Saturday, January 31, 2015

Race Day Competition 101: Preparing for Your Beast Moment. How to Do It

I almost called this blog post Lung Burning 101 but realized that sounds discouraging. I opted to row the shortest distance in the competition, 500 meters. As a spectator, this is a quick race just around 2 minutes. As a racer, it's two minutes or less of anaerobic (NO OXYGEN) work that burns from the inside out. Race day had the following fears dancing in the back of my mind:What if I finish then puke and fall on my face, or worse, what if I crap my pants during the race? Well, good news is, I didn't do any of those; though it would have made a fabulous read if I had.

You can't see it but I'm standing on top of the #1, finished first in my age group (and also ONLY person in my age group)
Prep Time Basics: Because the prep is usually the most fun!
There were things I did right and wrong today during preparation. I realized I have never prepared for a sprinting event, all my prior races were endurance (half marathons or long races) so this was new territory for me. But I think these are basic rules that work for me in most races:

1. Lesson #1: race time was 3pm:  so I had all day to obsess over it. ShItey.

2. Dork move #1: drank coffee this morning. I am not a coffee drinker, never add new things to your diet on race day. Duh. I knew this but I fell victim to the warm deliciousness in the wee morning hours. My punishment was massive race day jitters + caffeine which made me edgy (NOT in a good way).

Pre-Race Bliss
3. Did It Well: Water intake was increased 3 days before the race, I was chugging over a gallon a day so I would be fully lubed. Stopped chugging water 3-hours before race time to avoid having a full bladder. Your body has already absorbed its water intake by this point, no need to chug more. Small water sips are OK 3 hours before races, but chugging is not. Learned this in Paleo Diet for Athletes and it's a system that has always worked for me. Anyone ever seen the lines for the porta pottys at running races? Don't do that to yourself.

4. Got this! Fully digested my food. You want NO food in your belly, nothing to detour your blood. You want all your blood going to your muscles, not your digestion. So I kept 4 hours between lunch and gun time. Also, with no food in my gut the risk of puking was minuscule

6. Meditation/relaxation. I took time to chill and listen to the Art of Manifesting audio while I visualized myself rowing. Would have loved to have taken a nap but I was too amped up (coffee.)

Post Race. Captured Exactly How I Felt
What I couldn't figure out was at the end, I wasn't able to push off the foot pedals enough, my technique was off but it was go-time so there was no time to try to figure it out. I felt like I couldn't fully drive with as much power as I wanted to. Also, Post race left me with burning lungs for about 10-15minutes. I have NEVER experienced it that long before in my life. Rowing puts other cardio equipment to shame. 

Also, I noticed I was the only one breathing loudly during the race. Upon further review of pictures I saw all the guys making this face. It's puffed cheeks, and they all did it at some point. Am I missing something or did I just discover why women are slower than men in rowing. You decide. 

Puffed cheeks! Might be something to this

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Goal Setting: Making 2015 My Best Year in Fitness

So, part of establishing goals is writing it down. For me, I added the bonus of posting online for the world to see (or at least my Mom who is my most consistent reader!) So here goes. Lofty or not, I decided to look at these goals non-nonchalantly and say, "I'm just going to try..." Instead of making a big deal out of it and putting my nerves in a tizzy. 

So, in 2015 I'm just going to try, the following:

1) To run in the Spartan Elite - May 2015 in Colorado. It's a muddy obstacle race for time, which includes rope climbs and a lot of crazy chicks, if any crazies wanna join. I am assuming I can just qualify myself for this race and go try it. This is what I need- getting comfortable with competition. 

2. To do a double Tough Mudder - in Phoenix, which means race on Saturday AND Sunday. Each Tough Mudder is approximately 10 miles and thus this would be 20miles of running mixed with obstacles with one night of rest between. Planning on this for Mid-March.

3. To hike the continental divide - a 36-mile hike with no sleeping. This means straight hiking for an excess of 12-hours. I better buy some good hiking boots, REI here I come!

4) To do The World's Toughest Mudder, November 14, 2015. This is an intense obstacle course with running. It is a 5-mile loop and includes crazy shenanigans like water, fire, walls and freezing night temps as it's in the Nevada desert. Oh, did I mention you loop the course and the race doesn't end until after 24-hours? There's the kicker. The goal is to complete as many miles as you can in 24-hours, my goal would be 50-60miles.

