Why are you doing this?

Consider this your pep talk.  Even if you don’t need one right about now, this is a great read for anyone to stay committed to their goal of getting in shape this year.  You know I hate the word “resolution” and I prefer the word “commitment” instead.  Just reading this should get you back in the saddle….back on the wagon (or off the wagon, however that saying goes)…whatever analogy you prefer. 

Just read it and go workout, go cook something healthy, go COOK period.  Do some sort of activity.  Inspire someone else along the way.  If you need a reminder of WHY you’re at the gym on a Saturday morning or a Friday night, remember this note from BodyBuilding.com’s CEO:

I’m angry.

 

I’m angry because fat doctors exist.

 

Every day they go into work and deal with patients that are in pain and dying from complications related to being obese. They see in gory detail what diabetics have to go through after their first amputation. They listen to crying fathers that had a heart attack while simply playing with their kids. They comfort family members after their mother died from heart disease, the nation’s number one killer.

 

And when they leave the hospital, tired from helping so many sick and overweight people, they eat junk food. They skip the gym. They take the elevator. They go home and sit on the couch. They are a terrible example for the people they are trying to help.

 

I’m angry because it’s considered kind if you bake cookies and cakes for your family.

 

If you help your family to die a little earlier, to be a little more depressed, to have to deal with low energy levels, to have to get on medication for high cholesterol, to be stuck in bad eating habits for life, then you are thanked and considered a good person.

 

I’m angry because you are considered a mean parent if you don’t give your kids candy and sweets on a regular basis.

 

Children went hundreds of thousands of years without candy, but in today’s society, it’s borderline considered child abuse to withhold it from them. You would go to jail if you gave them a single cigarette (which won’t do any immediate harm), but if you kill them slowly with sugar, you are a good, loving parent.

 

I’m angry at gyms.

 

They know you aren’t going to keep showing up. They count on it in their business plans. If you don’t show up for a few weeks, do you get a call? Do they even notice? They exist to help you get into shape, and they are purposely failing and it’s our fault. We demand the lowest monthly cost, so we get the bare minimum in exchange.

 

I’m angry with large health associations that don’t address the actual issues.

 

How is it okay to sell Jumbo Cookies Platters, which include a cookie recipe with brown sugar, on your site to raise money? You don’t get it. Most health associations are focused on treating the symptoms with drugs, rather than doing the hard work of prevention. They are afraid to tell their members to change their lifestyle.

 

I’m angry that food companies make their food look healthy.

 

High fat and high sugar products promote “whole grain” or “high in vitamin C” on their packaging, creating a false sense that these products are healthy. 100 Calorie Packs (which are just junk food in small packages) make you feel like you are doing the right thing for your body. Subway restaurant appears good for you, but most people pack on mayo, bacon, cheese and white bread and a side of chips to their “healthy” lunch. If you show up at the office in the morning with an Oreo milkshake, you are unhealthy, but show up with a Starbucks Frappuccino, which is basically the same thing, and you are just having your morning coffee.

 

I’m angry that the media is constantly bashing vitamins, protein powders, and nutritional supplements.

 

The studies that show they work are multiplying, but you wouldn’t know it by reading the news. Out of shape journalists mostly promote the ones that show supplements in a negative light. Consumers deserve the truth.

 

I’m angry with all of the hucksters selling their latest fad diet book or miracle fitness program.

 

Not a day goes by that I don’t have somebody ask me about some new diet program that was just released. They are looking for the easy way to the body they want, and they don’t want to hear that it takes actual hard work and lifestyle change. It’s not rocket science; bodybuilders have been transforming and preparing for contests for decades. We know what works. The infomercials try to sell us the quick fix, and once we get it into our heads that we shouldn’t have to work for the life we dream of, we keep searching for the next miracle.

 

I’m more than just angry. I’m sad.

 

I’m sad when I hear about somebody’s family member that died too young. I’m sad when I see the number of prescription medications that people are taking on a daily basis due to their lifestyle. I’m sad when I hear that obesity is continuing to rise. I’m sad that our children will be the first generation to live shorter lives than the previous one. I’m sad when I see somebody start a fitness program and give up within weeks. I’m sad when I see people I love struggling.

