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Steps to Success: Find your Why

It dawned on me after publishing last week’s blog post entitled “Steps to Success: Start in the kitchen” that I jumped the gun and skipped the first and most important step in the entire journey of getting back into shape…the WHY!!!  That’s right…it is so important, it gets its own color! It is so important that when I sat down to write this article, I flipped through the 50 posts that are here because I thought for sure I had already written about this fundamental idea.  It turns out I haven’t…I can’t believe that! How could I miss something so important?

I think I missed it because my why has been with me for my whole journey. Until last week when I revisited and added to my why, I have had the same why for four years. You might be asking yourself “what is a why?” and the answer is quite simple…this is the reason you want to start on your journey and the reason that motivates you to keep going! It is what will push you to workout in the morning when your alarm goes off and what gets you to push play in the evening after a hard day at work.

The why must be more than just “I want to lose weight.” That doesn’t go deep enough. Your why should make you want to cry! Seriously…I wrote down my why last week and had tears in my eyes. Follow up your initial statement like your 4-year-old would…ask yourself why at least 4 more times. Why do you want to lose weight? How will it feel and how will your life be different when you lose the weight? I challenge you to sit down with a piece of paper or at the computer and write it down. Take this step and get to the heart of why you want to be on this journey.

Here is a bit of my why:

I have been motivated on my journey to get back in shape and stay in shape because I want to be a confident energetic woman who is able to stay active throughout my entire life. I have watched someone important to me suffer from arthritis and I see what she goes through every day. I want to live life to the fullest and delay any effects that arthritis might have on me someday. More immediately, I know that when I am carrying extra weight, I also carry the burden of self consciousness and embarrassment. I like being able to hold my head up high and be proud of who I am and how I look every day.

Just last week, I sat down again to write my why as part of a personal development activity. I realize that my why is so much deeper because my fitness has a direct effect on my success in this business. I need to continue on my fitness journey to realize my dream of earning more than I ever have in my entire life. I want to make enough to bring my husband home from his job. I can achieve financial independence in a way I never could while teaching and it is directly a result of me leading by example and staying on my journey.

Now that you know my deep down why, it’s your turn. Pull a blank document, get a pen and paper and start writing!

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Steps to Success: Start in the Kitchen

I am celebrating 4 days of clean eating like I’ve just climbed Mt. Everest. For the last 5 months, I’ve enjoyed the honeymoon period of my marriage with delicious and impressive meals (code for cheesy and fattening). We’ve gone out to dinners, eaten whatever we wanted from the street vendors and shops, and have rarely said “no” to the decadence at the bakery. I’ve had excuses and I’m not going to beat myself up for letting myself go for a little while. But now its time to get back on track!

The ratio in the picture, 30/70, is what is motivating me as I work through Piyo and the 21 day fix programs. I know it’s true. I’ve experienced it!  Only those times when I paid attention to what I was eating did I actually see progress.

4 days down and I’m feeling great! I’m already feeling skinnier and my energy is through the roof. I’ve been more productive this week than any week in the last few months. And my success boils down to one thing…I have removed all temptations from the kitchen!

Candy, potato chips, and ramen-I want to eat them. I have cravings, aLOT! This will happen to anyone that is suddenly going to eat healthy after eating whatever they wanted for a while. I knew it. I expected it. And there is one huge thing that keeps me from eating all of those things…they aren’t in the house!

I spent a few weeks slowly consuming all of the things that I knew had to go. You might choose to just go through and throw everything away that shouldn’t be there but the idea of the money and waste in doing that just kills me. Cookies, chips, soda, frozen pizzas, beer, and so many other things that might get in between where you are and where you want to be all need to get finished and not replenished. Bring those treats to your next social event and get them out of your house. Bake those chocolate chips into cookies and send them to school with your kids. Tell the girl scouts that your cookies can be given away to someone else. Do what you need to do to get your kitchen cleaned out of junk food and replenished with healthy nutritious grub.

