Random Monday Thoughts

I don’t really have anything today that would make up a full post, but I just wanted to put a couple of thoughts out there.  Besides, I wouldn’t want to make you read anything too detailed or heavy when you’re trying so hard to recover from your St. Patricks Day shenanigans yesterday (Yes, you there with the raging hangover that all of your co-workers are pretending they don’t notice, I’m talking to you).

hungover owl

Random Monday Thought #1:  I want to say a HUGE thank you for the response I got on my last post. I always love my readers, but I especially love it when we get such a good conversation going, especially about such an important topic. Everyone had excellent, thoughtful comments, and I’m glad that many of you seem to agree with my concerns about the HLB world. When I published that post, I tweeted it directly at Healthy Living Blogs themselves because I wanted to make sure they got to read it, in the hopes that it would draw some sort of response. You would think that the people who essentially own the HLB brand would be happy to address my concerns, and maybe even offer some answers to the questions I proposed. (Or at the very least, a cookie-cutter “we’re sorry you feel that way” type of reply). But no response yet, which to me just seems irresponsible. Maybe they want the HLB title to be associated with disordered eating and other unhealthy practices? I’m not sure, but I’m annoyed.

icanthearyouIgnoring the problem won’t make it go away. 

Random Monday Thought #2: I’m still ridiculously sore from my lift on Friday. So sore I’ve been walking like a cowboy all weekend, I call it my cowboy strut. After mangling my finger and being under no-sweating orders from my doctor for 2 weeks, I more than ready to go when I hit the weight room last week. Never mind that the finger splint I’m still in means that my grip is severely decreased, so I’m pretty much limited to back-loaded barbell stuff for now (Go ahead, try overhand-gripping a loaded barbell or heavy dumbbells without your index fingers. Not so easy, is it?) So Friday I finally got my butt back in the weight room, and to my delight, only lost 10 lb off my back squat after nearly 3 weeks off. Now though? I feel as though I’ve ripped every muscle from my pelvis. Me thinks I jumped in with a little too much too soon. Ah well, live and learn, right?

Random Monday Thought #3: In the past, I’ve talked about girls nights I have with a group of friends about once every  month. We pick a theme, pick someone to host, and then all make something (food or drink) according to the theme. Honestly, although we all have the best intentions, we often end up with a mix of bread, cheese, sugar, and wine, because that’s just the way it goes. (And there’s totally nothing wrong with that). We had one of these dinners this past weekend, and my lovely friend decided to make the theme Rules on Rules on Rules. Essentially, there was no sugar, butter, or flour allowed. And you know what? I really think it turned out to be our best dinner yet. We had vegetable spring rolls, spaghetti squash/black bean tacos, goat cheese stuffed dates, and risotto, and it was all absolutely delicious. Proof that get togethers don’t always have to be about junk food and alcohol, and that healthy eating can still be fun, creative, and delicious!

That is all for now! Enjoy your monday, and please, no napping at your desk. It’s not attractive. Especially if you’re still covered in green glitter and fake tattoos from your attempt at being Irish yesterday.

someecards.com - I'm respectfully devoting the day after St. Patrick's Day to eating Lucky Charms in my underwear

Would you expect the heads of HLB to respond to my last post? Have you ever gone back to the gym too hard too soon after an injury? Do you have any fun traditions with friends that involve food? 

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Motivation Monday: What’s Your Intention

I see you. You walk into the gym and hop on your stationary bike to warm up.  You stare at the clock on the display until it reads 10:00. There. Warm-up done. You meander into the weight room, set up your equipment, grab your dumbbells, or hop on a machine. You go through the motions, lift-release, contract-relax, like a pre-programmed weight-lifting robot. Or maybe you don’t even go into the weight room because it makes you anxious, nervous, or you think it’s just for guys.  So you go ahead with the same workout you’ve been doing, for months,  years maybe.  Maybe you’re making progress, maybe you’re not.

