Do What You Can

I’m doing some deadlifts at home today. Not only do I like working out in a quiet space, but this morning I felt like my working out at the gym was keeping other people from doing what they need to do.

I have everything I need here to get in quality workouts and in fact had to get rid of some equipment when I sold my home.

I am trying to do more workouts at the gym because I need to learn to live with and close out distractions, and because people think because I don’t workout there I don’t workout at all. This used to be true about cardio, but has never been true about lifting. 😉I love to lift. To conquer my own weakness and find the next point. I will do what I have to to lift, anything from getting up two hours early to lift in a quiet gym or at home, to lifting in a busy loud environment.

But I am flexible. I enjoy people and activity. I just don’t want to make a mistake and hurt myself.

So today I did what I could I the time allotted and now am finishing up at leisure. 😀

Today’s deadlifts will be light. Several short sets. I’ve been increasing my running time gradually and I find I am having a small issue with residing discomfort in my legs and hips. Nothing I can’t live with and nothing that a couple of days rest doesn’t eliminate, but I want to respect my body in a way I never really have before. Always before I have worked with out workouts and without regard for the need for rest. I took my body for granted and I can’t even claim the I didn’t know better. In fact I secretly set out to prove to myself that the norms did not apply to me. The need for rest, the training over 40, the long term life changes over short term results.

I know better and now I will act accordingly.

In the meantime as regards the title, there is a quote attributed to Theodore Roosevelt among other, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” We all have preferences, health needs, scheduling considerations and lives to live. Exercise should enhance this, not detract from it. If hiking is your thing, hike and design any other exercise to enhance that. Dancing, golfing, baseball, football, yoga, whatever flips your coin. Do it with the kids or without. Do it with friends or alone. Blast music or work in silence. Make it awesomely and totally yours. Try new things or work on improving the old. Love it all, and yourself as well.

You only have one life. Enjoy today and do tomorrow tomorrow…

Flexibility mindset

This morning I was grumbling in my head about being a full workout behind on my schedule. Unavoidable life circumstances and the need for equipment I do not have here at home in the basement, coupled with not wanting to be less than fully able for the workout I had planned for Tuesday but finally got to yesterday just meant I had to delay a day. And remember, i made a commitment not to fill my schedule with junk work.

I felt uncomfortable with having to delay the work, it is in my mind, a commitment I made to myself. The follow-through amounts to discipline, and discipline is an easily lost companion.

The thing about discipline for me is that the closer I adhere the better I feel and the less likely I am to miss, which is why having to postpone a workout sets me a little out of sorts.

It has nothing to do with fearing I’ll lose my hard earned progress. I know better than that, and that rest is an important factor in proper recovery and long term wellness and injury and burnout prevention.

All this blather leads me to this; having a flexible mindset is crucial to resilience,

Being willing and able to say to myself, “self, tomorrow is another day, and one day more or less really makes no difference” allows me to drop the negative mindset of something lost and look for what has been gained.

I want to be willing to flex a little, in the interest of a more full life. To zig and zag where necessary or simply desirable. To approach health in a holistic and positive manner.

I hope your day is enjoyably flexible. That you make time for an extra cup of coffee, a conversation with a friend or few extra winks of sleep. That you find you blessings not to be burdens and that taking care of yourself brings you joy.

And, don’t forget to stretch… 🙂

Begin well to finish well.

I began the year with some dead lifts in the basement, where I was training for my second try at competing at power-lifting. The photos above were taken on Dec 30, marking the completion of my latest 6 week program. The weight is 210 which is a 30 pound gain over the year, but not as much as I had hoped. Over the year I learned a lot more about my body, and what it will take to get where I want to be, and the importance of physical, mental and spiritual rest.

Some of the changes I made last year were to try not to add junk to my workouts, a habit to combat the feeling I have that I am never doing enough, and my work out log will show that its a hard habit to break.

To be more diligent about cardio and to track it more closely I bought a new tread mill in May and started tracking, working for 50 miles a month. By September I moved to goal to 100 miles a month, a goal I never quite hit, but with diligence came close to. Most of those miles were logged on my treadmill using the ifit program to make it more interesting, or on walks with the dog, myself or my clients, tracked by my Garmin. This mileage me a better idea of what I could do if i were consistent though not exactly pushy. And I started to run a little.

I tracked my swimming and pool time, but only because I can. I know I am not working hard enough in the water to make a difference on my physique, but I love the mobility the water allows me to achieve, and I don’t want the water to become work. I count it as rest.

I also joined the 10 week Holiday challenge at Granite, masterminded by Jenn. I liked seeing the posts by other people who had joined and feeling a part of the whole. I am sure i’ll do it again next fall.

