Learning and Growing

I’ve slacked on my blogging goal for 2016.

My other goals are going well, so I’m being lenient with myself about this one!

The past few weeks have been more of the same – going through the motions, biding time until we move home. I am to the point where I know it’s so close, but like a kid anxiously pushing through the last two months before summer break, I am finding it hard to be patient. I am taking life one day at a time, trying to enjoy the last little bits of the life we carved out for ourselves here.

That being said, when D came home two weeks ago with news that one of his co-workers I knew in the states would be visiting soon, I was super excited! I have only hung out with said co-worker a handful of times, I don’t know her very well, but it’s funny that the thought of a familiar face can be comforting when you are missing home.

I think I bugged D every day to make sure he finalized plans – I’m sure that wasn’t annoying at all! 🙂

On Saturday, we met his co-worker to show her around a city we live close to. It was such a fun day! We met up with her around 1, and I assumed we would spend a couple of hours, be home by 4-5, workout, and eat dinner. After a day’s worth of touring the city, we ended up at our favorite bar and stayed until well past 7 talking and enjoying each other’s company. Like I said, it was nice to see a familiar face!

Although I had a great time, it was in my reflection of the time that I realized just how special this day was in terms of recovery.

Before we moved, I had plenty of opportunities to hang out with D’s co-workers – not just this one, but many others – but I chose not to. Not because I didn’t like them, but because the thought of spending time with people I didn’t really know well scared me. These people weren’t by best friends who knew my nuances, habits, and routines. They didn’t know that eating dinner after 7 made me anxious. They didn’t know that simply eating dinner in front of them would make me anxious. They didn’t know that half of the time during a conversation, I had no idea what to say or do or think, that I was anxious and sweaty and wanted to cry.

At that point in my life, I wasn’t at a place where I could be comfortable spending time with people outside of my little circle. I had just recently invited my people into my comfort zone – I was just over that stage with the people I trusted – I wasn’t ready to step outside of my comfort zone and brave the world of time spent and conversations had with acquaintances.

But, as proven by Saturday (and a few other times before), I am ready for that now. I was able to have conversations with this person – not just responding to questions, but also starting conversations of my own. I talked to her when D was at the table, and when he was away. I felt comfortable being myself and I could feel that comfort zone behind me – I wasn’t inside of it anymore. It wasn’t holding me back.

I also enjoyed a meal, a snack, and a beer with D and his co-worker. I ordered what I wanted to order, and I ate as much as I wanted to eat. At one point, I did look over to her plate to see how much I had eaten in comparison. But, after I realized what I was doing, I consciously made myself stop. I know how much fuel my body needs, and I know how to eat accordingly. I don’t have to compare my food intake to anyone else’s. That was huge. As we were walking around the city, I spotted a stand for a delicious sweet treat that I wanted her to try – I split one with D, too. At our favorite bar, I had one beer, with no desire to have another, so I didn’t. Usually, when in an uncomfortable, out of my comfort zone situation, I would drink to feel comfortable, but I didn’t need to. I was able to relax and enjoy conversation and company without help.

Finally, as the night came to a close and we headed home, I began to panic a little about the fact that I wouldn’t be able to eat dinner until after 8:30. A year ago, that, coupled with the fact that I missed a workout, would have sent me over the edge. Not this time. I had a conversation with C about how it was just one day, and in the grand scheme of things, had zero impact. I ate dinner and went to bed.

The past 14 months have been hard. Yes, I have had an amazing opportunity to travel Europe, live in another country, meet so many people, learn so many things. But, there were times when I hated my life. I was depressed, I let food control me, OCD has been tough, and I’m leaving here with more scars (mentally and physically) than I came with. Ultimately though, I have learned so much about myself and I have grown more than I ever imagined possible. Being here forced me to take sole responsibility for my recovery and for my life. It made me hold myself accountable. It showed me just how supportive an amazing group of “home team players” could be.

14 months ago, I would never have experienced Saturday the way it played out. I would have been anxious, quiet, and reserved. I would have eaten too little and probably drank a little too much. I would have told D we needed to leave at a specific time to be sure I worked out and ate dinner before 7. I wouldn’t have had fun, nor would I have been very much fun.