And for fitness goal of things I can work on immediately:

1) Walking on my hands - for 25 meters
2) Double Unders - these are always on my goals list
3) Doing 20 kippping pull ups in a row
4) Do an aerial (no handed) cartwheel 
5) Grow out my fingernails - this is a struggle for me. Everytime I write a blOg, I bite my nails off. Its an awful nervous habit
6) Back squat 200#

What are your fitness goals? What changes need to be made to make those dreams real for you.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Personal Weight Loss Story With Pics, A 3-Step Process

This is a quick post about the other way to lose weight/get skinny. I thought it would be important to detail my changes on a more personal level.
Here are some weight loss before/after pics. 

My Weight Loss: 3 Parts

Part #1, Emotional Part: I got entirely FED UP with obsessing over my body and not taking proactive steps to correct it. I had always wanted to be fit and thin but I didn't ever take the reigns to make it happen. The part I didn't realize until my weight came off was the own mental limitation. Turns out, I was hiding myself in a box. I wasn't playing life big, because I was afraid. In order to lose weight it meant I had to do things that scared me and forced me out of my fear box. But for others, it is the other way around, where the weight loss comes after the mental change. Either way, they both work together to propel each other.

BEFORE. Wearing scarf on the left side. 2009

AFTER. My 2nd Tough Mudder in Dallas.  Fall 2014

After. Feeling confident! Summer 2014

The second part, the workout part of my weight loss was fear based. I was scared to go to the gym and look chubby, terrified to try a pull up while people were watching. I was scared to bare my legs. I was scared to look stupid. I was afraid to walk into a gym. I was scared to try to lift heavy weight; and then I decided being fit was more important than my lousy fears and said to myself, "I'm just going to try these new things. I'm just going to try to do a pull up, I'm just going to try to do this really hard workout, I'm willing to be uncomfortable to get my dream body." My IPOD became my crutch, I cranked it up at the gym and I just went for it. The fitness aspect was my most propelling factor in weight loss.

#3, Nutrition portion. My weight loss switch flipped into turbo mode when I altered my diet. I allowed myself to feel massive guilt after I ate things that were working against myself. The guilt became impressionable enough that the next time I was in that situation, I didn't want to feel it again. The decision to change your eating for the better is SOOOOO difficult the first few times you make good choices. My choice to eat a light meal and walk away without feeling full, was incredibly hard. That first meal might make you feel deprived initially, but each powerful decision like that makes the next easier. And pretty soon you are feeling in control and you realize you had been giving all your control to the food before. It's like cleaning your sunglasses off, suddenly you can see clearly. Your body is feeling light and you feel  full of energy instead of sluggish. Then that drives you to keep reaching for more. It's an awesome process and I am lucky to have gone through it because it toughened me up. Some people never struggle with food and eating, but that was never me.

My body changed overnight, and I'm not kidding. It happened so fast that clothes stopped fitting within a week of having #1,2, and 3 all working together like a rowing team. But everyday was me pushing for it. Everyday I grew out of my box by doing things that scared me, I left my comfort zone and blew up that box I had created for myself. Every workout was difficult for myself and I established a structured eating schedule. And the part of my personality that I dropped is the part that was playing small and hiding from the world. The workouts pushed me outside my box so I couldn't hide anymore. The me who thought I needed to hide inside a shell realized the sun was still shining, the birds still chirping and life still went on outside my box. Yea!

I Never Ate a Tub of Ice Cream Wearing a Fancy Dress; The Other Way To Get Skinny

Girl Crush Alert!
So does everybody have a crush on Jillian Michaels from The Biggest Loser? I used to watch The Biggest Loser religiously, for my girl crush AND because I love to be inspired by weight loss transformations. The Biggest Loser has the best weight loss transformations, and the motivation just shoots out of my TV like Mardi Gras beads on Bourbon Street. Usually by the last few episodes of a season I can pinpoint who the finalists are going to be. Don't call me psychic too quickly though, there's a method to this prediction.

