You Can Get Fit!

Posts Tagged ‘motivation

Hey, Snowflakes!

(Or, maybe I shouldn’t call you snowflakes. I want snowflakes to go away. Ever since I moved here 8 years ago, I have learned that snow slows down life, and keeps me from doing what I want and need to do. Perhaps there’s a lesson for me, here… but I refuse to slow down.)

In the past 2 days, we’ve gotten probably 5 inches of snow at our house. So far… it’s been manageable… but I must say I’m looking forward to Wednesday, when it’s supposed to warm up enough that things will melt (since hardly any roads get plowed around here). I have to get back to my January goal of running 50 miles–the gym treadmill gets the job done, but it’s psychologically a lot harder!

Which brings me to today’s topic:

Did you make resolutions? And how are they holding up?

I think I mentioned earlier that I’m not a resolution fan, but I did set a goal for myself to run 50 miles during January. Note the specificity: I didn’t say that I want to be a better runner or that I want to run more, but I set a specific mileage goal.

And that’s what I’m here to tell you today. Specificity of goals helps you achieve your goals. Want to improve your diet? Rather than saying “I’ll eat more fruits and vegetables”, aim to eat 3 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Want to start working out more? Rather than telling yourself “I’m going to go to the gym more often”, make a goal to go to the gym 4 days a week. Get the picture? Whatever your goal is for lifestyle improvement, there’s a way to make it more specific.

Which, in turn, makes you ultimately more successful! Good stuff!

Keep up the great work!

Hi! We’re heading into a new week of a new month, and what better time to revisit our fitness goals?

go team!

A lot of us–myself included–just go through the motions when we work out. “If it’s Tuesday, it must be spin class day.” I applaud us for going and getting our workout on!

But if we had longer-term fitness goals–and tailored our workouts toward these goals–we would likely have greater success! Awesome, right?

So, what do I mean by this? Instead of “just going to the gym and working out”, maybe you want to train for a 5K race. Or, you want to have have a killer upper body. Or, you want to eliminate your lower back pain. Or shed a stubborn 5 pounds.

You get the idea. I find that if I have something more tangible to focus on, I hit my workouts harder! If I’m just working out because I think I should, I tend not to give it my best.

I have a few goals, currently, but a major focus right now is more serious weight lifting. After having been halfhearted for years, I’m going with a bodybuilding routine I found online (and I’m almost done with week 4). What I hope to get out of this:
*More lean muscle mass, increasing my metabolism 24/7
*More upper body strength for a) general functionality and b) for crazy yoga arm balances
*Sculpted shoulders look hot! (This means I have to maintain them ’til next summer… that’s motivation!)
*This is also my first real lower-body strength routine since my first hip surgery in April 2010, so it’s helping me rebuild down there, which has been helpful in my return to running (another goal right now)…

I have another 2 months left in this plan. I don’t know what it has me do after that. I may focus on running and cut back on weights for the month after that, and then restart it (so that I have hot summer arms!).

I would love to hear your goals for the upcoming month, or for the rest of the year! Put ’em down!

**Disclaimer, before I get a slew of comments: I agree that it is perfectly fine, now and then, to work out for the enjoyment of working out. And maybe that is your goal, after all: just to find the joy in every day. In which case… I challenge you to find your favorite workout, and carve out time for it as frequently as possible. 🙂

You know what, friends?

Today is the day to make a healthier change in your life. It doesn’t matter your starting point, whether you’re a total couch potato or an IronPerson… we all have something we can do, right? Even if it’s increasing our water intake… not eating sweets after 9pm to avoid the slippery slope… taking that first step out the door toward the habit of a daily walking routine.

Too often, though, “today” becomes “tomorrow”. Which slips into the territory of “sometime”, or “when work is less busy”, or “when I’m not in crisis mode”.

For many of us, these words are veils for fear. Maybe you drink your daily coffee with a hefty dose of cream. You know you should cut back… uh… “tomorrow”. 🙂 But what so many of us are really saying is that you’re afraid of the change. It’s not so much that you’re afraid of the flavor of the coffee without the cream, but afraid of the idea of deprivation.

And so many of us feel that “cutting back” on our dietary luxuries involves deprivation.

