The Big Picture

Just a few days ago I was talking with a friend.  She is in training to become a Life Coach and you can read about her Here.  She is an amazing person and friend. Anyway, I was doing this little test to help her out with something she was working on. little did I know at the time I volunteered how big an impact it would have.

As we were going through the exercise I got dialed in to my usual fitness related mindset. I answered the questions and wrote down things that came to mind.  As we continued on talking through the results I had an epiphany.  My epiphany was that I often have tunnel vision. I’m not really good about taking a few steps back from this fitness goal or that fitness goal to see what I really want long term in life.  It’s been a week since my friend and I had the conversation. The exercise we did has come to my mind at least once everyday since, but in most cases its been two or three times per day.

It’s very clear in my mind that my health and my fitness is important as I go through the next season or chapter or whatever the buzz word for it is. But up to that phone call, I hadn’t really stopped to think “what do you really want?”.   After pondering what I want, I realized there are some things I must get in order to be prepared for the next big phase.  I told my friend what I really wanted to do and one of those things requires reading a specific book I bought.  She challenged me not with reading the book, but with simply “get the book out and txt me when you do”. It was perfect prompting.

Then she had me set a deadline for reading chapter one.  Before I realized it I was through with chapter five. I’ve taken some baby steps to get started and before long, I will be knocking out what I need to knock out.

Not only did doing those little things help me with that very personal project goal, they fired me up to start logging my food again, which I haven’t done in a while.  Food logging is a healthy thing for me.  When I’m not logging, I’m eye-balling and I have some big ole eye-balls.  Sometimes you have to know what you want before you know what to do.

I feel at peace right now more than I have in quite sometime. Peace with the big picture, not just my fitness and nutrition goals.  I’m sure that before too long, the personal project goal will just right smack dab into my fitness/nutrition goals and try a hostile takeover, but I’m going to be ready for it.

The lesson brings home the old adage “you can’t see the forest through the trees”.

Hat Tip Photo Courtesy Ann Joiner




Moving Past That Place

Twice this week I’ve had conversations with women who find themselves at a crossroads.  It’s the crossroads to long-term change.  It’s a frightening place to be.

To the left is everything you know, comfort, habit, status quo, the norm, the place you’ve known for what could be your whole life, failures, the past.

To the right is belief, discomfort, truth, health, happiness, knowledge, pressure, fear of the unknown, trials, failures (yes you have failures on both roads), wisdom, desire, change, gratitude.

I know this crossroads all too well.  In the spring and summer of 2010 I stood at the very same crossroads.  I had just won the Body-for-Life challenge which had been a goal for 9 years. Everyone thought I had it all figured out. What people around me didn’t know, was what was happening on the inside. Even my best friends had no idea.

I was terrified. Afraid I’d back slide back to the 328# person I used to be. I was terrified I would fail again. I was terrified that I was a fake. I was afraid I didn’t believe in myself as much as others believed in me. I was afraid of the future.

Looking back on that crossroads now it seems silly. But at that time the fear was very real, very much a part of my daily life.

In order to overcome that fear, I had to put some daily habits in place. Below are the most important ones listed in the order of importance for me.

  • No Negative Self-Talk. EVER
  • Write down 3 things I’m grateful for daily
  • Write down 3 positive affirmations about my body daily
  • Get the fear out of your head

These things may look trivial to some, but to a person who doesn’t believe in themselves, I believe these things are a game changer.  Let me elaborate.

  • No Negative Self-Talk. EVER

Negative self-talk is the single most detrimental habit a person can develop.  Negative self-talk comes up when you look in the mirror, when you are handling your personal finances, when you go to work, when you parent your children, in your marriage.  It’s everywhere. SHUT. IT. DOWN. You are worthy of greatness, no-one, not even yourself should tell you otherwise.

