Put the Blinders On!

 

Well friends, an amazing trip has come to an end. We are on our way home, but will take back with us a lot of very fun memories of an amazing race and lots of time with friends. Once again, I can’t wait to share with you all! Since I am traveling today, please enjoy this guest post form Hayley. She blogs at http://transformingflabtofab.wordpress.com/  Today she will be talking about working out when you are overweight, and the fear that can come with walking into a gym or class full of super fit people, and what you can do to feel confident! Remember, working out if for EVERYONE! Just get moving!

Put the blinders on!

That’s what a very nice lady told me today in my training program and it’s been resonating with me ever since.

I joined a training program / competition at my gym called “The Biggest Winner” which started 4 days ago. It’s been brutal, mind-blowing, painful and worth every ounce of sweat. I’m in a group with 5 other people, all older than me and the majority much more athletic that I am. They’re just here for the weight training – I’m here for the weight loss.

Any gym can be very intimidating when you’re overweight. The minute you set foot in the room it’s uncomfortable as you watch incredibly fit bodies running effortlessly on the treadmill, lifting hundreds of pounds overhead without breaking a sweat and performing yoga poses as simple as walking. Basically, everything fat people can’t do – but you can! You just need to put the blinders on!

I remember the first time I took the abs and lower back class at my gym. At 300 pounds, the instructor (who may have been a 110 soaking wet), told everyone to lie down on the floor and put our feet in the air. She then directed the class to do the “air bicycle” while alternating crunches. Um…. No!

I know I’m not the only person who has ever laid on the gym floor watching an exercise instructor perform some sort of contortionist move worthy of Cirque du Soliel while sitting quietly and just staring and become well….depressed!

When you’re heavy, exercise is tough because you’re battling not only the extra weight but the added level of extreme uneasiness in the presence of fit individuals. We’ve all felt it and what you do with these feelings will make all the difference.

In order to succeed, you must get out of your comfort zone and try. For me, I found great success in modifying moves to do something I was able to do that was still challenging and kept me moving. A very wise Zumba instructor once told gave me the best advice ever … “I don’t care what you’re doing, just keep moving, preferably in the right general direction.” I’ve made this my motto moving forward because it’s the truth.

Let’s go back to that lovely Ab/Lower back class. Was I uncomfortable? Oh yes! Was it literally killing me? No! What do I have to lose if I try? Weight! GAME ON!

I put my all into the class. If she wanted me to do crunches with my feet in the air, I put one foot up and did as much as I could and then switched. If I couldn’t do their crazy contortionist moves, I just did crunches or ran in place. I kept moving, trying and doing my best. I ignored what the other people in the class were doing with ease because it didn’t matter. I was going to do what I could and not give up! That’s truly what matters most. Did I look like a fool? Probably! Did I care? Nope!

So what happened as a result of overcoming my fear? I got rid of nearly 50 pounds in six months, made new friends at the gym and gained a tremendous amount of self confidence. From one fat girl to another (or guy), the first mountain you must conquer is your fear. Once you climb to the top there’s no looking back and your possibilities are endless.

hayley

Hayley and daughter Arabella

I’ve learned a lot about myself through this journey and even more about how to encourage others. If you want to succeed you must:

· Find the right gym for you. This doesn’t mean the one that’s closest to your house or work or even the cheapest – you need to have the right hours and most importantly … be comfortable working out there. Avoid pick-up gyms like the plague unless you have the body of a goddess. Don’t be afraid of the geriatric gyms, they tend to have some of the best and most helpful people!

· Hire a professional nutritionist. They will get you on the right diet and provide exercise tips. Most insurance companies will offer this free of charge or extremely low cost. Check with your provider and local gyms to find one you can afford. An expert will make a world of difference in your success.

· Training is a must! If you can hire a trainer – do so! Even if it’s just one day a week. Look for packages or group training sessions to decrease the cost. If you can’t hire a trainer – get an app! There are amazing apps for Smartphone to help you. I love the Couch25K app (free) that will give you high intensity training over your music. All you need to do is follow the directions!

· Get a friend! You’ll do much better with a friend to motivate one another. If you can, find a friend who has a similar amount of weight to lose so you can help each other.

