Fitness freaks. One crossfitter on sabbatical. Registered Dietitian. English Teacher. Sisters. Friends. Learning to cook and live life well. Daughters. Sports fans. Mountain Mamas. A hurdler. A marathoner. Cribbage gurus. Wine drinkers.

Happy, healthy girls.

Bree: Sometimes the reward isn’t physical results-

When I first began working out on a regular basis, it was something that I did to de-stress and get some much-needed alone time. After being surrounded by people and information all day, a workout in a new gym, surrounded by strangers was exactly what I needed. 

Though I still love my alone time and I look forward to any workout that brings some solitude to it, being active has brought me something new lately – the company of other active people.  Around Christmas, the other members of my family started working out regularly, so I now get to see my mom at 6 a.m. a few times a week for Spinning and we try to get in some strength-training together on the weekend. My friend (and fellow blogger), Tara, runs with me and we hit the gym a couple of times a week.  I try to drag her to dance and tone, though I know she’d rather be getting a Crossfit style workout.   My friend, Caitlin comes to D&T or Zumba, and often runs with us at lunch during work. A friend from college just signed up for her first 5k and one of my best friends in Phoenix just did his first tough mudder, so we get to share our stories of training, nutrition and motivation.

Once I made fitness part of my life, I started to notice the same interest in others and that’s exciting. Even the friends I can’t train with, I get great advice and motivation from. Those I can train with have a special place in my heart – we train, laugh, and work through things together – and that’s a huge reward.

Tara: Those of us who are active have a certain code that we live and act by. There’s something to be said for those who sweat, work, and hurt together. If pain is really weakness leaving the body, sharing that feeling with those who experience that same pain gain something when we heal and rebuild together.

Whether those are near or far.

This community is the one I choose and I wouldn’t ever wish to give it up.

Don’t even get me started…

Bree: Aah January, month of the New Year’s Resolution; how I love you!  I see and hear so much about how annoying, frustrating, typical it is to see a parking lot full of cars and rows of packed cardio equipment in January, only to have it empty out in February. Two years ago, I decided to fall in love with the gym, only I did it in May, so no one gave me any grief. That January, I stomped around the gym making monkey faces to express my irritation at having to wait for the cardio equipment, squeeze into group class space, and take turns with the free weights.  I whined to fellow gym regulars and complained to friends and family. 

This past December, I commented about the impending gym boom to a friend while changing in the locker room.  A week later, I heard a couple other women making similarly unhappy remarks and every day since January 1st, I’ve seen at least one post regarding the inconvenience of fitness snowbirds.  Over time I realized something – we’re jerks.  Relax, this isn’t a personal attack on anyone’s character; I’m simply saying that if anyone should be supportive of other people trying to improve their fitness, it should be those of us who have.  We know what it’s like to walk into a new gym, to commit to going daily and then have to pep talk ourselves into to, to take a class where the name of the game is rhythm but we’re so busy learning the steps we resemble drunken squirrels.

Any time is the right time to make a healthy change; it just happens that January gives most of us a day off from work to celebrate that change so many people opt to start then.  Is it annoying on a very selfish level to have to wait for my favorite stepper?  Yes. Could I change up the order of my workout, try a new machine, do plyo, run outside…? Of course.  Do I have to be at the gym to get my sweat on? No. I like it and I plan for it, but gyms rely on membership for revenue, so any one of those newcomers has just as much right to monopolize the free weights as I do.  So why do we judge people who are just now making the changes we’ve already put into play? Maybe it’s a territorial thing, a self-centered thing, an inconsiderate thing. Whatever it is, we should thinking about being a little more welcoming – it could make the difference for someone without us ever knowing it.

So bring on the resolutioners!

Tara: Noted, Miss Bree. And on that idea of thought… try giving someone a complitment. Just one. Today. The chances of them feeling insecure or like they want to stop coming to the gym… tomorrow because it isn’t worth it might be the day you change everything for that person.

Share a little bit of the part of life you love so much. I bet you’ll love it more - and so will the person you speak to.

"See you tommorrow!" "Great work." "Just livin’ the dream." "Hey, nice job today."   

