When Workout Routines Change

Happy Fri-yay to you! I meant to post this last night, but the kids got the better of me. Which is fine; sometimes in the evenings I prefer kiddo snuggles to scrapping together the latest “create, not consume” campaign!

I haven’t been going to CrossFit lately, and as a result have been looking for other avenues to maintain my fitness within my budget and time constraints. As much as I LOVE CrossFit, it’s really challenging to fit it in my schedule right now, especially the days I have the kids. Plus, I was nailed with a mild flu over Thanksgiving, and I still feel really worn down. So I’m trying to listen to my body right now and choose more low-impact activities until I feel more energetic again. I know I have the tendency to run myself into the ground if I don’t pay attention, and these days I can’t afford to let my tank run dry.

One of the things I’ve been working on is my own personal yoga practice. It’s a rough go, because I have the attention span of a goldfish when left to my own devices, but it’s kind of nice just doing what flows I want to do with what feels good to me today, and not having to listen to someone else. I just put on some music, set my timer for 20 minutes, and stay on the mat until the bell rings. This is fitting nicely with my current goal of doing stuff at home without having to pack the kids up and haul them to the gym. And in the evening after a day of huddled over my laptop OMG it feels soooooo good to stretch!

The other thing I’ve been working on is getting into running again. For the longest time after Buttercup was born, running just felt awful to me. Slowly I’ve been testing it out here and there, and my body finally seems to be starting to adapt to it again. I’m sure the CrossFit has helped a lot with this, because we often have short runs in the workouts that’s just enough to get my body used to the motion and stress again. So I’ve re-re-started my Couch to 5k program, and am about 2 weeks into it. I find that the amount of time spent actually running so far is just enough to get my body moving without introducing too much stress, and I really like the freedom of itm that it doesn’t take any planning or prep; I just decide, “I want to go run right now,” and I throw on the shoes and go.

Finally, on the rare mornings I wake up before the kids and feel like a bit of morning movement is in order, I am a HUGE fan of my kettlebell. I also have my barbell in my apartment, so I can put together a nice little interval workout with kettlebell and unloaded barbell moves. My favorite these days is:

3 rounds of:

  • 10 American KB swings
  • 10 goblet squats
  • 10 single-leg deadlift (each side)
  • 10 barbell shoulder press
  • 10 KB snatch (5 each side)

Usually in the middle of the third round Buttercup comes downstairs demanding, “I’m hungry!” so I may or may not finish the circuit.

That’s all for now, go make it a great day!

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It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!

I LOVE CHRISTMAS!

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I totally live in the camp where Christmas carols are for all year singing enjoyment, and when the Holiday Creep launches Santa-themed end caps at Target in September I do a bit of an internal jolly elf happy dance. The holidays are my jam.

Now that I am all moved into my new place, I was SO EXCITED to start decorating just in time for the holidays! Since the kids and I were traveling over Thanksgiving week, we decorated the week before Thanksgiving. Horrifyingly delightful, amiright? At this point you either want to shoot me or grab my hands jumping around in circles squeee-ing with me. You know what side of that line you fall.

But I think we did a great job. I found the absolute cheapest artificial tree at Target on my divorced-single-income-mom-on-a-shoestring-budget budget, and after the kids took turns breaking hanging up their ornaments, I think it came together quite nicely!

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Hulk and I agreed that I would have the kids Christmas Eve and bring them to his house on Christmas Day, so I wrote to Santa and let him know that we would be at Mommy’s House this year.

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I also found this festive bouquet at Trader Joe’s last night. Always buy yourself flowers. That’s a Melissa Hartwig mandate for ya.

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So I think we’re all set for Santa! Oh, and I am re-re-starting my Couch to 5k program. The other day I treadmilled. Really. I know, who am I?

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Always cover up the console, otherwise you’ll know how little and how slowly you really ran.

