Tag Archives: #exercise

Good or BEST?

11 May

 

I read a quote this morning by Steven Covey [you know- the author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People] and the last line of it REALLY REALLY struck me.  Here’s the quote:

“You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage – pleasantly, smilingly, nonapologetically – to say ‘no’ to other things. And the way to do that is by having a bigger ‘yes’ burning inside. The enemy of the ‘best’ is often the ‘good.’

 I read the last line over and over: The enemy of the “best” is often the “good.”  and realized how absolutely true it is.  I can’t tell you how many times I have encountered people who are satisfied with being just “good.”  They have come to terms with the (false) belief that they can’t feel their “best”, so they convince themselves that settling for the “good” is okay.  This kind of defeatist attitude is more prevalent than you’d first guess.  Take a minute and think about how many people you encounter that respond to the question “How are you today” with “I’m excellent” or “I feel fabulous” or even “Best I’ve felt in years” 9 times out of 10.  Not many!!!!  Okay, okay it might be a bit cheesy to respond like that but you know what I mean.  Most people have an automatic hum-drum response that indicates they aren’t great but that “good enough” will do.

WAY too many people are okay with being less than their best. WAY too many people are okay with just getting by and being good enough.  WAY too many people are letting days slip by that they will never get back and will never have a chance to re-live.  WAY too many people will go through their entire lifetime in a dysthymic [that’s the clinician in me coming out!] state; never experiencing the full sense of being happy.

  This is really scary to me because if YOU don’t believe that you can be your best, how can you expect anyone else to truly believe it?! I’m not saying you need to wake up every day and have your BEST workout or get a PR.  You don’t need to eat absolutely 100% clean each and every single day.  You definitely do not need to go through life mistake and worry free.  $h!t happens, I sure know that; we are all human and nobody can be their BEST every day.  But we all have to try & reach to FEEL our best every day when we get out of bed.  Waking up and starting anew with a positive mental attitude is what separates the champions from the people who never see the play-offs.  Having the skill to do something is half the battle, but having the focus, drive & mental determination  is what makes goals happen.  Believing that you CAN achieve what you want is going to keep you in the game long after your body thinks its time to give up.

Have you been settling for being “good”?? Or are you someone who is after being the BEST you can be every day??  As we say here at Lucky13Fitness: To BE your best, you gotta BRING your best!!!

Have an AWESOME Friday, everyone!!!!!!

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The 4 P’s

1 May

Sometimes it’s hard to juggle all the things life throws our way; work, school, relationships, family, friends, extracurricular commitments, volunteering, eating well, exercise, training for an event, and SLEEP! It can be overwhelming and frustrating. 

I’ve been feeling a bit this way lately and it sure puts a damper on my mood.  Just as my family and friends predicted, working a full-time job, trying to open a personal training studio and training for a triathlon simultaneously has been an ENORMOUS challenge.  Lately, it seems that there’s just not enough hours in the day to get the items on my “To Do” list done.  And the list just keeps growing!  If I feel on top of things in one area, it is almost always at the expense of something else.  So, when I examine the greater picture I’m almost always disappointed with myself and what I didn’t get done.  This is a recipe for a downward spiral disaster.

Today, I decided that I’d had enough feeling badly for myself and that, come hell or high water, I was going to pull myself OUT of this mental funk I’d gotten into.  I reminded myself of  The 4 P’s and tried to put them into action.  Taking a moment to think about The 4 P’s has helped me in times of high stress before, and this morning it didn’t fail!  I thought I’d share:

The 4 P’s

Prepare:  This is a huge theme in my life.  Preparing food for the week, packing it in Tupperware ahead of time and having it set to go is something that saves me 20-30 minutes a day.  Preparing my work/gym/overnight bag(s) the night before also helps me too.  I often need to bring several changes of clothes and need outfits for biking, running, swim, etc so packing it all the night before decreases my chances of forgetting something!

Plan: This goes hand in hand with preparation.  Having a plan or structure to each day/week/month can help give an idea of how best to maximize time.  When I open my planner and see each client, workout, appointment, social engagement, etc blocked off, it helps me to see the “holes” and where I could fit things in.  “Seeing” a random half hour block between two clients reminds me that I can use that time for emails, blogging, or making sure to eat lunch!

