Friday, May 21, 2010

Home-Gym Rat

Fitness and exercise are not new discoveries for me.

While this blog, and my new found admiration for Beachbody's products - and specifically their in-home dvd programs, are recent additions to my lifestyle, I am by no means new to exercise and the benefits of committing to the discipline of daily exercise and good nutrition.

My first bout with being heavier than I should be came in 1991 after getting married. Prior to moving to Chicago, I had put about 15 lbs on my frame. And 15 lbs on my frame made a dramatic difference.

Upon moving to IL, George and I were committed to being at a gym 3 times a week. Combine that with my return to dancing in musical theater productions, and I dropped that 15lbs in a heartbeat. I kept in shape with a low-carb lifestyle, and increased my gym time to almost 1 hour, 5 days a week. I was slim and I was fierce.

I then added running to my repetoire. A few 5K's and a baby triathlon.

And. Then. I. Gave. Birth.

I gained 40 lbs and thus had to start all over again. And, due to the fact that I was an on-camera actress by that point, I worked at losing it, for it is true - the camera adds weight. I kept up the exercising, at the Y (although now it was harder, for my baby daughter HATED the childcare center - so I was always getting pulled out of a class to attend to her), kept up the running, and stayed in fairly good shape. I even began yoga, which my body absolutely loved.  My first half-marathon was run when my daughter was 18 months old.  Everything was working, but there was absolutely no consistency.

It was even more difficult with my second child. Putting on 50 lbs was pretty frustrating, but it too came off as I began training for my second half-marathon with a girlfriend. I was in terrific shape for the race only 9 months after he was born.

And then came the stress and a crazy non-consistent schedule.

Work stress, health stress, financial stress. You name it. Our family had it. For four years I floundered between gym hopping - which killed our budget, and where I was never quite at ease for I had two children who never took to gym childcare. Thus, I was always distracted during my workouts. It got hard. Packing up myself and the children to drive to the gym, park, get them "settled" in childcare (never happened), and manage a 40 minute workout actually took an hour and a half. And a frustrating hour and a half at that. I just never quite got into the groove.  I even tried some personal training sessions with a neighbor, but just couldn't keep up the cost.

I have been a member of 6 gyms over the last 18 years. Ballys in Cincy, Ballys in Chicagoland, that swanky club in Bannockburn (where I paid big bucks for an amazing personal trainer), Evanston YMCA, Evanston LA Fitness, Evanston Athletic Club. Heavens. How much money do you think I've spent on gyms? Why the hopping? I just never got into a routine, so I'd jump ship and try new digs. I even bought a membership to a yoga studio - only to sell it on Craigslist.

Maybe gyms work for other Moms. In fact, I'm sure they do. But, when my child gets sick, or doesn't want to go to childcare, or there is a day off from school? I don't have to miss a workout.  I live at my gym. I don't have to miss a day. Most family memberships are around $60 a month. I purchased ChaLEAN Extreme at the Coach price for just under $90. And I can use her again. And again. And again. 

And my clothes don't have to match and I don't have to find parking.  

I'm not dissing gyms for they do work for some. They simply don't work for my lifestyle.

Ok, so now I live in PA. I started running again, toyed with Wii fitness products, got some Jillian Michaels under my belt, and yet, I wasn't progressing. I needed a program. A paint by numbers, step by step, connect the dots type of program.

6 weeks later?

I don't have to tell you, for you already know.

THIS is the first thing that has worked FOR ME in a loooong time, and that's not for a lack of trying EVERYTHING.

Come on, are you ready to keep talking about changing it up, or are you ready to actually do it?

Living at the gym is totally fantastic. When your gym is one flight down!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Once Upon a Mattress


A weekend with the girls.

Precious "mom-only" time away in the Windy City.

Sidelined by an air mattress.

Here I had a bed all to myself. I slept easily. Deeply. And yet, in the morning, I found my upper body to be positioned lower than my lower body.

This is a problem.  Used my newly developed ab muscles to sit up, for the upper body wasn't having it.

This continued to be a problem upon my return home.

And thus, off to the orthopedic massage therapist I went.

Orthopedic. Not to be confused with a relaxing massage. Very. Very. Different.  Not only did he seem to find every knot and bump and sensitive spot from my neck to my lats, but I was also told that the only exercise I could handle for the next 48 hours was/is stretching.

Light stretching to an exercise addict is like O'Dules to a beer connisour.

And yet, I know he's right. And I will follow his instructions so as to not incur further injury. I will even be returning next week to have him work on it again.  Thankfully, he sounds like Owen Wilson, a fav of mine, so that made the experience of being pushed and pulled and prodded and poked a tad bit more entertaining.

