Apparently I was accidentally bulking

Confession time.

My nutrition has been, er let’s just call it “sub optimal” for a few weeks now.  And by “sub optimal” I mean wine and Chinese food and Easter candy like a boss.

Pretty much every morning I would wake up and say, “ok today is the day I get my shit together.  I can’t keep eating like this or else I’m going to start gaining weight,” but things would fall apart once I had a hard workout in the morning, arrived home starving for lunch, and raided the leftover takeout food containers.

Yeah, I know I should have just thrown the crap out and gotten it out of my house, but that’s such a waste, no?

So here’s the good news.  It’s not like I’ve done so much damage that I’m back to where I started.  I’m up a few pounds and feeling more fluffy than I have in months around my middle, but I’ve done a great job with meal prep this week and have actually given myself the tools for success.

What’s more, I’ve been working out like a freaking beast.  Other than taking a few days off last week to let my body recover from everything I’ve been putting it through, I’ve been extremely consistent and am seeing some darn heavy weight come off the ground on all of my lifts.

Today I took progress pictures just to gauge where I’m at, and honestly in part to make myself feel better that I haven’t completely ballooned up.  I mean, it’s not like I can actually see the jelly beans hanging off my thighs or anything.

But I noticed something surprising in my pics.

Whereas when I first started this weight loss journey, I was eating at a pretty solid calorie deficit to help my body to shed fat, over these past few weeks I’ve been eating at a pretty even calorie balance, and some days in surplus.

And let me tell you, I’ve got GAINZ.  Like for real.  My arms are looking jacked, and my booty is more HELLO than I’ve ever seen it.

Seeeee?

Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 2.05.47 PM

So not all is lost with my junk food binge.  Yeah, it’s time to stop putting crap in my body and get my pie hole under control, but putting on a little muscle in the process was a surprising and not entirely unwelcome side effect.

How is your nutrition going lately readers?  Anyone want to be accountable with me and get yourself back on track?

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March Goals

goals

Holy crap it’s March already.

Well, I mean, it’s almost March already.  It’s close enough that it’s time to take a minute and plan out my goals and decide exactly what I want to achieve for the month.

I’ve learned a lot of things along the way on this journey of mine, not just about weight loss but about overall success, and the most important thing is that I function better with goals and a plan.

Not having a traditional 9-5 job anymore means that I need to be especially motivated every day, and for me, the best way to do that is to have a clear idea of what I want to accomplish for the month.  From there I break it down into manageable chunks, and get it done!

March is going to be a big month for me from both a fitness and a professional standpoint.  I have my first official race of the season coming up on April 11th, so training will be particularly important, and I have a few professional ducks I want to get in a row to continue to advance my career as a health and wellness writer.

Here’s a break down of the big picture of what I’m going to accomplish next month.

March Wellness Goals:

  • Follow my half marathon training plan in preparation for the Iron Girl Clearwater 13.1 race on April 11th.  Generally speaking, this means 3 runs per week with my long run increasing in distance to 11 miles by the end of the month.
  • Maintain my strength training schedule.  Generally speaking this means 5x per week lifting weights.
  • Continue incorporating yoga a minimum of 1x per week with a stretch goal of 2x per week during the month.
  • On non-running days, ride my bike (2x per week).  The focus this month is continuing to build my base for the season, longest rides will be in the 40-50 mile range.  Continue to increase my strength, speed, and comfort riding with a group.
  • Continue to hone my nutritional efforts with a goal of a bit more fat/weight loss overall.  This means 5-6 meals per day to fuel my workouts, heavy on the veggies and protein, and no more than 1 “cheat meal” per week.  Booze no more than 1x per week.

