The fit truth.

Two years ago (yes, TWO years ago), I wrote a blog that covered my ‘fit truths’ at the time – many of those things I talked about still ring true today, of course – but my idea today of what a ‘fit truth’ is has changed pretty markedly.

To me, the concept of a ‘fit truth’ is akin to the age-old running question: Why I run?’ A question I’ve answered a few different times on this blog, and with different answers (I’m mysterious that way, apparently haha).

My definition of a fit truth is simple – a ‘fit truth’ is your fit mantra, your answer to ‘Why fit?’ – what drives you to focus on fitness, what the underlying reason is.

For some – fitness is pretty black and white. It’s to lose weight. To look better on the beach. To fight back against genetics that may have dealt you a difficult hand. It could also be a much more serious reason like training for a major fitness event (marathon, triathalon, fitness competition, crossfit games, and the list goes on).

All very good, valid fit truths.

For me, my ‘fit truth’ is a little bit less black and white than that. And it’s a whole heckuva lot less black and white than it used to be.

It’s not about losing weight. (it used to be)

It’s not about training for a race. (it used to be…up until verrrrrry recently)

It’s not about running faster or farther.

My fit truth – it’s about Health. Wellness. Vibrancy.
…and feeding my passion for movement, ability.

Ever since crossing the finish line at the Chicago Marathon last October, my fit truth has evolved significantly. Evolved towards simple vs. more complex, more rigid or structured.

Sure – I have a loose goal of 3-4 runs per week and fitting in just one class at the studio that I can take vs. teach. Some weeks it’s 2 runs. Some weeks it’s 4. Some weeks it’s no classes, other weeks it’s 1. Or very rarely, 2. The rest of my ‘fit time’ is spent teaching. I adore it.

I reach for running as my ‘me’ time (and ‘rundate’ time!) and my ‘sweat’ time. I reach for barre n9ne for my ‘strength’ and ‘shake’ time. (and let’s be honest, my ‘me’ and ‘sweat’ time fit in here, too).

Image (1)

Truth be told, I have never felt more healthy, active or strong as I do today. And I firmly believe that has a lot to do with shifting my focus, to simplifying. I also think that has a lot to do with finding comfort in my own skin and not railing against ‘me’ but learning to love myself, learning to be my own best friend. Granted, this last part has taken a good couple of years to discover, mind you, but recently its sort of all come together for me. Something that  bubbled to the surface for me the other day on a rare – but much-needed – solo run.

My fit truth, today.

<<Editor’s Note – For some reason, I’ve been having a really hard time finding the right words on this blog. So I apologize in advance if this post is as rambly as it feels like it is to me!>>

On recommitting to the barre

Ok, let’s be honest — the title of this post is a wee bit misleading, ya’ll know by now how absolutely in love with the barre I am these days. Even in the midst of marathon training.

BUT — this weekend was an awesome reminder of why I am so damn in love with barre n9ne.

A couple of things lead up to this whole concept of ‘recommitting’ to the barre:

I taught a lot last week — including an awesome double session on Saturday (was subbing for one of the other instructors who was away). And every single time I set foot in the studio, I just smiled. Sure, it’s work and it’s a job to be there, creating killer classes and making sure I keep it lively. But I LOVE it. So it never, ever feels like work. It just feels right.

I helped Tanya (barre n9ne studio owner) kick off the next 60-day challenge in the Danvers studio on Saturday. Right after teaching that double, I stuck around to welcome the new challengers, helping to get their ‘before’ pictures, weight and measurements done. I spent a lot of time walking around the room, talking to the new and returning challengers — answering questions, allaying their fears, sharing my own story and experience since joining the studio last May. I even heard from one challenger who decided to commit to the challenge after reading my story on this little blog ‘o mine. Imagine?! That was the coolest. The energy in the room was so apparent — every single woman in the room was there because they were ready. Ready to commit – to themselves, to the barre, to a new beginning. Awesome.