 

I’m sad that the couch is winning.

 

It doesn’t have to be this way. That’s why today I’m asking for your help.

 

Help me change it. Help me turn it around.

 

It’s possible if you understand that willpower doesn’t really exist. It’s not just about discipline and sacrifice. It’s about habit change. It’s about resetting norms. It’s about education. It’s about setting up your environment to make fitness easy. It’s about social accountability and helping your friends. It’s taking one simple step at a time, not setting yourself up to fail with drastic change all at once. It’s about setting goals and tracking your progress. It’s about long-term behavior change, not outcomes.

 

Don’t accept the things that make you angry in society. Don’t sit back and watch. Do something. Say something. Help someone.

 

Can you personally commit to health and fitness in 2013? Can you do it publicly to let others know that you are going to be part of the revolution? Sign our Facebook Commitment Wall Tab with me. Ask a friend to sign it. One person at a time, we can make a change.

 

Sincerely,

 

Ryan Deluca, CEO Bodybuilding.com

Although you don’t need to sign the Commitment Wall on Facebook, you can make a public commitment by using social media to declare that you are BACK AT IT.  Or even if you never stopped, just reinforcing your commitment to your loved ones and friends that you are STILL IN THIS is a great way to be held accountable.

never-give-up

It never gets easier, but it does get better.

It Never Gets Easier

Truer words have never been spoken, especially when it comes to a large obstacle to overcome.

After being on a nutrition/cardio plan from my online coach for almost 3 months, I will say that it has most definitely not been easy.  But it most definitely has gotten better.  So today I celebrate the small victories:

  • I’m getting better at prepping my food; it’s actually a process I enjoy.  I guess I’m strange like that but I really like ORGANIZING everything, especially because most other things in my life are very DISorganized.
  • Getting better at posting and looking at the progress pics.  This was the hardest thing to get past.  At first I really did not like the idea of even having a blog let alone posting pics of myself in the state that I was in.  But after sucking it up, it doesn’t seem so bad.  And I wouldn’t say it’s better because I look better; it’s gotten better because I’m more comfortable with putting myself out there. Big difference.
  • Getting better at enjoying the process and not obsessing over “What time is it?? Is it time for me to eat?”  Case in point, I’m “overdue” to eat my next meal by 10 minutes.  And I’m sitting here typing all this out NOT worrying about it.
  • Getting better at managing my time.  When you are on a set schedule to eat and workout, you really find time management to be a key asset.  I’m probably better at planning out my day better than I have before.  And I refuse to let social media be the time waster that it can be.  I’ve definitely cut back on that, although if you follow me on twitter you know I still have some work to do in THAT area…. 🙂 But Facebook is getting easier and easier to avoid.
  • Getting better with patience with people who do not have the same fitness goals as myself.  Also getting better at becoming patient with people who have ZERO health and fitness goals.  This is a big one for me because I want to help everyone.  But I’m learning to accept that not everyone wants the help.  However, I will say the people who HAVE reached out to me for help are very grateful for the advice and do see me as doing something positive and inspiring.  So if I’m able to help at least ONE person, then it’s worth it.

 

On a side note:  Happy Valentines Day!  Echoing the words of some other bloggers, I will say I LOVE ALL MY FOLLOWERS! 🙂  Thanks for “Liking” “Retweeting” and “Following” my little journey, your support is appreciated and LOVED in return!

 

-Michelle

The Buddy System…plus pics

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This made me laugh because I know there are people out there that could CARE LESS about what I did today for my workout. And guess what? That’s exactly why I rarely post what workouts I do.

However, there are other women (mainly) that DO want to know what I’m doing in the gym and vice versa for me…which is why I joined a couple forums (yes, they still exist in internet-land) specifically for potential figure competitors and current competitors as well.  What a great way to get information and share and VENT about this whole process!

For those who are interested the two forums are SiouxCountry and Precision Nutrition.  The latter is more of a nutrition message board but you have to purchase the program in order to enjoy the forum.  You can still look at the blog and the articles I believe as a non-paying member.

