Mr T… ‘Nuff Said

img_1162When I first started going to the gym I watched, with judging eyes, at these people standing there barking orders at red faced, sweaty, trainees.  As I stared at them, I thought to myself, “I am never going to be one of those people. I do not want someone standing over me telling me what to do!”

Then I started to see a difference in myself. Not a lot, but enough of difference that I changed my views on how I wanted to move forward.

I was gonna need me one of them trainers and I was going to have to plan it out perfectly.

I started to do a self evaluation… and let me tell you, that was rough.

  1. I hated to work too hard
  2. I hated to push myself
  3. I hated to sweat
  4. I hated the idea of someone telling me what to do
  5. I hated the idea of failing
  6. I hated the idea of having a push over for a trainer

A lot of issues to overcome for someone who was going to be my trainer. A. LOT.

So, as I worked out,  I listened to each of the trainers as they talked to their trainee, how they motivated them, even their body language when a trainee started to shut down. All of that mattered as I made my list of pros and cons of each trainer in the gym.

After the list of things about me, I made a list of what the trainer had to be and couldn’t be, all in the same list:

  1. could not be a push over – for sure
  2. could not get distracted (because I would get them to talk and forget that I wasn’t doing any working out)
  3. had to be able to push me, but know when it really was too much for me
  4. had to know when it WASN’T too much for me
  5. could not show disappointment, even when it was there

A lot of things a trainer had to do, and since I was being honest with myself #5 was the highest on my list. I knew – even before I started – that I would spend enough time being disappointed in myself, that I didn’t need to see it from a trainer.

I used this criteria to watch even closer at the trainers, and there were a few I had to rule out immediately. Some because they seemed like pushovers, one that seemed to do a lot of talking and no paying attention to the trainee doing really bad sit ups, and even one who wore every emotion he had right there on his face.

I just kept going back to Mr T… He had a business face. Like poker could have been a side business. He kept a level head when talking to his trainees. Never heard him change the tone in his voice. Even watched him work out with a trainee now and then. Yup, he was the one I needed. He wasn’t going to take my shit and I knew he was going to make me work for it.

img_1163It has been longer than I would like since I got bossed around by him… or got that sly smile when he smarted off to me knowing I wouldn’t say anything in return for fear of being made to do EXTRA work… but when I am at the gym, he is in my head. He reminds me what I am there for and how hard I really have worked.

Seeing him at the gym tonight was boost. I needed that! Until I get back to being the bossed-around-trainee again, I will continue to do as he taught me. To work on getting stronger, and if I fall, just to get back up. Thank you, Mr T!

 

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Summer of Fun

 

As I was looking at Facebook and going through some of my pictures I couldn’t help but smile. As a mother of active teenagers and then the wife of a game designer I am always busy. Running here… taking kids there… then adding in the normal stuff that every household has to deal with: groceries, dinner, cleaning, WORKING… but this summer, this summer was a little different. I took time to do things for me, and let me tell you, I loved it. Not only did I love it, but truly, I needed it.

When I started the journey of #becomingabetterme, I had to start out by figuring who and what I wanted to be. Sure, I wanted to weigh less, I wanted to be healthier, I wanted to be nicer, but honestly, I wanted to be happier.

That was where I had a problem. I have never really been in a place that allowed me enough time to stop and figure out what is that made me happy. Don’t get me wrong, being a mom and a wife makes me happy, but I needed to know what made HEATHER happy. What HEATHER wanted out of life. This summer has given me a glimpse of all of that.

This summer started off with my Journey concert at the track. Then Def Leppard/REO Speedwagon/Tesla at Klipsch. Then two concerts in one weekend Chris Young/Brad Paisley followed the next night by Gwen Stefani. Then last concert of my summer was Rob Thomas/Counting Crows all at Klipsch as well. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but music is a big part of my life and to get to see some of my faves belt out their songs live, well, that is epitome of happy in my book.

Let us not forget my birthday extravaganza… I realize my birthday was a singular day, but as a lover of my special day, I tend to drag it out for at least the month.

