I’m The Next YouTube Sensation

24 Aug

I like the exaggerated titles to my posts. It made you click on it….didn’t it?  ;)

So I FINALLY shot some workout/exercise demo videos this weekend. I will be posting those as soon as they are edited but I would like to post them all at once instead of only as they are done. My goal is to do about 40 total. We shall see…

In the meantime I asked my friend/camerman to shoot me discussing my long term goal.  After watching it a few times I have come to a few conclusions:

1. Filming yourself and watching it back, no matter what size you are, will always end with “Well the camera DOES add 10 pounds.”

2. I used to cringe watching myself on camera or listening to myself talk…I STILL do, but I must have a case of “I just don’t care what anyone thinks” or I’m just finally getting old enough to realize this is who I am because I am over it.  A few years ago I would NOT have posted anything like this.

3. The double thumbs-up at the end is so cheesy that I think it’s actually cute.

Enjoy!

You’re Doing it Wrong: 5 Mistakes You Make in the Gym

6 Aug

gymmistakes

I recently observed a woman about my age at the gym recently who has been doing the same “routine” every time I’ve seen her. She always seems to manage to get the bench next to me in the weight room. And she always seems to be doing similar exercises at the same time I’m doing them. But that’s where the similarities stop.

I would say this woman is probably following a Tracey Anderson-type of workout, perhaps from that blonde idiot (sorry, not sorry) herself or maybe out of a magazine. Who knows, all I know is this woman looks like she needs help. Why? She lifts nothing higher than 10lb dumbbells. When she goes to the machines, she tends to do almost all of them and puts the pin in the top (lightest) weight. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to her routine. The amount of reps is more than 20 because I literally lose count any time I attempt to count how many reps she’s doing.

I vowed to myself that if I see her one more time, which would be the third, I would go over and attempt to help her. Because maybe she just doesn’t know….

Here are 5 things that I think people do wrong at the gym. And if you think you’re doing some of these, maybe this will help you because maybe you just don’t know either!

 

  • You go in without a plan. I’m talking no plan whatsoever – no sheet of paper, no notes on your phone, no workout journal, nothing. WHY?  You travel from machine to machine. Going through the motions, staring off into space, probably making your grocery list in your head because you don’t have a plan when you go there either. You’re here to workout, put some EFFORT into it, will ya? Don’t be Mr. or Miss Random. Get in, do the work, and get out. Get an actual program from someone who knows your goals and is knowledgeable and someone you trust. Preferably a personal trainer. (Want online training? I do that now too and I’ll have videos coming soon. Click here for more information) Magazine workouts are sub par for those on a budget. If you have sworn off hiring a PT, you should invest in one or two really good BOOKS with programs that you can follow. Here are two that I’m reading right now: Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle and Strong Curves: A Woman’s Guide to Building a Better Butt and Body. Obviously men wouldn’t purchase the latter recommendation although most ladies like a man with some a strong set of glutes on them. ;)  A couple other authors I really like are Alwyn and Rachel Cosgrove. Rachel put out one of my favorite books: The Female Body Breakthrough and her hubby Alwyn wrote what I consider the bible for women lifters: The New Rules of Lifting for Women.

Not a woman and want some recommendations? Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle mentioned above is appropriate for everyone but another good one –  The New Rules of Lifting: Six Basic Moves for Maximum Muscle is geared towards men.