Therein lies the key. Break the connection between making changes in your diet and the concept of deprivation, and that may help allay some of your fears. Oh, there are so many opportunities for healthy, flavorful food out there! In no way do you have to deprive yourself!

Rather than “cutting back”, you can approach your new eating habits as merely “making changes”. And since I have you here on the internet, might I suggest a few healthy food blogs to drool over start your healthy cooking adventures:

  • I love Chocolate Covered Katie’s healthy vegan desserts. Most of them, you’d never know they’re vegan!
  • Anne of Fannetastic Food is studying to be a registered dietitian, and has some great recipes of all sorts (though I’m really jealous of her weather right now, gotta say)
  • Great recipes and photography–as well as a tribute to oatmeal–at Kath Eats Real Food.

Many of the recipes in the above links are easy to put together, and they’re all healthy. Why not get started now? It just takes a single step…….

Let me know how you’re doing in the comments below!

(NB: this post was partially directed at myself… but replace “fears about healthy choices” with “fears about conquering new business project”. I need to reread this post on a daily basis!)

Hey, yo. My brain is running a mile a minute: can you help me catch it?

So I’m a former teacher, long-since been bitten by the “inspire our future leaders” bug. (And I’m still a Pilates instructor, and have mentored a few folks toward fitness career changes over the past year… some things just don’t change.)

But my morning podiatrist’s appointment inspired me further.

If you’re familiar with my story, you know about my childhood struggle with extreme obesity. Recently, I’ve been feeling the long-term effects: it’s been hypothesized that so much weight and so little activity as a child may have contributed to my abnormal hip joints (recently requiring two surgeries), to my abnormally-shaped foot bones and arches, and I learned today that the fat pads in the soles of my feet are leaner than normal… ya think that 80-100 extra pounds during development could’ve stunted the extra cushioning in the bottom of my feet?

No wonder my feet ache when walking around all day, even at a normal weight and in good shoes!

That aside, the media repeatedly tells us of the ills of childhood obesity (diabetes, high blood pressure, etc etc). But even if the child has great intentions and reverses their behavior, there could be long-term musculoskeletal effects.

And this is the message that I’d love to get out to the world.

But I don’t quite know how.

This little ol’ blog isn’t the proper forum. I’d love to talk to schools… and maybe I’ll start there.

So, I guess this is Goal #41 on my “40 by age 40” list… and in my opinion, it’s a pretty darn important one. You think?

After yesterday’s drive-by post, I’m slowing things down a bit today.

Especially since… TOMORROW is the first birthday of the blog! (No, I don’t like that “blogiversary” word. Birthdays are more fun!)

happy birthday!

I love giving gifts to others… so as my treat to you, the readers, here’s a collection of some of my favorite YCGF posts from the past year!

First off, check out my first post. It’s not as embarrassing as I thought it would be! I talk about the importance of a food diary in weight loss.

Here’s a fruit dessert that I just discovered last summer: sauteed nectarines. It’s become a hit with friends (and with me!!!), and it’s so easy to make!

What is your motivation for eating healthy and/or losing weight? Make sure that you are doing it for you.

This one isn’t fitness-specific, but I sure think it’s important to make every day count.

We all have this day on our calendar that doesn’t exist.

Discover more about an interesting self-discovery writing challenge–and learn a whole lot more about me!

And, finally… the story that started my fitness journey, and keeps me in this industry motivating others.

Thanks to those who’ve stuck with me, reading for the past year! There will be many more interesting days to come, especially since I’m getting stronger. I no longer look despairingly at old issues of Runner’s World–the little voice in my head is saying, “Yes, I might!” What a journey I’ve gone through this year!

Keep strong, and enjoy the rest of the weekend!

And now… the continuation of my “goals-post” from a few weeks ago! I’ve had so much to talk to you guys about that I haven’t been able to keep going.

For those just joining in, I’ve written a list of 40 goals to complete before my 40th birthday, about 3 years from now. I’m sharing them ten at a time, and shared the first batch a few weeks ago. I’d love to hear your goals and comments! Goals keep us alive and excited!

