“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. 🙂

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

FitrWoman – Train Smarter!

Just some light reading

For many years, I’ve noticed the changes in my own training cycle would be affected by my menstrual cycle. As a woman who enjoys knowing things about my body, I use a few apps to track ovulation, estimated period length, and other symptoms. It seemed there was always a component lacking in these apps, though – they didn’t track the effect your monthly cycle has on your ability to train athletically, much less reach a goal.

Hey Diva!

Luckily, other women had this great idea! I found out about this app in an article posted in Women’s Running. Introducing FitrWoman, available via the App Store or Google Play. I had very high hopes and it has yet to fall short. There’s even a supplemental app, FitrCoach, for those who train female athletes. Though not free like FitrWoman, the coaching ability is a must-have for anyone instructing women in this capacity.

FitrWoman connects with Strava to track not only your workouts but also to meld it with your cycle. My personal favorite part of FitrWoman is the insights portion. The changes in hormones within our bodies affect every literal part of training, from nutrition to cravings to overall strength. I’ve always noticed during certain days of my cycle I would be unable to lift as heavy or my heart rate would be much higher than usual even if I wasn’t training any harder. Turns out these are all common physiology symptoms! Even sweating more and experiencing an increased body temperature are typical. I’m not crazy!

FitrWoman also includes recipes and food suggestions for optimal training during each phase of your cycle, as well as articles discussing topics like PMS and contraception, among many others. I think both men and women could use some extra reading material to truly understand these pieces of female life.

Screenshot of FitrWoman calendar

For more information, if you’re not sold by my words alone, check it out at https://www.fitrwoman.com. I continue referring to my app for daily insights and information on how to truly train for my body. It’s exciting to see the cycles run their course. Haha get it. Any chance we have to exceed our own expectations should be taken!

________________________

I ask you –

Are you using FitrWoman?

Did you know the connection between training and menstrual cycles?

What feedback do you have that would make FitrWoman better?

Injury Prevention (not always possible) – Anticipating a Derailment

You can’t expect not to have an injury, illness, or life event during an 18 week training program. Well, you can…but prepare to be fooled. So at week 6, I got a little ahead of myself and prematurely began patting myself on the back for a job well done. Then it happened. Karma. She’s so sweet.

Cracker Stash

After a night of illness that carried over into the following 2 days, I was forced to re-evaluate what training and nutrition looked like. A diet of crackers and 7-Up isn’t enough for any kind of strenuous exercise. Though it may not sound like a big deal, training is very strategic and we don’t want to miss much because this is how we help our body adapt to the weight we’re placing on it. It’s like a second job! A second job that eats away at our time and forces us to pay for it. But, look, a banana and a medal! Score!

Too familiar with First Aid

Nevertheless, the show must go on. More importantly than keeping to a schedule is the ability to let go of the schedule for a short amount of time to focus on recovery. Rest is best! If this is where you say “but rest doesn’t cross the finish line” – I happily disagree. Rest is a rather large building block of performance. Without it, you got nothin’, friend.

Rest is almost considered indulgent nowadays. Who has time for rest? Today, we go, go, go without a second thought to what rest looks and feels like. The guilt of allowing ourselves the luxury to rest is real. How dare we take care of ourselves as if someone else will do it for us? Pshhh. You said it, Kel. No one else will. And when you don’t, many times, it ends in injury to mind or body. Unfortunately there will be times preventing an injury is out of your control. You could have the best plans and have your nutrition completely on par, but still suffer from illness. The body can’t fight everything all the time. So what do you do then?

Rest. Be gentle on yourself. Say it louder, Kel; the ones who just closed their browser at this ridiculous advice didn’t hear you. Be kind to yourself. Let a few sessions go. Eat crackers. Hold out for the day when you’ll feel better and ready to return. Granted, this isn’t permission to say screw the plan and go rogue. Ummmm no. In focusing more on living for today (post forthcoming), I’m not losing sight of my goals and dreams. I’m just re-adjusting to a temporary norm. Very temporary.

But don’t be mistaken. That 12 miler is still calling my name.

_________________

I ask you –

What was the last injury you experienced?

Is rest really best or do you have some other great advice?

How many crackers can you eat without going completely insane? (package 3 and counting)

Halloween Whodunit / Fall!

Hocus Pocus: one of my most beloved movies

The goal in my house is whoever scares Mommy the most wins. Ugh. I hate this game. You see, I’m not really a likes-to-be-scared type of girl. But my Munchkin takes this game very seriously so I play along. Unwillingly.

