Tag Archives: motivation

When the Goin Gets Tough Remember To Take Care of Yourself

Normally, I love my job. I work with great people, and we make cool things happen. Today, however, was not a good day at work. Just one of those days when too much needs to get done in not enough time, and things get a little hairy. Today was like cousin it.

my day at work, but i'd throw a few curls in

I ended up working until 7pm, and needless to say when I finally shut down my computer I did NOT want to go to the gym and to complete a workout. Had this been any other time in my life when I didn’t have a workout schedule I would’ve been on the train pining for sweatpants and my bed ASAP (and chocolate. definitely chocolate). But you know what? I’ll be damned if a bad day at work will take over my attitude and have me put myself last. I changed my mindset to focus on putting my personal goals first, and taking care of my needs! Sounds so selfish, but I’m really just comparing my wants to my career pressures. So this is okay :).

Today’s workout plan:

I arrived at the gym at 7:15 which unfortunately means I missed the 6:30 ab class I penciled in, but something is better than nothing. I hit the dreadmill treadmill and got in my 2 miles. They started out powerful–“I am strong! Damn the man!”–and ended with staring at the mileage on the clock as it creeped towards 2. Torture. I kept bumping up the speed for 2 minute intervals so I could reach the distance faster and get the hell out of there. Unplanned speed work, sweet. Once I hit the big 2, I slowed down and walked on an incline for 4 minutes. Then I hit the road.

When I got home consumed a large plate of steamed broccoli and red kidney beans + a spicy black bean veggie burger. Glory. glory. We are the champions.

My friends.

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Stick To Your Plan From the Get-Go (i think i can..)

This morning was the first “workout before work” day with my new regime, so it was important to me not to miss it. I think once you start to make concessions and allowances with decisions/rules/whathaveyou, it automatically sets the tone for not taking it seriously. And I’m trying to be serious here. (get big, right?).

So I set my alarm for 6:30 giving me enough time for the 40 minute workout + whatever time I need to get ready for work. No matter what the temperature was going to be, it’s just 2 miles that I need to complete.. that’s doable. Just 20 minutes! Cmon mel. No big deal.

Out I went at 7:15 (where did the time go? oh, checking email before I left. stupid.) and I got in the mileage along this route here. After mapping the route on mapmyrun.com–if you’ve never used that site check it out, it’s pretty sweet–the distance is only 1.84 miles. I shouldve known that because it tooke me less than 20 minutes. Next time I’ll map the route before I go… ha.

The run today felt better than yesterday and it was sub-30 degrees out there, too. One mile in I was warmed up and felt strong, it was nice. I’m so happy to be getting back into my runs! I didn’t get the ocean in my chest feeling today, and my breathing was level.

I got back to my place and jumped right into Tae Bo with Billy Blanks, the 20 minute amped up workout. Somehow it was longer than 20 mins.. which is weird.. so I had to cut it off due to being late for work. BUT–I like his workouts. They don’t feel that impactful as you do them, but I’m always sore in hard to target places the next day, especially abs and back. Secret butt kicking takes place. Nice.

I am sore from yesterday’s workout, by the way, in my arms and chest. Glory in the making. So far, so good.

The More Out of Shape Your Are, The Better You Can Become. Win!

Shortly after sharing my new workout schedule challenge yesterday, I embarked on day 1. The workout planned was 2 miles of cardio + Level 1 of the 30 Day Shred DVD (if you’re not familiar with this DVD just imagine a 20 minute total body workout class).

I of course treated my 2 miles as a run (wahoo! finally!) and donned my fail-proof cold weather workout gear. I headed out around noon and it was surprisingly warmer than I remember it being last time I ran this month. It was 35 degrees–funny how everything’s relative.

The 2 miles weren’t that bad. On the last half mile I began to get that ocean in your lungs, pain in your teeth feeling which really indicates how much I need to work on my cardiovascular system. My lungs are pretty weak right now. But I was really happy I made this plan, and stuck to the 2 miles. Without it I know I would’ve tried for more, and felt too much pain. Also by keeping my mileage low to start I’m avoiding a bout of runner’s knee which I get every time I come back too hard. And it felt SO FREAKIN’ GOOD to be running :).

Once back at my place, I walked up and down the block a few times to catch my breath and then headed in and got out my weights.