When I suggest this to people, they usually say that their kids can’t live without something or their spouse NEEDS to have certain treats around. If that is the case where you must have some of these things around, put them in a cabinet that you won’t open. Ask your family to help you by keeping these things in a separate space so that you won’t see them when you open the cabinet to prepare dinner for example.

Doing this one thing will have a tremendous effect on your success. It is the first step in a series of steps to healthier living and if you take it, you will be that much closer to the health you’ve always wanted.

 

Need help with your health and fitness? Reach out to me and let’s get you on the road to a healthier you! bbcoachkimw@gmail.com

 

Perspectives of an Adult Athlete: Missing the “Eat Whatever you want” Diet Plan

I know all of us think back fondly on this aspect of our athletic career…you could eat whatever the heck you were craving, likely in massive quantities, and you were proud to sport that athletic figure day in and day out.

I look back on myself with envy and jealousy!

I’m not going to pretend to know what happens biologically from when we were in high school and college to becoming 30 something. I know that our metabolism IS different. According to articles such as  this one from self.com,

“Metabolic rate (the number of calories we burn in a day) plummets as we age, decreasing about 1 percent each year after we hit 30.”

What I do know is that I struggle with the temptation to eat like I did back then. My brain tells me my metabolism is slower and my activity level is lower but my cravings for extra pizza and beer just don’t go away. I have tried to increase my activity level to get away with the extra serving of beer and pizza but that stupid phrase “You can’t outexercise a bad diet” just keeps repeating itself in my head…it is so true!

I know that what I’m feeling is definitely something that alot of former athletes can relate to and I would love to hear from you in the comments below if you can relate. Just seeing the number of former players turned coaches on an NFL sideline that can’t see their toes anymore is a testament to the eating patterns not keeping up with the post sports lifestyle. I hope just acknowledging this issue will help some of you start to come to terms with the changes that have to be made to get back to being healthy. I’m always here to partner with you on our journey of increasing your activity level or finding a nutrition plan that works for you.

 

Tokyo Trivia: Kit kats

I started posting about Japan the day I moved here. The posts were on Facebook and they were what I called “Lesson of the Day”, an observation or experience that I thought was worth sharing. I am starting to put some of these on video and thought I would share them here as well. Maybe one of these days, I will go back into the archives and find my posts too…

 

What’s the Point?

Slide1You are considering starting that new workout program, a new diet or both. On the surface, you tell yourself you are ready to do this but that stupid voice inside your head (or the blerch  on your shoulder) keeps saying “What’s the point?”

What’s the point of even starting? I’m just going to quit after the first week like I have every other time. (this was mine for a long time)

What’s the point of eating healthy if I am working out? I will lose weight no matter what. (this is my current stuggle…and totally false)

What’s the point of even trying? I can only get 3 workouts in per week and that isn’t going to help me lose this weight. (I heard this from a friend just yesterday)

What’s the point? I have so much weight to lose it’s impossible.

What’s the point of trying to be the only one eating healthy in a house of 5 people?

What’s the point of spending all of the extra time and money to make a healthy meal when the kids end up not eating it and would be happier with pizza and mac and cheese?

What’s the point of pushing myself if I am just going to quit?

What’s the point of working out if I am going to eat junk and just ruin my results?

I can’t silence the voice. I wish I could. Life would be so much easier if our inner voice wasn’t sabotaging us.

So…what IS the point? What IS the point of working out for just 10 minutes? What IS the point of pushing yourself, or eating right, or starting again, or being the healthy one in a family, or losing that first pound just to gain it back?

The point is…doing SOMETHING, anything, that makes you a better person today than you were yesterday is a step forward in the journey of living a healthy life. The inspiration FOR the healthy life is rooted in your why  and if your why is so powerful that it makes you want to cry, then you know you are moving forward for the right reason…your kids, your spouse, your enjoyment in life, longevity etc.