After the challenge kick-off ended, I finally took my ‘after’ measurements — something I had meant to do at the one-year mark since we kicked off the challenge last May. We never got around to it this past May and after sitting in that room feeling so inspired? I wanted to see just how far I’d come, in numbers, since my own challenge. Not so much because I needed the reassurance or that the numbers would tell me just how successful I was, but because I wanted to have metrics to share with other challengers — to show them that that this challenge is truly just the beginning. There is no end, it becomes a totally sustainable lifestyle. A lifestyle I happen to love very much.

I wasn’t going to share these numbers on the blog but honestly? I’m freakin’ damn proud of myself. Over a year later and I’m still working towards refinement, continuing to hone my own practice while working my bum off to motivate every client that takes my class.

So here goes…

Since joining barre n9ne last May as the first challenger (with my sis!), I’ve lost almost 25 inches and 18 pounds

Are you kidding me?? The numbers I saw as Tanya took my measurements were unreal. It was like that other person, those ‘before’ numbers, weren’t really me, I just feel like an entirely new person today. Not just physically but ridiculously more so mentally. It’s incredible.

I stand in awe, truly.
…and recommitted to the barre all over again

Of (fit) bucket lists and things

Hi friends! I’m baaaack! 🙂

And this pretty much sums up our glorious ‘lakation’ in Maine:

That would be me stealing a spot on my sister’s chair to lounge my legs on while we sat dockside for pretty much the entire trip up to the lake house. It was so perfect. Perfect time with friends. Perfect sister time. Perfect hubby time. Perfect gram and gramp time (complete with gram teaching us to make our first blueberry pie!) Perfect me time. So perfect I really can’t put words together to describe the trip properly.

…so I won’t even try. I hope you don’t mind.
(and for those of you following me on instagram, I apologize in advance for all of my annoying “omg it’s so beautiful here” pics, hehe)

In other news — I *did* successfully knock an item off of my fitness bucket list while we were away. A (fit) bucket list I’ve been keeping up with over on pinterest with lots of fun items on it, a few of which I fully intend on knocking from that list this year.

One of them is hitting that 26.2 goal of mine. 
…but you knew that already. 

The other one? Feeling confident enough to go for a run in just a sports bra and shorts. 
…seems pretty simple, right? 

But for me — this marked a pretty big milestone moment. Of me finally feeling comfortable enough in my own skin to not give a rat’s ass care what anyone thought of me (good, bad or otherwise) while I was out there running some miles. The confidence I’ve been working towards since the barre n9ne challenge first began for me last May, a confidence I’ve been chasing for years and years. A confidence in who I am today, tomorrow and forever — a confidence I’ve finally chased and snagged. And am holding onto for dear life.

So yeah, this happened:

With my sister and bestie Steph — two of my fit friends that have been right there with me on this journey of mine from the start. Quite fitting if you ask me. Also fitting? That it was muggy as all hell when we took off for our run last weekend in Maine. Holy sweatfest.

So how did it feel, you must be wondering?

To be honest, I was expecting to have some sort of an epiphany. To feel this giant rush of some sort. But instead, I felt…normal. As if I should have been / could have been doing this all along and why-did-I-wait-so-long-to-do-this sort of thing. It sort of felt like no big deal. But I guess that’s kind of the point, right? If it DID feel like a big deal, if I DID feel exposed or conspicuous or something then maybe it would mean I’m not quite ‘there’ yet. As in not quite as confident and comfortable being me as I thought I finally was.

I guess that’s my takeaway then. It was no big deal. But not because I had built it up way too much in my head and it was a giant fail. Nope. It’s because I really *am* that confident and happy person at last. I am who I am. And happily so. 

…and maybe this big 14-miler (holy PDR time!!) I have planned for tomorrow will be done sports-bra style too. Just maybe. 😉

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent”

While flipping through a recent issue of Women’s Health (April issue) on my flight to Cali yesterday, a really awesome quote caught my eye. It was in an article profiling Kristen Bell (who seems like she’d be super fun to hang with in real life, I may have a girl crush, haha) where she shared some of her favorite things. One of those favorite “things” is a love of great quotes.

After reading this particular quote, I feel like having it tattooed to my forehead or something – it is so powerful when you come right down to it:

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

I mean…just think about that for a minute.

Wow, right??