  • You have a routine…but it’s been the same routine for over a year. While there’s nothing wrong with being consistent, all of us could use a little update to our current programs. It doesn’t even have to be anything drastic with regards to the changes you’re making. But if what you are currently doing isn’t quite getting the job done, it’s time to update your ancient program. At the very least, you should be changing up the amount of reps or at least adding a more challenging weight. Repeat after me – Change is Good! I trained a woman recently who was doing the same program her old personal trainer had her on…3 years prior. She complained that nothing was changing at all and she was bored. No wonder! I’d be bored too if I did the same exercises day in and day out 3 years in a row too! When you can’t remember the last time you changed up the exercises in your current regiment, it’s time for an overhaul.
  • You don’t lift at all. Why are you even reading this blog? ;)  Seriously though, time to stop thinking you don’t need to lift in order to see results because I promise you, you do. Cardio will only get you so far. And no one is saying you have to lift super heavy. The woman at the gym I referenced earlier lifts nothing heavier than 10lbs. Based on appearance alone, I feel like she is MUCH stronger than that! I feel like there’s a little lion in there and it needs to roar, ha! She doesn’t seem like she has an injury that she’s recovering  from, her range of motion was fine. Perhaps she’s worried about getting “bulky.” Perhaps she doesn’t think she is CAPABLE of lifting that heavy. You have to start somewhere! You don’t need to grunt and sound like you are in pain everytime you lift…but you should look like you’re putting forth some effort to get those weights up. This is the only way you will see change. You. Need. To. Lift. Even if it’s your own bodyweight.
  • You have no idea about pre and post workout nutrition. I don’t care if you’re going for fat loss or muscle gain or maintenance – Anyone who works out knows that the best snack is your PWO snack (Post WorkOut). This is the time when you can enjoy the benefits of working up a sweat and repair those muscles. EAT your Carbs! Drink your Protein Shake! This is the BEST time to eat. I make sure I eat within 30 minutes of finishing up my workout. When I was training for my competition it would not be unusual for me to be eating my snack the MOMENT I finished my last rep, walking out the door of the gym, scarfing down that Pop-Tart or fruit snacks like they were my last meal. It was glorious! As for pre-workout, some people can get away without eating anything and still getting a good lift on but at the very least, you need to ingest some BCAA’s so you have some energy.
  • You don’t know what tempo means. I was guilty of this as well. I would get a good pump going on at the gym and go home and it was fine. But once I started getting coaching from Erik at LBC, and he instructed me on tempo when lifting, it was a game changer for me. I finally started seeing significant change in my physique. I finally started feeling a little sore too, which wasn’t a bad thing. Most of all, I FELT the muscles in my body working. You not only have to visualize your muscles working, you have to slow everything down and concentrate on the motion. Only then do you really appreciate what a machine your body is truly capable of being. Stop being in a such a rush when you lift. It just looks plain silly. Like this poor fella.

 

Accountability for the Unaccountable

30 Jul

I bought myself an accountability partner today – A Jawbone UP.  It’s very similar to a Fitbit tracking device that you wear on your wrist.  This particular one was on sale and marked down significantly at Radio Shack, plus I had a coupon (that’s a sure fire way to get me to buy something, gotta have a coupon) for $10 off. A steal!

Today is day #1 with this little gadget. I bought the warranty too because I heard how easily these things can bend and break.

You would think since I’m somewhat anti-tracking when it comes to food that I would be against using this tool. But really, I’m anti-obsessive when it comes to tracking. I would hate for any of my clients to become a slave to numbers and tracking incessantly and worrying about each and every bite of food that they take.

So when I first started tracking my intake on this, I estimated for the most part. For example, I probably had more than a cup of greek yogurt. It was maybe more like 1 and a quarter. But I logged it as a cup. Big whoop.

I also put about a dozen craisins on my salad today. (Maybe it was more like 20, I have no idea). But I logged more than that. I also logged less cheese than I had on top of it. I would never sit there and measure each and every piece of food. Not unless I was planning on competing in the near future. For all intents and purposes, it’s fine to just estimate.

Now as for my biggest vice, peanut butter.  Yeah I was accurate with that one. :/  I mean, one tablespoon is considerably different than 3 tablespoons (don’t judge me, you know you love PB as much as I do!!).

As for activity, I know these things don’t track heart rate so it’s not really possible to get a good idea of how many calories I’m burning when I’m lifting or doing cardio but again, it’s nothing to be obsessed about. I’ll enter in my stuff and see what it spits out at me.

So here’s the biggest update since the beginning of this month: My measurements aren’t too terrible.  I say “aren’t too terrible” because I’m not about to cry looking at them. I didn’t pick the best day of the month for a female to be measuring herself (sorry TMI) so I’m taking that little bit into account. But, although this isn’t indicative of someone who has been dieting, it’s okay. Because I haven’t been dieting! HA! If I’m being 100% honest I really haven’t been cutting too many calories at all, so this isn’t a huge surprise to see. This is basically my Bulk Phase 2.0.

I didn’t even flinch at 4 INCHES gained in the stomach. I have to laugh…I mean, what can ya do?