This journey has no finish line so you are either getting better or getting worse. It’s impossible to stay in the same place. If you think you are staying in the same place, that is because you take one step in the right direction, then one or two in the wrong direction. That is why consistency is so important. We want to at least be taking two steps forward for every step back.

Therefore, do that one workout even if you don’t know when the next one will be. Eat that salad for lunch even if you have that birthday party tonight. Do something!

The next time you hear yourself say “what’s the point”,  stop validating it, tell yourself “one step forward” and go workout.

Perspectives of an Adult Athlete: Changing my “WHY”

I continue to redefine myself within the framework of the athlete I once was…20 years of competitive sports has definitely had a lasting effect! I hope those of you that come from competitive athletics can identify with my struggle to find happiness, fulfillment and accomplishment in fitness. I have rediscovered and redefined the athlete inside of me. This is part 3 of a series of posts about this transition.

Sit ready, ready all, row!  1/2, 1/2, 3/4, full, full, sprint 10, settle 10 and we’re in it! The 2500 meter race to the finish line. This is why we trained. This was the showcase of the hard work we put in for weeks, months, years. This was our WHY.

But what happens when the showcase is over? The races are over, the tournaments no longer taking up your weekends. What is the motivation to keep working out?

This question is so important to continued success outside of the competitive environment and is the key to finding personal fulfillment and motivation without the structure of competitive sports.

The realization of my “why” came as I was training for a half marathon about 2 years ago. I was running with a group of women and we were getting ready to start a hill workout. I was doing a whole bunch of whining and complaining about everything, how hot it was, how dusty it was, how I had hoped the thunderstorms would have come so we could push the workout off, you name it, I was complaining about it.

The coach turned to me and sincerely asked “Kim, do you even like running?”

I immediately answered “yeah, of course” but didn’t really believe what I was saying. I reflected on it while I was dragging myself up and down the hill, panting and feeling like my heart was going to beat out of my chest, and that is when I realized I loved that feeling…the feeling of pushing your body to achieve things that are hard! Maybe it isn’t running that I love, but through running, I get that feeling that I love. Looking back, that must have been part of rowing and ultimate as well.

There are two answers for why I keep working out without a competition ahead…

Immediately, I do it to feel good. It’s that simple! That post workout euphoria and the sore muscles that come from working hard are difficult to ignore.  I love the confidence that comes with a fit body and am driven by the desire to look in the mirror and love what I see, knowing full well that the journey to loving your body never really has an end. You can always get better.I thank my running coach for helping me realize that this is what gets me off the couch when I don’t want to workout.

But my why actually goes deeper than the immediate feedback of euphoria. I do it so that my body will continue to move into my old age despite the family history of arthritis. Watching my mother struggle with degenerative arthritis in her joints makes me want to do stay healthy and fit as long as I possibly can. I want to live a long, active life and never have to slow down because of back pain or high cholesterol. If kids are in my future, I want to be around for them and their kids. It is within my control now to have a better life 30 years from now.

No need for competitions anymore. My why is much more important now.

 

Perspectives of an Adult Athlete: Redefining a Workout

I continue to redefine myself within the framework of the athlete I once was…20 years of competitive sports has definitely had a lasting effect! I hope those of you that come from competitive athletics can identify with my struggle to find happiness, fulfillment and accomplishment in fitness. I have rediscovered and redefined the athlete inside of me. This is part 2 of a series of posts about this transition.

 

Typical rowing practice: .5 mile warm up run, stretching, 3 mile run, weights, then hit the water for pyramids, warm ups, start drills, 4 race pieces, cool down Total time: 3-4 hours

typical ultimate practice: 2 mile warm up, active stretch, throwing drills, movement/agility drills, positioning drills, sprints, scrimmage. Total time, 3-4 hours

I did those workouts day in and day out for years! My life revolved around my sport. The classes were in the morning so I could practice in the evening. Nothing too late on Friday so I could travel to the tournaments. Never stayed to talk to the teacher because I would miss the van to boathouse. If I wasn’t at practice, I was thinking about the next one.

