Earn Your Steps

I love me a good FitBit challenge.  If you can recall, a month or so ago I had to opt out of some challenges as I was getting a little burnt out with working, teaching and participating in classes, training, hiking, and trying to be numero uno in all the challenges I accepted. But, that being said, I do love the challenges.

FitBit

Via FitBit

The great thing about FitBit challenges, I find, is that they keep me motivated (not that I need any motivation when it comes to fitness).  But, sometimes I’ll be sedentary for too long at work or if I’m enamored in a great book and I look forward to that FitBit alert to give me the little nudge I need to get off my butt and do something.

That’s the thing with these challenges though…you have to do something.  Unfortunately, there are people who are more caught up with winning the challenge that they’re resorting to cheating (and yes – walking around your living room is getting your steps in, but seriously, are you actually earning your steps? No!) just to take over first place.  Funny thing about that is a) you’re making me work harder, that’s for sure…and if I’ve earned second place, I’m okay with that  b) If you’re resorting to cheating in any form to win a freakin’ FitBit step challenge, more than likely I can out-lift you, out-run you, and out-burpee you any darn day of the week.

What’s totally awesome about the step challenges is that it can bring a small community of people together to work harder at their health and push each other to strive for their best.  I’ve made some friends via FitBit challenges and we’ve helped each other step up (pun!) our game.

FitBitters

FitBit Besties….

So, if you’re one of those people who somehow manage to get 6,000 steps at 10 minutes to midnight by roaming around your living room (or any other measure of cheating), think about it next time why you’re doing what you’re doing.  Is it to be in first place?  Is it to have bragging rights?  (<- If that’s the case then maybe you should review your life and find out what’s missing in it.)  And instead of being a jerk and cheating your way to first place, you should focus your energies on earning your steps and motivating yourself so that you can win first place.  Earn it people.  Own it!

~FB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Triumph

Personal Triumph

Many of my days are spent thinking about my workouts.  My next workout.  Sometimes I am so darn excited I can’t get it out of my head.  I’ll spend my entire work day anticipating getting to the gym.  And I love my job, so it’s not like I’m watching the clock for the day to end so I can get the heck outta there, I just really, really can’t wait to get to my happy place.

Let me clear, the gym is not my only happy place, but it sure does change my mood!

How I feel about the gym these days is a lot different than how I felt years ago when I wrote about my addiction to exercise.  Back then, though it was just a couple of years ago, it was an addiction.  I was obsessed with when I was going to exercise next and was working out several times a day, every day.  Now, I’m just excited about my fitness goals and the tasks in front of me and how I feel after I’ve completed the workout.  I’m not dissing my workout goals when I was addicted because I had great goals and I thoroughly enjoyed my workouts.  I think my biggest problem then was that it was controlling me and almost every move I made.  (Cue The Police’s Every Breath You Take.)

These days when I plan a routine for the gym – or even for one of my classes – I’m taking my fitness to new levels.  I’m taking on tasks that I never thought I’d be doing – or interested in.  And when I’m finished, when my time is finally up and I’m ready to leave, I am usually quite pleased with how my time was spent and with what I accomplished.

No regrets

~Cheers

 

 

 

 

 

Burnout

burnout0A while back I wrote a piece on my over-training syndrome and addiction to exercise and how it attributed to weight gain and other health issues (including adrenal fatigue).  Once I realized had confirmation that my glutenous exercising was taking a toll on my health, I pulled back the reigns somewhat and began to let go of my addiction.  Although still maintaining a fairly strict exercise regime, I let go of the idea that I absolutely needed to work out every single day and became more lax.  And I think cardio was killing me.

This past year, as you may have read, I have changed up my fitness goals and have been concentrating on strength training and lifting, spending most of my gym time in the weight room and venturing into territory that, though I have always maintained some strength training, has been on the up-and-up with me.  Power lifting and such has become somewhat of a (new) passion and I’m really excited about it and look forward to the days I can get to the gym.  Which, of late, seems to be more and more frequently.  With classes at least three times per week, I have been making efforts to hit the gym the other 3 to 4 days each week.  The other day someone referred to me as a “gym Nazi”.

On top of classes and gym time, the last few months I’ve gotten more and more into hiking – mostly on weekends or sometimes on the off-days from working out.  And I have been walking every day on my lunch break for the full hour, and several days before work for anywhere between 20 to 40 minutes.

This week, I had some pretty insane workouts – including lifting the highest amount of weight I’d ever lifted (impressing even myself), and Thursday I totally overdid it.  Like, completely.  I did two major walks – 40 minutes before work and an hour at lunch and in the evening I did my regular Thursday night gym routine, spending nearly two and a half hours in the gym, and ending the evening with a Zumba class.  (Thursday is my favorite night of the week!)

Lift Exhaustion

Although during my exercised-fueled endorphin rush I felt awesome and energetic and like I could take on the world, by late Thursday evening I was zonked and actually nodded off on my couch.  I never fall asleep on my couch.

Friday morning I awoke with not a lick of energy.  I was literally physically exhausted and drained.  The entire day I felt like I got hit by a truck.  A big-ass truck!  I was barely functioning at work and felt like no amount of caffeine would be able to help me.  I was relieved when the work day ended.

Out of Order

This is how I felt Friday…keep knocking…there’s no one home.