A truly healthy diet

  • doesn’t exclude foods
  • is made up of foods, not numbers
  • is varied and flexible
  • is not restrictive
  • allows you to trust your body
  • is not obsessive
  • doesn’t use food as a reward or punishment
  • doesn’t have to be “perfect”
  • allows you to live your life, but it is not your life
  • does not exclude any food group
  • consists of foods that make you feel energized and healthy

Bree: I love this, because it is SOOOOOOO logical.  A healthy diet is based on the individual, just like some forms of fitness work better for certain people.  I also love the idea of listening to your body; I know how I feel after devouring an entire cheesecake as opposed to a piece or cheesecake or a meat and veggie focused meal rather than 3 different types of breads.  I also know that sometimes, I just want a piece of cheesecake - the idea is not to beat yourself up over it, but to determine what you do with that decision.

Tara: As a registered dietitian I have the same initial feeling about this post. It is all inclusive and well-rounded. This is what we are taught in school *especially with Bree’s comment related to portion sizes… but I’ve heard a variety of other ideas on the subject as well.

Think of how fitness competitors eat? Scaled amounts of meat and vegetables. Or the Crossfit Paleolithic diet. I really think how and what you eat is important in helping you to reach whatever goal you have set for yourself. If you don’t have anything particular in mind… follow the above. And be reasonable.  

I hate the feeling of being hungry so what I choose to put in my mouth needs to be something worth putting there. It’s not easy - but what’s something that’s easy and really worth doing?

(Source: fulfilledd, via tea-resa)

Don’t beat yourself up; lift yourself up.

Bree: In trying to determine what happened to my motivation this past week, I realized something: motivation is something you DO, not something you HAVE.  I realized that even though I love the idea and the process of being healthy and getting fit, I am constantly coming up against barriers like time, laziness, money, desire…and though it all comes down to how badly I want it, I also know that it’s natural to feel the ups and downs that come with developing a healthy lifestyle. 

After an awesome 14 mile run this weekend, I have been consuming mass amounts of sugar (my old standby) and phoning in my workouts.  I was feeling unplugged, unmotivated and…well, like this happens often…because it does.  The fact is, this happens all the time, but usually I make the decision to work out, eat healthier, be more positive.   I don’t feel any less proud of my efforts just because they don’t always come naturally.  Some days I wake up wanting to work out and other days I have no desire to do anything active or healthy.  Being healthy is like running all over hills; there are ups and downs,  but it’s all still part of the run.

For me, the goal is to remind myself that although it is good to take a day off/a meal off, it feels so much better to stick with the plan, to go all out, to reward my body and mind with good food and fun activities.

To that end, I’ve noticed the following awesomeness:

My older brother commented on my serious sugar consumption and said, “Stop it.” That was enough to remind me that other people notice what I do, especially if they know I have a goal.  Unlike when I was younger, I now appreciate their comments of concern – as a kid, I would have eaten an entire bag of Reese’s just to prove to my brother that he wasn’t in control of my decisions (what a moron I was!) Thank you, hermano.

My running partner/bud asked about my planned morning Spin class – I never went – and I realized that I may only have to be accountable to me, but by skipping out on plans I teach myself and others that my word is meaningless. Thank you, T.

Preparation of meals is a must for me.  I know myself and I cannot be trusted to get up and pack a healthy, substantial lunch.  Similarly, I am great about healthy food when pay day comes around, but as the cash dwindles, so do the healthy meals. This is silly because we have a ton of food at home. Good news, we got paid today. Thank you, job.

Tara: Bree, I feel like you are on to some really major topics here that A LOT of people face, not just you. I mean, how am I supposed to stay motivated when I don’t keep up a good habit? I might feel really awesome after a killer shoulder workout at the gym but not do it again for 3 weeks! Is that helpful for my body or my state of motivation? NO.

Motivation and hard work feed off of each other. It reminds me of how crappy I feel when I choose to eat poorly or skip a week of cardio. When I come back to it I’ve only made it harder on myself and it’s easy to get down in that instance.

On that thought, breaks are GOOD and NECESSARY but there is something to be said for scheduling those in appropriately.

Just because something is hard doesn’t mean you should stop. You should always push yourself to be better and the best you, you can be. But being in touch with your body it will become clear what your limits are.

Lift yourself up. And push them.

Ran 14 miles fo the first time EVER! I am one happy girl!

Ran 14 miles fo the first time EVER! I am one happy girl!

(Source: cor-rhythmica, via wonderfulwellness)

More fun in my fitness!

