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Monday, December 9, 2013

One Size Doesn't Fit All

You know that moment when you bump into someone you haven't seen for some time and they have lost a very noticeable amount of weight and all you want to know is, how? You want to be polite and ask how they are and what's new in their life, but all you really want to know is how they did it. You want to know in detail, in hopes that you can mimick the same plan and achieve the same results. You know that moment, right? 

Here's the trouble with it... Trying on someone else's diet/exercise expecting identical results, is no different than going into their closet and putting on their clothes and shoes and expecting to come out looking just like them as a result. I mean, you're wearing their pants. You've got on that shirt they always look so good in. You're wearing those awesome shoes that you fell in love with the first time they wore them. So why don't you look like just them?? Well, for the obvious reason.... You're not them.....

We all know the basics of fitness. Eat right, workout, take care of yourself, get plenty of rest, etc. The mystery lies in the details. You can put two people on the exact same program, but because of genetics, body type, metabolism, etc., the results between the two will not be the exact same. 

You're sitting at home watching an infomercial for Insanity and you want it. You want those results. So you order the DVD set and give it a try. You work hard. Follow the program verbatim. At the end of the program you expect to look just like the picture of whatever model you envied on the infomercial. You told yourself that when you complete this program, you will have that identical body. Surprise! It didn't happen. You got results. You worked hard! You look and feel great. But you don't look like you expected. You don't look just like the model from the infomercial. 

I always preach about how fitness is about fitness. It's about health. The focus shouldn't be vanity. I say that for two reasons. I want to always remind you that you're beautiful the way you are. Stop trying to look just like someone else, even of that someone else is a former "you", and never ever forget why we eat right and exercise. Your primary focus and goal should always be your health, not how you look in a bikini or what the scales say. The scales will lie to you, and as long as you're working out right and eating right, it will show in your appearance. Your skin will clear up, your flab will tighten, your belly will flatten, your energy will increase, and you will feel stronger. 

When you are on a program, the results you get in outward appearance and/or in your health level will be specific to you and you alone. Never forget that. If you join a group challenge or buddy up with a friend and stick to the same guidelines, you will not get identical results. If you expect that, one of you will be discouraged. I know how hard it is not to chase a certain number on the scale, or a specific pant size, but being healthy and fit isn't about that at all. So don't go to unhealthy measures to accomplish what you want to see on the outside. Stick to healthy choices and the rest will happen naturally. Yes, it will take longer than a starvation diet and avoiding strength training because you don't like what the scales say when you tone your body. But it will be a lifestyle that will keep you from being back in the same situation that you are in ever again. Nobody likes to start over.  

So, I ask you today to evaluate your goals and your plans. Ask yourself what you want out of the process. If the answer is to "look like I did when I was XX years old" or look good for summer", or "look good on your wedding day" or any other "look good for a special occasion or short term event", I beg you to consider thinking in terms of a lifetime of healthy living. My post today is focused on the fact that we are all made up differently. We need to have our own goals. We can work together with a friend  and encourage and support each other. That is great of you have that and need it. Just never lose sight of the fact that you are your own person and "one size doesn't fit all". 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

What fitness means to me

It's amazing just how much of my day is lived selfishly. I have good intentions and I don't want to conform to this broken world, yet I fall into selfish behavior pretty much over and over again throughout each day. I can wake up, pray, read my devotion, and set my mind on living for Christ, then before I've finished my first cup of coffee I've already failed more times than I can count on one hand. My overwhelming desire to do and be good, coupled with my sinful nature, is a battle I can't seem to win. 

When I got certified in personal training, it was because of my passion for fitness and my passion for helping people see that they can live a healthy lifestyle without feeling deprived. God gave us all of these amazing foods to fuel our bodies, yet our busy lives and the way we view food as a nation sets us up to fail if we don't learn how to deal. I don't claim to have it all figured out. But, I do feel like God spends a lot of time showing me that fitness is not just about vanity, but rather about taking care of the house He created for our souls. 

Now, I can tell you that I have struggled with this and I continue to struggle with this, because my outward appearance IS important to me. I won't lie about that. In fact, I will tell you that it is probably more important to me than it should be. Having said that, the most important thing I learned through my journey in getting my certification was that being healthy and being thin have absolutely NOTHING to do with each other. And, health and fitness has a whole lot more to do with God than it does with us. 

Here's where I'm going with this....
As I said at the beginning of this, I wake up every day with an overwhelming desire to live for Christ. I'm lucky to get it right for even half of my morning. We do this same thing as humans with everything that is right in this world. Everything that does not come naturally to us takes a constant conscious effort. It is impossible for us to get it right 100% of the time. The thing is, I wake up every day hungry for Christ. I trip, stumble, and even fall all day long. But at the end of the day, despite all of my failures, I am still a Christian. In the same way, I wake up each day hungry for health. I trip, stumble, and even fall all day long. But despite all my failures, I still have my health. 

When we put unrealistic expectations on ourselves, we leave ourselves little room for success. I know that I was not born without sin. But I want to spend my days trying to be the best Christian I can be. I wish I didn't fall so short. But I always have a clean slate. I'm always forgiven. It's always forgotten. And what a relief that is. It's not a ticket to stop trying to do good. It's not a free pass to sin. It's another chance to change and to do better next time. It's relieves the pressure that we are expected to be perfect. 

I believe that if we can learn to look at our daily health and fitness with the same attitude we look at Christianity, it would  relieve a lot of the pressure to be perfect. After all, the goal is to take care of this house God gave your soul. Seems like Christianity and healthy living should go together when you look at your body for what it truly is. We all get upset with ourselves when we mess up, but that's not a reason to stop trying to change.

Knowing that we aren't expected to be perfect, applies to everything about us, including our physical appearance. God made you the way He wants you, so stop trying to be something other than that. We aren't meant to be super models. We weren't made perfect on the inside, why would we think we need to look perfect on the outside? You're beautiful the way you are, you just need to be responsible and take care of the body that houses your soul. In my opinion, THAT is what health and fitness is about!

Monday, October 7, 2013

30 Minutes

This is going to be short and sweet tonight. This is just some, hopefully, helpful advice. 

If you are trying to lose weight or change your body, you won't get there by doing a 30 minute moderate intensity workout 3-6 days per week. At best, you will burn 300-400 calories doing moderate exercise for 30 minutes (depending on your size, age, gender, etc). Having said that, 30 minutes of intense exercise, particularly "High Intensity Interval Training" otherwise known as "HIIT", is a different story. You don't necessarily burn a ton more calories during a HIIT workout, or intense workout. What's happening is that you are putting your metabolism to work for you for hours post workout. Here's why... Muscle burns fat, even at rest. The more you strength train, the more muscle you delvelop, resulting in more fat loss. This can be discouraging when you're watching the scales, but pay attention to how your clothes fit and you won't be disappointed. 

The benefits of HIIT are that when doing intervals, your heart rate stays up for hours post workout. When your heart rate is up, you're burning calories. This type of exercise is becoming popular for those of us that have busy lives (myself included). Also, it's just plain FUN! It's hard to get bored when your workout is constantly changing. 

I have blogged about HIIT before. I'm a believer. It's what I teach my clients. Let's face it....we are all busy. And knowing that you can get a valuable and effective workout in, in 30 minutes or less.....well....I mean seriously....it sells itself! And like I said, it is anything but dull! 

That's all I have for today. I encourage you to study up on the benefits of HIIT and give it a try. You won't be sorry!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Training

I'm alive! Hello everyone! It has been awhile since my last post, and I have missed blogging. Here's the story... I have been throwing my resume out here and there over past several months, not putting much effort into an actual job search.  I figured that whatever happens is up to God. Long story short, I was hired as the office manager for a home health care agency. I have had a lot to learn and my brain has been so DONE when I get home at night. Things are starting to get into a rhythm for me, I think, and I am finally starting to adjust. I hope I haven't lost any of you, but for those of you that continue to read, I appreciate the faith you put in my words more than you know.

When I have clients that I am training, my biggest goal is to train their brain. I encourage them to stop being so dependent on others, including me. I only get paid when we are having sessions, but my goal as a trainer isn't to get rich. It is to help you get to the point that you no longer need me anymore. Don't tell me you didn't go for a run yesterday because you couldn't get anyone to go with you. Don't tell me that you need me to make a step by step diet plan for you. If you aren't making decisions on your own and learning to say no, you aren't training your brain. If you can't go to the gym or out on a run without another person with you, you aren't training your brain. It is critical for you to become your biggest accountability partner if you are going permanently change yourself. My job is to show you that you ARE strong enough to do this on your own one day. To show you that the reason you are in the situation that you are in, isn't because you need me to tell you what you are doing wrong. The reason you are in the situation you are in is because you continue to do what you KNOW is wrong.

Yes, a huge part of my job is to coach you through workout sessions and help you see what needs to change in your life, but the biggest thing you need to accomplish is the ability to stand on your own two feet and hold yourself accountable. I can do that for you for awhile, but  by not showing you how to do it on your own, what has that done for you?  Isn't it better to have someone coach and train you about healthy living and clean foods so that you can learn to make responsible choices when I'm not there? It does my heart good when I read a blog post or get a text from a client that reflects the things I am trying to instill in them, and that has happened twice to me in the last few days. It is why I do what I do. I love to see people realize they don't have to ever go back there. I love to see them realize they never needed me to begin with!

