperation. My weight has been a lifelong battle for me, ranging at times from an anorexic 100# at 5'6" tall, to somewhere north of 220# (I never weighed at my heaviest). During the stressful times, I would gain weight. When life was good, I would take it off. At age 37, however, the pounds are not coming off anywhere near as easily, and I find myself "stuck" around 170#. I have been between 160 and 175 for the last year or so after having lost 20-30 pounds a couple of years ago.

Working out is not the issue for me. My workouts keep me sane, literally, as I found several years ago that it keeps what I believe to be clinical depression at bay. I had some hesitancy about turning control of my workouts over to the LE program, but those doubts have quickly gone away as I've seen results.

For me, the issue is nutrition. It seems that no matter what I eat, as long as it's not HUGE amounts or "off plan" for more than a day or two, I stay in the same weight range. Take a pound here, give a pound there. I could stay on plan PERFECTLY for a couple of weeks and take one meal off, and BAM! all 2 pounds I had lost were back. It all seemed so pointless. I have tried multiple approaches, including working with a bodybuilding nutritionist for 4 months. She accused me of not following her plan. I even did TONS of lab work at her behest, all of which was normal. It seems I can't blame my difficulties on my pituitary, my thyroid, too much testosterone or early menopause. Damn.

So here I am. I was a little afraid to start this endeavor. First and foremost, I knew it wasn't going to be easy. But the good things in life rarely are. My most nagging worry was and has been that it might not work. What happens if I follow the rules, do what they ask of me, and at the end of 6 hard-spent months I find myself still staring into the mirror at the chubbling I was in the beginning? Does that mean I will never find myself in the body I so desperately want? Does it mean that I am in some way broken? Am I at that point obligated to go to the doctor for even more labs to figure this out?

I will cross that bridge when I get there. Right now I am simply taking one day at a time.

For posterity:
My starting weight was 174.5, but I'd been eating a ton of salt and a fair amount of that was fluid. The following week I weighed 170.5 which is what I weighed today in the middle of week 7.
My measurements haven't really gone anywhere either though honestly, it seems I have some small problem dependably measuring despite my handy-dandy tape measure made just for measuring people.
My clothes are another hard thing to gauge since I wear scrubs at work and stretchy stuff most of the rest of the time. One of the ladies at work who hadn't seen me in a few weeks did say something the other day about my appearing to have lost a little weight, though.
I do feel like I've gained some muscle mass. That is painfully subjective, however.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Be Active Award

I was approached a month or so ago by a site called Be Active which compiles blogs and articles that active women might find interesting. One way or another they tripped across my blog and decided to send me an e-mail asking if I would like to be a guest blogger and notifying me that I had one the "Be Active Award." I suspect they simply need material for their site, but I decided to post the award regardless. You'll see it off to the right.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Difficult Difficult

Our lesson for today in the Lean Eating Coaching program comes from multiple great minds including Alwyn Cosgrove, passed down from one to another and now to us, and it is about the need to put one's self outside her comfort zone in order to grow. Plain and simple enough in theory. And sometimes I think we believe we're doing just that, but as I was reading the lesson, I realized that in the last year or so I've been giving in to the difficult easy in my workouts and my nutrition. The "difficult easy" things are those that, while taxing us either physically or mentally or otherwise, keep us within our comfort zones. The "difficult difficult" things push us outside of those places where we are comfortable and stretch us, help us to grow. As Alwyn Cosgrove puts it,"If I told you that tomorrow you were going to give a presentation to a thousand people, and then do some full contact sparring, a lot of you would recognize how difficult this was. And it is. But for me, who presented over 26 times in the last year, and spent years fighting competitively and doing hard sparring, it’s well within my comfort zone. I can pretend that it’s difficult, but it’s still easy to me and won’t help me grow."

For me, "difficult easy" is doing the work. Neither dirt, nor sweat, nor hard work scares me. I love my callouses. I relish my time in the sun and heat. Give me a task, an assignment, and I'm a dutiful worker. For me, "difficult difficult" is turning over control of my nutrition and my workouts and having faith that what I am doing will bring the results I want. I am quite accustomed to being in control. Before signing up for this, though, I realized that my being in control wasn't accomplishing what I wanted. That realization led the way for me to place myself outside of my own comfort zone and into this program, promising myself that I would put everything into it for the next 6 months.