Practice: Something I’ve learned lately is that it takes a LOT of practice to get used to a new schedule, setup or habit.  Juggling a full-time job, opening my Lucky13Fitness studio & training for my triathlon requires exquisite time management and self-discipline.  I haven’t been perfect but am learning that with time and practice, I’m getting better at prioritizing what’s most important and what can wait until the next day or week. 

*This last one has been super important to me the past few days*

Patience: They say patience is a virtue, and I’m starting to realize that statement is true!!!  Even after all the preparation, planning and practice in the world, sometimes things don’t go EXACTLY as I’d like.  I have to adjust to fit unexpected bumps in the road.  I’ve had to remind myself a LOT lately that this is part of triathlon training, part of opening a new business, and part of life.  There’s always the X-factor of the unexpected and unplanned and I can’t let it throw off my whole groove.  I’m practicing my patience by reminding myself that my schedule will change soon and that I’ll have more time for the things I need to accomplish.  Until then, I just gotta do the best I can with the time I’m given!

I hope The 4 P’s help you get through a stressful moment!  Life isn’t perfect, and as they say: Take It One Day At A Time!

I’m giving it a “Tri”

26 Apr

swim bike run

Last year I conquered the Smuttynose Half Marathon.  Training for that 13.1 mile race was one of the best experiences of my life.  It taught me so much about myself, my strength (both physical and mental), my body & my ability to persevere.  I sacrificed a lot in order to complete my training, I sustained and overcame injury & just kept putting one foot in front of the other every day of my training program.  The big day came and I ate that race for LUNCH!!! I am proud to say that I KILLED IT.

As I do every year in early January, this year I planned out my goals for 2012.  I was torn between running a full marathon and doing a triathlon.  After a LOT of back and forth, I ultimately decided to change it up a bit.  I registered for the Lobsterman Triathlon in Maine on September 15, 2012.  This is an Olympic distance triathlon [Swim 1.5K (.93 miles), Bike 40K (24.7 Miles), Run 10K (6.2 miles)] and is like NOTHING else I’ve ever done!  People have been asking me WHY in the world I’d register myself for an Olympic distance triathlon without ever having done one before, and these have been my reasons:

1) I know I can run a marathon…I am a runner, running comes easy to me and I enjoy running.  I know that I could do 26.2 with the proper training.  I also know that I would probably exacerbate the injuries I sustained while training for my half marathon by the sheer volume of running required for the race.

2) I grew up around a pool [and can do a MEAN cannonball] but have no proper swimming technique or form.  I want the challenge of learning a new sport and skill while incorporating it into my training program.

3) The cross-training will be much more beneficial in the long run for my body [I have tendonitis in my left ankle and a partially torn meniscus in my right knee].  A training program that includes biking and swimming in addition to running is a well-rounded approach that will help my body.

4) Though I’m registered individually, I am doing my training with a group of friends and it makes us a “team” of sorts.  I miss being part of a team, and my Tri Team motivates me, holds me accountable, and makes it SO much more fun.

5) I like challenges.  Even more, I like BIG challenges.  And an Olympic distance triathlon is just that!!!

There you have it.  I’m registered for the September event and have already registered for 3 sprint triathlons over the summer to help prep! Sprint triathlon training has just started and I am looking forward to a fun summer with my team!  I will be blogging along the way- sharing stories, successes, setbacks, silliness, photos, frustrations, accomplishments, etc.  I would love to hear stories or tips from anyone who has done a triathlon, or anyone who is currently in training!

Please leave questions and comments below!!

Things to keep in mind…

21 Apr

Once you’ve established a goal- of any kind- your job is to STICK to it, no matter what.  At the start, the goal (as well as the process getting there) always seems new, sexy, and exciting.  However, after things stop being easy, and you are forced outside your comfort zone, many people start to second guess whether or not the goal is worth it.  When it STOPS being easy & it starts being WORK; that’s when results happen; that’s when transformation begins; that’s when faith, patience, trust & commitment are tested.

So read these wise words over and over…. at the start, when it gets a little tougher & most importantly- when you don’t think you can go on any longer.  Read these words and push through!!

