Tallahassee Fitness

Set Backs and Come Backs

July 26th 2015, I competed in my second powerlifting meet. I was the leanest I had been in years. I was strong and I was physically prepared. My numbers weren’t the best. In fact, the weights I was lifting the weeks prior to the meet were much higher. I let myself feel disappointed, but not for long. I knew that that was the last meet I would do. It was a goal and it required a lot of time and hard work, but I was ready to move on.

I actually didn’t want to compete because of the very specific training I had to do which interfered with other goals I wanted to accomplish. I mainly did it because my youngest son, Nigel was competing in his first meet and I wanted to do it together. It was a great bonding experience.

The week I got back, I had much needed surgery on my thumb. I had put it off for a year while I was training and endured a lot of pain. My cartilage was gone and my bones were wearing down from chronic arthritis.

The procedure is Carpel Metacarpal Arthroplasty. They shave down the bones or remove the more deteriorated bone and use the forearm tendon to replace the cartilage. It was pretty invasive surgery. Full recovery can take up to a year. Of course, I knew or rather thought that would not apply to me.

I devised a workout program that I could do to work around my hand. I was quite proud of myself. I busted my ass in the gym despite my disability. Little did I realize that even though I avoided using my hand, that my workouts were stalling my recovery. When the pain didn’t subside and sometimes got worse, my doctor explained that I was still contracting the joint. It was time to take off and focus on recovery.

My lack of consistent exercise soon turned into eating junk and weight gain. It was depressing to see the scale and my body fat go up, yet it didn’t stop me. I ate junk, felt bad and so I ate more junk.

In October of that year, I was slowly working out again but with modifications and then I broke my foot. I spent the next six weeks in a cast. Almost immediately after getting my cast off, I had to have kidney surgery to remove a huge stone and with that came a stint and more time off. Shortly after that, I hurt my back because I rushed back into working out instead of focusing on regaining quality movement and mobility.

Basically, I was injured or recovering from injuries from July through December. Physically, mentally and emotionally, it was one of the lowest points of my life. I ended up completely out of shape and weighing the most I’ve ever weighed in my life.

I was ashamed of my body and felt like a failure as a fitness instructor. Who is going to listen to me when I can’t even get my own crap together?

Last month, after starting and failing more times than I can count, I decided I needed help. Left to my own devices, I will sit on the couch and drown my sorrows in Oreos while watching a Cops marathon. I finally decide to get help. I hired a team of professionals to help me not only with the physical aspects of my life but with the emotional part, which for me is a huge piece of the puzzle.

I got myself a trainer, Beth Andrews,who is helping me reach my next performance goals. I hired a dietitian, Jon Allen to help me relearn to eat healthy and lose this excess fat and I hired a health coach , Carol Donahoe to help me get back on track in all areas of my life.

Having accountability to each of these people is what drives me to succeed. I just started recently and can already see changes in my life. After almost 10 months of being lost, out of control and depressed, I now have a plan of action and a purpose. Although progress is slow since I am just starting with getting my strength back and my eating under control, I feel hope and I feel empowered.

Maybe the last ten months have been a blessing. I now know that if I want to succeed and be the best I can be, I need help. It was a hard lesson to learn but that’s ok because I made the decision to change and I’ve surrounded myself with the right people to help me.

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Starting 2016 Feeling Weak as a Kitten

It’s been so long since I’ve added to my blog. I’ve said this before and I’m embarrassed to say it again. I’m dusting off the blog and getting busy again.

I’m realizing that running a business that requires keeping up with social media, emails, newsletters and marketing and that the writing I love to do and that I’m passionate about, falls by the wayside. That has become the case with my blog.

As soon as I received my 2016 Passion Planner in the mail, I sat down and scheduled time each day to write. I made it as important as any other appointment I schedule. I find that I do better when I schedule things in my planner. I’ve scheduled time to work and time to work out as well

I set the timer on my phone for an hour for each and don’t stop until the timer goes off. That means, no Facebook, no chores and no distractions during that sacred time.

This past year has been tough. I have been sidelined by injuries, surgeries and life. I have hardly worked out since July and am now out of shape and carrying an extra 20 pounds.

After my last Powerlifting meet in July, I finally had the thumb surgery that I had put off for a year. Up until my Carpal -Metacarpal Arthroplasty surgery, I had been training in extreme pain. I sucked it up and continued training knowing that my surgery was scheduled the week after my meet.