Anyway, here’s batch 2, with some commentary about how I might be making progress:

Goals 11-20
11. Host a Pilates retreat mostly because it requires my having grown my business to that stage… however, I kind of get to cheat here, since my neighbors want to rent out their cabin, and I could just invite friends up for our own retreat. Does this count?
12. Write 5 thank-you notes (not emails!) to people who’ve made a difference in my life I keep intending to start this! I just saw an address for a favorite high school teacher go by…
13. Stand at the top of a mountain and sing This would require being physically able to hike up the mountain, unless somebody carries me. I’ll work on that part, first.
14. Complete a NaNoWriMo Challenge NaNoWriMo is in November. Assuming I don’t have a trazillion things going on, I’ll tackle it this year, and maybe do it every year. I’ve been doing a lot of writing, anyway, so it shouldn’t be too tough… maybe? (writing 50,000 words in a month, though… ack!)
15. Lose 10 pounds Well, since I’ve been allowed to do more cardio, I’ve already lost two pounds. Maybe I’ll try to lose 10 pounds from here, as well!
16. Make gorgeous chocolates/truffles to give as gifts I’ve been working on a variety of kitchen skills, and lemme tell ya, making things look really pretty is something I still need to work on. I’d love to be able to whip out professional looking chocolates as gifts!
17. Visit a country that most people have never heard of Not just for the sake of obscurity, but these places are usually really interesting to me. Probably the closest I’ve come is Latvia.
18. Help build a Habitat for Humanity home I never feel as though I give enough, and I love being physical and working with my hands.
19. Meet my cousin Sara in AZ Actually, a second cousin, who found me through the internet while doing genealogy research. But we seem to have a lot in common (similar age, love being outdoors, we’ve been teachers, we love cooking…) and I think we’d get along great.
20. Start expressing myself style-wise (clothes and hair aren’t really “me”) I’ve realized I spend too much time in “safe” jeans and t-shirt, looking just like everyone else. While I hate to buy more stuff and join the consumer crowd, I also hate fitting in. I’m trying to find a balance, showing off more of my own self while not overconsuming resources–life is too short to blend in with the background.

And that’s Round 2, halfway done! I have 20 more to list in the next few weeks. I’m still really interested to hear more of your goals, so… comment! What makes you excited to get out of bed in the morning? What do you want to have done by the end of the year? By the end of the decade? And… no goal is a “stupid” goal: if it’s important to you, it’s important! 🙂

Enjoy the three-day weekend! Thank you to all who serve our country and have served!

So, I’m setting a Big, Audacious Goal for myself. A year ago, I woulda thunk this was nothing. But things happen (and I’m not just talkin’ ’bout “hey, I felt like coming home from work and watching Jersey Shore and eating pork rinds for months on end” things…) that we can’t control, and we have to work around those things. In the end, those of us who do something to correct our deviation from the path are better people, no matter how far off-course we’ve gotten. It doesn’t matter where you start, you can always get stronger!

you can do it!

As for me–if you’re just joining the blog today, you probably aren’t aware of the ongoing hip saga. My “thing that happened”. Between a work injury (cartilage tear) and congenital problems (femoroacetabular impingement) I’ve ended up with two hip surgeries over a ten-month period. My last surgery was at the end of February, and I’ve just gotten back on my own two feet over the past week or so.

You can imagine that rehabbing from all of this is going to be a long road, but considering my fitness level going into it all (and between the two surgeries!), I know I’m strong enough to conquer this, physically and mentally. I am still a Pilates and fitness instructor (though considering the lingering pain after this last surgery, I had my moments of doubt that I’d ever get back at it, again!)

I went from “that girl who thought nothing of teaching 4 spin classes in a day” to “ten minutes on the elliptical”. But from here on out, every day is a new day. Each day presents opportunities to get fitter and stronger, assuming that I make the right choices (and believe me, I have the motivation to do so!).

Here’s my new mission: to lose 10 pounds healthfully. Meaning, it won’t happen by the end of this week, or even by the end of the month! But I’m feeling a little… fluffy after the layoffs here and there. The scale’s actually only up 3 pounds since the second surgery, but my clothes are definitely tighter. But–10 weeks of not being able to do any cardio??? (Now I can do it! So pleased!)

