The Year In Review

Well, it’s that time of year again isn’t it?

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That time when people look back on the year that has just passed and take stock of their life then vs. now.

Basically, there are two categories of people at the end of December. There are those who had set goals in January and reached them, and then there are those who set goals or resolutions and failed miserably to achieve them (usually within the first couple months of the year). I suppose there are also those who don’t set any goals at all, so they find another way to measure the year they’ve just had (or they don’t take measure at all), but that’s neither here nor there.

Looking back, I realize that I set a few lofty goals for myself back in January, one of which that was realistically beyond my reach. But I did accomplish two out of three, and although I didn’t quite reach the third, I tried my damnedest to. I will say this: even though I didn’t accomplish everything I set out to, I’m very proud of the goals that I did reach, and it only makes me hungrier to keep working towards those other goals in the future.

Since most of you didn’t know I existed way back in January, you can go back and read my original New Years goals post here, or you can just stay right here and I’ll give you the quick version. The following are the goals I set for myself at New Years 2012, followed by a few words about how I fared, when I completed it, or what went wrong if I didn’t.

Goal 1: Complete my MS in Nutrition.

Outcome: DONEZO! I completed my coursework last spring and graduated in April from my Master’s program. It felt amazing to be done after 2 years of grad school combined with working full time, and it was something that I had set my sights on long before I started.

Goal 2: Take (and pass) the CSCS exam from the NSCA (National Strength and Conditioning Association).

Outcome: BOOM. Crushed it! I took this on December 1st and found out 2 weeks later that I had passed. A lot of people have asked me why I took this exam; was I trying to get a new job? And the answer is no, I was just trying to make myself better. So I did. And I will continue to. So there.

Goal 3: Back squat 200 pounds

Outcome: Womp womp. My PR on my back squat this year stalled at 155, and I haven’t even hit that in a while. I’ve been down around 135, and I have a sneaking suspicion what the culprit is.

What went wrong: I added in a decent amount of conditioning work throughout this year; daily bike rides to and from work, as well as stadium runs 1-2 times per week. Although conditioning is great, if you’re training strictly for strength gains, it can zap your progress. I’m still working out the right balance for me, and we’ll revisit this when I tell you guys about my new goals for this coming year!

Not too shabby, huh? And even seeing that one of them wasn’t even close to being met, this doesn’t discourage me in the least. As I said above, it only makes me want to work harder to achieve that 200 lb back squat in the future. I know now that it was unrealistic goal, but at this point it doesn’t matter. What does matter is the process and the work that I have to keep putting into it to one day reach this goal. Maybe it will be in 2013 (although probably not), but I will get there.

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I think that this is an important process for everyone to go through even if you don’t believe in setting New Years Resolutions. If you have any goals at all, it’s essential to go back and revisit them every once in a while with an objective eye. That way, you can either see what you need to work harder on, or you can pat yourself on the back for a job well done. Of course at that point, it’s time for some new goals to work towards. Because as I’ve learned very well in my line of work, if you’re not looking forward, working towards a goal, you’re just staying the same at best. And I truly believe that no matter who you are, no matter how good you are at something, there’s always room to Be Better. 

What about you? How do you measure up to the goals you set last year?  Which accomplishment over the past year are you most proud of?

I’ll be back on Monday with my new goals for 2013 and some new ideas about the blog. Until then, have a great weekend everyone, and enjoy the last few days of 2012!

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BIG News!

Hey All!

I have some Big BIG BIG news for you today!

Remember how throughout this fall I wasn’t posting as often because I was a) really busy at work and b) studying for my CSCS (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist) exam?

Remember how I took it a couple weeks ago and said that it was really difficult, and that I honestly wasn’t sure if I passed?

Remember how during the few weeks leading up to the exam I was basically a hermit with no social life, because I still had like 1000 things to study? (Nerd City)

Well GUESS WHAT?!

I PASSED!!!*

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*Note: This is a lie. I didn’t just pass. I CRUSHED it.  

(Merry Christmas to me)

That’s right. You are now reading the blog of:

Stephanie d’Orsay MS, LAT, ATC, CSCS

(and you like it)

My plan is to keep adding initials after my name until I can’t fit any more on my business card. And then I’ll get a second business card just to fit all of the initials. 

Now, getting the email last night came as a total shock for a few reasons. When I took the exam on December 1st, we were told that we wouldn’t get the results for 6-8 weeks, so I wasn’t expecting to hear anything for at least another month. On top of that, the exam was damn hard, and to be honest, I couldn’t tell if I passed or not when I finished that day.