 

inspiration

Nothing is for Everyone

6 Apr

As you may have read in my previous blog posts, I have been on the Paleo Diet for Lent this year.  I did so because many friends, clients & family members have asked me about it and want to know “Is this a good diet?” and “Should I go on this?”  My answers came from a limited knowledge base, and the more I heard about the buzz of the Paleo Diet, the more I wanted to see about it for myself.  It has been nearly 40 days (the duration of Lent) and I can honestly say that I have never felt better.  It did take a LOT of research, reading, digging, and self-teaching before I realized exactly how this “diet” would work for me.  I learned that the Paleo Diet is simply a blueprint or outline of a lifestyle that aims to mimic that of our caveman (and cavewoman) ancestors.  Just exactly HOW closely each person follows the blueprint is up for their own deciding.  Depending on what a person’s fitness/health goals are, different foods may be included or excluded in their diet.  It took me about a week and a half to get my personal blueprint just right.  Within 2 weeks I’d shed 5lbs [body fat, NOT muscle] and felt leaner, stronger, faster & tighter than ever before.  I was eating nutrient rich foods and felt full even though I was consuming food less often.  My experimentation with the Paleo Diet coincided with the start of my triathlon training.  I was initially somewhat concerned that without starchy carbohydrates I wouldn’t have enough energy to get through my long workouts.  But this was not the case at all.  I simply consumed enough lean animal protein, healthy fats, and fruits/veg that I was fueled up enough to do whatever my workout required.  Another great thing about the Paleo Diet is that I managed to cut WAY down on my caffeine intake.  Instead of 2 cups at home in the morning plus a Starbucks run or two while at work, I have cut down to my 2 cups before I leave the house.  If I get a craving to take a field trip to Starbucks, I get myself a decaf tea.  I discovered that for me, it was more about the routine of taking a break and going to Starbucks than it was actually about getting some more caffeine in my body.  Subsequently, I have been sleeping better.  My body is appropriately tired at the end of my long days and I am able to get to bed at a reasonable hour.  I am getting 7-8 hours of sleep each night which seems to be exactly what my body needs.  On the odd night I get 6-6.5 hours of sleep, I definitely feel it the next day, so I make every effort to avoid this.  I also have become very specific about my alcohol intake.  I do not normally drink a lot at all, but I decided to narrow my choices to tequila (because it comes from the agave plant) and wine (because it comes from grapes).  I have cut out beer (with the exception of my Colorado trip) and all other types of alcohol.  I don’t drink with much regularity, especially now during triathlon training, but I opt for the Paleo friendly choices when I do have a drink.

All in all, I am VERY satisfied with the Paleo Diet.  I plan on continuing this lifestyle even after Lent is over.  For me, it has worked great.  I can honestly say that I feel the fittest, strongest, and BEST I have in my life.  My skin is clear, my energy is up, my workouts are stellar & I’m ready to take on the challenge of triathlon season!!  Now, let me say that the key parts of the above sentence are the words “For me”.  I know that the Paleo Diet works for me because I have tried it and have felt the results.  That being said, I still stand by the notion that nothing is for everyone.  No single workout, diet, approach, plan or lifestyle will work for everybody.  It just won’t.  While the Paleo Diet has been a tremendous success for me, it has turned out to be just the opposite for others.  

My sister, Jessie, has found this out the hard way.  With her sister and boyfriend totally immersed in the Paleo Lifestyle, Jessie gladly jumped on board and tried experimental dinners, snacks, and other Paleo recipes.  She made the switch from skim milk to almond milk, started eating more nuts and fruits for snack, cut back on cereal and bread & was always up for Paleo pizza as a Friday night treat.  What also happened during this time was that Jessie was having stomach issues which grew in severity.  She originally thought she ate something at a party that disagreed with her but the symptoms lingered a little too long.  She couldn’t figure it out; she was hydrated, eating all the same foods I ate, and took her daily vitamins and probiotic pills.  The symptoms continued for a month or so, sometimes getting a bit better but worsening at other times.  Finally, Jessie went to the doctor and had a CT scan of her stomach.  She was diagnosed with Diverticulosis.  Her doctor told her that she must avoid nuts and nut butters [SO much of Paleo Diet has to do with these things] and eat a high-fiber, low-fat diet.  Turns out the Paleo Diet was making her sick; she is a perfect example of someone who does NOT do well on this particular diet.