IMG_1050

Can you guess what I’m happiest about in this? The HIPS/BUTTOCKS! 1 more inch! YEAAAAHHH!!!! :)

NOW, with my little Jawbone UP tracking tool, and a new goal of another photo shoot in the FALL, I think I should be able to lose a few inches. I think maybe finally I will start taking this seriously. I have definitely enjoyed my summer haven’t I? Ph well…moving on…yet again. At least this time I have a little buddy holding me accountable. Jawbone_Up_35536649_05

Putting the fork down…and getting up off the couch. Moving on!

Oh Sh*t!: My C-Diff Saga

27 Jul

This post mentions shit alot.  And by shit I mean real shit. Like that stuff that comes out of you.  It’s one part humor, one part really serious, and one part PSA.  If you don’t like toilet or poo humor, you will not want to read this.  But if you looooove talking about shit, well then read on and try not to crap your pants.

I don’t really discuss my Ulcerative Colitis on here because it has little to do with fitness but it DOES have quite a bit to do with health. Digestive health to be exact.  And Ulcerative Colitis is a major issue. So here’s a snippet of one of the worst flare ups I’ve ever had with this crap disease (pun intended)…and how it turned into something much worse.  And how I recovered and came out a much stronger person.

Let’s get the basics out of the way real quick so we can get to the nitty gritty. What is Ulcerative Colitis? Here’s a Wikipedia definition but I describe it to people as something that exactly how it sounds: An ulcer in your colon. Very similar to Crohn’s Disease.


 

Let’s rewind the clock to 5 years ago – Mid July of 2009. I had stopped taking my UC meds (stupidly) because I was fine. I had been “battling” UC since I was 13 years old and for about 75% of the time, I was always in a remission type of state. I couldn’t even remember my last flare-up.

I was also really cheap. I wanted to save any $ I could and it just seemed silly to pay $60-$80 a month on meds that I didn’t need.

I had been working as a Personal Trainer for almost a year at a gym just a little over a mile from my condo. I was training for a half marathon. I was going out a lot, enjoying another summer in Chicago hanging with friends, going to concerts and festivals and the beach. Life was good!

I’m not exactly sure when a small flare up developed but I’m sure I just tried to take my meds to get it to just go away. Around the same time my Mom was experiencing strange symptoms as well back home in Cleveland. She was going from doctor to doctor to figure out what was wrong. And being the good mother that she was, I knew she would be worried if I mentioned how I was getting worse and worse with my UC. So I didn’t tell her or anyone what was going on. I told my GI doc at the time and he just switched up my meds a little bit.

But that didn’t help.

When left untreated, a flare-up (bloody stool is the MAIN issue here) can basically leave you completely worthless. You can’t go anywhere. You’re stuck at home because you’re either in constant pain or you can’t function without being near a bathroom. When you don’t have an office job, you cannot possibly do work from a bathroom. Just doesn’t happen.

Now, being a Personal Trainer and having a flare up with UC is bad enough. But little did I know that what was happening to me was actually a bacterial disease called C-diff forming.

C-Diff is basically one of the worst bacterial diseases you can get. It kills 14,000 people a year in America alone. It leaves you completely wasting away, it’s been known to kill people who let it go untreated or who already have compromised immune systems because of their age, and it’s actually quite common in nursing homes and facilities where patients aren’t washing their hands and are getting sick from each other.

But one of the most common ways it’s contracted is from taking antibiotics for something completely unrelated and getting a ridiculous amount of bad bacteria in your stomach. Ya know those commercials that Erin Andrews from ESPN does? Yeah we should ALL be taking probiotics. Those help to balance the good flora in our gut and helps keep really bad icky things from happening to you. So do yourself a favor go get some at your nearest drugstore.

Back to the shit…


 

As the days and weeks went on and the flare ups got worse and worse, it became clear to me this was not just a flare up. Something was seriously wrong with me and I didn’t know what to do. And being a Personal Trainer is not exactly the ideal occupation to have when you’re spending half the day in the bathroom. And everyday I was trying to train my clients who have no idea what my deal is and I have to say “Ummm I’ll be right back” repeatedly as I BOLT as fast as I can up a ton of stairs to get to the locker room to run all the way in the back to where the bathrooms are.

And here’s the worst part that anyone with Crohn’s or UC will tell you: You get all the way there and guess what?

You don’t have to go.