To make the whole thing even sweeter still, one of my very good friends, Christina (who writes an awesome blog herself over at Wicked Paleo), passed her exam too! (Go tell her congratulations when you leave here, she’ll appreciate it!) She and I graduated from undergrad together (in the same program), went through the same Master’s program, and now took and passed our CSCS exams on the very same day. So basically, we share a brain. Except her brain is paleo, and mine’s not. 😉

So what does this mean for me? (and for you?) Well, not too much for right now. This does not mean that I’m all of a sudden the worlds best personal trainer or an amazing strength coach. What it does mean is that I studied my ass off, have a great understanding of the basic foundation of strength and conditioning, and now I have even more of a reason to learn everything I can to make myself better every day. No, scratch that. I don’t have a reason to, I have an obligation to.  To stop learning because I passed my CSCS would make me a damn fool. No, having this credential means that I have to stay on top of my game; have to keep learning every thing I can about the world of strength and conditioning; have to live up to the credential itself.

Am I up for it? You betcha. 

As for now, a celebration is in order.

someecards.com - Let's get totally out of control tonight

Happy Friday! 

Tweet Tweet! Be Better

I’m BACK!

Who’s excited?

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This girl.

Where was I last week? Well, studying my bum off, that’s where I was. I took my CSCS exam on Saturday, so last week was my crunch week. At this point, all I can do is wait, and although I won’t know whether I passed or not for 6-8 weeks, I’m just glad it’s over. After studying nearly every single day for the past 2 months, I’m looking forward to having more time and energy to put into the blog and other parts of my life (like my social life, which all but disappeared over the last month or so due to studying). Let’s face it, I’m not the kind of person that can sit around and do nothing for long, so I’m sure I’ll find another way to take up my time soon, but for now I’m just going to relax and enjoy a little freedom.

Now I will have time to catch up on a bunch of reading I’ve wanted to do; I’ve been sitting on a book review for you guys for a while now because I just haven’t had time to pay enough attention to the book to do it justice. That will be coming soon, I promise!

I’ve also got some great sports-medicine related posts up my sleeve, so hopefully I can get some pics taken and get those up for you as well.

In the mean time, let’s talk about Twitter.

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Tweet Tweet!

A long time ago, I wrote this post about being a better version of you. Most of you probably haven’t read it, because I’m pretty sure I had like 3.5 readers back then. Go ahead and read it, I’ll wait…

I think that although it was a quick and kind of silly post, it had a good message. There’s always something you can do to be better. Whether it has to do with fitness, motivation, nutrition, or your contribution to society, there is always a way to be better.

Along those same lines, if you follow me on Twitter (@stephdorsay), I frequently add #BeBetter to my tweets. This has nothing to do with being better than other people (although that’s fun too). It really just has to do with making myself better. What I would like to do is to spread the word. I want everyone to be better. I want people to think about how they can make themselves better every day. Call your mom and tell her you love her. Hold the door for one extra person. Get your ass to the gym even when it’s dark and cold outside, and the only place you want to be is cuddled up on your couch in your sweats.

Compliment people, smile at people, compliment yourself, make time for yourself, learn something new, help someone else learn something new, start a savings account, floss your teeth (but please don’t floss someone else’s teeth. That’s weird.), do 10 pushups, sign up for a class, learn to meditate, foam roll every day, dance a little more, hug it out….

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I could go on all. day. long. 

My point is, there are a million ways to make yourself better. So do it! And then tweet about it. And add the hashtag #BeBetter to those tweets. Let’s start something here, people! Let’s inspire more people to be better, and make ourselves better along the way.

What can YOU do to be a better you? What’s holding you back?

#BeBetter 

Making Time for the Good Stuff

Most of this past weekend was spent battling some sort of sore-throat-virus, as well as studying for my upcoming CSCS exam.

This was my entire Saturday. 

I know I underestimated the amount of studying I would be doing for this exam;  it’s starting to kick me in the butt, and I’m only a week in! My good friend Christina and I are taking it together, and got together last weekend to set up a study plan for the next 6 weeks before our December 1st D-Day exam date. Oh boy, was that a slap in the face, once we actually broke the book down into sections and made a timeline. At the time, covering the first 8 chapters in the first 2 weeks sounded like a great idea. Now, I’m one week and 4 chapters in, and I’m not sure I can keep up this pace for another 6 weeks!

I just have to keep reminding myself that I went through an entire Masters program just fine while working full time, so this should be no big deal, right? Except for the fact that I feel like I am doing more studying now than I ever did for my graduate work. Oops.

Any-hoo…

Even through all of this craziness with the upcoming exam and high amounts of work stress, it’s always important for me to make time for the things in life that really count: times spent with friends and loved ones.

A group of my girl friends gets together once every 1-2 months for a “girls night dinner”, a pot luck style event that always has a theme and always includes wine (obviously). The idea originally was to do it once a month, but really, when you’re trying to get about 8 women together who all have totally different careers, work schedules, and lifestyles, it can get a little bit difficult to coordinate something that works for the majority of us.  Even though we can only do these every 1-2 months, it’s so much fun to be able to get together, make (and eat) some great food, drink wine, and just catch up on each other’s busy busy lives.