So this is what's on my mind tonight. I believe that each of you can train your brain, with or without the help of me. I believe that each of you can learn to make your own decisions, workout on your own, stop relying on everyone else to tell  you calorie for calorie what to put in your mouth, and start holding yourself accountable. You are smart enough to know the difference between good and bad and right from wrong. This isn't your issue. Your issue lies in giving yourself the option to do what's wrong or eat what's bad.Give yourself some credit and start working on training that brain. Eventually the choices you make related to health and fitness become a part of who you are, because you took responsibility for yourself and quit allowing yourself to go on like this. I truly believe that anyone can get to their desired fitness goal. It just takes action. It takes YOUR action. Start training your brain tonight! Start being responsible for your own choices. Stop relying on everyone else to tell you what you are doing wrong. You already know, so fix it. If I can help you in any way, you know I am always here. Having said all that I did about being responsible for your own self, everyone needs a little motivation, inspiration, counsel, prayer, shoulder to cry on, someone to pick them up when they are down, etc. Everyone gets overwhelmed. Expect that. But whatever you do, keep moving forward and never stop chasing after the goals you have set for yourself. Don't let goals become dreams. Make them real! Because you can!

Have a great night everyone! I've missed you:)


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

It Goes Both Ways

The more sugar you eat, the more sugar you crave. The more TV you watch, the more TV you crave. The more you sleep, the more sleep you crave. The more soda you drink, the more soda you crave. I will stop there. You get it.

It is so easy to give into cravings when they are the things we shouldn't give into. There is something about restrictions, or the thought of being deprived, that we naturally rebel against. The problem is, the more we partake, the more we crave. Here's the funny thing about cravings........you can crave what's NOT bad for you, just as you can crave what IS bad for you. You can train yourself to crave the good things!

It all starts with a choice. You make a choice to trade your normal drive through breakfast for a bowl of oatmeal and an apple. You make a choice to drink water instead of soda. You make a choice to give up desert tonight. You make a choice to get in a run after work, instead of coming straight home and planting your booty on the couch for hours.  And I will stop there. You get it.

Cravings are a result of the choices we make. We are faced with choices all day long. We struggle with making good choices because of subliminal messages and busy lives. It starts with a bad nights sleep, a long day at work, the craziness of playing taxi for the kids, the missed trip to the grocery store, a pizza commercial on the car radio, and so on. The next thing you know, the day is nearly over and the whole family is famished. You grab a pizza and binge on it because you haven't eaten for hours and the healthy, low calorie lunch you had is nothing but a distant memory. One bad day, and the cravings begin.

How do we overcome.....? You have your bad day. You eat your pizza then pass out minutes later. You wake up and CHOOSE to have a determined attitude that one crazy day isn't going to define your future choices. You face the cravings that last nights chaos left behind with that determined attitude, and you get through it. If you don't......the cravings have only just begun. The battle only gets harder to fight.

It doesn't matter if you are cleaning house, mowing the lawn, running a marathon, cooking dinner, reading a book, telling a story, making a grocery list, sleeping, shopping, walking to get the mail, or whatever else you do in your 24 hour day. If you lose momentum, you have to focus to get it back. It's nothing more than a speed bump. It happens in everything we do, even in our sleep. It is impossible to go through life and never lose momentum. Some speed bumps are harder to recover from than others, but we make the choice to focus or to not. Eventually, you fly past the speed bumps without skipping a beat. Eventually, an interruption to your day of healthy choices is no big deal because your good outweighs your bad so you no longer crave the bad things. You would rather nibble on carrots and broccoli than eat a fried meal. Your workouts have a scheduled time, and you have a mini panic attack when you think you may run out of daylight before you get the time to get out and run. You have changed because "it goes both ways".

Can it really be that simple? Yes! All I have to do is train my cravings? yep! And by making the right choices about food and exercise throughout each day, my cravings will change on their own? You got it!

I hope you start altering your choices today. I hope you chose to train your craving and gain control of them. And I hope you inspire others to do the same. Healthy living is inspiring. People see you doing what they think they can't, and they want it too. Be a testimony and an example to someone today. Show them that they can do what you are doing. Don't let your efforts be selfish. Share your story and help others. We all need inspiration.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Water

I can not say this enough..... DRINK WATER!

Our bodies are made up of 70-80% water. We lose water through tears, sweat, urine, waste, etc. When that water isn't replenished properly, dehydration begins. You have a better chance of flirting with dehydration than you realize. Dehydration can cause the body to panic, signaling to you that it is depleted in random ways that sometimes don't even make sense. One of the first signs of dehydration is thirst. How many times do you reach for a sugary or caffeinated beverage to "quench" your thirst? Soda should never replace water. It is one thing to treat yourself to something other than water, in moderation. But, we should never reach for it to fend off dehydration. Hunger pangs are another sign of dehydration. I recommend drinking water when hunger pangs or cravings arise, before reaching for a snack. Foods do contain water and they do help replenish what is lost throughout the day, but food alone is not enough to keep you properly hydrated. Other symptoms can include elevated heart rate, headaches, sleeplessness, fatigue, increased body temperature, constipation, and the list goes on and on.

One of my least favorite "rewards" for not getting enough water, is water retention. Just as your body defends itself by storing fat on extreme calorie restricted diets, it will store water when it realizes it is being deprived. As a woman, we all know water retention sucks. Logic tells us to think "if I drink more water, I will retain more water". Not even a little bit true! The only healthiest way to lose the water weight is to DRINK WATER!

There are quite a few issues you could be dealing with daily, that could very possibly be the result of water depletion. I encourage you to evaluate your daily consumption. A good goal is to drink half your body weight in ounces. Especially if you exercise, or spend much time outside in the heat.

Obviously I am not a Dr, but I do understand the effects lack of water has on the body. I have experienced my fair share of issues, and learned the hard way what my body is telling me. I encourage you to take time to research this, and learn for yourself. If you aren't paying attention to this, DO. It would not surprise me at all if some of your unexplained ailments disappear with proper water intake. Keep a journal. Pay attention. And DRINK WATER!!!

Have a great week everyone!!!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

It's not your job...

I know I've posted about body image before, and about how the media sends us unrealistic standards to live up to. I talk about this often, because it's something that I struggle with, and I know I'm not alone. Anytime I have a conversation with another woman about this topic, they open up to me about their own insecurities and struggles with this. 

I was having a well-care visit today and my nurse wanted to know how my personal training was going. We talked about how people don't often believe in themselves until someone shows them what they're capable of. She told me this was very true for her as well, and that the media makes her feel as if she has to look a certain way. She shared with me that she becomes so intimidated that she just does nothing about her size and shape at all, because she knows she could never become what the media portrays a woman should look like. I know she is not alone in this line of thinking. I completely see how she feels defeated before she even starts. 

Here's the thing we have to remember. This is something, as women especially, that we need to constantly keep in mind. These women get paid to look like they do. They go to extreme, unhealthy measures to look like they do. That's their job. 

When you make your eating/exercise habits about trying to live up to those standards, it's not going to last. You may even arrive at what you feel is your ideal size, but later find its impossible to maintain it. I can't tell you how freeing it is to finally live your life to obtain and maintain good health. To throw the diets, drinks, pills, books, videos, shots, and all other unhealthy and unrealistic approaches out the window, and truly focus on your health. 

It's not your job to look like you just walked out of a sports illustrated swim suit edition. If its not your job to be a surgeon, you're not going to feel bad about yourself for not being qualified to preform a surgery. If it's not your job to be a school teacher, your not going to feel bad about yourself for not being qualified to teach. So stop trying to become a professional model if you're not going to get paid for it.  

The other thing I hit on at the top of this post was the fact that a lot of people don't think they're capable of this type of lifestyle. Oh...but you ARE!!! It is so important to seek out a form of exercise that you enjoy. If you're constantly attempting the couch to 5k and never finish the program, maybe running just isn't your thing. Don't feel bad. Stick with it long enough to be sure you truly don't like it, then move on. If its a goal to run a 5k and you have no health issues keeping you from it, you can run a 5k. Make sure that you're not chasing after your workout buddy's dream. Set your own goals and go after your own dreams. 

One thing I do know is that a little dedication goes a long way. What starts off small, grows into something big. All it takes is faith in yourself and not letting those negative voices inside your head, along with the craziness of life to stop you. If you can learn how to plow through all of those obstacles, you'll never go back to that lazy, unhealthy, full of excuses, poor body image, intimidated state of mind again. 

I love to see people crushing their goals. I hope that you would share your story and/or journey with the rest of us. We all could use a little inspiration. If you would like to share with us, shoot me an email and I will post it on my blog. If you wish to remain unnamed, that is not a problem. And if you need any advice, ever, I'm here for you always!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Day 8

We are 8 days into the August challenge. By now you have a pretty good idea of how you're going to do. I am certain that some days are easier than others, for you. I can say the same. I can officially admit that I didn't stick to it 100%, but I am doing really good and full of determination. I have excuses, just like you (assuming you have cheated as well). One thing I want us all to get from this challenge is that we can eat healthy the majority of the time, only indulge on occasion, and still get results.

