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Me vs. the Machine: ROW!

I’m not going to lie: working out isn’t my favorite thing in the world. Granted, there are things that I enjoy doing a lot (dancing and walking), but the majority of the time I kinda-sorta dread the gym (until I get started… that’s usually a game-changer).

I know there are others like me out there. When I stop and think about the things that go through my head before, during, and after I attempt something, I sometimes catch myself giggling out loud. (May be… you might say… I’m somewhat of a “drama queen” …as they say.)

This is the first of a series I’m going to call “Me vs. the Machine,” in which I’ll take you through a few minutes inside of my head while working out. Tonight… we focus on: The Row Machine.

As a bit of background information, I’ve recently started my “ADHD workouts.” Inspired by a dear friend (KD), these consist of cardio and light weights in time spurts that are JUST long enough to either start hurting, sweating, or completely lose my breath. They’re great for those of us who get bored REALLY easily at the gym. Ok, here we go…

I pull up to the gym, and the countdown is on. I’m starting to contemplate how I will spend my time. (Because of a recent workout with my friend MO, I now have more confidence to try different things on my own. Enter: The Row Machine.)

I plan to hit The Row Machine (TRM) after I do some jogging and biking; yes, 3rd place sounds good. There’s a nice looking gentleman currently occupying the middle of 3 machines, and I don’t want to distract him from his efforts, so I’ll let him have some alone time with TRM before I work my magic.

A few minutes later… it’s time. Dang it. He’s still there. And he makes it look SO EASY!! He’s covered in sweat. I better sweat.

I sit down, glance over at him, and strap my feet in.

I can do this. It’s just 5 minutes. 5… minutes. Begin.

(My eyes are closed, my arms and legs are starting to burn, and I’m rocking it out.) I bet I’m halfway to Hawaii by now! It has to have been at least- at LEAST 3 minutes…

(I peek…) CRAP! It’s been 38 seconds. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Ugh. Cute guy is still going strong. How long has he been going, anyway?! (I try to sneak a peek at his timer.) Shoot! Can’t see a thing. But with that much sweat, I bet it’s been at least 3 minutes. Lucky.

(I can feel my face starting to change. I make faces when I work out. I have a really hard time hiding my feelings no matter what I’m doing, and exercise is no exception. There have even been times when I’ve opened my eyes to see people staring at me with a look of deep concern on their face. That… is awkward, my friends.)

My arms are… BURNING! I think I’m developing carpal tunnel as I speak. Maybe I should quit to preserve my wrists. For my own good. Or maybe if I change songs I will have an easier time with this… “Something for the DJ’s” by Pitbull. That’s the spot. Alright… let’s DO THIS!

I must be near the halfway mark by now… right? Please, timer… please be at 2:30… (I peek.) UGH! 1:24… doesn’t effort mean ANYTHING in this place?!?! Ok. Row man is still there. If he’s still going strong, I can do this. I HAVE to do this. Seriously. How embarrassing would it be to walk away now?

Yes… I… Can… Make… It… To… Five… Minutes… I’m going to close my eyes and think about riding in my boat across a body of water. I’ve never been to the ocean, but I’ve seen enough movies to be there in my imagination. Aww… such a beautiful day. The sun is shining, the water is a beautiful blue, and… is that a DOLPHIN?!

Ok. For SURE I’ve hit 5 minutes after that calming visual. (My right eye peers open.) FOUR MINUTES?! Ok. I can do this. One more minute. And I’m going to row so hard that the guy next to me is going to envy my moves.

(With each move, my lungs, arms, and legs BURN. But I keep going. I’ve already invested heavily in this 5 minutes. I’m determined to finish strong.)

10…9…8…7…6…5…4…3…2…1…DONE!
BOO-YA, GRANDMA!
I DID IT!

(I stand up, almost ready to victory dance, until I notice the dude next to me, still rowing effortlessly along. I decide to sit down and talk to him because the time passes quicker when someone talks to me. I’m probably doing him a favor.)

“Are you going to Hawaii too?” -me
“Umm… excuse me?” -Row Dude
“You’ve been rowing FOREVER, and I’m just wondering how you’re able to last so long? I would’ve fallen off the machine by now. No questions asked.”
“Haha. Ya, I don’t usually do this. I’m a runner, but I thought I’d do something different tonight.”
“Wow, you’re pretty awesome. I envy your stamina. And if you keep this up, I bet your arms will get bigger than my head!”
“Yes, you’re probably right; although I think I’m nearly done for tonight.”
“I see. Well, good luck. You’re a good role model for weaklings like me who fight for 5 straight minutes of success. Keep it up, kiddo!”
“Hey thanks. You did good, too!”

