No Laughing Matter. Kidding!

Last week was hell. But the good kind of hell. Let’s not mince words and get to the point.

Home sweet home

If you hedged your bets on me not returning to the gym opening day all I can say is I hope you didn’t lose a lot of money. Because I was there. Granted it was 2.5 hours after they officially unlocked the doors, but, hey, I had to work that day so my options were limited.

Needless to say – or is it needed? – I completely broke apart every muscle group minus glutes/legs/anything below the pelvis. It felt incredible! Seems those home workouts were lackluster at best. As the week wore on and DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness, aka the true hell that sets in to muscles when you’ve pretty much over taxed them) set in, I was located on the couch, unable to move, but so proud of myself. This is the beginning stages of some type of masochism.

If you’re wondering, or judging me, by the negation of lower body exercise, may I remind you I am in the final weeks of pre-marathon base building training. Say that a few times fast. Absolutely I could go in and knock out reps of squats, lunges, and good mornings (p.s. these are my favorite) but the recovery is a heavy price to pay. But now that I say…errrr type…this, I’m reminded how important those good mornings are for strong hamstrings to power my runs. Anyway. I just didn’t do it, ok?! But I will. Promise.

Ugh. Texas heat

Moral of the story: everything is sore, I’m managing to both run and strength train on the same days, and the training plan officially starts tomorrow. In my next life, I will be a juggler in the traveling circus.

Hope you all enjoy your Memorial Day. Remember the true meaning of this day and know we are quite fortunate to have what we do.

_________________

I ask you –

How crazy am I to jump back into the gym day 1? Nevermind. Don’t answer that.

Are there any circuses that don’t travel?

Memorial Day plans? Since large gatherings are most likely out of the question. Unless you’re extremely rebellious.

Split Training

Now that I’m not running as much, at all really, I’ve carved out some time each day to strength train. Something I noticed toward the final weeks of my last training cycle was my hamstrings seemed to be much weaker than ever before. This may also be the reason I developed a “pulled” inner thigh muscle during Day 1 of the Texas Double. I’m not a doctor; just fairly certain this is what happened and why. So in the off season, I’ve committed to strengthening my whole body to prepare for whatever race I want to do next. If you’ve been following along, my previous posts are about an upcoming opportunity but I’ve not made a final decision yet.

Balance and grace

All this being said, I was originally trained using a split training program, i.e. a different body part is trained each day with at least a full 24 hours of rest between muscle groups. Even though I know this isn’t the only way to strength train…and maybe not the best way anymore…I still function well under these types of workouts. I also experience the most strength and muscle-building results. My real problem is I get so dedicated to one way of doing something I tend to forget to incorporate other aspects of training, like running. I’m a give-it-all-I’ve-got-but-only-to-one-thing type of girl. It borders on obsessive but I didn’t ask for your opinion. Was that mean? I’m sorry. Now I’ve forgotten where I was going with this conversation.

Oh yes. I’m back! Split training gets a bad rap because it’s very unilateral. Think about it. Anyone anywhere can have all the gym equipment they want. With a big enough garage or home, you can purchase every bench and dumbbell available to use at your leisure. Those people who walk around in a very hulk-like manner that can’t touch their toes or lay their arms flat against their sides? Good for them, but is that the definition of true fitness? They can lift a car. Can they pick up a pen off the floor? If they needed to run across the parking lot in the rain, would they be gasping for air?

The tiny tricep

All good questions, none of which I can answer. Every body is so different. Mine just happens to respond well when I give each part of me my undivided attention for approximately 45 mins/day. Even my mental health needs one-on-one attention. But even with all this attention focused on my needs, the body wants what the body wants. And mine really wants to run. This morning I woke up moody and craving peanut butter. That’s my typical PMS symptoms, for anyone who didn’t care to know. To combat the grumpiness, I walked on the treadmill for about an hour. It helped. While walking, it occurred to me I miss running. Even with the break I said I would take and the strength training goals I have, nothing compares to that feeling of your heart’s rhythmic beating and the sound of your feet propelling you forward. Except for people who loathe this kind of thing.

A happy medium exists somewhere for someone. Maybe not me, not yet. Perhaps this was the answer I was waiting for in order to commit to the triple endeavor. Even when I can’t wait for the training cycle to be over, it only takes a few weeks for the itch to run to return. Or else I really need to work on running and lifting at the same time.

___________________

I ask you –

Do you ever have a need to DO something?

Split training fan or no? If not, what training methodology do you subscribe to?

No apologies for oversharing. Get over it.