Now only was the summer music packed but (as always) we added Gen Con to the mix. (Did I mention I am a huge nerd?) Four days of nothing but gaming… the “four best day of gaming” to be exact. Never a dull moment there. Not only did I spend a lot of brain power winning over half of the games I played, but I got to enjoy the cosplayers in their personalized versions of pop culture, comic, or game character costumes.

To round out the summer, there was a Housing Conference in Detroit I got the privilege of attending. For those who do not know, my job is all rules and regulations and compliance and structure… and I love it. My part of the conference was learning more rules and how to figure  cash flow and net operating income (blah blah blah, right… wrong. I LOVE IT!). Yes, it was mind melting, but I love learning how to do my job better.

Needless to say, in a matter of three short months I squeezed in a lot of play time. Which by extension was time practicing being a better me.

Before I sat down to write this, when I was looking at my pictures I started to get a little down on myself. I ran no real races (yes I have done a couple of virtual 5ks, but no real ones), I haven’t been with Mr T (my trainer) since the beginning of May, and there really hasn’t been a week where I have gone to the gym more than two times, where I was going three to four times each week… but then I looked at what I had done.

I spent time with friends, I walked miles upon miles without flinching, I made my brain stronger, and even taught the noob gamers a thing or two ; ) I enjoyed myself and still did what I needed to do to figure out that I am more than a mom or a wife… I am a person and the happier I am, the more productive I can be!

Once I got past all of that, I also realized that I did put in some serious gym time, and even managed to keep my weight right where I left off in May!

I can honestly say, with the kids back in school and the summer winding down I am looking forward to seeing what comes next!

 

 

 

The After Photo

For those of you who do not know me all that well (or for those who do, but are not privy to this bit of information), I am a Pinterest junkie. Like, cannot get enough… I am always on there looking at crafty ideas, art projects, new styles (since my clothing size has gone down), tiny houses (my obsession) and of course inspirational quotes. Why am I tell you this? Well, let me back up a step or two…

Tonight at the gym, when I got there Mr T was there. He asked me what I was going to do and I told him that I was going to go kick the elliptical in the face. He laughed and I went on about my business. I wasn’t lying… that was, in fact, my plan. I decided that since my new found courage had got me moving on the elliptical, I was going to see if I could up my game. I upped my resistance to 3 (mind you, I had previously used a different -less difficult style – elliptical and upped the resistance, but on this one, a 3 was a big deal) and took off. Since I recently became an “i-People” I did not have the play list on my phone that once did, so I logged into YouTube and watched a few videos of my husbands band (Jon Bon Jovi, in case you were curious) and before I knew it I was at 3/4 of a mile and it was only 11’ish mins. I knew I was going to be under 15 mins so I picked my next video and kept going. At 1 mile I was looking at 14 mins and decided that wasn’t long enough so I just kept chugging away. More of that beautiful man to keep me going. When I got to 23 mins I realized that in less than 5 mins I would be at mile number two. I could do this. I really could. I smiled and sang along to Born to Be My Baby until the distance read “2.00”. I got off, went to go get my wipey for the machine and Mr T caught me, “what are you all smiles about?” I told him, “New record, 2 miles, less than 28 mins, with added resistance ANNNDDD it was on the elliptical, my nemesis!” “He shook his head, and said, “See, you got this! Progress!” He was right, I did have it and it was progress.

When I got in the car, I took my sweat post work pic… I mean how else are you going to know I did it?!?

Anywho, we are back to Pinterest now… I love adding quotes to my page, color me crazy but I do… so I searched “INSPIRATIONAL WORK OUT QUOTES” and right there at the top was “do it for the after photo”. It is what I do this for… the after photo. Not necessarily the one that shows my sweaty face and crazy hair, but the one that shows what I have accomplished. The one that reminds me that I really have made a difference… not just physically but, better all the way around. The whole journey of #becomingabetterme is to see #theafterphoto!  I may not be there yet, but I am feeling good about the path I am taking!

Raising Healthy Kids

I am sure I am not the first parent to ask myself, “have I got them ready for the world?” and I know I won’t be the last, but either way, that question is swimming in my head as I type.