The first few episodes of the season for The Biggest Loser are Debbie Downer's favorite episodes, really tough to watch. You are watching people's excuses come in full swing, and the contestants are often at their lowest, emotionally and physically; which makes things very negative.

However, just wait until the trainers (welcome, Jillian!) get to work on them and their attitudes snap from piss poor to positive and dedicated. The contestants become empowered,  through pushing past physical limits and thus they drop their "wo is me" attitude like it's a Justin Beiber CD (kinda rude but just proved my point). I can tell who has a good chance of winning because they have a dramatic shift in their personality. Suddenly, the contestants are beaming, lit up by the joy of life and trans-formative glory is happening before our eyes. The biggest mental changes = the biggest physical changes. 

Ali, My Fav contestant  (first girl to win Biggest Loser)

Two Ways Purposeful Weight Loss Happens:

A) Forced with structured eating and a dedicated workout regimen; could just be temporary if #B (below) doesn't happen - read on for more

B) Natural decrease in appetite, change in personality and/or change in physical demands, release of limitations and old thought patterns, no longer telling 'your story' from a victimization standpoint

The great part is that a lot of the time forced weight loss (A) can blossom into a natural decrease in your appetite (B) which is what happened to me. So here's what all this means: Weight loss will happen permanently and effortlessly when you have a major change in your personality. You have to be willing to disregard and or drop the part of your personality that is locking you in to your current weight/body. Weight loss is about transforming your mind and body, not just your body. There is a powerful mind body connection that can not be ignored if you want to lost weight. 

The mean voice inside your head that has been whispering cruel nothings into your ear your whole life- that BS has to go, and IMMEDIATELY. Sometimes that voice says you aren't good enough, you need protection from something/someone, you will never be loved, or you aren't worth anything. But the trick is that you have to turn off those negative thoughts because they are the thoughts drawing in to eat when you aren't even hungry. They are the emotional triggers that pull you away from reaching your goals.

Let's take a few steps back to when you were a baby. Awe. So sweet. Babies have a natural appetite, they eat when they are hungry and they stop when no longer hungry. We were ALL born like this. It's a perfect system. Babies might eat more one day and the next eat not much of anything but its perfectly calibrated for their activity expenditure and growth patterns. 

When we are having fun and doing what we want to be doing out of pure pleasure, then food stops being our go-to back-up friend. Kids can easily pass up dinner when they are building a fort with friends. Can we adults learn to make life so much fun that food doesn't draw us in emotionally? Craving foods that nourish you can come naturally if you restore your appetite by eating nutritious foods. Losing weight does not have to feel rigid, it's the opposite. Part of it all is eating the right foods. When your body is getting the vitamins and minerals it needs, it begins to calibrate to a right way of eating. Think veggies instead of dessert. 

This life is too precious for any one in the world to play small and hide away. Everyone has a unique gift to offer as we were all created with divine intent. When we are hiding behind extra weight, or hiding behind (food) addictions we can't offer that gift to the world. So, what self depreciating thoughts are you thinking right now that take away your control? Even right now are you thinking you aren't strong enough, motivated enough, smart enough, worthy enough? Weight loss is about shedding an aspect of yourself that no longer serves you. 

Something I learned in rowing class recently, is how to become comfortable with feeling uncomfortable.You are not too old, too short, too slow, too busy, too nerdy, too stinky for anything. You are plenty. You are perfect. You are just right. Your body is perfect as it is right now, it suits you for everything you are asking of it. But maybe you are ready (or close to ready) to ask more of it? When you're really ready to ask more of your body, it will step up to the plate- I guarantee it.

So what's the other way to get skinny? Ditch the part that says you can't do something because your Dad never loved you, or because you were never taught how to exercise or because your genetic coding or because you're addicted to peanut butter (guilty!) All excuses. All fear-based. All, very much needing to be kicked to the curb. If you can ditch that part of your personality and realize you have all the power, then you can fly. 


There's usually an autopilot mode that takes control when you aren't paying full attention to living. It's called your subconscious and it is made up of childish notions that are NOT true. Things like why bother losing weight if it takes that much work, even if I lose weight I will still have these love handles, I'll start next week when I feel less stressed- Things that you say to justify eating the food you regret later. 