Snow Day! (but not for all of us) + Other News

Lake effect

As you can guess by now, the drive impacts many portions of my life, including work. So with personal things going on plus the chance for copious amounts of snow and ice, the decision was made for me to work from home. Good thing, too, because the Texas weather dictated a few hours of ice before the snow which makes driving obviously treacherous. As I stared out the kitchen window from the safe and warm confines of today’s workplace, i.e. my kitchen table, I hear children playing while the snow pelts the lake behind my house. It’s definitely beautiful, but I’m lucky to not have to be out in it.

Unfortunately for my co-workers, the snow in my part of Texas did not share its presence with them. A mere 2 hours away, all they’ve received is rain and above-freezing temperatures. Sucks for them. Sort of. This precarious balance of weather, work, and life brings me to my other news.

Do they make seat warmers for outdoor furniture?

I have resigned from my position within Anytime Fitness. The drive and the toll it has taken on my mental well-being came to a point I can no longer handle. I’m fairly certain if not for the car accident a few weeks ago, I would still be making the commute. To be clear, I love my career in fitness, especially with Anytime Fitness. The opportunities I have been presented overwhelm my heart and soul. The stories I’ve been blessed to hear, the incredible people I’ve met, and the generous work of my owners and their family will not be forgotten. This journey in fitness will continue for me and them but in separate capacities. These past 9 months have been incredible.

Do people still use pencils?

So what will I do now? I’m not fully certain at this point. Not drive? There are some other career passions on the horizon for me, I’m sure. I will regain the confidence necessary to drive in all weather conditions. And I will never take for granted the relatively simple task of traversing the roadways with other drivers. Also, I will continue blogging, right here, same time as always. These posts have become a sort of therapy for me – many emotions have splayed across these pages. I try to share the obvious, the not so obvious, and the deeper parts of myself in hopes I can reach others who may be struggling, too.

Thanks to each one of you, I believe life is a series of stepping stones. Some are slippery and covered in mud; others are a brilliant square of marbled beauty.

________________

I ask you –

Do you play in the snow or stay inside?

How much hot cocoa is enough?

Tell me your career passions. Entrepreneurs?

There is nothing noble in not asking for help, pt 1

You don’t get extra credit by not asking for help. Profound! I wish I had lived by this many years ago – when I thought it was the right thing to do to always do it on my own, never asking for help, always anxious and frustrated I couldn’t get it all done.

I felt like a failure. Today I stand, errr sit? perch?, before you and tell you it’s ok to ask for help. More than this, it’s imperative you ask for help. Be it by seeking a coach, a trainer, a loved one, a therapist, whatever and whoever. Just ask for help.

More and more, I notice the prevalence of our human nature to refuse help. If it’s enough for my young mini-me to ask for help, then why is it wrong of me to do the same? We encourage the generations after us to seek help for their problems – yet we rarely follow our own advice. Why is this?

The inside is like a well seasoned pot – or a cup you’d find on the mess decks

Even though the aforementioned mini-me is a self-proclaimed EXPERT at everything, there is zero expectation to live up to the hype. But not beating ourselves up is much more difficult. I know I’m right.

Day after day, night after night, I confess the many benefits of personal training. I tell my story and listen to theirs. And I remind them I didn’t find my own wellness until I sought help. Ultimately, you never know what you can do until you ask. As a member is always telling me, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” And I know asking for help doesn’t make me weak.

_______________

I ask you –

Do you have a problem asking for help?

Often times, help is free. The only cost is commitment. What is your barrier to asking?

Have you ever asked for help for something huge in your life?

And then it happened!

As hard as I’ve been working toward overcoming fears, sometimes they still sneak up out of seemingly nowhere. That’s when someone walks out from behind a dumpster and has the nerve to stare at you as if you did something wrong as you SCREAM in their face. And by you, I mean me. My horror could not be mistaken. I was absolutely terrified. Clearly there’s more to this story. You see, I’m scared of dumpsters. Perhaps I’ve mentioned it before? I’m fearful of someone jumping out from inside one or, please don’t let this ever happen to me, someone being found sans heartbeat. The news makes it sound like this happens all the time. I don’t know if it does or not, but I worry about it. As luck would have it, I don’t want to be anywhere near gruesome dumpster discoveries so I avoid them at all costs.

The problem is I have a job where I’m expected to remove trash from inside the building and deposit it into the dumpster behind. This should be easier than it sounds and that’s saying something. Typically, I can ask a favor of someone else to take out the trash. Except when they’re gone. Alternative B is to let the trash pile up which is really no alternative at all. Are you grasping the predicament?

