Friday, January 25, 2013

Triathlon Training Update

“The only person you have to try to be better than, is the person that you were yesterday”

I took this picture the day of my bike test. I was wondering how I was going to find my motivation and drive to really do an all out bike ride. It was early and cold and I wasn't really feeling like doing anything to be honest. I lined up on the start line to set up my Garmin and make any last adjustments. Then I turned and saw my bike shadow over the start sign. I took a deep breath in and suddenly found that I felt overwhelmingly thankful. Thankful to be healthy enough to ride my bike, to afford a bike, to wake up pain free in a house that was warm with a roof over my head. In fact, I felt thankful to be able to breathe at all.

I looked back at the start sign again and thought that’s it! Just start. Where ever you are! Whatever your goal! So what if you can’t do a push up or hold a plank or walk miles…start where you are. Move! Go!

What has been interesting about all of this training is pushing myself further and further each week. Now that I have my Garmin and can track each workout, I find it exciting when I see little improvements here and there. On a physical level it is very satisfying.

On a mental level it is almost indescribable. I find that the harder I push my body the calmer my mind gets. I feel like I reach a state of nirvana. It’s at that point in the run, bike or swim that my body surrenders because my mind frees itself and it creates this overwhelming sense of freedom, joy, love. It is also at that point that I feel like I can continue doing what I am doing for hours on end.  Is this the rumored “runners high” I have heard so much about? I don’t know but I am addicted.

I never would have imagined that changing my training would have had such a profound impact on my life. However, I have started to notice very subtle changes all the way down to my thought processing. Such as: the other day it was 39 degrees when I went out on my bike and my first thought was not that it was so cold but that at least there was no wind; or when I had an hour in between clients the other day I thought I could probably bust out a quick run; and yesterday rain and all I thought shrug better get my swim in.

I had hoped that when I signed up for the triathlon it would be a good motivator but the truth is the motivation comes from with in. I thought I would be worried about the race and it would push me but really when it’s cold, dark and wet outside I can pretty much find a thousand reasons to not be worried and skip a session.

I finally understand what Adam meant when he said the race is just the victory lap. It is all the countless hours of physical, emotional and mental growth that are the true test. Can I push past who I was yesterday to be a better me today? Can I challenge myself a little bit more? A little faster? A little further?

Yes I can.

Friday, January 18, 2013

What I Love About Being A Personal Trainer

Just imagine if everyone behaved this way. Each person helping another because they knew it would come back to them; not from the person they helped but from somewhere else. If instead of being better than the competition, we actually helped promote their business, that would blossom into other people promoting ours  ~Kristine Timpert

When I first decided to get certified for personal training it was a selfish decision. I was stuck in an office job that gave me little or no satisfaction. I had already gone through massage school and had briefly tried to do massage on the side. After about 6 months I had realized that doing massages day in and day out was far more physically demanding than I had originally anticipated. With the exception of a few massages here and there I trudged back to the desk job.

For the last 7 years I have been training with personal trainers. First at House Of Fitness and later with an old friend Brett Flaherty at Flaherty Fitness in Newport Beach. It was always something that I thought about in the back of my mind but never actually pursued.

One random Saturday I thought, “I am going to sign up for the certification course.” Just like that, a life alternating decision was made. I signed up with AFFA and started the online courses.

After getting my certification and passing all the tests I started under the wing of Brett. He helped me review my workouts, program designs, diet plans etc. Soon enough I started to get into the swing of things on my own. Not that the learning stopped there. I am constantly taking new courses, reading articles, books, blogs etc

What I love most though about being a trainer is helping people. It is something that I would do for free. Hence why I know I have found my true calling and my true passion. I love meeting with new clients and putting a plan together. Each of my clients is like a unique puzzle. We sit down, we strategize, we do a posture analysis, take measurements, talk about goals and build a plan.

I love putting that plan into action. I love watching my clients reach their goals whether its weight loss, injury recovery or simply finding motivation. Nothing feels better than hearing a client report that a chronic pain they have had for years went away or that weight they have been trying to lose is finally starting to move.

