Thursday, July 19, 2012

Running, Relationship Status: On a Break

I love running. I don't even think about the benefits or even how it makes me a better person when I do it. I don't do it for the amazing high afterwards when I am sweaty and proud to have done it (okay maybe that is part the reason why I do) but the real reason I do it is because it really is the best therapy I can have.

I haven't been my best, and I do proudly admit that I talk to someone to help me through my issues, but running, now, that is where the true healing of my soul lies! I can hardly believe I say that because I used to be the person who looked disgustingly at runners thinking, "Why would anyone want to do something that hurts so bad?!"

Source: via Melina on Pinterest

Now I understand that the hurt, the effort, the will-power, is what fuels the runner. It's what fuels our souls. I was the girl who would say that I didn't believe in running and now I'm the girl who can't live without it. I remember I had a bit of a shin injury after a serious Zumba workout and I was devastated that I couldn't run. I was off of it for 2 months before getting back to it but by that time the lovely weather of Florida's humidity and heat has hindered my running progress. I can still run but running the 4 miles I used to be able to get to? Not happening!

So I've made the hard decision of not making running my main cardio anymore. At least not until the fall. And here are the reasons why, well, the reasons why I have to take a break from the boyfriend a.k.a. running that I just can't live without. . .

1. I started adding more H.I.I.T. workouts (high intensity interval training) in the form of BodyRock and other interval exercises to challenge my muscles more. Because of this, my shins are feeling more challenged during a run. 
2. H.I.I.T is better for fat burning without compromising the muscle building I am working hard to gain. (I have Bikini Competition dreams in my head) 
3. My weak area and my most unappealing area is my backside. I have decided I want to focus my training more on my booty. Thank goodness for the Booty Beautiful Series from FitnessRX! I have learned from the Booty Beautiful Program that running is not the proper cardio for booty building. I learned that I need to focus my efforts more towards stair-steppers, incline walking/running and plyometrics (which I get from H.I.I.T) All of these are cardio workouts that works the booty at the same time!

Running is still a great workout. If I hated it, it would be easy to be like, "Hell yea! No more running!" But it really hurts me to not run as my primary cardio. If it weren't for the humidity and heat of Florida, I would be all about running a 10K every weekend! I love running and it really does heal me.

So I'll be backing off running, but I will still meet up with my run once or twice a week. When you are a mess like me, you just have to hang on to the thing that helps you clear your head!

Are you finding a workout or exercise that you love but have to give up due to an injury or are you like me having to give up a workout or exercise you love just because it currently doesn't fit in your workout goals? Or just tell me how much you hate or love to run! :-)

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Friday, July 13, 2012

(TWL) 10 Things I've Learned in 2 Years

Yay! Another post for The Wifely Life Series! My husband and I celebrated (and will be celebrating tomorrow) our 2 year wedding anniversary! Ask either one of us how it has been and we will both respond with, "Man, it sure feels longer than two years!"

I figured what a better topic for this week than to reflect on being a wife for two whole years! (Although, we've been together for nearly 7 1/2 years)

Let's see, while many of our other newly married counterparts have settled down in newly purchased homes and welcomed new babies, we have been busy not doing either one. In just 2 years we have called 3 homes in 3 different states "home". Each state brought a new journey in our lives, paralleled with the hubs training, that we have learned a lot about each other and have had to increase patience as well as the ability to adjust to changes in our surroundings and to each other. Ah, the benefits of being a military wife!
Moving meant having lots of quality road time together!
When you get married, you know you will face challenges and ups and downs. It is how you come out of them, together, that builds and strengthens the relationship. This summer is not only our 2 year anniversary, but my hubs was promoted to 1st Lieutenant for the Marines and we are now approaching the end of our 1 year lease where we currently live. That is seriously huge for us since the moment we got married we've never stayed in one home long enough to be there a full year!

I thought I'd share 10 things I learned as a USMC Wife and as a newlywed with no children trying to be the best wife I can be!