I needed Saturday. Yes, I needed a familiar face and familiar conversation. But, I also needed the opportunity to see just how far I’ve come.

I am proud. I am thankful. I am happy.

“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly…”– English Proverb

September: Month of Crossfit and Paleo

It has been a whirlwind of a summer (hence why I have been completely MIA). 7 visitors, 4 countries (including multiple trips to some countries), and 4 months later, we said goodbye to our last visitor yesterday (until my dad visits in November).

To say the past four months were “fun” would be an understatement. I had the opportunity to hang out with my cousin G and explore Amsterdam a bit more, travel to Paris with C and make memories that will last a lifetime, visit London, Dublin, and Paris with my sisters, explore London a bit more with A and J (as well as spend a day in Brussels), and finally show my grandma around both Paris and London. See a theme here? Everyone wanted to visit Paris and/or London! Both fine by me!

Although we had an amazing summer, D and I were both feeling a little “off” with our food choices and our workouts. With traveling so much, it’s difficult to always choose the healthiest option when eating (who wants to pass up Parisian food?) and even more difficult to stay on a specific workout routine. It was definitely easier some weeks than others – C and I enjoyed many fun workouts together and I can’t wait to continue that when I move back! But, overall, we felt like we could use a little refresher in both the exercise and nutrition realm.

And thus was born D’s idea of a month of Crossfit WODs and Paleo meals.

If you’ve read any of my past blog posts, you will know that lifting is a HUGE part of my life. I love creating our workouts, lifting heavy, and pushing myself to new PR’s. Lifting also happens to play a huge role in my recovery. So, the idea of switching up our normal routine from heavy, strictly lifting workouts to more functional based Crossfit workouts scared me a bit. Honestly, I didn’t really understand Crossfit. D and I had been to a box before, but the workouts always felt a little thrown together, off the cuff, go do 40 deadlifts and call it a day type workouts. But, I committed to this and I was determined to learn as much as I could so that I could give it my best. I have learned so much!

After a lot of research, I created our workout schedule for the entire month. 3 days on, 1 day off. We start each 3 day cycle focusing on 1 modality (metabolic conditioning, gymnastics/body weight, or weightlifting/powerlifting) during our WOD, then increase to 2 on day 2, and finally 3 on day 3. Each day starts with a warm-up (in our case it’s usually a run with our pup who is full of energy and needs the exercise), then we move on to a specific skill (this is where my personal training/love of heavy lifting plays a role – these are usually pyramids of a core lift such as bench, squat, or deadlift, OR some bicep/tricep work), and finally we finish with the WOD and stretching.

The other part of this month’s changes was our diets. We generally eat very healthy/clean. Lots of fruits and veggies, high protein, low sugar, etc. But, we decided to go all in and give paleo a try. Full disclosure – I refused to give up my protein pancakes for breakfast, so we aren’t doing this 100%, but we are doing our best. I’ve really enjoyed trying many new paleo recipes and making sure we are eating nutritionally sound foods.

So, I say all of that to preface this:

9 Things I’ve Learned From A Month of Crossfit and Paleo

1 – It’s okay to not be “all or nothing.”

This has been huge in both our workouts and our diets. I enjoy doing the heavy lifts, so I still include them occasionally, alongside our WOD. But, this has mainly played out with nutrition. I’ve learned that we can still be committed to eating paleo AND I can still enjoy my protein pancake. It doesn’t have to be one or the other. We’ve had quinoa or brown rice with some of our meals, we’ve had some non-paleo foods when we are out and there is nothing else to eat, and that’s okay. After this month, we are taking a trip to Italy, and then taking a trip home to the states 2 weeks later. I’m sure we will eat whatever we want to on either trip, paleo or not. We want to do the best we can at eating whole and nutritious foods, but we also are going to keep a percentage available to just live. This is where we will fully rely on the 80/20 rule with paleo. 80% of the time we will try to eat foods that align with paleo, while the other 20% we will eat foods that wouldn’t necessarily fall into the paleo category. This helps alleviate that “all or nothing” mentality that I sometimes fall into. 🙂

2 – I’m hungry ALL of the time (and that’s okay).