So many people live their lives just grabbing quick foods on the go. We have busy lives. And, if I'm being honest, processed foods taste good. Hectic lifestyles are a great excuse for "having" to eat that way. But the truth is, and hopefully you have discovered this, healthy eating can be just as easy. All it takes is a little bit of preparation and planning. Purchasing your fresh fruits and veggies, bringing them straight home, washing, cutting, measuring, and prepackaging them for convenience, really doesn't take much time or energy. Having healthy snacks handy and ready to grab and go is key to eating clean. If we don't prepare in this way, we will cheat. You WILL get busy and skip a meal in an attempt to avoid processed foods. This will lead to excessive hunger and cravings. Add a temptation of any kind to the picture and the next thing you know your're scarfing down an order of cashew chicken like it's the last supper. Do your prep work. Don't set yourself up to fail.

If your diet is typically unhealthy and you have taken this challenge with me, I'm guessing that you are experiencing changes in how you feel by this point. You're still detoxing and may be feeling slightly ill. It can make it hard to keep going, but I assure you it won't last long and will be worth every effort. These are the consequences of filling our bodies with impurities on a regular basis. Your body is ridding itself of toxins and is in a bit of shock. You probably have dropped a few pounds. It may get a little more intense before it gets better, but just hang in there. My guess is that you are already through the worst of it, depending on how diligent you have been.

However you have done, know that I am proud of you for your progress, no matter how big or small. Just the fact that you WANT to change is progress. If it took a lifetime for you to develop bad eating habits, it's going to take some time to undo them. No matter what mistakes you make, it doesn't mean you have failed. It only means you are human. The trick is to find balance. We live in a country that shoves food in our faces everywhere we go. Getting together with friends, watching tv, holidays, shopping, movie theaters, convenience stores, office parties, pinterest, facebook..... You name it, there's food, or the message of food. It isn't easy to make the choice to go home and make a clean dinner when everything around us tells us NOT to. I heard someone say that a good rule of thumb to eating healthy is that if the food you are about to eat has a television commercial, don't eat it! That may be a little off, but I think it makes my point about how we face so many temptations to eat anything or everything that we shouldn't. It just adds to the challenge of training our will power. You go to a restaurant and eat some grilled chicken, side salad, baked sweet potato, then the server comes by with a desert tray to die for and it's all over. You make a healthy meal at home then sit down in front of the tv and see a commercial for Dairy Queen, next thing you know, you have loaded up the fam and are ordering a blizzard in the drive thru. You get up on Sunday morning and enjoy your clean breakfast of egg whites and wheat toast, then you get to church and have to avoid the common area because you know that if you even SMELL one of those donuts, you are going to eat 3. If it sounds like these are examples of personal experience, it's because they are!

What I want to get across in this post today, is that I want you to be proud of your efforts, stay strong, know that a mess up here or there isn't the end of it all, always be prepared, and try to find your balance. Believe in yourself and believe that the good choices you make do matter, no matter how often you make them. Eventually you will make more good choices than bad, and you will find your balance.

Keep it up everyone! Only three weeks to go!!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Day 4...

We are 4 days into the August challenge of clean eats/no cheats. How's everyone doing?

Weekends are the hardest, I know! I hope everyone is exercising that will power muscle hard! So far, so good for me! The best thing about taking on a challenge and seeing it through is, not only the results, but the strength you gain in the end. Don't be afraid to be proud of yourself. Hard work, done well, should make you feel proud. I am proud of you already.

If you have hit some road bumps already, don't sweat it. Or maybe you just didn't get started yet.... No biggie. We are only 4 days in. You can still turn it around, or join in. And to those of you that started and are going strong, way to go! Keep it up! 

I hope all that have read this have committed to a month of clean eating. I will pray for you daily whether you've taken the challenge or not. We can't complain about our lack of progress if we aren't willing to make it happen. Staying in your comfort zone isn't where change happens. The best thing you can do for yourself is to eat. But you have to eat real food. 

Feel free to share clean recipe ideas on here. We can all use some help with creativity in the kitchen! At least I can! Tonight I am making chicken breast in the slow cooker, covered in tomato sauce, topped with real Parmesan cheese. I will serve quinoa pasta and roasted zucchini and squash as sides. Easy comfort type dinner on a lazy rainy Sunday night. 

Have a great rest of the weekend everyone!



Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Observation....

So in preparation for my clean eats/no cheats August, I'm on sort of a free for all, no calorie counting, do whatever I want kind of day today. Even without the challenge, I eat really healthy most of the time. Sweets are my go to though, so I don't normally indulge much on greasy, salty, or fried fatty foods. I just prefer healthier options. At least until desert....

So today I somewhat skipped breakfast. I grabbed a banana on my way out the door to run errands, but that was all I had. Normally I will have yogurt, wheat toast and pb, or oatmeal, maybe eggs. My breakfast is always clean, but in a rush to get out the door today, along with the mindset of knowing I'm intentionally going to eat freely today, I just didn't take the time to eat properly. It happens. 

My parents called and invited my kids and I to lunch today. We had Mexican and I ate a chimichanga. It wasn't that great. Afterwards I found myself craving something sweet and feeling totally ill for an hour or so. Not to the point of puking..... Just generally feeling bogged down and in need of a nap and a great deal of water. 

I began to think to myself, we get in these "kicks" where we primarily eat unclean foods the majority of the time, and our bodies become so accustomed to these foods that we don't realize how horrible they make us feel. We just think, "I'm so tired everyday after lunch", or "I don't know why I have insomnia", or "I always deal with acid reflux", or "I have diabetes", and so on.... We are so used to eating these terrible foods that we don't make the connection in our brains because we never give ourselves the opportunity to heal from the inside out. Especially if we are already thin... It isn't until we take the time to clean up our diets, that we realize how horrible these foods are making us feel. 

So instead of medicating yourself for symptoms associated with eating poorly and not taking care of yourself, why don't you (for the month of August) rely on natures medication? Clean foods.... Yes....some of us have diseases that are genetic and can not be controlled by diet, but if you're totally honest with yourself, have you really ever even given it a try to see what could happen on a clean diet? I'm not suggesting that you quit your medications.... I'm suggesting that you take your health into your own hands and get to the point that you no longer need them. 

You don't have to eat salad for every meal. You don't have to feel hungry. You don't have to miss out on goodies. You just need to alter the way you cook them and the ingredients that you use. You need to know what you're eating. And, as much as possible, you need to eat from your own kitchen. 

My observation wasn't all that impressive. I'm not the first person to think these things up. It's something that I've noticed many times before. The thing is, we all are human. It's 2013. We are busy. We have families and crazy busy lives. It's a challenge to just get dinner on the table some nights, let alone a healthy one. With a little preparation and a lot of hard work, your efforts will become your habits, and your habits will become your preference. Soon, you won't even have to think. I mean how much do you really think about your meals now? If you're like most people, you think a great deal about what "sounds good" or what you "want". But how often do you just think about what you NEED? 

No one can change you. No one can swap out a couple of gas station donuts for some oatmeal and fruit in the morning. It has to be you. All I can do is challenge you to do it with me, and be here for you along the way. So that's what I'm doing. I'm doing my part. Now you do yours!:)

Good luck to you. I know you got this!! Can't wait to hear all about it next month! And I'm praying SOMEONE has a success story for us!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

August Challenge

I recently decided to challenge myself to a "no cheat" August, meaning clean foods only for me. If you are looking for a good kick start, recharge, or reset to your health and fitness, I encourage you to take this challenge with me. 

Normally I allow myself to eat freely on the weekends. When I am truly focused on weight loss, I allow myself no more than one cheat per week. Eating clean is very rewarding to your body from the inside out. 

There is a lot of gray area to clean eating. I encourage you to do some research and decide for yourself what best fits your lifestyle and your goals. The more extreme you are with it, the more extreme your results will be. Personally, I like to find a balance. Living in a small town, whole food stores are not really available. Also, I have kids and my family and I like to eat out. I focus on nutritional value, a short shelf life, and lean foods that have been modified as little as possible. 

My preferences and view of clean eating and what works best for me, may not work for you. It takes time to figure out what you can live with and what you can live without. It doesn't have to be hard, and maybe you would do best to start off slowly. But, if you're ready to jump in with both feet, join me and a few of my friends in this challenge. 

To start, on August 1, you need to take a photo of yourself wearing something fitted (preferably with your stomach visible). You also need to weigh. You may want to take some measurements. Your photo, clothing, and measurements will show results more than the scales will, so don't be discouraged if you haven't lost 20 pounds by the end. 

There will be days that are harder than others. You will face temptation. You will have cravings. If you're hungry, eat. Understand the difference between hungry and snacky. If you're snacky, drink water and snack on low calorie veggies. 

I hope you decide to take the challenge with me. I believe you can do this and that you will be very happy with the results. I'd love to hear from you about your experience with the no cheat August challenge. If you have any questions, or just need someone to talk you through a temptation, feel free to email me. My email is lacysfitnessblog@gmail.com. Also, if you have any good clean recipes that you would like to share, please do! We can all use some help with creativity! I'm not that great of a cook..... Yea, my poor family....clean eating August + not a very good cook. They're so lucky. Haha. 

Good luck to you on the challenge!! Keep me posted on your progress!! Oh, and after you weigh on the 1st....PUT THE SCALES AWAY!!! No need to weigh again until the end. It will only mess you up! Trust me... 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Hitting the Wall

Sitting in church this morning, our pastor was talking about how we need to rededicate ourselves to God daily. I am a fitness freak and a runner. Suddenly the phrase "hitting the wall" entered my mind and I began to think about how we do this spiritually as well as physically. 