It’s just the FEELING of going that you have. CONSTANTLY.  But you don’t go. Notta. Nothing. Zilch.  You lose complete control of your body and I don’t mean you start convulsing or anything but you’re at the mercy of your stomach and your brain trying to communicate with you. Here’s what I imagine my stomach and my brain were saying to each other for 3 awful weeks of my life:

Stomach:  Ummm…you better find a bathroom because shit’s about get REAL.

Brain – Dammit I’m at work, can’t this wait??

Stomach – NO way!  I think there’s something percolating.

Brain – Seriously?? Fine…

Stomach – Better hurry!!

Brain – Aww crap. Here we go…

Stomach –  Hey guess what? I totally tricked you. There’s nothing there. You haven’t eaten anything in like, a day. HA!

Brain – Oh come on!!! I just rushed in here for nothing!

Stomach – I know…it’s hilarious right?

Brain – I hate you. You’re an asshole.

Asshole – Nope that’s me. And hey I’m at the end, this isn’t my fault. Tell it the large intestine, he started it.

Stomach – Hey Brain!!  Gotta go again!!!

Brain – Sigh….come on. I was JUST in there…what am I supposed to do? Just STAY in here?

Stomach – Not my problem!  But you better just hang out in here.  This could go on all day, hahahhahha!

Brain – This is exhausting.

So that’s the conversation my body had with itself for about a month. End result? Two accidents. Thank the Lord I wore BLACK. (and thank you Oak Park Fitness Formula Clubs for making black pants the required uniform) because walking down the street and realizing that you are a grown adult and THAT just happened?!  Not something you can really discuss with anyone.

“How was your day?”

“Oh ya know the usual…Pretty much a hum-drum kinda day, did some laundry, went to the drugstore, shit my pants, trained a few clients…”

Awesome.  And the second time it happened I was wearing WHITE.  White pants. And I was on the EL praying to God to please please please don’t let this happen to me in public. PLEASE let me get to my house in time. OMG I cannot shit myself in WHITE pants on the damn subway. I just cannot.

I made it home in the nick of time. But that was the last straw. I called my doc and said “Something is wrong. This is not normal for a 30 something year old woman to do twice in one week. This isn’t normal for ANYONE! What is going on with me?”

He wanted to put me on new meds but I didn’t think it was going to work. I felt fatigued. Weak. Lethargic. I was always tired and took naps but never felt well rested. I was always thirsty. Always. But water didn’t do anything for me. So I drank pop. Then I drank OJ. Then I drank Gatorade. Then I drank more water. Half empty bottles of all of this sat by my couch. I called my sister and told her “I think I’ll just wait this out.”  She said I sounded terrible.  Like there was something in my voice that told her this was more than just feeling sick. I said I felt a little dizzy and was going to lay down for awhile.

I called the doctor instead and said “I think I need to admit myself into the hospital.”

I’m so stubborn I didn’t even ask for a ride to the hospital. I took the EL two stops and shuffled my way into the ER. I sat down and told the dude my problem.

I was admitted and given an IV by the nurse who said “Honey…you are completely dehydrated. I can tell just by looking at your veins.”

It made sense…The half drank beverages sitting in my fridge, the confusion, the lethargy, the weakness.

The minute she gave me fluids I felt much better. I even got a sandwich and started to feel like I was going to be okay.

That lasted about an hour before I felt back to feeling awful.

I got weighed in at 119lbs. I never really weighed myself but I know for a fact I was at LEAST 135lbs prior to getting sick.

I got into my room and thought I would just stay there until they tell me what’s wrong with me.

 


 

I spent the rest of the night trying to coordinate with my family how they would come see if. I told them they didn’t have to, that I would be fine, but they insisted. My Dad wasn’t working at the time so he drove the minute I told them I was going to the hospital and arrived from Cleveland to Chicago shortly after visiting hours were over.

I don’t think I’ve ever felt so awful in my life. Not knowing what was wrong with me, assuming it had to be either colon cancer or stomach cancer, completely fatigued and out of breath just from going about 10 feet to the bathroom (probably didn’t actually GO TO the bathroom just walked in and walked out because that was the routine for so long).

Here’s how I tried to explain this experience to people:

Think of a time where you felt really nauseated. Now think of a time when you felt like you were so hungry you would eat anything. Now think of a time when you were so hot and thirsty you felt like you were hallucinating from being dehydrated. And now think of the last time you felt like you could sleep for days. Got all that? Now picture trying to eat, and you can’t even chew or bite into anything, not even jello, because the nausea comes right back.  And now think of how it feels when you have to go to the bathroom or else you’re going to explode…and you don’t. And now think of getting some sleep and lying down and closing your eyes, but you can’t do that either.  That’s how it felt for 6 days straight.

