Focusing on what you can vs. focusing on what you can’t

Stop focusing on what you can’t do and stop focusing on what you can’t do.

A huge message that’s been running through my mind lately.

And a pretty simple one, too. One that is so easy to forget in the midst of the crazy, chaotic lives we all live.

This messag etotally resonates with me lately, for two reasons:

1 – At work. I admit – I  hate being the “freshman.” I hate not knowing it all, the industry inside and out and being the “go to” with all the answers. I hate when I’m faced with a project and there are things I literally cannot do without the help of someone else on my team. Focusing on what I can’t do vs. focusing on what I can do.

2 – When working out. I hate that I haven’t been able to run like I want to run. Like I did this summer/early fall in preparation for the half. I’m DYING to knock out some long runs. Outside. With the wind whipping through my hair. The birds chirping. The sound of my feet hitting the pavement in a steady rhythm. Focusing on what I can’t do vs. focusing on what I can do.

This concept of can vs. can’t attitude comes from a DVR’d episode of The Biggest Loser. Jillian had her team working on drills on the treadmill. She told them they were going to run their hardest pace – a pace none of them had ever faced before – for one minute. The look in their eyes said “I can’t.” But their bodies said “you will.” That minute passed in what felt like a nanosecond. The look on their faces at what they accomplished? Priceless.

That’s the feeling I need to own. <and damn, that’s the feeling I need to recall next time I face intervals on the ‘mill…or Core Fusion Boot Camp, heh>

I can learn to run with things at work without fear that I’ll “mess up” or “step out of line” because I’m the new girl. The freshman.

I can run outside now that the snow is slowly melting away. I can get that blissful feeling of what it feels like to conquer a pace not conquered yet before. Or a distance not conquered yet since winter settled in.

I can.

No more of this “I can’t” stuff.

WAY more of “I can.”

And “I will.”

Because I’m capable. I’m able. I’m willing. I’m ready.

And that, my friends, concludes my pep talk ‘o the night.

I hope you enjoyed it. Pep talk away, please. :)

Core Fusion Challenge – the final week…

So here we are.

It’s the final week of the Core Fusion Challenge my sister and I embarked on way back on February 1st.

Part of me wondered if I’d make it through this month without “cracking” due to the complete change in workout routine and thus, mindset, it would require.

But now that I’m here and I’m looking back at just how changed I feel after the past few weeks of the challenge, I can’t imagine it ever ending.

So I’m not ending it.

Well – not really. Sure, I’ll still call this week the “last” week of the Core Fusion Challenge. Because it is the last week of the challenge as I defined it originally.

But it’s certainly not over for me. Now that Core Fusion is in my life, I can’t imagine just ending it here. I feel too changed, too impacted by it…

  • I’m *still* determined to conquer these Core Fusion moves.
  • I want to overcome my apparent “fear” of Core Fusion Bootcamp and come to terms with our love/hate relationships.
  • I am looking forward to more “she said/she said” blog posts with my sis…perhaps a series we’ll return to when we start our two weeks of Core Fusion classes at the newly opened Exhale Battery Wharf in Boston (thank you, Rue La La!).
  • I want to have even more eye opening experiences thanks to a stronger core like I did the other night after Kick.
  • And, not gonna lie, I’m really digging the compliments (totally unprovoked!) from my husband who said “wow, you look so long!” the other night while I was cleaning up after dinner. And for anyone who knows me in person, or has met me, “long” is not exactly a word to describe me (hi 5’3″ much?).

Yeah, I’m pretty much infatuated with Core Fusion.

And, I’m excited for the “last” week of this challenge…but even more so, I’m excited about what’s to come in the next phase of the journey.  Which maybe, just maybe, will include me touching my toes someday…mastering on-the-toes push-ups…and finding my “inner length” despite my height challenged ways. 😉

Workouts as “detoxifying”

“Detoxifying”

This is a word I hear a lot from Fred DeVito during some of the Core Fusion workouts I”ve been doing at home. Usually it’s in reference to a hip opening move or spinal stretch or other stretching techniques.

But when I really paused to think about it, I totally view an entire workout as a detoxifying process.

Not just physically (though that’s a huge part of it) but also mentally.

And I think that’s a big reason I return to my workouts faithfully each and every day (‘cept for that rest day, of course).

It detoxifies me.

Centers me.

Makes me feel alive.  Energized.

Toxin-free.

Finally! I have an answer to the question I get all the time: “how do you stay so committed to your workouts?”