How often do we allow outside influences to shape our feelings towards ourselves? Those outside influences could be anything from some random comment uttered by an overly judgmental friend (who may mean well but her intentions are misguided); to something you read in a blog post or a newspaper article that stung you a little for one reason or another;  or simply a misperception that well, you’re not good enough because you haven’t experienced xx, yy, or zz…yet.

So you sit there, letting whatever that influence was that stung you, and you allow it to make you feel inferior, less-than-worthy, downright not good enough.

We’ve all done it. Many, many times.
…but why?

Why let someone or something make you feel inferior just…because? Why allow it or them to make you feel this way? Why

I’d call it a really bad habit. A habit that can be broken (just like any bad habit, really). It takes practice. Diligence. Consistently pushing down the urge to allow that inferiority to creep into your mind’s eye.

This is one habit I’m ready to break – particularly as I get ready to stare down 26.2 miles this fall. Sure, I haven’t done “it” yet and sure I have no idea what I’m getting myself into. But just because I haven’t experienced it yet, doesn’t mean that I’m not worthy of experiencing it or capable of doing it. It just means, quite simply – I haven’t experienced it yet.

But I will. 😉

This is just one example of pushing down inferiority, though. I could apply this to about a jillion other areas of my life. Particularly this year, my year of no limits – where I plan to continue to live on that edge of discomfort, striving to embrace lots of net-new this year. Even if it’s downright scary. And yes, even if it makes me want to fall back on that feeling of inferiority, of not belonging.

Because guess what? Nobody knows you “don’t belong” if you don’t let on that this is the case. So fake it ‘til ya make it. And please, kick inferiority to the curb. “She’s” not welcome in these parts.

<< Editor’s Note: I wrote this on the plane yesterday after reading that quote and being totally awe-struck by it. But interestingly, I’m already experincing that “pushing down inferiority thing” out here and I literally just got here. I’ll share more at the end of the week — but let’s just say that reading that quote when I did came at exactly the right time…funny how that happens. >>

Because you love it.

As I was reading through and responding to comments on my post on Tuesday (which were awesome, thank you guys!!), one of the comments stood out to me, in particular the very last sentence in that comment:

Tracey Leffler

I think that is a good plan. You can do this and you will do this. You just need to trust yourself and remember whatever the outcome you are doing this because you LOVE it.

We do, we chase, we follow, we thrive…because we LOVE it.

…or at least that’s what should be driving us in every single aspect of our lives.

But does that often get lost in the shuffle in the chaos of the moments, the days, the weeks, the years that make up our lives?
You betcha.

So while at first Tracey’s comment got me thinking and re-thinking how I approach running (something I love, obvs), it also got me thinking big picture too.

Everything we do in life ought to driven by love. Not necessarily love in the traditional sense, but love in the broader context.
…of living life to the fullest everyday.
…of remembering that we only have this one life, this one body, this one chance.
…to live our best lives now. Not “someday.”
But now. In whatever shape or form that takes.

With that context in mind, I got to revisiting how my life is shaping up right about now. Is it everything I hoped and dreamed it would be? Am I blooming right where I’m planted?

Am I doing…because I love it?

And you know what? My answer today is a resounding YES to all of the above.

Had I asked myself that series of questions a year ago? I can guarantee my answer would be very, very different. But today? I’m doing…because I love it. And it’s been by design, truly.

I’ve streamlined all areas of my life to make sure that everything from the friends I choose to interact with, to my approach to my (relatively) new job, to my approach to my new (beloved) role as barre n9ne instructor, to how I look at running/racing/marathoning, and even to how I approach blogging.

I do all of this (no matter how hectic it gets!)because I love it.

Bottom line. Life is too short to be doing anything in life if you don’t love it.

Sure there are obligations in life that nobody loves, I’m not trying to be all puppies and rainbows here — nobody can solely live life only doing the things that they love (though, that would be pretty great,  huh?). But by and large — we should all be striving to be doing what we love, loving what we do, loving this life we’ve all be blessed with. <–I’m a firm believer in everyday being a gift

So I guess my point is this — next time you’re struggling to wrap your head around a training run, or to motivate yourself to step outside of your comfort zone and go after that new role at work, or to simply understand how important (or not) certain relationships are in your life, ask yourself one question.