What I’ve been doing lately is taking my meal plan from my coach and just making the tiniest modifications to it.  My main modification? Adding more veggies.  That’s the only thing I feel is truly lacking.

I also got a text from one of my friends who would like to workout with me.  This is a first! I don’t think I’ve worked out WITH or alongside someone in….ummm…ever?  Unfortunately my schedule is kinda goofy so looks like Sundays are our only options.  It’ll be nice to workout with someone for once instead of alone.  Most days I enjoy being in my own zone doing my own thing but once in a while I get a yearning for some sort of contact from someone.  Social media and electronic forms of communication get old after awhile.

As for pics, I was an idiot and took updated pics but neglected to take the FRONT of myself.  Just side and back.  I blame the fact that it was literally first thing in the morning.

So I thought I would just post the side as a BEFORE from October and an AFTER from yesterday.  You can definitely see some baby abs forming. 🙂 And this is also for those peeps who thought “I can’t believe you had 16lbs and 20inches to lose!”  Well, yeah you can see where most of it was storing itself.  Pics really do help to see the difference!

October Side
October Side
Side Jan 29th
Side Jan 29th

I’ll be sure to post better, full body shots next week.

Until next time!

-Michelle

Random Tweet: “Stop the presses! Faster Pussycat House of Pain is playing on WMMS. I’m rockin out in my car…#notashamed

Unchartered Territory

“Those who think they have not time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness.” By: Edward Stanley

This quote popped up on an app I have just moments after speaking to someone who insisted that he did not have any time to devote to exercise. This person works very long hours and claims he does not have any time left in the day do get on his treadmill at home for even a quick 20 minute walk.

After hearing his complaints and then seeing this quote I thought, “There HAS to be a way to help this person.”   Because it’s so true isn’t it?  If we don’t take care of our bodies and MOVE a little more everyday during our sedentary life, (I’m standing as I type this because I refuse to sit during my desk job all day) we WILL be plagued with illness.

I’ve heard it so many times from many people that they wish they would have started getting on the path to health ages ago or “right after I had kids” or “before I turned 40” and now it’s so much harder for them to create that habit.  And maybe now they do have diabetes or an injury or something that prevents them from really working out to their full potential.

It’s one of the most frustrating parts of being a Personal Trainer; I want to help as many people as I can and even if financially, there is no problem, it’s still the BEHAVIOR that has to be implemented.  And THAT is probably the hardest part.

Dr. John Berardi from Precision Nutrition posted his blog today about this subject with regards to coaches/personal trainers.  I found one of his quotes very interesting:

“Yet “dieting” or embarking on a new fitness plan in the 21st century means purposely enduring discomfort, restricting activities and foods that soothe us (or give us a “high”), and/or adding more demands or stimulation to an already busy schedule.

If you think about it, why would any client ever eat less and go to a gym with bright lights, loud music, and unfamiliar equipment, in order to expend excess energy?”

Wow.  I mean, he’s right!  As a coach/trainer I’m telling the average person with a 9-5 job:  “I want you to get up in the morning and come to a place you aren’t too familiar with yet and wear clothes that you can sweat in so I can watch you exercise and  instruct you on what to do and then I want you to go home and make yourself a meal that’s healthy, oh and if you go to work and there are donuts at the office avoid those at all costs,…etc”

It shouldn’t be a surprise that many folks are afraid of exercising and dieting.  They have that fear of the unknown.  They’ve never done this before and asking them to completely change their daily routine is extremely unnerving.

quote-the-one-permanent-emotion-of-the-inferior-man-is-fear-fear-of-the-unknown-the-complex-the-h-l-mencken-125755

I began on this figure journey in a similar way; I’ve never done anything like this before and it was uncomfortable and I was fearful.  I continue to be fearful of what is to come!  But it’s more of an exciting, anxiousness than actual fear.  Because I gave myself such a long-term goal, there really isn’t any pressure on me.  And there shouldn’t be pressure on anyone with a desire for change.  You put that pressure on yourself but you have the ability to make it easy or hard on yourself everyday.  I think once people realize THEY are in control and the coach or personal trainer you hire is just a GUIDE, you can get much better results.  You have the guidance, you have the tools, now it’s up to you to use them.