In the meantime, I couldn’t text or talk to anyone because the words on the screen and just picking up the phone to talk made me sick to my stomach and dizzy.

When people do came to visit they have to wear those hospital gowns because I’m now quarantined.

The nurses come in every 4 hours to take my temperature and draw my blood. So if I wasn’t weren’t awake then, well, I am now.

I was given a menu of items for breakfast lunch and dinner and would circle what SOUNDED like good food, but I couldn’t keep anything down.

Three days after being admitted, I am officially diagnosed with C-Diff. You’d think I’d be relieved, Finally I know what’s wrong with me!  I was familiar with the disease because my Mother had gotten it in 2007 when there was an outbreak in Northeast Ohio. She got it from taking an antibiotic (although most doctors won’t admit that).

I probably got it because I made a very stupid mistake: I stopped taking my UC meds. So when I did get a flare up and didn’t do anything about it, it just got worse and worse.

The moment my Mom was able to come see me she flew out of Cleveland and came directly from the airport to see me. She walked in the room holding a stuffed elephant and I broke down and told her “I have C-diff!”

I don’t really remember HER reaction as much as I remember crying for no real reason. I think it was a combination of knowing I could have probably prevented this had I just taken my meds but also just emotion from seeing my Mom. Who doesn’t want to see their mom when their sick?

The next couple days just sort of blend into one another. I had to wait until the meds they were giving me somehow proved I was getting better. They gave me Flagyl, pretty sure through an IV.  (By the way, I nicknamed my IV stand.  I called it Ivy. You know you’re losing your mind when you’re naming your IV stand. I would say “Let’s go Ivy, we gotta walk to the bathroom now”…and I would roll it with me to the bathroom where nothing would happen of course and then I would roll her on back with me to the bed where I would plop down and feel like I just ran a mile).

I’m pretty sure talking to yourself comes hand in hand with being sick and in a hospital.

I would pass the time by either listening to my iPod or just trying to sleep or a combination of both. Now, listening to the songs that I listened to in the hospital bring me right back to that hospital bed and that time in my life. There was nothing for my parents to do but just sit there with me and I felt bad that they couldn’t do much. They wanted to help but there was nothing to say or do. I just wanted to sleep. But slowly the feelings of wanting to sleep went darker to feeling of just wanting to die.

I vividly recall lying in the bed, wimpering from pain, and telling my Mom I would never wish this experience upon anyone. That I would rather be in labor pain and giving BIRTH instead of being in the current situation I was in. And this is coming from someone who doesn’t want kids. I wanted to FEEL something other than the emptiness and weakness I was experiencing at that moment.

I felt so weak and sick that I looked up at her and said:

“I just want to die.”

And I meant it.

The minute those words were spoken my Mom came over and sat down next to me on my hospital bed and said “Don’t say that. Don’t ever say that, it’s going to be okay.”

This is an important part of this story because what I haven’t told thus far is that my Mom had been sick for months without knowing what was wrong with her. I called my sister and my Dad when I was feeling sick because I didn’t want to upset my Mom. She was going through something much worse that I didn’t know about…But I would find out in just a matter of days.

I don’t know how it was determined that I was okay to go home. I think I managed to finally eat something without throwing it up.

I don’t know what I weighed when I left that hospital but I THINK it had to be about 109lbs. Looking at pictures of myself (this is 2009 folks, Selfies weren’t popular yet) I think I weighed about 115lbs  when I got back to work here a month later.

My Mom and Dad stayed with me for about a week while I was recovering. My Dad stayed longer since he wasn’t working and I DID need someone with me while I tried to regain my strength.

Before my Mom went back she had a chat with me. She came in my room (where I practically LIVED for the next month since there was nothing to do but sleep) and said she had to tell me something important. I had a feeling it wasn’t good news. She wanted to wait until I was out of the hospital to let me know: She had just had a biopsy and found out she had lymphoma.

I don’t really remember being shocked because we all knew something wasn’t right with her. I think I was too weak to really have any real reaction. It wasn’t until way later that I thought about how I sat there and told her I wanted to DIE that I realized how unbelievably selfish I was. I had a serious disease, no doubt. But my poor mother had found out she had cancer. And here was her daughter basically whining and complaining that she wanted to end her life because of a little nausea.