March Professional Goals

  • Develop editorial calendar for my personal blog and post a minimum of 3x per week.  (Ya’ll may have noticed I’ve been slacking lately, and it’s because I have so much paid work coming in I get distracted).
  • Continue to work to develop my niche as a fitness/health/wellness/beauty blogger with a totally questionable sense of humor, and focus my personal writing in those areas.
  • Begin studying for and register for my personal trainer certification.  (As a fitness blogger, it would be awesome to have some creds to back it up, right?)
  • Explore other certification options that may be relevant to my professional development, and opportunities that might exist with these certifications (i.e., group exercise- are there opportunities to teach classes locally?  Yoga?  New OrangeTheory opening soon…)
  • Continue to grow my social followings with the goal of becoming a FitFluential Ambassador.  Goals- 50 more followers on Instagram for the month and 100 more on Twitter.  Do you follow me?  You totally should, I’m hilarious.  Check out the side bar to follow my pages!

While there’s a thousand more things I would love to accomplish, these are the goals I’ve set my sights on for March.

So now it’s your turn!  What are you going to accomplish this month?  Share your #1 goal with me, and upcoming race you have, or heck, anything else you want to chat about.

I want to know people!

Maybe not so boldly going where I haven’t before

Lately I’ve been having more “cheat” meals that I strictly should given what my goals are.  This morning I spent some time asking myself why?

The goals I have physically and aesthetically for 2015 are damn clear in my head.  I know what I want to accomplish, and thanks to amazing coaching by Colleen Gallagher I know EXACTLY how to get there.  Weight loss and performance is truly a science, and if I just stick with the plan I will see my abs by this summer.

So why am I randomly eating ramen noodles on a Friday night when I have loads of healthy food in the house?

Here’s the thing, as it stands right now I am pretty much the smallest and leanest I’ve ever been.  Even if we go as far back as high school, when I was on the dance team and extremely active, I was the size and a similar shape to what I am now.  In my glory days of college where I taught group exercise classes and honestly couldn’t afford to stuff my face regularly, I was this size.

I’m more muscular now, but this is about it for me in terms of what I know my body is capable of.

But I want MORE.  I’ve never seen my abs before.  Ever.  And no matter how tiny I was, I never had a perky butt.  Those are both on my goal list this year, as part of my mission to continue to cut body fat.

So maybe part of the reason I’m cheating so much lately is because my body is at a place where I’m moderately content?  I’ve never known anything “better” than this.  I’ve never known anything leaner than this.

Is it possible, absolutely!  But it’s a place I haven’t been before.  Maybe I’m a little afraid to push myself there.  Maybe part of me just wants to rest on what I know I can achieve and comfortably maintain?

I’m not entirely sure what the reason or the answer is here.  But taking a minute this morning to just realize and uncover these feelings has me refocused for the day.  And really, isn’t that what working towards our goals really is?  Taking it one day at a time and finding success in every good choice we make.

Training for Aesthetics VS Training for Performance

I’m embarrassed to admit that for close to two years I was the girl who wanted to lose 20 pounds and then followed an exercise program designed to help me lift more weight.

At first glance, you might not see anything wrong with that.  In fact, there is definitely a method to that madness.  Lifting weights is an absolutely crucial part of a well rounded fitness program, and is especially important for women.  Increasing muscle mass is a good thing, as more muscle equals more calories burned at rest and a faster metabolism.

So then why didn’t I ever lose those 20 pounds?  Why didn’t my thighs ever get smaller?  Why didn’t my booty get bigger?  Why didn’t my body magically look how I wanted it to?  Why?

Here’s the deal.  We’re all setting goals for 2015 and since changing my programming just under six months ago, I came to an interesting conclusion.  One that is, by the way, backed by all kinds of science.  If you want the smart version, feel free to google it, but here’s my dumbed down two cents.

If you have a goal, you kinda need to train for it.

So if you want to be a faster runner, it makes sense to follow a program designed to *gasp* make you run faster.

If you want to lift big weights and be super strong and max your squat this year, again, follow a lifting program.