But I really want to get back into running again. It’s the easiest way for me to experience sweat therapy, doesn’t cost me anything, and with the apartment gym just across from my unit I can even treadmill when the weather’s lousy.

That’s all for now, go make it a great day!

Moments of Happy

Happy Tuesday, friends! I hope you have a productive week in store for you!

The other morning I was at my usual Starbucks stop, and after the barista handed me my coffee-black-like-my-soul-with-a-few-ice-cubes-for-chugging-temperature order, I took my first sip and had THAT moment. I noticed that this is one of my most favorite parts of my day, that first sip of coffee. It’s sink back and sigh good. It’s the moment when the world stops good.

So of course I Instagrammed it.

And I noticed how there are some dependable moments in life where time just seems to stop as we take in the happy that is in front of us. I started mentally logging some of these instances so I could start anticipating them:

  • The first sip of my coffee in the morning
  • Looking up in the late fall sky in the evening to see a gorgeous sunset that’s all golden with those pink and purple clouds
  • Maxing out on a lift I haven’t worked on in weeks
  • That part in my morning routine when my 3-year-old daughter just rolls out of bed and needs me to hold her for a few minutes until she’s fully awake and ready to put her day under siege
  • When my favorite song comes on my playlist and no one’s around so I can jam and sing loudly and poorly to it
  • When I’m on a run and it’s been a while and my body is fully warmed up and ready to go, and I feel like I’m flying
  • Watching my kids giggle and wrestle with each other like little bear cubs on my bed, while I toss pillows and blankets on them
  • Curling up in bed with my tea and my book at the end of the day

I’m starting to call these my “Moments of Happy.” They don’t all happen every day, but I try to plan on having at least a couple Moments of Happy in my everyday routine. And if I don’t have one, I start figuring out how to cultivate it. Sometimes it’s the anticipation of a good Moment of Happy that encourages me to pull out of bed in the morning. Or sometimes that Moment of Happy is just lounging in bed a few more minutes, with the knowledge that on this particular morning I don’t have any urgent tasks that I need to jump on yet!

What kind of Moments of Happy do you notice in your day?

Go make it a great day!

Some Lighter Fare: Ten Questions!

I don’t know about you, but I’m in the mood for some lighter fare today! So here’s my answers to a copy of “The Ten Questions From Inside The Actors’ Studio” that was thrown around Facebook the other day. Ponder, and maybe have a chuckle.

1. What is your favorite word?

I honestly have a list of favorite words, it’s hard to choose. We’ll go with either spork or astigmatism

2. What is your least favorite word?

“Bae.” Just shoot me.

3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually, or emotionally?

Listening to my podcast “friends”, beach rambles, and a chill night in with good friends and a bottle of wine or three, respectively

4. What turns you off?

Pundits arguing on cable news

5. What is your favorite curse word?

With the small ears around the house I’m trying to back down on the swearing, so recently I’ve switched to Shakespearean insults. “I scorn you, scurvy companion!”

6. What sound or noise do you love?

That hollow whooshing sound a forest makes when blanketed in snow.

7. What sound or noise do you hate?

When someone in the car rolls one of the rear windows all the way down on the freeway, and the whole car gets that weird air pressure effect where it sounds like a helicopter is landing on your shoulder

8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

Research in some sort of psychology or social sciences field. People fascinate me.

9. What profession would you not like to do?

Anything having to do with sales, or optometry

10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

Holy crap!

Go make it a great day!

Finding the Happy

Note: I found this post in my Drafts folder, written over two years ago. Two years, and while I’m much better at this, I still have to remind myself to not wait for perfection to be happy!

I’ve tried to start this post several times, but it has never seemed to come out sounding right. But we’re rolling with it right now, because there’s no time like the present. Hope you’re ready for a woo-woo, deep thoughts kind of post.

h7837F123Whatever. You love it.