Actual footage, using a long range lens

So in doing what is right, I took the trash out by myself to the scary dumpster. As I finished tossing the bags overhead, I turned to walk back to the building and a man came out from behind the dumpster. I screamed for a solid 5 seconds – mouth open, bloody murder-style screamed. Then I cursed a lot and literally ran back inside. I’m not apologizing for probably scaring the man, too, because he had to have known I was there. I had 4 trash bags to heave over the top of the dumpster! I’d been there several minutes! He should have stayed hidden until I walked away. I believe that’s a logical and reasonable expectation.

Nonetheless, my heartbeat has returned to normal. The trash is safely in the dumpster confines. And I may never, read: NEVER, go near another dumpster ever again. I’ll pay a nice person to take it outside if that’s what it takes. But it won’t be me.

I also believe my cardio workout is now complete. It took well over 20 minutes for my heart rate to return to a normal level. Always looking on the bright side.

_______________

I ask you –

What are you afraid of?

Have I traumatized you with my dumpster story?

Tell me what the going rate for a trash taker outer, please.

20/20

I can’t stop laughing at the jokes about people wishing Barbara Walters would host the New Year’s Eve ball drop in Times Square because then she’d say “And this is 2020” or something to that effect. Puns are my favorite.

*giggle*

Since the fitness industry can feel like it revolves around capitalizing on the human population’s desire to commit to resolutions and those resolutions typically happen on New Years Day and most, if not all, Mondays, it would be wrong of me to tell you this isn’t really my favorite time of year. But it’s really not. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. I believe each and every person who walks into the gym January 1st has the very best intention to get their health in order, to make the steps it takes to change their life, and to reach all the goals they’ve set. I truly believe it. But if I could change one thing, it would be to inspire them to change their life before it gets to this point. Before another Monday sneaks up on us. Before another decade arrives. Before they’re at the point of no return. As I am a realist yet also a dreamer, this is conflicting.

However, before you discount my ramblings as sheer cynicism, please remember I believe in you. I believe you can do this without me, but if you need help, I’m with you on your journey. My faith is unwavering. My words are upbeat and kind. I will cry and laugh with you. Occasionally, I’ll even be stern with you. Because I believe you can do this.

“This” doesn’t always refer to joining a gym. I believe you can do anything. Read it again and yell it out loud for those talking in the back. I BELIEVE YOU CAN DO ANYTHING! Anything! You want to be a master sculptor? Do it! You want to complete an Ironman? Go for it! Time for a job change? (Are you a personal trainer? Call me!) 2020 is a time for celebration because it just is. Because why not?! And 2020 looks really cool when you write it so I think the reason speaks for itself.

Told ya!

My goals: peak performance, write, and do hard things. Not necessarily in any order. More like circular goals. Nonetheless, the old ways aren’t working – time to try something new.

______________

I ask you –

What are your resolutions?

If you don’t believe in resolutions, tell me something you plan to do this year.

What year was your best? (physical best, most accomplishments, etc.)

Goals of the Superstitious Variety

Page Turner

After chatting with some pretty amazing trainers (courtesy of Anytime Fitness, of course) on the topic post-race season goals, I mentioned wanting to really focus on nutrition. With a propensity to not eat enough, I knew I would need a plan that encourages me to eat and build muscle.

So a new goal was born! Keto helped me regain confidence in my body after baby, but I know I can do more. I have a short torso and long legs. I know this means nothing to you. But every woman knows a postpartum body is much different than anything before. Things change. Add breastfeeding to that and whoa! In an attempt to be transparent (I hate that word, can we just say tell the truth?!), I believe some may think I’m training for a competition. To be wildly clear, I am definitely not. But I am fascinated about enticing my body to respond in that way.

The road sign of my life

Like everything, I’ll keep you all updated right here on this journey of lean body mass. So step aside naysayers! The only stage I’m rocking is the comedy club in my head!

___________________________

I ask you –

Goals? New or old?

Thoughts on competitive fitness?

Do you consider yourself superstitious?

Military Fitness Evaluations

And on this Veteran’s Day, let’s talk about fitness and the military!

Not to be confused with a FITREP, otherwise known as a performance evaluation of the officer variety. If you care to know. Please note I had to do quite a bit of research for this post due to the fact I have only limited knowledge of fitness evaluations in each branch of the military besides the US Navy.

Oh the days of old

It’s interesting and long overdue in my opinion the military is finally updating their standards of fitness. From sit ups (harmful and ill-advised) to treadmill running (not ideal, but sometimes necessary), there has been a shift in standard (read: old school) training to functional fitness.

NOFFS: Navy Operational Fitness and Fueling System. I was offered extensive training and for the better part of 2 years trained other Sailors using this curriculum. The levels and stages of NOFFS prepare Sailors for functional and operational fitness whether on surface ships or submarines.