But if what you actually want, like I did, is to reshape your body, then you’re going to need a plan to do that.  At the moment, I don’t do a lot of Olympic movements, and yeah I admit it, I do biceps curls, but it’s because my goal right now is to actually achieve a specific look.  Looking a certain way is more important to me than how fast I ride my bike, or how much I can squat.

Sure, those numbers might improve as I cut body fat and train for aesthetics, but they also might not.  And as much as I hate to “lose” any of my fitness or strength, I have to be ok with that because my aesthetic goals are more important.

So here’s the moral of the story kittens.  Set your goals for 2015, but do yourself a favor and be really honest with yourself.  If your goals don’t support each other (i.e., run my fastest 5k and put on 20 lbs of muscle, or lose 20 lbs and increase my back squat), decide which you want more and train for it.

And don’t misunderstand me.  Regardless of your goals, there is a place for cardio, strength training, and mobility in your fitness routine.  How much and what types of each, however, will vary depending on what you’re trying to achieve.

Trust me, there’s nothing worse than feeling like you haven’t reached any of your goals or like you aren’t making any progress.  And it’s really not fun when you realize it’s because you’re doing things that are counterintuitive to what you really want.

We can’t have it all.  But if we decide what is really, truly important to us and work daily to achieve it, we can have the things we really want.

So get after it.  And tell me, what are you goals for 2015?

Here’s why I’m NOT annoyed that I can’t get a squat rack at the gym

Well happy New Year kittens!  I hope everyone got through the holidays without needing Xanax or considering stabbing their caroling neighbors with scissors while they were wrapping gifts.  Not that I did either of those things.  No, not me.  Never.

2014 was a great year for this Wonder Woman, and 2015 is going to be even better.  I know this, because like every one of you, I’m in charge of my own happiness and success this year.  Pretty sweet action.

The gym this week has been crazier than I remember it being.  Trying to get a squat rack is like being one of the monkey’s in the zoo going after the lone banana, but I’ve got to say, I’m really proud of all the newbies I don’t recognize getting in there and working towards their goals.  Yeah, I realize that not everyone will develop a fitness habit, but if even a few of them stick around, I’ll deal with the crowds without complaint.  After all, I was once the fat, out of shape gal who just had a goal of doing something every day.  Everyone has a chance at success.

So here’s my first 2015 challenge for you, my readers.  Don’t be that person on Facebook or Twitter complaining about all the new people at the gym.  Instead, be that person who says “hi” to someone you haven’t seen before, or offers to let them work in a set on a machine you’re using.

Whether you’ve been doing this for 15 years or 5 minutes, we’re all just trying to get stronger, faster, and reach our goals right?

Be the positive person in someone’s day.  You never know what kind of impact it might have.

Can one of my goals be to get out of bed every day?

Last week will from here forward be referred to as my “benchmarking week.”

Coming off my 7 week hiatus from doing anything even remotely healthy for myself (unless you count all the red wine I was drinking as healthy?  No?  Not so much?  Bottle a night doesn’t qualify for health benefits?  Well ok then.  Bastard.) last week was kind of a re-boot week for myself.

My Wednesday confession and subsequent pep talks got me back into the gym, but other than that I was just working on getting back into a habit of doing anything healthy for myself.

I tracked my sleep, food intake, and weight over a 7 day period so I would have some idea of where I’m starting from.

It’s not pretty kittens.  At the moment, as I’m temporarily retired, I’m sleeping way more than necessary.  I’m also eating way WAY more than I need to be, and while it’s still relatively nutrient dense, my portions are out of control.  As you might imagine, my weight is up and I’m itching to get some goals in place to get myself in check.

So without further ado, here are my goals for this week.  Yeah, they might seem “easy” to the fit and freaking irritating, but for me, I need to take baby steps to make my health a habit again.

Goals:
5 Crossfit classes this week.  Scale as needed to get the work in.
Track all food and calories (I use myfitnesspal app).  Keeps cals under 2000 daily.
Include a serving of veggies with every meal.
Drink no more than 3 nights this week (baby steps here, baby steps).
Get out of bed by 8 a.m. daily.