Things are going okay thus far. Changes are not coming quickly, but I believe they are coming. I find myself more in control of what goes in my mouth, less impulsive about it. I seem to be advancing in the workouts, too, picking up a rep here or a heavier bell and there. I have to admit, I had hoped for quick, earth-shattering movement, but in reality knew not to expect as much. Slowly,though, I am developing patience.

Now...In honor of the opening of the NFL official season:


Saturday, August 14, 2010

Time Flies

Saturday, August 14, 2010
170.5# Day 12 LE Coaching program

I'm now 12 days (?!) into the lean eating coaching program, and I am learning to turn over some control, a thing you all know does not come easy for me. The program, by design, is made to slowly change poor habits and build new, better habits. It doesn't shove us abruptly into a new game and expect us to follow all the rules. Since I am a "trial by fire" kind of girl, this is new for me, and since what I am right now isn't working, I decided to go with someone else's plan.

The coaches have not yet adjusted any of our dietary habits. So far we have simply added a specific, personally adjusted dose of fish oil to our diets. Nothing else. Strange, huh? All of us participants are sort of chomping at the bit to start these major dietary habits, but they are taking things slowly, one small step at a time. We are learning to sit back and take that small step at a time, letting it become second nature. Most of us are also trying to implement some of the PN nutrition at the same time on our own, though. As for myself, I am well satisfied with my nutritional choices over the last 2 weeks. This is the control I am more than ready to give up. Control of my workouts has been more difficult to relinquish.

To me, it seems there are too many awesome, fantabulous goals to have in terms of one's physical prowess. While they all sit in the back of my mind, three rose to the top as ones I wanted to accomplish ASAP: unassisted pull-up, full body weight pistol, 100 16kg snatches in under 5 minutes no matter when I picked up the bell. For months I have been gearing all of my workouts toward those goals, and to relinquish that almost prevented me from signing up for this program. Being a mainstream sort of program, the workouts are based on the mainstream. They are gym workouts using all the good compound movements. But they are GYM workouts. Nope. Unacceptable. I workout outside. I workout with kettlebells or sandbags or bodyweight. Period. BUT...you can do those compound movements with kettlebells. So, while they do not recommend adjusting the workouts, I am. I am doing them with bells and bodyweight, and I'll add sandbags if I need to. I am not, however, going to a gym (except when I have to travel without the bells). This might very well disqualify me from the refund they guarantee if you follow the program 90% or better and don't get the results you want, but I'm willing to take that risk. These workouts so far have been long (60-75 min including my 100 snatch warm-up), but good. I guess sometimes shaking things up can be a good thing.
Some pics taken 8-1-2010 at a friend's wedding. They'll serve as "befores."
WORKOUTS:
So far they want us to do these workouts at low weight to become accustomed to the movements and to figure out what weight to be using. For the last 2 weeks, we have been alternating lower body workouts with upper body workouts. The second week, we added what they call a "dynamic warm up." I start every workout with 100 16kg snatches. I follow that with one set of all the warm up exercises and 2 sets of all the workout exercises.

Lower Body Dynamic Warm-up

Partial Pistol (I added this one) 4/4
Band Stomp x 10/10
Walking Lunge with Warrior Stretch x 3/3
Alternating lateral squat x 4/4
Side-to-side Squat x 4/4
Band Squat with 5 second hold x3
Overhead Alternating Rear Lunge x 5/5
Overhead Alternating Forward Lunge x 5/5
Overhead Back and Forth Lunge x 3/3
Overhead Squat x 3

Lower Body Workout
--2 sets of 5 of each.
Goblet Squat w/9k
Front Squat w/12k x 2
Back Squat w/35# Bavarian Bag
Rear Lunge w/9k
Forward Lunge w/9k
Walking Lunge w/9k
Split Squat w/o weight
Lateral Squat w/o weight
Swing 16k x 2
Romanian Dead 16k x 2
Single leg Dead 12k x 2
Suitcase Dead 16k x 2
Conventional Dead 16k x 2


Upper Body Dynamic Warm-up
Overhead Band Pull-apart w/Black Band w/ 3 sec Squeeze x 5
Horizontal " " " x 5
1 Arm Band Shoulder Press x 5/5
1 Arm Band Shoulder Fly x 5/5
1 Arm Band Internal Rotation x 5/5
1 Arm Band External Rotation x 5/5
Side Lying External Rotation x 5/5
Side Lying Rear Delt Fly x 5/5
Scarecrow x 4
Push-up x 6
Scapular Push-up x 4
Pronated Reverse Push-up x 6
Supinated Reverse Push-up x 6
Pronated Reverse Push-up w/Scapular Retraction