As a distance runner, I have a good understanding of what my body needs before a long run. I'm pretty confident in how to fuel properly, and fully expect the consequences on the days that I fail in fueling up. I know that if I haven't given my body the things it needs, it's not going to perform well for me, and I risk hitting the wall. If you are unfamiliar with this term, it is used to describe the moment that your energy suddenly leaves you high and dry during a workout because your glycogen stores in the liver and muscles have all been depleted. When this happens, you suddenly feel like your limbs are dead weights. Your brain is telling your legs to move, but they're not listening. Yes, you may be able to walk back home, but your run has ended at this point. Your body has failed you because you failed your body. 

This is my fitness blog. I write about fitness. But I am first and foremost a christian. Somehow I always seem to be able to relate the two. I have been known to relate Christianity to fitness on my blog, but I'm mixing it up today. After all, it is the Lords day. 

How often can you say that you have spiritually hit the wall? When I'm running and I hit the wall, I refuel. It's that simple. Why can't I do this with my relationship with Christ? Or I should say, why DON'T I? Why don't I refuel as a christian the same way I do with my physical self? Is it laziness? Mixed up priorities? Procrastination? Denial? I dont know. But I do know that it's pretty cool that God uses our passions to get our attention. 

My mind drifting off about running during church, wasn't really about running at all. It was a wake up call. It was Him pointing out to me that the things that are wrong in my life right now are a result of me hitting the wall in my relationship with Him. My prayer life is lazy. My bible is dusty. My radio is typically tuned into secular radio. I don't always watch the most wholesome tv shows and movies. I think about myself a lot more than I should. It's not rocket science. I've hit the wall and I need to refuel. Only, as my pastor pointed out, I need to refuel daily. I need to refuel and be prepared to face every day. And when I haven't prepared in this way, it should be no surprise to me when I hit the wall. The good news is that we CAN refuel.

It's not always a bad thing to become empty. It's not a bad thing to find our energy depleted. It's not always a bad thing to need to refuel. "Absence makes the heart grow stronger", right? 

So, for me, it's time to refuel. It's time to dust off my bible, change the radio station, spend more intimate time in prayer, die to my selfish ways, and what's hardest for me....be vulnerable. Yep, I have walls. And I like it that way. Ha! Maybe those are the walls I'm hitting? How about you? Have you hit a wall? I'm not going to lecture anyone on this issue. This blog serves as sort of a journal for me. But, I always hope to inspire, motivate, and encourage anyone who drops by to read. So, I hope that I have somehow encouraged you to refuel today. 

Below is a picture of a statue depicting a man hitting the wall. It is a little bit R rated, but it is such an awesome statue. Good night everyone. 


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Don't be fooled

I'm gonna go ahead and just tell you now that if you're going to "cheat" on your eating plan, don't waste your time with fat free, low fat, low carb, sugar free, or any other "diet" food. 

Unclean foods are not good for us, but the added chemicals in foods that are pretending to be better for you are just as bad, if not worse, than just going ahead and splurging on the regular unclean version of whatever it is you're reaching for. The truth is, it's easier to justify that chocolate chip cookie when it's sugar free, but the sugar free isn't doing you any favors. When we justify these foods, we eat more of them and we fall into the belief that "veggie chips" are healthy, or baked chips are good for you. 

If "diet" foods are a regular part of your diet, you're most likely going to lose weight, but you're doing absolutely nothing for your overall health. The weight you lose will not be coming off at a healthy rate, and when you get to your goal weight it's not likely to stay off. 

The chemicals that are used in processed foods, diet or otherwise, are not easily digested. This is why it is said that abs are made in the kitchen. Those processed foods are going to hang out in your digestive track way longer than they should, leaving you looking and feeling pudgy around the middle. So, if your weight loss attempts leave you with left over belly fat, that's the reason. 

If you truly want to live healthy and get fit, you have to rely on nature's foods. I am always open and honest about my love for food and the fact that I believe cheating keeps us all sane, but if the majority of your diet isn't clean, you are on the wrong path. 

Don't be fooled by the promises of "diet" foods. Don't restrict calories so that you can continue to eat a fatty diet. Food is our energy, but we need good clean energy. Eating clean foods regularly throughout each day will change you. I encourage you to start today. It's not expensive. It's not boring. It's not difficult. You have no excuse. We all like bad food and its hard for everyone to get started. Your weight loss will be slow. Your body will change fast. Your energy level will increase. Your cravings will subside if you're eating enough. What are you waiting for? Don't be fooled any longer! 

For great recipe ideas, you can check out thegraciouspantry.com. These are all clean foods. If you can grow it or kill it, eat it. If it has an expiration date, eat it. If it has an acceptable list of ingredients that you can pronounce and identify, eat it. And if you have questions....ask! Google it. Email me. Text me. I'll help however I can. Don't be overwhelmed. Don't over think it. Just learn to enjoy the fact that you CAN lose weight and still feel full and satisfied. Enjoy the journey because its forever. 

My email is lacysfitnessblog@gmail.com. 
Good luck to you! 


Monday, July 22, 2013

Perfection vs Reality

I follow a lot of body building websites and intense athletes on social networks and blogs. One thing I find that they have in common is that they give 100% effort, 100% of the time, and it shows. I see the results they obtain from this certain lifestyle. Gallons of water per day, egg whites eaten by the dozen daily, absolutely no cheating, etc. While I would love to look like some, or all of them, I really prefer not to live like them. Plus my husband would hate it, so.....

The same happens in a persons' mind when they compare themselves to anyone that has what looks like the perfect body. We see perfection, we admire it, we want it, but the majority of us aren't willing to do what it takes to accomplish and maintain it. This is because it is not a very realistic way to live. And it is not a healthy way to live, I should add.

If you are one that has arrived to that state of perfection, great job! I applaud you and your determination. But for the rest of you out there, don't put that kind of pressure on yourself. With extreme measures, you will achieve extreme results. There is extreme living, and there is realistic living.

I have absolutely no judgement toward those that go to the extreme, but like anything done to the extreme, there are risks involved. I have to constantly remind myself why I do what I do. My goal is to be healthy and fit. It isn't to be overly ripped with unhealthy levels of body fat to the plus OR minus. It isn't just about what size I am or how much I weigh. It's about the fact that I can comfortably (at age 38) put on a swimsuit and play around in the pool with my kids. It's about the fact that I can truck through a theme park in Florida in the heat of summer for a full day and have no trouble keeping up with them. It's about the the fact that I have the energy go knee boarding with them. And that my husband and I have still have the energy and confidence to get fixed up for date night, attempting to turn each others' heads, and we do!

Perfection has its rewards. It has its place, but reality is oh so much more fun! Take your kids for Fro-yo and pizza without guilt. Go on a long vacation and enjoy the relaxation guilt free. Go on a date and share a bottle of wine with your spouse, alongside a romantic dinner where the calories don't matter. The whole reason I do what I do, is to enjoy my life while I have breath. I don't need to be perfect, and neither do you. We just need to have fun!

I hope that you make, or have made the decision to live healthy, in reality. If it seems extreme, it probably is. Don't be afraid to have big goals. Goals that you have to work hard for. Goals that may seem out of reach, even. But whatever you do, keep it real. Like me, remind yourself why you do what you do, and what you want from it. For me, I want a certain lifestyle. An active one. One that leaves me feeling energetic, strong, healthy, and ready to wake up and play each day, if I so choose. I want my body to be there for me, but I have to take care of it properly if that's going to happen.

My email is lacysfitnessblog@gmail.com. Feel free to shoot me an email if I can help you out in any way.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Overcoming Failure

One of the most frustrating, yet rewarding things about working really hard to reach a goal, is all of the road blocks and moments of struggle that feel like failure, steal my focus, and make me want to quit. I also know that when I have a goal, I make up my mind in the very beginning that no matter how hard I fall, I WILL get back up on my own, learn from my failure, and keep moving toward what I set out to accomplish. I never expect to be THE best at anything I do, even with my competitive nature. I only expect to be MY best......

I don't know about you, but when I set out to accomplish something, the harder it was to get there, the more satisfied I am. There is a great sense of healthy, hard earned pride when we overcome all obstacles that stand in our way. We all know that there is very little joy in the easy way out. The results are temporary, the journey is boring, the reward is little, and in the end you can't really take pride in the fact that things just fell into place for you without any effort on your part.

The thing about fitness and healthy living is that as long as you are doing nothing, you are failing. You may not be the fastest. You may have two left feet and look like a total idiot during zumba. You may be extremely overweight and feel like your goal weight is too far out of reach. You may be getting up there in years and get winded just walking to the bathroom in the night. You may even have extreme physical challenges that seem too huge to overcome. Whatever you're facing, it will not get any easier with the wait. There will be days that you blow it. There will be days that you hate every second of it. There will be aches, pains, injuries, blisters, illnesses, etc. But these things do not make you different than the rest of us out there dealing with similar challenges. Challenges and failures are part of the journey. They are part of life. And though some of us have more extreme struggles than others, we all still struggle and we all still fall flat on our faces from time to time.

