Thursday, July 21, 2011

Find the Fun

This is my motto.  I try to find the fun in the every day, the routine, the challenges, the frustrations, you name it.  I'm even learning to find the fun in my training hiatus. 

If you haven't noticed, I haven't been training much.  I've pretty much been in full-on training mode for five years or better.  I used to get extremely anxious if I went even a week without exercise.  Well, aside from some sporadic running and body weight circuits, I have gone the better part of two months without training.

I'm running an experiment.  Actually, I'm running a couple of experiments.  Let me elaborate.

Experiment #1 - Manage Anxiety  

I'm seeing how well I've learned to manage my anxiety related to training.  I used to believe that I would instantly gain back the 30 pounds I've lost if I stopped training for awhile.  The only way to quench that fear was to get back to exercising ASAP.

Through the Gym Movement protocols, I've learned that doing what my body wants me to do will eliminate anxiety.  My body is really enjoying the break from training.  Nothing tests well.  In fact, when I think about swinging a kettlebell or going for a run, I get anxious.  So, I don't do what makes my body react negatively.

I've applied this to every aspect of my life.  I've taken a long break from work as well.  I've just been focusing on my family, home, and relationships.  I get lots of sleep and lots of home grown fruits and veggies. And, I've spent many hours with great friends relaxing and laughing.

As a result, I find myself looking forward to a new semester at my college.  I'm recharged.  I'm ready to get back after my professional endeavors.  In addition, I'm looking forward to new physical endeavors.  I'm finding a lot of fun and joy in this anticipation.

Here's the lesson from my experiment:  I know without a doubt that I will be better - no, I am better - after this summer training break.  It has refueled my fires - both physical and mental.  I've learned that my well-being is as much mental as it is physical.

Experiment #2 - Manage My Weight  

Along with my fear of gaining weight from lack of exercise, I have had a fear of gaining weight from eating certain foods.  For the past year, I've been eating what I want without guilt.

How have I done this?  Well, I use intermittent fasting to boost my fat burning.  Mike T Nelson introduced me to Brad Pilon and his theories regarding fasting.  Since then, I have been using the "Eat, Stop, Eat" protocol.

Every time I fast, I learn a little more about my relationship with food.  I also learn that I can manage my weight without starving or limiting my food choices.  I eat bread, cereal, tortilla chips, crackers, and all other sort of carbohydrate.

I used to be deathly afraid of carbs.  I felt horribly guilty and anxious every time I ate carbs.  How ridiculous.  Calories in.  Calories out.

I test my food (not faithfully, however) and eat what tests well.  Simple.  No guilt.  No anxiety.  Just pure enjoyment every time I eat.

Here's the lesson learned from this experiment:  Food doesn't have to control me.  My associations with food are more harmful than the foods themselves.  Eliminate the negative associations; test food and eat accordingly; fast once a week; maintain/lose weight.

A wise man once told me - Stop obsessing over your food.  Fast once a week and enjoy eating.  When he told me that, I thought "Yeah, right.  Me?  That will never happen."  Look at me now.

(Thanks Mike!) 

So, there you have it.  My journey to find the fun this summer break.  I feel pretty positive about my results.  I've learned some important elements I can take with me.  Have you learned anything?  Drop me a line with your thoughts.  I love hearing from you!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Fourth Decade

Today I enter my fourth decade - 40 years old.  It's making me quite reflective of the previous decade. 

Ten years ago, on my 30th birthday, I was pregnant with my second child.  I was so excited to be a mommy for the second time.  My son was three at the time.  My life was full with family, church, and work.  Soon after the birth of my daughter, I began experiencing severe anxiety.  My life and my body felt out of my control.  I sought treatment, thank goodness, and began a journey toward finding who I am and honoring that person. 

By my mid-thirties, I learned that I needed to carve out a piece of my life for me.  Like many women, I gave to everyone and everything except myself.  I was thirty pounds overweight and I looked like a frumpy mommy.

Exhibit A - A photo of me taken in 2004. --------->

This photo opened my eyes.  I started exercising after quite a hiatus.  I started weight training and walking.  I had been an avid weight lifter in college, and I loved it.  I also got involved with the Advocare company.  Advocare is a company that manufactures supplements.  Their products are top-notch and helped me feel better.

Through a woman involved in Advocare - Jody Nelson - I was introduced to kettlebell training.  That was early 2006.   I fell in love with kettlebell training.  It met my need to lift weight while simultaneously get cardio work in.  Being as busy as I was, I appreciated the substantially shorter workouts.  Before kettlebells, I would lift weights for 45 - 60 minutes and then get on a treadmill or elliptical machine for another 30 minutes.

I lost 10 pounds after a few months of my new training and decided I needed to kick up my training.  I knew I needed some accountability and some help with my diet.  Enter Brad Nelson.  He lived in St. Paul, MN.  I live in Iowa.  We started a distance training program where he would email me my training and I would send him my workout and food logs.  I met with him every four months or so to check in, get measurements, etc.

Working with Brad changed my life.  I found success; I found my strength; I found my voice; I found my passions.  I finally believed in my own power.  I became an RKC in 2008 and continued training with Brad until early 2010.

Exhibit B - a photo of me from 2009.

In February 2010, I attended Grip n Rip 2, a workshop put on by Brad Nelson and Adam Glass.  There I was introduced to Gym Movement.  I learned that the best person to train me, was me.  I learned how I could use data from my body to develop a customized training program suited just for me.  Revolutionary.

I cut the cord to Brad and ventured out on my own.  I attended the first ever Gym Movement certification taught by Adam and Frankie Faires.  Talk about challenging, fun, stimulating education. 

I love following Gym Movement protocols.  I've become stronger and more confident than ever.  Every day I learn more about myself.  The biggest change has been in my anxiety levels.  I've never been so calm in my life.  I don't worry about "stuff" any more.  I never thought that could happen.

What Gym Movement taught me was to make decisions based on data, not on feelings.  Also, because I don't rely on someone else to tell me what I'm doing right or wrong, I don't need approval from others in other aspects of my life.  Everything is connected.  I learn from every choice.

Exhibit C - me today.  I am comfortable, calm, and confident.  I know who I am.  I exercise a whole lot less than I ever used to, yet I'm stronger than I ever.  I have more time for the important people and events in my life. 

Overall, my third decade saw me change dramatically.  It turns out that my thirties were the spring board for my forties.  I can take the lessons of my thirties and apply them to make my forties even better.  What a gift!