I don’t know what happened, but I think something between switching up my workout routines and eating habits changed my metabolism. Going from restricting to eating while lifting was a huge change for me – I ate so much more than I thought possible, and it was what my body needed. And that amount has jumped up again. Sometimes I get a little freaked out that eating more will cause weight gain, but I try to just focus on eating when I’m hungry, stopping when I’m full, and knowing that my body knows what it is doing, while sometimes my brain (ED) might not.

3 – Rest days are important.

Before we started including Crossfit type workouts in our routine, I HATED rest days. I felt lazy, I felt like they were pointless, and I didn’t want to include them. But, now I see why they are so necessary. After 3 days on of running, lifting/accessory work, and a WOD, my body NEEDS a rest day. And rest days are just that – I don’t do anything (except my normal walks with the pup). So, appreciate your rest days – your body needs time to recover!

4 – So is stretching.

Something I hated even more than rest days – stretching. And I never did it. I am a certified personal trainer, I include stretching in ALL of the plans I write, but I refused to actually do it myself. After almost a month of struggling through overhead squats, snatches, and cleans due to lack of flexibility, I clearly see why stretching is VERY important, and I am starting to incorporate it after every workout.

5 – I can stick to a specific way of eating and NOT feel like I’m restricting.

This has been HUGE for me! Going into this month, I was concerned that removing certain foods might push on that restricting trigger and lead to more and more foods being cut out. But, I am happy to say that it hasn’t! I credit a large part of that to the 80/20 rule and staying away from the “all or nothing” thinking.

It was a little difficult in the beginning. I don’t think that I realized that my appetite might change and I may need to give my body more fuel. But, once I started relying on hunger cues, and not focusing on how much I was eating, but eating when my body said to, it became a lot easier to not feel like I was restricting. Which, leads me to my next point.

6 – Listen to your body.

This has always been one I struggled with, and I’m sure it will almost always be something I struggle with. But, it has gotten easier, with time. My body knows what it needs. It knows when it needs rest. It knows when it needs fuel. It knows when it needs sleep. On the other hand, sometimes my brain (ED) doesn’t care what my body needs – it only cares about what it wants. So, in those moments, it’s become very important to step back, separate the two, and choose to listen to my body over my brain. I’m still learning and every day is a chance to practice and choose my body and in turn, recovery.

7 – Functional lifts are just as important as main lift PR’s.

Another difficult one for me to grasp. I have always been focused on numbers. And lifting was no different – I wanted higher numbers, I wanted to be the best. So, to step back and not give those numbers power for a little while has been a little scary. I am worried that I will lose some of my strength gains. But, I also have seen improvements in so many areas. It’s awesome to PR bench press, but I also want to be able to do a snatch, and at this point, I don’t care what that PR weight is! After this month, I am looking forward to returning to the world of heavy lifting and maxing, but I am also excited to combine the best of both worlds and continue to include functional lifts alongside the big PR lifts!

8 – I am scared of handstands.

I don’t know when this happened. As a child, I loved to do cartwheels, handstands, etc. But, after trying to do handstand pushups, I realized that handstands actually terrify me and I need to find a substitute exercise (or get over my fear…).

9 – I am strong, but I will always have room to grow.

This one encompasses all aspects of my life, from physical to mental. I have shown myself my strength, and I am so much stronger than I ever thought I was. But, I always have room to grow and push myself to new and better things!

Crossfit has kicked my ass. Going from a plateau in my normal lifting routine to a Crossfit workout everyday has been a tremendous change. I am always sore after a workout. I look forward to pushing myself in new ways. Changing my diet (even though it wasn’t a huge change) has also been a wonderful experience. I can’t wait to incorporate and combine everything that I’ve learned through this past month in with my “normal” routines starting in October.

To end, I want to share Greg Glassman’s Crossfit in 100 words – this isn’t a diet, this isn’t about being skinny or looking a certain way…this is about training for life.

“Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat. Practice and train major lifts: Deadlift, clean, squat, presses, C&J, and snatch. Similarly, master the basics of gymnastics: pull-ups, dips, rope climb, push-ups, sit-ups, presses to handstand, pirouettes, flips, splits, and holds. Bike, run, swim, row, etc, hard and fast. Five or six days per week mix these elements in as many combinations and patterns as creativity will allow. Routine is the enemy. Keep workouts short and intense. Regularly learn and play new sports.” ~Coach Greg Glassman, CrossFit Founder and CEO

HIIT workout

It finally feels like summer here! Or, at least it did for a week…

After a week of temperatures in the 80’s and no air conditioning, I can safely say that I am okay with average summer days in being in the low to mid 60’s. I would rather be cold outside than sweat when I am inside!