Upper Body Workout
Chin-up (Black & Purple) 3 x 3
Pull-up (Black & Purple) 3 sets of 5
Neutral Pull-up with Black & Purple 3 sets of 5
Alternating Bent Row 12k x 2--2 sets of 5
Renegade Row 16k x 2--2 sets of 5
Suitcase Row 20kg
Renegade Row 16k x 2--2 sets of 5
Suitcase Row 20k--2 sets of 5
Push-up 3 sets of 6
Bench Press 35# Bavarian Bag--2 sets of 5
1 Arm Press 16k--2 sets of 5
Close Grip Push-up--2 sets of 3
Viking Push Press 16k--2 sets of 5/5
Double 12k Press--2 sets of 5

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Fear of Failure. Fear of Success.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010
170# (I looked back at my workout log from last year. This is 8.5# more than I weighed this time last year.)

I've had a really strange run of emotions these last few days since signing up for the Lean Eating Coaching Program at Precision Nutrition. Certainly I am excited, but even more than that, I am anxious, and for what have proven to be an interesting bunch of reasons. The obvious apprehension surrounds the demands of food preparation, workouts, resisting temptation (obviously the resisting of temptation is a hard one for me). I've asked myself hundreds of times if I'm really ready for this. Will it hold up to all the traveling I have to do over the next 6 months? Am I ready to give control of my workouts over to the PN staff? Am I ready to measure and weigh and prep? These questions I anticipated.

What I failed to anticipate were the other questions and worries. What if I follow this to the letter (as I have other things for varying periods of time) and I still don't lose any weight? What then? Am I broken?...destined to spend life in my current fluffy bubble? What if it works...fabulously...and I find myself looking at an image in the mirror that I have dreamed about for longer than I care to remember? Will I finally be pumping out pull ups like a champ? Will the pistol be a breeze? Where to go from there? I'm not even there, and I feel a knot it my gut with the worry of regression. I'm not even there, and I wonder who the hell that is looking back at me from the mirror. It seems I have a constant stream of interesting thoughts about this process. My mind is truly a scary place.

WORKOUT:
My nutrition has been good the last few days, so it shows in my workouts. I'm up to a 5RM pull up ladder with just the purple band and a 4RM ladder with the partial pistol. On a 13RM ladder with the push ups. They all felt really solid today, too, with the exception of the pistol on the right. Lately I've been having some issues holding tension on that side.

I realized today that I have sacrificed too much in my quest for the pull up and the pistol. My workouts have been too focused on them and I have let my ballistic conditioning slide. Duly noted. Time to readjust.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Precision Nutrition Lean Eating Coaching Program

Monday, July 26, 2010
172#

I am a firm believer in an individual's following the path that works for her or him. No two people are exactly the same, and therefore, no two journeys are the same. By the same token, one thing might work well for a person at one point in time, while at a different time, a very different thing might be called for.
I strongly believe in the power of the Primal Blueprint. The science is sound; the theory makes sense.
Right now, though, I need something a little different. Mainly, I need accountability and an out-and-out challenge. So today I signed up for the Precision Nutrition Lean Eating Coaching Program. We'll see how this plays out...

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Revelations

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Getting my daily dosages of the "3 P's," pull ups, push ups, and pistols, has been a hard pill to take at times. It has been defeating, demoralizing, mentally exhausting. A few times it's been a comfort, like an old pair of shoes, to go out and fall into something so familiar, but mostly I have felt like I am going out each day to fight a giant, a benevolent one, but a giant nonetheless. I do feel the progress, however. As I was doing my five sets of push ups this last 5 days, the rep scheme was 12, 11, 10, 9, 9...then the next day 12, 11, 10, 10, 9, etc., I realized that for 4 sets out of 5 I was doing 10 or more perfect push ups. Only then did it occur to me that I had not only hit a long-standing goal but I had surpassed it by a long shot and not really even acknowledged it. For a very, very long time I had the goal of being able to do 10 consecutive perfect push ups. For what seemed like forever this goal seemed out of my reach, the nerdy, chubby girl's pipe dream. But then I focused on the road, not the destination, and suddenly I was there. I have to admit, I did a little dance with my workout buddies when I had that realization. And as always, one revelation leads to another, and I thought about how frustrated I am with how long it's taking me to get an unassisted pull up and a pistol. They will come just like the push ups did. I just have to focus on the road.