That’s when level 1 of the Shred DVD kicked my ass. Seriously. From the first strength move I was shaking. Specifically my shoulders, biceps, and triceps were all maxed out from the reps she instructed (an average doable amount). And I was only using 4 lb. handweights. My butt muscles also strained with the side and static lunges. It wasn’t nearly this challenging last time I did this workout months ago.

I was really surprised how out of shape I am! But you know what? I’m actually excited that I’m weak and at the bottom right now. Let me put it into perspective for you. When I’m in peak shape, running 4 miles a day, 5 days a week–that’s where I feel pretty good–I wonder “How am I ever going to get better? What else can I do?? Run more miles? Run twice a day? Eat more protein??”.

Right now, knowing I’m at the bottom of my physical condition means every little thing I do will have a result. Even a short 2 mile run. Score. More of a reason to stick to it.

I Have A Workout Plan, Stan

Dear Stan,

Two weeks ago I blogged about getting my ass in gear and making a workout plan that will get me back into my A game. Since that time, I never made a plan, just took it day by day like I usually do and hoped for the best. What happened was… nothing much happened. Bullocks.

In general, once I reach the two week mark of not working out, I scare myself daily about ideas of how out of shape I am and how hard it will be to start up again. This mindset is such a downer because clearly you can’t get back into it unless you take a step to get there. After a week full of waking up at 6am and planning to do some exercise and failing almost everyday (snooze button greed), I finally decided to pull it together and make a plan.

So, here’s the plan (stan):

Now let me explain the strategy behind this a little bit. I have three goals:

  1. get my running capacity back up
  2. incorporate toning exercises
  3. lose about 5 pounds in the process

To hit goal #1, I kept the mileage at 2-3 miles throughout the whole month. I also wrote “however I want”, meaning if at the beginning I need to walk or slow down, that’s cool, just reach the mileage. Or if I’m at the gym and choose the elliptical instead (fat chance knowing me) that’s okay as long as I meet the 2 miles. Basically I made this plan to allow myself to ease in and not get scared of how out of shape I am. The spinning classes will give me a change of pace during the week and help get my cardiovascular system rockin. Note: I didn’t schedule any days off because I know they’ll happen on their own.

Spinning is also a key element for goal #3. To be completely honest and bare it all (ah) I am at the highest weight I’ve been. Before you flip out and tell me I’m not overweight–i know this. I don’t think I’m overweight and I think I have a pretty healthy view of my body. But, that being said, I reserve the right to want to be in the best shape I can, and I feel a little more comfortable at about 5 to 6 pounds lower than where I am at the moment. I’m not going to obsess over this at all, but it’d be nice.

Now I’ve never had a problem (per se) getting a run in when I want it, but weight training/toning is a weak spot for me. Enter goal #2. I have the strength of a 10 year old girl and pretty much never do any type of workout besides cardio. I’ve dabbled here and there with DVD’s, gym classes, and yoga, but I never really stick to it. If I did, I’d be pretty kickass at this point. Too bad. So, throughout the workout sched* (pronounced skej), “Level 1 Shred” is a 20 minute total body workout from this Jillian Michaels DVD, and 20 mins of Tae Bo is a quick workout from this Billy Blanks DVD. I also threw in that ab class from the NYSC gym. Let’s see if I get ripped.

This is the first time I’ve made a legit schedule for myself. Today is day one, and I’m actually excited about this whole idea. I have to be my own drill sergeant. Although I’m still taking applications for someone else to kick my ass, so email me if you’re up for it. Or if you want to join me, let me know. 🙂

Love,

Mel

P.S. you’re such a good listener stan.

*Does anyone else make themselves a sched?

Today I Googled “Motivation”

This Sunday started out like most Sundays tend to for me these days. Eyes open around 8am and it’s hello hangover. The usual thought is “Well alright, this is fine, I’ll just drink a cup of coffee and recover.” But really, it ends up ruining the whole day. Actually “ruin” might be a really strong word, but it definitely swallows a chunk of productive/activeness I can’t get back.

So as I sat on the couch this morning, I realized this cycle was in play. And I wanted to stop it, especially after half a week sick in bed, but I couldn’t get my ass up! Why couldn’t I motivate? What is the deal, mel?

When in doubt–Google it.