  • Write down 3 things you’re grateful for

Gratitude helps you realize in the big scheme of things you’ve got it really good. Be grateful you’re healthy and not fighting for your life. Be grateful you have a roof over your head. If you are reading this, be grateful for the very device allowing you to see this, even if it’s a loaner. Be grateful for the simplest things in your life. Once you remove your “woe is me” tunnel vision, you get to fully see what you have to be grateful for.

  • Write down 3 positive affirmations about my body daily

I don’t mean the same things every day.  Each day find 3 things you love about your body.  They may or may not have a thing to do with your physical appearance.  I love my eyes because they allow me to see things.  I love my strong and powerful legs that allow me to move heavy things. I love my ears because they allow me to hear beautiful music.

  • Get the fear out of your head

If you are afraid of something talk about it with a trusted friend, a person who’s walked this path before you, or if nothing else, write your fear down in a journal.  What I found over time was the fear was much, much greater in my head than it ever was out in the open.  I’ve written letters to people and then burned them (very healing). I have sobbed on my friend’s shoulder when faced with the realization I wasn’t going to reach a goal I set. Getting your fear of failure out of you mind clears the space so that it can be filled to the brim with positive and grateful thinking.

All of the above may seem trivial, but if you are at the crossroads of significant weight loss, throw these habits in to play and see if you don’t find some peace from the constant fear of back-sliding.

Want it more than afraid of it


Strong Legs

It seems like all I write about lately is the legs.  Well mostly anyway.  I’ve neglected to push my legs at the same level I’ve pushed my upper body, so now I’m playing catch up.  I’ve used every excuse under the sun for the past four years as my excuse for not being more goal oriented on these strong legs.

As most of my readers know I’ve lost a lot of weight, with the losses, I’ve gained some unflattering skin issues on these strong legs.  THAT has been my number one excuse for not being overly concerned with them.  The whole “I’ll never wear shorts again” excuse.

Well as you can tell I’m sucking it up and getting busy changing these strong legs into even stronger legs.  The lower body contains the largest muscles in the whole body.  The more I work them, the more dense with muscle both the legs and glutes will become.  I will burn more calories as well, like a big old furnace.  I can’t wait.

I don’t expect them to be perfect because that would certainly be unrealistic.  I’m all too familiar with unrealistic expectations, they set you up for failure.  All I will say is that I have before pictures and I’m making videos along the way of this journey.  I will stay the course and you guys will get sick of the updates.  Until then I’ll keep sharing what I’m doing and you guys can cheer me on.



Whew Those Glutes

My focus this year is legs and glutes.  Much more focus than last year.  Not just heavy lifting but attention to detail with hamstrings and hip flexors as well. I like reading a lot. Anything to do with muscle activation and building I’ll read it. One thing I used to assume was that if I squat enough I didn’t need to work glutes separately.  After two years of little change in my butt and the back of my legs it’s past time to step-up my backside.  I began doing 3 sets of 25 body weight Glute Bridges every day since Friday.  Wow. Talk about muscle awareness.  I find it interesting how muscle can somehow become inactive, perhaps disengaged because other muscles start overcompensating.

My glutes are tender today, that’s a good thing.  That tells me the work I’m doing is needed and it is working.

As most of my readers know I’ve started doing random videos of my workouts. I’ve learned a lot about my form and things I need to correct.  In example I did 65# front rack position barbell walking lunges. Watching the video below I realized I turn my toes in terribly during these sets, I don’t normally turn my toes in doing walking lunges.  Correcting it should be as simple as reducing the weight and doing higher reps.

Today’s Workout:

3 Sets x 25 reps Glute Raises Body Weight 
3 Sets x 20 reps 65# Hip Thrust
3 Sets x 8 reps 65# Walking Lunges
5 Sets x 10 35# Back Extensions
5 Sets x 10 reps Reverse Hypers

Lunges, Back Ext, Reverse Hypers



YOTL Progress Update

Just a quick update on the progress for this week.  I have two more videos to edit and get added.  One is a thruster workout and the other is a hip thrust workout.