Working out is detoxifying.

At least it is for me.

This as I sit here working from home today and noticing that I’m increasingly feeling the effects of Kick last night followed by Core Fusion Body Sculpt this morning. Can you say DOMS city?? Ahhh, just how I like it. Nice and warm and toasty up in my back, my shoulders, my core, my glutes (ok, my ass).

Not a bad way to kick off the weekend if you ask me. Yes, pun intended. Because that’s this workout nerd rolls. Take me or leave me. 😉 

 

Well, that was eye-opening

I returned to Kick tonight.

For the first time in ohhhh, about four weeks or so.

….does four weeks ring a bell to you?

That’s just about how long I’ve been in this Core Fusion Challenge with my sis.

And wow, was tonight’s class eye-opening.

Usually I find Kick to be EXTRA challenging when in the class versus doing it at home (which is a given since there’s that competitive edge that comes out when in a class setting, afterall). And even harder if I’m teaching it (note to self: I miss teaching!!).

Well tonight’s class felt so different.

Not “easy” by any stretch. Still an ass kicker for sure. But tonight’s class? I felt stronger. Powerful. In control of my moves – especially those side kicks, roundhouse kicks and front kicks.

I totally credit two things to why Kick felt so good tonight:

1 – intervals. All those intervals I love to hate? They are amping up my endurance! High five to me!

2 – Core Fusion! A strong core? Well damn, it transformed my Kick technique incredibly. And I’m not ashamed to admit that I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror a couple times and dare I say, I looked pretty fierce. 😉

Moral of this story? I heart Group Kick…and I *really* heart Core Fusion. It’s opened up my eyes to a whole new side of fitness I’ve been avoiding for far too long.

Do I regret that? Nah. I wasn’t ready to embrace it. But I am now. Like whoa. 😉

On “learned behaviors”

Well. I’m glad you all got a kick out of me and my sister’s “progress report” on Core Fusion last night. I can tell you – we had FAR more fun writing that post than you probably did reading it. So thank you for indulging our goofy humor on that one. 😉

Anyway, a recent comment from my super-duper inspiring runner blog friend Naomi got me thinking about learned behaviors.

I had the same reaction when Rulon said those words, probably because up until 7 years ago, I didn’t know *how* to be responsible for my health. Now, in her 60′s, my mom is only just now learning how to be responsible her self. Its been eye opening and made me realize that its something that people need to learn, not something that’s just a given.

Her comment was in reference to my post about the Biggest Loser and one of the contestants who mentioned that they were so grateful for getting something back they didn’t know they lost. Their confidence. Their ability to live a fuller, happier life. To learn how live a fit and healthy life.

Learning how to live a fit and healthy life. That’s the clincher.

It’s not an innate behavior. It’s a learned behavior.

This caused me to stop and think. For me – living fit and healthy comes naturally…it’s practically innate. That simple fact is so easy to take for granted. That my lifestyle is just part of who I am and it’s been that way for so long, I can’t even put a finger on exactly when this became so ingrained in my life. I mean, I have a general idea, but you get the idea.

Fitness, healthy living, balance. These are not learned behaviors. Yet it’s so easy to take that simple fact for granted. That and being ABLE to live this way.

This is a sobering reminder to me – especially on days (like today) when I battle my internal demons who “yell” at me when I end up with two rest days in one week vs. one…or miss / change up a “planned” workout for another. As if there is something so terribly wrong with that. There certainly is not. I admit that I still battle things like that – rest days, the numbers game, etc. So when I sit back and realize that I’m lucky to have this love of fitness so ingrained in who I am? Well, I feel downright silly for those mind games I sometimes still get caught up in.

So I guess what this all boils down for me is this: appreciate that you have learned how to live the life you lead and to love the life you live. Not everyone has learned this behavior yet…and some, well they never will. I find that very sad. It sure makes me rethink my college education…if I could rewind? Sure, I’d love to be a nutritionist or a personal trainer or something related to helping people live healthier, fit lives. To discover that learned behavior and embrace it.

I guess that’s why this blog is still so important to me…even though I battle that thing called presence sometimes, I’m finding that balance. Because I need this outlet to share my passion, to hopefully inspire just one person to move a little more everyday. Anything at all. Just move.

Core Fusion: She said/She said

That’s what she said.

Oh wait. Different blog post.