Are you doing ____ because you love it?

Fill in that blank, answer that question, and I’m pretty sure you’ll wind up much happier in the long run.
…just a hunch. 😉

When it’s worth it.

I had a moment the other night.
…where I questioned.

…why does mindless eating — or the simple urge to — (an old, a very stubborn habit of mine that now and then likes to try to rear its ugly head) throw me into a tailspin of doubt and frustration?

…why do I push myself to run harder, faster, longer? Do I do it because I love it or because I simply can’t stop doing, going, moving?

…why do I sometimes beat myself up in those rare instances where I don’t give my workout every last ounce of strength and energy I have?

…why do I feel the need to strive for perfection all the time?

The answer? Well, it took me a day or two to get here but here’s the bottom line in all of this questioning and wondering I’ve been doing.

And really, there are two “answers” to the why’s.
…First off – I have some work to do in terms of quieting the mind, of striving for excellence instead of perfection. Note to self.
…but secondly, (and more importantly?) I do, I am, I strive…

…because I’m worth it.

The nearly year-long journey I’ve been on to reshape my eating habits – towards fueling (and downright delicious) foods, eaten with a mindfulness I never posessed before (and sometimes still struggle with, admittedly).

Worth it.

The same nearly year-long journey with barre n9ne, towards reshaping my body — but even more importantly — reshaping my mind. Around the concept of working smarter, not harder. Of connecting my mind with  my body with every plie, every shoulder raise, every glute lift. Of learning to love the mind and body that stares back at me from the mirror every day.

Worth it.

The miles and miles I’ve put into training and running half marathons. That has lead me towards a bucket list item of mine. The elusive 26.2 miler. Just once. I want to do it, just once. It’s a huge committment, but it’s mine to make.

Worth it.

The hours and weeks spent training to become barre n9ne certified. Which meant saying “no” to plans with friends on weekends, and even less time spent with my husband (our time already so short during the week given work schedules and ‘life’ in general) while in training. But those hours sacrificed with loved ones? Equalled chasing and captured a huge dream of mine.

Worth it.

So next time I start to question my intentions in life — from the very smallest to the very largest — I’m going to think back to this post.

The day where I remembered that I’m worth it.

Because if I remember that I’m worth it?

I’ll be a better wife to my husband who I adore.

I’ll be a better sister to my beautiful sisters who are my best friends.

I’ll be a better friend to those who constantly lift me up and support me, loving me for me (quirks and all).

I’ll be a better follower of His word, a believer in Faith and all the blessings that come with that.

Because that’s what matters most.
(said far more eloquently by Lindsay in her post yesterday, a total must read. And even though I read her post after writing this one, where for a split second I wondered if my own post sounded too “me-centric” — I reconsidered. Because part of our life “resume” is about fulfilling your own dreams and self-worth and in turn, passing that “worth” forward through the actions and emotions you share with loved ones to, in turn, lift them up higher, higher, higher…)

It was a good day.

<Editor’s Note: This is a long and rambly blog post. I’m apologizing in advance! It took me awhile to formulate my thoughts for this one for some reason. But I promise (hope) it’ll be worth you hanging in there until the end…this is very much a self-reflection style post.)

Actually, today (er, yesterday) was a great day.

It went something like this:

Wake-up at 5am: literally bound out of bed (yes, I *did* “bound” out of bed, Scott can attest to it). Time to get ready to teach my second barre n9ne class. WAY too much energy for a Monday morning, particularly after daylight savings kicked in the day prior. Note to self: if I were not a morning person, I’d be really annoyed by this version of me right about now (visions of Office Space flashed before my eyes at the sheer thought…”does somebody have a case of the “Mondays?” <–said with the most annoying, off-pitchy chipper voice ever). I digress.

Arrive at barre n9ne at 5:30am: get myself settled, turn the heat up, music on, review my notes (briefly). Clients trickle in. My energy picks up another notch. It’s game time.