Remember, your body is always in the present moment. Your hand can easily be moving the cookie into your mouth (without realizing it) when you aren't in the present moment. A prime example of this is when watching TV and eating. So, try this: sit down to eat, and only eat - no cell phone, reading material, no Netflix - NOTHING. Just you and your grub. (And avoid food when you are extremely emotional, your body likes to store that food as fat. (Read Cortisol post)) If you need help staying present, go find a kiddo to talk to, they are present 100% of the time. You can borrow one of mine if needed :)

STEP #2 - Fill this out: This is to help you discover the steps you need to reach your goals:

1. Being skinny/thin looks like: (describe in detail) _______________________________________

2. Why do I want to be skinny/thin? ___________________________________________________
3. What will change in my life when I am thin/skinny: _____________________________________
4. What will be difficult about being skinny/thin: _________________________________________
5. What changes do I have to make to reach my Happy weight:_____________________________
6. Is there something that is holding me back from my dream weight: ________________________
7. Long term fitness goal:____________________________________________________________

Here are my answers:
  1. Being skinny/thin looks like: Being comfortable in your own skin, able to socialize with ease, can focus on issues instead of weight, can eat in front of others socially without feeling embarrassed, can feel beautiful and confident. Can wear clothes and not try to cover up. Weight is 125-130lbs. Clothes are not tight. 
  2. To run like the wind, to do obstacle races, to be a good example to my kids, to not have to be held back from my weight
  3. I will begin to focus on other issues that have been masked by my weight. I will come out of hiding. I will eat more veggies. I will not overeat in times of emotional stress.
  4. Dealing with sexual attraction (this is REAL and a lot of people have this fear) and feel deprived at parties, moving forward in life without stagnation (what career is best for me)
  5. More broccoli, less snacks, making "me" time a priority, staying out of my comfort zone permanently, meditation, drinking enough water, much better portion control, NO SUGAR, less alcohol
  6. Staying out of my comfort zone, wondering if I am strong enough to maintain it
  7. World's Toughest Mudder, 36-mile Continental Divide Hike, Run with elite runners of Spartan

STEP #3 -  Write a FOOD LOG for a day - no judgement- it's for your eyes only!

The calories column is optional - but you can use a calorie counter app if you are curious. The purpose of this is to make you accountable for what you ingest. This is so simple and POWERFUL. And easy to procrastinate. It took me months to do mine, but when I wanted to get real results, I wrote it down.  This is how you keep track of what food you are putting into your mouth, it keeps you present around food, 
you need this, trust me.

Breakfast: _________________________________  Calories __________________
                _________________________________                __________________
                _________________________________                __________________
                _________________________________                __________________
Snack       _________________________________  Calories __________________
                _________________________________                __________________
Lunch:      _________________________________  Calories __________________
                _________________________________                __________________
                _________________________________                __________________
                _________________________________                __________________
Snack:      _________________________________  Calories __________________
                _________________________________                __________________
Dinner:     _________________________________  Calories __________________
                _________________________________                __________________
                _________________________________                __________________
                _________________________________                __________________
Snack:     _________________________________                 __________________

STEP #3 - Act the part! Act as if...

1. Look in the mirror at home and declare you are staring at a sexy beast. Self-loathing is your enemy. Self-love will get you anything you want. You have tried the other way, right?  Be positive and tell yourself loving thoughts when you look in the mirror.

2. Feel attractive. If that means shopping for new clothes, then damn, let me twist your arm. You want to feel beautiful at every size, you want to show yourself that you love your figure in every shape, unconditionally, not just when you reach a certain size. Also, groom yourself - paint your pretty toes, do your hair, trim your unruly nose hairs. Show mass love to your body and your body will give it right back. I never ate a tub of ice cream wearing my most fancy dress. I ate the tub of ice cream in my jammies feeling sorry for myself. 

Hope this helps. The topic is hard to give direct advise because your comfort zone and your fears are unique for each person. I would love to help you if you wanna email me for support! Best of luck to us all in our journey. And remember, fitness is a journey - there will be hills and ponds and freakin oceans to cross but we can do it- if the desire is there to transform your body, then trust that you can make it happen. Much love!

Some before and after pics I gathered from Tumblr for your motivation. Love some transformations!

None of these are my pics thus none are me, just some sprinkling of motivation!