My safe’n’sane methods to help shed the grease and tone up:

  • Eat at least 5 servings of fruits and veggies a day. I’ve been doing that for a while!
  • Limit fatty foods and sugar. I don’t want to eliminate, because life would be no fun!
  • Pilates daily, at least 30 minutes. I am a Pilates evangelist and believe that I wouldn’t be able to move half as easily in my body otherwise.
  • Cardio per my PT protocol at least 6 days per week, and follow my PT strength exercises.
  • Upper body weights in the gym twice a week, with a third round at home.

There… I think I can handle that!

While I’d really love to lose the weight, my main goal is to get strong again and be back doing the activities I love. So–keep on reading and following along… and I’ll tell you how I’m doing!

Hi, everyone! It’s SUNNY!!! Hey, that’s great cause for celebration around here!!! (and cause for a ton of exclamation points, apparently.)

Today I’m talking about goals. Goals give me a reason to live. Otherwise, I’m just floatin’ around in the same-old, same-old day-to-day. One day doesn’t feel any different from the next. When I have a goal, I’m taking actual steps, making progress toward something BIG! 🙂 (Or something smaller. Whatever floats your boat. But, progress is good!)

Anyway, with another decade coming up in a few (about 3) years for me, I created a list of 40 “things” I want to have done by the time I’m 40.. just over 3 years from now. I’m going for more meaningful goals, things that will actually change me in a good way, not just “watch every John Cusack movie”.

And, I’m going to share them with you in four parts. Point being, you get to know me better, and–inspiration! Set your own goals and change your life!!!

In no particular order…

Goals 1-10
1. Create my own fundraising event I think it would not only make me feel good to donate to my charity of choice, but overseeing everything would grow my business skills.

2. Go three days (or more?) without laptop, phone, or TV Not too tough for me, as long as the weather’s OK and I can get outdoors enough. But I challenge many of you to do this! Go and actually read a book!!

3. Read at least 5 books on the “controversial and banned” list Speaking of books… I’ve been trying to read a handful of “outside the box” books to get me to think differently. I’m setting this goal (which I think is a pretty low bar) to read more controversial material.

4. Spend Christmas overseas Something we’ve been wanting to do for a few years, since Christmas in the US has little meaning for us. We’re thinking of hitting the Christmas markets in Germany.

5. Read Les Miserables in French I took a fair amount of French in college, and I still retain a decent amount of what I learned (I seem to be pretty good with languages). Almost 10 years ago, I bought a copy of Les Mis in French. I’m determined to read it (dictionary at my side).

6. Serve/volunteer at a soup kitchen Easy enough to do, but I’ve never done it. I feel that I need this experience.

7. Take an ethnic cooking class Of course, I cook all the time. But I cook my variation of ethnic dishes. I’d love to learn from someone native to the region. (I have a Groupon for an African cooking class in downtown Seattle that I’m going to use in the next few months.)

8. Be part of a flash mob (thinking of trying to create my own—Pilates?) OK, this one’s kind of superficial. But it just looks fun! I don’t know how I’d find out about other people’s mobs, but I might try to randomly create a Pilates class that other people could join, out in the park, over the two days of summer we have up here.

9. Make a Kiva.com loan A small contribution that can make a huge difference. I can’t believe I haven’t started researching this…

10. Successfully grow and eat a vegetable This is something I’ve (half-heartedly) tried and failed a number of times!!! This time, I will conquer you, Gardening. I’d love to not have to pay for some of my produce.

So, I’d say these are pretty reasonable mountains to climb in the next 3 years… I have 30 more that I’ll reveal over the coming weeks. For now… what are your goals?

Happy Sunday, friends! I hope all is well in your world. This week, Mr. You Can Get Fit and I will be celebrating ten years of marriage! He is still my very best friend. 🙂

This Sunday’s list is healthy-habit themed, as are the blogs the posts come from. I recommend perusing their other posts, as well! Anyway, here’s this week’s list of health-related posts:

Do you have trouble motivating yourself to exercise on a daily basis? Gabriela from Une Vie Saine addressed this very topic, and you can read all about it here on her blog. Useful comments from readers as well, and cute kitty picture!

Katy’s tips for a healthy lifestyle at A Healthy Shot of Life. A very realistic list!