· Try! It doesn’t matter if you walk 0.01 of a mile or 26.2 miles, you’re lapping everyone on the couch so just get up and try!

 

Before: July 2012                             Now: December 2012

haley

What an inspiring story, thank you so much for sharing Hayley, best of luck to you as you continue on your journey!

QOTD: Have you ever felt uncomfortable at the gym? What did you do?

Boot Reflections: More Than Halfway

 

Good morning! It was a fun, busy, and chilly weekend down south. If you are catching up on posts, check out the latest on RWS:

Get Healthy Starting NOW! As a FitFluential ambassador, we were asked to give 7 things you can do to get healthy starting now!

Childhood Obesity Vlog: Video of me chatting about childhood obesity. Yes, my dog DID try to take center stage, but I prevailed.

Sunday Randoms: Random pictures and thoughts from this past week.

————————————-

Since I told you I would, I wanted to share a little bit about what it has been like physically and emotionally to be in the boot so far. After today I will have been in the boot for two solid weeks. Have I gained weight? Yes, but not much. I am hoping it won’t take long to get back to how I was before. More than anything I just feel a bit more …..squishy than I did then I was running and lifting weights. Now that the YMCA is open I hope that changes.

2011-11-29210000

More than anything this has been a mental struggle for several reasons. First of all, as Reese Witherspoon would say, “exercise gives you endorphins, endorphins make you happy!” This is so true. I will admit I have been quite grumpy the past couple weeks. When I finally got the chance to workout Friday morning, I felt SO MUCH BETTER afterwards, I had more energy and felt better than I had in weeks. Sometimes you just need a good sweat session.

With that being said, I have had my fair share of hard days. Not going to lie, it has been really, REALLY difficult to see everyone’s Twitter feeds full of race recaps, long runs, and PR’s. This is my third injury, all three of which occurred right as I was passing that threshold of being faster than I have ever been before, and then I get hurt and don’t get back to where I was. It is really discouraging and I have done my fair share of moping.

2011-11-29205841

I can’t help but think by the time I can start really running again and getting back into form, half marathon season will be over. (It ends down here after March for the most part!) and then we get to the hot months and I won’t get another chance until next fall. I REALLY am scared I am going to start running and my foot pain is going to come back…or my knee pain, or my hip pain. I know you are supposed to run for fun and I DO have fun, but PART of the fun to me is getting better than you were at the last race. It has been a hard pill for me to swallow that my goals for this spring may not be reached. I’m not saying it’s not possible, but sitting here with this thing on my foot, some days I find it hard to be hopeful.

Not trying to be a downer guys, but just wanted to express how I have been feeling. Christmas is my favorite time of year and I have been a bit more blue that usual, for a couple of reasons. One I hope to be able to explain at a later date, and then of course, the boot.

Wow I didn’t mean to get this wordy, just wanted to give an update! Physically my foot feels fine, but that’s how it felt before I ran the Turkey Trot of pain as well. Fine. I am so scared of my first run out of the boot, I’m not sure how I will tackle that yet! Fingers crossed that I will only have one week to go.

DSC_1033

*In other news if you are a blogger attending the Princess half marathon and want to be involved in a meet up, vote on the poll one the right sidebar of the blog For a day and time.

*Send me a picture of your Christmas Tree or outdoor lights and your blog link. I will be posting them this coming weekend as a virtual Christmas lights tour, and fun way to get new readers!

QOTD: Have you ever had a fitness related setback? How did you handle it and were you able to be better than you were before?

Sunday Randoms

 

Hello friends! I am actually typing this post on Friday morning for Sunday (today now, I guess) so I hope by time this is posted you will have all had a fabulous weekend! More on mine later. This morning…er…I mean Friday morning, our new neighborhood YMCA FINALLY opened! Just in the nick of time, because I was starting to go stir crazy in the boot with nowhere to workout! (we cancelled our other membership at for the end of November.) Bobby and I had a great early morning weights workout before he went to work, then I hit the stationary bike for an hour.

Our view while working out:

2011-12-09074815

Can I just say I know I am going to be really, really sore.

2011-12-09075650

2011-12-09075635

It felt really good to sweat again, and it totally changed my mood. I realized the past couple weeks I haven’t been really doing much I have been tired and grumpy, and I felt SO much better after that workout!

