Day 31: Doing Time

Every morning when I wake up at 4:45 am my first thought is: “I cannot go to the gym today. I have to come home and take a nap.”

Every morning. I’m able to recognize it and start laughing when these thoughts pop up – even as I go take a shower, then eat breakfast, then put on my makeup – the dialogue continues: “I just can’t do it today. I’m too tired. I’m too busy. I’ve got too much going on. I really need to come home and nap.”

It doesn’t matter how early I go to bed – even when I’m sleeping 7 hours a night – I don’t think I’ll ever wake up at 4:45 am with a big smile on my face ready to embrace the day. After I fully wake up and drive to work and get my day started, those thoughts totally disappear. Usually by the time I get to the gym, my mind is in a totally different space. But sometimes it’s not. Sometimes I just don’t wanna do anything all day long but come home and hibernate. And watch Law & Order re-runs on Netflix.

That’s why when I saw this posted on Pauline Nordin’s Facebook page, I liked the hell out of it:

“Scenario: you feel your body isn’t cooperating and it zaps all your energy. Last thing you want is to go work out.

Solution: here is when you practice dedication. Take down the ambitions of a super workout. Instead, just get to the gym. Do a really crappy workout, don’t try to outperform yourself just for today. For once, do your gym time. The importance is to keep the habit up, the rhythm of just going even when you’re not 100% on. This is what people miss. It’s not about burning calories, it’s about building psychological momentum.”

-Pauline Nordin

Hell. yes. This makes so much sense, and in hindsight, I’ve totally done this before. I mean, this wouldn’t work out well if I lowered my standards all the time -and if I were constantly ‘fighting’ my body each time it was time to hit the gym, I’d take a look at a few other things in my life (my Hashimoto’s, how much sleep I’m getting, my food intake, etc.). But this is such spot on advice.

See, motivation is such a tricky thing. It fluctuates and changes, and if I rely on the motivation I had last week, it’s not guaranteed to carry me through this week. In fact, I just read this awesome article by James Clear that pretty much echoes what I’ve been realizing lately. It’s as much about the process of achieving your goal, as it is about the goal itself. Sure, it’s inspiring and motivating to look at pictures of bikini pros like Amanda Latona; it helps me visualize what the sum of all my little efforts will (hopefully) look like. But after a while of admiring pictures of the pro’s on Instagram my mind will start to wander, and it’s hard not to compare myself to their progress. My goal of competing in February starts to seem impossible, implausible, unrealistic. I start losing the vision. To come back to center, I have to just focus on my system and the tiny steps that it’s going to take to ultimately reach that goal. For today, I am going to the gym at 4 pm to work shoulders (because it’s what I committed to when I laid out my gym schedule on Sunday). For today, I’m going to have faith in the process and believe that if I stay consistent, I will succeed in the long run. For today, even if I do a shitty job at the gym, I’ve stayed true to my schedule and this process and I at least succeeded at building that “psychological momentum”.

If you have a second, check out Pauline Nordin at her website. She’s a total badass. She’s not your standard likable fitness guru. She knows she’s hardcore and has a giant ego and doesn’t hide it. Maybe that’s another reason I like this quote from her so much. It comforts me to know that she has to cope with also being a fallible human with “off days”.

 

Advertisements

Day 7: Quickie but goodie

make time pic

This is all I got today, folks. I got to work a little later than I had planned and I was slammed all day long. Before I knew it, it was 4 pm. I had about 2 hours and 45 minutes to hit the gym, take a shower, eat dinner and drive out to the valley to make my meeting at 6:45 pm. It would have been easy to skip the work out-push it to tomorrow. Instead, I ran over to the gym and lifted for an hour. I killed it, too! I was focused and had tunnel vision and cut my rest periods in between sets a little shorter than normal. I ran into the showers & rinsed off. Got in my car and jumped on the freeway and proceeded to scarf down the turkey meatloaf and raw asparagus I had prepped the night before. I made it out to the valley…just in time to get a text telling me my meeting had been cancelled. Ha! Still felt like a champ. Did I enjoy taking a 30-second shower where I didn’t even wash my face or re-do my makeup? Hell no. Was it comfortable eating cold turkey meatloaf in my car while sitting in traffic? Double hell no. But sometimes, that’s what making the time looks like. Am I glad that’s what I did instead of making an excuse to skip the gym? Absolutely.

I’m also totally feeling the Boy Scout motto: Be Prepared!! Here’s the reality: had I not prepped my food the night before, I would have had to skip the gym to make time to stop and buy dinner on the way to my meeting. Most likely, that food would not have been as healthy as my awesome lean turkey meatloaf. Cheat meal + skipping the gym = no bueno.

I’m finding it’s all about making tiny changes and sacrifices. I’ve realized that in all other areas of my life, if I want it bad enough, I make it happen. I’m the kind of girl who gets what she wants. Why not apply that dedication to my fitness and stop making excuses?

food in car

 

Day 6: Tired & Sore

I wasn’t feelin’ it today.  I don’t think there’s a single part of my body that ain’t sore. My shoulders, my triceps, my forearms, my back…my booty! Ugh! I was walking funny around the office today and could barely get out of my chair. I’ve really kicked butt this week and I was thinking this would be a perfect day to rest and recover and not hit the gym. Instead….I found myself at the Santa Monica Stairs. Now that’s dedication, cuz these stairs are beyond tough.

sm stairs

That’s 107 steps ascending up a total of 109 feet. They’re a killer but it’s such a great alternative to the gym. Since I find cardio boring and horrible, this place really makes it bearable. You’re blocks from the ocean, there’s a nice breeze and you have a beautiful view of the Palisades at the top. There are actually two sets of stairs – one is concrete, the other is wooden. I like running the wooden stairs since there’s a little give to them and it’s easier on my joints.

