I asked my Facebook friends to ask me anything they want about my year in training. Nothing was off limits.
To my surprise (and slight shock), I have a very respectful group of friends online. It was really fun to see what was submitted, so let's get down to business, shall we?
What is the thing you learned about yourself in the gym that seems to translate most into your life outside of the gym?
Giving up is for people who don't want it badly enough. It's something I knew before going to the gym, but seeing the actual results in what I can do now vs what I could do when I started is a constant reminder that I am capable of reaching any goal, as long as I want it badly enough not to give up.
An 'honorable mention' would be a phrase I find myself repeating often lately - You'll only be good at the things you do. You'll never be good at the things you don't. It's easy to write something off (in life or in the gym) as "something I don't do". While it's okay to have limits, the question is "Why don't you do those things?" After all, you'll never know if you're good at something until you, well, do it.
If you've tried other fitness/diet programs in the past - what made this past year successful and a sustainable lifestyle change compared to the other times?
I had this really long response to this question, but I'll give you the short, clear version.
I dieted because I HATED my body. I wanted it to shrink, change and disappear. I didn't care about 'fitness'. I cared about 'weight'.
I work out and eat clean because I LOVE my body. I love discovering what it can do now that it couldn't do a year ago. See the difference?
For me - I needed to throw away the scale, basically. I let that piece of machinery dictate my mood (and even self worth) for far too long. I tried it ALL folks. I tried Hydroxycut, Metabolife, Medifast, Weightwatchers.com (twice), Medifast (three times), fitbit.com, myfitnesspal.com (three times), Slimfast (on and off for 4 years), Special K diet... I tried it all. As a woman, it's natural for 'weight' to fluctuate up to 5lbs depending on the time of the month. As a woman with a hormonal disorder, it's not unusual to see that number go up to 7-8lbs. When the name of the game is 'weight loss', that's an easy game to lose.
When the name of the game is fitness and overall health, that's a much more open playing field.
What gets you motivated to work out when it seems there's more important things to do?
Are you ready for me to sound horribly unfriendly?
THERE IS NOTHING MORE IMPORTANT THAN MY HEALTH. NOTHING.
I'm completely selfish about it. If I'm not healthy, I can't be an effective friend, blogger, employee, writer, daughter, sister, wife, lover, dog owner, fill-in-the-label-here. For me, I had to change working out from being "optional" to something of the same importance as my job. Now, that doesn't mean it's 'work'. It's actually pretty fun, and something you can get people involved with. Going for a walk instead of going for coffee. Running 5ks with friends and family. Training for events together. Cheering each other on at events. Joining a soccer team. And honestly, personal training is not the cheapest way to go. To work it in, I made changes in the budget. Sure, I go out less, but I also haven't even had a cold in a year... I mean - I went from someone who was considered immunosupressed and getting a yearly shingles break out, to not catching more than a passing sniffle of what the rest of the area was suffering with. Even when I was supporting my family through my father's passing, I worked out daily. I waited until they went to bed and did body weight things. Sure - I could have passed on it, but it's probably the world's best anti-anxiety/anti-depressant.
Once in the groove, all of the positive side effects keep me from dreading it and have me looking forward to it. What has been the hardest part about staying dedicated?
There were 3 tough things to get past. #1 was throwing what I 'thought' I knew about my body out the window. I 'thought' I was 'supposed' to be a certain size, weight, etc. Turns out I'm just supposed to be as healthy as I can be. That's it. Simple, yet with all the media constantly bombarding images and ideals of what is 'healthy' on us, it was rough!
#2 was often justifying the investment to myself. I mentioned before, going this route isn't the cheapest way to do things. So I had to prioritize and switch up my budget. For example, I don't get my nails done at a spa. I dine out a LOT less. I go clothes shopping a LOT less. I don't go out for coffee EVERY DAY (like most Washington folks). I cut corners in one place to invest in myself in this place. But ya know, I don't regret a single penny of it.
#3 was making it a priority while on the road. And I don't just mean the work outs. Changing over to a Paleo style diet doesn't make dining out easy. That said, I've had many pleasant surprise experiences, and I've always found something I can order on a menu. (Lucky for me, I really like salads!)
What's your favorite Disney music to play during a workout? (You do play Disney music during your workouts.....right?) When I'm not working out with Trainer Guy, I do often play music."Let it Go" from Frozen, "For the First Time in Forever" from Frozen, "Go the Distance" from Hercules, "Around the River Bend" from Pocahontas, and just about anything on Window To The Magic Podcast. I also listen to the occasional audio book or talk-radio style podcasts, like /Filmcast (because I love to disagree with them), WDWRadio, The Dis Unplugged, Underground Wellness, Creating a Family, and Inside the Magic. Okay! Enough Q&A!
Fastest Mile to date: 8:57 seconds
Max Deadlift: 285lbs (135% of body weight)
Max Bench Press: 115lbs (55% of body weight)
Max Back Squat: 210lbs (100% of body weight)
Fastest Mile Starting Point: Approx 12-13 minutes
Max Lifts when starting: The 45lb bar was heavy!
Oh what a difference 8 pounds makes...
Starting weight: 218 lbs
Current weight: 210 lbs.
The scale is only one of the tiniest tools to measure fitness with. It's been dethroned as the ruler of my mood/self-esteem.
I shot up about 10 pounds when I started working out. I got frustrated, but a few people encouraged me to stay the course, so I did. And now, I don't need their encouragement to stay focused anymore. It payed off in spades. I schedule my work outs before almost anything else in my week. I rarely cancel. I find gyms when I'm traveling to keep up my strength. I lived largely alone, so I had to create my support system (outside of My Sailor, and he's out of communication for a good portion of the year due to deployments).
My hands will never be the same...
But every bump and bruise (and mild concussion) has been worth it along the way.
I've competed in two 5k races this year, each one quicker than the one before. I've done my first Strongman Competition (which I REALLY enjoyed) and my first Crossfit competition (which was a whole new brand of badassery). I have a Power Lifting Competition and my first Disney race on the horizon.
I've done more than I ever anticipated.
"But J! You haven't lost 'weight'!"
I've lost FAT instead. As I get more fit and continue to tweak my intake to include more and more real, whole foods I know changes in the scale come along for the ride. It's a bi-product of feeling awesome.
I'm not a 'body builder'. I'm not a body builder, I just love to lift weights. I'm not an excellent runner, basketball, or soccer player; I'm just a girl who likes a good game. I'm just (gulp, dare I say it) an athlete.
Truth be told, I secretly have always wanted to be one of those cute little slender girls. I thought I could get there with crash dieting (see above Q&A).
Instead, I'm realizing why they used to call women 'broads'...
And I'm proud to count myself among them.
If this is what 34 looks like on me, I kinda can't wait to see 35...