There are many exceptions such as this for any fitness program, diet or workout there is out there.  Just because it works for your friends, colleagues, family members or the folks you see on TV, does NOT mean it will work similarly for you.  When starting something new- diet, exercise or otherwise- make sure to read, research and educate yourself on it as much as possible.  Talk to your doctor about the changes you are considering, especially if you have a medical history that is significant of anything which might be affected.  When you DO make significant changes to your workout and/or diet, be aware of how your body reacts.  Do you feel ill, run down, bloated, uncomfortable, sluggish, or unfocused?  Or do you feel energetic, strong, and healthy?  Are you able to sleep? Is your skin clear or blemished?  Your body has many ways of telling you whether or not you’re putting the right things into it.  Pay close attention.  And remember: nothing is for everybody; find the blueprint that is right for YOU!

“It’s not where you are, but who you’re with that matters”

20 Mar

 

This quote has always been a great reminder of all the wonderful people I have surrounding me in life on an everyday basis.  I don’t need to be on a tropical beach with perfect weather to be happy (though that’d be great!) & I could be caught in the rain on a crummy day instead and be perfectly content.  The difference is in the folks I have surrounding me.  The tropical beach would suck if I were with cranky, mean, selfish people.  But the rainstorm would end up being a fun adventure full of laughter if I were with friends or family members whom I love.  I’ve always tried to keep this quote at the forefront of my mind, so that when I find myself in a less-than-desirable situation, I can still find the positive in it.

This morning I came along a quote that struck a similar chord:

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great. When you are seeking to bring big plans to fruition, it is important with whom you regularly associate. Hang out with friends who are like-minded and who are also designing purpose-filled lives. Similarly, be that kind of a friend for your friends.”
– Mark Twain

I read the quote a few times and realized what a deep connection it has to achieving goals of everyday life.  Whether the goals are related to fitness, healthy living, career, relationships, hobbies or anything else, this quote absolutely applies.  I think we all, at times, underestimate or disregard how much influence those around us have on our everyday decisions and goal achievement.  At first thought, you might think your friends’ unhealthy eating habits, frequent partying or disregard to their career won’t affect you and your journey.  You may have the willpower and resolve to politely decline invitations to party or hit up happy hour after work in favor of putting in extra time at the office or getting to the gym.  But, truthfully, how long can that endure?  When you DO see these friends, will you have much to talk about?  I believe that friends truly bond through shared experience.  Some of my best friends are such because we have shared many funny/scary/crazy/difficult experiences together. Additionally, will the peer pressure eventually wear you down and encourage you to make decisions that counter the progress made toward your goals?  Will you forever be able to say “no, thank you” to a table full of nachos, beer, and buffalo wings every time you go out?  Or will you eventually give in?  Will you take smart risks in your career which may involve travel, relocating, or spending many more hours at work to get ahead when you’re surrounded by folks who aren’t career-driven and have no interest in becoming successful?

Most importantly, the people in my life (friends, family, colleagues) offer me support that helps me on the days I’m just not feelin’ it.  My friends are there to remind me that I need to keep taking steps toward my career goals, personal goals, and more.  They do so by exhibiting the same drive, persistence and positive mindset I try to maintain every day.  When one of us is feeling down, the others are there in support.  I can not imagine my life without my friends and family being there for me.  They also do so by applauding me in my successes and helping me to see the lessons in the setbacks.  Simply being in their presence helps me to stay focused, driven and on track with my goals.

Mark Twain was onto something BIG when he said that quote….I think one of the greatest gifts we can give to ourselves is the presence of amazing people in our lives.  Family, friends, co-workers, colleagues, teammates; each person you associate with should bring a bit of positive energy into your life.  So go ahead, read Mark Twain’s quote a few more times and let it sink in.  Think about the people you have the most face-time with: are they supportive and motivating?

Paleo Diet: “What do you eat?!”

13 Mar

For Lent, I decided to try the Paleo Diet and am blogging about my experiences with it.  With a few weeks under my belt, I finally have stabilized my weight and have a good grasp on what foods to eat, and how much of each food works for me.  I have incorporated this all successfully into my daily routine and now Paleo is second nature to me!

A question I have been getting from a lot of people is this: What the heck do you eat?!  As I stated in my first blog post, I have given up all dairy, legumes and grains.  What does that leave me with?  Well, I am eating a lot of lean animal protein, healthy fats, and a ton of fruits and veggies. 