The Workout Buddies
Luna Gets a Little Workout of Her Own
video

Monday, July 5, 2010

My Challenge to You to Make a Difference

Monday, July 5, 2010

While not directly fitness related, I bring to you some food for thought with regard to your water consumption. I suspect that you, like me, keep water or some other drink somewhere close at hand most of the time. It seems everywhere you go, you see people with a bottle of water either in their hand or in their bags. Few of those people, however, put much thought behind the environmental repercussions (let's not even get into the associated health debate) of choosing to drink water from a bottle. Here is a little video that touches on that subject:




Tara Whitney is a photographer whose blog I follow, and a couple of months back she wrote a post regarding her efforts at leading a more environmentally friendly existence. In it, she mentioned a few of the things she has found to make that existence easier. While I had already stopped using bottled water myself, I had had an unbelievably difficult time convincing the hubby not to buy it. He argued that he just did NOT like to drink out of the containers I was using (those wide mouth 1 liter bottles), and keeping them rotated in the fridge to stay cold was just too much effort. Not to mention, the water got too warm for him before he could drink it all. To me, those all seemed like silly excuses, but they were significant enough to prevent stopping him from buying bottled water, so I needed to find a way around them. Tara's post further inspired me and the bottles below were our solution. I bought reusable plastic because Marc thought drinking out of a metal bottle sounded unappealing. I bought the metal bottle below to give them a run, too. Both sets were bought off Amazon. We already had water filters that I had been using, so now we just bottle that water up and keep it in the fridge for him. We've been doing this now for about 6 weeks, and I'm proud to say the reusable bottles are a success.
And so you have an even better idea what you'll be helping to save..Much of the water you buy comes from natural springs. Lots of it even comes from the springs here in north central Florida. These springs are some of the most beautiful places I have ever been or seen. They are at risk, though, as more and more bottling companies set up near them to bottle the water from the Floridan Aquifer that feeds them. Even I have seen the effects of this over the years that I have been coming here. The water levels have noticeably dropped in just that amount of time. This picture doesn't do them justice, but take my word for it. These springs are a resource we do NOT want to lose.
So, PLEASE, consider what I have brought before you, and think about how much money AND how much of our earth you can save by taking this one simple step.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Keep It Simple

Tuesday, June 28, 2010
169#

I started last week with the idea that I was really going to focus my efforts and get honed in on the Primal way of life and approach to nutrition. That lasted all of about 3 days before I derailed, (I owe you a book, Mr. Jenks) and since then, I have been working on getting dialed back in. I start the day doing well and lose my resolve as the evening hits. Last night I had my first all-out binge in a long time. It started with P.F. Chang's take out that I had gotten in Jacksonville and proceeded to cheesecake that was in the fridge for friends who are visiting and moved on to some ice cream Marc got then came right back to more cheesecake. Yes, I had some of all of it, and no, it wasn't just a bite or two of each. As a matter of fact, just sitting here writing about it, all I can think about is the fact that there is more cheesecake and more ice cream in the fridge and how since I'm off track already one more day of debauchery wouldn't be too bad. Thus, my goal is to make it through the next hour without eating anything off the plan. Then, I'll make it through the next hour, and so on...

Laurel Blackburn,RKC
from Tallahassee has been one of many invaluable sources of support here lately, and she dropped me a message here recently to check in on me. In my response to her, I admitted that my motivation wasn't just waning with regard to my diet but that I have had a global loss of it. Laurel made a beautifully simple observation in response, "You must just be overall burned out." Huh. Damn. Makes perfect sense. As I reflected on my difficulty maintaining my diet, I realized that in many regards right now I am simply going through the motions of life. In short, I am taking one day at a time, in many ways surviving rather than thriving. Don't feel too sorry for me just yet. I struggle from moment to full and demanding moment because I am blessed with more love and opportunities than I know how to manage-literally. Every single day off for as long as I can remember, I have had something planned. No days of just hanging out, doing nothing, always somewhere to go and something to do. Too many goals. Too many friends and family to love and spend time with (I am being facetious here, btw). So I will be gentle on myself. I will do what I can. And I will take life, and all that comes with it, one moment at a time, reaching my goals slowly but surely.

