Posted in fitness

Finding Your Fitness, Part 1: Keys to (My) Success (And Maybe Yours).

As I mentioned about a week ago, I recently found the motivation to really get into gear and start exercising. Today, I want to share with you what I did after that “kick in the butt” moment to stay the course.

1.  Know yourself

What are your strengths?  What about your weaknesses?  Let me put it this way: which parts of your personality are stopping you from 1. getting into gear and 2. staying in gear?

You want to know the truth about me?  I am a procrastinator.  I honestly do not know many people who are worse than me.  I can also be quite compulsive and intense (*ahem* I don’t know who I get that from *ahem) which means that once I get excited about something, I’ll want to do it all. the. time.  Until I don’t (either because I’m sick of it or because I’ve found something else to do), then I’ll stop.  These two traits are what have been stopping me from being in better shape than I am.

On the flip side, I am also a perfectionist.  This can be both good and bad, but in my case, it is good because it means that it is important for me to focus on my form when I workout.  Finally, I am competitive.  I hate losing.  I hate failing.  This too is going to help me reach my goal of becoming fitter.

2.  Know you constraints

And I mean your actual ones, not the ones that come out of your I’ve-got-a-collection-of-excuses hat.  For me, I don’t currently have the money to pay for a gym membership (which is fine, by the way, because there are other ways to get in shape than going to the gym).  Time is also an issue.  I need something that I can do regardless of if I’m working or on maternity leave, regardless of if my brother’s home or not to watch my daughter, regardless of if it’s income tax season and I’m as good as a single mom.  Basically, I need something that is flexible and allows me to work out at home (see, I told you that not being able to go to the gym wasn’t really a problem).

3.  Be flexible…

Say you planned to work out today.  Say that during the night, your daughter was up every 1.5 h from 8:30 pm to 5:30 am when you just gave up and got her up for the day.  Say that between your precious daughter, your toddler who woke up with nightmares a couple of times during the night and your snoring husband, you got maybe 4 hours of sleep during the night during which your longest bout of uninterrupted sleep was about 45 minutes.  Say that you have trouble putting foot in front of the other in the morning and the idea of actually working out is enough to make you want to curl up into a ball in the corner of the room and cry.  It’s OK to shorten your workout.  Heck, it’s even OK to skip the day.  Really.  No guilt needed.

4.  …But not too flexible

Plan, plan, plan.  Take out a calendar and circle the days that you want to workout on.  That way, if you actually did have to skip a day, you can catch up on one of your “off” days.  If it’s written, you will want to do it.

5.  Find something that inspires you.

For me, the winner was crossfit.  What attracted me to it?

For starters, every single exercise is scalable.  Can’t do a burpee (let alone 4 x 25)?  Do a modified one.  Don’t have time to do 5 rounds?  Do only 2 or 3.  Don’t have any weights, use your body weight.  This has the insane advantage that a 18 year old at the top of his game and a badly out of shape 60 year old can do the same workout.  Either the number of reps, the number of rounds, the amount of weight…will be different for both of them.

I also like it because the program changes all the  time.  I’m not going to the gym to do the same routine each and every time.  Nope.  Each day is different…and I’m always finding myself looking forward to the next day.

Finally, the workout of the day is short.  It scarcely ever takes more time than 15 minutes.  And you know what the best part it?  In that 15 minutes you feel like you just spent 75 of them at the gym (or I do in any event).

6.  Set some smart goals

No seriously, make sure your goals are S.M.A.R.T.: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.  Also, make sure you have some short and long-term goals.  For instance, my general goal is to become fitter.  My four SMART goals are:

  • By the end of the month (T), make sure to have trained (S) on average (A, R) three times a week (M).
  • Improve in at least one domain per training session when I restart the training cycle.  (More about this in my next post)
  • Be able to run 5km or 30 minutes without stopping by the end of July 2015.
  • Compete in a 5km race in September 2015 (I’ve already signed up for this so I can’t back out now 😉 ).

Notice there is nothing in there about weight?  That is because I realized that setting a weight goal was too discouraging for me.  I’ve done it before and I hated getting up on the scale each week.  I’m concentrating on eating right (without weighing or measuring my portions) and being active at least three times per week.  If the weight changes, then good.  But I’m not tracking it at all.

7.  Go for it!

Go, go, go!  You can do it!

Care to share your fitness journey?  What do you like to do to stay active?  What is keeping you from being as active or as fit as you’d like?