 

I didn’t take long for fitness to take a lower priority in my life after I graduated and went into the real world. After work, I would go to the gym but feel like I was just wasting time because I “only” had an hour. I would “only” get a 30 minute run followed by a 30 minute weight circuit in before I had to go home. I started thinking “What’s the point?” when I noticed I was getting weaker and slower than I had been in college. The rational side of me knew why but my competitive side thought I should be able to maintain my fitness level. I couldn’t find the time or the motivation to go for 3-4 hours so I started giving up all together…no running, no weight training, nothing! Forget it!

My “rock bottom” wasn’t terrible. In my period of inactivity, I was still more active than most, playing a few pick up games here and there, running once a week, and walking the dog. I put on about 15 pounds and lost a lot of my muscle. The deterioration physically wasn’t really the problem though…the worst part was that I lacked the confidence I had when I was an athlete. I would stand in front of people and think they were judging me for not looking like I used to look. My self talk was full of insults and put downs.

It took 2 years but I reached my “I’ve had it!” moment. That moment when I put my foot down and decide to do something about my crappy self talk and lack of confidence. I knew there was something between doing nothing and going to 4 hour practices and I needed to be okay with that physically and mentally.

I needed to start being an athlete again. I needed a plan, a goal, and a feeling of success. I needed a new approach. Once I acknowledged that I was no longer going to be competing, I finally let myself change the definition of what an appropriate workout is. If I can dedicate 60 minutes/day to something physically active, I consider that a huge success. Some days it is 30 minutes but that is fine too. I pat myself on the back. The first thing I did was a half marathon training plan and race. The next plan was P90X and to get to the end of that. I have continued doing Beachbody programs and running races since.

I still fight the urge to think that a 30 minute run is what you do before you get to the hard part of your workout. My brain still tells me that if I am going to go workout, I need to make sure I have 2-3 hours to dedicate to the task. I acknowledge that I will likely be fighting that notion for the rest of my life. But now, if I put 30-60 minutes in to getting stronger or building my cardio, I’ve had a good workout. If I wake up sore in the morning, even better! At the end of the day, if I can carry myself with confidence and feel good from the inside out, I am an athlete.

 

5 Foods you can Freeze to Help with Meal Prepping

I was struggling as a single person to eat well because it always seemed like a hassle to cook well-balanced meal and then have to do all the dishes afterwards. I always hated spending more time prepping and cleaning than actually enjoying what I prepared…and to do this every night was getting frustrating and time-consuming! I wanted an easier way. So my friend shared with me some of the things you can cook ahead of time and I was surprised at some of the things I hadn’t even thought about freezing.

1. Pasta – you will want to make sure this is al dente so that when you throw it into a stir fry, reheat for 30 seconds in boiling water, or microwave for one minute, it has some time to cook. I checked out http://www.momables.com/how-to-freeze-pasta/ for the best tips  to freeze and the author suggests first coating your pasta in olive oil and flash freezing it for 30-60 minutes before portioning into separate bags. You can do this with spaghetti in muffin tins if needed!

2. Rice – I HATE cleaning the rice pan after it is done so this was huge for me. Cook as much rice as you will consume in the week/month and as soon as it is done, but it into a Tupperware container and close the lid to retain the moisture. When you are ready to reheat, put it in the microwave for 2:30 and you have rice! Find out more at http://www.justonecookbook.com/how-to/how-to-freeze-rice/

3. Taco meat/Ground beef – This preps me for spaghetti sauce, tacos, a quick salad topper, chili preparation etc. Brown the ground beef and add whatever spices you would like in it. Allow to cool and then portion into bags. It is so nice to come home and have a taco with none of the work (or course this requires chopping veggies ahead of time too)! http://food.unl.edu/fnh/ground-beef-recipes

4. Chicken – Most of us know we can freeze chicken but why not cook it first! Individual portions in baggies can be thrown on salads or grabbed as a snack…you wouldn’t believe the number of times I just grab a baggie as I am running out the door! If you want shredded chicken, throw chunks into your Kitchen Aid with the paddle hook on low for a few minutes and voila!