I mostly gave lip service to eating better. Emotional eating is big problem for me, as is grabbing something on the run. To combat the latter I did more meal prep with healthy foods. I mostly cook all my food, except for white corn chips and ice cream. In the kitchen I I made changes for us all, moving mostly toward smaller potions of meat fluffed up by more vegetables. Starchy carbs I left the same, moderate portions. I do not believe in extreme difficult to maintain diets. Therefore I worked and continue to work toward conscious eating, with an eye toward cleaning up what goes on the plate.

So now I am looking toward the new year as a continuation rather than an over haul.

The only real change I will be making in my workouts is to alternate power cycles with strength and endurance cycles. The later allows for lighter strength workouts, as in heavy but shorter reps and sets, and when I do the power cycles I am going to steadfastly avoid filling the rest days with junk. In order to do this I will need to find other things to fill the time when I am supposed to rest. My over all goals are for a 200 pound bench and a 300 pound pull. I am not close to either yet, but I have a plan and I will follow that plan and for sure, I will continue to improve.

I liked the goal of 100 miles a month, so will continue that and when it becomes reality I will increase the mileage in 10 mile increments.

I will gradually make the changes in my life necessary to eliminate the desire for emotional and boredom eating. To do this I will need to plan more carefully for fueling and to fill my time with more productive or enjoyable activities than eating. Tough row to hoe, right?

I will also do more of my workouts at the gym and not just in the basement.

And I will go to more AA meetings, because I enjoy them and because I am grateful for my sobriety.

So in line with my previous post, here are some goals for my new year, coupled with a rough idea of how I plan to get there. Pencil and paper will be required to flesh them out, pencil so I can erase if I find a better plan.

Happy New Year Everyone!

Goals, goals, goals

Building blocks

Have you considered your goals for the coming year? Are they concrete, reasonable and challenging? Take a few minutes and pencil them down. Don’t limit yourself or your scope. Think about all the things that go into helping you be more content with yourself and your life. Do you have spiritual, intellectual or material goals? What about your physical health? Your home life? Don’t worry about the how right now, just concentrate on the what and the why. Put them down in black and white and leave generous space after each one.

Set a timer and get it down, don’t linger too long, those things that are most important to you are already lingering within the grasp of your consciousness. Try to stay away from negative minded terms like should and must. What do you WANT to accomplish. What will bring you joy? What will set you up for the next most logical step in your progressive growth and happiness?

When you have that done, pick a goal and examine it for worthiness. Is it something you really want to do? Can you see yourself happy with the work it will take? What will it take to do it? What are the steps to get you from today to done? Can you figure that out yourself or do you need help? If you need help are you willing to get it, to ask for it? How will you track your inevitable progress? Who will you enlist to help?

Continue with each goal till you have an actionable plan, rather than a wishful list of some day maybes, or worse an obligatory list of oughtas. (yep I know it’s not really a word)

The exercise should bring hope and excitement, not dread, so keep the list short. Aim for an achievable march toward fulfillment, not pie in the sky perfection, and throughout the progress be sure to celebrate each achievement.

When you mark the final step or any goal as complete, you can then set another goal, and begin again!

I look forward to hearing how this goes for you, and I will be working on mine as soon as I finish my workout and cardio.


sports-fitness-body-building-iron-161557.jpegI was a little disappointed to fall short of today’s goal, but I can’t and wont lose sight of the factual and measurable progress I have mad in the past couple weeks. Also I have to admit that I rushed my program a tad which probably did contribute to my not being quite ready for this mornings push.

Patience is hard to come by sometimes, especially since I am excited to participate and to achieve a little more than is necessary or expected.

All is not lost, I’ve made good progress even so, and I have enough time to back track a little. Also I have a full understanding of where I really stand, and hey, its not bad.

Do you all short of your goals? is doesn’t matter what endeavor, humility and persistence are the keys. Don’t give up, just reevaluate and start anew.

The whole thing is new to me, not lifting, I love weight training, from the first try I knew it was MY thing. But the idea of competing… I just keep plugging away and ignoring distractions. My singlet came. Washed it, tried it on, and put it away. Distraction. I tried for a new weight today and failed, but the old weight was easy, so i put it away, Distraction. I went to work and enjoyed helping people meet their goals. Gratitude.

And now, I am headed home for healthy food and rest, and to follow my revised program to the letter.

Follow your dream, out run it if you can. Be grateful every step of the way, and look for the next star. You deserve the best!


Goals, Goals Goals!

Goals Goals Goals

It seems that almost daily I read how important it is to have specific and well formed goals. Goals with timelines, goals with reasons why, goals with easily imagined steps to completion. We are taught and encouraged not only to know our own, but to communicate those goals to others while identifying what their goals are as well. All this goal seeking gets confusing.

