Saturday, January 26, 2013
Hi alllll. Okay, I don't have much time to post an actual in-depth blog because I am sweaty and smelly and sore and it's already almost 12:15AM, but I just want to let everyone know that I've officially started Insanity and so far, it's definitely "Insane." I both love and abhor it. Sean T, the coach, is absolutely amazing and I really enjoy his attitude, enthusiasm, and positivity, but he will literally work you harder than you have ever worked in your entire life. Ever. I am not exaggerating. I'm on day 3, and this workout has already made me cry twice. CRY. TWICE.
I'm going to try and blog at least every other day about my Insanity journey and experiences, starting with tomorrow morning. :) I'll also be posting my starting pics and re-posting my measurements so I have a blog to refer to as my "starting point" at the end of the 60 days when I post my results. Hopefully they'll be quite noticeable!
I will say one thing: my boyfriend, as I mention before, has been doing this for a while and his support has been absolutely unbelievable. Technically I started Insanity last Monday with the "Fit Test" to measure where I stand fitness-wise on a few different exercises, but then I had to put Insanity on a 2 day hiatus because of a sudden bout of fever and stomach flu. Once I felt better on Thursday, I popped disc 2 in before bed and sweat more than I have ever sweat before. And probably jumped more in 35 minutes than all the jumping instances in my life combined. I felt alright today, if not tired, but my calves...my calves are just torn apart. And the first thing my boyfriend did was promise me we would do Insanity together tonight when he got home from some errands. So when the time came for him to call me to work out--since I passed out with my dog on the couch--I was terrified to start again because all I could think of was my very, very tight calf muscles snapping in half. I could barely straighten my legs out, how could I do another Insanity workout? But he pushed me not to give up on myself, to modify if necessary but to finish it, and then he suggested we do it over speakerphone together so we can push one another when we want to quit. It was so helpful. Honestly, without him there to tell me I was doing a great job or to push through or to take a rest if I was hurting, I probably would have given up. I wanted to sooooooooo badly. But I didn't, and I feel AMAZING for that.
Nothing super insightful here--I promise my blog tomorrow will be a lot more informative--but coming from a very rough point in my life right now with very, very little emotional support from friends or family, I can't help but feel so blessed to be with someone who cares so much about me and wants to see me succeed. He must have spent a good 5 minutes after the workout telling me how amazingly I did (even though he didn't see me workout), and how much further I am than all the other people who have quit by this point. And he said he was proud of me. That's not a phrase I hear very often from other people, and every time he says it, and asks me to tell him I'm proud of myself and that I'm amazing and all these other things, it really helps my self esteem so much. If someone else cares that much, I owe it to myself to love me at least half as much as he does.
Anyway. That's all. Sorry for all the gushing. :P Exercise euphoria right now. I feel like I've had 12 cups of coffee. I am going to sleep like a rock. And it will be glorious.
Friday, January 18, 2013
So, for those of you who haven't read my previous blog, I'm starting the 60 day "Insanity" program (created by BeachBody, the company I believe is also behind P90X), since my boyfriend bought it recently and I've been dying to try it. Plus, he's been giving it glowing reviews and I really need something to jump-start my year of success and dedication to fitness and clean eating. So it seems perfect! Plus, since my boyfriend has been doing it for a little over a week now, I at least know some things to expect so the intensity (or should I say "insanity"?) won't catch me off guard.
Anyway, I received the Insanity discs in the mail earlier than expected and decided to start this upcoming Monday rather than immediately on my boyfriend's recommendation. On top of that, I received my New Rules of Lifting for Women and Idiot's Guide to Clean Eating books yesterday afternoon, so I am READY and SUPER EXCITED for all this change. :)
Just to show I'm serious, here are my starting measurements:
Upper Arm: 13"
So. Not exactly things I'm super happy about, buuuuuut they're things I know I will soon see changing! :D Also, I plan to post my "before" pics either Sunday or Monday morning, so expect those too, for those of you brave enough to view them. ;)
Saturday, January 12, 2013
On a random, positive note: I finally ordered "The Complete Idiotís Guide to Eating Clean" and "The New Rules of Lifting for Women." Iíve been yearning for these books for a while and was hoping to pick them up at my local Barnes and Noble, but after hearing over and over again that theyíre out of stock I simply decided to use my Christmas gift card and order them for delivery at a slightly discounted price. I managed to get both of them for less than $30, including taxes. :) Awesomeness: achieved.