And I am a strong believer that friendships need nurturing just like any other type of relationship does.  Making the time to get together in such a hectic world is so important, especially as you get older and it only gets harder to actually spend time with friends when you’ve all got so much going on in your own lives.

Besides, every girl needs a good girls night now and then, right?

This time, the theme was Halloween, for obvious reasons. Most of the time we end up with an even spread of apps and desserts, and although we’re a very health conscious group, at these dinners all of that tends to go right out the window.   So even though this blog usually deals with healthy eats, we’re just going to side-step that a little bit today. I know, I know, we could be healthy and have girl time, and sometimes we do, but just not this time. Oh well, a little indulgence is worth it sometimes!

Kel did a great job with the theme decorations! 

We had “Mummy Pizza Bagels”… that really did look like mummies before they were cooked. Afterward.. well… they tasted great! 

This was my contribution, Pumpkin Ricotta Stuffed Shells. I followed this recipe, and I must say, they came out great! I highly recommend this as an alternative for your usual stuffed-shell recipe! 

A “Snake” Calzone… It was shaped like a snake before it was cut, complete with 2 green-olive “eyes”! This was delicious as well. 

Lets not forget about dessert! These brownies stole the show — they were adorable for the theme and also ridiculously tasty. We also had some white chocolate-dipped “ghost” strawberries and chocolate dipped pretzel “mummies” that I didn’t get a good picture of, unfortunately. 

And last but certainly not least… was Kelly’s homemade “blood” sangria. It was so good, and munching on all that fruit at the bottom wasn’t too bad either 🙂 

At the end of the night, I left there stuffed, exhausted, and happy! Making the time to see your friends and loved ones is so important to your overall well-being, and adding something fun like a theme only adds to the awesomeness.  So despite my sore throat, sniffles, and endless hours of studying, this weekend was huge success thanks to these girls and their great company!

Do you find it hard to schedule time with friends? Do you have any weekly or monthly traditions with friends? When you get together for group dinners, do your healthy habits tend to get a little bit more relaxed?

Fall Goals

The past few weeks at work have been pretty hectic and crazy, but with pre-season starting up next week, I know it’s only about to get worse. For those of my readers who were/are athletes, you understand how crazy us athletic trainers get around pre-season time. And for the rest of you, well, I don’t even have words to describe it. Fall pre-season is  pretty much equivalent to getting run over by a 10-ton truck… and then getting up and getting trampled by a heard of stampeding wildabeest.

This sums it up quite nicely. Thanks Simba!

Long story short, it’s exhausting. And with exhaustion often comes lethargy, lack of motivation, negative feelings, etc. So knowing that all of that is on the very close horizon, I’m going to take a cue from Kristi over at Sweetly Fit and set myself some goals. The last thing I want to happen this fall is for me to get so busy that I forget to take care of myself, so I’m going to make sure that doesn’t happen by setting a few new goals. I’m a firm believer that goals shouldn’t be set just once a year (Hello, New Years!), but should be continuously re-evaluated, revamped, and they should always be evolving. So here are my goals for the next few months:

  • Read at least 1 book per month. And this is reading for pleasure, not reading research journals for work (although that will be done as well). Reading makes me happy, so even if I can just set aside 10-20 minutes per day, that’s some great, quiet ME time. Besides, I have a couple of book reviews on the horizon for you guys,and how can I do that if I don’t make time to actually read the books?
  • Squat 160 lbs for reps. My squats have been struggle city for the past couple of months due to a back issue I have been having, but I am determined to get to 160. I have been hovering at the 145-150 range for a while now, and I need to push past this roadblock in my training, or I might actually go a little crazy.
  • Write at least 2 blog posts per week. Throughout the summer I’ve been good with about 3 per week, but I know that that’s just not realistic every week, especially for the busy fall season. However, if I keep myself on a schedule, I know I can get two good posts for you guys per week on most weeks, and if there are a few that it just doesn’t happen, well, so be it.
  • Take (and pass) my CSCS exam! This has been a goal of mine for a while, but I finally have my sights set on a specific exam date: December 1st. Now that it’s public, I’m going to have to get my butt registered and get serious about studying!

I think that’s good for now. Having just a few specific goals will hopefully help to keep me centered and focused throughout this crazy hectic time. I’m pretty optimistic that I can accomplish all of them, and then you can all congratulate me when I’m a CSCS in December 🙂 In the meantime, don’t be surprised if I start going a little batty. Just knock some sense into me if my posts get a little too off track.

Do you set goals regularly? Do you find that it helps to keep you focused when things get a little crazy? Do you have a busy time of year at work/school or is it all pretty much the same for you?