I do have to say that after the way I was walking around yesterday fuming over the Dani Mathers case, I learned something new about my daughter. Then today, when my son was helping his grandfather read tent-putting-up instructions, I learned something about him.Let me tell you what happened in both situations, so my above statements do not sound like the crazy ramblings of a wild woman…

I explained the whole situation to Katie and I spoke (even read my blog post to her before it went up), she nodded in agreement, and I could see her thinking through my words, carefully planning her response. When I was done ranting and reading she sighed and started, “You have read me several of your blogs, and I think this is your best. I know you have done a lot to be better of the last year or whatever, and when someone is mean on purpose like that and you think about how it would make you feel, well, I am glad you have been able to go to the gym and do your races, as they have made you become a great mom.” I was not really sure how to answer that, and I really didn’t have to because she got up, kissed my head, and went to her room.

Then today, Jarrett was helping my step dad work on putting up the tent, I yelled for him to come and talk to me. When he came running, the first thing he did was hug me. Not forced or awkward, just a heartfelt hug from a son to his mother. He told me that he was helping put up the tent and filled me in on his driving adventure now that he has a permit. After giving me the low down on his happenings he said, “Ok Mom, I gotta go, I gotta learn how to do this since it is going to be up to me to help put the tent up when we get to the campsite.” He hugged me again and ran back to my step dad and nephew.

What does this all mean? Well, I hope I means that I have children who are comfortable in their own skin.  I hope it means that I have taught them to accept responsibility and think for themselves. I hope it means that they know they are loved and having an opinion of their own is perfectly acceptable. I really should have know that they were going to be fine when they were both voted in as captains of their respective teams… but hey, maybe I am a little slow?

IIMG_20160711_193601 realize this isn’t really my typical exercise, gym time, or health food related post, but as it is time for the kids to go back to school and #becomebetterkiddos, I wanted to throw out the proud momma points that I have earned.  Maybe I am patting myself on the back here, but as I #becomingabetterme, I see that my kids are benefitting from it as well, and that makes this journey all the more worth it!

 

 

I Can’t Unsee That

A good friend and I were having a nice conversation today. We talk daily, so we are always sharing things we have seen. Somewhere in our conversation he pops off with a “Hey, did you see the article about the Playboy Playmate body shaming a woman at the gym?”  I had not seen or heard about it, so he sent me the link. Before I read it, I was a little annoyed, thinking that someone was getting shamed AT THE GYM, stupid – but then, I read the article. I WAS LIVID!

(To start I will say it was posted on TMZ, so feel free to give it a read for yourself)

The long and short of the story is this Playmate, Dani Mathers, is at the gym, in the “locker room” and took a picture of a naked gym goer taking a shower and body shaming her on social media. Her Mean Girl antics have got her into some seriously hot water (and I personally vote for jail time), but the kicker is her public apology that basically said, “I am not sorry I am a b*tch and meant what I said, I am sorry I got caught saying it out loud!”

After talking telling my friend I read the article, and finished practicing my swear words, we changed the tone of the chatter. We talked about the big what if…

What if that were me??  I have been going to the gym for about two(ish) years now, and am past the initial ‘everyone is watching me’ feeling that I had at the beginning of my visits… but what if I wasn’t… what if someone actually shamed me in my first visit… WHERE WOULD I BE??

The answer to that is sadly simple, I would be exactly where I was two plus years ago, unhappy, overweight, and unhealthy. Those thoughts alone make me tear up. More than that, I would not be where I am. I know that sounds like a “duh” statement, but there is so much involved in that. I would not have met my new friends (and family) on my Cornfed team. I would not have had enough self confidence to go on adventures without a responsible adult to be my security blanket. I would never had the belief in myself to finish – not one, but tw0 – Spartan races. I would not have been able to better myself enough to become a trusted and respected coworker to my team. Above and beyond all of these things, I would not have found myself. Yes, I found me. I am now the person I knew I could be… or at least am pointed in the direction of becoming that better person I am striving to be.

It scares me to think I would lose my sanctuary. I use the gym as my outlet for daily stress, I go and walk my negative thoughts away, I lift away the ugliness that I see going on in the world, and come out stronger and lighter. I need that.