I don't know if your goal is to lose weight, or if it is to improve your appearance, or just your health. Whatever you are working toward, believe that it can be yours as long as you're willing to overcome all obstacles. Expect to fall. Expect it to be hard. Expect to have days that you feel like you just conquered the world, along with days that you feel like the world just conquered you. The best part of the journey is that the success BY FAR outweighs the failure.

One thing I hope for, for all of you, is that you learn to enjoy and live a healthy and active lifestyle, without needing a crutch. The difference between a workout buddy or personal trainer, and a crutch is that a crutch is something or someone that you depend on. A crutch is the thing that we lean on when we fall. We all need a support system, but I hope and pray that you can build enough confidence in your own abilities that you understand that you can get out there go for it ALL BY YOURSELF!  And when you have a day that eats you alive, I pray that you can learn to overcome it ALL BY YOURSELF!

I see so many people, women in particular, limit their abilities because they never get gutsy enough to branch off on their own and test themselves. You will never know how strong you are if you never have to depend on yourself. There is a time and place for fitness buddies, and we all need encouragement from time to time, but I strongly encourage you to test yourselves and find out what YOU like to do and what YOU are good at. There needs to be balance. I am not saying that you should never have a workout buddy or a confidant. It's fun to workout with a friend. I love it. We all do. What I am saying is that a workout partner should never make or break you. They should not be a crutch. Take responsibility for your own health by avoiding the crutch! A crutch will leave you eventually. It may not be there a year from now, so never become dependent on it. It has to be by your own will that you keep going when the going gets tough.

I want you close your eyes and visualize yourself reaching your goal, whatever that is. It may be a fitness goal, a weight loss goal, a health goal, or all of the above. Think about small changes you could make to get you one step closer to that goal. Think about what needs you have to help you get there, and what you need to do to get those needs met. Don't be afraid to set goals that seem huge. "Where there's a will, there's a way", right? Now that you can see where you want to go, and what you need to do to get there, think about this goal with a more permanent mindset. Meaning, healthy living never stops. It's a lifestyle. One reason we fail on our way to our goal, is we see it as having an ending. You may have a goal to be a size 4, but once you get to a size 4, you're journey isn't over. What good does it do to work toward a goal, arrive at it, then return to your original starting place? When you run a race, you don't cross the finish line, then circle on back to the start. You move on to the next race, the next goal. We want to change! For good! Forever! Therefore, we have to work for good, forever! If we look at a goal as having an ending, it adds a great deal of pressure to you. You put expectations on yourself that are just exhausting, unhealthy, and unrealistic. I say the challenges make us stronger, but we don't need to go looking for them. We just need to be prepared to handle and overcome them when they show up......

Go ahead and start chasing those dreams. Fall down, get up and brush yourself off, and chase them some more. I believe in you and you should too! Don't let past failures keep you at bay. You only failed because you gave up on yourself, but it's not too late to start again. Go for it!

My email address is lacysfitnessblog@gmail.com and I am here for you if you need help on your journey in any way. Fitness is my passion. I love to help people see and reach their potential. No question is too dumb, so let me know what you need and I can steer you in the right direction.

Thanks for reading!


Friday, July 12, 2013

Spirit

Dedicated to my friend, Princess, as she prepares to run her first half marathon this Sunday. I'm so so proud of you, P!


Some days our mind shows up and our body doesn't. Some days our body shows up and our mind doesn't. When we're lucky, we get to experience the less frequent times that both mind and body show up. But what I live for are those days that my spirit shows up. It's those days that it doesn't matter how fast you run or what the conditions are like. It doesn't matter what your abilities are or how hard you've trained. You just run with a smile on your face and an attitude that can not be crushed, no matter the challenges you face. 

I think about the amputee, mentally/physically challenged, cancer fighting, disease stricken, and all other challenged athletes there are in the world, and about how inspiring it is to hear about them and watch them perform without allowing their limitations to keep them from their dreams. Their abilities don't move them. Their minds don't move them. They are moved by something much bigger. Their spirit. 

Today I want us all to get out of our own way. Make a conscious decision to fill your mind with positive thoughts. Don't allow the negativity and doubt to decide your outcome. Maybe things haven't happened as you planned. Maybe you're not down the 20 pounds you hoped to be by now. Maybe you don't run as fast as you want to. Maybe you haven't been able to train for that race the way you planned to. Change how you speak about it. Change how you think about it. Don't let your own mind destroy your spirit. Move out of the way of it and do the best you can, and be ok with it. Be proud of yourself for persevering, because you should be. And most important...embrace and enjoy the journey and never ever give up!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Will Power

Will power is one of those things that seems to come easier to some than others, but that's not exactly the case. Will power is a muscle. You have to strengthen it just like any other muscle if you want to make it stronger. Remember when you first started working out and the weights seemed to take a lot more effort to pump? Or the idea of going on a 3 mile run seemed like the impossible? Your will power is the same...

If we lead a lazy lifestyle, we will feel lazy. We don't feel lazy just because. Some of us are naturally more energetic than others. Some of us require more rest than others. But as long as we act lazy, we will be lazy. As long as we are inactive, it will take more and more effort to perform certain activities. As long as we aren't exercising, the harder it will get to exercise. And as long as we aren't often or almost always saying "no" to the foods we should not eat, the weaker our will power will get. 

The ability to resist unhealthy foods and make good choices with our lifestyle is something we have to train ourselves to get good at. It doesn't just happen easy for anyone. Fit people have to work to be fit. Fit people have to exercise their will power just like anyone else. Fit people are fit because they decided to take action. They made a decision that they want a certain lifestyle and they realize it isn't going to just happen with no effort on their part. 

The easy thing to do is sit around and complain about how hard it is for us to maintain a healthy weight, and let ourselves go. The easy thing to do is believe that we are not capable of more. The easy thing to do is to believe all of the negative talk and doubt because its not taking any of your effort or time or energy or work. Even though this is "the easy thing to do", its also very much the hardest thing to do because it gets you further and further from your dreams. 

The first thing you need to do to begin changing your will power is stop believing    that yours is broken. Stop believing you can't have what you want. Stop believing that you could never have better or that this is as good as it gets for you. It doesn't mater what your age, gender, fitness level, or limitations are, there is always room for improvement. And so much of our health and fitness level is dependent on our eating habits. It has to start there. 

The best way to get started is to start with the easy things. Don't take on more than you can handle. You wouldn't run a marathon with no training, so why would you expect to be able to make a complete and total change in your lifestyle with no training? If you wanted to learn to run, you would start with a little at a time, adding more as your body allows. Do this with your new lifestyle, and don't beat yourself up and give up just because you had a binge on ice cream and pizza. It takes time to get it right, and no matter what your fitness level is, you're still going to have days that you binge on pizza and ice cream. But you move forward. You don't give up. It doesn't mean you're doomed. It means you're human. 

Good luck to you in your journey. It doesn't matter who you are or where you're at, I believe in you. You need to believe in you too. Don't be afraid to dream big. Don't be afraid to fail, because you will at times. Be afraid to stay where you're at, because as long as you're not trying to change for the better, you're only going to change for the worse. Harsh, I know.....but true. If I can help you get started, please reach out to me. I want you to experience healthy living. And I want to help you get there. My email is lacysfitnessblog@gmail.com. 

Take care!!:)

Monday, July 8, 2013

Clean Eating

I am sure that most of you are familiar with "clean eating", or at least have heard about it at some point. Just like any health journey, there are always questions and a learning curve. What may seem complicated in the beginning, hopefully will turn into lifelong habits.

I am not a fan of diets. Diets don't work. Their main purpose is to change the number you see when you step on a scale. We don't really need scales to know that we are over or under weight, fit, fat, or anything in between. Weight management is an important part of our well being. But, when our motives for eating certain foods becomes all about the number on the scale, the focus is no longer about pure fitness and healthy living.

I will never hide the fact that I love food. I like to eat. I love sweets, pastas, and carbs of any kind, really. I will also never lie about the fact that I do eat these foods. What I DON'T do is LIVE on these foods. Just like anyone, I go through periods of gluttony, but they are phases that never make or break me.

So here's the deal with clean eating...... The good news is, it isn't complicated. Eating clean doesn't have to be boring, and it doesn't have to break the bank. Here is the general rule. If you can't kill it or grow it, don't eat it. It's that simple. You've heard the "shop on the outside of the box" saying before, I'm sure. If it has a long shelf life, don't buy it. Dairy is considered "clean", but the lower the fat content, the better it is. Butter? Actually, it's clean. But it is a saturated fat so go easy. Why is butter clean? Because it's churned cream, which comes from unpasteurized cow's milk (basically milk fat). Don't misunderstand. Saturated fat is not a healthy fat, but we need some of it in our daily diets. The point is, it is of the earth, and that's what we are looking for in "clean' foods. If it is overly processed, the ingredients list is going to be a mile long, contain trick words like "other ingredients", or "artificial flavors", or words you can't pronounce or identify. I wish I could give you a list of everything that is considered to be "clean", but that would be a monster of a list. Organic is always the best choice, no matter what you are buying, but that isn't always affordable, or available. The closest it is to it's natural state, the more clean it is.