Corey at the Runner’s Cookie, who is studying sports psychology, has written this post about self-talk, and how exchanging the negative for the positive can affect not only our outlook but also our performance. Great stuff!

The benefits of breakfast as well as some ideas for nutrient-dense, lower-calorie breakfasts from Tessa at Amazing Asset. She and I have a similar history: once we learned the calorie counts of our normal foods, we cut back (good), but then, we started cutting back too much. It took me almost ten years to find my healthy balance, again.

Blah–here in Seattle, we’ve barely had a few signs of spring, and it’s back in the 40’s and downpouring again. But we’ve had a few days (few being the operative word!!) of sun and 50’s, so I truly believe that spring is coming! Maybe! Maybe? (I know that those of you in Florida are probably hating me right now! 😉

Whatever your weather… make the best of it! See you soon!

At the risk of sounding like a weight-loss infomercial…

This was me in 1989:

very large Brooke in high school

Now, there were a bunch of ups and downs that got me here, but this was me, working with a client in early 2010:

thin Brooke with client

This was a story I documented in a guest post on Susan’s blog last year, but why not share it again here?

Growing up, I thought I was destined to be large forever. Almost all of my friends were thin. What I didn’t realize at that age was that they played more outside, while I stayed indoors and watched TV. Food was a reward for me. Even entering double-digit age, I had “baby fat” that I was going to “grow out of” at some point. I had a few close friends, but was largely unpopular at school (except for a few years, when I learned to overcome my shyness).

I was still large in junior high, high school… finally, not too long before my 16th birthday, something clicked. I don’t remember what my trigger was, but I knew I wanted to make a change. My grandmother was constantly being put on weight loss plans for her health, so we became weight loss buddies together. This worked great. Unfortunately in 1990, a 1000-1200 calorie/day diet was deemed “normal”, which set me up for disordered eating later.

At my highest weight, I was pushing 240 pounds (at 5’7″.) At my lowest, I was 120. I struggled to maintain that weight, but really wanted to, because I felt I “should”. I was hungry all the time. When I moved away to college, I had ups and downs with weight in a 15-pound range, which barely showed, but I really beat myself up over any gain. I didn’t spend much time in my apartment, because my eating habits had gotten so disordered and strange that I didn’t want my roommates to know.

And then, my last year of college, I got a place to myself. If you’ve ever been a victim of disordered eating, you know how relieving this is–you don’t have to hide from anyone, anymore. I could eat my 1/2 bagel breakfast, go for a few miles’ run, eat my two apples throughout the day, and come home and eat a baked potato with fat free cheese at 10pm. (Sometimes with black beans–I needed nutrition, after all.)

My body rebelled and put on weight after this in grad school, when I started truly eating again… and I couldn’t take it off. (Screwed up metabolism, anyone?) Again, I thought I was destined to be a large person–either that, or starve to death in order to be thin.

During one of my heavier times, I met my husband (we’ve been together over 12 years!) and he loved me for who I was then, not for being ~50 pounds overweight.

But since then, I started working out smarter. More strength training. More Pilates. Not wimpy weights, either–I work out hard. Building lots of lean tissue. I started actually getting a real metabolism, for the first time in my life!

And when I did so, only about 30 pounds overweight, I decided to start working as a fitness instructor and share my enthusiasm with others who share my struggle. It is such a joyful line of work, especially given my background.

I’ve continued to streamline my body over the years, and I’m at the point where I can eat the occasional treat without it affecting my weight! (I never thought I’d say that. Nor did I think I’d consider fruits or vegetables as treats!)

Just over a year ago, I suffered a setback, and I’m powering through and hoping for the best: I had surgery on my hip to fix an on-the-job injury, and needed a second surgery a few months ago to take care of things that weren’t entirely resolved. Unfortunately no one knows if my hip will make a full recovery. But, all we can do is make the best with what we have, and I have plans even if things don’t work out 100% for my body. I hope I can return to my “groupies” at the gym, one of these days…

So–there’s my story! (Thanks for reading all my blabbing.) I must say, I feel a trazillion more times comfortable in my body than I did as a kid. How has your self-perception of your body changed over the years?


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