The start of summer is bringing many visitors, trips, and outings! With the less than consistent schedule of the next few months, D and I decided it was the perfect opportunity to mix up our lifting routine a bit.

Instead of jumping right back into another 4 week mesocycle of heavy lifting, we decided to go a little more high intensity, met-con type with our workouts. This gives us more flexibility with our workouts so that we can focus on enjoying our company, while they are here!

I’ve come up with a lot of different workouts over the past few months, but our most recent dedicated HIIT workout is by far my favorite! We’ve combined some of our favorite lifts with some cardio and timed it to create a fast-paced, killer workout!

As always, be careful when trying a new workout. Take your time, pace yourself, and don’t go past your limits!

HIIT Lifting Workout

Warm-up: 1 mile run (not too fast – just focus on warming up your body)

Complete all 5 of the lifts below (at prescribed reps) without a break (you can time yourself during these rounds)

  • Hang Cleans x 6
  • Deadlift x 12
  • Push Press x 10
  • High Pulls x 10
  • Front Squats x 12

After all 5 lifts, rest 60-90 seconds before the next round.

Complete 3 rounds total.

This workout is designed to be fast-paced, but not easy. Choose a weight that you can lift the prescribed amount. Don’t go too heavy! Work on speed and quality of the lifts over lifting heavy sets!

After round 3, 2 minute cool down.

Finish with alternated jump rope/crunches (for time).

  • 50 jump rope
  • 50 crunches
  • 40 jump rope
  • 40 crunches
  • 30 jump rope
  • 30 crunches
  • 20 jump rope
  • 20 crunches
  • 10 jump rope
  • 10 crunches

Cool down by stretching…you will need it!

This workout has kicked our asses more than once in the past few weeks! It’s great because you can set yourself to go a pace that works for you at a weight that also works for you, and still have a great workout!

More workouts to come! If you have any questions, just ask!

Happy lifting!

FitBit

I want a FitBit.

I’ve wanted one for a while. When I first decided I wanted one, D and I discussed the repercussions it could bring, and decided against it for the time being. I didn’t need anything else that could be a possible trigger, especially with the impending move and overall uncertainty of what the next few months would hold after that move. I settled on a Timex sportswatch.

Fast-forward 10 months later, both A and C have FitBits that they wear and enjoy using. And I’m back to wanting to join the FitBit club!

First, I can’t come up with a specific reason to get one. What do I NEED it for that my Timex currently isn’t doing?

  • Heart Rate monitor – I’ve never really thought about using a HR monitor. I could be useful with HIIT training, but I’m not sure I would use it that frequently.
  • Sleep Tracker – My sleep hasn’t been great since college, so it would be nice to understand why with the help of the sleep tracker feature.
  • Step Counter – I already use the health app on my iPhone for this, but it could be nice to go on runs/walks without my phone.

Second, what aspects of the FitBit could be triggering?

  • Calorie Counter
  • Step Counter
  • Weight Loss

I feel like I am at a place where I’m not easily triggered (especially when I follow my normal routines). I did extremely well holding myself accountable last week while D was away. But, I don’t know if now is the time to test myself and risk possible triggers or just continue the way I’ve been doing things.

So, I want to know your thoughts on FitBits (or other activity trackers) in regards to ED recovery. Any advice, experiences, etc. are welcome! 🙂

When brain and body don’t match…

“I wish my stomach was more flat and toned.”

“I wish my legs were thinner.”

“I wish I had abs.”

All things I’ve either heard or said within the past 24 hours.

Then this much needed, very straight-forward text from a friend:

“Maybe your brain needs to change!!!!”

Maybe she’s right. Maybe it does.

So, now what?

I’ve come to realize that sometimes, my brain doesn’t always match my body. This can happen in so many different ways.

Sometimes, I see fat that isn’t there. Sometimes, where D sees defined ab muscles, I see rolls.

But, mirrors lie, and eyes can deceive.