Posted in fitness

Inspiration & Motivation

I’ve never been an overly active person.  I mean, when I was young, I did swimming lessons and loved them.  I learned how to bike and how to skate.  I did a year of ninjutsu (which I also loved), did some rock climbing, played a bit of squash.  But then, I stopped when we moved and concentrated more on music and reading.

You know what the worst part is?  I actually like to be active!  But I kept on finding excuses.

I mean, when I started going out with my boyfriend, we went to the gym together for a while.  But I ended up stopping because I found it too tedious to come home from work and get comfortable only to have to go out again just to go do my gym routine.  It became even more difficult when winter came ’round.

A year later, I did some Tae Bo with some co-worker.  It was great at first because it was close to home and I could warm up by walking to the building.  But after two sessions, I lost interest.  Or maybe I caught a cold and skipped a few classes and just didn’t go back.  Or maybe…whatever the reason, I just stopped.

Then life started happening and I got comfortable in my routine or working, gaming, eating and sleeping.  After that, I became pregnant.  And it always seemed like there was always an excuse to not take care of my fitness.

It’s kind of sad, because I had a lot of inspiration around me.

I mean, my mom has always been active.  She’s done/ she does biking, rollerblading, yoga, weight conditioning with a VHS tape.  She takes a walk every day.  I mean, she’s just unhappy if she doesn’t do something.  And she’s been telling me for years that I should find an activity that motivates me and do it because I would feel better and probably sleep better.  But, you know, who wants to listen to their mom once they’ve moved out (even though you know they’re right).

There’s also my dad.  He’s had his moments where something would interest him.  He’s golfed, biked, done Tae kwon do.  Then a couple of years ago, he decided to really work hard to become healthier and more active.  And he has done an amazingly inspiring job of it.

My sister started doing Aikido, my brother did some Kung Fu.  When my boyfriend and I started going out, he had just lost about a hundred pounds in the previous year…

So you see, I’ve got quite a bit of inspiration around me.  But not enough to actually do anything about it.  Until recently…

You see, few months ago, I caught myself saying that once I’d go back to work (at the end of August), I was going to start going to the gym.  My rationale for waiting until then?  We’re currently living on a reduced income because of the maternity leave so we have to keep a tighter budget (excuse #1).  Besides, I don’t really have the time to go right now because I have my daughter at home with me all day (excuse #2).

But then, about two months ago, I got my kick-in-the-ass moment (aka: what motivated me).  I was just sitting on the couch and started thinking about my grandfather and I realized that at nearly 80 years old…or is he 80 already, I can’t remember (désolée grand-papa 😉 ) he was in better shape than I was at 30 (and this despite the fact that he is asthmatic).

And that was it.  That was all I needed.  Suddenly, there were no more excuses, only goals and solutions.  And I’ll tell you all about them…in tomorrow’s post 😉

Did you have a kick-in-the-rear moment that allowed you to make some positive life changes?  I’d love to hear about it!

Posted in More Than A Mom

Feeling Fallspiried

Though I am a rather artsy person, I’ve never been one to decorate my home.  I’ve just never found an interest in it…until recently.

Now, I don’t know if it’s because Fall has settled early here (some may say way too early, but hey, I won’t complain as I love the season), because I’m on maternity leave and need to feel as though I am more than an all-you-can-eat milk bar or if it’s the hormones, but I decided that I wanted to decorate the house a bit for Fall this time around.

I first ventured downstairs to rescue some art supplies and different sized mason jars (left over from the previous owners) from the abyss that is the cupboard under the stairs.

Sorry Harry, there ain't no room for you here.
Sorry Harry, there ain’t no room for you here.

Then, I gathered my stained-glass paint and painted my canning jars red, orange and yellow.

Initially, I was planning on adding a bit of pzazz to them, but I’m actually really pleased with the result and decided to keep them like this.

While the jars were drying, I decided to go out and fetch two missing ingredients to complete my Fall dining room decor: a burlap table runner (I’ve been wanting one of these suckers forever) and some pumpkin spice scented candles.

To my amazement, I found both!

There’s just one slight problem: the burlap runner is too long (we’re talking 10 feet long!).  I need to cut it and find a way to make sure the edges don’t fray.  I’m too lazy to get the sewing machine out from under the stairs and figure out how it works, so sewing is out of the question.  Perhaps a diluted solution of glue and water would work.  Or…maybe some no-sew glue or clear nail polish… Hum, it’s long enough that I can run a few tests before cutting it to the desired size, but if anyone has any suggestions, I’d love to hear them!

I guess you will have to wait until I’ve figured out how to manage my table runner before seeing the final result!  😛

What’s your favourite season?  Have you been inspired by Fall?