So how do I eat clean, enjoy my favorite foods, and still stay fit? Balance! My goal is to allow myself 1 guilt free, or "cheat" day per week. I would love to have 6-pack abs and less fat on my body, but as long as I indulge as I do, that is unlikely to ever happen. What I desire the most out of my lifestyle is quality of life, so that is what I live for. It's up to you to decide for yourself what you want out of your efforts. Everyone is different, but if you decide to live a clean lifestyle, you will not regret it. Just like anything in life, you get out of it what you put into it. Sometimes I fail. Sometimes my 1 day of cheating turns into an entire weekend. But I never let it go any further than that, unless I'm on vacation:).

Once you get started on clean eating, you will find that you do not want to eat junk anymore. And when you do, it's not EVEN as good as you hoped it would be. But I believe that indulging 1 day per week keeps me sane. I'm still in touch with the things I love to eat, keeping me from feeling deprived. As long as you know you have a free day coming, it makes it easier to stay committed. It is amazing how much more energy you will have, and just how much better you will feel.

I believe that if you know the McDonald's menu by number, if ice cream is a nightly late night snack, there's no fruit or veggies in the house, you're all stocked up on chips and soda, and you have no clue how many calories you consume in a day, it is time to make a change! It's time to pay attention. I always recommend myfitnesspal.com as a food journal. I have tried dozens of different apps, and this is still my favorite. If you like another one better, great! Use it! The point is to keep track of what you're eating so that you see what you need to change and you have accountability. If you are going to eat it, you are going to have to log it in your food journal!

If you are looking for some good "clean" recipes, I really like thegraciouspantry.com. I wish I was a better cook, because I would so make just about anything on that website. It all looks so good! And it's healthy! And it can help you take the guess work out of whether it is or isn't clean. And as always, if you have questions for me, my email is lacysfitnessblog.blogspot.com and I'd love to help you get on track!

Take care:)

Friday, May 3, 2013

Quotes

I read this quote on Chris Powell's facebook today: "happiness is not a state at which to arrive at, but a manner of traveling"- Margaret Lee Runbeck. As much as I love, agree with, and believe these words, let's just take a moment and change the word "happiness" to "fitness".
Fitness is not a state at which to arrive at, but a manner of traveling! What more can I add to those words? This one simple sentence sums up everything I believe about fitness. When I read this, I had kind of an "ah ha" moment. This is what I'm trying to relay in my blog. My work here is done! Kidding.....;).

So as I scrolled my facebook feed this morning, I also came upon Jesse Duplantis' post. Here is what I read: "there are times you don't feel like going to work, but you go. Why? You know your feelings about it don't matter. You chose the job; so you get up and go, even on days you don't feel like it. Your feeling doesn't move you. You're moved by your decision. That's what being a christian is about, too. Sometimes you don't feel saved. You don't feel like being nice. But, you do it because you're moved by your decision." This is a little less "summed up". And, yes it is relaying how we should view our lives as Christians. But, this too applies to fitness and healthy living. You won't "feel" like eating right and exercising sometimes. But, you do it because you're moved by your decision.

When we truly want something, a new job, a new car, a new house, a donut, we go out of our way with determination and don't stop until we get it. We are driven by satisfying our wants. A lot of times, the satisfaction we receive as a result of healthy living go over looked and under appreciated. I believe that is because it is a destination that we never truly reach. We want to have something, and when we get it we are done. We are satisfied. We move on. If you have a fitness goal that you reach and become satisfied with, then just quit doing all of the things that got you to your goal, you're going to find yourself back to where you started. But, "fitness is not a state at which we arrive"!

It takes time to get your brain to accept the permanency of true fitness. To get to the point that you can have a bad weekend, and not let it be the end of your efforts. To get to the point that it's not about the scales. To get to the point that you learn how to enjoy the foods you've always loved, without living off of them alone. To get to the point that you recognize and correct each bad habit, one by one. To quit making excuses! It all takes time. It is a choice. Much like the job/christian living comparison that Jesse makes. It is something you wake up and do, because you chose to.

I haven't been working on building a clientele because I haven't been sure where God has been leading me. I still haven't quite figured that out, but one thing I keep coming back to is that I really love to encourage and motivate people, and help them get to this way of thinking that I've been describing in this post. I keep coming back to the desire to start doing electronic training. Basically meaning that I would like to take on clients that I can customize workouts for and be there for them for accountability and encouragement to help get them started and keep them going through text and/or email. This means you do not have to live near me. I will be constantly adjusting your plan based on your goals and results. You would check in with me weekly with weigh ins and measurements, as well as have me here for accountability in any way that you need it throughout each week. This is a more affordable way to have a personal trainer. You can go into the gym with confidence, because you have a plan. Or maybe you're like me and prefer to workout outside. That's great too. Maybe you are on vacation and need guidance, or you prefer to workout at home. Whatever your preference or need, I will customize your plans. This is my passion, and passion is what makes people motivated. If you are depending on people that don't have a fire inside them about healthy living, you won't get fed. You won't feel fired up. I have a lot of people approach me for accountability and direction. This is my attempt to provide that service. This is what I love to do. If you would like to talk with me more about how having a personal trainer can be much more affordable by being done electronically, please email me at lacysfitnessblog@gmail.com. I don't charge for consultation. I am excited to work with you. This is what I love to do. And my enthusiasm is contagious! We can get you on track. So let's get started! Also, I will offer discounts for referrals. Let's get started!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Running

I have been slacking off here with my posts. Things have been a little busy for the Cash family. We just got back from a short trip to Clearwater Beach, Fl. It was so great to see the sun! And also great to come back home to sunshine and warm weather. It was a pretty quick trip, but I did get to take a run over the causeway, which I have always wanted to do. I usually end up running along the coast instead (which I love!), but I always regret not running over the causeway. It was distracting scenery that slowed me down, but I really didn't care. How often do I get to run across the bay?! I loved every mile of it! I can't wait to do it again!

It is getting into the time of year that makes running way more fun. I love all kinds of exercise, but running is my favorite. I don't really care for being cooped up inside a gym, and I believe that you should take your workouts outside any chance you get. Everyone can benefit from fresh air and vitamin D.

It is so easy to use weather as an excuse to stay indoors, but I can run in just about any conditions. And I never regret it. But there does come a time, around late winter, that I start getting fed up with the cold, dreary, windy, nastiness out there, and I start to slack off. I am always anxious for the heat of summer to return.

If you are new to outdoor exercise, it is important to pay attention to how your body responds to the heat. Anytime you start to feel dizzy, chilled, have muscle cramps, fatigue, or any other signs of heat exhaustion, it's time to stop. Getting acclimated can take some time. Especially when you are used to being indoors most of the time. It is a good idea to start now, before the heat really sets in. Getting out there in the mornings can help get you acclimated as well. You should never do too much too fast. If you have a bad experience right off the bat, you won't want to get back out there. Work your way up to it. It is the safest way.

I often have people tell me that they wish they could run. And while some people truly can't, you can't say you can't until you try. In the beginning, it will hurt. Your lungs will feel like someone is standing on them, your shins will burn like fire, your feet will blister, your knees will ache, you may have some sciatica, there can be a long list of discomforts. You may even suffer an injury. The thing is, every runner went through all of those same things. And we still do to some extent. Good shoes, stretching, and proper hydration are all keys to keeping these issues under control. Learning how to nurse them, and learning to listen to your body are also key. When I first started running, I had shin splints for 6 months. It is unlikely that you will get away with no aches and pains. You just have to decide if you want to try to move past them or not. Starting and stopping a running program will not move you past this phase any faster. Unless you truly have an injury that needs rested, you have to just work through the discomfort. In some cases, you may never overcome the beginners pains. Some people just aren't able to get past it. But you can't know unless you try. And you can't give up just because you have normal running complications. You have to toughen up and work through it. It is possible, and it is fun! Once you have learned your body, and learned how much you can handle, it becomes a part of you.

I want to encourage you today to slowly start accomplishing your goal. Decide to work through the pains and discomforts. Decide not the let the speed bumps stop you, rather than just slow you down. Decide to keep going and learn to listen to your body. It is true that running is hard on your joints, but so is obesity. It is true that running is a high impact sport, but the cardiovascular benefits can barley be beat. It is true that running can cause injury, but so can a sedentary lifestyle. People tell themselves what they want to hear to make themselves feel better about not doing what they should. It is just how we operate for some reason. You have to decide to stop filling your head with excuses and negativity, and decide to go after that goal. If it were easy, everyone would do it!

Running is a very inexpensive way to get healthy and fit. You don't need a gym membership. You don't need a treadmill. All you need is a good pair of shoes and some road. It is a great way to keep your exercise going even through an out of town trip. And I love being able to explore new places on foot while I run. It is also a great way to escape and just mentally check out for a time. If you need solidarity, go run! If you need to feel close to God and spend uninterrupted time in prayer, go run! Get out there today and start going after what you want. If running is something you "wish" you could do, then go do it.

I am always here for motivation, accountability, to answer questions, or just to give you support and encouragement to keep going. All you have to do is shoot me an email and I will help you however I can. I believe in you. If the voice in your head is tempting and urging you get up and do this, listen to it and don't wait another day. My email is lacysfitnessblog@gmail.com.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Results and balance

Ok, it's been a little while since I last posted.... I didn't feel like it was right to be blogging during the Boston tragedy. I didn't have it in me either. I have had a lot of people ask me if I was there. I was not there, thankfully. Boston is the only marathon that you have to qualify for. The qualifications are based on age and gender. You have to run a qualifying marathon, which I've done. But I've never been able to qualify. I've wanted to! And if I had, you can bet I would have been there. I'm not going to spend time going over the what ifs. I'm just thankful my family and I were not involved, and I thank you all for being concerned about me.

