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

I Spun, and Other Confessions

So the other day, I did something very strange. For me.

I went spinning. I spun. I’m not sure what the past tense of “Spinning” is as it relates to stationary bicycle classes. But yeah, I did that. It was totally last-minute. I was feeling beat up from lifting, and I wanted some yoga to help stretch out my hips. I had a couple of appointments that made finding the perfect yoga class a bit difficult, but one local studio offers a “Cycle in/Yoga out” class of 40 minutes of spinning followed by 30 minutes of yoga. Apparently I was that desperate for yoga, so I clicked the “Book” link on my MindBody app.

You guys, I have not ridden a bicycle for more than a mile in over five years. That was HARD. And I was sweaty. And I had a meeting after class, so I was sweaty and stinky all night. But it was pretty cool. I’m not a super-spinning fan, but the instructor was great and the music was phenomenal. They also did the thing where the lights were all turned off and little electric candles in all sorts of colors of red, blue, green, and yellow were peppered in between the bikes. It was like spinning on a space station with OK GO! blasting.

In other news, this happened yesterday.

Yes, that would be a donut. Which I only ate like three bites of because I found the flavor was candied ginger, and after the second hunk of ginger I decided I was done and I miss The Jelly Donut in Grants Pass.

Which brings me to Confession Time: I gave up on my Whole30 a few days ago, and I feel pretty conflicted about it. On the one hand, I’m totally good with my choices. I feel neither bad nor good about my decision to go off-plan with a beer enjoyed with an old friend. I’ve stuck mostly Whole30 ever since, except for some nachos (worth it) and Monday night’s dinner of a few handfuls of popcorn and some stolen M&Ms (totally not worth it). I’m making deliberate decisions, owning the results, and I still feel pretty darn good.

But I feel this guilt – or really is it shame? – about bailing the program when I had been posting publicly about it. The new Whole30 Coaching program is due to come out later this year, and I so want to be selected. I would love to help others find the freedom from food guilt that I’ve come to discover with this program, to embrace the curious process of finding that sweet spot between enjoying life and feeling good at the same time. But who do I think I am, when I can’t even finish the program? Never mind that I’ve successfully completed 4 full Whole30s in 3 years. It’s the ones I didn’t finish that make me feel unworthy.

The Shame Monster is real. Comparison is still a trap. I look at people in my feed and think, “I can do that! I can totally do a better job promoting my enjoyment and passion for wellness.” And then popcorn and M&Ms for dinner. Because life. Because sometimes after early wake-up call to work, long commute, small human care squeezed between housework and gym time, and the Bedtime Parade of Futility to get two sleep-hyper children to stay in  their beds, it’s good enough for now, and I’ll just have a healthy breakfast tomorrow that doesn’t consist solely of a gallon of black coffee and deep breathing.

I’ve had well-intentioned people in my life tell me that my desire to promote wellness publicly is misplaced because they see the extra pounds on my short frame, the missed workouts, and the extra side of fries and sneaky handfuls from the M&Ms bag and that all makes me unqualified to speak to health. That I will not be taken seriously. Because you know, REAL heath and fitness personalities don’t eat McDonald’s or miss workouts. By god, the stain on their credibility, just imagine! But what these people don’t see is the internal journey, from self-loathing to self-love, where I make choices now because they feel good to me on a “soul-ullar” level, not because others say this is what I should be doing, not because I’m bullying myself into choices to punish myself for whatever my dark, twisted brain has decided I should be tried and sentenced for, which is usually existing in too much space. I’m not here to preach how one can achieve a size 0 or “lose that bra fat”. Because 1) I haven’t figured that out either and 2) that totally doesn’t interest me. I am here because I want to share what I’ve learned about taking care of myself, which I’m finally learning how to do at the ripe old age of 34. It’s only taken me two decades to figure out that I am worthy of caring for myself physically, emotionally, spiritually. Because if someone reading this is stuck where I’ve been stuck, or needs a fresh perspective or inspiration to try something new, I hope my stories might spark an idea.

I’m done with perfection. I’m done with feeling like my extra “padding” makes me unqualified to learn and talk about what I’m interested in. I will start Whole30s. Sometimes I finish them, and sometimes I won’t. I will go to the gym and work out hard with joy and gratitude that I have the privilege to move my body, and sometimes I’ll make a million excuses to skip my training plan so I can go sit on the couch and eat popcorn and M&Ms with my kids watching “Minions” for the eleventeenth time. The only qualification I need to enjoy and share my health journey experiences is to presently be continuing on my health journey.

You do you, kids. Go make it a great day!

Fur Buddies – Why Working Out with Dogs is the Best

One of my favorite things to do on a weekend morning is go for a hike with the one creature in my household that may rival me for my love of the outdoors.

I’ll admit, a big reason why I’m a dog fan is they keep me active. Olive can get rather, um, destructive with one’s personal property if she’s not regularly exercised.