I had high hopes for that meet but my numbers (weight lifted) went down during the last months of training. My confidence was crushed with each training day. I would look back at my numbers from the previous year and I wasn’t even close. I wanted to back out and use the pain as an excuse, but the real reason was because I knew I would not do well. I also knew I had to compete. The reason was much bigger than me.

My 20-year-old son, who has always lacked confidence and didn’t like to have attention on himself, was competing for the first time. I was so proud that he was finally putting himself out there. I knew it was such an accomplishment for him personally just to register, knowing that he may not be the best.

I had to set the example. I had to show him that I too could step out of my comfort zone knowing that I would not do well. It was important to me because I know that the lack of confidence I’ve had my whole life and my negative self-talk has been his model. I regret that.

He did great. He set PRs and more importantly, ignited a passion within to continue competing

I, on the other hand, have decided not to. It’s not because of my confidence. It’s because I have set other goals that are more important to me; goals that I have put aside so I could focus on my powerlifting.

I got with my coach and set my goal of completing the RKC’s Iron Maiden Challenge. If you’ve read through my posts you’ll see that that has been one of my goals for several years. That is the goal that I am passionate about.

The Iron Maiden is a huge feat of strength, one that requires consistent training and lots of patience. It’s a goal that does not come easy and may take me a year or longer to achieve.

The challenge is to press, pistol squat and do a pull up with a 24 kilo Kettlebell. That is 53 pounds. Fifty- three pounds of iron; a weight that is so far out of reach at this moment. That is why I have to do it.

My goal goes way beyond just the Iron Maiden. I want to do it to prove to myself that nothing is impossible just because I’m 53 years old. More importantly, I want to inspire and ignite passion in women who think that they cannot accomplish big things because of their age.

So, follow me, better yet, join me in setting a big scary goal and let’s show ourselves and the world that we are strong and powerful no matter our age.

Laurel aka, Super Strong Nana, who is weak as a kitten right now.

playful-kitten-6683

 

 

 

 

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You Can Start Your New Year Anytime

It’s January 31st and by now many people have already reverted back to old habits and behaviors and their New Year’s resolutions have fallen by the wayside. Does this sound like you?

January 1st is just another day. There is nothing magical about this day but somehow it’s become the day when it seems everyone is making resolutions to lose weight, join a gym, quit smoking and make other abrupt changes in their lives. The problem with this is that many people set these goals without a clear plan of action of steps to take and plans for backsliding.

Starting out on new goals and behaviors is exciting but what do you do when that initial motivation begins to wane? What actions and plans do you have in place when getting to the gym or doing exercise becomes a chore? What about plans for backsliding? This is when many people give up. Then the target day to change becomes Mondays, or the beginning of the month or God forbid, on the first day of the following new year.

The good news is that you can start over anytime. You can start your day over anytime. The point is, never give up. Accept that you may have blown your resolve. Get over it fast and pick yourself back up. Changing is not easy. It may take many attempts and many failures but do not give up.

Get a notebook and write down very specific goals. Put a deadline to each goal. Most importantly, write specific things you will do each day to reach your goals AND write some action steps to take when you feel yourself falling by the wayside.

Believe me, I have to pick myself back up many times. I have never claimed, nor will I ever claim to be one of those fitness professionals that always eats clean, works out every day and never struggles with body image. I’ve had a life time of bad habits, low self-esteem and disordered eating and it’s not going to change over night. I just refuse to give up. I certainly get down on myself, but I always manage to get right back on track.

Part of my success in not throwing in the towel and giving up completely is writing. I keep a journal. I write down goals, both personal and professional. I set deadlines. I write action steps and I get help if needed from people who have more experience in areas than I do. I work with a trainer and a business coach. I surround myself with people who are goal oriented, successful and like-minded. When I get off track, lose focus or begin to doubt, they are there to set me straight and get me on task.

If you feel lost or have given up, do yourself a favor and find mentors. Find people who emulate the kind of life you want to live and who are the kind of people you want to be like. Start keeping a journal. Set goals. Expect there to be ups and downs but have a plan in place to deal with them so you can get back on track fast.