Changes are being realized within the Navy’s Physical Readiness Test (PRT), i.e. perhaps planks are a more accurate representation of core strength and rowing is a great alternative to cardio conditioning. Testing is ongoing regarding the feasibility, due to limited space most often, of changes to the (PRT). I eagerly await the final outcome of these measures.

The US Army is also on board with updates to their physical requirements. The Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) requires soldiers to complete a 2 mile run, 2 minutes of push-ups, and 2 minutes of sit-ups. In October 2020, however, soldiers will be required to complete a six event series titled the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT). Parts of this new curriculum will include the Leg Tuck, a Standing Power Throw, and a 3 Rep Max Deadlift, among other exercises. The physical toll of moving gear and their own person across vast lengths is now emphasized and soldiers are being trained to protect, and strengthen, their bodies overall.

Gives new meaning to parasailing

The US Marine Corps is hanging on to their Physical Fitness Test (PFT) which includes pull-ups/push-ups, sit-ups, and a 3 mile run. (Push-ups can be completed as an alternate to dead hang pull-ups.) 2020 is an important year, though, because in January, Marines can replace the sit-ups with planks, previously discussed as a much more effective and safe option. Interestingly, Marines also have a Combat Fitness Test (CFT): 3 exercises of varying difficulty that test an individual’s functional fitness.

Lastly, let’s look at the US Coast Guard. For the Physical Fitness Test (PFT), it includes 60 seconds of push-ups, 60 seconds of sit-ups, 1.5 mile run, the Sit and Reach, and a Swim qualification event. I’ve not seen any updates to the USCG’s PFT, but have no doubt they will eventually begin to modify their requirements.

Under da sea

It is understandable there may be very little interest in what our military branches are doing for fitness. The real importance can be found in what civilians are able to do to train like the military. Functional fitness is well-rounded and encompasses all levels of fitness. This is what we embody at Anytime Fitness: functional fitness. We want you to do your daily tasks with ease whether it be climbing endless ladder wells to reach the top deck of a destroyer or swimming in the open ocean while practicing rescue operations. You may never do any of these things, but you can train for them regardless. Why? Because you climb stairs to get to your desk and many of the same movements you use while swimming translate to reaching above your head to get to the canned vegetables in your pantry.

Need I say more?

_______________________

I ask you –

What does functional fitness look like to you?

Who is the strongest of the military branches?

If you didn’t answer Navy to the question above, we can’t be friends anymore. 🙂

What’s New?

Much like spring cleaning, join me on this exploration of old and new stuff I’ve located in my house (aka mind and body) in no particular order

Pixel-y and beautiful

Book writing: let’s add some more stuff to my fully-loaded proverbial plate and take on the project-in-progress of many years. I began writing a book the year between my undergrad and grad school. As life got more hectic, I put it away and haven’t revisited it since. No better time than the present! In developing myself as a person, a woman, a mom, I decided to begin writing again. There’s no EDC (estimated date of completion), but I plan to maximize effort after December’s training cycle comes to a close. Which brings me to another topic…

Training: is going well! Committing to a plan to run 4 days per week is definitely less stressful than the previous 5-6 days a week. Even knowing I have to run both days of a weekend is somehow easier to accept than I originally thought possible. On other plans, I would dread the weekends. I was a super b-word until I got my one long run in and I would feel like a complete failure if Monday came and it hadn’t been done. Now? I run Saturday and Sunday. It’s a normal part of conversation. The schedule pretty much runs itself (puns for life). I aim for outdoor running – occasionally I can’t make it happen, but usually I’m successful. The only pitfall was the length of the runs. With some slight adjustments, I’m back on the track to success.

First double digit run went smoothly!

Motherhood: Some days I amaze myself at what I’m able to show her – my patience knows no bounds. Other days we each need a time out and I consider adding wine to my coffee cup. Your shaming has no place here. As a smaller version of myself, mini-me can push every button I have and create ones I didn’t even know were there. And then she smiles. If she wasn’t so cute… Being her mom is the greatest blessing of my life. Nothing compares. At times I don’t know who I was before her, then I feel a tingle in my heart and I know she and I were created to meet.

We drink coffee together. It’s half caff. Shut it.

Lastly, work: busy is an understatement. Building a brand, a vision, and melding the minds of multiple people is a job not for the faint of heart. It’s time consuming. But creating connections between people with the same goals is awe-inspiring. Daily (seriously, not a day goes by) I encounter people who share their stories with me, a stranger. Some are wilder than others; many settle heavily in my soul. It could be a story of perseverance or a synopsis of loss – collectively, it makes an impact. My goal is to bring out the best in these warriors who have come to me looking for someone to help make a difference in themselves. Every task brings us closer. Anytime Fitness fulfilled a passion within me; I can’t imagine not being the face of another’s desire to do so. Also, I got a green light to begin training. Training others, specifically. It’s a natural progression in my line of work while also adding a few tons to my already heavy plate. However, I’m stoked to begin this path again.