Once I’m successful this week, I’ll add more for next week!

How about you guys and gals?  What are you going to do this week to reach your goals?

My legs… my LEGS

Why oh why did I think it was a good idea to do “Barbara” after over a month away from Crossfit?

That was Friday.  Today is Tuesday and I am just now able to stand up and sit down without literally needing to use my arms to balance the majority of the weight.  My quads are STILL screaming at me, and I honestly think I should probably avoid squatting for another day or two yet.

I’ve done two EASY 30 minute rides, a lot of foam rolling and stretching, and am still not normal human again.

I wish I were exaggerating.  Yesterday I went to the grocery store and was asked three times by random strangers if I had “hurt myself” or “twisted my ankle” because of the way I was walking.

So yeah, clearly I’ve lost some fitness.

I want to go to CF tonight, but it’s going to be an easy does it workout for sure.

How’s everyone’s New Year’s goals going?

Not that kinda threesome

I have a secret.

I added swimming into my training a few weeks back.  Ya’ll already know that I ride 3-4x per week.  And I might have tried running a few times over the past few week s (pain free!) as well.

So yeah.  If you’re not a total idiot you realize what that means.

I’m officially tri-training.

triathlon easy

It’s funny because, when I started Crossfit over a year ago, I did it because I didn’t want to do triathlons any longer.  I had done several, then let myself get incredibly out of shape and overweight for a year and a half.  When I finally snapped out of it and looked to add exercise back into my routine, doing any of the tri sports just felt wrong.  I was so slow, so fat, and so out of shape.  It was disheartening to know what I used to be able to accomplish was so far outside of my grasp.

So I started Crossfit.  I had never picked up a heavy weight in my life, had absolutely no previous experience with any of the moments, and therefore had nothing to compare myself to.

And I loved it.  Still do.

But lately, I’ve been having that itch to go the distance again with the SBR.  I hopped in the pool after over a year off and found that I hadn’t lost it.  It took a few tries to get my stroke back and to not eat giant facefulls of water every time I tried to breathe, but I loved it just like I used to.  Not only that, I haven’t lost much speed.

I am a stronger cyclist now than I ever was as a triathlete.  Amazing how actually riding with other cyclists (something that was unheard of during my previous tri training) has made me stronger, faster, and better at not falling over at stop signs.

And running.  Well, that’s running.  It likely will always be my biggest limiter, but what better reason to train than weakness than to register for an event in which I will have to do it?

I have a spring race in mind and my schedule laid out through the end of December.  I’ll be swimming 3x/week, biking 3-4x/week and running 2x/week (need to be nice to the foot at first), along with going to Crossfit on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.

I’m going to start posting all my training under my daily dated posts so that I can keep it all in one place, so be prepared for some changes over the next few months.

And hopefully, some hilarious stories to go along with this insane plan.

Pom poms on a Monday

I feel like every weight loss success story I read about starts with a breaking point.  You hear how one day they saw themselves in a photo or something and just snapped, and everything changed.

I feel like I’ve been on a weight loss journey forever.   In truth, it’s really been just over a year since I recommitted myself to caring about myself, my body, to how I look and how I feel.

There have been some high points and low points, and certainly some successes and failures.

While recently I’ve seen some great success in max weights and lifts, I feel like I’m seeing a pretty serious backslide in my weight loss goals.  The number on the scale is consistently going up, and while I would love to say it’s from all the muscle I’m building, that would be a lie.  It’s because my diet has been anything but clean, and I’m paying the price by gaining weight.

This stops today.

I’ve said it a few times over the past week, but wasn’t strong enough to truly commit it to myself.  But I am now.  Today I woke up knowing exactly what I wanted out of today, out of myself, and out of my goals.  Today I woke up ready to accomplish everything that I know I’m capable of.

