Pictorials.

Or shall we say Fit-torials? Anyway, fantastic workout last night, folks. Let’s walk through it, shall we?

Fitness5

First: the requisite sweaty, social media shot. (Done for Snapchat, in case you’re wondering. And no, I have no idea how it works.)

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A bit of a smug smirk, no? And yet that’s the face you make when you’re murdering a treadmill, folks.

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“This hurts. And you’re not smiling or smirking anymore, are you?”

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Tiny guns growing in them arms. Also, since you see my trusty earbuds, the following artists are great for a workout:

  • Justin Bieber (I’m serious. He’s annoying, but the little boy is talented. We’ll discuss further in another post. Kindly withhold the hurling of tomatoes in this direction.)
  • Anything from the 90s. Last night, I rocked Ini Kamoze and Born Jamericans, great blasts from my past, and they had me literally running in rhythm on the treadmill.
  • Whatever floats your fitness boat, really. I’ve also rocked Carly Simon and Anita Baker in my ears while exercising, so to me, it’s whatever you prefer.

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Closeup of the facial sheen. (I love to see myself sweating.)

 

That’s it for the pictorials. As far as last night’s regimen:

-30 minutes of cardio on the ‘mill

-30 minutes of the following: squats, Russian twists, bicycle crunches, weight lifting (again, trying to birth some guns), and my very favorite, planks. I tried to do multiple reps of each.

-At least several minutes of stretching

You read about my winter struggle to find motivation. Since then, I’ve been really pleased with the turnaround and getting back to my routine, so I wanted to share.

Tell me: if you’re a gym rat or just enjoy exercising/being active, what are some of your favorite things to do?

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Rallying.

In high school, I loved pep rallies. There was something electric about all of us gathered in the gym, screaming for the basketball team or the football team and the loud music and the cheerleaders and all of that. Never mind that in four years of high school (and college, too), I never attended one single sporting event. Not one. (Are you kidding me? Leave home and miss a showing of Beverly Hills, 90210? No, thank you.) But, boy, did I love those rallies. I thought about those pep rallies this past weekend, particularly the rallying part. Those gatherings were meant to push us to action, to come to the game and root for the home team, to be energized and excited. Despite the amusing reminder that I was far more interested in the pre-hoopla than the games/events they were meant for, I was reminded of just much how much I needed that energy this past weekend when I was supposed to get my hind parts off my bed and head to the gym to work out.

You, dear reader, know about my gaining health journey. You know that regular exercise is part of that. But if you live on Planet Earth, dear reader, you also understand the weight of winter. The desire for carbohydrates. The laziness. The doldrums. The inertia. Due to all of those things and quite honestly, having reached a weight that I find mostly satisfying, my visits to the gym have been sporadic, at best. And I can’t accept that. Sporadic for me means eventual oblivion, the disappearance of this routine I’ve built for almost a year. And since my goal is to be healthy and maintain the strides I’ve made so far, sitting on my bed and bemoaning the interruption to my sleep is just not an option.

But I couldn’t rally. I couldn’t. On Saturday, I woke up when the alarm

bosses
But this boss did.

dinged and lay there, gaping at the ceiling. Eventually, I rolled myself out of bed. Since I go to bed with my gym clothes on for mornings that I plan to work out (yep, you read that right), I slowly pulled on my shoes. I sat down. I told myself to stop playing and to get going. I stood up. I sat down again. After several minutes of this silly back and forth, I stumbled into the bathroom, brushed my teeth, bid a hasty goodbye to my mother, and went to the gym. It was a fantastic workout. On Sunday, the same things happened. This time, however, I walked in and out of the house three times before I abandoned my efforts and returned to the couch on the living room, muttering to myself that I was late anyway and didn’t have time. No workout happened.

What happened, y’all? Particularly on Sunday? Why couldn’t I walk to my car and just turn it on and go? Why did my motivation, already tattered, essentially give out until I found myself on the couch, chewing on a health bar and berating my lack of energy? Could be an assortment of answers. But like a pair of dangling, ignored gym shoes on a Sunday morning, I will leave them unanswered.

Today, I have my gym clothes here at work. When I’m done for the day, I’ll change and head to my exercise class this evening. The rest of my exercise schedule this week is planned, and I hope to see all those plans through. Realistically, this may or may not happen. But I intend on sticking to my schedule, and I intend on sticking like glue.

Even if I have to call upon my inner 15 year-old, sitting in a gym with gleaming eyes and a giddily racing heart, excited beyond measure, I will rally.

Reader, have you had mornings like this? How did you push yourself? Tell me in the comments, won’t you?

Honesty.

You’ve read about my goal to improve my lifestyle. (Herehere, and here.) This afternoon, while the snow falls down yet again in Somewheres, VA, I’m sitting on the couch and reflecting about said goals. Quite simply, I can honestly say that this lifestyle change process has been the most honest I’ve been with myself. What do I mean?