Teach barre n9ne method from 6-7am: It was even better than my first class, I do believe. I felt more relaxed. I wasn’t worried about the time, or what I was saying or doing. I was simply doing my best to be in the moment, to motivate, to inspire, to get every single person in that room to shake at the barre, leaving nothing but sweat on that studio floor. I walked away from the studio feeling good. Really good.

This feels like a dream…

Get ready for and head into the office (my one day ‘o the week in the office for this week) 7-8:30am: Amazingly, I hit zero traffic *and* I left my house an hour later than I normally do. Whaaaat?? Work my little butt off, knock off a bunch of to-do items, chat up a few coworkers. It’s quitting time before I know it

(again – a Monday that flew by, what is going on here? I must be dreaming…)

Walk out to my car @5pm: I’m sweating. It’s 65 degrees out. In March. My running plans change immediately. It’s rundate time, sister-style. Not the planned hill-style intervals I was aiming for, per the “plan” and all. Nope. Scrapped it. Moved that workout to Friday AM. Yesterday’s weather was legit begging to be run in (“it” told me so, I swear). Banged out a fun 5.5 miler with Jo (thankfully, we wear the same size so the fact that I had zero running gear with me was no big deal!). It was downright muggy. Felt so weird to run in warmth.

(annnnd it’s March and I’m sweating. I must be dreaming…)

Headed home at 6:30pm, dinner-for-one coming right up: Monday nights are my “me time” night. Scott is in a bowling league (yes, he’s totally in a bowling league, and he takes it very seriously thankyouverymuch) so every Monday I’m on my own for dinner. I really embrace this “me time” and make it truly all about me. I made a dinner only I would eat (last night involved shrimp and veggies stir fried and served over butternut squash). I wrote this very blog post whilst eating said dinner (I’m a big fan of using random words like “whilst” now and then, a vastly underused word in my view). I spent time stretching out my hammies and IT band and glutes. I caught up on blog friends. I may have eaten a homemade chocolate chip cookie while blogging. I even worked out a new version of my barre method “plan” for Thursday and Friday’s classes. I can’t even believe how much fun I’m having teaching and prepping to teach (including playlist development! but more on that in a future post…).

This feels like a dream.

And that’s when the concept of this very post hit me (because honestly, I started out having not a clue what or if I’d even blog today): I’m not dreaming. This is my life.

I’m blooming right where I’m planted.
…and this garden of mine is growing by leaps and bounds. ❤

(and interesting side note – I first blogged about the concept of “blooming right where you’re planted” almost two years ago to the day — when I first heard the phrase during one of Joel Osteen’s sermons. Two years ago? Well, I feel like who I was then is very different than who I am “blooming” into today. I feel like I’m this refined — or even revised –version of myself.  Not Type A. Not Type B….Type “me.” A “me” I’m really digging these days…)

Sometimes a look back is all it takes to gain new perspective. Something my sister’s post yesterday totally reminded me to do more of (also something we discussed during our rundate – see? running has soooo many side benefits than just the running – and sweating – part!).

< < Annnnnnd end long rambly but hopefully thought-provoking blog post. >>
(wow, my brain tonight).

Strength is…

Strength is…

…pushing past boundaries. Boundaries you’ve set. Maybe without realizing it. Or maybe you have. Or maybe those boundaries were set by someone or something else. And you push past. That is strength.

…choosing to challenge yourself. With intention. And purpose. Not going halfway and stopping. But taking it all the way. Not just completing a challenge, but crushing it. That is strength.

…embracing discomfort. Stepping way outside of your safe little world and into a world of unknowns. And charging forward. With courage. Even if that means ‘faking it until you make it.’ Because getting uncomfortable enacts change, evolutions. That is strength.

…Dream. Dream. Dream. And then turn those dreams into your reality. That is strength. 

Strength is…

<Editor’s Note: This post came to me after a really solid day at my new job, where I found myself stepping outside of my world and embracing the discomfort. And it was followed by a particularly intention-filled barre n9ne class. Where I felt focused. Sure of myself. And most of all? I felt strong.

…I must say, this ‘year of no limits’ is off to a damn good start. Rock. On. >

Paying it forward – my way.

A big reason I tend to write with such passion on this blog?