1) Go to bed together - Being on the same sleep schedule really helps us stay connected. It gets hard to try to center my life around his crazy schedule but I think it prevents us from alienating ourselves from each other. Plus no one likes to go to bed alone!

2) Date Night - You don't have to go out to dinner or spend all kinds of money to have time together. We would often get a movie or just chill with some drinks and chat. I get that it's easier for us to have weekly date night since we don't have kids. I'm so thankful to be able to do these weekly! This is something couples should never fully get rid of. 

3) It's okay not to conform - I'm not the military wife that wears all the shirts, takes a million pictures, and decks out my car in I <3 My Marine stickers. I'm also not the wife that is involved in all the group activities that all the other wives go to. I often feel like I don't fit in if I don't, but I'm not willing to be someone I'm not just because I'm a military wife. Which brings me to the next thing...

4) Don't try to fit in! - In my experience, I'm typically the only one with no kids. Hang out with one mom, cool. Hang out with more than one and you might as well give up. Like flies to a piece of meat, they can't help but talk about nothing but their children and childbirth (probably the best birth control hearing those stories!) It often makes me feel left out and I have to excuse myself to hang with the hubs instead. It used to bother me, actually it still does, but the biggest thing I am learning is that I don't have to fit in! I know my time will come for the mom talk but for now, I'm okay with just being myself and making connections with a few really wonderful girls! I'm not the girl who hangs out with the big group of girls anyway, but I love a good sushi date with a girlfriend!

5) It's hard to get a job - It is always that dreaded question of "So what do you do?" that just makes me cringe. However, it is not uncommon for military wives to have a hard time finding a job, or to be in the process of a career change. We are a blessed group of women to have the military and our men to back us and support us! It brought me down for a while to be unemployed but I am learning so much about myself in this down time and I am enjoying where I am headed. (Soon to be personal trainer!)

6) You will never know what is going on - I'm a control freak and a planning freak. "Thankfully" the military never fills you in on anything unless it is the last minute or unless you were fortunate enough to talk to someone who had already been through it. It is a hard adjustment to deal with that, but it has taught me a lot about living day to day. I have to say it helps me stay grounded instead of worrying about what I can't control.

7) Take advantage of the resources - Most the time I feel like the military could give a crap about me, but after utilizing a few things, such as MyCAA to pay for education, the Family Readiness Center that provides awesome counselors and a small library and the Fitness Center, I have realized that I am taken care of if I only seek out and use what is out there for me.

8) Be his sense of normal - Most the time these military guys are on a roller coaster of emotions with all the stuff they go through. Going home is probably the best relief they can have. I have learned that the best way to support my man is to make his home pleasant. Meaning that I need to keep my attitude in check and actually do the dishes! When it comes right down to it, I do prefer to see him smile than to get out whatever it is I feel I have to gripe about. 

9) Listen. Really listen. Then ask why. - In any successful relationship comes respect and communication. It is important to listen to what the other is saying. Not just to hear but to listen to the words they are saying when they talk to you. If it is something that needs more attention, it is important to also ask why they feel the way they do. It is easy to not notice how we affect the ones we love by the things we say and do. 

10) Have faith in EVERYTHING. God's got this! - All in all, it is tough. Change is tough, marriage is tough, the military lifestyle is tough. But in God anything is possible! The journey is all worth it when you have faith and keep praying for God's hand to be in it all. 

Of course there is probably plenty more I can talk about but 10 is a good number. :-) Though I will throw in a bonus. Three words: King Size Bed! We don't have one yet, but I think it would work wonders if we both could just spread out when we sleep! Lol!

Do you have any tips to share of what you have learned so far in your marriage military or not? Share below in the comments or share them on The STRONG Life's Facebook Page!

Source: via Melina on Pinterest

Friday, July 6, 2012

5 Ways to Break Free from the Scale

I'm sure we've all been there. We start working out, we start eating right, our clothes start to feel better, but the scale won't budge.

Then you've probably heard that because muscle mass is denser than fat but leaner, that it weighs more but you get smaller. That's where the measurements of your waist and hips and other places help in showing you that you are progressing.