I know that I eat healthily. I know that I enjoy my workouts AND they are in moderation. I know that I am strong and that I can lift heavy barbells. I know that I can run a mile if I want to.

And even though I know all of those facts about myself, my brain still jumps to those “trouble areas” I pick at. It ignores that my muscular core allows me to do squats and burpees and deadlifts and toes to bar (and hopefully one day soon, handstand pushups). Instead, it focuses on the flaws that it makes so vivid and real.

So today, I’m working on changing my brain in hopes that one day, my brain might match my body. In hopes that one day, my brain appreciates a thicker core that allows me to meet my fitness goals.

Maybe my stomach isn’t the most flat or the most toned. Maybe I don’t have super defined abs. Who cares?

“You’re a human being, you live once and life is wonderful, so eat the damn red velvet cupcake.” – Emma Stone

Macros and Lifting

When will life be more than macros and workouts?

Don’t get me wrong, I still stand by IIFYM! Macros gave me a freedom with food that I had never experienced before!

And working out – I enjoy my workouts now! Lifting makes me feel powerful and gives me bigger, healthier goals. I’ve even thrown some running into the mix; though I still stand by the fact that I HATE cardio! 🙂

But, I still feel a sense of definition or control from these things.

By lunchtime, my entire days worth of food is written down and calculated. Any deviation from that plan leads to instant panic. Yes, my meal plan is higher than it used to be. It includes foods like Oreos, chocolate, and snack foods. But, if something that I want doesn’t fit, I am not okay with eating it anyway. If I change my mind about a food, I must first consult the plan before actually eating the food.

I became very aware of this yesterday. Every week D and I make a menu. This week we were supposed to have fish tacos. Long story short, our normal grocery store was closed and the one we went to didn’t have our usual tilapia, so D bought a different (breaded and marinated) kind.

When I was calculating my macros yesterday, I noticed that one piece of tilapia was over double the macros it usually is. I panicked. Quickly, our favorite fish taco meal turned into a piece of tilapia and some quinoa – that’s the only way I could get it to fit my macros.

Throughout the day I was angry – I wanted fish tacos for dinner. That was what I had planned on and what I was looking forward to. Lunch was lacking due to the high dinner macros and after lunch I wasn’t satisfied. I found myself going back to the pantry again and again trying to find something to make me feel better. But, I only felt worse.

Instead of being proactive and realizing this spiral I was in, I let it get the best of me. When I wasn’t in the pantry, I sat on the couch sulking or sleeping – sleeping is usually one of my semi-negative coping skills because I use it to shut everyone out.

When D got home and asked what the plan was for dinner, I told him about the macro issue. I didn’t explain how my day had taken a downward spiral because of the macros, simply that we would not be having fish tacos for dinner.

During our workout, I started talking to C and K. With a more clear head, I decided to ignore the macros for the night and eat a more filling dinner than quinoa and tilapia. It wasn’t fish tacos, but it wasn’t so blah either.

I still fought the thoughts the remainder of the night. Between knowing I went over my macros and knowing I spent a large part of my day asleep on the couch, I ended up skipping my normal protein shake. All in all, calories probably evened out at a severe cut to my protein intake. But, I was weak. I couldn’t shake those thoughts and feelings.

So, what I realized was this – even though I eat things I enjoy now, even though I eat more than I used to, I am still controlled by macros. I still wake up thinking about food. I still go to bed feeling the fat on my stomach. I still feel panicky when my macros don’t add up right. And, do I really want to spend the rest of my life like this? Hell no!

K pointed out that with time, we will stop being so reliant on macros, or whatever else we are using. That we will not be counting macros when we are 40. I hope she is right!

I had this same realization today with lifting. I enjoy lifting. I look forward to lifting. But I also see lifting as the piece of the puzzle that is keeping me healthy. So when D decided we should probably push deadlift day to tomorrow, I immediately felt the panic kick in. I took S on a run this morning, but a part of me feels like that wasn’t enough. If I start my day knowing it is a rest day then I feel safer not working out. But I started today thinking I would go on two runs and deadlift. Once that plan changed, the feeling of safety fell away.

I want to live a life at peace with myself. A life where fish tacos are okay if that is what I want, even if it doesn’t fit my macros. A life where pushing a workout to the next day isn’t a big deal. I want to realize that as long as I am eating healthy and exercising moderately most of the time, one day of being “off” won’t matter.