In addition to that, my boyfriend burned a copy of his new Insanity workout (yes, illegally) and I should be getting that in the mail in the next week or so--he lives long distance and we both wanted to work on the 60-day project together. Hopefully I'll get it by next Friday, it all depends on when his IT friend mails it.
So many exciting fitness endeavors are on the horizon! I canít wait to not only get into Insanity, but to sink my teeth back into strength training. Iíve been focusing solely on cardio and pilates for the past week to help slim down some of my Christmas bloat, and every time I go to the gym I yearn for the weights. But if Iím going to do Insanity I donít want to stock up on water weight while my muscles repair themselves after each lifting session, so cardio it shall be. I adore running but the "bat-wings" under my arms are feeling pretty neglected lately. :P
But soon enough Iíll be working toward a completely clean diet and busting my ass every day on Insanity to prep for the ultimate lifting workout. I cannot WAIT. So much excitement up in here, I seriously cannot contain myself. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
That is all. Happy weekend. :)
Saturday, January 12, 2013
"No one can tell what goes on in between the person you were and the person you become. No one can chart that blue and lonely section of hell. There are no maps of the change. You just come out the other side.
Or you don't." Stephen King, "The Stand"
I've been doing a lot of reflecting recently, given the new year, on my last year and the years leading up to where I am now and the struggles I've found along the way. When doing this, I have to acknowledge right off the bat that 2012 was hard for me. As I'm sure it was for many, many people, including a lot of people I know personally. But it's part of human nature to find difficulty in understanding other peoples' struggles when our own feels so much more real; when every day feels like the very flesh of your soul is being sheared from your bones. So, until recently, this is how I viewed the world: it was a world of pain, but it was also a world in which my pain was more unbearable than anyone else's, because hey, no one could understand like I could.
Feeling this way after months and months brought me to the painful realization that I don't have it that bad. It's ignorant of me to assume the problems I go through are larger, or smaller, or of any different significance than the struggles that any other person in the world deals with day in and day out. Plato sums it up perfectly: "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."
Yes, very hard things have happened to me. But, as you'll all notice, I'm still here. Nothing has killed me. None of my bones are broken, my organs are functional, my grades last semester were good, and I have a job, transportation, and access to food. My life changed drastically, but it is still my life. I am still in control of my actions, emotions, and most importantly, my perspectives. Which has led me to declare 2012 to be not a year of struggle, but a year of Survival.
For each and every road block I have faced in the past year, there has been ample opportunity for me to face it, survive it, and surpass it, though I have not always seen it this way. When I was forced to withdraw from my college during my senior year it pulled the rug out from under my feet. I found my future altered and my plans destroyed, and my head was spinning so quickly that I had no idea where to start rebuilding my goals. I moved back home, and with that distance I learned that many of my friends at school were no longer interested in keeping contact through the summer months and beyond. I felt an overwhelming amount of guilt over the money I had wasted that my parents didn't have and an embarrassment over the fact that my own naivete about my graduation requirements led to my dismissal. It had been my own fault, and I couldn't handle that sort of responsibility.
I came home, got a job, loved it, hated it, quit it. I signed up for a local college to complete my degree, got a job on campus, and made plans to follow my dreams to become a physical therapist. Then the school year starts, I can't make friends, I feel alienated, garner abuse at home from a father that is mentally ill, eat eat eat and eat my feelings away, my anxiety returns, I miss the English degree I'd been working toward, my friends that I had lost, and professors I admired and knew I would never see again. It all fell on me at once, and I admittedly allowed it to. I thrived off this cloud of despair I had around me, breathing it in and out and letting it fill my vessels, my lungs, my heart. I made the worst out of every situation. Started fights with my boyfriend when they were unnecessary simply because I was scared, because I felt I wasn't worthy of the affection he gave me or the confidence he had in my abilities. I feared I had far too many problems to be admired or loved, that I was a hassle, not a help; a weight on his own struggles.