While I was still recovering from the C-diff weeks later (it took me awhile to be able to walk from my bed to the kitchen to the couch without feeling faint, let alone walk to work which was a little over a mile away) I decided I was going to move home. Even if my Mom was going to get chemo and be okay, I wanted to be there to take care of her and be with my family again.

I returned to my PT job at my gym shortly before Labor Day but was too weak to really give any client a good session. My muscles had completely atrophied and I was still so weak. I developed a bad case of GERD or Acid Reflux where I felt the constant need to spit every few minutes (lovely, a real great way to get clients let me tell ya) and finally came back in mid-September to tell my manager that I was going to leave for good.

It was time to come home and be with my family.

Nothing like a serious illness to make you re-evaluate the important things in life.

So I had a party, invited everyone I had ever met in Chicago, put my condo up on Craigslist for rent, found a tenant within days and was home by the second week in October.

3 months later my Mom was given the all clear that she was in remission. We celebrated on Thanksgiving that year and she got two and a half more years of life. And we enjoyed every minute of it.

But I still think about that time in the hospital. I still think about how long it took me to recover – to even walk down the hall of my condo building wasn’t possible for days. How I was out of breath so easily and so weak for so long. How I would lay on my couch and watch reruns of Perry Mason and Twilight Zone, wishing I could feel strong enough to go back to work. How my first REAL meal after I got my appetite back was a Medium Domino’s Pizza that I ate in one sitting all by myself. How I appreciated FOOD so much more after that. How much I missed running and never ran that half marathon…but I ran a full marathon less than 7 months later – raising money for Lymphoma.

My Mom was right – everything did turn out okay for me. I started a new life back home in Cleveland and I don’t plan on leaving home anytime soon. I have a great job, I’m on a very good medication for my UC that I take intraveneously every 8 weeks, I’m healthy, I’m happy, I’m alive and I’m okay.

Life can be kinda crappy at times. But having been so sick at one point in my life, and watching my own mother pass away, death isn’t something I would ever WISH to happen to me before I’m ready.

As simple as it sounds, Life is really a gift. I will never throw it away over a little bit of shit.


Want to know more about C-Diff? Check out

Want to know more about Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis? ccfa.org

Want to know more about how awesome probiotics are? www.lifetime-weightloss.com/blog/2010/8/1/benefits-of-probiotics.html

Here’s to your GUT health. :)

 

 

The More You Know, the More it Sucks

13 Jul

So I kinda figured out this whole fat loss/dieting thing. I actually figured it out a long time ago, but unfortunately, it just took me until NOW to realize how much it really sucks.

See, there’s really no big secret to losing fat and keeping it off. We all know it’s basically being in a caloric deficit. And yes it requires hard work and patience and time and effort of course.

But to finally finally FINALLY understand that you cannot possibly see good results without adhering to your diet at least at an 85-90% compliance rate 100% of the time?  Well, that’s the part that really sucks.

Here comes the whining (I’m really good at complaining, so brace yourself).

So now I gotta get back to being the tupperware queen again. Now I have to resist the urge to eat something I’m not really supposed to. Now I have to toss the peanut butter that calls my name when I’m not even hungry at night. Now I have to suck it up and just deal with hunger sometimes. (Not starvation, let’s be clear).

I finally understand how most of my clients feel MOST of the time. I’m struggling like they do. I’m frustrated like they are. I’m cheating as many times if not more than they are on the weekends.

And here we go again on Monday morning, starting over. This time we will be 100%. This time we won’t cheat. This time we will prep our foods. This time we’ll get our workouts in. This time we’ll try really really hard and we will not fail.

But a few days or maybe if I’m lucky, a few weeks might pass and I’ll be back here again, repeating the same thing.

So goes this whole dieting thing.

And there’s really no other words of wisdom to share with this. There’s no big revelation. There’s nothing more to say other than THIS. SUCKS.

 

When All Else Fails, Stop Trying So Hard.

6 Jul

Three-feet-from-gold

You know how many times you have to fail at something in order to be successful? I don’t know the exact number, as I’m sure it’s different for everyone. But let’s just agree that it’s probably a very high number. Most people just stop and give up at whatever it is they are shooting for because of numerous failures.