But it still gets frustrating when you get on the scale and the number is the same or more. . .

I know the truths, I've read years of articles from my subscription to Self Magazine to hear the same things over and over. It still doesn't change how I feel!

This is the struggle I am having right now and while I know I am improving and can feel and see it in my body, the scale has gone up. I am going the right direction in my behavior, but I can't help but feel deflated when the scale is up 6.5 pounds from just 2 months ago.

Often you would hear me get on the scale and yell, "I give up!" (Though I know I'm not really going to give up!) But how will I ever reach my 10 pound loss goal this month if the scale won't budge!?

The scale is like that person in your life that knows you are becoming a better person, and encourages you sometimes along the way, but then sometimes, when you need it most, doesn't offer any encouragement. When that happens, we usually will seek out our more supportive friends and family in our life right?

Same goes for fitness.

When I feel defeated after getting on the scale, I find myself easily slipping into thinking what I could've done differently yesterday, or kicking myself for taking a bite of those peanut butter bites in my fridge. But then I have to quickly kick those negative thoughts to the curb and tell myself to forget yesterday. It's done. Focus on today and making good decisions today and believing that I'm headed the right direction no matter what the scale says.

Distract yourself. Feel empowered with encouraging yourself in other ways. Go seek out your other "friends"!

Here are the ways that I do it:
  • Checking off workouts in my calendar
Really on top of it!
Though sometimes not...
  • Putting on that goal outfit (in my case a cute dress) and making a mental note of what looks better and where it fits better.
  • Noticing my improvements such as being able to do more weight on my barbell squat from the week before. Actually noticing the improvements and being proud of it!
  • Looking at my "Before" photos (scary but it helps!)
  • Telling myself that it's not a sprint, it's a marathon. I'm not going to see the results I dream of in a month. But in a year, I'm going to look fantastic! 

Eventually your grumpy scale friend will lighten up and encourage you again, you just gotta give that buddy some space!

In what ways do you feel prisoner to your scale? How much weight do you give it when it doesn't "tell" you what you wanna hear? What are ways you break free from the dreaded scale?

Share in the comments below or share on The STRONG Life's Facebook Page!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals

I woke up on July 1 realizing that even though I watched what I ate and worked out every day in June, I only lost 1 pound. Maybe I'm not pushing hard enough or being disciplined enough in my eating, and because of that I need to step it up.

When I first laid out my 6 month workout plan, I pictured the end result but didn't set up any mile stones along the way to keep me on track. That's the biggest thing June taught me. So for July I set 2 goals.

I need to lose 10 pounds and I need to finally get my Personal Training Certification so that I can move on to the next phase of my life which is to start my business and work on my competing goals. I know that it is realistic and healthy to lose 2 pounds per week so I should go for losing 8 pounds in a month's time, but I'm going to shoot for 10 anyway.

Have you ever set a goal and found that maybe it was too vague or unrealistic and you ended up not making that goal? Did it end up making you feel discouraged? It certainly is an easy way to set yourself up for failure!

You've probably heard of this acronym before but you need to set S.M.A.R.T. Goals! That is:

(S)pecific - You can't just say I want to lose weight. I want to be successful. Successful how? Pick up 5 new clients? Now that is more specific! Give yourself an actual number.

For me it is 10 pounds and a passing test score.

(M)easurable - You have to be able to keep track of your progress. I can say that I want to eat healthy for a goal but how can I measure just how much or how little I've eaten healthy? If I said eat 3 healthy meals a week, well now I can track that!

I'll measure my weight with the scale and I'll measure my test passing with the actual score.

(A)ttainable - This is where being realistic comes to play. 50 pounds in 6 weeks? Sure it's specific and measurable but attainable? You are either going to be sorely disappointed or sick and really hungry!