I had no idea when I set out to start these videos exactly what they’d teach me.  As a coach, I watch and correct other athletes.  It’s easy to see things that need to be corrected.  As an athlete, it’s impossible to see yourself and correct things when you workout alone.  I can’t stare at myself in a mirror mid snatch, thruster, or hip thrust and see where I’m doing something wrong.

In example, I did snatch pulls from the hang yesterday.  I was rudely awakened by my horrible form on my snatch pull.  That explains my not so great snatch form.  A lot of bells and whistles go off when I watch these videos.  It’s a great tool.  Even if you don’t ever show a video publicly, seeing with your own eyes where your weaknesses are can be a real game changer.

I want to give a shout out to 43fitness for her long distance support and encouragement.  She is a wonderful conspirator in this whole fitness journey, I learn from her more often than she knows.



Torn Between Two Loves

Here lately I’ve been struggling.  No not with food, that’s dialed in quite nicely actually.  I’m torn.  Torn between my love of bodybuilding and my love of barbell building.  When I do one with serious focus, I feel like I’m cheating on the other.  It sounds so silly but really it’s not.

Every morning I get up at 4am.  Spend about 15 minutes getting ready to head out to the gym.  If I do not have an iron clad plan of what I’m going to do in a given workout, I will falter.  Monday and Friday are hard-core bodybuilding lifting days because I have much more time.  Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, I teach at 5:30am class so that only gives me about 30 solid working minutes after I’ve warmed up.  Saturday or Sunday when I’m afforded the time, I’ll sneak in another good workout and it rotates between barbell and body building.  Here lately, I’ve decided to use those 3 shorter training times for barbell work.  Man I love it.

I’m reminded every time I pick up the bar that I’m strong, but the bar can be stronger.  I’m also reminded that my training over these past few years has really changed my functional fitness and ability level. At almost 51 years old I can do things I wouldn’t have dreamed of doing in my 30′s.

I read an article the other day that really struck home for me.  It talked about the fact there are no studies showing eating healthy and exercising will prolong your years.  Then it went on to talk about the quality of your life with strength training versus quality of life with out it.  I already knew this, but it was quite gratifying to read it in black and white.  I don’t care how long I have left, I just want that time to be spent as fit as I can possibly be.

So more motivation to lift!  And more motivation to stop trying to choose between the two disciplines.  I fully believe they compliment each other.  The video below in particular reminds me of my functional ability.  My form isn’t perfect, but my technique is improving with practice.  If you have any doubts about whether weight training is for you, at minimum look into it.  It will make you sore some days, those days will simply remind you that you are growing in your fitness.  I look forward to being the little old lady in the corner lifting.  Absolutely.


Inspired By Others

Yesterday while reading Lifting My Spirits FB page I was greatly inspired by her recent workout video posts.  She has allowed folks access into her workouts via video and I just thought that was the greatest thing.  When you are doing this fitness thing for good, as in like brushing your teeth, there are always times you can use a little motivation.  I’m nowhere near as good as she is with this whole video thing, but today, I thought I’d try it.  I have a lot to learn about camera placement etc., and practice will remedy that.  And again a shout out to Lifting My Spirits for being such a great mentor and example for all of us.

When I looked at this video I thought to myself “man you’re getting old” and then the lifter in me said “but you’re still going and will continue to do so”.

Before you get all stirred up about my form, please keep in mind this was a short workout that began at 4:45am.  I didn’t have a lot of time to warm up and it shows.  There are also flaws in my technique and there is nothing better than a video to show you exactly what you need to work on to improve technique.  So there it is.  For the sake of time, I’ve edited out the rest periods for the most part.

A shout out to my friend Roxanne Perkins for helping tutor me on the art of video editing.

Location: CrossFit Madison

Music by Lenny Kravitz

Grunts and groans by yours truly!  :)

Squat Cleans 2 reps every minute on the minute 85#


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