And today, I am here to say that none of that is true. None of those things that happened to me, even though they hurt, have defeated me. Honestly, the only thing keeping me from being content in the face of these bumps in the road is me. I am the one who decides how I will treat a problem. Because problems in life will always happen. As I said earlier, everyone--be they happy, sad, frustrated, weak, strong, yearning, or content--all of these people will deal with pain and hurt and frustration in their lifetime. Sometimes once a year, sometimes once a week, sometimes more than once a day. Yet, the difference between the despairing, such as myself, and those we view as content is not what happens to them, but how they deal with it when it does happen.
Until now, when faced with an issue, I reacted as if it was the end of the world. Oh God, something else, how can I handle all of this? Why am I being punished? What does God have against me? Everything, no matter what it was, came down to "why me, why me, why me." I pitied the very thought of myself, let alone my own existence. And it wasn't the instances in life that had beaten me down to this point; I had done all that dirty work on my own. I was the one who laid back and decided I wasn't worth it. I was the one who felt I didn't deserve the love that an incredibly supportive and patient partner was willingly giving to me in abundance. I was too fat, too ugly, too poor, to irresponsible, too loud, too crass, too everything for the impossibly high standards I had set for myself, as if I expected perfection and couldn't handle not being able to achieve it. I made mountains out of molehills. Canyons out of potholes in the road.
And yet, in spite of all these thoughts and negative actions and beliefs, when I reflect on them--I mean truly, meaningfully reflect on them--one fact about myself stands out: I will survive. I survived last year. I emerged at the start of this year with a new perspective, a new focus to thrive off that survival and the survival of years past. Because I have gone through things that many people don't go through, but I do not have to focus on these for negative purposes; these instances of survival are things that make me exceptional and unbelievably strong. They do not make me damaged goods, or pathetic, or an embarrassment. They do not reflect on me negatively as a person. I am a survivor of 20 years of domestic abuse, childhood sexual abuse, ovarian cancer, years and years of changing schools and homes and states, and a horrendous car accident that left me unable to walk or even shower by myself for almost 4.5 months.
With each of these things, I am stronger. With each of these things I am forced to face myself and my own demons to learn just who I am and what I stand for. With all of those struggles came something positive, and for once I am going to nurture those positive things and thoughts and actions into something wholesome and purely me. When I left my school, I found another. I finalized my plans, and I know where I'm going in the next year--with room for detours, should they arise. I work in a job that doesn't earn me much money, but I am beyond thankful that I found it when I did. I love where I work, who I work with, what I do, and the institution that I belong to and what it stands for. I may just be a student, but I love the upper-level education environment and the positivity that can be found there when its employees truly believe in what they do and love doing it. I am not ashamed to say I found a counselor in my area who is helping me get back to the positive person I was when I was living away from home, and is teaching me ways to cope with living in a negative environment until I can once again become fully independent in December. For once in a very long while, I am proactive. I am breathing clean, cloudless air. I am supporting my health by running again and really focusing on my stamina and the joy that can be felt with each thud of perfectly fitting tennis shoe. I am finally beginning to remember how pleasant it feels to be soaked with beads and droplets of your own sweat and struggle and desire to succeed and push yourself beyond what you think you're capable of. I catch myself in the mirror and I think of a positive aspect of myself that I really admire before I continue on with my day (and I'm vain, so let's say I have to do this a lot! ;)
My 2013 began with a list of 50 things that I am looking forward to, and as the days go by I am determined to see them through. But most of all, I am going to be forgiving of myself as I work at it. If I do not respect myself and my efforts, how can I expect anyone else to? I believe that this change is possible, but I also know that it is going to take me time. "Rome wasn't built in a day," and perspectives don't change overnight, particularly when they've been engrained in you for years and years. Just like with my weight-loss journey, my journey toward mental and emotional health is a marathon, not a sprint. I have to take the time to really make some changes if I want things to stick. I will have many great days, but I know I am going to have some bad days, too. And that's okay. I'll do my best to deal and to support myself, and I'll move on. Simple as that. I'll help what I can help, and I'll accept what I can't, because more often than not, things are not in my control. I cannot control everything in my life, just as I can't control things happening in the lives of anyone else: not my parents, not my brothers, and not my boyfriend. I can only deal with me and support those I love to the best of my ability. They know I love them. I don't have to beat them over the head with it to prove it to myself that they love me back. :) So. Here's to a year of success, a year of healing, and another year of survival.