STOP IT.

I don’t know…I thought maybe an angry lion would scare you straight.

I see you, and I know what causes this. You’re bored. You’re unmotivated. You’re uninspired. Maybe you’re feeling a little lazy (it happens to the best of us). Maybe you’ve hit a plateau in your training and you just can’t push past a certain weight on your squat. Maybe you just need something new to reenergize your workouts, to get your muscles firing in a little bit of a different pattern. Maybe you just need to figure out where your inspiration lies or why the heck you’re doing this in the first place.

I think we all lose ourselves in the gym at some point in our workout/training careers.  Whether you’re a beginner or are someone who is more comfortable in the weight room than anywhere else, at some point you’ll probably hit a wall.  As most of you know, I spent very little time in the weight room over the past two weeks because I hit that wall. I was unmotivated, tired, and just needed a little bit of time to recover both my muscles and my mindset.
A Lazy Lion[Source]

Angry lion loses motivation —-> Lazy lion napping in a tree

How can you get out of this rut? Think about two things:

1) What are you doing this for? 

2) Are you actually working toward your goals? 

First things first, you have to figure out why you’re in the gym in the first place.  Are you trying to lose weight? Be healthier for your children? Look hot in your new jeans (and/or out of your new jeans)? Whatever your reason, be honest with yourself. Most of us do workout for aesthetic reasons just as much as for health reasons, and it’s ok to admit it. I spend a lot of time in the weight room because I want to be healthy and strong, but a lot of my motivation also comes from wanting my shoulders to look like this:

Hello, deltoids!

Secondly, you have to evaluate whether your fitness routine is actually getting you closer to those goals that you have set. (Here’s a hint: If you’ve been doing the same routine for the past 3 years and haven’t seen any progress, it’s probably not working.) So you want to have jacked shoulders and glutes that you could bounce a quarter off of? Riding the elliptical probably isn’t helping you any. You want to be able to run a 5k in under 30 minutes? Those bicep curls probably aren’t doing the trick.

Here’s an example: I set a goal a while ago that I wanted to be able to do 5 unassisted chin-ups. At the time I could only do 2-3. Guess how many I can do now? 5. I can also do 5 parallel grip pull-ups and can consistently perform 1 unassisted pull-up. I didn’t reach that goal just because I’m lucky, I reached that goal because I changed my upper body work over the summer to maximize strength increases in the muscles that would help me to my pull-up goals. Had I just kept up with the same type of upper body work that I had been doing for the entire year prior, most likely I would still be stuck at 3 chin-ups, 3 months later.

The most important part of training is working towards your goals, but first you need to be honest with yourself and crystal clear about what those goals are. If you’ve been stuck in a rut or have hit a plateau with your fitness routine, maybe it’s time to step back and reevaluate where you’re headed and why.  Not sure whether you’re doing this or not? Try this:

Sit down with a pen and paper. (That’s right, we’re going old school).

On one side of the paper, write down your fitness goals. On the other side, write down something you’re doing in your routine that has helped you to make progress toward reaching that goal. If you can’t come up with something for each goal, it’s time to change things up a little bit. If you stare at that paper, and realize that everything you’re doing is not getting you anywhere in terms of your fitness potential, figure out what changes need to be made, and then, here’s the kicker: make those changes. Easy enough, right? Now get to it.

if you want something youve never had

Is your fitness routine actively helping you reach your goals? Have you ever hit a training plateau or a rut and how did you get out of it? When was the last time you switched things up in your fitness routine?

Motivation Monday: Let the gym be your refuge

You know that commercial where the husband and wife are going back and forth with ridiculous excuses about why they didn’t make it to the gym that day? For example:

Wife: “I forgot my ponytail holder”

or

Wife: “My mom called”

Husband: “Well there’s a day right there..”