First, often we have a big picture goal which is not only non-specific, but which misjudges where the issue to be solved really lies. Or we have a bunch of “I’m  not interested in” goals. to quote a few I’ve heard, “i’m not trying to be Charles Atlas, I don’t want a (insert star’s name here) butt, I’m way past worrying about a bikini, I don’t want to be muscle bound, i don’t want to run a marathon….

Possibly you’ve heard them or said them yourself and a myriad more.

Personally I think expressing thought in negatives is poor hygiene, but leaving that aside, I wonder if most of us know what we DO want. Why do we go to the hair dress, the doctor or the gym. And then maybe some of us are afraid or embarrassed to say why we are there. You know, maybe I do want to run a marathon but doubt the probability, Or maybe I do want to don the bikini, or look like some version of Charles Atlas.

The we have the mysterious and all powerful “Motivation”

The problem with motivation is that its often fluid. Sometimes we are externally motivated and sometimes internally. Some times we come to the gym with Goal X and nothing else matters, but later we find that we return for camaraderie, or stress relief, or because we saw someone changing right before our eyes and wondered “why not me”.

I think what keeps people at the gym, or on the trails, or climbing walls is profound and simple at the same time. One day they find they can do what previously they could not, and they become enchanted with the possibilities and start to put some of those possibilities  in the probabilities pile.

Sometimes misunderstanding a basic can lead to confusion when setting goals, and developing trust with people is more important than ironing out the goals. Its hard to believe that getting stronger will help with balance issues (barring underlying medical conditions) until you feel it working, but the feeling that the person in front of you honestly cares about you and wants to help you improve is the key to believing that you’ll get there.

As for me, today I am making a concentrated effort not to “throw work at it” when it comes to my goals. In many things life requires sensible measured action, and I can be a lot all or nothing. This leads to impatience, frustration and sometimes injury, or in my case re-injury.  6 weeks of slow steady progress in far better than sitting out another one because I pushed too hard. And changing how I work, to meet my current goal is just as uncomfortable for me as it would be to anyone who might trust me to help them meet their goals. THIS is the place where I ask myself “how bad do you want it’ and not when I’m considering throwing on five more pounds…

Have a great day, enjoy the weather and you life, and stay tuned.


Something New

I love what I do. I love helping people to enjoy a new level of fitness. I really enjoy meeting new people and helping them find a fitness they can live with, a fitness that adds to the depth of joy they find in their lives.  Ideally I would like to enable people to coming closer to the thought free movement they enjoyed as children, with out self consciousness, or fear of getting hurt or being too tired. I encourage them to think of exercise as play, and to sneak up on their goals, and together we have a lot of purposeful fun.

In the course of interacting with other people at my work it was mentioned by one of the younger trainers who i really admire as a thoughtful studious and progressive young man, that I might think about entering a power lifting meet which has a bench only event along with the other events.

I demurred, both vocally and in my head. The conversation ran something like this; i don’t know, i’m pretty old, i don’t know, I don’t think i’m that strong, I don’t know, I didn’t meet my last goal… I ended up saying I’ll think about it, with out having any real intention of doing so. Yeah I know, dishonest.  A few days later I was waiting for someone when his wife, a cute little thing and an IMPRESSIVE power lifter came and asked me if I was going to try it. I shuffled through my evasive lines once again, but this time when I said i’d think about it, I was a little more sincere.

And I sent him a message, and he sent me some information, and low and behold I am registered for my first meet. I have a goal, I have a reasonable plan of how to get there, and I am excited! All I have left to do is order a singlet, train sensibly, eat right, and show up.

Hopefully when other people see me there, they will wonder if they couldn’t do it and do it better than I do. Hopefully I will, by showing up, crush some fears and misconceptions women, and I would venture to say particularly women my age, still have about weight training in general and lifting heavy specifically.

Stay tuned…18557013_10211215885087920_6610011698043112900_n

Can you see me now?

Yesterday i had the opportunity to try something new, or new to me at least.  A few weeks ago a friend and client asked me if i had ever considered training by face time or Skype. Her reason for asking was that he did not want to miss workouts when she was out of town for extended periods..I said i had not but i knew others were doing it and that i was willing to give it a try.

So yesterday we gave it a test run.  I was happy with the result. There are some bugs to work out, lighting and camera issues mostly, but it was delightful. I am constantly amazed at how much we can do with technology.  My phone is a much more wrongful and efficient computer than my first few lap tops.. all my computers can speak with one another, and now with astounding ease i can can be in the room with someone as they train at home and see what they are doing and direct their efforts.

For me it will never replace face to face training, but it is a wonderful addition to what i already do, and i can see where it could make a real difference when being there in person is not possible, and solves the issue of giving some one a ” workout plan” and not knowing if the exercises are performed in a safe and correct manner.

I love the gym, but not everyone does or can get there, and some people live elsewhere but would like to continue training they have already begun.. So i am grateful to have found another way to help people find a path to fitness they can live with..


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