D and I are heading to Italy next weekend. I am beyond anxious over this trip. I’ve talked a big talk about all of the gelato, pizza, and pasta I will eat – but inside, I can’t stop thinking macros and lack of lifting. But, this is exactly what I’m talking about with this post. A vacation should be fun – not a time spent worrying about what I will eat or when I will workout. It’s going to be tough, but I know I am stronger!

“Maybe there’s a way out of the cage where you live

Maybe one of these days you can let the light in

Show me how big your brave is.” – Sara Bareilles

Today is HIIT day…

HIIT (high intensity interval training) is a form of cardio that allows you to get your heart rate up for short intervals with rest periods between the intervals. HIIT sessions don’t last long – usually a total of 10-30 minutes that look something like 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off.

HIIT can be fun because you can literally do any exercise that spikes your heart rate for that interval. You can make it interesting, mix things up, do what you enjoy!

I don’t enjoy cardio. Ever since I pushed myself to train for a half marathon with shin splints (bad idea), cardio just hasn’t felt the same. But, I want to be well-rounded, healthy, and able to run for a few minutes without feeling like I’m dying, so I come up with fun tolerable HIIT workouts!

Here is today’s:

Warm-up: 1 mile jog

30s Burpees

30s Rest

30s Thrusters w/ weights

30s Rest

30s Mountain Climbers

30s Rest

30s Jumping Push-ups

30s Rest

30s Jump Rope

30s Rest

30s Jumping Squats

30s Rest

30s High-Knees

30s Rest

30s Jumping Jacks

30s Rest

30s Flutter Kicks

30s Rest

30s Plank

30s Rest

Repeat (2x through total) for 20 minute HIIT session (plus warm-up time)

“The distance between who I am and who I want to be is separated only by my actions and words.” -Anonymous

No Equipment Workouts

The past few weeks have been tough.

I really don’t know why. I don’t even know how to explain how – they just have been.

Getting out of bed each morning has been difficult. I lay there and think about how it would be so much easier just to keep laying there. Not really sleeping, but not really fully awake. Just there.

But, eventually I get up. Usually this coincides with my puppy refusing to sleep any longer and insisting that it is time for a walk. But, ultimately I get up because I want to be prepared to lift. Lifting makes me happy. It makes me strong. It helps me cope. And I know that if I don’t get up, eat, move around, and start my day, I won’t be able to successfully lift later on in the day. So, I get up.

With that, I want to share two workouts that got me through the period when we just moved and I had no equipment. One of these is a strength workout and one is a HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout.

I want to start with these because they are the easiest to tailor to fit individual needs.

First is the strength workout.

No Equipment Strength Workout 1

3 sets

Each set to failure or to 50 reps (whichever comes first)

  • Burpees to warm-up (10)
  • Pushups
  • Jump Squats
  • Sit-ups
  • Jumping Lunges
  • Dips

I chose burpees as the warm-up because they are a dynamic move that warms up many of your muscles. If you don’t like burpees, choose another way to warm-up your body!

After warming up, complete 1 set of each of the exercises either to failure or for 50 reps (whichever comes first).

Once you make it through each exercise once, continue for 2 more sets for a total of 3 sets.

Cool down by stretching after you have finished all 3 sets.

This is a fun workout because anyone can modify it to fit their personal needs and goals! You can make it harder by pushing yourself to the 50 rep max. Or, you can make it easier by modifying the exercise (pushups off of knees instead of toes). No matter what, just make the workout fit your current ability level!

The second workout is a HIIT workout.

25 min HIIT Session 2 (no equipment):

5 minute slow jog warm-up

15 minute interval sprints with built in HIIT

  • 30s sprint/30s walk
  • 1 minute burpees
  • 30s sprint/30s walk
  • 1 minute jump squats
  • 30s sprint/30s walk
  • 1 minute plyo push-ups
  • 30s sprint/30s walk
  • 1 minute mountain climbers
  • 30s sprint/30s walk
  • 1 minute jumping jacks
  • 30s sprint/30s walk
  • 1 minute plank to pushups
  • 30s sprint/30s walk
  • 1 minute walking lunges
  • 30s sprint/30s walk

5 minute slow jog cool-down

This workout involves a lot of the strength exercises from the first workout, but with this workout, you are constantly moving.