I haven’t run the stairs in a long time but was still able to do 10 reps in 32 minutes.  I count going all the up and all the way back down as ONE set. I do a combination of skipping steps, jogging up one step at a time, or walking. Sometimes I feel like crawling. However you do them, you’ll be a sweaty hot miserable mess in no time. Here are some suggestions if you wanna run the stairs (or any stairs close to you):

1) Bring plenty of water. No joke. It gets hot and you need to stay hydrated. Bonus Tip: I park at the top on Adelaide Drive but I leave my water at the bottom – that way if I get to the top and don’t feel like finishing all my sets I’m forced to go back down & up once more to get my water bottle.

2) Bring a hat and/or sunglasses.

3) Please don’t spray a shit ton of perfume on right before you arrive. All the Palisades and Santa Monica milfs like to layer it on and then prance around. It can smell, quite frankly, like a whorehouse sometimes. I’d much rather be smelling the ocean – which is literally down the street. Stop it ladies, please.

4) If you’re not comfortable wearing tiny booty shorts – don’t do it. They ride up and everyone behind you has quite a clear view of you digging out your wedgies as you self-consciously climb the steps.

5) Do stretch before & after. Or start with a slow one-step-at-a-time warm up set.

6) Bring a carb and/or protein heavy snack for right after – this workout really takes it outta you and I don’t like driving home feeling light-headed and dizzy.

7) Grrrr. Sorry my blog is so ghetto still. I give up trying to get the image of this map to show up. Here’s a link if you wanna hit those stairs: http://mapq.st/1sAeRCf

Day 1: The video that started it all

Yesterday at work, while I was in a trance gazing admiringly at pictures of Amanda Latona, I started seriously contemplating the idea of entering my first novice bikini competition. I’ve known deep down inside that this is something I’ve wanted to try, but honestly – I really didn’t think I could swing it. I can be plagued by the fear of losing or looking bad. It has been pointed out to me that if I think I’m not going to win, I refuse to play. Also, I keep telling myself that I’m just not strong enough to make the sacrifices that are needed to not look like a damn fool up on stage in a tiny bikini. So, what does one do once they make the decision to compete in a bodybuilding competition? Nap!!!

I left work, drove home, and was intent on jumping into bed and taking a looong nap. As I was laying there, I checked Facebook and got a notification that my good friend Rodney had posted some damn video and tagged me. Despite the fact that it wasn’t a video about cute animals doing something adorable, I watched it anyway.

Goddamit Rodney. I don’t know what happened but by the end of this video I was nearly in tears, Amex in hand, entering the NPC Gold Coast Muscle Classic.

So yeah. Today is Day 1. I have 149 days left to train and prepare for this contest. I’m going chronicle this journey day by day and see what happens.

I’m going to post what I eat, and how I train. Nothing too formal. Maybe things will change. Stay tuned.

DAY 1 Breakfast: 1 whole egg, 2 egg whites, with some peanut butter on them (I know, it sounds weird, I’ve been putting PB on my eggs since I was little) and one slice of turkey bacon.

Afternoon snack: handful of almonds, sliced apples, some carrots and hummus.

I didn’t want to work out. I really didn’t. But how could I skip a work out on Day 1 of this journey? I couldn’t. I knew that would be wrong. So, I forced myself to do some cardio. I hate cardio with every molecule in my body and it shows in my tummy. I downloaded an app called “Interval Timer” on my iPhone and went at it. I took my dog Julius with me but he’s a goddamn wimp out in the heat so I immediately brought him back home and hit the pavement on my own. I did 10 intervals, 60 seconds of sprinting, then 60 seconds of fast walking. Here are some of the thoughts I contemplated prior to my workout:

1) I hate running in the heat – I should wait till the sun goes down – I’ll be able to run longer and harder if it’s cooler.

2) Running makes my legs sore and I want to train glutes on Monday.

3) I haven’t eaten enough today so I should go eat, then wait 45 minutes and then run.

4) I should read another article on Bodybuilding.com about HIIT cardio and then go run.

Those are all excellent reasons. You see, I’m well versed in the art of self-bullshitting. I can lie to myself all day long. Here’s what happened: I imagined myself being a soft-bellied amateur on stage with a bunch of trained hotties and before you know it, I was laced up and drinking some crack juice (aka, pre-workout supplement).

The funniest thing happens after I run: I feel fucking awesome. I feel like a bad-ass. I came home so pumped up and high on endorphins I went outside, laid down on a blanket on the grass and did some ab work. I did every ab exercise I knew in quick succession, took a quick 45 second rest, and did one more round.  Julius licked sweat off the back of my legs as I planked and even though that is disgusting, I didn’t stop. Ewwwww.

I have to make my own perfect opportunities. I can’t wait for the sun to go down, I can’t wait for the temperature to drop, I can’t wait until I understand the ins and outs of perfect HIIT training techniques — I have to get the fuck out there and run my ass off. I have to train whenever I can, however I can, under whatever circumstances I am faced with.

“When the messenger of misery visits me…what’s going to keep me in the game?” That part of the video hit me hard. I think this is more than just a silly bikini competition to me.This will be a daily reminder that I’ve been going too easy on myself. Things have just been too damn comfortable. I need to break out and make some changes and this is the first one. I am going to do something that right now I am absolutely uncomfortable committing to. I need to embrace the idea that I can be my own biggest enemy and overcome that shitty little voice in my head telling me I can’t – when in my gut I know it’s possible.