Related Weight Loss Posts:
Tame Your Sugar Dragon
Making Your Meat Suit Habitable 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Practice. Re-calibrating: Creating A Limitless 2015

During a New Years Day yoga class, the instructor said so many insightful things that I regretted not bringing my pen and paper to write them all down. The most important statement she made was to let go of everything that no longer serves you. Instead of busting out singing, "Let It Go!" (Frozen soundtrack) which I almost did, I really took this one to heart. What has taken place in 2014 that I need to let go of? And What do I need to look back on and appreciate? Here's my version of Resolutions:

What No Longer Serves Me: 

1. Sugar - Blood sugar instabilities do not treat me well, in fact sugar makes gets me really down on myself, not just guilt about the consumption but the chemical reaction in my body makes my self confidence dip and de-motivates me. It's a war I will always fight. Honey and maple syrup don't bother me, it's just the refined stuff. So being sugar free is a hard limit.
2. Self-loathing - If I had just a half Lululemon shirt for every time my hubby had to pull me out of my dark and gloomy hole - I'd be so well dressed you might think I was a fitness model. When I start getting down on myself  (why am I not thinner, stronger or more disciplined) I have a hard time flipping the switch back to gratitude and positive thoughts. Sometimes it takes drastic action or a swift kick to the rear to knock me back in line. No more self loathing, it never helped anyone.
3. Working out at the butt crack of dawn when I haven't slept the night before. It just makes me a stress ball the rest of the day. I prefer to get my sleep and try to make up the workout later. No guilt, just resolve to get a better nights sleep.
4. Not appreciating where I am now from where I started a year ago. It's easy to nit pick but it's harder and more rewarding to look at the big picture. I've come a long way in a year. See bragging rights below:

Three Things I'm Moving Towards:
I also am borrowing an idea for the new year from a post I recently read. Instead of listing resolutions, you write out 3 words that you want to move towards. The changes you want to see can be practiced, there can be re-calibrations, there can be changes in direction, it's not a perfect straight line. The destination is more like a tree. The trunk leads up to branches which go all different directions. My best advice is to work on what you want to be better at. Someone recently reminded me that it's a journey, not one final there and done.

1. LOVE - To give and receive LOVE without limits. My daughters have shown me how to love unconditionally and I want to give that right back. Also, to give LOVE to myself and make up for all those times I looked in the mirror and felt total rage or disappointment: I don't want to do that anymore. Love never feels bad but Self Loathing ruins everything. We are all divine, no matter what you have done or who you think you are - you are awesome! Self loathing never gets you anywhere, but love - it's a train you wanna hop on. 12 ways to love yourself NOW.

2. PRESENCE - I am so bad about lingering aimlessly inside my head rather than living in the present moment. My kids live there full time & when I let myself go there I become the happiest woman alive. The present moment has so much to offer if we pay attention. But we have to get off our cell phones, listen without judgement, and stop over thinking if we want to experience it.  A good quote I just heard was:

“If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.” - Lao Tzu  

3. Courage - There are so many times during a workout that I think, "I can't do this!" right before we start a Crossfit class. One of those times was to do multiple clean and jerk at 115 pounds. Those times have made me realize that I don't give myself enough credit nor do I push myself hard enough in life and thus, in the gym. Courage is something I need to practice more often in my life. 

Year 2014 Fitness in Review: A.K.A. Bragging Rights

1. Fitness milestones surpassed all over the place: flipping tires like a man, bar muscle ups, learned pistols
2. Discovery of Epsom salt baths - oh my god the relaxation hit like never before
3. Got my Crossfit Level 1 Certification - one weekend, one test, one happy girl.
4. Completed my first Tough Mudder and Spartan Sprint
5. Met some like-minded fitness enthusiasts to keep me on track with ease, you know who you are!
6. Found a sledding hill within 5 miles of my house to help survive Colorado snow storms
7. Paddle boarding for my first time in Santa Barbara
8. Hiked Pikes Peak 14er (26 miles round trip)
9. Gave up sugar - about 5 times. Each time I never looked back
10. Met Matt Chan. The Legend.

Good luck to you in giving up what no longer serves you and welcoming in what you need more of. It's about practice, dedication and constant re-calibrating. We can do it.