HIIT is meant to get your heart rate up and requires you to push yourself to a high level of intensity for 30-40 seconds.

But once again, this workout can be modified to fit your needs! Can’t sprint for 30 seconds? Try to reduce to sprint to 15 seconds and work up from there!

As with anything else, do what works for you! These workouts are designed to push you, but not to an unhealthy point. So, take it easy and go slow!

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to ask!

“Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.” – John F. Kennedy

What fuels you?

The first topic I want to hit on is fitness, lifting in particular. Fitness has always been a big part of my life. From basketball in middle and high school to running and tennis in college, I have always been relatively active. If you read my journey, you know that my mindset around fitness wasn’t always the healthiest – I tend to take things too far. Basketball practice turned into a way to burn extra calories; running turned into obsessively overtraining for races. It wasn’t until I was forced to take a step back from whatever exercise I was doing that I realized I wasn’t enjoying it anymore. This was most evident in running.

I thoroughly enjoyed running – I experienced the runner’s high, I loved the feeling of finishing a race, but eventually all of that didn’t matter anymore. Once I pushed myself too far, once I overtrained, it took the fun out of running. Running became a chore – I ran so that I could eat, and I ate so that I could run. If I couldn’t run, I didn’t eat, or I had a bad day. Eventually, I trained so much that I developed shin splints. I still wasn’t at a point where I could listen to my body, so I continued training until I developed a stress fracture. I couldn’t run anymore. At least not for a while. During that time, I found other ways to move, exercise, and have fun. I didn’t enjoy not being able to run, I was not happy with my treatment team at all, but I dealt with it. Once I was given clearance to run again, I realized that it wasn’t something I enjoyed anymore. I’ve tried to pick up running again – there are races I want to participate in, but generally, it just doesn’t do it for me anymore!

Last year, I started lifting. First, I started in a BodyPump class at my gym. I wasn’t lifting very heavy, but I was lifting many reps, and my body responded. I enjoyed lifting. I enjoyed pushing my body in ways I hadn’t before. I enjoyed feeling sore the day after. I enjoyed not feeling like I needed to lift everyday in order to maintain a certain level of fitness. After months of participating in BodyPump, and doing some things on my own, I decided to purchase some personal training sessions. I started lifting heavier weights, I started seeing my body change in response, I loved it!

This time, I was determined not to ruin another enjoyable form of exercise for myself. I listened to my personal trainer about how often to train and how much fuel (food) my body needed. This was incredibly hard because I know this stuff! I can give friends and family tons of advice when it comes to eating “right” and exercising. But, when I tried to give the same advice to myself, I never trusted it. I am grateful that I had a trainer I trusted. Someone who knew my journey and could tell me to “get out of my head” and follow her advice.

Lifting became my hobby, my sport, my motivation to keep trudging through recovery. My squat max became more important than the number I saw on the scale. My deadlift max was fueled by an increase to the most calories I had ever eaten in a day. Everyday was and is still a fight, but I have something to fight for.

Lifting showed me that my body is a badass machine, capable of so much more than I ever thought possible. I starved, beat up, made fun of, destroyed my body for years, but instead of holding onto all of that negativity, it happily accepts the fuel I provide it, carries me through life each day, and powers through my workouts.

Lifting gave me hope. Lifting makes me feel strong, even on days where I feel weak. Lifting provided me with an outlet for frustration, a realization that food is indeed fuel, and the courage to try new things, including eating more without constantly worrying. Lifting has been my lifesaver.

I am going to start posting some of my favorite workouts. But in order to do so, I first need to provide a disclaimer:

This blog provides general information about health, fitness, and other related subjects. The content provided in this blog is the opinion of the author and is not a replacement for medical advice. If the reader has a medical concern, he or she should consult with a licensed physician or healthcare worker.

Please consult with a medical physician before beginning any type of lifestyle change including, but not limited to changes in diet, workout/exercise programs, and/or recovery practices. The author claims no responsibility for any injury that may occur from use of provided workouts. Content from this blog should not be considered a substitute for medical advice.

I will end on this quote by Jim Rohn – “Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to life.”