<insert giggling like two five-year-olds here>

Rather than have my sis guest blog for me again on how things are going with her Core Fusion Challenge (because she already has a big enough blog ego since that post generated the most hits in a single day to my blog ever…but I digress), I figured we’d “co-blog” tonight instead. (and she’s even claiming this post as “her idea” as I type this…see what I mean about blog ego???). I kid. I kid. Kinda

Moving on.

Let me introduce you to a little segment I like to call: Core Fusion: She said/She said

Favorite Core Fusion move(s)?

She said (that’s me!):The plank! Followed closely by that ab curl (love to hate). The plank is one that always frustrates the hell outta me. We had a “plank contest” at our gym and I was like SO annoyed by the mere thought of it…how the eff can someone plank for MINUTES on end?? I mean, really – who has a plank contest anyway <crosses arms> But now? I think a plank contest would be kinda neat…though I could probably only hold it for like a minute+ but still, progress!

She said (the sis): The ab curl, because no matter what, it’s challenging and I always feel a little stronger after. And any move that will give us ‘high rounded butts” as Elisabeth calls them. I want a nice ass butt for Jamaica dammit! <—me too!

Least favorite move(s)?

She said (that’s me!): For me – it’s gotta be the ab curl to the side, the ones that work obliques. I don’t know why, but doing those are SO much harder for me to do properly than the regular ab curl. Drives me NUTS. I still love to hate the darn things though…what can I say, they work.

She said (the sis): Downward dog. I freakin’ hate those. And you know why? Because there are about five hundred of them in Core Fusion Boot Camp (and Yoga)!

Most improved (so far)?

She said (that’s me!): The flat back/round back series. Wait, scratch that. Make it the round back series – flat back is still much harder for me given how inflexible I am in the quads. But round back? I can pick up my feet for some of those sequences which is a big step for me. Before, it was a lot of shuffling and awkward jerking moves that got me nowhere fast.

She said (the sis): Overall stamina – strength in stillness. Less overall “I’m-gonna-die-this-sucks-this-is-so-hard-I-don’t-wanna” thoughts streaming through my brain. Second most improved? The flat back series. Like my sister, I’m much more graceful than the aforementioned jerking motion outlined above. (Note to Lindsay – sorry, no videos allowed yet, maybe some pics next time now that we’re a wee bit more graceful, i.e. not fodder for blackmail material)

Confession(s):

She said (that’s me!): Core Fusion Boot Camp scares me. A lot. As in, I’ve only done it a few times twice. It’s like I need to “work up” to it in my head. If I wait too long into the week to add it to the rotation. It ain’t getting in there. Note to self: do this one on Mondays or Tuesdays when you’re least sore/tired and more likely to bite the bullet. Friday? No chance in hell. (peanut gallery comment: You call that a confession? Wuss!)

She said (the sis): Um. I sometimes once in awhile skip the stretch at the end if I’m running low on time. Please. No scolding. I know this is bad. That’s why it’s a confession. (peanut gallery comment – um hello! We are the LEAST flexible humans on the planet, don’t avoid stretching at the end!! Ok, I’m done. Peanut gallery response: why do you think I hate to stretch?)

Well, now that I totally feel like I have multiple personalities after typing this up, I hope you enjoyed our little Core Fusion Progress Report.

Our grades thus far:

Effort: A+

Enthusiasm: A+

Creativity: eh, not sure where I was going with this one. We’ll give it a solid C.

Commitment: A- (because we can’t give ourselves *all* A+ grades now could we? How presumptuous of us!)

 

Body+weight

Body weight.

Another one of those phrases that brings with it such connotation.

Can bring with it a negative context if in relation to managing your weight (much of that connotation brought on by societal pressures, sadly).

But it can also bring with it a positive connotation if you put it into a different context.

With a different mindset, if you will.

It’s something that struck me today while doing the first of my Core Fusion workouts for this week, week #4 of the Core Fusion Challenge. Body weight can be the best tool in your fitness “toolbox” if you let it. If you embrace it.

I’ve admitted on this blog that one of the big problems I knew I’d face going into the Core Fusion Challenge was my mindset. As it relates to weight lifting, my mindset has always been that body weight-based workouts just don’t compare to heavier weight lifting styles like my favorite STS. I admitted that I was afraid that going to Core Fusion as my sole form of “weight” workouts during the week, mixed with cardio, would cause me to lose strength somehow. I think I was afraid that after a really strong round of STS where I definitely saw strength gains, that I’d take a step or two back by embarking on this challenge.