Bree: Last night, I jumped back into strength training, the crush I’ve developed since moving to Montana.  I realized over the New Year that running had replaced most of my workouts and was becoming monotonous, so instead of looking forward to what type of workouts the day might bring, I was just looking to cross off my mileage.   I ran 3 miles with CJ at lunch and my marathon plan called for 5 miles, so I made up the remaining 2 at the track after work.  This gave me a chance to try out my new Garmin (Thank you, Santa) and to time myself.  Status=9 minute miles…luckily nobody was chasing me.

Afterward, I ran home to feed my pup, make an amazing protein shake (coconut oil, I love you), and grab gym stuff. At the gym, I did my green dot workout (which is actually the Get Athletic Workout from Muscle and Fitness Hers - http://www.muscleandfitnesstrainer.com/home/articles/get-athletic-workouttabata-training) It is as follows:

Depth Jump/Drop Jump 3X8

Barbell Squat 3X20

Walking Lunge 3X15

Dumbbell Swing 3X30

Smith Machine Bench Press Throw 3X8

Standing Dumbbell Upright Row One Arm 3X8

Standing Dumbbell Shoulder Press One Arm 3X10

Standing Cable Triceps Extension Both Arms 3X15

SUPER-SET

Standing Bicep Curl Barbell Both Arms 3X20

Calf Jumps 3X8

Tabata Workout

Sprints 8X20sec.

Jump Rope 8X20sec.

Stationary bike 8X20sec.

I skipped the Tabata cardio since I had run and I knew I’d be heading to Dance and Tone class with CJ, which I did, and it was a great way to end the night. Afterward, home for more FOOD and the longest shower ever taken by a human being.

Just getting back to having fun was great; I’m looking forward to class tonight and a run!

Fell off the fitness wagon?

Bree: The New Year Finally kicked in last night and I remembered something about hard work – there is always more of it out there. Since I started running 10 weeks ago, I have nearly ceased all methodical strength training.  I still go to the gym on a regular basis, though not the daily visits that had become my norm, but instead of following a pre-planned workout, I’ve just been roaming the floor doing whatever I feel like.  This has definitely decreased the overall effectiveness of my workouts as well as my desire to be there and my enjoyment of the gym…so, it’s time to get back into the habit.  I am still 100% committed to the February marathon, but I HAVE to get back to enjoying my workouts and feeling the benefits. I even noticed my focus on nutrition has gone by the wayside.

Last night, I started over (this is where I say “…and you can, too.”) I regularly make up workouts or cut them out of magazines.  My favorite magazines for really good workouts are Oxygen, Muscle and Fitness Hers, and Women’s Health.  So I took three workouts with different focuses from M&FH, laminated them (since they don’t hold up to sweat/water if you don’t) and threw a colored dot sticker on each.  Then I went through my planner and put corresponding dots on the days I will be doing those workouts.  Yellow dot = get lean workout, purple dot=get athletic, etc. (Sidebar – I am totally aware of how obsessive the dot thing seems!) This works great with muscle group focused workouts, too.  For me, it has to be fun, so I need the element of surprise…what will I be working tonight???  If you have specific days that are harder or easier, life-wise, than others, it’s good to plan around them, as well.  If I’m running 14 miles on Sunday, I am probably taking the day off from lifting.  If I have no mileage on a day, it’s a great day to work legs and glutes.  

Then I entered my scheduled mileage in my planner on small post-it notes.  I put them on post-it notes because plans can change and it makes it easy to swap runs if needed.  Also, I just like organization! I started keeping track of my meals in my planner, NOT so I can restrict my calories or intake,  but so I can make sure I’m getting the nutrients I need, consuming the appropriate amount of calories to fuel my activity level, and to help make me aware of any bad eating habits I’ve picked up lately.

Much as I love a good plan, it doesn’t make the least bit of difference if you don’t follow it, so today at lunch I’m going on a run with a friend from work, tonight I’m prepping lunch for tomorrow and hitting the gym for my green dot workout, and returning home to walk my dog. Before you know it, the planning becomes habit and you can modify your plans for increasing intensity, specific fitness goals, etc.

Off to run!

I love it!

I love it!

(Source: simplysouthernfitchick, via runnerwithin)

How strong is your resolve?