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Oh How I Love My Data

I am a data freak! I admit, I am one of those obnoxious runners that take five minutes to set my heart rate monitor,  MapMyRun app, my Round Timer and the perfect playlist. Thankfully, my running partners do the same. I love the data. I want to see my heart rate, how many calories I burn, how far I ran and how fast (slow) I went. The same goes for my weight lifting and gym workouts.

Although I haven’t done a bodybuilding competition in almost 20 years; I still have my workout and food journals. I knew every workout, weights lifted, sets done, how I felt and every morsel of food that went in my mouth. Yes, I was obsessive, but I had to be. I had to know where I was in order to get where I was going.

Setting goals, which I am adamant about and which I blog frequently about are one of the most important things you can do on your fitness journey. Once a goal is set, there needs to be a specific plan. It’s like taking a road trip. You have a destination (your goal) and your plug that into your GPS and follow directions. Next thing you know, you’ve arrived at your destination.

The best way to follow the map to reach your goal is by collecting and keeping data. Obviously, you don’t have to be as obsessive as I am, but you do need to figure out a way to track your progress that works for you.

The easiest way I find is with a good old-fashion training log. My personal favorite is the Convict Conditioning Training Log which you can see below.

My Favorite Training Log

 

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A Goal Without a Plan is Just a Wish

This quote by French author, Antoine de Saint-Exupery hits the nail on the head for me and for pretty much everyone I coach and train. One of the things I like to do when I meet with clients is to get them to set a goal. This is what I get, “I need to lose weight”, “I’m going to try and lose weight”, “I would like to exercise more”, “My Doctor said, I need to lose 50 pounds”, “I want to get in shape”, “I want to be more toned” and my personal favorite, “I need to lose (fill in the blank with unrealistic number) for my wedding next month”.

So without a plan of action, these people; without intervention, will continue spinning around in the cycle of diet hopping, changing workout plans and trying every quick fix available on late night TV, only to find themselves right back where they started.

Does this sound like you?

The answer is simple. Set a realistic, specific, exciting goal that when accomplished will have you jumping for joy and feeling so empowered that you are ready to take on the world.

Here are the steps:

1. Make a goal. Be as specific as possible! If you want to lose weight, how much? Is it realistic? Do you want to hike a mountain in a foreign country? Is it realistic? This goal does NOT have to be about weight loss. It can be about anything. The process is the same.

2. Write it down! Get that goal on paper. I prefer good ol’ pen and paper as opposed to the computer. There is something about the person connection of writing that seems to have more power. Having a goal, no matter how good floating around your head with everything else is going to get lost, so write that sucker down.

3. Write it down. Yes, it’s that important. Put it somewhere you can see it throughout the day.

4. Get support. Ask positive people and family members for support. Have them join you. Stay away from those who discourage you with well-meaning comments like, “You don’t need to lose weight, you are fine just the way you are”. Yes, you may be fine, but are YOU happy with where you are? That is all the matters.

5. Set a date. Your goals need to have a sense of urgency or they will never happen. Again, be realistic. If you have a lot of weight to lose, give yourself 6 months to a year. If you reach your goal before that…AWESOME!! If you plan to run a marathon or climb a mountain, make arrangements, pick a race far enough away that you have plenty of time to train without getting injured.

Here is an example of my goals that are written at my gym for all to see. To my surprise, I’ve reached and surpassed a few of them and had to make them bigger.

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Super Strong Nana is coming up on 51

Wow, what happened to the year? Seems like I just turned 50 not long ago. Fifty has been great and I am looking forward to 51. Crazy to think that I will soon be a woman in her “50s”.

I remember thinking 50 was old..hell, I remember thinking 30 was old. Aging was always a scary thought. I think it was because my perception of older people, especially those over 50 was what totally wrong. I used to think that I would be overweight, move slow, drive slow, have a ton of wrinkles, drive a sedan, eat at cafeterias and start all my sentences with, “When I was your age”.

Reality is that I am in better shape, move better and look better than I have in the past 50 years. I drive an awesome fully loaded Chevy Avalanche and I’m happy to report that I have not eaten in a cafeteria. Ok, I have to admit that I have used the words, “When I was your age” a few times, but only to make a point.

One of the best things that I have found that comes with age is that I am less concerned with what people think of me. I can’t tell you how much that has changed my attitude and my self esteem. With age comes wisdom and with wisdom comes peace.

This month I am going to feature interviews with some incredible men and women in their 50s who inspire and motivate me and I hope it does the same for you.