Moving on to more randomness, here are a couple of Christmas pictures from my house. I color coordinated my wrapping paper this year. Trying to be all pinterest cool and stuff.

DSC_1058

DSC_1063

Bella appreciates the wrapping paper.

DSC_1065

I hope you all have a great day! See you back here tomorrow for another work week. I can’t believe Christmas is two weeks from today! I want time to slow down so I can enjoy it!

QOTD: What kind of wrapping paper did you use this year? Any reason?

Weight Room Woes

 

Well, hello, Monday….so we meet again! Today is a “catch up” day for me after having been gone all last week, so why don’t you play catch up as well, hhmm?

Oh, Look, More Corn!

Finally Home

Yesterday, we went to church and I wore this new comfy dress I got at the beach:

2011-07-13102239

Then we went to lunch and it started pouring rain right when it was time to get out of the car (of course) and it hasn’t stopped! That was 5 hours ago! Bobby and I decided to take a Sunday rainy afternoon nap, which are the best kind. We slept for two hours, whoops!

Ok, so moving on to today’s topic. I have been wanting to write about this for awhile, but was just waiting for the right time. Since I haven’t been able to run for two weeks and weights have become even more a part of my routine, I thought today would be a good time.

Ok, so…..confession time…..

I used to be petrified of the weight room at the gym.

Is this not one of the most silly or irrational fears ever? I used to think NOT but now after actually USING the weight room, I have basically gotten over my fear for the most part. Some of you may be thinking “but Heather, you are a confident athlete who has been around the gym her whole life, how did this happen?!?” I know, I KNOW! I assure you, it baffled me, too. I have always done my “strength work” at home with DVD’s, a resistance band, you name it. But a couple of months ago we joined a gym, and I decided to become Bobby’s workout partner. (Do you remember this guest post he did on lifting weights?)

I knew I would never “learn” on my own, so I basically followed him around the gym doing as he told me to do, and it seemed a LOT less intimidating than going alone. Not only that, but he was able to tell me how much weight he thought I should put on each machine, and he made sure I was keeping the proper form. After a couple of weeks of doing this, I decided to venture out on my own one day while at the gym without him, and it was fine! Granted, doing this still makes me a LITTLE nervous because I forget what weights to use on certain things etc. But at least I am willing to go over there alone now.

DSC_2195

Let me tell you, in just a couple of short months, I can TOTALLY tell a difference in my body! I am already getting more toned all over, and I feel stronger when running. I don’t jiggle as much, and I just feel all over more fit, which was my goal. I cannot BELIEVE all these years I have been “missing out” over a silly fear of being in a room full of bulky guys and not knowing what to do.

So, I BEG you. If a fear of not knowing what to do, or of being intimidated is keeping you from lifting weights, overcome it!!!! You will be SO glad you did! A lot of gyms have people that will take you around to the different machines etc. showing you how to properly use them, or take a friend one day who knows what they are doing and have them help you. I hate that all this time I could have been stronger faster, and less injury prone, but I let my fears get in the way of being the best me I can be.

DSC_2308

I love the quote by Eleanor Roosevelt that says “do one thing every day that scares you.”  It really makes life in general seem not so scary when you are tackling fear after fear.

Since I have been on a running hiatus due to a stubborn knee problem, I have ben doing a LOT more lifting and cross training, and I am so glad I have something more “to do” than just sit on a bike or get on an elliptical. I feel like even though I can’t run I am still keeping up my fitness in the weight room. So, what is your excuse?

2011-05-28183023

QOTD: Do you lift weights? were you ever afraid to lift? How did you overcome it?

Weekend Laziness and the Judgment Zone

 

Hello everyone! We have been so lazy this weekend! Yesterday we got to meet our TNT coaches and some of the team members for brunch, and had a great time, everyone seems really nice! I am hoping to get my letter finished this week so hopefully we can get some donations in the mail.

After that, we went and joined Planet Fitness. Our reasons for joining this gym are purely location and economics. It’s 10 bucks a month and 10 minutes from home. Now, some of you are probably going “Planet Fitness, oh boy.” Some of you have NO idea what I am talking about. Lucky you. Ha.