WORKOUTS:
Still plugging along with the 3P's. Each workout has it's small victories as I begin to feel the mechanics of the motions more intricately. Each nuance builds on the one before it as I begin to put the pieces together. Though I am not a natural athlete, I tend to be persistent, and it is paying off a little at a time.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

My Current Challenge to Myself

Sunday, June 20, 2010

My eating habits, while by no means horrible, have fallen by the wayside a bit since returning from the CK-FMS. Today they go back on track as I start the Primal Blueprint eating plan. I can't exactly follow the fitness portion of it, but that will come after I assist at Level 1 in October...or maybe after I get my first pull up and pistol. So, here we go. I will follow this plan until the RKC in October (actually, I plan to follow it from here on out, but my punitive measures will last until October). I will have a splurge meal when my in-laws come in July, and at our friends' marriage on August 1st, then again for my birthday August 15. My splurge meal will be a meal, not whole day. My dessert will either be homemade or ordered at a restaurant or will be no more than half a pint of ice cream. The days I am visiting my parents I will relax quite a bit. I don't see my parents very often, and I don't have many more more opportunities to eat my mom's cooking or my dad's, so I'm not going to restrict this week. (One of the things I miss about my grandmother is cooking Sunday dinner with her and sitting down to that meal. I want to make the most of this opportunity with my parents.) And if I backslide? My friends will benefit, and I'll just rotate through the list sending books: Mr. Jenks, Mr. Enu, Ms. Blackburn, Mr. Alford, Mr. Calleo. The game is afoot.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Slow Progress

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Really?! Three weeks already since I got back from CK-FMS?! Damn, time is really getting away from me.

I have been plugging away, but I have to admit that it has been less than a 100% effort. My work schedule has been solid, and the days I am working have been full tilt boogie all night long. Nights like that drain a person in a way I can't even begin to describe. Until this weekend, even all of my days off were booked full of activities, so there has been little time for decompression. My resolve softens in times like these. Sometimes I think it's my body telling me it needs a breath. I know I have trouble keeping "in tune" with my body, so I struggle with trying to figure out whether I am lazy or whether my system is unraveling. Regardless, I only worked out four days last week, and my nutrition has been off, not horrifically, but off. The extra 30-60 minutes of sleep and the Ben and Jerry's Chunky Monkey sucked me right in.

I am still steadily working Pavel's Fighter Pull up Plan for advancing my pull up, my pistol, and my push up numbers. The progress might seem a bit lame, but it is undoubtedly progress and for once I am trying to allow myself to be proud of it instead of being ashamed that I am so lame that such numbers actually are progress.

TODAY'S WORKOUT:
Purple band assisted pull ups/Perfect push ups: 4/11, 3/10, 2/9, 1/8, 1/7--Just so happens this is the first time I've ever done more than 10 push ups--at least the way push ups are supposed to be done.
Partial Pistols: I went from going down to my platform with a sandbag on it to going down to the bare platform today. 3/3, 2/2, 1/1, 1/1
100 16kg snatches in 7' ~15". I was doing this in 5 rounds of 1'30" and I decreased it to 1'25" today. Unfortunately, I had to go a little over.

Monday, May 31, 2010

CK-FMS

Sunday, May 30, 2010
169#
I spent last weekend in St. Paul packing serious amounts of information into my little brain. While the CK-FMS is brilliant in its simplicity, it is also a LOT of stuff to process in just a few days. The gist of it is that it is a simple screening using 7 basic movements and a score for each to assess a person's risk for injury and whether a person is safe to do particular movements. Then, using a specific protocol for action, an FMS practitioner can help a client fix his or her problem areas. 103 of us spent 4 days learning that protocol both through lectures and labs where we practiced on one another in our given teams in much the same way we did at the RKC. I had already established for myself what a genius of movement Brett Jones is when he was my team leader for the RKC. Now I understand why he is teamed up with Gray Cook. Occasionally, we come across someone who just sees something differently. They might not understand why or how, but for whatever reason, they can break something down to its most basic level and then extrapolate from there. I suspect Gray is one of those people, that he sees movement and specifically movement dysfunction in a way most people do not, and then can reverse engineer that into a way to fix it. Even better, he can communicate to others what he sees--and be entertaining in the process :). I suspect it is very much like the way that Pavel evaluates movement and strength. This feeling of learning from people who just see movement differently was very much the same as it was at the RKC, and I enjoyed it.
A couple of things that were distinctly different from the RKC were the lack of an overall feeling of camaraderie and the lack of a physical beat down (though the mental beat down was plenty). Though we had occasional "movement breaks" in which we went over the TGU or had a short 20 minute workout to clear our minds for a little while, the long, grueling workouts and constant physical punishment were just not there. Instead, they packed our brains full of information. At one point, I felt like my head was one of those Hefty garbage bags with seemingly infinite stretch, and Gray and Brett were using one foot to pack in more and more and more. As the weekend went on, though, the thoughts began to come together, and I think we all were able to make better sense of it. The other thing (to which I had actually really looked forward as I anticipated the weekend) was the lack of camaraderie between the candidates. I thought a lot about this feeling and talked about it with a couple of friends. Though we were unable to reach a specific conclusion, we had a lot of thoughts about why there wasn't as great a feeling. First, everyone there was at least RKC certified, and there were many level II's, team leaders and seniors. We were no longer newbies, hoping to measure up. Instead, I think many of the people there were in some sort of pissing contest trying to be the smartest, best, coolest RKC around. Granted, not all of us were that way, and the people who do feel like they have something to prove to earn a position in the "cool crowd" are always the ones who are a little bit loud, a little bit boisterous, and a lot noticeable. But given the mood I was already in before I got there, these few sucked a little bit of the fun out of it all for me. Instead of feeling like we were all working together to get a job done, to support one another, to uplift each other, I felt a little like we were in middle school and I was the geeky fat kid with Coke bottle glasses again. How much of this feeling was my general funk and how much was actuality is hard to discern.