Paying it forward – my way.

Sure, I may not be certified to be your personal trainer. Or offer you RD-approved nutrition tips and tricks for healthy eating. But what I can offer? Personal experiences that have evolved me into the woman I am today: the fit, healthy, strong, happy and confident woman I am today.

This confidence and strength didn’t happen overnight. Don’t let me fool you. It’s taken me years and years to get to a place where I can look in the mirror and say “I like that person smiling back at me, today.” This is my proudest moment to date: the day I stopped being afraid, the day I befriended the mirror, the day I fell in love with myself. A day I never thought I’d ever see — something only dreams could possibly be made of.

So I pay it forward – my way.

On this blog. I write from the heart. I draw from personal experiences alone. I strive to help others in any way, big or small, that I can. And, if something I say on this blog resonates with just one person. Just once. I’ve paid it forward.

Through the weekly barre n9ne rundates my sister and I host at the studio. To help other beautiful, strong, fit women recognize their own inner strength through running. My heart soars every time I hear them talk about building up their run-durance, doing the run/walk thing and sticking to it, feeling proud of every minute they ran vs. walked. It reminds me to always stay humble, to always appreciate and show gratitude for my own ability to walk, to run, to race – 5ks, 5-milers, half marathons, and soon – a full marathon.

In the barre n9ne studio and on the barre n9ne challenge forum – our budding little home for words of encouragement, inspiration and rounds of applause as each woman achieves a new milestone. It could be sticking it out during the shake at the barre; or losing an incredible amount of inches after their own 60-day challenge (like mine); or learning to love their food log for the tool that it is — a tool of empowerment, where food becomes a tool, a fuel-booster, and not something that controls you in any shape or form.

And, as a FitFluential Ambassador – something I haven’t delved into too much just yet on the blog, but let me tell you – in the short time I’ve been a proud member of this community, it has opened my eyes to a whole new world of opportunity to continue to pay it forward.

…which is what this blog is all about – my “audition” if you will, to pay it forward on a much grander scale. To write for a broader audience than my own – drawing from my personal experiences that have lead me to this place: a place of strength, passion, and conviction.

Because if this blog — EatDrinkBreatheSweat – stands for nothing else – it stands for breath(ing): Breathing in your own inner beauty. And drawing strength from it. Breathing in every moment of your day as if it were your last. And showing gratitude for each day. And, Breathing through those moments in life that become life changers, evolutiondrivers. Much like the moments I’ve described above that brought me to this amazing place I am in today.

Paying it forward – my way.

7 “reality checking” miles

Yesterday marked my first run of 2012.

As soon as it was done, I deemed it a “reality checking” 7-miler.
It was hard. Really hard.
I fought for every single mile.

At first I wanted to get frustrated and annoyed. I had freshly rested legs. I was nicely fueled up on oatmeal with peanut butter and chopped apples. I was well-rested after a full week off from work and away from routine.

…yet, every mile was a struggle.

Rather than succumb to frustration, though, I got to thinking about how far I’ve come as a runner in the past year, and how comfortable and happy I am in my running shoes these days. Similar to something Heather said in her post the other day about finally coming into her own as a runner, I totally feel the same way.

As I pieced it all together in my mind during the cool down, I was hit with a good dose of perspective.

…I feel good in my running “skin” these days.
…most of my runs have been runner’s high-worthy.
…I’ve found peace with the treadmill.
…my speed is even improving.

So what.

That doesn’t mean I’m exempt from a “reality checking” run from time-to-time. In fact, I should be looking for those runs. The ones that remind me just how much work running really is. It takes commitment. Dedication. Practice. Because it’s that reality check that will push me to be a better runner, a more confident runner. A runner who really wants it. The miles. The high. The clarity it brings. The confidence and joy it instills. The camaraderie it invites. All of it.

So next time I have another “reality check” of a run, I’m gonna do my best to remember this moment. To find gratitude in the reality check, vs. becoming frustrated and annoyed. Reality checks are a necessary evil…at least they are in my book. And this particular reality check kind of reminds me of this phrase: “What doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger” — somehow it’s very fitting here too, no?