Moving on....
It is obvious that I believe diet and exercise should be used as a tool to improve our quality of life. It is something that we should use to prolong, prevent, and even reverse disease. It's something that we should rely on for good mental and physical health first. And when done right, we get the added bonus of looking good and feeling confident about what we see on the outside.

When we have a healthy lifestyle, it's not a part time gig. It's not something you do half heartedly. It's not about how many calories you burned today, or the fact that you gave up soda. Yes, we have to start somewhere, but we also have to keep moving forward and realize that you will get results based on your efforts. So a 90 minute workout with an 800-900 calorie burn, followed by a cheeseburger and fries or a pepperoni pizza with extra cheese, really isn't going to cut it.

What you have to decide is this.... What am I wanting to get out of this? And how far am I willing to go? My answers to these questions are this.... I want to be a healthy weight with good cardio health. I want to have energy and feel happy. I don't want to inherit the diabetes that runs in my family. I don't want to simply exist, ever. I want my husband to know that I haven't stopped trying to turn his head, and I will always do my best to make sure he only has eyes for me. I don't want to get lazy in my marriage by letting myself go. I want to set goals and accomplish them because I can. I want to be healthy inside and out. I don't want to treat my body as a trash can. And I am willing to push myself past my comfort zone to get all of these things. On a side note, I want to be able to let go sometimes. I want to have a beer on the beach with my husband. I want to eat pizza and ice cream with my kids. I want to eat cupcakes. I want to enjoy good tasting food.

If there is one thing that I have learned about healthy living, it's that you HAVE to find a balance. You HAVE to learn how to be able to enjoy those cupcakes, pizzas, ice cream, and beer. You HAVE to learn that you CAN eat these things. But what you have to understand is, you have to know what results you're working for, and you never want to sabotage yourself.

With a healthy lifestyle, there truly is a balance. It is different for everyone. It should be based on your goals. Your will power. Your strengths. Your weaknesses. Your wants. But there truly is a balance, and it's up to you to find yours. And when you fall, you have to get back up and keep moving forward. If you can figure this out, you will be able to keep the lifestyle going. And THAT is when you get results. Never give up. You just need to find your balance.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Over thinking

So first of all, completely unrelated to my post, I'm in a great mood because my hubby will be home from his conference in a few hours. He's been gone since Saturday. Thank goodness he has a job that doesn't have him traveling much. Just a few times a year. I enjoy my time alone with the kids when he's gone, but I'm always more than ready to have him back home! So yay for today:).

Moving on.... If you haven't figured it out by now, I typically write about things that I struggle with or notice about myself personally. It helps me, and hopefully it helps you. So this morning I was thinking about how easy it is for me to ruin a good thing by over thinking it. I have to analyze things, think about the consequences or the bottom line, and often I end up thinking in circles. I may have a great idea, get super excited about it, think it through, think it through some more, dissect it, and just pick it apart. Then by the time I get through with all of that, I've ruined a good thing instead of just experiencing something great.

So how does this relate to my "fitness" blog? I think (not liking using that word at the moment) that it is very easy to ruin our efforts by thinking too much. Yes you have to think on it, but I believe (replacing the word think) that we tend to over do it.

So while I pondered (still trying to replace the word think) this, I realized that when it comes to diet and exercise, we need to just relax! If you decide to eat healthy and exercise, then you become obsessed with thinking on it constantly, it can easily ruin the whole thing for you. "I really blew it by eating that handful of potato chips", or "I only have 3 weeks until vacation and I need to get 15 pounds off", or "I burned 800 calories in the gym today, so I can eat a little more tonight"....

Any of that hit home with you? Yesterday I wrote about how we are our own worst critics, and about how that really sabotages our efforts. That is what led me to this. I mentioned that we just need to get out of our own heads. Make a plan and get out of your own way.

I also thought about how the whole purpose for healthy living is to improve your quality of life. But if you're constantly obsessed with your thoughts regarding your appearance, you goals, your efforts, and your every decision, doesn't that really rob you of enjoying the rewards of all that hard work?

I don't want to make it sound like I take healthy living lightly, because that's not true. And if you know me, you know how dedicated I am. I'm not encouraging you to be half hearted about your health. I'm encouraging you to remember why you're doing all of this. I'm encouraging you to do all of this work so that you enjoy spending time at the pool with your kids without feeling self conscious in a bathing suit, and so that you aren't hiding yourself from being in the family pictures, and so that you enjoy buying new clothes, and going on hikes and long walks with your spouse without tuckering out.

I "think" that if we all stop over thinking our every decision, make responsible choices with diet and exercise, and always remember that we do it all for the love of living life to the fullest, we will all be a lot further along, a lot less stressed about the lifestyle, and a lot happier a year from now.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Mentality

How do your thoughts affect your efforts to get fit? How good of a job are you doing supporting yourself? Are you maybe sabotaging yourself without realizing it?

We are all sensitive about our appearance, whether we admit it or not. If someone in your life were to constantly remind you of how out of shape you are, how far you have to go, how it seems like you're always working at it and getting no results, how you look chubby, or any other negative, discouraging words, how would you react? My guess is that you would become defensive and upset about the lack of support you just received, and that you would feel torn down, and your spirit would be squelched. So why is it ok for you to attack yourself in the same way? My opinion? It's not!

When you are constantly reminding yourself that you always fail at a certain point in your weight loss efforts, or tell yourself that you hate to workout, or that you have no will power, you are feeding yourself with every tool necessary to fail. Who can function under so much criticism? Who can maintain a positive attitude when they're constantly reminded of their failures? Who wants to keep moving forward when they are being told they're incapable of all of the things they want to accomplish? When you knock yourself down repeatedly, you eventually stop wanting to get back up.

Let me ask you this.... How much of your failure is caused by your own mental sabotage? What negative thoughts do you allow to tear yourself down? How much do you believe you are capable of? How much credit do you give yourself? How much do you use a physical ailment as a crutch, or an excuse to just sit and let yourself deteriorate? Who do you blame for your failures? Do you allow the fact that you have a long way to go to keep you where you currently are? Do you tell yourself that you want to lose weight, but you know you'll just gain it all back (and then some), and you don't want to go on that roller coated ride, so you would rather just stay where you are? Do you mentally fail before you even get started?

I could go on and on about all of the things that I'm sure go on inside you that hold you back from being where you want to be. When you can finally accept the fact that you are capable of accomplishing healthy living, no matter your situation, and learn to believe in yourself, you will finally be able to live a healthy lifestyle.

If someone repeatedly told you that they wished you were fit and healthy, but they know you're not capable of getting there, you would probably become very angry and defensive and blow up. It's pretty unlikely that you would allow anyone to tear you down like that. So if that's the case, why do you allow YOU to talk to you that way? Why do you allow YOU to tear you down?

Think about how you treat yourself. Are you in your own way? Are you sabotaging yourself constantly? When you fall, do you get back up? Or do you lay there and quit? Stop getting in your own way and learn to be your own cheerleader. Be your biggest supporter. Encourage yourself and believe that you are capable of so much more. You may never be a marathoner. You may never be a body builder. You may never be "skinny". But you CAN be better. You can improve yourself. You can accept yourself for you. I believe in you...the question is, do you?



Wednesday, April 10, 2013

motivation

So, that two days of spring like weather was a big fat tease. I am thankful for every second of it, though. I could have used some sunshine, but "beggers........." So I plan on using this day as a a day off. I haven't had one in 7 days, so I guess I will give in to the laziness of the rain and cold. Fyi...."day off" doesn't equal lay around and watch TV all day while eating junk food. It just means I'm not working out, or not working out hard today.....maybe;)

I read something this morning that got my attention, and so I want to share it with you. I am paraphrasing, but the jest of it is that you can not rely on motivation all the time when it comes to health and fitness. You have to rely on discipline. I believe that is so true. People want to be inspired to get fit. Inspiration is a good thing. Motivation is a good thing. Accountability is a good thing. But when none of those things show up on a random Wednesday afternoon, and you find yourself waiting around on it, Wednesday turns into Thursday, turns into Friday, and so on.....

Motivation is typically what gets people started on a fitness program. Maybe swim suit season is around the corner, or the Holidays are over and you gained a few more pounds, or you made a New Year's resolution, or you may have even had a health scare or aha moment that motivated you to get started. But what happens when the new wears off? Research shows that it takes approximately 3-4 weeks to develop new habits. It's around that point (give or take) that people begin to fizzle in their new fitness programs. About this time is when your body starts to catch up to the changes you have made, and starts defending itself against them. As a result, you stop seeing the inches and pounds fall off at such a dramatic rate. This is when people begin to feel stuck.

When you first start out on a fitness program because of motivation, then you remain motivated by the results of your hard work, it's easy to keep going. But what happens when that stops? You quit....... You give up..... Until the next motivating thing comes along and starts the whole process all over again.

Sometimes you aren't going to want to go on. Sometimes you are going to feel defeated. Sometimes you are going to want to quit. Sometimes your workout buddy is going to flake out on you. And those "sometimes" happen a lot more than they don't. But as long as you aren't quitting, you are succeeding.