My 10 pounds in 4 weeks goal is realistic in that 8 pounds is healthy and that I'm counting on the last two pounds to be water weight that I have been retaining the last couple weeks. Taking and passing the test in 4 weeks? If I had never opened the study materials until today, probably unrealistic. But I've been studying the material since January. It must be realistic that I should take the test in a month. :-)

(R)elevant - You want to make sure that the goals you set along your journey to reach your dreams are in line with your ultimate goal. Sure I'd love to run a marathon someday. I could add that into my fitness goals right now, tell myself that I want to run a marathon before the end of this year, but it isn't in line with my ultimate goal to compete. That much cardio training would hinder my muscle growth. However, losing my last 10 pounds gets me closer to the physique I want and getting certified will help me in staying passionate and dedicated to my fitness.

(T)ime-bound - The biggest mistake you can make is to say "someday". Procrastination kicks in and you end up reassuring yourself by saying things like, "Well, I'll start on that next week." Or next month, or after your birthday, and the list can go on and on. However, give yourself a set deadline and now you got a reason to push yourself!

I told myself I wanted to lose weight by summer and that I wanted to start my own business this year. Here I am in July not really having done either thing. So I fixed my goals' flaw but giving them a set date. August 1st!

When making goals, don't stress yourself out about how to make it an effective goal. Go with what first comes to mind without thinking about making it S.M.A.R.T. Then you can modify it using the model. :-)

Are you setting new goals this month? Or are you currently working on a goal? If you like, I'd love to hear your goals! They don't have to be fitness related, they can any goal you have for anything! You can leave a comment below or on The STRONG Life's Facebook Page!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Beginning the Clean Eating Journey

Last week was the first time that I tried to go by a meal plan for the week and went grocery shopping for the planned meals. I have to say that it is training me to learn some habits in planning ahead. By doing that I found myself staying within my calorie range simply because each meal and snack was planned for the day which kept me from straying from my food goals.

I am always pinning foods and browsing food blogs to find recipes and last week I picked a few to make for each night of the week. Some didn't turn out so great, which I won't be making again. Others turned out perfect and others turned out to be good enough to want to make it again and add it to my repertoire  of homemade meals.

I have mentioned that along with trying to find foods that the hubs will like, I also am trying to expand my taste buds to enjoy the taste of vegetables and things I never really ate in the past but now like.

So here are a few of my featured clean eats that made the cut of being added to my rotation for meal planning:

Italian Slow-cooker Chicken - The recipe called for cooking 6-8 hours. The chicken turned out kind of dry so next time I'll probably do it for 5 hours on low. I made it with asparagus instead of carrots because I don't like cooked carrots (though it's been years since I tried it last). I had asparagus on hand since the hubs likes it so I made it with that. It didn't turn out so well. Next time I'll either make the asparagus separate, or add it in for the last hour. Or try a different veggie all together. I still don't like asparagus, so who knows!

Three-Cheese Spinach Pita Pizza - I followed the directions from the recipe but made it with tomato sauce, spinach, low-fat shredded mozzarella, feta and parmesan cheeses. The pita bread was awesome as the edges were crunchy and the rest of it was soft. Just delicious and it was all under 350 calories!

No-Bake Energy Bites - I followed the recipe for this one too except I left out the coconut flakes and the flax. I don't have any ground flax and I just don't like the taste of coconut. The consistency held up without me having to sub anything for it. Very good and very addicting. Gotta be disciplined with this stuff in your fridge!

Sunflower Applesauce - I used to not like applesauce and recently gave it another chance. I found that I LOVE it especially with sunflower seeds in it! I usually just do 1/2 cup of unsweetened applesauce and 1/8 cup of sunflower seeds.

Every week I challenge myself to make a veggie smoothie and so I tried a strawberry and chard smoothie. I had never heard of chard so I thought to try it in a smoothie and see how it'd taste. It wasn't good. Just flavorless and even adding Truvia didn't work. Oh well. Can't wait to experiment with the next smoothie!

Chard leaves are huge!

A couple other meals made the cut but I had to modify them a bit that I think I might just give them their own posts so that I can ramble about the recipe modifications I had to make since I am a picky eater, lol.

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