So I will.  It’s really that simple.

Guest Post: Accept Your Growth

Time after time I’ve attributed my success with and commitment to Crossfit to the amazing coaches that I have pushing me every single day.  Coach being one who inspires me the most.  He’s given me countless pep talks, and time and again finds new ways to help me succeed.  His knowledge is vast, his sarcasm endless.

I can’t sum up how awesome he and the other coaches are in a blog post, but I can share with you one of hundreds of examples of how he not only motivates me, but all of the athletes he coaches daily with the below guest blog post.

Yeah, he realizes that this means his pervy comments are no longer anonymous on this blog, but if even one thing he says below pushes YOU a little bit harder and a little bit farther today than you thought you could go, he believes it’s worth it.

Oh, and for the record, this is TOTALLY not me that he’s blogging about.  I swear.  No seriously, today was a planned rest day.  Damn it.

Aaron Weedo
Aaron Weedo

By:  Aaron Weedo
Owner, Athlete, Head Coach of Crossfit LWR
ACE CPT
CrossFit Level 1
USAW Level 1
Division I Football Player
Division I Baseball Player

Me: “Hey, why didn’t you come in today?”

Random CFLWR Member: “Because it’s snatch, and I’m really horrible at snatch and I’m no good.”

This is a scene that is far too often played out either in the gym, text message, facebook, etc. I will honestly tell you that this is one of the most disappointing conversations I have. I want you all to understand something about “leaving your ego at the door.”

Running from WODs because of a movement you see come up is not something I condone and want to help lay some groundwork that may help you overcome your fears. As you know, the word “can’t” doesn’t exist in this gym. If you can’t snatch the super scared of getting a bar over your head? Do you just not understand the re has to be a reason. Is it mobility? Is it that you are new? Is it the fact that you are movement? No matter the reason, you ARE allowed to feel that way, and it’s totally expected.

So much of what we teach you in here takes time to learn. Not time in today’s sense. For instance, I put something in the microwave, and “BAM”, it’s ready. Or, I want to look something up so I ask Siri. Time, good, old fashioned, TIME. I’ve read that it can take up to 10 years to fully learn and grasp the snatch (yup, I meant to do that!). This is just one movement though, and we have a multitude of movements and standards that must be achieved. This is hard enough for the young whipper snapper that comes to the gym 3 hours a day for the first 10 years of his life. Let alone, you, the mom, the dad, the boss, the busy ass person that you are!!

We are looking for you to gain a basic understanding of movements that we feel are going to offer the best variety and functionality in real life. Many of you, however, have never done any sort of athletic sport/adventure your entire life. For you to expect yourself to master these movements would be like me going into the operating room later to remove someone’s tonsils. I’m not trying to compare snatching to operating but hopefully the point is not lost. I’ve been lifting weights and more specifically “training” for some sort of sport since I was 14. I sure as hell hope that whatever movement I’m showing you looks like I’ve been doing it for a while.

The point here is to enjoy your growth. Accept your growth, as an athlete, as a CrossFitter, and as a person. I was able to throw over 90 mph on the baseball field after 18 years of practicing the sport! You don’t think that was frustrating. I was always around guys that threw harder than me. But I trusted in long-term growth. I wanted to get better, and I did. We have set up a program that requires your commitment. It truly does. If you’re not committed, you will not get better, and you are probably going to quit. I hate to see this but it does happen. I will tell you though, that if you come in, even on the days you’re scared, we will help you. We will show you what you CAN do in order to be able to do get better at the things you can’t do. Getting better will not happen though if you are not doing lifts, not finishing the required number of reps, or cheating on your diet every change you get. But, if you stay committed, put in the time, put in the work, and just be patient and trust that we will get you where you need to be, you will feel the best you have ever felt about yourself. Overcome your fears, trust in the program you pay for, and by all means, “leave your ego at the door and your sweat on the floor.”