What Dani Mathers did to that poor woman is the lowest of low, and I only hope that it does not turn her off from #becomingabetterher … and take away whatever it is that the gym does for her. I hope that she has the inner strength to give Dani the middle finger and go right back to doing her thang, and doing it her way!

When I thought about writing this post I was so mad, I was worried that I would just use this as a rant, and I finish up (I am still mad, don’t think for a second I am not) it shows me how lucky I am to go to a gym where everyone is friendly. Thank you for being awesome, AnyTime.

Keep it classy, Dani Mathers… hope orange is your new black!

Don’t Stop Believin’

 

As I started this journey I promised to always be honest. Honest about the ways I succeeded as well as the way I failed.

Friday was a success. I am sure there was some eye rolling, especially from those of you who know that I went to see Journey with a couple of friends. Like, “really Heather, a concert is a success? Haven’t you done that before?!” Of course the answer is yes, yes I have, but this one was different.

Let me back up a little. For so many years there were things I wanted to do, was even invited to do, but the fear of failure kept me from saying yes and tagging along. Things that involved physical exertion was always a no for me. I missed out on so many adventures for fear not being able to handle the activity, getting winded and tired, and then letting my friends down. Keeping them from enjoying their adventure was the LAST thing I wanted. So I respectfully declined, and then just lived vicariously through their stories later.

Since I have been working out and walking and just all around treating myself better, I have been able to enjoy life so much more. Friday was one of those days. Jennifer had gotten two tickets to see Journey (one of my all time favorite bands since I was old enough to have an opinion on music), and offer one to me. I did not even hesitate to say yes to her! It wasn’t until later that I realized the concert was actually at the track (Indianapolis Motor Speedway, for those who didn’t realize I was a Hoosier) on Friday before the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday. When I found out, I still didn’t get nervous or worried, I knew that there would be a ton of walking (and as a side note, a TON of people watching… including the Mariachi clown in the chaps who happen to ride a Harley, but anyway)  I was perfectly fine with that!

Jen and I walked all over the Snakepit (a rather entertaining section of the track, I might add), people watching and laughing at the distinct generational differences and later met up with another one of my favorite people, Emily with her family, by the concert section of the infield. It was a fabulous day. Laughing, dancing, and singing our hearts out! I am not sure of a time I was happier?! It was truly a dream come true, and this would have never would have happened just two short years ago.

When I began working out and doing all of this to become a better me, the tool I used to measure myself against was other people, Spartan racers specifically, but I don’t need to do that. I can measure me against me. Using the old me as a starting point, I have come leaps and bounds from where I was.

A friend recently told me, “I don’t think you are becoming a better you, I think you are becoming the you you were always meant to be.” and he was right. This is me, someone who isn’t (as) scared to try. Someone who has enough get-up-and-go to be able to see a concert where about 4 miles of walking could happen. More than that, someone who isn’t going to give up what she wants just for fear of failing.

Again, I say this was a success. I got to fulfill my dream of seeing one my all time favorite bands in concert. A small victory, but a victory none the less… and ya know what? Those count too in this journey of #becomingabetterme.

Mile Minus Minutes

IMG_20160523_210859On Monday May 23, 2016 I got two seconds closer to my goal.

To say that sounds absolutely silly, I know, but what if I say that those two seconds are being added to nine minutes. Whaaaa?!?!?! Yeah, I said it! Nine minutes!

Let me tell you a story.

When I started doing races and exercising I had NO idea what it meant to time a mile. I had only ever done OCRs where there were bottlenecks at the obstacles in a Spartan and then there were stopping points where you play in the mud at the Dirty Girl or fun 5Ks where you stopped to get sprayed with neon colored goo in the Neon Dash or even maybe a stop for hot chocolate at the Santa Hustle. There was never a time where I wanted to know how long I could do a mile in.

The more serious I got about exercise the more I learned, that like with anything, to get better you have to know where you start. So one afternoon last summer, I decided to go to park and walk the track and see exactly how long it took me.