Lately, I’ve been having more bad days than good ones. This may come as a surprise to some people, especially if you know me personally, because generally I don’t let folks in when stuff is bothering me. But over the years I’ve turned into a bit of a negative person. Or maybe I’ve always been a negative person but thought I was a positive thinker, and finally have been seeing they layers peel off as I try to be more honest and authentic to who I am. I don’t know, but it’s been more and more apparently lately that I’m unhappy. Which is ridiculous, since I really have absolutely nothing in my life that should make me unhappy. I have a great job, a loving family, I live in my dream city, all the things that could make a person happy are right here in front of me. And yet I feel like something’s missing.

Then the other day it clicked for me: I thought happiness would come when everything is perfect. It would be effortless and automatic, something I didn’t have to think about. And until I found that perfect formula, found the elusive balance between all of the forces that pull a person apart – personal wants and needs, caring for others, work, family, goals, chores, downtime – that I would be unhappy. And that’s not it at all. Not even close. Somehow, and I wish I could articulate it better because it was such a game-change for me, but somehow I came to the understanding that happiness is from within. I choose, despite outside influences, in the face of all the other failures and difficulties the day can throw at me, I choose to be happy.

Mind. Blown.

4fe0c2fc9d25fec798f72e887461008eOkay, now y’all are probably sitting there like, “Duh! You just figured this out, did ya?” Or maybe you’re thinking, “I have no idea what she’s talking about.” Either way, it is so hard to explain what it’s like to have a total mind shift. And I cannot tell you how it felt to suddenly realize that “the power to go home has always been in my ruby slippers” and to change how I felt about life events and the world in general, all I have to do is click my heels three times and put my mind in a better perspective.

When people tried to explain this concept to me in the past, I thought it was that mind-over-matter, fake-it-till-you-make-it crap. Oh, yeah, I’m just supposed to ignore all the things that are going wrong and just, like, shut my eyes and pretend they don’t exist, and suddenly I’ll be happy? Um, they’re still there. How do you just ignore problems? You don’t. You have to fix them.

But you don’t have to be miserable doing it.

b3f71b46c6eb5721c39818d62b484b80For me, it took seeing what I wanted the end game to be for my problems. To take myself out of the here and now, and look at the big picture, the 10-year, down-the-road scope of it all. Does this really matter? Will it always be this way? Chances are, no. So why do I allow myself to be so sad over things I can’t control or are not permanent? I don’t need to. I can make my own happy, and still work on stuff without letting it work on me.

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With this new revelation, I’m ready for change. I’ve been “trying” to change for the better part of a year now with less than successful results. But I haven’t been the master of this voyage, my emotions and feelings have. I base my decisions on how I feel at that moment, not how my actions will make me feel long-term. Stressed at work? Eat some cookies to deal with it. Too tired to work out? Oh, go back to bed; the gym will be there tomorrow. Hurt or angry about something? Better hold that ish and don’t tell anyone, you better not let other people know you have real emotions like a real human! But I don’t have to be a slave to my impulses. I can choose to respond rather than react.

I’m going to try and put these principles in action, and see what difference it makes. To choose to be happy with what is here in front of me now, and to let go of the stuff that’s not in my realm at this time. Because, you know, n=1 experiments are fun!

Go make it a great day!

“Invictus”

p/c Pinterest

Invictus

By William Ernest Henley

 

Out of the night that covers me,

Black as the pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be

For my unconquerable soul.

 

In the fell clutch of circumstance

I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeoning of chance

My head is bloody, but unbowed.

 

Beyond this place of wrath and tears

Looms but the Horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years

Finds and shall find me unafraid.

 

It matters not how straight the gate,

How charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate,

I am the captain of my soul.

Early in my CrossFit journey I stumbled on a book written and published by CrossFit Invictus called “The Invictus Mindset: An Athlete’s Guide to Mental Toughness.” I stumbled on the book during my peak of “All the CrossFit!” personal obsession, but I find any advice pertaining to mindset and psychological tools to be helpful in not just the athletic world. It was a really great book and worth the read when it comes to goal-setting and figuring out what you want.