Despite this general feeling for me, I was able to meet some great folks and solidify some friendships started months ago and built slowly via phone calls and the internet. Two other Florida RKC's made the trip for the weekend. Jon Alford is an RKC from Pensacola, and Laurel Blackburn is an RKC from Tallahassee. I can't even remember how I met Jon, but he and I have talked over the phone, met up once to work out, and have been internet pals for a while now. Laurel and I met when she came to the Sara Cheatham workshop I hosted in November of last year, and we followed each other on Facebook after that. They both have been wonderful inspirations and, along with many of my other blog readers, have helped keep me on track when my faith was waning. I had the distinct pleasure of getting to know each of them better over the four days of the FMS and am all the better for it. They are both outstanding individuals (as most RKC's seem to be despite my feeling last weekend), and I wish we were all closer together than what we are.
I did get to catch up with the Irontamer a little while we were there.
Overall, I am happy that I went and pleased with the experience and definitely would do it again. If my primary gig were personal training, I'd be beside myself with the info I came away with.

WORKOUTS: I'm on week 10 of Pavel's Fighter Pull Up Protocol, and I am definitely advancing with the bands. I tried an unassisted pull up today, though, and didn't really seem to get any further than I did before I started the protocol. I knew going into this that it would still take months and months to get to an unassisted pull up, but I am hitting a point at which my motivation is waning. Honestly, I think it is waning in all of life and that is just carrying over here. I have SO many fitness goals, SO many things I want to do.I am finding staying on just a couple of things with such slow results very difficult.

With regard to that 169# up there, I left for the FMS weighing about 165#. I had followed my plan just as laid out for over a month, and I had scheduled to splurge on the trip. I splurged 4 meals and had dessert for 3 of them. Yes, I realize that is overkill, but no I would not expect to completely negate more than 5 weeks worth of hard work in a short 4 days. WTF?! I think I'm just frikkin' gonna be a chubbling the rest of my life. There's a string of expletives about a mile long I want to insert right here--about 15 f-bombs. I f'n give up. It is what it is. I am what I am, and apparently that's just gonna be chubby.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Why Do We Train? Part II

Monday, May 17, 2010
165.5#
RKC's call it the "What the hell" effect, the way that kettlebell fitness overlaps into fitness in daily life or into fitness required for other endeavors. For instance, a basketball player might find him or herself with a higher vertical jump after a month of swings and snatches performed with a proper hip snap. This overlap is always fun to find.
A couple of weeks ago I spent 5 days training for one of the most intense things I've ever done, cave diving. Obviously, one should take this endeavor very seriously and train physically, mentally and emotionally. Training for it, though, can be difficult because it's kind of hard to mimic the action of using a frog kick to swim up a water hose. The frog kick is not a natural motion for non-frogs--I'm just sayin'. On top of worrying about swimming in a manor that doesn't stir up silt and trying to keep up with a buddy and the line and everything else, one must keep an eye on gas consumption, a real-life application of VO2 Max. Despite the unnatural feel of the movement, the nerves that tend to make a person over-breathe, and the newness of it all, I held my own with a veteran. I made it farther into one of the local difficult, high-flow caves than most people do on their first dive (by far), my gas consumption was great, and I wasn't sore the next day. Undoubtedly, all of this is directly related to my kettlebell practice, quite a nice "what the hell" effect.