PROTEIN

Things like chicken breast, grass- fed beef, fish and eggs are the main sources of my protein.  I have omitted my post-workout protein shake and now simply have some real food after I exercise, if I am feeling hungry.  I make sure to take in plenty of protein to keep myself satiated during the day.

HEALTHY FATS

In the absence of any carbohydrates from grains, my body requires healthy fats to burn as fuel.  I include a fat source with every meal.  Nuts, nut butters, avocado, olive oil and almond flour are my primary sources of fat.  This is, in addition, to any fat I get through my meat intake.  Generally, I eat very lean beef and chicken, so the fat source isn’t significant.  I have been using olive oil, primarily, but have read a lot about coconut oil.  I think this week I will buy some and try cooking with it in lieu of olive oil. [Olive oil goes rancid above 400 degrees Farenheit, so I want to try to save olive oil for room temp use, such as salad dressing].

VEGGIES AND FRUITS

I eat an enormous amount of vegetables and a considerable amount of fruit.  Since I prepare my food each Sunday for the week, I often will prepare a tray or two of roasted veg to have for the week.  Broccoli, asparagus, carrots, mushrooms, and even sweet potato.  [The sweet potato was one of those foods that I decided for myself would stay in my diet.  Some folks choose to omit them when on Paleo.  It’s whatever works best for each individual!]  I also love to sautee kale, baby bella mushrooms & shallots with a bit of oil and white wine on the stove top. 

Salads have always been a staple in my diet, and they continue to be with the Paleo diet.  I jam-pack my salad with things like: baby spinach, tomato, carrots, mushroom, red pepper, avocado, walnuts, chicken, tuna, salmon, etc.  I have made my own dressing out of olive oil, balsamic vinegar & lotsa spices!!!

As for the fruit- I have found that the decision to include or exclude fruit on the Paleo diet is very specific to the individual and her/his goals.  After doing a lot of research and reading from trusted sources, I decided to incorporate fruit into my diet.  This is mainly because I am not trying to drop a considerable amount of body fat and because I am engaging in intense exercise frequently.  Eating a moderate amount of fruit allows my body to get the natural sugars it needs to produce the energy my workouts require.  For other folks who may not be as active and who may be trying to lose body fat, the strategy would be different.  They would limit their fruit intake or omit it altogether.

CAFFEINE/ALCOHOL

These two topics were up for debate and personal “tailoring” in many of the articles, blogs, and websites I’ve visited.  I decided that it is not reasonable to cut out 100% of my caffeine intake but I have made strides in reducing it significantly.  I have 2 cups of coffee in the morning with some almond milk, and try to stick to decaf herbal tea for the rest of the day.  In the event I need a caffeine boost mid-day, I opt with caffeinated tea rather than coffee.  I am also limiting my alcohol intake to red wine or Tequila, and am allowing myself to drink on a limited basis.  This is for many reasons- the Paleo diet and triathlon training among them. 

These decisions were made by me, for me, with consideration given to my lifestyle, schedule, and realm of what I could expect of myself.  I know it is different for many folks, but for me this feels like a good happy medium.

PALEO RECIPES

Through talking with other folks on Paleo and reading blogs/websites, I have come across some Paleo-friendly recipes for treats that have been both yummy and satisfying!

Paleo Muffins
3 eggs
1 cup of pumpkin puree
2 cups of almond flour
1 tsp of baking power
1 tsp of baking soda
1/2 cup of honey
1 tbsp of allspice

Mix all ingredients without the eggs first, then mix in eggs and put in muffin tray.
350 for 20-30 min depending on your oven.   Top with nut butter, or enjoy with a piece of fruit.

“Oatmeal” Minus the Oats
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
2 tbsp ground flaxseed
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 banana, mashed
1 whole egg & 2 egg whites

1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (add more if desired)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Whisk together egg whites and almond milk and then stir in walnuts, ground flax, banana, vanilla extract, and cinnamon; blend well.
In a medium saucepan, warm the mixture on the stove, stirring frequently, until the “oatmeal” reaches the desired consistency; this should only take a few minutes.
Top with berries, nut butter, seeds, or whatever you choose!