Bree:  I’m a huge fan of resolutions; I love the process!  What I am not a huge fan of is sharing my resolutions, but this year I’m increasing my accountablility by sharing my goals with others and being open to feedback.  For instance, I made 10 resolutions and I’ve already been told that is far too many!  Luckily, I am pretty comfortable with who I am and I know I am someone who goes overboard, so ten was really cutting back.

I even reviewed my 2011 resolutions to see how differently I’m looking at things after 365 days…

So, 2012, bring it on:

2011 Resolutions:

1-     Shorten cardio, lengthen and vary strength training. (Success!)

2-     Pay off credit card (Oops, no progress)

3-     Stop controlling my relationships (what does this even mean???)

4-     Work on trust issues (Hmm?)

5-     Fun pin-up pics by July (Carry over/modify)

2012 Resolutions:

1-     I resolve to find a job that is challenging, enjoyable and compensates in actual money, not rocks.

2-     I resolve to continue running (after the marathon), approximately 15 miles per week, and to run at least 2 10Ks and 3 5Ks.

3-     I resolve to write down my budget and revisit it every Saturday, so I can pay off my credit card by October 1st.

4-     I resolve to continue working on my fitness plan, so that it includes cardio, strength-training, classes, nutrition, and necessary vitamin supplementation (and research).

5-     I resolve to feel fit enough to take fun 50’s-inspired pin-up healthy fitness pictures by November 1st.

6-     I resolve to free write three times per week, ideally before bed.

7-     I resolve to write 3 letters every month.

8-     I resolve to share my happiness where I can, while understanding that not everyone will appreciate it – I will not take it personally if they don’t return it.

9-     I resolve to have the hard discussions when they need to be had, but to try not to be overly harsh.

10-  I resolve to walk Fidget at least three times a week – she needs to work out!

Bree: As we return from the Christmas holiday and prepare for the New Year, the idea of change is reflected nearly everywhere we look.  Magazines boast articles advising us on how to start the new year with a new body; every news station in the country interviews self-help experts about how to make and keep resolutions, a new series of books are published claiming to help us change our diets, budgets, careers, mindsets – we are looking to change and change fast.  Clearly, the current “us” is not where we want to be or we wouldn’t be so infatuated with change.
I love resolutions and any opportunity to contemplate who I am and who I want to be. The most important thing I’ve learned in the last year about change is that it’s a process – it doesn’t happen overnight – but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it. Every day we decide what level of effort we are willing to put forth to make our desired change a reality.  The great thing about becoming fit and healthy is that so much of the effort spent early on becomes second nature later on; making healthy food choices gets easier as you begin to crave foods that fuel your body and you learn to cope with situations where you are surrounded by junk food.  Working out/running/going to class becomes a comfortable place to deal with your stress and your thoughts and to just do what comes naturally – take care of yourself.  As these habits form, we can put that effort toward challenging ourselves, encouraging others, and improving even more areas of our lives.
So this year, though I will be making resolutions just like in years past, I am going to try to remember that every day I have to resolve to put forth the effort to earn my changes.  
No effort=no change.

Bree: As we return from the Christmas holiday and prepare for the New Year, the idea of change is reflected nearly everywhere we look.  Magazines boast articles advising us on how to start the new year with a new body; every news station in the country interviews self-help experts about how to make and keep resolutions, a new series of books are published claiming to help us change our diets, budgets, careers, mindsets – we are looking to change and change fast.  Clearly, the current “us” is not where we want to be or we wouldn’t be so infatuated with change.

I love resolutions and any opportunity to contemplate who I am and who I want to be. The most important thing I’ve learned in the last year about change is that it’s a process – it doesn’t happen overnight – but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it. Every day we decide what level of effort we are willing to put forth to make our desired change a reality.  The great thing about becoming fit and healthy is that so much of the effort spent early on becomes second nature later on; making healthy food choices gets easier as you begin to crave foods that fuel your body and you learn to cope with situations where you are surrounded by junk food.  Working out/running/going to class becomes a comfortable place to deal with your stress and your thoughts and to just do what comes naturally – take care of yourself.  As these habits form, we can put that effort toward challenging ourselves, encouraging others, and improving even more areas of our lives.

So this year, though I will be making resolutions just like in years past, I am going to try to remember that every day I have to resolve to put forth the effort to earn my changes. 

No effort=no change.

(Source: veganfitnessmom, via healthy-is-the-way-to-go-deacti)

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