Anyway, the book started out with this famous poem by William Ernest Henley, which is where CrossFit Invictus’s namesake was born. I have since printed it out for my inspiration wall. I find it an extremely thrilling on most days, and on those unfortunately frequent tough days as of late the words can bring me back to my task of moving forward and living life.

I hope these words may inspire you to be the master of your own week this week.

Go make it a great day!

The New Fitness

P/C

I’ve been rather introspective lately, which I figure is a natural side effect of doing a lot of self-work and spirituality seeking. My “Emily’s Deep Thoughts” posts seem to slowly be outnumbering the ones that contain what I ate for lunch and my latest run stats. At first this bothered me a lot, and I just didn’t want to post anything. I wanted to keep my “la la la, off to the gym, hey look, frittata for dinner!” content rolling but my personal life wasn’t in alignment with what I wanted my blog life to be. Sick of fighting with myself, I stuck to Instagram mini-blogging where it seemed easier to throw some stuff out there but not be too committed to a thought.

But I still felt bothered. I didn’t want to abandon my blog, but I didn’t know how to work it into what I felt like writing about. My whole paradigm of health and healthy living had been shifting, and I didn’t know how to address it. Part of it was because I keep looking to the outside for guidance – what are the other health/fitness bloggers doing? Oh man, I don’t have abs yet, so I can’t do it that way. Does … does she ever wear pants? Or even own pants? Wow, that’s a lot of green juice. And so. Many. Gym. Selfies. Wait, that was my account. But gym selfies of actually working out, not just in the mirror. Workout selfies? How do you even do that?!?

What I was trying to do just wasn’t working for me. I wanted to jump on the train of filming myself working out, coming up with inspiring recipes, and taking lots of mirror selfies of my non-existent muscle definition, which isn’t what I do. It really isn’t ever what I did.

What do I do? I listen to my body and try to give it what it needs. I work to heal my emotional wounds of the past and break myself free of the numbing, survival-based behaviors that no longer serve me. I remind myself constantly that I am love, and I give love, and try to be kind and respectful to all I encounter. And I eat well, go to the gym, take long beach rambles, and do what I can when I can. I am never perfect, and I no longer want to punish myself for doing anything but the best I can at the time. And I feel really, really happy.

To me, this is healthy. This is fitness. Take what you like, leave the rest, and always work in your own values and authenticity. And it’s not sexy. It’s not marketable, and it doesn’t engage people to click. But aren’t our newsfeeds filled up enough with pretty, empty images designed to make us feel not enough so we’ll buy whatever they’re selling?

I’m ready to rock a new road. A road that leads to a healthy, fulfilled life that’s full to the brim with love and experience. A road that says I am already enough, and all of this is just to celebrate all the things I can still do, for the fun and curiosity of it. I remember working out with the Girls Gone WOD group in Costa Rica, and realizing during the EmPack workout how much I love movement. We were sprinting up a hill with weighted duffel bags, something that would normally have me groaning and faking an injury to get out of it. But in that moment the experience was something else entirely. It wasn’t there to train therefore required to achieve and get better, it wasn’t because I ate a donut yesterday and I needed to do penance for my dietary sins, it was moving because it feels good and is good for me. Oh, and it was so, so much fun! One of the best times I’ve had in my life. I want more of that in my life.

Let’s make this the new fitness normal. No more restrictive diets and pills and powders that promise a sculpted body and almost certainly deliver an empty heart. Let’s do more of what makes us feel good, instead of look good. We are whole creatures that deserve wellness at all levels, not just our earth suits. Let’s be mindful of our fitness journey on the inside as well as the out.