So my challenge of the day/week/month/year for anyone out there is to not let fear stand in your way of your fitness goals – This is more than just saying “If you want something bad enough, just do it.”    That’s all well and good but I think it’s much deeper than that.  If you have always wanted to do something that challenges your body and your mind, you should do research first and figure out the best approach.  And if you’re looking for the quick fix, then unfortunately you will fail because it doesn’t exist.  And you will be back to where you started.  So make up your mind today if you’re doing to lose weight and get fit the RIGHT way or the STUPID way.

Here’s a hint:  If you’re finding things to be difficult challenging and frustrating slow-going and telling yourself  “I thought this would be easy!” “This is hard, I don’t know if I can do this!”  then you probably chose the RIGHT way. 🙂

-Michelle

Hurry up and Wait

ImageThere’s a little saying in the production world where I used to work that if you were on the crew you would say to one another as a joke: “Hurry up and wait.”  I have no idea where this saying came from, perhaps it’s applicable to your job. 

The reason behind it is the rush of trying to get things done, only to have to wait for certain things to happen first.  When I worked as a production coordinator, you would hurry up and get everyone in place ready to shoot a scene, only to have to wait for someone else to make things happen.   Maybe the actor that was hired is still in wardrobe or makeup, maybe the lighting still isn’t quite right, maybe the teleprompter won’t start up (that last one is from personal experience).  Talk about a panic attack as everyone sits there and just waits and stares at you to solve the problem so they can get through the day.  Glad those days are behind me!

I thought of this saying today as I was frantically emailing and messaging various people online asking all kinds of questions about my figure competition goal.  I recently opened up and sent some pictures of myself to a very well known trainer who told me I was way too thin to even think about competing this year.  Granted she made it clear it was her own opinion and she is just looking at pictures of me but it threw me off a little bit. 

I did ask for her advice so I brought that on myself.  And I knew she would be honest.  After thinking about it for awhile I realized she’s only saying I need to train 3 months longer than I had originally planned.  No big deal right? 

See the problem with being surrounded by other trainers and being a trainer myself as well as having a fair amount of knowledge about nutrition, I am constantly researching what the best method is for training for this competition.  At the same time I’m getting all kinds of advice.  So with this advice and research, the self-doubt kicks in. 

All of a sudden I thought to myself “Maybe I’m doing too much cardio.  Maybe I should do what that woman is doing…maybe I should eat like that guy is telling people.  Shouldn’t I be seeing muscle gains by now?  How come I’m not losing the fat quicker?  How long is this going to take?!”

I worked my brain into a frenzy.  But worst of all, I didn’t trust my coach.  I hired this man for a reason and I realized I need to stick with the plan.  There is no rushing this process.  It’s going to take time.  A year?  Well, maybe.  But after I got some great advice from two competitors that I contacted, I understand that I can still do my show as intended in October this year as a “warm-up.”  Then, if I choose to, do another show as the “real deal” in the Spring of 2014.

I also took a step back this week to remind myself why I started this whole thing:  For myself; to change my body; to see how far I could take this body and my fitness level and to essentially show off all my hard work.  I’m not doing this for a trophy, for a prize, for anything more than to say “I did this.”  So back to the drawing board, although I never really left the board.  I just took a temporary leave to get my mind straight.

Now that it’s on straight, I can say this:

“It doesn’t matter how slow you go, as long as you do not stop.”

I’m not stopping.  I will keep going.  I can do this.

-Michelle

The Anti-New Years Resolution

I’m officially sick and tired of the “New Year New You!” mantra plastered over Fitness and Health Magazines every January.   Gyms and health clubs are guilty of these slogans and promotions too.  You walk into any gym for that matter in the month of December and January and there are specials and deals going on usually meant to entice that vulnerable gym newbie who wants to accomplish the usual for the new  year:  lose weight.

This time I’m going to do it.  This time I won’t give up and I won’t give in and I’ll diet and I’ll workout everyday and I won’t stop.