If you are not familiar with Planet Fitness, it is franchised gym, very large, lots of equipment, very purple and yellow, and as stated earlier, ten dollars a month. The common phrase here is “the no judgment zone.” Let me explain. The focus of this gym is to be comfortable and not intimidating for anyone wanting a safe environment to workout. In theory, this is awesome, but they take it to the extreme, and I must say, it’s rather annoying. For instance….

-no stringed tank tops (I broke this rule my first day without knowing. oops.)

-no grunting or dropping weights (there is a “lunk alarm” that will go off if you make to much noise. I so with I was kidding.

-no hats other than baseball caps

-no “gallon jugs of water”

Other common phrases are “leave your ego at the door” etc. etc.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t like when muscle heads grunt loudly or drop weights, but Bobby dropped a weight BY ACCIDENT one time and the dumb alarm went off. How embarrassing. For someone claiming to have “no judgment” I think that was pretty judgmental and embarrassing.  It’s like you have to walk on egg shells so you don’t “offend” anyone. Heaven forbid my string tank top make someone feel inferior.

2011-06-07140438

I am all for everyone having a safe place to workout and not feel judged, anything to get someone motivated and inspired…. but putting SOME of these rules out there seemed a little silly and childish in my opinion.

But, they have a good price point and product, so we will grin and bear it, leaving all doo rags, gallons of water, string tank tops and the like at home, so we can get in a decent workout in the hot summer months.

Alright, I will get off my soapbox for now and move onto how lazy and wonderful our weekend has been! Oh, and by the way, we did bi’s, back, legs, and 20 minutes elliptical at the gym.  yesterday after the workout at the judgment zone (haha) we came home, took naps, and lounged around reading, etc. for most of the afternoon and evening. It got so hot out, we had a nice rain shower in the afternoon, too.

Today, we went to church and lunch, then ran a couple errands before coming home and doing the exact same thing, and what do you, know, it’s about to rain again. Smile

QOTD: What are your thoughts on gyms like this? too extreme or just right?

Working Muscles

 

It’s not secret I have a VERY short attention span. Running three days in a row is no good for me. I get bored, overworked, and burnt out. This poses a problem since I am trying to tone and burn as quickly as possible before the cruise. (Once again for clarity sake, I do not think I need to lose weight. I would like to tone up and maybe burn a little fat off my abs so I can see them, but I am not concerned with dropping pounds on the scale. I weight myself once a week just as a measure on if I am staying in my happy weight range.)

I have talked many times before about doing something you love and enjoy as a workout, trying new things (you never know, you may find a new love!) and working out with friends. Last night, Bobby and I played volleyball for an hour, so I thought I would share some pretty hilarious pictures with you of me trying to relive my glory days!

Yes, they are fun to look at, but I really want to show you all the muscles you can work while doing something like playing volleyball.

DSC_2675 DSC_2679

DSC_2682 DSC_2685

Holy leg muscles. Look at all the squatting and bending. Legs always moving, knees bent, your butt and quads should be on fire! Also, arms up, constantly moving and working. (I know my form isn’t great but I was hitting the ball to myself chasing it all over the park!)

DSC_2680

Setting….oh boy…Let’s be clear, I was a MB (Middle blocker/hitter) I am NOT good at setting. I tried my best when I had to, but it was not my strong suit, but, you get the idea for the sake of my muscle demonstration….

DSC_2672  DSC_2673

Once again, arms up moving and working, and then pushing through and up, working shoulders and abs!

DSC_2669

last but not least, my favorite, hitting. Smile 

DSC_2686 DSC_2689

Stretching and reaching up with your abs, swinging motion is definitely a shoulder workout!

So my whole point of showing you these goofy pictures is that you do NOT have to be stuck in a gym all day to get a good workout. Yes there are some things done more efficiently in the gym, but you can also have fun doing something you enjoy! I was sweating like CRAZY after an hour of hitting the ball around with Bobby. I am a little sore, too. SmileRunning is a great workout and I enjoy it, but it works a select set of muscles, and others can be underdeveloped if you don’t throw other things into the mix as well (Hello, injury!)

QOTD: What is your favorite non running workout?