Go make it a great day

Don’t Consume – Create!

dont consume create
p/c Pinterest

The other morning I sat on my bed and scrolled through Instagram for an hour. Yes, an hour. An hour I didn’t really have to spare, of course. I know it was a whole hour because at one point I looked at the clock and it was 5:30 am and when I looked up again it was 6:30 am. And aren’t I the one always complaining how I never have enough time? And when I checked in with myself and how I felt, I found that while I intended to be inspired and energized by taking a peek at what my friends and social media girl crushes are up to, I found myself feeling behind the game and flat. This was not the way I had intended on tackling my day.

With everything happening with my life lately, I’ve tried to be hyper-conscious of my attempts to numb or hide from things, so I don’t start down that slow slide to depression and isolation I know I have a tendency to head towards. I cut back on alcohol, I try to stay checked in with family and friends, and I try to read instead of watch TV. But I am catching myself more and more picking up my phone and gravitating to my social media apps when I feel uncomfortable, anxious, or bored. And I end up feeling sort of icky with all of the media consumption this results in. Politics, scandals, and social unrest leave me feeling helpless and confused, and I’m forever in a state of processing what I just absorbed. Don’t I have enough going on mentally and emotionally to be voluntarily jumping in the game of “What Facebook Memes Will Piss Me Off Today?” roulette? There’s being informed, and then there’s bingeing on Buzzfeed articles from amusing Pinterest posts. Time to find where that line is.

So for this month, I decided to set my absorption of social media aside, and instead focus more on creating content instead of consuming it. I internally lament all the time that I never have time to blog and write. Well, with hours spent mindlessly scrolling Facebook every day, imagine how much I could get out there if I used that time to put out my own content instead? This is the season of giving, right? So for me, I’m going to use it to give my voice instead of lurking in the background of online connection. Don’t consume – create!

Go make it a great day!

Get Back Up Again: Tips for Picking Up Where You Left Off

Can there be anything more exasperating than trying to pick up an activity or habit again that fell to the wayside? Okay, maybe my two-year-old is more exasperating, but really, why is it so difficult to climb back on the wagon? And I don’t mean with just diet and exercise. With everything. For example, I ran out of dental floss for, like, two days, and when I bought more it took maybe two months to get back into the habit of flossing. Or I haven’t consistently blogged in forever, and it took me about four consecutive days of opening a blank page and just staring at it before the words started appearing on the page. And I’m pretty sure this’ll be the only post I write for the next couple weeks, despite my best intentions and promises that I’m going to find a consistent rhythm of writing and not let it drop like dinner on a plate when handed to a two-year-old (ah, we’re back to the exasperating again). And don’t get me started on the piano I bought two years ago, because I played a lot of piano in my youth and had the delusional thought that I would totally have the time and energy to pick it back up.

Getting started again always feels more daunting than trying something new. With a new thing, it’s so thrilling! You don’t know what you don’t know yet (ahh, blissful ignorance!) so you just do stuff and see what happens. There’s no bar set, no standard to uphold. You just do you.

Then you do it for a while, and maybe you tire of it, or Life Stuff happens and priorities shift. Other things in your life start to take up that space that once was. It fades.

Then one day you think, “Hmm, I should start playing the piano again!” And you commit to doing the thing, taking the classes, doing the chore. Maybe once or twice. But damn, it’s hard to remember that I’m supposed to do the thing now! Or maybe you remember how awesome it used to feel, because of skill level or life circumstances, and now it doesn’t feel the same way. Now it’s difficult, and kind of depressing. What used to be fun is not fun.