5. Pancake batter – Okay, this is for the weekend mornings for me but why not just make up a full batch, put the batter in freezer bags and thaw (by placing the bag in warm water) when you are ready to use it? My mother spoiled us when we were growing up by preparing a delicious breakfast most mornings before school…I’m sure she would have loved to know this! http://www.thekitchn.com/did-you-know-you-can-freeze-pancake-batter-185748

If you have other ideas, please share!



What are Your ‘Barriers to Entry’?

The economics term ‘barriers to entry’ is roughly defined as obstacles that make it difficult to enter a given market. These can be hindrances such as government regulations and patents or capital.

I like to use this term to apply to fitness and nutrition. These are the simple things that are holding you back from doing what you would like to do. Here are some examples from my own life.

1. What prevents me from eating more salad is the single step of cutting up and washing the lettuce. I consider the lettuce as the barrier. I have proven to myself a number of times that if I see that the lettuce is ready to be eaten, I will grab it and prepare a salad. Looking at the full head of lettuce is a mental block that forces me to reach for something else. Solution: Now I either purchase a ready to use bag of lettuce or as soon as I bring a head of lettuce into the house I wash and cut it up and put it into a Tupperware container.

2. A barrier to entry for working out early is my outfit. When I am tired and groggy in the morning immediately after the alarm goes off, the fact that I need to then decide on an outfit stops me from doing my morning workouts. If I lay out the clothes and shoes the night before, then I am changed and in front of my video before my brain even knows what happened.

3. Most often on the nutrition side of my life, my barrier to entry for a proper dinner is the lack of a plan.  In the past, I would just order a pizza or Chinese food. I have developed a backup plan for those times when I failed to plan for dinner.  I stop at the grocery store and buy a healthy, prepared meal or the preseasoned meat with precut veggies from the produce section so all I have to do is throw it into a pan for 10 minutes and I have a stir-fry ready.

 

Can you identify a barrier that is holding you back and what you might do about it? Leave a comment!

 




 

Do the Workout You Want To Do, Even if it Isn’t on the Schedule

I know many of us come from a background of training for a particular purpose…a race, tournament, dual, or whatever your sport’s competition is called. We have spent our lives with a workout plan designed for the optimal performance for that particular event paying close attention to working our base and then building up the strength, endurance, acceleration, explosion, and peaking at just the right time before tapering for the event.

Thinking this way starts failing when we are no longer training for something. I have tried many times to stick to a workout program that had all of these things in place but without the accountability and motivation of the final competition. My goal is just to be healthier and workout more but I didn’t know anything besides what I had done for training in the past.

What has happened more than I want to admit is that I start skipping workouts because I don’t “feel” like doing them. Many times, I would get to that one workout that I just didn’t like…say intervals at the track…and continually put off my workouts. Ingrained in me from decades of training was the idea that this was the workout I had to do because it was on the plan I had put together.

I have since realized that I am much more fulfilled if I am doing the workouts that I WANT to do. Let’s say I have a scheduled weights workout but my husband invites me to go on a run. I no longer feel obligated to do the weights and instead, I enjoy the opportunity to go for a run and share that time together with my husband. Maybe you have children and one of them wants to bike down to the playground. Strap those shoes on and run along side the bike…get your workout in while enjoying time with your family.

Think about those things that energized you as a kid. Shooting hoops? Go outside and chase the ball around for 30 minutes. Riding your bike? Strap the helmet on and go ride for 15 minutes. Climbing a tree? Go do it!

If you can make the transition in your head from the strict athletic schedule from your past to workouts that are fun, the idea of working out will be fun and not a burden.