As funny as that commercial is, how many times have we all done that? How many times have you missed a workout because you have too much going on, or you’re too stressed, or it’s just one more thing to add on to a to-do list THIS LONG? How many times have you skipped a workout because you don’t have a solid 90 minutes to dedicate to exercise, so you scrap the whole thing all together?

Stop that.

How about this? Instead of allowing the gym to be something else that you have to do, why not make it your escape from all of the other things that you have to do? Why not make it your refuge? All it takes is a little shift in thinking. Instead of saying to yourself “Ugh, I have to get to the gym”, try “I get to go to the gym today, that’s MY time to focus on me”.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the stresses of daily life and to forget that it’s imperative that you take time to take care of yourself. How can you take care of others if you are not at your best? We are reminded of this by the oh-so-lovely flight attendants every time we fly, after all. What is the #1 thing to remember in case of a loss of cabin pressure? Put on your own oxygen mask first.

It’s OK to be a little selfish sometimes.

I know that for me, my life gets more stressful when I can’t make it to the gym or get regular workouts in.  Time spent lifting, running stairs, sprinting, etc. is my time to not think about anything else but myself. How many times a day can you say that you feel that it’s acceptable to think only about yourself? How often do you allow yourself to not worry about doing things for other people?   For me, gym time is one of the only parts of my day where I can be completely selfish.

I work in a profession that is inherently selfless and involves taking care of others constantly.  But I am very well aware that if I’m not at my best, both mentally and physically, I’m not able to give the best to my patients. Even if you don’t work in a job that involves taking care of others, you are still doing things for other people all day at work. If you are a stay at home mom, you are most certainly doing things for other people all day long. If you have a family and you have a job, you’re essentially doing things for other people a good 17 hours per day.

So when can it be YOUR turn?

Pinned Image

Right Now.

Let the gym be your escape. Let your workout be a privilege in your day, not a chore. Even if you can’t get to the gym, take 20 minutes and do a quick Tabata or body weight circuit at home.

Take care of you, and the taking care of others will only get easier.

I Love Mondays!

Ok, I just lied to you.

I don’t mean to start out the week with a lie, but I had to do it to catch your attention. But did you really believe me? NO ONE loves Mondays.  In fact, almost every Monday, I would say a good portion of my twitter feed is full of “Ugh MONDAY” tweets, and I have certainly uttered my share of “Is it really Monday again?” complaints.

But I’m going to do a little experiment this week and take a different approach. I’m going to figure out all of the reasons why I like Mondays, and see if starting this week out positively can make a little bit of a difference?

1. Monday is my heavy squat day.  Yeppers. And following Monday’s lift, I’m usually itching for another heavy squat by Wednesday or Thursday, so I really do actively look forward to Monday mornings for this reason.

2. On This particular Monday, I have an early day. I know to many of you that doesn’t sound like a good thing, but when I’m used to getting home long after it gets dark out, an earlier schedule every once in a while is a blessing! Yes, I have to get up and to work awfully early, but I’ll also be out at 3 pm with the WHOLE afternoon and evening ahead of me!

3. Last week is over. Last week was a rough one in terms of stress and exhaustion. Today starts a new week and a chance to have a MUCH better week than last. There’s no place to go but up, right?

4. I DVR’d the Grammys last night, so I still have the amazing talents of Adele, Jennifer Hudson, and others to look forward to tonight!

5. Ok, 5 reasons to like Monday is really stretching it.

Pinned Image

6.  Did I mention Monday is my squat day?!?

So, 4 legitimate reasons to like Monday isn’t a bad start, right? It’s better than rolling over in bed this morning with my Monday face on and spending the first 2 hours of my day grumbling about how evil this world is that we have to go through Monday EVERY. SINGLE. WEEK.

Strangely similar to my Monday Face

In fact, I think today I’ll start out more like this, and see where it takes me:

PS. Someone found my blog yesterday by searching for “girl face bad in africa”.  WHAT? That’s enough to make me giggle on this most evil of days.

How do you feel about Mondays? Do you have any tricks to make them a little less painful?