Stay tuned for another episode of Kel’s Crazy Life. I look forward to sharing this journey with you.

Always,

Kel

Seen it on the ‘gram’ + Are we missing the mark?

“Those damn millennials – all they know is Facebook and Instagram and Snapchat!”

I’m all about perspective

Social media (SM) maybe isn’t the bad guy we make it out to be. SM is a tool to share our successes. We post about our passions. We share the things we love to post. If ‘celebrate your success’ is a phrase literally celebrated, then why is it so wrong to do so? Personally, I enjoy taking a sideline view of another’s dreams. Not for judgment or criticism, but to watch them grow as humans. I follow many people on social media. Newsflash > if I don’t like what they’re about or what they post, guess what I do? I tap the small box that says ‘unfollow’. You won’t find me being a rude, hateful, opinionated asshat on their posts. It’s not worth that much time.

Disclaimer: Many aspects of our lives should not be shared. Situations are private and details are not necessary. Validating our beliefs and choices via SM indicates a lack of decision making and autonomy. SM is absolutely not the place to air your dirty laundry…and trust me, we all have some. End rant.

Have you looked back at your previous posts from years prior and wondered what in the world was I thinking then? Ugh. Cringe. The things I thought were cute or kitsche or would somehow help me blend in with whatever crowd I was trying to be in…who was I? Huge possibility the same thing will happen to me in 10 years. However, I hope I remember what it FELT like to write, post, blog, talk about were things my passionate inner self loved. Running, baking, reading, learning something new, exploring! Legacies are built on the stones of passion.

Social media is this crazy outlet in our world today. If you didn’t write a lengthy post about overcoming adversity or about how much you think you know on a subject – did it even happen? Perhaps some understanding, or even forgiveness, sheds light onto what we see on our feeds. People are being conversational; they’re sharing what’s important to them. Applying fundamental understanding would do a body good. Again, I shall reiterate, if you don’t like it, then don’t follow them. Writing angry remarks is uncalled for and can also lead you down a dangerous legal path if deemed racist, homophobic, etc. Be nice, people!

To show my age: I joined Facebook when it was exclusively available for college students. Seriously. That’s how it started. The registration requirement was a valid college email address. I still remember mine. kelly.atwell.0313@mwsu.edu. Don’t ask how I remember the stupidest stuff, but can’t tell you if I applied deodorant this morning. Somewhere during college, Facebook blew up and now it’s an insult if you don’t provide every living, breathing person you know with a friend request within 3.9 seconds of meeting them. Oh, I did apply deodorant because I have the stain on my black shirt. In case you were wondering. Big shocker here – please make sure you’re sitting. I don’t have a Facebook account. Wait a minute, Kel. You just said you did. Not anymore. Before munchkin was born, I deleted my account because my privacy was invaded by an angry person hellbent on “making right the wrongs others had committed” or some paraphrased version of such. It’s not a pretty story. I was always careful about not sharing too much on SM. I followed all the rules of being a military member who had SM accounts. Unfortunately, family and friends had public accounts and shared every part of their daily lives so it was only a matter of time before I was connected to them. I had it coming. So in order to keep my life and the life of my munchkin private, I hit delete and haven’t looked back.

These days I’m expected to maintain an active SM presence within the Anytime Fitness community. This has come at a bit of a cost. Namely, my comfort levels at what I can access. There’s been a few occasions of searching for people and getting more than I bargained for. This reinforced the belief I am absolutely not ready to have my own account again because if I didn’t have a career I adore, I might have said not nice things and caused the walls to come crashing down. Human, here.

So is SM good or bad? I don’t know. It is probably not as bad as its reputation provided it’s used correctly and not as a platform for hatred or blasphemy. Teenagers and young people should still be monitored, in my opinion. Even some adults should be monitored! But if you’re using it as a gateway to share what you love to do, then you’re not hurting anyone. Be safe, be smart, and be kind.

so many options

Shameless tag:

Find us here:

Facebook: @anytimefitnessroanoketx and @anytimelascolinas

Instagram: @roanoke_anytimefitness and @anytimefitnesslascolinas

Twitter: @TxAnytime

_______________________

I ask you –

How many SM accounts or platforms do you actively participate in?

Are you one of our followers?

Advice on staying out of trouble on SM?