But what would happen if you just “sorta tried?”  Like a half-ass attempt? You’d probably get half-ass results. But wouldn’t that be better than NO results?

Here’s where I’m going with this argument:  What if people just stopped trying SO hard to be perfect all of the time with reaching their goal?

For some (relevant to this blog and myself) it’s always about diet. And eating and maintaining perfectly 100% of the time. I know this isn’t possible so I usually shoot for 90% of the time. But for others it could be their mission to find the perfect mate. Or for others, they really want to get a promotion at work. So we try and we work really really hard and we might have a good week or a good month or just a good day and what happens? We get zero results. We don’t lose an inch. We go on a ton of dates and find no matches. Our boss doesn’t notice all the overtime we put in. No change, nothing.

Now most people give up completely. Throwing in the towel after just a few attempts. Others might try again and and again and come up short again and again. But what if we just stopped trying SO hard. And we tried just a little bit? I’m talking minimal effort.

For the dieters – we aim for for even lower – 80% adherence. For the workaholics, we don’t stay at work until the wee hours of the morning. We just stay long enough to what MUST be done and nothing more. For the serial daters, we cancel our online dating profiles and just hang out with friends.

So see, once the pressure is off to be 100% all of the time, you can relax and let the process happen organically. The point is, you can’t possibly aim to be 100% perfect all of the time because something else in your life with lose attention and will fall apart – lack of sleep due to staying at work late, less money in the bank by going out on all these dates looking for Mr/Mrs Right, no social life because you can’t stick to your diet when you’re out with your friends.

When your energy is focused solely on this one goal, the rest of your priorities get a little lost and put aside. But when you step aside and relax a little bit, the pieces fall into place. This isn’t about giving up – it’s about giving just a PART of you to your goal and not your entire self. Just a piece of you. And when you start to get on a roll (losing an inch or two here, getting kudos from the boss once in awhile, having a few nice dates) you’ll be glad you never gave up completely.

Sometimes, all it takes is just a little bit of effort to make a noticeable change. It doesn’t have to be full steam ahead the entire time.

Weekend in Review: The LBC/CWT Conference 2014

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This weekend I had the pleasure of attending a fitness conference put on by my coach of Lean Bodies Consulting in conjunction with their “little sister” company of Curls and Whey Training in Virginia Beach.

The conference was open to anyone who wanted to attend, not just clients. Altogether I believe there were around 80 or 90 of us total.

If I could describe the experience in one word, as a personal trainer, I would have to say Humbling. Although I would never say I’m an expert or master trainer, I thought I knew a thing or two about this whole exercise thing. ;) But I learned more from THIS conference than I have at any other Nationally Accredited Fitness Conference where you’re sitting in rooms and taking notes. This was hands-on, one-on-one training at it’s finest. You can really only learn through experience right? And that’s exactly what this conference was. I’m SO glad I went. I’ve already implemented the tips and tricks I’ve learned in my own workouts as well as with my clients.

Some highlights from the weekend:

I was thrilled to FINALLY meet my coach Erik Ledin in person. I had only known him thru Facebook and of course our online emails. He has a reputation for being quite the tough guy. And a little more than intimidating to say the least. But that’s clearly just his persona as he is the biggest teddy bear ever! ;)  I’m sure he won’t appreciate me blowin up his spot but it’s true. He’s definitely a “tells it like it is” guy and brutally honest, but it’s because he truly cares about his clients health.

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Friday was a meet and greet at a hotel downtown in Norfolk where all the coaches gathered with the attendees. After my 10 hour drive from Cleveland I was exhausted but anxious to meet everyone face to face. We had some munchies (Of course I was all about the food, diet be damned!) and chatted with everyone. Met my fave person ever Megan Donnelson which was one of my highlights since I’ve been following her since her interview on CutandJacked.com. All I could think of when I approached her was “I’m not a stalker or anything, so don’t be afraid.” LOL!

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Saturday:

Started out at The Gym Downtown in Norfolk to break out into groups.My group was Group A and our first stop was a seminar with Amy of Curls and Whey (And Erik’s wife) to discuss diet and nutrition. This woman. Wow. She speaks from the heart, she’s just a brave and wonderful soul. I love the way she addressed our questions about the diet mentality. Everyone struggles (and if you’ve been following my blog you know I have shared how real the struggle is to stay on plan) but it was good to hear it from the pros and coaches. Some of the information was not necessarily new to me and what I usually tell my own clients but it helped to have it repeated. Amy also discussed how to create a fat loss diet, how and when to implement re-feeds into your plan and why plateaus or being on a maintenance plan are GOOD things. I took lots of notes on that part as I have never done re-feeds before.

