Rest days (insert teenage emo eye roll here).
I don’t enjoy rest days. Not gonna lie. I rarely take a full intentional actual rest day. I enjoy active recovery- swimming, Bootcamp, PiYo. But to take a day where I don’t work out at all and let my muscles take a breather? Don’t do it nearly as often as I should.
But I took one today. And I’m going to take one next week, and the week after that. Because doing the Wendler program (also known as 5-3-1) EXHAUSTS my muscles! And my body is TIRED! And if I take today off, then my body can recover from tearing and building muscle, and then I can bust ass and kill the rest of the week. And that is way more important than “getting a workout for the sake of working out”.
Wake up early and workout before your brain realizes what you’re doing.
I am strangely a morning person. But I do like to not that snooze button! Like, a LOT! But in light of yesterday’s post about positive reinforcement, there is NOTHING more rewarding or energizing than kicking ASS first thing in the morning!
In fact it’s very difficult for me to be in a bad mood after a morning WOD. It happens, but it’s extremely rare.
Plus, I get to work early and all ready to face the day full force!
Today’s was a great example. Didn’t Rx, but I did push myself at 65 lbs for push press and sumo deadlift high pulls. And I feel I rocked the AMRAP with 3 rounds + 4 reps (100 m and 3 burpees).
It was a great feeling to finish and be alert and awake for the day.
What wakes you up in the morning?
The other day I had a dream where I witnessed a man being tortured so he would help his torturers with something. When given the chance to talk to some authority figures, I asked them how well punishment was working for them and then talked to them about positive reinforcement and how much more effective it is in changing behavior, teaching, and for getting what you want. That was the basic gist of the dream although there were tons of details I’m leaving out right now.
In fitness and creating healthy habits, it’s important for you to reinforce yourself. And more important not to punish yourself. Why would you repeatedly do exercise if you loathe the activity? What would motivate you to keep going? Nothing, that’s what.
Reinforcement is incredibly individualized too. What is reinforcing for me might not get results with someone else.
What I find reinforcing and encouraging to me is actually quite interesting. A really challenging workout is incredibly reinforcing for me, especially when I finish, and most especially when I do it well. Nothing gets me more pumped and energized!
During a workout, I don’t find people watching me very reinforcing. But having someone NOTICE that I just lifted a heavy weight or hit a milestone and saying “good job” is extremely motivating.
Fist bumps sound lame, but when my coach gives me one, I feel on top of the world!
I’ve experienced the other end of the spectrum before as well. Where you are penalized with burpees for being late to a workout, or you weren’t doing an exercise quite right and the trainer called you out in front of everyone. I’ve been shamed and guilted into exercising, but as you can imagine, that usually doesn’t work out so well. I lose momentum quickly and motivation goes out the window.
I don’t expect everyone to love working out quite like I do. But you’ll find certain ways in these routines that are very satisfying and you’ll start craving them as much as any other treat.
Go ahead and reward yourself with a great big cup of “YOU’RE AWESOME”!
Just keep swimming!
Today I swam. I got my base time for a mile, and I’m pretty satisfied with myself- 37:08.97. That’s a very decent base time and it’s not going to be easy to shave off a lot of time, so I’m going to have to work extra hard if I want to meet my goal.
Swimming is an interesting subject for me. I absolutely love doing it. I sometimes think I’m more at ease and more natural in the water. I jokingly say my middle name isn’t Grace because I’m such a klutz, but in the water it’s a completely different story.
I’ve always been drawn to water. I knew as early as five years old I was going to work with marine mammals. I became a swimmer and I was damn good!
So why don’t I swim more often? I give myself the excuse it takes so long- to get ready and afterward to get dressed again. And sharing lanes is not my forte. But the real reason is so much dumber. My subconscious doesn’t like remembering how good I used to be and how natural it is for me to be in the water because I don’t have those things. I quit swimming in high school and I regret it almost every time I enter the water. I could have gone to the Olympics. I don’t swim with dolphins or belugas anymore. I haven’t dove in over six years.
These things do race throughs mind when I’m swimming. I won’t lie. But today I pushed through the negativity, finished my mile, and felt good. As soon as I got home I filled out a volunteer form for Seattle Aquarium. Chris proved he was the love of my life by getting my refresher for scuba diving course taken care of for my birthday. And I swam a mile in under 40 minutes. This is bliss. This is my happy place. My subconscious can suck a big fat one because I love being in the water. I’m going to start diving again and I’m going to be around marine life again, even if it’s just as a volunteer.
All I need to do is just keep swimming!
I think I’m already starting to look at every moment in my day to help motivate and encourage me to increase my fitness and healthy lifestyle. I even related my dream this morning to fitness, and maybe I’ll write about it soon, or even tonight, but what I want to talk about are my NEW TOYS! That I MADE MYSELF!!!! Aren’t they beautiful?
When you look for medicine balls for performing wall balls or medicine ball cleans, you’ll find that most of them cost around $50-60. These two that I just made cost me a total of $25. The most expensive part was the pretty duct tape!
I bought a couple of basketballs from a thrift store, cut holes in them large enough to fit a funnel into, and filled them with sand. I weighed them out to 15 lbs, and then covered the hole with tape and then wrapped them completely with the decorative duct tape.
And Bob’s your uncle- homemade medicine balls.
Now, I won’t be able to do any ball slams with these, or try to throw it overhead, but it’ll be perfect for Russian twists, partner passes, or a stabilizer for floor wipers. I’m sure I can think of a few other fascinatingly wonderful exercises to use with these also!