But every year, usually in mid February, they do stop.  They slack off .  They don’t have support at home.  They get caught up at work.  They stop coming to the gym. They fall off the wagon.  They give up and they feel like they failed.

resolutions

This vicious cycle creates a sort of animosity I have noticed among the frequent gym freaks patrons.  Comments are made, looks are exchanged and gestures are made.  Granted of course, not everyone does this.  I am generalizing here.  But speaking from the standpoint of a trainer, I can assure you there are people out there who really look down on those people coming to the gym for the first time and treat them like the plague.  I have witnessed this juvenile behavior from adults more times than I care to remember.

This time around, how about we make a resolution to leave the NYE’ers (New Years Resolutioners, yeah I just made up that word) alone and let them be.  No approach.  No pouncing.  Just letting people do their own thing with no judgement.

motivational quotes for weight loss (14)

For those looking to lose weight, you can start January 1st but why set yourself up for failure?  I had repeatedly told my consultations “I highly recommend you start out really slow with this long term goal” in the beginning of January.  They wanted no part of that.  They wanted results and they wanted them quickly.  I’ve heard from many people “Oh no, I’m going to come here everyday for this entire month.  Otherwise I won’t come at all!” 

Pretty sure you can guess what happened.  They came in for about a week straight and then POOF! they were gone.  What a waste of time, money and effort.

thCARD05GT

If you have tried to lose weight every January unsuccessfully, then perhaps a new approach is needed.  My best advice is baby steps.  Break it out into phases.  And don’t call it a resolution.  That word itself carries with it such a stigma of “Ugh, not THIS time of year again!”   Just call it what it is:  a goal.

Ask yourself:  Have you ever MET anyone who actually stuck to their Resolution? I mean really stuck with it?  Maybe I’m in the minority but I have found people stick with their goals when they start them when the TIME is right, and usually, it’s not January 1st.  Start when the time is right for you.  Don’t let any of these magazines, tv shows, (ahem Biggest Loser), co-workers, family, friends, social media..tell you that “The Time to start is January 1st!! ”

No, the time to do it is when YOU decide.  When YOU are in a good place mentally and financially (yes its going to be an investment) to do it YOUR way.

Oh and in case you were wondering, the best month to make your new years resolution? August.  According BusinessWeek.com here http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-12-25/how-to-keep-new-years-resolutions-make-them-in-august

Mini Update on Me, because, lets just admit this is all about me:  Currently awaiting my new meal plan since it’s been almost a month since hiring my Coach.

The “Lose 5bls between Thanksgiving and January 3rd” bet I have going with my friend Craig is in the bag.  That’s $20 is as good as mine since I’ve actually lost 7lbs.

Aiming to lose 1 more by the 3rd since I hate odd numbers.

Probably one more post coming before the end of 2012.

-Michelle

Breaking through the plateau

Of course this was going to happen…Of course.  It was inevitable after losing so much weight that I would hit a standstill.  The weight loss plateau has reared it’s ugly head in my direction.

Stuck at 127 with absolutely not a budge in two weeks.

Now I know it’s the holidays.  And most people who are trying to lose weight would be happy to see themselves maintaining during such a difficult time of the year.  I shouldn’t complain.   But it’s still a disappointing.

I am becoming one of my own clients.  I’m doing all the wrong things like weighing myself after dinner (WHAT!? Duh!), stressing out about a measly little pound, freaking out and envisioning the scale frozen on 127 forever.

This won’t happen.  I will start to lose again but the first step is to figure out what the hell I’m doing wrong.

A few possibilities:

1.  I’m doing too much:  I have only allowed myself 1 day off since starting this journey.  That’s more then 3 months of non-stop exercising.  Not good.  That could lead to overtraining which can lead to all sorts of metabolic issues if I don’t address it.

2. I’m not doing enough:  Even with all this working out, it’s possible I’m not doing enough of the QUALITY workouts.  Possibly  too much steady state and not enough High Intensity?  Too many full body workouts and not enough splits?

3.  I’m doing the same thing over and over:  Don’t we all know the definition of insanity?  Although my strength training program has been different each week, it has always been full body.  So it might be time to change it to split routines.  Also the diet has been the same for 3 weeks so it’s quite possibly my coach will change that up next week.