I moved on to another machine, leaving the sweaty man behind.
A few minutes later, he walked past me and threw me “2 thumbs up” as he left.

To The Row Machine: Sorry that you lost and I won today.
Actually, I’m not really sorry.
I rocked and ROWED (get it? like “rolled”?!?) it out today!

BOOM!
Until next time, Wellness Center… peace!

You are You and I am Me.

How many times today did you see someone and think, “Why can’t I be like her/him?Seriously.

You’re at the gym, and you start to feel all self-conscious when you spot a stick figure next to you on the treadmill just jogging away effortlessly. (Cue the imagination:) She probably gets to eat chocolate cake and ice cream and chips and pizza without any regret. And she probably only works out once a week- that’s it. And her social calendar is full of fun things she’s doing with fun people. Of course she has an amazing boyfriend that worships the very ground she walks on. And no way does she ever have  to study, yet consistently gets high scores in school and easily achieves everything she sets her mind to… Whoa, Nelly!

Do you ever do this? If the answer is yes, my next question is: WHY!?

I’d like to remind you that God made each one of us a little bit different. Or a lot a bit different. There’s a reason that we don’t all look the same, sound the same, act the same, think the same, and believe the same. You do yourself a great disservice when you try to fit the model of another person.

I read an article about body types recently, and it brought back a memory from high school. I have a friend that is naturally thin, no matter what. She has tried to gain weight before (I KNOW!) and just couldn’t (I KNOW!)And it drove her nuts. The majority of women I meet strive to be thinner. Most men I meet desire to be more sculpted, bulky, and ripped. Either way, we are never good enough.

What if we all pledged to treat our bodies right and accepted ourselves right where we’re at, and we do this all as an act of love? Perhaps we change our motives: because we love who we are, and we believe in the importance of  sharing our light and talents to others in the world.

How many days have you wasted this week thinking about how you wish you were different? How many people have you wished you were instead of the person you are?

I think that it’s ok for us to think about those things at times, but with a realistic and purposeful mindset: If you wish you were someone else because he/she travels the world… maybe it’s time for you to start putting money away little by little and planning your next vacation (no one is stopping you). If you wish you were someone else because he/she writes beautifully… maybe it’s time that you pick up a pen and a fancy notebook and filling the pages (just let your thoughts flow, you have beautiful music inside of you). {Side note: this applies to whatever it is that interests you. Today is a GREAT day to start.} If you are jealous of someone because he/she has sculpted arms and legs… maybe you should stop avoiding the weight room (and find a friend who knows what they’re doing to show you the ropes).

The bottom line is that you have a lot more power than you give yourself credit for. It’s important that you don’t spend each day living for “some day” or “the perfect body” or “certain circumstances.”  

You get today.

You get right now.

You are you and I am me.

Embrace your circumstances with thankfulness

now go out and create some magic.

Be REAL.

To weigh or not to weigh… that is the question.

Studies show that weighing yourself will likely produce better results in not only losing weight, but keeping it off; in my opinion experience, it’s a fine line.

The more I write these blogs, the more I want to divulge every in and out of my weight loss journey. There are so many layers. And I want to share each one. Sometimes for the simple fact that I feel it may help you. Sometimes because I sincerely hope you never make the same mistakes that I have.

This is one of those “honest-to-goodness” blogs that make me own up to one of my many stumbles.

As my weight loss progressed, people said things like: “I can’t even imagine you being that big.” or “You are such an inspiration.” or “I want to be just like you.”

Zoiks. That’s A LOT of pressure, people!

I guess it’s also  good accountability, though.

Anyway, I’ve written a bit about how we measure “success.” It’s important that you don’t get SO wrapped up and reliant on the scale and the numbers pop up after those few seconds that take forever. Yes, it is important that you aim for a certain weight (aka your BMI), but it’s also important that you are building/maintaining muscle, drinking enough fluids, and not becoming so driven by the numbers that you become irrational (aka  stop taking care of yourself).

In college, I bought a scale to “keep me in check.” It kept me a lot more than just “in check;” because of that dang scale, I was a slave to time, clothing, eating, and working out.

Please, dear friend:

Do your best to be at peace with the scale.

First things first. Remember that it took you some time to get to your current weight. And getting angry and depressed will not make change the number. Use it as motivation- healthy motivation- to keep trying rather than a torture device.

At one point in college… (gulp, here comes the raw honesty)… I was weighing myself 3 times a day at least, wearing the exact same outfit (I had to change a lot), having eaten the same thing, after exercising nearly the same amount.

I was a robot. I was trapped. It was awful.