Fact: helping another person never gets old. When I go home late at night feeling tired or when I wake up early for a client I never think is this worth it? Instead I think I really hope I can help this person. I can’t wait until they do or feel or look the way they want. I really want to see their smile when they tell me that chronic pain is suddenly gone.

I read this book, The $100 Start Up by Chris Guillebeau, one month before I got certified. Some where in there and I will paraphrase what he said,  find something that you are passionate about and approach it with a way to help others. If you lead with your heart and always try to help others you will never be wrong and will always be successful.

And he was right.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Why Exercise Can Change The World (Really!)

If you know me, you know that my alarm goes of at 4:15 every morning so that I can get my workout in before my day officially starts. Today I went to a spin class.

I love spin classes. I love walking in and hearing the whirl of the bikes as people start warming up. I set my bike, clip in and ahhh...I feel at home. I call this the pain cave. It’s dark and warm and well sometimes painful (in a good way!)

Today, the teacher comes in, hops on his bike, cranks on the music and then declares, “This is where we change the world people!”

My first thought was, “I don’t know what this guy had for breakfast but I want some!” My second thought was, “How are we going to change the world? Are these bikes hooked up to some kind of machine that is going to provide electricity or what?”

Half way through the class, sweat is dripping on the floor, leg muscles are fatiguing, lungs are burning, and I had an ‘ah ha’ moment. What if this is where we change the world? Not the outside world maybe but ourselves? What if by pushing ourselves further and harder than we thought we could (even if just in a spin class) we started to change the way we saw the world? If we changed how we perceived the world wouldn’t we in fact be changing the world? Whoa mind blown.

For me exercise is my balance. It tames the crazy. It’s my passion. I became a personal trainer so that I could share that joy with all my clients.  I suppose if they could catch just a glimpse of that passion and get into some kind of activity that they loved I would have in fact changed the world in some small way.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Magic Weight Loss Pill!!!

Just kidding! Sorry if you thought that headline was true!

Here we are in week two of January 2013. I know everyone made some resolutions . Whether you are a list maker, a journal writer or your resolution setting was just a passing thought like yeah I should really try that this year…My question to you is what have you done to start putting your goal into action?

Mr.White  in karate would always say, “Plan the work and work the plan”. Key to that statement is you need to make a plan!!

Back to the headline of this blog post…Magic Weight Loss Pill!!! Sigh. I wish there was one but the reality is there isn't  The ONLY way to lose weight is to eat less and workout more. The end. Sorry.

80% of my clients came to me last week and said, “AHHHHH I gained X lbs over the holiday!!! AAHHHHHH”. That statement was sometimes followed by a “What about this pill and what about this diet?” Sigh. Again, I am sorry, there is no magic pill and no magic cabbage diet, liquid diet, protein diet etc that is going to help you lose weight and MAINTAIN lost weight in a healthy manner.

Diet pills / weight loss supplements: Television, radio and billboards ads shout out take this magic pill lose 10 lbs but they rarely tell you about the damage to numerous parts of your body. Diets pills usually go two routes, one is to dehydrate your body (making your body “look” leaner but also puts a huge strain on your whole system because your body is 90% water, duh!) and the other is to speed up your metabolism or what I call the “too much coffee effect” (which makes you less hungry but also shaky, agitated and so on). Either way you are messing with your bodies system, creating long term effects for a results (that if it comes at all) will definitely be short term.

Don’t Diet, Eat Healthy: The first thing to losing weight is looking at what you are eating, when, how much and why. I bet off the top of your head you can at least think of one bad habit where you are picking up extra calories. For example, I love to snack on stuff as I chop it up for dinner.

The easiest way to find out exactly what is going into your mouth is by tracking it. I have all my clients who are serious about weight loss use MyPlate by Livestrong . It is easy to use and they even have an app to enter your calories right from your phone!