When you find yourself in those moments that motivation has left you hanging, dig deeper and find your determination. Your dedication.Your drive. Your discipline. Kick it up a notch and go after what you want. When staleness sets in, change what you're doing! Don't allow boredom and plateaus to be the reason you quit. If you develop an injury, change what you're doing! Just because you have a shoulder injury, doesn't mean you can't get out there and work every other part of your body.

There will be plenty of days that you are NOT going to feel like eating right, or working out. There will be plenty of days that you step on the scales and feel angry and frustrated. There will be plenty of days that you find yourself thankful for any excuse you can find to get you out of it. But whatever you do, never stop relying on discipline. Nobody ever regretted a good workout or healthy dinner. Nobody ever walked away from the gym on a guilt trip over what they DID do.

Funny....I'm trying to motivate you to stop relying on motivation to keep you going. Haha.
Seriously though.....Get busy! Stop waiting around. Make yourself out a schedule and stick to it. What are you waiting for? Go do it!

I can help! Email me at lacyfitnessblog@gmail.com. And if you have a topic you would like me to address, let me know and I will do my best to help you out!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

My idea of fit

I got this pic off Pinterest. I don't know if it's an actual quote from Marilyn Monroe, or if someone just put her name at the bottom of it. Whatever the case, I'm going to pretend it's a real Marilyn quote. I'm not a lover of Marilyn Monroe. I don't really have any feelings about her or her work. What I do know is that in her era, women looked like women. But somewhere down the road, healthy looking women started to become considered fat.

To be a famous actress in our era, you have to be very thin. Thanks to this idea of what beautiful is, eating disorders are on a constant rise. I read that eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. I didn't even realize that eating disorders were considered a mental illness, but I can see how it would fall into that category.

Girls, we put so much pressure on ourselves to be thinner than our bodies were individually designed to be, that we forget what the true purpose of diet and exercise is really all about. We get so caught up in comparing ourselves to each other that we lose sight of why we should be doing all of these things in the first place.

I don't have a very traditional opinion or view of diet and exercise. As girls, we have the need to constantly compare ourselves to others. So we crash diet, weigh ourselves 5 times a day, and starve ourselves into the smallest jeans we can....Or we yoyo diet, attempting to get as skinny as we can, and become overwhelmed by how hard it is and quit.....Or, we just do nothing, lead a sedentary lifestyle, eat junk constantly, and look at the overly thin women in the media in judgement over their choices (while probably feeling secretly jealous of their skinniness).

Then there's another extreme.... We have the overly "fit" women, sporting bulging muscles, spending hours in the gym, eating nothing but egg whites, creating a whole other image that the average (I don't mean average in a bad way) woman can't live up to. I say "fit" because they portray their choices as healthy ones, but they are anything but healthy. And one thing that all of these have in common is a fear of certain foods and the affect of eating them.

No wonder we are all stressed out and confused. We are sent messages to be skinny. Then, after all the flack the media catches over being responsible for eating disorders being on the rise, we are told that we need to be "fit". We are subjected to images of what skinny or fit looks like, but the images we are subjected to are not practical for the average (again, no offense) woman.

When I say I don't have a very traditional view of diet and exercise, what I mean is that the media never gives the average woman a realistic or achievable image of what beautiful really looks like in the real world. And while I do like to look good, I believe that health and fitness should always be about health and fitness FIRST, and vanity last.

I don't want to give the impression that I feel like body image doesn't matter. I'm a woman. You know better. And I don't want to give the impression that I don't do what I can to stay looking fit and young. What I want to relay in this, is that we need to stop relying on the media to tell us what beautiful is for us personally, and that while beauty is something to work for and a great reward for your hard work, it's important for us to take a stand against the extreme images we are being sold as what a woman should look like. And that we all need to realize and remember that these people that we see in the media are professionals and not the average woman. It is their job to look like they do. They're selling us stuff. It isn't realistic. It is achievable. But it isn't realistic.

What I hope you take away from this post, is that living a healthy lifestyle should not be a stressful thing that leaves you feeling like you are constantly failing, or that you don't live up to the standards of this world. It shouldn't be something that you can't continue and live with. It shouldn't leave you feeling inadequate or incapable. It shouldn't focus on vanity. It shouldn't be about swim suit season or size 2 jeans. It should be about having quality of life, feeling great, taking care of the only body you have, being a good example of what healthy looks like, improving cardiovascular health and prolonging disease, etc. And as a reward, you get to look good all the time! If you want to be your most beautiful, be your most healthy.

I can help you find a healthy lifestyle that you can live with. A lifestyle that is permanent and takes the pressure of body image away. I would love to chat with you if you need help. Don't wait another day.

Email me at lacysfitnessblog@gmail.com






Friday, April 5, 2013

Inspire

Most of us look for ways to be inspired, but we rarely think about ourselves as being inspiring. I'm not sure why that is. Maybe because we have trouble recognizing our own strengths and accomplishments? Or maybe because we get so caught up in our own need to be inspired that we forget to return the favor? Whatever the reason, it seems like we often neglect to give back.

I do think we can be inspiring without even realizing it. I love a success story. I love to witness the fire inside someone that has just accomplished something they never knew they were capable of. I love that a success like that can relight a fire within someone that has already accomplished what you just did. I also love that your journey speaks volumes to those that don't think they have what it takes. When someone sees you start at ground zero, and they witness your determination and success, it shows them that they too are capable of much more than they realized.

When you decide to plow through any obstacle that tries to stop you from accomplishing your goals, you come out stronger and more proud of what you have acheived. Why? Because you never gave up. And you never will. And THAT inspires people! We all have what it takes to accomplish our dreams. Some of us just never use it. Some of us let oursleves believe that we are not capable. That's bull! You DO have what it takes. It's up to you to decide whether you want to make it happen. And, yes, it will be hard. Some days you will want to quit. Some days you will feel unstoppable. But the bottom line is, you either make it happen, or you don't. We can't just want something, wish for it, and expect it to magically appear. We have to want something, wish for it, work for it, and press on even when it seems impossible.

I want to encourage you to find inspiration today. Or step back and evaluate your own success and find ways to use that to inspire other people. Encourage someone today. The only difference between those that are accomlishing their goals, and those that aren't, is that we made the choice to go after what we want. You don't have to be the best at living a healthy and fit lifestyle. You only have to be YOUR best. As long as you aren't quitting, you are succeeding. But no matter where you are in your fitness journey, everyone needs a little inspirtation. Just never forget to give it back!



Thursday, April 4, 2013

Gimmicks and reality

Everyone has seen pictures of people they wish they could look like. You watch infomercials for fitness programs, read an article on how to lose 10 pounds in 10 days, join challenges that come to an end and eventually leave you back at square one, set unrealistic goals based on misbelief about fitness, or fall for the latest fad diet and wonder why you never get to where you want to be.

The frustrating thing about fitness is that you get fired up and look for dramatic promises, fall into the trap of marketing gimmicks, and never truly dig into what it REALLY takes to be healthy and fit. The truth is, if you are being promised dramatic changes and expect to achieve them, you have to do dramatic things to get there. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with dramatic results or dramatic work. I'm saying that most of us in this world don't have the time it takes, much less the desire, to do those things. And we certainly don't want to have to maintain the results.

If your desire is to be uber thin, you have to take extreme, unhealthy measures to get there. If your desire is to be uber shredded, you have to spend a lot of time working out and maintain a very strict, high protein, low carb/fat, also unhealthy diet.

What I find frustrating, is that the "happy medium" or "average" fit body doesn't get people's attention and doesn't make the marketing companies any money, so that's never advertised as a desired goal.

We live in a dramatic world. Drama sells. Drama is what people respond to. But then when you fall for the dramatic gimmick and get normal, real, or average results, you feel like you have failed.

I seriously get so angry about how distorted these companies are and how the messages they send have the opposite affect on people then they should have. You're "sold" a dramatic, unrealistic promise that doesn't deliver and then feel like a failure. How is that promoting health and fitness? Come on...

So this is my attempt to interrupt the lies you're falling for, and hopefully get you thinking differently. When someone wants to sell you something, they're going to SELL you something! I'd like to see more people take that energy they have when they are fired up about getting fit, and put it toward realistic efforts with realistic goals and results.

The best thing you can do for yourself is to find accountability. Consistency is always key. Reality is key. Determination is key. Inspiration is key. Accountability is key!

I encourage you to read more blogs like this. Follow real people that did real work to get real results and are really maintaining. Set your own goals that don't lead you to failure, but rather to success. Expect realistic results. Understand that you should be working toward healthy living. Don't fall for gimmicks. Don't fall for promises. The only promise you need is the one that you make to yourself to never quit. Don't be a victim of the media and marketing agencies. They have a job, and that job is to sell you stuff. And don't fall for the dramatic TV shows that need ratings. Drama gets ratings.

Just to be clear, I don't think there is anything wrong with extreme fitness. Hard work pays off. The harder you work, the more it shows. What I do believe is that you should never take unnatural approaches to accomplish your goals. If your goals require you to take extreme, dramatic, unnatural measures, you need new goals.

If you have questions, need help, need accountability, or are looking for someone to show you the healthy, natural way to live healthy for life, email me at lacysfitnessblog@gmail.com. I want to help you do it right. I want you to succeed. I want you to see what you are really missing out on.

Good luck to you in your journey!