My New Holiday Jingle!

I really do!

It’s the most runderful time of the year!

There will be Saturdays for sleeping

And friends for some meetings

Without having to go.

We can toast to a break

I promise I won’t make

Anymore plans with the excuse of FOMO!

With the treadmill off

No one will scoff

When I say it’s only 10 miles.

No more tales of the wall

And I can’t find my tension ball

My legs are now all smiles!

The long runs are over and the weather is colder and my family finally comes near!

It’s the most runderful time of the yearrrrrrrr!

___________

I ask you –

How long should I wait for a record deal?

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Daniel Tiger-style

The sign also flashes but I was standing in their yard and I didn’t want to be caught trespassing

“Rest is best, rest is best!” When I tried to find a photo of Daniel Tiger, a bottle of Jack Daniels popped up so maybe that’s the only sign you need.

Much conversation exists on the power of rest. Mental, physical, spiritual – rest binds us. It replenishes our entire body; burning the candle at both ends has been shown to decrease productivity and your ability to fight disease, among many other awful side effects.

You may have nutrition down to a science and you regularly work out, but aren’t seeing the results you deserve. Check your sleep patterns. I often encounter men and women who tell me they sleep, on average, 4 hours or less per night. WHAT?! When I recover from my shock, which has ceased because I hear this response a lot now, I ask what the reasons behind not sleeping are. Work. Family. Stress. Life. Stress about all of the above. So you’re telling me you’re stressed and not sleeping stresses you out even more so the cycle continues? Pretty much.

A common misconception is the ability to “make up” sleep. I’m guilty of this, too. As a teenager, out all night doing things we shouldn’t discuss, I figured it was okay because I could just take a long nap on Sunday and be caught up for the new week! Yeah right. Once the sleep schedule is disrupted and you’re consistently not getting enough sleep (recommended 7-8 hours nightly) then it’s gone. There’s no make up day to this portion of the test. We have failed. The only way to recover is to establish a sleep routine and stick with it.

Time refuses to stand still

As it always goes, this is easier said than done. I firmly believe some people are night owls and some of us are destined for early mornings and 8pm bedtimes. If you can’t see me waving my hands in the air, look closer. I really wish I understood this mystery. BUT – I think clocks can be reset with dedication and commitment. Perhaps the addition of a very loud alarm clock helps. In any case, losing sleep is nothing good.

____________________

I ask you –

How much sleep do you typically receive?

Are you a night owl or an early riser?

List some barriers to getting a good nights’ sleep. – Caffeine, a full stomach…

Tis the Season – Meet the Family

For all the ways it could have gone, there were no fistfights, duels, or police presence so that’s saying something. Tell me you have similar fears when your family gets together. Humor me. I had a recurring dream of this very scenario, but what was most telling was the fact I washed my hands of the situation and didn’t engage. This boundary training is going semi-well.

Group photo. Many of these family members I have not seen in over 10 years or more. It was by sheer amazement so many were able to be here this Thanksgiving. Definitely owe it to my beautiful, inspiring Aunt Mary Catherine – she’s the ring leader.

It only took 16 tries

My siblings and I. Long story short, my brother and I haven’t had the most solid relationship and repair is difficult. However, this photo means so much to me.

buncha’ clowns

My sweet girls. These two have made my whole life complete. I treasure every minute they can spend together. Once Munchkin was able to wrap her mind around the truth she shares her name with her great great aunt, it got much easier! They even have the same birth month. Mind boggling, I know.

Piano sold separately

Lastly, this simple photo of Aunt Mary Catherine and I. She’s 92 years of joy with the heart and soul of a woman who mixes wisdom with the patience of a saint. I can only hope I am a small vision of her selflessness.

The saint and I

Overall, this family “reunion” of sorts was comforting to my mind. It can be so hard to juggle time with family, work, keeping in touch, etc etc etc – some things tend to fall away. I love hearing the stories and seeing the new faces. Much like the fitness industry, things change so quickly…yet everything stays the same. We all want to be heard, seen. And re-charging the batteries in my heart starts right here.

_____________

I ask you –

Share the juiciest details of your family gatherings. Any shockers?!

What family member are you closest to?

Are you re-charged after family holidays? Or more in distress than ever? – it depends on the family, if you ask me!

33% – Odds are Not in My Favor

Need a blank card? I have drawers full

Should be no secret cards are my love language. I enjoy the process of writing a message inside a blank card, addressing it, placing the correct postage on the front of the envelope, and raising the small red flag on my mailbox to indicate I have something important to be delivered.

Recently I mailed 3 cards within a few days of each other, for various reasons. Usually cards are a ‘just because’. Remember opening the mailbox when you were a child and receiving a colorful envelope with your very own name on it? Did you feel excited? Even as adults that same feeling still exists. And it’s amazing. My grandmothers and great aunt instilled in me a sense of thankfulness. It was required as a child to send thank you cards after holidays and birthdays and any other time you received a gift. Some may say this is an antiquated practice now – who has time to send a thank you card. I do. You do.