Those are the three main reasons why I we all hit a weight loss rut.   In keeping with my previous post about looking at the positives and staying optimistic, I’m going to attempt to have some fun while trying to figure out exactly what is holding me back.

In the meantime, I’m still planning my regular meal plan for this week despite celebrating Christmas (tomorrow actually), traveling on a plane Wednesday and Thursday and working a nice long day on Christmas Eve starting at 6am and ending after I get finished with Christmas Eve dinner.  I have my work cut out for me this week.

But in the end, now is not the time to worry or care about staying perfect; it’s time to enjoy spending time with loved ones and friends.  I will be enjoying the hell out of my food and hanging with my family.  And I will not give this plateau a second thought! I might even eat a piece of (gasp!) bread.  Yes real life starch! (what’s starch? It’s been so long since I’ve had any I forgot what the hell it is.)

Merry Christmas Happy Holidays and all that jazz everyone!

-Michelle

Random song on iTunes: The Killer by The Twilight Singers (quite possibly the best song ever…ever!)

Random Tweet courtesy of some random person: When someone walks into a school w/a rope w/a spear attached throwing it & screaming “Get over here!” then let’s discuss video games.

Looking for the positives in a sea of negatives

Feeling a little strange writing a post after such a violent and morbid week in our country.  But someone on Facebook mentioned “In times like this it’s really easy to just give up…with everything.  Not just fitness but life goals in general.  But now is the best time to exercise your mind and your body.  A time to heal.”

My pastor put it well this morning too in his homily…”Find the joy, even in times of evil and tragedy.”

On a lesser scale, we do tend to give up in times of struggle don’t we?  An injury will sideline us and leave us feeling like it’s just easier to give up rather than try to heal quickly or correctly.  A bad weekend of food bingeing or drink might make us feel like throwing in the towel and just buying all that processed food that we so adamantly swore off not too long ago.  A loss of life or a big life event might make us reconsider finishing up a project because we just don’t have the drive anymore.

But the time is more perfect than ever to get back up and try again.  To not give up…and not be a quitter.   Friday was a particularly difficult day in my own personal life after I got some discouraging news about a family member’s illness.  Obviously not trying to compare two events but this past week seemed particularly depressing for numerous reasons.

So this post is about the positives I have found in my little life this past week:

1.  I got to hang with my best friend and update her on all this figure stuff last night.  She even volunteered to make “Piccolo Supporter” t-shirts when it’s competition time. Too cute. (Of course I’m considering her letting her do this because lets face it, who WOULDN’T want their own cheering section with t-shirts!?)

2. I posted my progress pics with no serious side effects.  This was a hard thing for me to do, self reflection sucks.  But necessary and I’m very happy that I did.

3. I’m enjoying this global warming 60 degree weather today.  As I walked out of Yoga (yes Yoga) today I couldn’t help but smile and feel like after a tragedy like this, comes a re-birth.  I’m such a yogi. 😉

4. My nephew celebrated his 10th birthday on Saturday and he is such a thankful child. I’m very much the proud auntie.  Grateful I have not one but 2 adorable nephews to spoil.

5.  I still FEEL good.  I explained to my friend last night that although it was just 10lbs, I feel like I’ve lost more and never realized how much it was, literally, weighing me down.  Feels good to fit in clothes like they were meant to fit.

Time to go prep my food for this week and keep on truckin along on this fitness journey.

If you have a goal (and you know you do) don’t give up.

Don't give up!
Don’t give up!

Progress Pics

I don’t even want to make a big deal out of this even though this is probably one of the more difficult things I have posted.  It’s not like anyone is forcing me to do this of course but if you have a goal you better make sure you note a starting point.  And with weight loss, pictures are pretty much the best route to go.

I didn’t manipulate these photos in any way EXCEPT brightness and contrast because some turned out so bright and some not so bright.  It took me a second to understand how to add text to a picture as you can see from one of the December pics.  I never figured out how to delete the text so….you are left with this.  Photoshop smart I AM NOT.

Left:  October  Center: November   Right: December

I’m at 137.5lbs in the October pics, 133lbs in the November pics and 127 in the December 10th pic.

Thanks to Danielle for stitching these all together for me!!

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