So I googled “How to motivate” (how sad) and read this article. The wise man who wrote this, no doubt he has a long white beard, laid out 3 high level steps to kick shit in gear:

  1. Boost your confidence–yes, you can
  2. Develop a tangible focus–what do you want?
  3. Develop direction–make it actionable, how will you get there?

the old wise man. sweet sweater.

I love these steps. Yeah, it’s pretty simple and a little captain obvious, but it’s helpful. I read into it not just to help me get my butt off the couch, but to apply it to my goal of getting back in shape since these illnesses screwed me over took hold on my life.

I immediately emailed a friend of mine to tell her I was going to make a plan. Though it’s not one of the wise man’s 3 steps, telling someone your goal will help keep you accountable. I know what I want (better health & fitness), I’m confident I can make it happen, and now I need to make a plan to get there. Without a plan the goal will just float in a pretty cloud over my head for months as that thing I’d like to do. And that’s just a waste of a cloud.

So this week I’m going to figure out a schedule to get myself back into shape. I’m thinking I shouldn’t dive in head first because I probably owe my body a little more time to recover from this week’s flu ordeal, but then I’m all in. GET BIG!

Websites That Lift My Spirits + Distract Me (from myself)

When I’m not running, I’m reading about other people running and wishing it was me that I was reading about. Unfortunately I haven’t lived up to my winter running expectations (well, actually, I expected this to happen..), but I’m still here thinkin’ about it. And gymmin’ it when I can even though I hate treadmills.

Instead of dwelling in my not-as-many-miles-as-i-like-to-have-a-week grinch spirit, I’d like to celebrate the blogs and other sites that keep me internally motivated. HOORAY!

  • GivesMeHope this is cheesey and wonderful. I get the chills everytime I read through it, and my “big problems” feel trivial.
  • AwkwardFamilyPhotos.com. please visit. it will brighten your day. sample:

look to the left

  • CrunchGranolaGal just posted about our awesometastic date this weekend. We’re both blog lurkers and writers and like to drink. She lives in Brooklyn, runs, and we have a lot in common. She’s kind of like my running ying, and I’m currently the non-running yang. Zen.
  • HealthyTippingPoint Caitlin is honest and eats easy to make meals. That’s cool with me. And when she’s unhappy about something, she writes about it, then writes her solution. Complaints become motivation. Right on.
  • lookbook. helping the world get hot, one hipster at a time.
  • Hungry-Girl i’ve yet to make any recipe from this site, but check it everyday none the less.
  • NoMeatAthlete runs in those weird foot gloves (that’s the technical name) and makes awesome vegetarian food. and he’s funny. Cool.
  • Websites that tell me when bands are playing locally and then how they rocked it:
  • Non online cheer–shoes. New purchase via blurry blackberry photo. HOT. Let’s go party in them:

  • There are more, but who wants to read a 5 mile long blog post? I don’t. I also don’t want to write it… kidding.

What keeps you entertained? Entertain me.

The Secret to Successful Winter Running

This morning I was determined to get some sort of workout in. I was successful in hitting up the gym Monday and Tuesday, but I had an 8am conference call this morning. I would have had to take it from the locker room. Not an option.

I decided, I would go outside starting at my Greenpoint park, try a run (again), and worst case scenerio I would walk/run, or sprint/jog, to get my heartrate up and a good sweat in a small amount of time. Because less time equals less time in the cold.

I put on the following mix of technical and non-technical running gear for a 30 minute, 30 degree workout:

  • my new long sleeve Asics thermopolis shirt
  • a regular Gap zip-up hoody over that
  • technical running tights from high school. at least 8 years old. doubt there’s any “technical” properties left.
  • running gloves that i scored from runworldwide.com when we sponsored the Wineglass marathon a few years ago
  • an old winter hat from H&M- the label says 100% acrylic

post winter run wave

This time around, I felt good! I was warm, dry, and thought to myself “this is not bad! I can do this every morning!”. My face was chilly, definitely, the inch of ankle skin peeking between my sneakers and tights sucked, but overall I felt securely warm everywhere else.

And here’s what I believe the secret to be: THE HAT.

From now on, every run in 40 degrees or less will start out with a winter hat on. That’s where so much warmth escapes from, as all our moms told us when we were growing up. If you didn’t listen to her, listen to me (maybe). It’s true. And hat’s are where it’s at.

P.S. what a sweaty, unattractive photo of me. happy holidays 🙂

P.P.S. Check out my friend Becca’s blog for a sweet coffee giveaway