Mantle decorations

Who can deny cooler weather and boots and leggings and pumpkin spice everything is awesome?! Basic. Get off me. From a fitness perspective, this is the time people start making their winter goals and trying not to let the holidays impact them too much. For me, it means PRs and an extra cup of coffee to warm up!

I love the change in gym dynamic during this time of year. There’s fun colors and a more relaxed feel, but also some heavy hitters in the weight training area. It’s not lost on me most people use the colder months to lift heavier and do a little less cardio. Even I was trained this way. However, if you want to PR your runs in the spring, it’s important not to neglect the cardio portion of your workout. Insert functional training!

I find functional training combines all my favorite activities: strength building + elevated heart rate. It saves time, too, since I’m not doing 2 separate workouts. Mainly, it holds my interest and keeps me engaged. Pounding away on the dreadmill has all the appeal of going head to head with a mountain lion. No thanks, I’ll pass. I don’t run fast enough for that crisis.

Now I realize I’ve digressed from cooler Fall to colder than snowflakes Winter, but somehow, each year, the transition is less than gradual. You wake up one day to the beautiful leaves changing. Next thing you know it’s an ice warning. What the….

Empty candy bowl = small favors

Typically I end up forgoing a training plan after my final fall race, but I know how important it is to keep up the work and maintain a mileage base for the first glimpses of Spring. So I challenge you each to create a goal for the fall/winter and stick with it. But make sure it’s actually challenging! Try something new: hike in the snow, walking lunges indoors with your kids, try a yoga session! Or come by here and see me and we’ll do a group training session together!

Whatever you decide, enjoy yourself and get through the cold(er) months with your sanity and hoodie intact. If you need some ideas, I’m always listening and will be updating you along the way with the new adventures I partake in!

____________________

I ask you –

Favorite holiday?

Is Halloween your thing or no? Definitely not mine, but as a parent, things change.

Something new you’d like to try when it’s cold out?

Friday Favorites

A life of dreams

According to my post schedule, it’s not Friday. But Friday is usually a happy day for people, so allow me to pretend. Just let me have this one thing.

Recently I received some reader questions about my favorite things. Since the questions weren’t specific and I could go many ways with this, I chose to do a whole post on faves! I’m preparing my Christmas list as we speak…errr…write. I even included price points so you all can rest assured I’m a cheap date.

Buy myself all of my favorite things…

On my face/body:

Smashbox Full Exposure Mascara $25

Softlips Lip Balm in Vanilla (pack of 2) $3

ULTA complete eye palette $12

Love Beauty and Planet Coconut Water and Mimosa Flower Body Lotion $11

Same as above in Body Wash $7

Acqua di Gioia Perfume $75

Wearables:

Saucony Endorphin 2″ Split Short $40

Brooks Greenlight Essential Tight $60

Fitbit Ionic $250

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 18 $118

Sports Bra: anything in the Champion line from Target (whoohoo small-chested girls!) price varies

All the running gear!

Perhaps I was wrong. This list is extensive and, combined, quite pricey. Now I definitely didn’t accumulate all this in one swoop so I should get brownie points for that. Or at least brownies. Did I mention I’ve been on a no-shopping sabbatical since April? Technically, it’s not “no shopping”, but it is no purchasing. I’ve not bought one new article of clothing in 5 months. And I’m using all the cosmetic products I own before buying any more. No impulse buying! My bank account and closet are enjoying the reprieve.

Always the question – what does this have to do with fitness, Kel? So happy you asked!

I imagine I’ve saved at least $200, most likely more, since April because I haven’t bought any new clothing. Also, I don’t wear relatively expensive items anyway. So there’s further cost savings. With this money, I can afford a gym membership or at least use the money to focus on my health: food, vitamins, etc. The list of favorites doesn’t have to cost a lot to be worth more than face value. Are certain items costly? Yes. But they also last a long time and are worth the money (to me). You may have other ideas and that’s fine, too!

There was a short radio clip the other day on the drive that mentioned downsizing Maria-what’s-her-face style as a key element to focusing on what really makes you happy. Cleaning out the clutter makes me happy! I took it to mean that by shedding excess weight, literally and figuratively, I can find peace in less material things. Working out makes me happy and keeps my mind and body strong.

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I ask you –

What items do you spend the most on? Personal items?

Is my Christmas list unreasonable?!

Have you ever been on a no-shopping spree?