However, I am a moron determined and decided that I still wanted to ensure I got another workout in, since it was cold and raining on Friday and I barely got a walk in (short one in the morning and shorter one in the afternoon – resulting in very wet pant-legs) and I headed to the gym once again.  It’s really all I could think about Friday and I really was happy to get there.  I spent way too long there Friday night working out (about an hour and 40 minutes), lifting and finishing with a little cardio.  I felt like I could conquer the world and could keep going but, sometimes I have to say “enough’s enough”.

Although I ventured back to the gym yesterday for what turned out to be a great workout with a buddy, I felt like I didn’t or couldn’t put all I had into my workout.  And although I slept wayyyy too long Friday night into Saturday, I was still very tired and needed to push myself.

I made the decision to definitely take today off.  Even though I was invited to participate in a fun-run for Apple Blossom festivities, I was happy when the invitee texted to say that she was declining as well.  Thank goodness.

I have spent most of today and last night recovering from last week and I am determined  to not let myself get to that point again.  The point of physical exhaustion and burnout.  I don’t think I’ve ever really experienced exercise burnout before.  It’s definitely different than the over-training syndrome and adrenal fatigue I experienced a few years ago.  I’ve also decided this week to opt out of any FitBit challenges that I’ve been invited to as I feel like I’ve been too competitive lately and that has been fueling me a little more than it should.  I am not Monica Geller.

And, let’s face it, I know better.  I wasn’t trying to get to this point on purpose.  Exhaustion is NOT a status symbol.  I know the effects of over-training and risks exhaustion can pose. Up until the end of this past week I wasn’t feeling the effects of my workouts.  And perhaps this is a one time occurrence, but I will be more careful as I go into a new week.  I will not attempt more than I can handle.  My body is my temple and as such, I shall treat it like one and show it more respect.

~FB

Lift Me Up

Recently I talked about increasing my strength training.  I got off track a bit last year after getting whiplash, and never really got fully back on track.

Until now.

I am now committed to my strength training.  This past week alone I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone and gone places I’d not gone before with weight training.  And I feel good.  I feel proud.

kitty lift

This is totally me after a workout.  *MEOW*

Many women are intimidated by weight training, but there are so many wonderful benefits of it.

First of all, it’s a huge stress reliever (as is most exercise). But strength training also helps you burn fat faster, increases your stability and balance, strengthens your bones,increases your cardio, lower your blood pressure, and boost your confidence. And there is still a bevy of reasons and benefits to strength train.

Lift

Do it because you love your body, and it will love you back.

~FB

Arm Envy

There’s a girl in my Zumba class who I have a complete arm-crush on.

This girl is itty bitty without an ounce of fat on her little frame – and she has the most gorgeous arm muscles:  biceps, triceps, shoulders.

Look at her arms

She can also be an object of my affection.

She is always a few rows ahead of me so she’s always in view.  And there I am in the back row stalking her arms.

I have arm envy.  (I also have leg envy.  I’ve talked about that before.)

I have a very weird frame:  I’m tallish (5’6) with short legs and a long torso.  I always tease that I’m built like a football player with a wide rib cage, a narrow waist, and narrow shoulders.  I have always had thick legs and arms, and now that I’m getting older I’m working my booty off (literally) to get my limbs toned and strong.

Last night I was thinking about my strength training and I’ve decided that it’s time to increase the training and the weight at the gym.

I’ve been so dedicated to my running this last year and preparing for races that I’ve accepted that I’ve let my strength training slide a bit.  I still do it.  I just don’t do it often enough through my week.  And after I had whiplash last year I went down in weights and when I was ready I didn’t go back up enough.  So, that’s it.  I’m owning it and buckling down and am going to work at becoming my own arm envy.

~Fit Bitch

 

 

 

Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone

I finished my CanFitPro certification course this past weekend.  Whoo hoo!  It was an overwhelming couple of weeks with tons and tons of information to take in (bioenergetics, biomechanics, etc.) and I have tons and tons of studying and prepping to do before I complete my exams.  Thankfully I have about 5 weeks before the written exam and then from there I have to schedule the practical.  Fortunately, I had a friend who’s taken the course and is already training (she’s the person responsible for me going for this!) so I’m able to shadow with her and ask questions.  And my gym and class buddy has “volunteered” to be my guinea pig so I’m able to work with her the way I would work with a true life client.  And it’s helping.

This past weekend, during the course, we spent a good amount of time in the gym and getting to know new equipment.   I’ve always been intimidated by some of the equipment in my gym but since I got back from the course I’ve been broadening my horizons and it’s empowering.

One of the big attractions in the course gym, that all the guys and gals were going gaga for, was the Smith Machine.  And guess what?  We have one of those at my gym!  I was so excited to brag about this piece of equipment and get back to my gym to really work with it (I’d tried it once or twice before; it’s still very new to my gym) and I love it.  I’ve been increasing my weights over the last year but this machine I think will really help me build my upper body strength – especially since I’m still dealing with this stupid back injury, this machine should be great in keeping me from preventing more injury (let’s all knock on wood just in case).

If you’re not familiar with the Smith Machine you can check out the Wikipedia page here and the photo below.

Smith Machine

Smith Machine

The really great thing about the Smith Machine is that it has these little jagged teeth where you can sit or rest the weights on AND where you can lock the safety on each side so if you’re doing lifts and lose your balance the weights will only fall to the safety.  Or, if you drop the bar completely, it falls right into the next set of teeth.  I am really looking forward to getting more use out of this piece of equipment.

I’ve also started using other pieces more and plan to continue with them.  If you are like me and don’t feel great outside out of your comfort zone, try taking tiny steps and take full advantage of new equipment (or equipment new to you).  It’ll be worth it in the end.

Cheers.