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Clearly I didn’t need that.

It is another commitment to my already-packed schedule, but Olive is pretty good about giving me hints that she’s ready for a walk. And by hints, I mean she doesn’t leave me alone until the leash is in hand and we’re walking out the door. Now I know where the idiom “being hounded” originated. But going for walks and hikes is something I enjoy doing on the regular, and I probably wouldn’t get out as much if it wasn’t for Olive’s insistence. It’s good for her, and it’s good for me! Plus, nothing beats a pooped pooch after a long, rambling hike through the hills.

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For more info on the benefits of exercising with your best four-legged buddy, here’s a cool infographic from the canine lovers at PuppySpot (and can we just take a moment to appreciate that dog yoga is a thing? I may have unintentionally practiced this! What a great time to be alive):

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While Olive is a rescue dog and your local animal shelter has many animals that would make great pets, I recognize that not everyone is up to the task of adopting and caring for a rescue, and may have different needs when selecting a new pet. PuppySpot is a great alternative to bringing a new fur-member to your family. PuppySpot is a service committed to helping responsible breeders place their puppies with caring individuals and families. They are a community of dog lovers whose mission is to make lives better by placing healthy puppies into happy homes.

And even if you’re not in the market for a new puppy, it is a worthwhile effort to check out their website just for the cute puppy pictures. Cute puppy pictures are scientifically proven to brighten your day. Okay, maybe not really, but that’s the kind of science I would totally sign up to be a test subject. You now, for posterity.

If you have a dog, what kinds of activities does your dog enjoy? And if you have a cat, do they even do anything? (<–Okay that last question was so my sister can be annoyed that this post was only about dogs.)

Go make it a great day!

 

Stair Runs and Bake All the Things

Every time I’ve sat down to write a post, an overwhelming “ugh!” Hits me. Not because I don’t want to write, but because I feel like I have nothing to write about, besides, “still pregnant!” I don’t like only blogging about babies and stuff; that’s not really what I want this blog to be about. But I do want this blog to be about my life, and 39 weeks pregnant is my life right now.

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Anyway, I’m still pregnant. I generally feel pretty great during the day, then usually get whacked upside the head by the Preggo Symptom Fairy around 6pm where suddenly my energy tanks and I get super achy and crampy. Which sucks because when I feel great during the day I make all sorts of plans for the evening, only to wallow with my snoogle and a heat pack in bed by 7:30.

I’ve also been trying to increase my activity level in hopes of instigation any sort of action that will lead to some sort of active labor. I’ve been walking to the train and back from my apartment, about a mile each way, and in the evening I run (okay, slowly walk) stairs in my building. Not all of them, just about 26 floors worth. It takes me about 10 minutes and gives me a pretty good sweat and energy burst. And then I hit the couch with my snoogle.

The other night we walked out to one of the piers on the Embarcadero. Pre-pregnancy we used to walk out there a lot as a family in the evening, but I haven’t been there since maybe March. It’s been a beautiful autumn in SF.

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Besides All the Walking and Stairs, I’ve been bitten by a major baking bug. Cupcakes, pumpkin pie, and pumpkin muffins have all made an appearance out of my oven as of late. Hulk also perfected a homemade pumpkin spice latte recently, but he doesn’t tell me how he does it, and I’m fine with that as long as he produces one on demand when I request it. Why bother learning how to do something when someone else can do it better, and upon request?

Hopefully some day one of these posts will be introducing you to the little miss and be filled with complaints about newborn care as opposed to pregnancy symptoms. And my progress on the Couch-to-5k I plan on initiating as soon as I’m cleared for activity again. That will be refreshing.

Until then, make it a great day!

I’m Hooooome!

I’m hoooooome!

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I arrived safely at my sweet little abode last night. Then I had carrots and hummus for dinner with Squish, and went to bed. The end.

Well, I had my last hotel breakfast first,

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Eggs, fruit, and sausage FTW. And pumpkin spice coffee. I was early enough to the buffet to get some this time before it was all gone!

Then snacked on the plane with a couple of roast beef sliders and chips.

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Then my phone died on the plane so I took most of the night off from technology. Not a horrible thing.

In other news, I found this article about how to stay positive while injured that interested me. I’ve been totally slacking in the gym department lately because doing simple daily things like going grocery shopping and vacuuming seem to wipe me out enough as it is, and I don’t feel like compounding my fatigue with working out. I waffle between “I’m pregnant, so it’s okay to give myself some slack; there’s plenty of time later to pick it up when I feel good again,” to “OMG I am so out of shape I am never digging myself out of this Hole of Cream Puff.” The article inspired me to look on the bright side of things, still feel my feels *sniff*, and focus on what I can rather than what I can’t. Always sound advice.