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Super Strong Nana is Sticking to a Plan

Yes, it’s worthy of a headline. If you read my last post, you have learned that I have exercise ADD. I spend a lot of time on the internet and I spend a lot of time reading about other people’s workouts and accomplishments. I get distracted and off track. I then end up starting a whole new workout program which may or may not be in synch with MY goals. Part of my problem is that I like to see if I can do something that someone else has done. There are a lot of strong women out there and I aspire to be one of them. My problem is that in the past, I just tried to incorporate random stuff into my workouts and have found that I haven’t improved on my own goals.

That all changed a couple of weeks ago when I made a decision to stick to a plan to help me reach my goals.

I’m entering my 2nd week of sticking to a workout plan. I have to admit, the hardest part is not getting distracted and not adding to it. I can already see improvements in my strength. My max one time Deadlift was 175. I did that once last month. Most of the workout days call for 2 sets of 5 reps so I’ve been using 135 pounds. I know that doesn’t sound like much but for me, it’s pretty tough. I have found that by the middle of the 2nd week, my 135 pound effort does not take as much effort. It’s getting easier. Pressing is still hard for me as well as the pull ups. I did notice strength I did not have before. I have been trying to climb our 12 foot wall with the rope but without using the foot holds. I’ve never been able to do this with just the rope. While doing a demo of wall climbing for our last Adventure Race Camp, I climbed up the wall..without the foot holds! My intent was just to show those who could, how to do it with just the rope and before I knew it, I was at the top of the wall, much to my surprise. So even though, I didn’t think I was making much progress in my pull ups, I was making some serious progress.

Although I am getting bored of doing the same thing, I love that the workouts are quick. The best part is that since I am not maxing out every time, I have energy left over to work on practicing some of the skills I need for strongman competitions.

If you find that your workouts and goals are all over the place, you owe it to yourself to check out Easy Strength.

Since I have energy after all of my workouts, I get to end with some fun skill work.

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Superstrongnana Turns the Big 5-0

My AARP card arrived in the mail today. I guess it’s official, I am now a senior citizen.

A lot has happened in the past few weeks, including my first ever trip abroad. In case you are wondering, I reached my goal of flipping the tire 50 times. I did it twice, once with my 17 year old son. It’s hard to conceive that in February, I was not sure I could do it. I remember the first few weeks of training and the whole time I had that little voice inside of my head telling me that it can’t be done. I remember days feeling utterly defeated by that tire. I remember the massive bruising and swelling.

I’ve learned that with proper training and progression, I can do way more than I thought possible. I’ve also learned how incredible the human body is at adapting. The last few weeks of my tire flipping training, I never bruised. Not only did my muscles and bones and cardiovascular system adapt to the stress, but so did my tissue.

I’ve been back from vacation for just over a week now and I am slowly getting back into the workout groove and adjusting to our soul sucking heat.

Having reached a goal that I worked so hard for has left me feeling a bit empty and lost. For months I had something to work for and focus on and now that I’ve checked it off my list I’m trying to figure out what’s next for me.

I have so much that I want to do. Accomplishing such an incredible goal is empowering and now I want to set MY bar higher. I find my biggest problem is workout ADD. I want to do it all. I want to train for and be good at everything.

So this week I sat down and sorted through my goals. My goal for this year is to train for and compete in a strongman competition. I’ve been researching and there just aren’t that many women competing. The events change depending on the competition so I know that I have to train for different strength events. The other thing I have my sites set on is passing the new standards to recertify for my RKC level 2.

The new requirements involve doing Windmills, Turkish Get Ups, double presses, push presses and jerks with a Kettlebell that is 1/3 higher than snatch weight. At my current weight, my snatch size bell is the 16 kilo (35 pounds). So that means training to be able to pass all the requirements with a 20-22 kilo bell (45-50 pounds).

Here’s the catch; now that I am 50 years old, I can perform all the required skills with lighter weights, but I don’t want to. How can I inspire my clients and my followers by using my age as a barrier? I started this blog to inspire grandparents and older people everywhere to break through the barriers, stereotypes and limits they or society puts on them due to age.