Well,  during tonight’s workout, it struck me. If you put your body weight into context, it can be your best tool for strength training. You just have to embrace it – use that body weight to propel you out of plank pose and into warrior pose. It was during this pose tonight during Core Fusion Yoga Energy Flow that the whole body weight/context concept sprang to mind. I am feeling so very strong this month, in quite a different way than I’ve ever felt, and I have my own body weight to thank for it.

The body weight that can drive me nuts at times (hello “fat days”). The numbers game we’ve all been prone to playing. When, in reality, we should be embracing that body weight as our armor, something we can always turn to, to strengthen, to protect, to carry us forward.

A major mindset shift for me. One of many I’ve noticed this past month. Mindset shifts I wasn’t quite so sure I’d ever see. I’m constantly amazed by how something as simple as a workout can change your mind about something you’d always felt pretty strongly about.

Who knew?

**********

So yes, friends, I’m most definitely in it to win it as we head into the fourth week of the Core Fusion Challenge. My plans for this week? It is as follows:

Sunday – rest (much needed after a fanfrickintastic night in Boston with my sis, M and Scott)

Monday – speedy rounds on the treadmill this morning; Core Fusion Yoga Energy Flow tonight

Tuesday – Core Fusion Pilates Plus or Core Fusion Boot Camp

Wednesday – Ride (I WILL get there this week…again, it didn’t happen last week but I swear it shall be done, commute or no commute!); Core Fusion Body Sculpt

Thursday – Core Fusion Pilates Plus or Core Fusion Boot Camp (whatever I didn’t do on Tuesday); MAYBE Kick at night if my commute is lighter as I hope it’ll be thanks to school vaca week…

Friday – Core Fusion Lean & Toned

Saturday – run, outside, maybe??

As you all know, the best laid plans…we’ll see how the week goes, but this is my optimistic plan for the week. Wish me luck. 😉

“Wanna know how I got there?”

“Wanna know how I got there?”

This has become a little game I play with my husband. You see, I am the queen of random conversations that appear to come from waaaaay out in left field. My husband has come to just roll with it, as always.  But now that even I have to laugh at the random conversations-from-nowhere, I’ve devised the following game:

“Wanna know how I got there?”

Here’s how it works:

I make the random comment/conversation starter.

My husband looks at me, smirks, but let’s me finish.

Then, I ask: “Wanna know how I got there?”

To which he always laughs and says, “yes” (indulging me everytime)

So let’s play, shall we? Here goes:

Me: I’m not going to the Cathe Road Trip this year.

You: Huh? I thought you were trying to be the first to register?? What happened?

Me: Wanna know how I got there?

Alright. So, the MAIN purpose of going to the Road Trip this year was to catch up with my favorite blog friend Heather, hopefully her sister and of course my sister (maybe both!). But, after an email from Heather about an hour before registration was set to open, she brought up an excellent idea. Our very own “road trip” together to our lake house in Maine this summer. She would come up with her husband (maybe her sis) and we’d spend the time together relaxing, working out (because c’mon, this is US we’re talking about here), swimming (er splashing) in the lake, cooking and drinking some fantastic wine.

Does that *not* sound awesome or what?

Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE the Cathe Road Trip. It’s an awesome time spent with fellow Cathletes and a weekend with my sister I’ve grown to look forward to more and more each year. But we’re both facing a fair amount of travel this year as it is, and with my other sister and the little one (Isabel, the cutest niece ON the planet), I’d rather spend the time closer to home this summer. And maybe Heather can meet the cutest niece and my other sis too. Best of both worlds if I do say so myself.

I’ve already dubbed this weekend: The crazy, strong and loving (wine) weekend (a throwback to the Cathe Forum we belong to: “Crazy, Strong, and Loving it”).

Has a nice ring to it, no?

So there you go – that’s how we got there. Not all that random once you hear the pieces all come together. My husband still thinks I”m nuts though…but I wouldn’t have it any other way. 😉

**********

With that, I’m off to disconnect for a couple days. It’s a long weekend (wee!). We’re going to Boston for the night for a romantic night in the city (gotta love Rue La La deals on hotel rooms and for special hair treatments beforehand with the sis!).

I’ll be back later this weekend with a belated Core Fusion Challenge week #3 recap and maybe, just maybe, a little giveaway too! Happy weekend!!

On “getting something back we didn’t know we lost”

These were the words uttered by one of The Biggest Loser contestants this week:

“…we’re getting something back that we didn’t know we lost”

and

“I’m done being irresponsible with my health.”