Also, big plans for the weekend! I’m going to the San Francisco Women’s Expo, courtesy of Massage Envy! I’ll be tweeting and blogging about the experience, so check out Monday’s post. I haven’t been to an expo like this before, so hooray for new experiences!

That’s it for me, go make it a great day and have a fantastic weekend!

August Goals Review

It’s September already! Okay, it’s been September for a couple of days now, but I can’t seem to shake that bright, shiny, new-month feeling. Anyway, time to review my goals I set for August:

  1. Work out 4 days a week
  2. Daily blog post
  3. Sleep/nap more – 8 hours/night

Eww. Do I have to? Because I kind of, you know, didn’t do them again. Well, I certainly did my part on #3, the whole sleeping thing. Good grief, all the sleep. If I didn’t have to actively be at work or forcibly take care of another human, I’m pretty much in bed or laying on the couch. I get an A+ for sleep. Even if I do wake up 1,000,000 a night and wake up more tired than when I went to bed. My goal was quantity, not quality.

Anyway, I also crapped out on working out, mostly to make way for more sleep. But I’ve figured out an ingenious way around my whole boo-the-gym attitude. I have stopped riding my bike to the train station, and instead am now taking the Caltrain shuttle from the station to the business park in the morning, then walking the 1.5 miles from the office to the train station in the evening. It’s about a half hour walk, so this way I am guaranteed to get SOME activity in during the day. Then I pepper the week with sporatic squats, push-ups, and the occasional prenatal yoga (which I’ve been able to hit up here and there and I am LOVING it!) either at Satori Yoga in downtown SF or from a podcast. I do feel better, even though I still want all the sleep.

I felt really weird about blogging lately, because I’ve been so lazy and eating so crappily. But as I mentioned yesterday, you can’t present the good without also paying tribute to the bad. I’m struggling with giving myself a break and letting me just embrace the fact that this is the one point in my life where I am allowed to be lazy. Once the little miss comes (in just a couple of short months! Eek!) I’ll have my fair share of running around again. Until then, it’s time to order some more Indian take-out and watch another season of Archer in one sitting.

The Mental Game: Summer Shape Up Workout 1 Review

Good morning! I am so happy it’s almost Friday. Ahh!

Sitting down to some breakfast of eggs with a sprinkle of cheese and some apple with almond butter,

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And drinking as much coffee as I can. Last night was a late night, and I had trouble sleeping so that 5am alarm was most not welcome. It’s going to be a long day of the sleepies, I can tell!

Still made it to the gym for my first pass at The Fitnessista’s Summer Shape up Workout 1 (click on the image for the Pinterest pin URL):

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The verdict? Ugh! I am really out of shape, and that was really hard. Mostly the lunges and inchworms, they are not movements I normally incorporate into my routine. When I was doing it, I hated it. I wanted to say that it was stupid and I didn’t like it and I was just going to do my own thing from now on. Then I felt bad. One, Gina puts the SSU on every year for free, and it’s a lot of work. Who am I to sit comfortably back behind my keyboard, sweat slowly drying on my brow and whine, “boo, I don’t like this, it’s stupid?”And Two, I signed up for it, so I should do it and not punk out.

So I thought about it some more. I thought about why I found it so difficult and mentally draining. Why could I not finish the inchworm-to-pushup set? Why did I stop doing the side lunges to press as a compound movement and just do a set of side lunge and a set of presses? And the ab circles – no. Just no. I realized that I like to think I am in better shape than I am. I like to Olympic lift “big” weights. I’ve run marathons (you know, years ago). I’m not that out of shape, am I?

Yes, yes I am. And since I enjoy doing workouts I think I’m good at, and I am most certainly NOT good at this one, I need to recalibrate my mental game here.  As I stretched after my measly 10 minutes of half-hearted HIIT intervals, I mused about when Squish was 10 months old and I finally felt ready to get back into the fitness world for real, and joined a boot camp class. I was so weak compared to where I used to be. I couldn’t do pushups without being on my knees, and even then I couldn’t do a full set without breaking form. That was after a pregnancy and 10 months post-partum taking-it-easy workouts of long walks and an occasional Jillian Michaels Yoga DVD. Lately, I haven’t been doing much more than biking the 3 miles to work and occasionally carrying heavy bags of groceries home from Whole Foods. I’m not much better now than I was two years ago.

So what to do? I need to get in a better headspace and see this as a motivating challenge. Next time, I’ll use my timer to see how long it takes me to get through one circuit. Then I’ll have a goal to beat that time. I’ll find the joy in the movement, being grateful my body still works enough where I physically can do these exercises even though they are difficult, and not get caught up in how I look to other gym-goers, and how wimpy I must look to them. Who cares what they think, anyway? And for the stuff that doesn’t feel right because of my preggo belly or fitness level: modify, modify, modify. I can’t do ab circles, but I can do planks. I need to use a lesser weight for the lunge stuff (I was using 10lb-ers). Finally, I need to give Gina a big huge thank-you for putting this together and giving me the wake-up call I needed to kick me in the butt and get me moving again.