Now I am not going to pretend that I went as fast as I could, or pushed myself as hard a could. I wanted to make sure that I could complete the full mile. I feel I should also say, (since I vowed to always be honest in this journey – whether it be good, bad or ugly) that although I had done 5Ks and OCRs, I got winded fast and was always glad for a brief breather.

Anywho, in that lap around the 1 mile track at Hummel Park I timed myself at a 27 min mile. Now, I know that is really a sad starting point, but it was the truth. Here I am, less than a year later looking at the timer on the treadmill thinking “HOLY MONKEYS I DID IT!!” I got under 18 mins! Now, as you all have figured it out, I always have another goal, and this is not an exception. I am still trying to figure out this whole running thing (still a work in progress), but I would like to see a 15-16 min mile, but that’s another story.

Before I put a nice little bow on this blog, just let me say that I look back over the course of the last year(ish) having pictures and comments and now even this website to look at, I take a moment to relish in the victories I have had and the milestones I have accomplished and even more than that how much better I feel mentally and physically. There have been so many of you who – without even knowing it – have inspired me to keep going. For that, I thank you all and wish you success in your journeys as well.

IMG_20160520_090051

Sometimes I Fail

Me cargo net 2When I first started my journey, or pretty much any endeavor in life, I ask those who have been through it to tell me the good, the bad, and the ugly of how they got where they are or how they achieved the goal that they set out to achieve… and 99% of the time the answer was something along the lines of “EMBRACE THE SUCK” or “I JUST DECIDED TO DO IT AND I DID IT”. Those answers, my friends, are not and were not helpful. So, when I started this blog, I promised myself (and those who asked) that I would talk about the good, THE BAD, and THE UGLY!

Today’s story is an ugly one. Of course I will inevitably find the silver lining (because that is what I do)… but it sure doesn’t start off all rainbows and sunshine.

Last night I got a text from my trainer asking if I was going to make it, I messaged him back saying I would, unless he needed to reschedule… now, this was not a ploy to get out of going to the gym, actually I was looking forward to it, I was just trying to be accommodating of his time as well. Anyway, he replied with, “nope, you better be here!” To which I thought, sure, no problem.

I got the gym about 20 mins before my time slot so I decided to hop on the treadmill, which is what he would have had me do anyway. I set my speed at 3.1 and took off. I got 3/4 of a mile done in less 15 mins, but decided to stop so I could hit the restroom and fill my water bottle up before we started. Mind you, I was still ready to go for it.

He called me over when it was my turn to start, and we spoke our regular greetings, and chatted as he set up the bench for me.

Let me back up a second, I should say that his work outs with me are three different exercises twice around, and we do three different sets. Mixed into this work out is always lunges and squats. Always. Sometimes he throws in jumping jacks, sit ups, or burpees, but I can guarantee to be doing the lunges and the squats.

OK, so he has me working on the bench, then dumb bells,  then incline bench, then incline dumb bells… and the further into this work out I get the more I feel that familiar burning in my forearms. I am trying, with everything I have, to push back the freak out I can feel brewing in my gut, while at the same time push the bar and the dumb bells up over my head, but neither was happening.

I had to stop. There was no more. The voice in my head told me it was full on freak out time, so my body complied. Light headed, dizzy, sick to my stomach, all of it. Then to add insult to injury, I could feel the burning behind my eyelids. I was about to cry. I knew I failed, and I hated it. So what did I do next? Well, I quickly said goodbye and left. The second I got to my car the waterworks started. For a minute there, I hated myself. Full on self loathing…

I drove home and went over every moment of the work out to analyze exactly which point was my breaking point and when I figured it out, I calmed down a little bit. I knew it was all about my limits. I know that the point of work outs are to find your limit and march past it, but with my arms I can’t do that. I can push a little, even tip toe over the edge, but there is no marching.

Even after a coming to terms with what happened, I know I failed. And I am actually ok with it. Failing is part of becoming better. What I won’t do is quit. Absolutely will not.

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here is the text from my trainer… he couldn’t be more right.

About 30 minutes after I got home I got a text from my trainer, checking on me. After explaining where I was in my head, and the conclusion I made, he sent me another text, this time reminding me to look ahead.

I know sometimes I will fail, otherwise #becomingabetterme won’t be worth it.