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.

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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?

Priority vs Afterthought

Priority uno

For all I write, I’ve been struggling with this topic because it’s not easy to identify how this will be received. Not by the reader, but by the psyche. Well known: we tend to put others first and forget our own goals. Not so well known: which group do you fall into? The answer is not so simple.

If I asked you where you stand on a particular point or what your belief systems are, you could most likely answer quite easily. But if I asked you to pick between reaching your personal goals and doing something you love (provided they are different) you might become confrontational or even withdrawn.

This here is where it gets tricky. Relationships with people you love shouldn’t create a feeling of being the afterthought versus a priority. If one person is receiving the attention, joy, and emotional nurturing, but the other either isn’t or perceives they aren’t, then resentment develops. Each party must acknowledge what the other needs in order to continue.

Health and fitness are like this, too. Squint your eyes – you’ll see it. By making your health goals an afterthought, your mind and body don’t receive what is necessary to complete the changes sought. It’s like putting diesel fuel in a gasoline-powered engine. All fuels aren’t created equally. Just because it says “fuel” doesn’t mean it is the right kind. There’s something specific needed for each type of engine.

Hot car

What kind of engine do you drive? Not literally. Are you in need of an upgrade, but don’t know if you’re ready? The only thing stopping you is you. Make your goals the priority instead of pushing them to the back burner. Let it be known what you need emotionally, physically, and spiritually. We can’t expect others to read our minds; however, if they’re clue’d in, they’ll notice.

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I ask you –

What fuels your engine?

How often do you prioritize yourself?

Was the squinting I mentioned really necessary? Did you get it?

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.

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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!

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I ask you –

Goals? New or old?

Thoughts on competitive fitness?

Do you consider yourself superstitious?

Aftermath / Letting the Dust Settle!

Day 1 Thoughts:

Wow! I certainly didn’t expect to achieve a new PR (personal record) and definitely not by 10 mins. Last November, I ran a 2:28 (again, that’s 2 hours and 28 mins) at the Norfolk Harbor Half Marathon in Norfolk, VA. On Saturday, I ran a 2:18! Before, I had a pacer and a whole group of people I was running alongside. This current race had no pacers, very little course support, and it’s a 3 mile loop – which means I am running the same route each loop. #boring

Prior to take off

But I felt good and was basically running off of pace versus staying tuned into my watch and monitoring every number. When I saw 2 hrs at almost 11.5 miles, I was tired, but I thought oh my, I could really PR today.

Overall, I’m sore. There is some hip pain and a large blister on my left foot, but I know, no matter the time, I can make it through tomorrow’s race. And even if I hate it, I have a shiny new PR as consolation!

Finish Face

Day 2 Thoughts:

When I woke up at 5am to eat my oatmeal, I wasn’t feeling it. My body was sore, the blister was looking particularly angry, and I had to give myself a long pep talk just to get out of bed. I told myself I at least had to try. It’s what I trained for. 18 weeks of training culminating in this weekend where I had two chances to prove to myself I can do it.

Completely fake smile

As I began running, seeing many of the same faces from yesterday, I started to loosen up. It got hot quick so I shed all the extra layers, including the Camelbak and ran until I was ready to either slow my pace or walk. After the first lap (remember each lap is a 5k aka 3 miles), I knew unless I broke something or was forced to stop, I would continue. Lap #3 was a philosophical turning point. I kept thinking about my Munchkin – the challenges she will face in her life and how I am preparing myself to be by her side. A thought that continues to stick with me is she is not my excuse to do hard things, sometimes she’s not even my reason. (It can be hard to convey what I mean here. Be open minded.) What she is to me is my audience. She’s always watching. And if she sees me sucking it up and and showing up every time, then perhaps those values will also translate to her own life. Time will tell.

Pain face

In saying all this, allow me to get to the point. You’re welcome! 2:27. I almost couldn’t believe it. To think I had to talk myself into getting started and these tired legs managed a what would have been a PR prior to the day before inspires confidence in a future marathon goal. I may not can walk much later – and definitely not tomorrow – but right now my smile speaks for itself.

Fritos, banana, and whatever else they’d let me eat

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I ask you –

What’s my chance of feeling 100% within 24 hours? – I know, I’m laughing, too

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.

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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.

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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!