First of all, like most women, I’ve struggled with weight since I was a pre-teen. It’s life. You either struggle with it or you don’t. And I have. I’ve tried everything in combating this struggle. Diet pills, diet shakes, medication prescribed by my doctor, Weight Watchers, the list goes on. It came to a point, I think, when I decided to simply stop trying. I would eat well when I could, and I would exercise when I could. Needless to say, no one saying “when I can” when it comes to eating right and exercising means to find any kind of success. Fatty foods taste great. They are easy to obtain. So, sure, I would go to an aerobics class here and there and find some vegetables, but largely, everything I was doing was still pretty toxic.

But a decision had to be made. My health was spiraling. In the end, I was allowing a quick, fatty bite of food to take over my quality of life. It came to a point when I woke up one day and decided to stop giving these objects rein over my life. I didn’t want to conform to my whims. And I’m the oldest child, so you know the lack of control in these things was kind of killing me, right? (We firsts like control.) Serious changes had to be made. I began the journey.

Three months later, I’m continuing to gain health, not merely lose weight or inches. And I’m doing it my way. That’s where the honesty comes in. There is no conduit to this gaining health. No pills, no shakes, no counting points. It’s all just me. Do I believe that my fellow weight strugglers are somehow not being honest with themselves and their processes if they take pills or shakes or count points? Absolutely not. My point is that those things didn’t work for me. I would never condemn things that work for other people. But for me, I used those things as crutches to continue my toxic behavior. I ate Whoppers whenever I wanted because I knew I would take a pill the next day. You get my drift. Now, I’m simply working hard on my own. Dreaming of big mounds of bread and choosing spinach instead. Watching my portions. Waking up and exercising when every fiber of my being wants to stay in bed. Suffering when I make a bad choice (because this is by no means a perfect process, but it’s very real, very hard, and quite realistically, subject to failure here and there). With the ups and downs, the good and bad, I just feel honest and real with myself.

I told my bestie one evening that I didn’t want this to be a flash in the pan, an impulsive and quixotic quest for health that would be abandoned in a few months or so. Because it’s happened before. I know myself. I get into a groove and then I abandon it. Her advice? Baby steps. And that’s it. I won’t do anything perfectly. But I’ll take these tiny steps as best as I can and one day at a time. Falling down will stink when it happens, but it’s OK, because I will do my very best to get up and move forward. In other words I accept wholeheartedly that I’m a baby again. (My mother will tell you that I never stopped being one.)

So to all of you who are enduring and going through this process day by day: good job, baby.

The Unholy Hour. (Or, the Gym Diaries)

Hi. And ouch. But a good ouch. So for the past few days, I’ve been waking up at 5AM to go to the gym before reporting to the OK Corral.

Truth. But it's getting better.
Truth. But it’s getting better.

Yep, you read that right.

Since you’re getting to know me here on TSP, let me educate you on a few things about me:

1. I generally feel that 5AM is reserved for murders, crime, and anything unsavory. That explains the whole unholy hour thing.
2. Like a newborn, my eyes don’t function…before 7AM. In other words, I have no ability to open them and/or use them prior to that time.
3. I am a night owl, so waking up that early is usually very painful and accompanied by a primal scream here and there.

In short, I don’t like waking up early. I loathe it.  But I’m also committed to new this healthy lifestyle I’m aiming for, and I fully recognize that this includes a regular exercising schedule. Most of the time, I prefer to work out in the evenings–there’s a dance aerobics class that I enjoy going to in the evening, I tend to be more cognizant and lucid at sundown, etc. But this also means coming home with the endorphins all wild and crazy and having a difficult time winding down and finally getting to sleep. A friend of mine suggested that I exercise before work. No, I didn’t push her down a flight of stairs for suggesting that I rise at the unholy hour and exercise. (By the way, it has to be 5AM, being that I commute to work and need time to both exercise and head back home and prepare to arrive at the OK Corral a reasonable time.) I was just convinced that it wouldn’t work, being that when I tried it in the past, it petered out in a week or so. So initially, I thanked her for her suggestion, didn’t push her down a flight of stairs, and kind of moved on.

Then last Sunday, I woke up and went to the gym in the morning. Like I just woke up and did it. And I enjoyed it immensely.

Yeah, man.

It gave me energy throughout the day. Check.
It felt great. Check.
I got it out of the way. Check.
The gym was virtually empty, which is my absolute favorite thing in the world.
Check, check, check. run

Essentially: hook, line, sinker. So far, I’ve been enjoying it. And the belief that waking up so early would tire me out for the day? Hasn’t happened. Why? Because this night owl has been going to bed at 9PM! Whaaaaat? Could This Square Peg be letting go of her nighttime-is-the-right-time ways? I’ll say this: it feels good to get a good night’s rest. Just call me Captain Obvious, why don’t you.

Lest I throw all my exercise eggs in one basket, however, I won’t be doing it every morning. Thursdays are still reserved for my aerobics class in the evening (7:30PM), which still gives me time to get home and force myself to shut these newborn eyes at a good time. Anyway, onwards and upwards, rig

ht?

Tell Me: What time of day do you prefer to work out and why?