Okay, that was a good ramble/rant for today. Time to go conquer the world again. Make it a great day, everyone!

A Mountain and a Run

Hey, kids. I am just sitting on my cush hotel bed with my feet up putting the final touches on my meeting prep for tomorrow. I am really looking forward to bed tonight; I’ve woken up to the equivalent of 4:00 am the past 2 days in a row. I like to think of myself as a morning person, but not that kind of a morning person.

For lunch today I volunteered (okay, my PM requested) an order of Jimmy Johns for the onsite team. I indulged in my inner tuna cravings with a terrific tuna sandwich. I also had 1/2 a bag of salt and vinegar chips, I just wasn’t feeling them. And a can of poison Diet Coke.

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And a cookie. Why not a cookie.

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After work, I went out with my team to the local sports bar. I really wanted a beer, but figured that would probably not be the best. So I went with the lesser evil, nachos. I was expecting your typical appetizer serving of nachos. You know, the one that could feed 2-4 people most satisfactory. No, not this place. I received Nacho Mountain.

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For real, this thing was a monster. I barely made a dent. 

We ate at the patio outside, and it was beautiful weather. After I returned to the hotel, it was still quite light and beautiful out, so I decided to dust off my sneakers and start my Couch-to-5k app I downloaded weeks ago and never bothered to use.

Totally awesome.

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I made friends with the local waterfowl.

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The ducklings were soooo cute! Leetle bebe duckies! Okay, that was scary.

Anyway, I survived and want to go out again! So glad I sucked it up and got a run in, even if it was a run/walk.

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Hey, a bump! Most of it is nachos, I’m afraid.

Time to finish my demo prep and head to bed. See you on the other side!

Lazy Weekend

What are weekends for if not chilling out with friends and family?

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My neighbor’s got a way cooler view.

Than you for all the well wishes on the new baby news! We are in a state of blissful disbelief about it all yet. I suppose when the morning sickness finally sets in it will be less blissful and just disbelief.

I haven’t been eating the best lately. This may come as a shock, (<– sarcasm font is needed here), but I don’t always put out everything that goes in my mouth. And what do you know, the junk food is most likely to get omitted over the healthy green stuff. Saturday was no exception.

I started out with the best intentions. Egg scramble with asparagus and a touch of parmesan.

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And a sliced apple, because Squish must have an apple every morning. Keeping a morning apple from him is like keeping the coffee from Hulk. Bad things happen.

We had an old friend visit us for lunch. Because it was raining cats and dogs and we’re huge weather wimps, we grabbed sandwiches at A.G. Ferrari’s next door. If you haven’t been, it’s a super good Italian deli and grocery. They sell all sorts of pastas, canned antipasti like artichoke and olives, pastries, and of course cured meats.

Squish and I split a turkey panini with sun dried tomato pesto, and some other good stuff I can’t remember.

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Squish loves a good panini. But who doesn’t?

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I spent most of the day being a lazy bum on the couch with Squish watching old Bugs Bunny classics. That’s the way to spend a rainy day.

I also got a good gym workout in, giving me a chance to finish up the first episode of “House of Cards.” About 5 people have told me to start watching it, so I decided to make it my next workout watching rotation. I’ve also decided to make dead hang dips on the captain’s chair my “thing” for the next 9 months. I can just crank out 10 right now, but I don’t dip down very far. How awesome will it be to have a big ol’ preggo belly and rocking dead hang bench dips? We’ll see how that goes. While pregnant with Squish I was hitting the gym decently until my third trimester, then I stuck to bodyweight exercises and long walks. I’m hoping my health holds out at least that well with this one, but we’ll see. Safety is always #1. Anyway, I did my bench dips and some planks and bridges since I’m awful about doing core work.

I’m currently listening to the Balanced Bites podcast with Jen Sinkler as a special guest. Have you checked out Lift Weights Faster? I’ve been hearing about it but haven’t looked into it yet. The podcast talks about a lot of cool advice for listening to your body and doing the types of exercises that work for you. Since your body changes from day to day with energy, flexibility, and overall how you’re feeling, some days might be better for certain exercises than others. I like that sort of philosophy, not that you should be like, “whoop, I am not feeling it. Guess it’s a rest day!” every other day, but if you’re feeling tight maybe trying to lift that extra 5 lbs isn’t what you need to do today. Or maybe you need to change up your technique and try a variation to give certain muscles a break. It’s interesting stuff that I can definitely see myself incorporating. I will probably go check out Jen’s after I’m done writing here.

Okay, go and enjoy your Sunday! What are you still doing in front of the screen? Okay, I guess that’s partly my fault. I’ll shut up now.