With two majors goals for the year, I have to get focused. As Dan John says, “I have to make the goal, the goal”. For the next 40 days I will be doing Dan John’s Easy Strength program. It’s simple but not easy. I pick several skills that I want to improve and that is what I do…for 40 days. For the people like me with workout ADD, the hardest part is sticking to the program. The lifts I picked are Deadlift, Presses and Pull ups. To this I add Snatches or some other conditioning work. The workouts are designed to always leave some “gas in the tank”. The sets and reps change but the exercises stay the same…for 40 days.

I love going to my gym and having a plan and I love the idea of focusing on the lifts and get stronger without the stress of doing max weights and going to failure. I find that too many people workout way beyond the point of no return. I love the idea of leaving some gas in the tank.

Yes, I have big, crazy goals for this year, but I will begin by going back to basics. Getting stronger in the major lifts will give me a good base for everything else I want to accomplish in the next year.

I still plan on doing my trail running/walking with friends and I will spend one day a week learning and working on the odd object lifting required for strongman competitions but the meat of my program will be spent on the basics. Simple but not easy.

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This was a very decieving name for a workout

This is a workout me and a few friends did last week. It all started as a joke, but you know how that goes. Jerritt (my awesome workout partner) and I were feeling pretty cocky about our workouts and started bragging about them to Ricky and Megan. Ricky and Megan have both competed in the most extreme race on the planet; The Death Race. Ricky was in town for training for the past two weeks and so as part of his training, he challenged us to a workout duel.

In order to be fair and not stack the workout in me and Jerritt’s favor, we enlisted the help of Sgt. James Fairfield, head of our police department’s TAC team. We did not know what the workout would entail until we arrived at the gym.

The 3 page workout was titled Build a Bear. My memories of bringing my kids to the mall and filling sweet little, cuddly bears with soft stuffing and secret hearts quickly faded as I read through the torture James had prepared for us.

Jerritt and I started strong and were actually a head of Megan and Ricky, but things slowed down as more and more weight was added to our stretcher. We finished building our “bear” but did not make the 1 hour (or more) trip (1.5 mile) back to the gym.

Even though we did not finish, we were pretty proud of ourselves for taking on such an enormous challenge.

Ricky and Megan finished…after all, they are Death Racers.

Here it is.

Build a Bear Workout

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10,500 pounds of Kettlebells and 50 pounds of food

I have so many exciting things to share from the last week but today I will focus on the incredible deliveries I received.

Finally after months of waiting, I finally got notice that my 10,500 pound order of Dragon Door Kettlebells were going to arrive today. They gave me a 2 hours window and I did my best to plan my day around that. First thing I had to get done was a quick workout with my buddy, Jane at my gym. Since Jane doesn’t drive, I agreed to take her to her massage appointment, because after all, who wants to have to ride a bike home after getting a massage?? As far as I’m concerned, I probably saved her life.

I dropped her off and went home to await her text telling me she was ready to be picked up. Just as I pulled up my driveway, the Fed-Ex truck pulls up. My first thought was that my husband ordered another box of cigars, but I saw that the driver was getting out a dolly. If that was cigars, my husband would be in big trouble. It was my food order from Meal Movement!! Fifty pounds of fresh, wholesome eggs,vegetables and meat, that are flash frozen and delivered on dry ice. My food woes are solved!

My plan was to clean out my freezer to make room but I forgot, so I had to cram all of that food anywhere and everywhere I could. I took out some of the packets of veggies so you could see how fresh they are.

This is my second order from Meal Movement. I was afraid of trying a food delivery service especially after reading about all the preservatives in other more popular services, but MM impressed me. It’s not loaded with any junk. There are no starches and best of all the food is so good that my husband and teenage son love it. You could order the 28 days of meals for yourself and really expect to lose weight or do as I do, order it to have a ton of healthy meals that take just seconds to heat up.

It saves us from eating crap and ordering out all the time when we get too busy to cook. It takes away all of my “I can’t eat healthy” excuses. The food is delicious, portion controlled and inexpensive. Don’t just take my word for it, check out Meal Movement for yourself.

No sooner did I get my food put away that I got a call from the shipping company that the Kettlebells were on their way to my house! I must add that I did manage to pick up Jane and drop her limp, relaxed body off safely at her home.

So, as you can see, it’s been quite a day!

If you or your gym want the best Kettlebells on the market, please contact me. I’ve got a few ton to sell. If you aren’t sure about the quality of all the different Kettlebells out there, I made a video.

Now to find a bunch of friends to help me unpack crates and store these bells…Anyone? Bueller?

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