Here's an underwater (yes, it IS that clear) pic of the hubby taken by Hollywood stills photographer Gene Page who happens to be a friend of ours.
WORKOUTS: I am on 9 rep max week in Pavel's Figher Pull up program, and on 8 rep max week of applying it to pistols. At the end of the 3P workout, I usually have been adding some squat thrusts with a jump, some snatches or some swings. When I get back from CK-FMS, the ballistics at the end of the workouts will become more regimented.
I am slowly but steadily making progress with my form in the 3P's. I am adding tension and explosiveness with each workout and feeling the movements more each time.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Why Do We Train? Part I

Monday, May 9, 2010
166#

I have had the pleasure of being off of work for the last 8 days--an advantage of the type of work that I do. While I might have been away from work, I have not been away from work. I have been busy.
Last Monday I went with my fishing buddy Earl on a float fishing trip down the Ichetucknee River. Earl is quite the inspiration. He is 80 years old and more vibrant than most 50-year-olds I see. He has spent his entire life fishing the rivers in this area, and wandering these dirt roads (only main roads in north central Florida are paved). He walks an hour every morning--barefoot if it's more than 70 degrees outside. As a matter of fact, once spring hits, he doesn't ever wear shoes unless it's to the store or church. He always offers a smile, and is an eternal optimist. Anyway, he wanted to take me on a float fishing trip which amounts to sitting in float like this oneand casting your line. Though we usually fly fish, the stretch of river we went down was too narrow, so we were spin casting. Loaded with a fish basket, this float weighs about 10 pounds and is seriously unwieldy. When I threw it up on my shoulder, the ends hung down to about my knees. Then, of course, we had rods to carry too. Because the trip laid out the way it did, we had to walk about 1/2 a mile to the put in, climb a fence, then muck through a fair amount of knee deep bog to get into the water. I offered to carry both tubes, but Earl insisted he carry his own and was a little bent that I wouldn't let him carry mine. LOL. About half-way through the trip, a fresh-fallen tree completely blocked the river and we had to portage about 100 rough yards through some seriously nasty bog. It was no cakewalk for me, yet Earl had no more trouble than I did. Did I mention Earl is 80? I do what I do every day in hopes that 80 looks the same for me.

Incidentally, I gave myself a little pat on the back on this trip. We parked his vehicle a 1/2 mile from the put in and mine at the take out. Unfortunately I forgot my keys in his car. Sooooo, when I realized it as we were pulling the tubes out of the water, I took off for my keys which were at this point about a mile away (after convincing Earl I would be quicker at it than he would since he told me he had walked the same trip last week in a little over 20 minutes because he was fishing alone). I had my 5 Fingers on and was headed down a dirt road, and since walking takes way too long, I decided to run. I made the mile no sweat though I hadn't run in well over 6 months. Nice WTH effect, huh? :)

TODAY'S WORKOUT: I decided at the end of my 8 rep max week last week that I needed to repeat it. The pull ups were just not as solid as I would have liked them, and the push ups weren't even that good, and I didn't want to build on a less-than-perfect foundation. I got a couple of days into the second week of 8-rep-max last week before taking a break for other endeavors. So today I resumed my 8-rep-max 3-P's (pull ups, push ups, partial pistols) routine without feeling like I had lost anything.
I did 92 16kg snatches in 5 minutes before giving in to a callous that was about to rip which I canNOT afford right now.

WORKOUTS FROM TUESDAY TO SUNDAY?...You've got to wait a couple of days for those because they are a part of Why Do We Train, Part II

Monday, April 26, 2010

Overwhelmed

Monday, April 26, 2010
170#

This post will be a little here and there, but here goes....
I earned my next "prize" by staying the course for the last 2 weeks. The end of the two weeks came Saturday and with it a splurge meal, with that a literal drugged feeling, my food hangover. It's taking me a while, but I am beginning to learn. Crappy food makes me feel like, well, crap.

Today I am feeling overwhelmed by life. It seems everything I do in turn leads to something else I must do and maintain and I'm freaking a little about it. My summer calendar looks like someone vomited multicolor ink all over it. ( I will reiterate, "HOW DO PARENTS DO IT?!") I haven't been able to keep in touch here, and it's killing me. Which leads me too...

I have picked up a couple more followers here lately. I am constantly humbled that people read what I have to say. Many thanks to all of you for coming here.

I made my hotel and flight reservations for CK-FMS last night. WOOHOOOOO!