I shared with him that I am a Beachbody Coach and that it is hard for me to sit out from ChaLEAN. His eye's lit up. "The P90X people? I need to talk with you about that." Only, I couldn't quite talk 'cause I was focusing on breathing through the massage. There was no catching a few winks while ethereal music floated in air.  We'll catch up on that conversation when I'm a bit more limber.

The lesson?

Sometimes you have to take some time off. So I will be repeating this week of the Push Circuit next week.

And in the interim, I have stolen my husband's Shakeology and am drinking it like water. Perhaps I should order my own.

I need to make the best of it, so that I can BRING MY BEST when I press play again soon.  It's not worth pushing through a pain that could ultimately turn serious.

I will, however, be checking for peas underneath any foreign mattresses on which I sleep in the future. For this princess really needs to "go heavy or go home" and is not known for standing still while watching the parade go by.

You got me this time, air mattress, but I'll see to it that you won't cross me in the future. I'm keeping you where you belong. In a bag. In the closet.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Lie of "Everything in moderation"

I read a blog post today written by a friend of mine that made so much sense to me that I want you to read it.

I really want you to read this.

No, really.  Go back, click the link, and read it.  Then, come back to Cuppa Fit and let me pour a bit more on the topic.

Just as Lori directly challenges the awful cliche "everything in moderation" as it applies to the food choices we make for ourselves and our family, I think the same cliche is the villain that sabotages many a personal fitness program.

I am now one month and one full week in to my new way of living.  If you have been following along, you know that I have seen some dramatic results in just that short period of time.

And I'm here to tell you that my success is not by living the mantra of "everything in moderation."

See, it's exactly that type of thinking/living that I was desperately needing to change.  Not to offend, but when it comes to a deep-seated desire to really get in shape, "everything in moderation" is a lame-a^% cover-up for not really wanting to make the extreme changes it will take to reach your goal.

How often do you hear people talking about getting into shape?  Honestly, I hear it all the time. It's like talking about the weather - it has become shallow, senseless, idle talk.  It's a topic that comes up often, and yet talking about it is the closest that many get to actually exercising.

I reached a place where I NEEDED to make a change.  Everything about my daily lifestyle was screaming out for me to get back in shape, reclaim and rebuild the temple God had given me, and turn around to help others to do the same.  Simply, I was tired of speaking in cliches and I didn't want my life to become one.

I can not motivate you to exercise.  I can only give you the tools.  You, however, must press play.  Only YOU can drive to the YMCA.  Only YOU can ignore the children for 30 minutes, (oh, I'm gonna hear it on that one), in order to regroup, refuel, and replenish all that is zapped from you on a daily basis.

Do not think you can do it by believing that "everything in moderation" is relevant to a dramatic life change.  It's not possible, for in that statement, you  have already admitted defeat. Real change will mean working out consistently and pushing your body to a limit that is challenging.  There will be sweat.  A walk in the park is nice, but save it for the cool down.

You have to want this for yourself.  See, I think most folks throw in the towel when the results they so desperately need to see don't come about.  And I think they don't come about because we are prone to moderation.  We tend to stack on the cardio, ('cause weights are so scary), plateau, don't see improvement and growth, and then wonder why our bodies aren't responding to all the "heavy" exercise we're doing.

It is time to CHANGE IT UP.

Get your family on board.  Get your children on board.  Get your friends on board.  Tell them your goals and that this is going to become a part of your life.  And then tell them that comments like, "everything in moderation" are counter-productive, and instead of mouthing off the cliches, why don't they join you.

Abolish the "everything in moderation" mentality.  I know it's scary.  But not if you let me help you develop ABUNDANCE in this area.

I'm here.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Nitty Gritty

Here it is. The TRUE tool by which to measure the success of your exercise and diet plan. I told you I'd be transparent with you. So, after 4 weeks on ChaLEAN Extreme, what are my results?

Down 7 lbs.

Down 3.5 inches

Down 3 inches

Down 1 inch

Right arm?
Down .25 inches

Left Arm?
Down .75 inches

Right and left Thighs?
Down .5 inches each

Body Fat % ?
Down 4%

EVERYBODY SING!  Down Down Down Down Down, Dom da Dooby Do Down Down Down Down, Dom da Dooby Do Down Down Down Down, Dom da Dooby Do Oo-Wah Wah Wa-ah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Come on, people!  Get out of your own way with over thinking things and just get started.  You  have EVERYTHING to lose . . . I mean, look at me?  I lost a total of 9.5 inches!

Do you have 9.5 inches that you would like to get rid of?

Then plan to shed them and leave them on your living room floor . . . that's where I left mine.

Think I'll run the vacuum cleaner now and remove all evidence that those inches were once hanging out on my small frame!

Month Two started yesterday.  60 more days . . .