Can’t wait for Monday’s zoo Bootcamp!
Today I woke up excited about my appointment I had with a personal trainer. I “knew” it would be what I’d write about today. And then i received the call saying it was cancelled. Well, what am I supposed to do NOW?
What else is a girl supposed to do? She goes shopping!!!
I bought these shirts at Target (pronounced tar-jheh) and I can’t wait to wear them to the gym! Especially the Thor shirt when I’m lifting with Chris ! And just because I know you all care deeply about the subject, I also bought super adorable underwear!
No siriusly, check these out! I have MINION underwear!!!!
Ok, ok, so what does new clothes (and adorably awesome underwear) have to do with fitness? Everything! My frame of mind wasn’t deterred by my appointment getting cancelled. I still worked out (and PR’d my shoulder press and Back squat to boot). But I had a gap of time to fill and instead of doing something unhealthy, or just laying around the house, I got out and did something great for myself. And the clothes are definitely fitness based!
I also got a nice workout shirt that I’m currently wearing for only $6. SCORE!
New clothes, new year, new motivation!
Did any of you get new workout gear for the new year?
Today, being the first day of the year, of the challenge, and everything, I decided to chart some progress in my workout exercises. Crossfit boxes often have a whiteboard to mark high scores and achievements by their members, so I decided to take some time out off evening to see where I stand on some of the more popular movements.
Here are my scores for today. I’m not judging myself on any of these, even if I had hoped I would have done better in some of them. This is strictly preliminary so as I try these out later on, I should see improvement.
500 m row- 1:57
One minute sit-ups: 37
One minute squats: 40
One minute push-ups: 25
Box jump height: 25 inches
Plank hold: 57 seconds
100 burpees for time- 9:48
Can’t wait to see my scores improve along the way!
While writing my original testimony, I had an epiphany. I found it ironic that I would join a gym called Vision Quest and then partake in an experience remarkably comparable to the Native American’s version.
Native Americans’ vision quests are based on their medicine wheel, a circle with points in each direction, with a special attribute connected with each direction, and a spirit animal that helps guide them.
The first place one starts on a vision quest is the south, the place of the mouse. They say that a mouse can’t see past it’s whiskers, so it must rely on others in order to survive. The south is a place of trust. This is an incredibly difficult attribute for me to grasp, as I’m truly the last person who would let a group of random strangers into her life. But historically, being alone has often been my downfall. That voice that sabotages every good thing in my life always creeps in and tells me I don’t deserve this, I’m not good enough, that no one likes me. But this time around, I had a support group of “random strangers” that had invited me into their lives, encouraged me, worked out with me (some of you got up at the buttcrack of dawn to do so), and accepted me. Without you, that voice would have taken over, and I would not be where I am tonight. So I Thank you for teaching me that friendship and trust are risks worth taking.
The next stop is the West, the place of the Bear. The bear is a strong animal, but not just physically. The bear displays inner strength as well.
The trainers here have been my bear guides. Whether that was playing the role of my awkward and suggestive nemesis, or positively encouraging me to push through mental blocks during your grueling bootcamps, you taught me that I can do anything I put my mind to. I mean, you got me to RUN! Without a dangerous animal chasing me!
The confidence you taught me helped in more than just my fitness goals. About midway through this challenge, I went on a little sojourn across the pond to Ireland and England in pursuit of a dream. If it hadn’t been for you believing in me, I wouldn’t have to tell you how much I’ll miss you all at this time next year, as I’ll be participating in a program that will very likely lead to a permanent position at the Dublin Zoo. And you all played an important role in my achievement, giving me the inner strength to succeed.
After finding inner strength, a person ventures on to the East, the place of the Eagle. Here, the eagle flies high, and can see the whole picture. It sees the truth and how everything fits together. And I have one hell of an eagle guide, folks.
Gareth, you wanted to be my nemesis, but after all you’ve done for me and all we’ve accomplished, I could never view you as a nemesis.
When I came here, I was lost. I mean, literally lost, I had no idea what I was doing, or where anything was. I was lost, and you gave me direction.
One of our first sessions together, you called me OLD! And, looking back, maybe I was old. But I don’t feel old anymore: you have provided me with a fountain of youth.
I was down, and you lift me up. Sometimes you simply lower the weight so I can lift myself up, but you are there giving me that boost.
But the most profound change you have given me is my perception of myself. For the first time, I see myself for who I am, and I can say it because I believe it- that I am a beautiful woman.
For most people on a vision quest, the east is as far as they go.
But there are a rare few that find themselves venturing to the north, the place of the buffalo. The native Americans have a term for buffalo in their culture. It’s “Tatonka”, but it doesn’t mean buffalo. It actually has two meanings. The first is “teacher”, and it’s a respectful term for an animal they so heavily depended upon.
The other meaning is for those that have gone to north, and have had such an experience that they are not the same person as before. They are Tatonka, the Wounded Healer. And it is their responsibility to share their experience, strength, and hope with others. I am standing here tonight to share with you my journey. I have come through the other side and discovered that this experience has changed every fiber of my being. I AM a Wounded Healer, and I invite you to join me in your own quest. You will make new friends, find inner strength, and discover the beauty that resides in all of us. And I can’t wait to greet you with open arms on the other side.
If you know me well, you know 2013 wasn’t my best. The end got a little better, as I joined a gym and started doing better in my fitness. And I started seeing a chiropractor, which has helped my back and knee tremendously. But 2013 is never going down in the history books as a great year. So 2014 is GOING to be better! I have a huge, ambitious list, but honestly? I think it’s doable.