The one constant in life is that things change. Sometimes the pieces that once fit perfectly don’t quite fit together anymore. And that’s okay. I can get pretty frustrated with myself when I can’t pick up where I left off again. So here’s a few tips I’ve gleaned from that sage wisdom giver, Google, for when you find out that your sophomore round is a lot more daunting than your eager, green freshman run:

1. Be honest with yourself: is this really something you want to do?

At one point after my son was born, I thought I would get back into bike racing. I still had all the gear, so why now? Well, because now I have a small human at home, I don’t exactly have the time that I used to for 4+ hour training rides. Nor do I have the same level of fitness I once had. And once I really started thinking about it, did I even want to ride a bike? Like, is it an activity that made me excited and happy? Because I’m now in the Life Spot where any time away from my kids needs to be some form of productive or beneficial time to me, otherwise I feel like I’m wasting my time when I could be with my family. And I had to be honest with myself: no, I do not want to ride a bike.

If my heart wasn’t in it, no amount of scheduling, coaching, or bullying myself into training would have worked. I would just be even more cranky and bitter than my postpartum, sleep-deprived self already was. Life is too short to spend time on stuff that doesn’t contribute to happiness and well-being. So I prefer to focus on the stuff I do enjoy. I signed up for a boot camp class instead, and I loved it.

2. Get some new tools

Trying that eating/meal prep plan again, but it’s tough sticking with it for some reason? Sometimes you need to try something new or bring in another resource to push past the plateau. Say you’re eating plan leaves you lackluster and roaming the goodies aisle at the grocery store? Try out some new recipes, or join an only accountability group to offer a new perspective. Finding it hard to stick to a new at-home workout program? Splurge on some new music, or set a new ring tone on your phone for when you want to work out (extra bonus points if it’s “Everything is Awesome” from The Lego Movie) to zap your mind in the “oh, we are doing this now!” mentality.

To get back into blogging, I’ve dusted off my old Feedly account to look for other inspiring bloggers, and am getting more involved with other blogging networking groups. It’s the little boost and camaraderie I think I need to get the flywheel turning again.

3. Accept that you are a different person today than you were yesterday

We all change and grow, and sometimes what worked before just doesn’t work anymore. I used to have no issue waking up at 5:00 to bike to work in the morning. But after 5+ years of sleep deprivation (because small humans), there is no way my body is waking up before 6:30 on a consistent basis. I can do it a couple mornings in a row, but by Day 3 my body completely shuts down. So I’ve had to accept that getting up early in the morning to do anything as a routine is just a no-go for me. I’ll have to find another way to squeeze in that workout/get some writing done/tackle that work project. There is nothing wrong with recognizing your limitations for where you are at today, and rolling along with Plan B.

Above all, just know yourself, and trust that where you are at and where you’re going is exactly where you’re supposed to be.

Any thoughts or tips from the trenches on starting over?

That’s it for now. Go make it a great day! xoxo

The North Bay Fire Relief

Hi everyone!

You may have heard on the news by now, but there are severe wildfires decimating the San Francisco North Bay area right now. While I am safely south of the danger, I have many family and friends that have been affected. I used to live in Santa Rosa, and it’s been heartbreaking to witness the devastation and terror as I hear recounts of friends running for their lives with only the clothes on their backs, and seeing pictures of familiar places utterly destroyed.

Santa Rosa has always felt like home to me. I moved there shortly after college, and it was some of the best years of my life. It’s where I found an amazing fitness community, ran my first marathon, and discovered the joy of an active lifestyle. Even now, when things were getting tough and tight, I think to myself, “If things turn south, I could always move back to Santa Rosa.” The people and community there are the warmest, most welcoming and true folks around. I can’t believe this is happening to my old home.

I know there have been disasters and crises abound lately that have really impacted all of us, but if you still have the capacity, please consider helping my friends and family in Santa Rosa. The Redwood Credit Union has partnered up with The Press Democrat and Senator Mike McGuire to provide relief funding to those affected by the fire. Absolutely 100% of donations will go directly to those in need.

Here is the link to the website with instructions on how you can help: https://www.redwoodcu.org/northbayfirerelief

Thank you so much for your thoughts, prayers, and support. If ever there was a “rise from the ashes” analogy, I’m sure this will be it. The community will rise again.

Go make it a great day, and give your loved ones an extra hug! xoxo