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Our next stop was Upper Body with Erik and Megan. This is where the humbling came in. And not just for me but for many of the attendees, as some of them were trainers themselves too.

Megan went over Lat Pulldowns and Erik guided us with Seated Rows. Sounds simple, right? But as they both pointed out, these are the most common exercises that people butcher in the gym. While I don’t think any of us were doing them incorrectly, per se, we learned how to do them Optimally and more Effective. I was flaring my elbows out and leaning back too far in my pulldowns instead of sticking the chest out and bringing the bar straight down. And the seated rows…HA! I just have to laugh because I felt like I was a “project” for Erik to get me to do this one correctly. “Shoulder blades shoulder blades shoulder blades!!!” :)  I will forever hear his voice in my head as I do them now. I was making this an ARM exercise and not a BACK exercise. Lesson learned!

Megan and Erik then showed us some other upper body moves to try like how to perform a Cable Fly correctly and Face pulls and Chest Presses (I was NOT squeezing the shoulder blades on this one at all, so that was a new one for me).

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After lunch was Lower Body time. My fave! Mark was the coach for this one and someone snapped a shot of me demonstrating a Single Leg Deadlift which was very fun as this was also a new way for me to try them. I like to think I know how to squat and deadlift properly and according to Mark I did well. I will now do Front Squats with straps now though, so a new tip to start trying! I really like the way Mark described RDL’s though. “It’s not how far the down the bar travels, but it’s how far back your hips come.” Perfect cue to tell those clients of mine who don’t quite understand how to do them properly.

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After this was Open Gym time so we could get our own workouts in as well as try out new stuff with the coaches right there. I got my leg workout in and added in a couple new ones as too. It was basically a free for all since about 40 of us were trying to do lower body with just a couple barbells available, but that actually made it fun and entertaining!

Saturday night was when the coaches got to show off their dance skills. I was serious when I said I wanted a Dance-Off between all the coaches so little did they know I was judging them as they made their way onto the dance floor. Here’s a snippet of the fun that was had:

 

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I considered all my dancing (sober, I might add!) as my cardio for the day. But I PROBABLY wouldn’t have stayed out until 2am knowing I’d have coach Holly’s metabolic workout the next morning. OY!

Sunday:

Sunday started with a lecture from Coaches Ileen and Steph on Thyroid and Hormone Testing, something I am a HUGE advocate of as well. Having worked at LifeTime Fitness, I have given lectures on cortisol and lab testing more than a few times so I’m very glad LBC/CWT made this part of the conference. It’s crucial to get your labs done. (Shameless plug for my affiliate company ThorneFx who provides these tests too here).

After the lecture it was time for Holly’s workout. Thank goodness for the long warm-up because I needed it. Although I drank was water all weekend, I lacked sleep. Something about not sleeping in my own bed. I was going on about 4 hours of sleep. Not that I’m making excuses! :)

Holly’s workout was AWESOME! We did 4 rounds (I think) of 10 exercises for 30 seconds on and 10 seconds off. There’s video that was taken at the conference and I’m anxious to see it because I’m sure my clients would LOVE to see me being tortured with burpees and push ups and all the lovely exercises I have them do. So clients, be assured, I got my butt kicked.

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After lunch it was time to head out. I couldn’t stay for the Roundtable discussion but I did manage to stay for the raffle and won THIS: image

Yes Peanut Butter!! HA!  I almost want to say that this was the best part of the weekend…Because we all know how much I love PB. ;)

All in all, this was an amazing, fun-filled, kick ass weekend where I met not only some great coaches but made some great friends who all embrace the LBC/CWT philosophy. I left there inspired, motivated, and re-ignited to continue to be the best personal trainer I can be to my clients. It’s all about spreading the knowledge and paying it forward. I cannot wait for the next chapter in my own transformation (August 2015 competition perhaps??) while watching my new friends and fellow PT’s take their own journey as well.

Thanks again Erik, Amy, Julie, Steph, Ileen, Holly, Megan, and Mark for putting on this conference. Awesome Awesome Awesome.

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