Truth be told, I felt a little disappointed when I didn’t receive a response from the cards I sent. Only 1 of the 3 recipients said thank you for thinking of them. A real thank you. One didn’t reply at all. Tis better to give than to receive. However, acknowledgment goes a long way. My feelings may have been a little hurt at the lack of thanks…but I think the real culprit was the level of appreciation, i.e. I’m not sure if it was there.

Practice thankfulness

Do you appreciate what your body does for you? How often do you consider all the work your fingers, hands, and feet complete in a day? It may seem silly. We often take for granted what others do for us and, in that, we’re taking for granted what we do for ourselves. We treat our bodies like garbage cans, feeding it junk and expecting it to give a peak performance. Trash in, trash out.

The symbolism between writing cards to express your feelings for someone and showing your body gratitude is not lost on me. No, I don’t see anyone writing letters to themselves, though maybe we should, but your soul’s love language may be equal if not greater than the love you show yourself by treating your body well. Massage. Healthy foods. Strength training. Conditioning. Working on balance. All ways to treat your body right. I know we get busy and we forget to say thank you. But you should thank yourself every day in some small way.

Written with love

__________________

I ask you –

What’s your love language?

How does the above indicate how you treat yourself?

Do you know how to mail a letter and address it properly?

Will You Accept My Challenge?

There’s power in the hands that hold you up

A few days ago, I found myself in a situation needing advice and wondering who to turn to. Over the course of a conversation with someone whose experience and wisdom inspire me, she shared how brave and strong she believed me to be. At the time, I was very puzzled by her words and thoughts perhaps she was saying this just to make me feel better. However, her opinion matters deeply to me – she speaks her truth.

But isn’t that how it goes? Being our own critics and negative cheerleader, we can’t find the good in ourselves. We feel weak, deem ourselves unworthy of love, and place unrealistic expectations on our lives. P.S this is where social media fails us as humans.

Why is it so hard to see how amazing we truly are? In my case, it was a family values flaw, most likely. Having confidence was considered vain and talking about what mattered to you was shunned. I could go on forever how terrifically awful my childhood lessons were but we don’t have time. Nevertheless, I have a daily goal to uplift one person. One! In a day, I probably meet/see over a hundred people so my goal is a miniscule 1%.

There’s one lesson so large I can only hope to instill in my mini human: be kind. Like Ellen always says. It seems so small, just be kind, but apparently it’s the toughest in practice. Elements of kindness exist in each part of our day; the opportunities are forthcoming every minute to share kindness but for some reason we choose not to. Perhaps we don’t know how? Well, I know how and I’ll be d*mned if I sit around waiting for anyone else to show the person I created inside my own body how to be kind. She will know it very well.

A smile is worth a thousand words

At this point, I think it’s appropriate to challenge you, my lovely readers and friends, all 3 of you, to also establish a goal to share with someone how valuable they are in your life. It could be anyone. It could even be your pet – I’m not picky! But please share your feelings and emotions. Your words could have the impact of a lifetime to those needing to hear they’re not alone. We are all worthy.

_______________

I ask you –

Have you ever had an experience of being on the receiving end of someone’s truth?

How many people will your kind words impact?

Smile at a stranger. It may be the difference between living and living.

“When did this happen?” and other things we wonder

Juggling life feels exactly like this

Let me set the scene:

PRT (physical readiness test for all you non-Navy people) next week so I should probably start running today. Right? Ummm no.

Swimsuit season begins tomorrow so Monday should be a good time to have the body I want to achieve. Right? Again, no.

Are you getting the drift or do I need to input more examples of how this never works? Honestly, I don’t get it. In our society of instant potatoes (that’s what I call our propensity to have everything we want immediately) why do we wait so long to make changes to ourselves? Why do we wait until the doctor says we have heart disease to realize our weight, lifestyle, and choices are out of control?

I think it’s because we don’t notice the small changes day to day. For example, you mowed the grass last weekend. Each day it’s been slowly growing back to its prior form. But you won’t notice until next Friday when you drive by. The grass didn’t grow overnight. It gradually made its way to shin-length. Same with our health. But the more you “let it go”, the more it goes. I’m a free agent – I cannot be controlled!

So when did this happen? Today. Yesterday. It keeps happening! But we’re busy people and we don’t realize it until it is too late. Except it’s never too late!

What is wrong with starting today? NOTHING! I post regularly about making changes immediately. We both know if you say tomorrow then something will come up and tomorrow will be pushed further into the future. Today looks like the only choice to me. Do it.

“candy wrapper dreams”

A very lovely lady in my life likes to use the phrase “I’m in good shape for the shape I’m in!” Her advanced age brings about a certain wisdom and truth that can only come from living as healthily and happily as possible. Do you wonder what you’ll be like as you age? All the time! Will I be an angry old lady because I didn’t live the life meant for me or will I be teaching the millenial alternative to step aerobics at age 95? Time will tell. Days progress and march forward like tiny ants on their way to the candy wrapper dreams are made of.

What else do we commonly wonder?

_______________________

I ask you –

What have you been putting off getting started?

What instant expectations do you subscribe to?

Do you believe in the power of today?

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. 🙂