Sometimes I would beat myself up for fluctuating- even 0.2 pounds. Let’s put this into perspective using a fewinteresting points: If you drank one liter of pop it would add about 0.10 pound if you didn’t burn it off. It would add over 2 pounds  with just the “liquid weight.” After using a bathroom, you might to down 1-1.5 pounds.

So let’s be real here. Big picture.

Concentrate on eating right and exercising, and staying within your healthy caloric range. If weighing yourself is a “must” to keep you on track, do it only one time a day, in the morning after using the bathroom and without clothes on. Remember that slight fluctuations are no need for panic. Just so the numbers keep generally and gradually heading a downward direction. I guarantee that freaking out isn’t going to change the scale.

And we all know that it’s important to include weight resistance in your workout routine, right? So important that you implement it, yes? True, building muscle may slow/halt the scale temporarily, but in the long run you are better off, as your body will burn more calories and operate more efficiently. (And your new found strength will make you feel more like a rockstar/superhero.)

No matter where you are in your weight loss/healthy living journey, consider each day a gift. You have the chance to start over or begin again today. You have the chance to overcome the negativity in your life that brings you down. Not only chances, but strength.

Believe in yourself and make it happen one healthy step at a time.

And know that I’m with you… every step of the way!

Secret Weapon

Ever since last week, I’ve been burning up… with a fever to ZUMBA! That is the funnest “workout” I’ve done- may be ever.

I was disappointed knowing I would have to figure out a way to workout for 4 whole days by myself starting last Thursday. And this morning, I jumped out of bed excited for Zumba classes to FINALLY happen again! A busy day of meetings and a really wet snowfall didn’t even phase my one-track mind.

Now, earlier today someone had given me a FREE ticket to a holiday show (aka all you can eat, drink, and be merry for) tonight, which I was going to plan to carefully squeeze in between a meeting and the class. Due to the before-mentioned snowfall that turned almost immediately to ice, I had to make a choice: feasting or dancing.

Zumba won. After all, I got new shoes JUST for that purpose this weekend (to help with the blisters), and they were begging to be used:

 

 

 

I skated to the Wellness Center, and was bummed to find out that the class was cancelled due to illness. REALLY bummed. (There’s something about winter that makes working out so-much-more-difficult.)

Since I was already there I decided to stay and workout. And my attention span was about as long as… a goldfish’s. 10 minutes felt like 10 hours.

In moments like this, it’s important that you have a SECRET WEAPON. Mine? A group of songs that will keep me going with a little extra pep in my step pretty much without fail. Literally.

As a matter of fact, I’ve been spotted on numerous occasions dancing down the sidewalk or hallway while listening to the “said” songs. (And when people pass me I just try to pass it off as a limp.)

What keeps you going during your workout?

Are you ready?

This question keeps ringing in my head tonight…

Think about when you might hear this question. Before getting a shot, taking a test, competing in a big event… and pretty much most other things that make me feel like I’m going to throw up from nervousness come to mind for me.

And, according to the Little Doubter, or for the sake of having some fun in this blog I’ll call her Little D, inside of me the answer is always “NO!

Could you imagine how your life would be if you actually listened?

Today alone, Little D would’ve kept me from:

  • getting out of bed
  • driving in busy traffic (remember my accident?)
  • making a phone call
  • going to a class at the Wellness Center
  • finishing a class at the Wellness Center
And in my life, if Little D won every battle in my mind:
  • I would probably be well over 400 pounds
  • I wouldn’t be able to say I have been white water rafting, climbed  the side of a mountain, or traveled to fun and interesting places
  • going to college and making it through? HA.
  • there’s no way I’d love my job SO much.
  • my list of friends would be alarmingly small
  • life would be… DULL.
The truth is that it’s hard to take risks sometimes. It’s scary to think about doing something we’ve never done or we’re not used to doing. But in those moments, we grow and we learn.
When I first started Weight Watchers, we had to find a quote to help us out when we needed an extra lift. Here was one of mine:
“One does not discover new continents without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.” ~Andre Gide
Little did I know that fateful Monday night, I was about to start a lifelong journey to living healthier. I had no clue it would be- both then and now- SO challenging. But it’s been a great challenge; one that has helped to shape me into someone that is less afraid to take chances andhave confidence in my abilities.
No matter what it is that you need to overcome, know that you have the power to get started and get through it. I didn’t get to 300 pounds over night, and I didn’t lose it that quickly either. But I took it one day at a timeone obstacle at a time, and made it.
And now I must press on with that same mindset, quieting Little D when she tries to get in my way.
I challenge you to do the same.
When did you take a positive risk that helped you overcome a challenge in your life?
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