Aside from tracking your calories its helpful to understanding what you are putting into your body. Are you eating organic produce? Are you eating processed foods? Fast food? It can seem complicated and overwhelming at first but think of it like this: your body is like a car. Put the best gas in and it will run better.

Great excuses to not exercise: Trust me I have heard every excuse  in the book. At the end of the day is weight loss is your goal, leave your excuses somewhere else. You will have to get up when you don’t want to, workout when you don’t want to, make the time and put in the effort.

Set yourself up for success: The most import part of goal setting is making realistic, attainable goals (s.m.a.r.t. goals)  If you have been doing nothing for the past 6 months a goal of working out 6 days a week for 60 minutes at a time might not be achievable. Pick a day(s) and a time(s) you know you can stick with and build from there. Want to change your diet? Start small. You don’t have to change all your meals at once. Try just breakfast or lunch. Pick the easiest thing to change and go from there! By achieving small, manageable goals you will reach your big goals faster!!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Random Thoughts and Other Notes

Grab bag bathing suit - surprise pattern!!!

Whatever purifies you is the right path ~ Rumi

For me the last two weeks have been a blur of ribbons, lights, rich dinners, champagne, parties, snowboarding and a little bit of surprise plumbing. All in all 2012 got wrapped up quite nicely.

My first waking thought on January 1st was where am I? And not for the reason you might think! In fact my husband and I had gone to New Years Eve dinner the night before at the Double Eagle at 4:30 pm (and uhm yes, we were the only ones there at that time). We ordered a bottle of champagne which we couldn't even finish (which if you know us is unheard of!) and were in bed by 9:00 pm (yes, seriously).  So when the alarm went of at 4:20 am my first waking thought, like I said was where am I?!

My second waking thought was AAAHHHHHH I have less then 5 months to my first triathlon?! Wait, what? I signed up for a triathlon?!  You might think that would have got my butt in gear but honestly after the 5 ½ hour drive home from June Lake my motivation was rather low. Luckily my husband is insane and loves to exercise no matter what! So he got me out on my bike. It was out on the bike trail that I had sort of a live stream of random thoughts occur to me.

Musically challenged: Since I won’t be able to wear an ipod in the race I have decided to go to silent workouts. Rose and I used to call this Navy Seal training. The first mile or so was tough. I usually start my workouts with a super upbeat song to get my energy up and my legs pumping. So I am riding along to…nothing. Silence! Boring! My inner child is stamping her feet and rolling her eyes. Yet five miles further I find myself enjoying the click, click, whirl of my gears shifting. It became almost hypnotic and my mind gently rolled from topic to topic.

Motivation from within: Without my ipod to push me on my bike or run I found myself searching for that “push”. In Karate a lot of my motivation came from my past, anger, and aggression. Today I have no anger left and I have pretty much dealt with my demons. As I listened to the click, click, whirl I found myself accelerating out of happiness. As I heard my footsteps on the run I sprinted out of joy.

Ultimate Freedom: Happiness? Joy? Freedom? These were not words that I thought would arise from starting my tri training. I was thinking my blog would be more about pain, sweat and tears (which I am sure will come!). As I rode down the bike trail on New Years Day I thought about how usually I would have a killer hangover and wouldn’t have been able to get up let alone exercise. My body felt good, my brain was alert, my heart was filled with so much gratitude. Tears sprang to my eyes and as if on que I heard Rose’s voice in my head shift, shift, peddle, go, yay!!!!

Warm Welcoming: So far I can tell you that triathletes are the nicest group of people I have ever met! Rose has been saying it for years and I always thought well there are nice people everywhere so what. As it turns out triathletes are their own breed of people. They are like a special family with their own support system and even their own language! Twice Rose has helped me look for used gear for me and each time the out pour of support, love, advice and stuff takes me a back! I have been in competitive sports my whole life where even though you had teammates, you were constantly trying to one-up each other. Triathletes seem to want everyone to succeed. Maybe it just seems that way or maybe it’s because it isn't really about the triathlon at all…