I don’t know why, but these quotes both struck such a chord with me that I had to write them down while watching our DVR’d version with my husband last night.

Partly because it is just so heart-breaking to me to watch some of these contestants battle themselves the way that they do. Food has such a stronghold over them in some cases that they very easily fall back into the bad habits the second they are presented with temptation (those temptation scenes are the worst, I hate them, for the record). And it makes me cry everytime.

So when I see these contestants overcome their food battles and start to turn a corner, well, it really doesn’t get much better than that. To see them visibly shaking from gratitude that they are finally “getting something back we didn’t know we lost” and learning to be responsible with their health, it’s awesome.

And it reminds me, yet again, that I am filled with gratitude, especially health-wise. Sure, I have my down days where I don’t always feel quite so chipper about how I look or feel, but overall, I have nothing to complain about. I am thankful that I have never had a big-time weight problem to overcome, or a physical ailment that prevents me from achieving my health and wellness goals. Yet, it always touches my heart when I see others struggle with it and all I want to do is help – hug them, support them, encourage them. Show them that they are strong and that they can overcome.

This is probably why I love what this blog has become for me – not just an outlet to spout off about my favorite workouts and challenges, but to inspire change. Even the tiniest of changes. Change can be very good. It can help you get something back you didn’t know you lost.

For me, lately? I’m thankful that I’ve gotten my confidence back – I didn’t realize just how this Core Fusion Challenge would change me, psychologically. I feel confident and have far less of those self-doubt (‘i.e. “fat talk”) thoughts swirling around in my head than before. And I’m not quite sure why Core Fusion has done that for me…or if it’s just been a combination of things, Core Fusion being one of them. But I’m darn grateful, whatever the reasons may be.

What are you thankful for that you didn’t necessarily know you’d lost?

**********

PS. Did you know today is National Drink Wine Day?? I say we collectively “cheers” tonight around 8pm to one another. I mean, who are we *not* to celebrate it??

These things running through my brain…

…I must, I must get them down on “paper” before they run right back out.

Random thoughts, questions, ruminations running through my brain…

Damn, that was an incredible run this morning. Outside! In the fresh air! Without nearly freezing my face off! And with my one of my favorite running pals (Steph, who trained as part of our Wicked Half marathon group)! Runner’s high, much??

I have wicked ADD. I blame social media. I can’t believe how much my attention span has gone down lately. Noticed it today as I was multitasking at work while checking in on twitter and such. Alll over the place. I’ve become such a spaz. Wow.

Is that definition I see?? Something I noticed today. Nah, I don’t have a six pack – nor was that my intent with the Core Fusion Challenge (though, I wouldn’t complain if I did!). But I noticed something while showering this morning. Sure, I still have some “soft” spots I’d like to burn off with some additional cardio work. But my stomach is noticeably flatter and a teensy tiny bit more defined. By God, Core Fusion is working!

For someone who loves all things fitness as much as me, I’m actually kinda low maintenance in some ways. Let me explain. Sure, I have built-up a pretty kick-ass home gym annnnd I have a gym membership too for things like Ride, Kick, etc. But when it comes to something like running? I think I fall into the very low-maintenance category – I don’t have much “gear” if you will. Tina‘s post today spurred this thought. I have a garmin but it’s the most basic of models. That’s about it. I don’t use an iPod. I don’t use a camelback. I don’t wear sunglasses (hate how they jiggle on my face). Just me, some warm clothes if it’s winter, running shorts if it’s summer, my heart rate monitor and my sneaks. And I’m good to go. Is that weird?

My goal tomorrow? To be the #1 registrant for the annual Cathe Road Trip. Yes, last year I was lucky #2. I was fast-fingered with my registration (trust me, to get into the road trip, you have to be GLUED to your computer right as sign-ups open). But I want to be even faster this year. Random goal, I know. But I am just SO excited for the Road Trip this year…getting to see Heather (and her sis, wee!) again will ROCK. A girls weekend with my sister, surrounded by friends and fellow Cathletes, sweating it up all weekend, I mean, what could be better, really?? 😉

Random enough post for you today?? I had loads of blog post ideas running around in my head today. Since I couldn’t pick just one, I figured I’d group ’em together. Plus – that whole presence thing? Working out for me pretty well. I hope you didn’t miss me *too* much yesterday! Happy Thursday, ya’ll!