Back to that overwhelmed thing...I know it doesn't sound like it, but I really am trying to pare life down some. Over the winter, I became really fond of those days when I had nothing to do but be at home. I found a peace that I had not felt in a long time, a sort of radiant happiness with life. Sometimes, on my stretches off from work I might not leave home at all. I'd get up, have a nice, long workout that wasn't pressured for time, play with the dogs, wander around the property, eat a little something, maybe do some cleaning, maybe complete a project, maybe do nothing. There was a time when this would have driven me apeshit, but not now. Now I relish these times. I wish I could describe it better, but these days like this are my recharge. Because the seas got blown out further south in Venice, I am enjoying one of those types of days now. I was supposed to be shark tooth diving today. As it is, I'll be cavern diving this afternoon and the next 2 days, then work, then cave class, then work, then--well, you get the picture.I'm trying to get a few more blank days on the calendar and keep them that way. The blank days are good for the soul.

Not only am I behind writing posts, but I am also behind reading them. I did a little catching up before writing this post and had an interesting observation in the process. While part of me enjoys reading Tracy Rif's blog, another part of me finds a great deal of anxiety there. My comparing myself to her is one of the major reasons I feel so inadequate as a girevoy. She is AMAZING, ripping that 16 around like it's nothing, maintaining a beautiful physique, cooking, cooking, cooking. In many ways this is inspiring, in others it is a banner telling me how pitiful I am. But something she wrote in a recent post really hit home to me today. She mentioned being fortunate enough to work out 4-6 hours every day. 4-6 HOURS! How wonderful! I can't even begin to imagine. She has mentioned that before, but for some reason it registered today. I am comparing apples and oranges.

WORKOUT: None today. It's an off day.

THE LAST 5 DAYS' WORKOUTS: Again, Pavel's fighter pull up routine. This week was 7RM with the pull ups and push ups, 5RM with the partial pistols.
I can feel things beginning to really wake up and figure out these motions. My lats continue to learn to fire better and with that, my elbows are tracking a stronger route, both in the pull up and the push up. I am also beginning to learn the sequence of tension from the ankles up, especially with regard to the pull-up. Generating full-body tension in the pull up has been difficult for me, but I am beginning to get it.
I am learning a lot in the pistol, too. Foot position has become huge for me. I have learned that a slight angle of the foot outward allows my great toe to line better with the rest of my leg, thus allowing my quad and ham to fire more productively.
Progress is coming in small increments, but I can feel it coming.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Pride

Monday, April 12, 2010
169.5#

It's a funny thing, pride--one of those strangely dichotomous things that is at once a wonderful thing and a horrible one. One person's source of pride might seem ludicrous to another. Pride can motivate a person. After all, on some level, pride is part of why we bathe every day and wear clean clothes and brush our teeth and hair. We want to look at least remotely presentable. Taking pride in our appearance and our work ethic and our other good qualities helps us to be good, productive citizens. Pride in ourselves can motivate us to eat better, to be active, to continue to learn instead of becoming stagnant in our professions. It makes us stronger, smarter, faster, more graceful than we would be without it. Pride in our homes helps motivate us to keep them clean and tidy. Pride certainly is not always a bad thing.

I have realized, though, that pride has not always been a good thing, either. Granted, it has done all of the things mentioned above, but I think that in some ways it has hindered me as well. As strange as it might sound, sometimes we need to take a step back and objectively evaluate where we stand. We need to look at where we are, not where we want to be, and assess our strengths and weaknesses and address them honestly, not trying to be more than we are, no matter how desperately we might want more. For what seems like forever I have been struggling to do a pullup and a pistol. Some form of assisted or partial pullup or pistol has been a part of my workout for well over a year now. I have wanted so desperately to move closer to these goals that I have pushed myself to take bands away too early or perform a particular movement any way necessary to get a momentary sense that I am accomplishing something. Recently I started Pavel's Fighter Pullup Program. It uses a ladder program to increase reps and can be used, with bands, to bring one closer to a pullup if they can't yet accomplish one. It works by building on a person's three or five rep max. Before starting it, though, I had to honestly assess my three rep max and my five rep max. For once, I cast my pride aside, and although I felt like a total loser, I chose what in my eyes was the path of the physically weaker individual and started the program with one more assisting band than I really wanted to.

That was five days ago. Already I am humbled by my own stupidity. In those five short days I have finally managed to begin to feel the groove of the pullup. I've finally begun to feel the full-body tension I have been trying to learn to generate for the last 6 months. And I finally feel like I might actually be making progress.