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Hello all. :)
I'd like to make this as short and sweet as possible, since I have a biology test to study for (blech!). There is something I've been dying to do forever, and I finally got my chance today:
As someone who loves to bike it has ALWAYS fascinated me, and one of the great bonuses of the new school I'm attending is that you get a free membership to a kickass local gym, complete with all the trimmings, classes, equipment, pools, etc. When they gave me the fall class schedule, I realized that one of their 3 class studios is dedicated just to spinning. So, for the past few weeks I've been dying to take one of these classes, but I just couldn't rustle up the courage to do so. I was afraid I'd fail in a room full of 30 dedicated, sweaty people, haha. Plus, the "intro" spinning classes weren't during times I could attend, so it was the regular class or nothing at all.
Tonight...I forced myself into it. I got out of lab early and knew I'd be able to meet the 5pm class deadline with time to spare to slowly warm up on an elliptical beforehand. I was so freaking nervous, it's unbelievable, but the women waiting for the class to start were really supportive and told me what to do (pick a bike early, fill my water bottle, get paper towels, etc), and the instructor introduced me to the class as a newbie and gave me some pointers for how she conducts her class and how to keep up.
So, the class starts and though it's hard, it's tolerable. I'm keeping up with my RPM (rotations per minute, which is how you keep track of where you're going with the class for those of you like me who have no idea what you're supposed to do), and then BAM. This instructor was a BEAST. Holy crap. She was pure evil. For the next 40 minutes it was nothing but "ADD RESISTANCE ADD RESISTANCE ADD RESISTANCE ADD RESISTANCE AND GET. OFF. THE. SEAT!" Three major climbs and at least 4 minor/shorter ones, and I was dripping. I mean drenched. Like, when people say "sweat is fat crying," my fat wasn't just crying. It was HYPERVENTILATING. Halfway through the class I thought I was genuinely going to vomit on the girl in front of me, and she had such a cute exercise top on that I forced myself to swallow it and push myself as hard as I could without my heart giving out. Not only was it an intense class, but it was about 20 bikes in a 9x9-ish room and it was freaking hot in there. I can't remember the last time I had such a prominent sweat line on the buttcrack of my pants.
So, rather than give up. I continue. I can't always keep up with the same RPMs the instructor is looking for, because I think my muscles actually laughed out loud when the instructor demanded 110 RPMs at almost maximum resistance, but I was still working my ass off by the end of the 50 minute course. I felt like I was going to die, or throw up, or throw up and then die, but I survived, cooled down relatively quickly, and gave my body a good stretch. And all the women who had noticed that I was new at the start of the class congratulated me for doing so well; apparently most beginners can't even finish. As one woman put it, "you've never done this before and her class is NOT for beginners." And then told me if I wanted to puke, I was doing it right, haha.
I have to say, long story short, I loved it and will take the class again, but wow. It was easily the most difficult, grueling, intense workout I have EVER done. Ever. In the 1.5 years that I have been exercising at least somewhat consistently, I have never encountered something quite so extreme. But completing that really showed me how much I can push myself and what my body is capable of, even as I'm working to get back to the top fitness level I was at a year ago. I can't remember ever being more proud of myself. I'm beaming and I feel invincible. And I know that survival means I can only get better from here. If I completed it now, I can complete it again. And over time I'll get better and better and faster and faster and I know later on down the road I'll be able to not only complete the class, but I'll be able to do it while hitting every RPM the instructor asks for. :)
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go shower, because I REEK.
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