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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Juggling Priorities

When I started this #becomingabetterme campaign, I had one goal in mind… to be a better me. All the way around, from top to bottom, inside and out… just better. The one thing I could not see coming was how  I would have to prioritize the parts of me I wanted to make better.

I have stated in the past that the first stop was actually losing weight, as it was the easiest part of me to improve. Then how I handled people around me. Family, friend, coworkers, etc. Well, the next step would naturally be my career. That is where this blog is going.

Over the last few weeks, I have been trying to settle into my new/morphed position at work. I have been in the housing industry for the last almost 10 years, a lot of that in community management, the last four years in compliance, the last three years in compliance and operation and now managing property operations and compliance. This new position will take more time and probably more patience. Something that I have really had to put at the forefront of my campaign. I am a Gemini, and by nature, we suck at patience. (For you gems reading this, don’t pretend like that insulted you… you know I am right!)

The other thing this position is taking more of, at least for right now, is my time. I want to make sure that everything that is still on my plate until the morphing is complete, gets done, so working weekends and after hours at home is a must. I am perfectly content putting in the hours because the more I do, the better I become, but here is where the juggling happens.

Knowing that I have been unable to get to the gym, I have at least made it a point to watch what I eat. So I have been working off of a modified Whole 30 diet. Since I know that my body relies on the exercise to keep going, but the time and energy does not allow for gym going, I knew that being careful was going to be a must.

Tonight I made it a point to take an extra 45 mins out of my day to get to the gym. I wasn’t going to beat myself up, but I needed that treadmill sweat. I needed the music in my ears as watched the screen show the distance work its way to one mile. My body was starting to crave it, and I had to give in.

I cannot lie, while #becomingabetter me is still my priority, I am truly struggling with which part of ME gets top priority? How does one decide that?

My fearless leader swears by the motto “WORK TO LIVE, DON’T LIVE TO WORK” but when work is a passion (which anyone who work for a not for profit, has to have), and even a huge part of the bettering process, I don’t really look at it that way.

Bottom line, there has to be a way to be a better me at work and still continue to be a better me physically. Every step I have taken so far has been an obstacle, I guess this juggling thing is just the next one?

 

 

Life Without Mr T.

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Without going into detail, my house has been under some financial stress starting back in May. I realize it happens to everyone once in awhile, but it took a toll on us.

When we figured out the only way to get through it was to tighten the belts and just power on, we sat down at the kitchen table and made a plan. More dinner at home, less eating out, leftovers for lunch, date nights would be games at home or OnDemand movies, but even that was not going to be enough. We looked further into our finances and Hammy and Jarrett agreed that they would both put a freeze on their gym memberships. As much as I appreciated that from them, I couldn’t do it, I just couldn’t. I use the gym as my sanctuary and might go insane if I tried to completely give it up, so I compromised and said I would stop with my trainer, Mr T, for a few months.

When I first signed my contract with Mr T, it was only going to be for six months. I knew that with my Spartan race coming up, I needed him to push me in a way I could not. I wasn’t really sure what that meant, but he figured it out rather quickly. As I have talked about in previous posts, getting the guidance of Mr T was eye opening for me. Starting out with him in September, I was not ready for what he had in store. Even though I had already been going to the gym for over a year, I had never put that kind of strain on myself. There were lots of squats, lots of lunges, lots of battle ropes, and even some bench pressing… I also believe there was some crying, some whining, and even some (sorry, but I swore this would be good bad and ugly) puking. Basically EVERYTHING my body was not used to.

It is now July. A little over two months since I have heard Mr T yell at me and tell me I could do it… but I think I have this. Last night when I went to the gym, I walked in and I was not sure what I was going to do. I stood by the water fountain as I filled my water bottle and chuckled as I literally said out loud, “WWMTD” (for those of you who don’t speak Heather, that was What Would Mr T Do). I decided the first thing he would have me do was some cardio, as he finished with the client he always had before our session, so I opted for the elliptical where I kicked out a mile. Then after that I stood in front of the mirror where we always called “home base” and looked around at my options… I knew that with the 12# kettle bell in front of me that is where he would have me start. So that’s what I did. Next I headed over to the machine I called the “crunch machine” (he told me what it was but stopped arguing with my Heather style names for everything.) where I did crunched until my belly hurt. What to do next?   I looked up and saw the medicine balls and knew that’s when he would have me do side bounces. From there I walked back to the “leg squeezer” where I did my push outs and squeeze ins and mixed in my lat pull downs. Doing the rounds of all of these exercises, just like he would have told me.

When I finished with my last set I looked around the empty gym and although he was not with me, I could hear him in my head making wise cracks, singing the music that the gym plays and teasing me.

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When I agreed to let Mr T go back in May, it broke my heart, but I have to say, he left a his mark on me. I appreciate everything he has done, and will continue to channel him when I need that extra kick in the butt! #becomingabetterme is so much easier when you have people on your side who understand and are good at getting you to the next step. Thank you Mr T!

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!

Where Do I Find My Next Adventure?

It has been less than a month since I started saying, “I am 40” when asked my age… and I am still really not used to it.

The day of my 40th was definitely one for the record books…. quite the party, if I do say so myself, and definitely a highlight to the new decade of my life, but that wasn’t the last adventure I have had.

The week after my birthday we went straight into the NESCO Olympics (Near East Side Community Organization Olympics), which involved some kickball, some volleyball, trivia, cards, tug o’war, frisbee golf, and cornhole, just to name a few.

Then there was the REO, Def Leppard, and Tesla concert. Added in was a day at the waterpark with my mother, kids, and nephews just for fun.  Then as recent as yesterday, an (almost) 5k with my bestie  to enjoy a Saturday morning in the park.

There is not a single adventure listed above that would take back. I loved each and every one of them for what they were. What I will say is I miss pushing myself. I miss getting dirty. I miss my team. And I really miss the feeling of accomplishment.

After looking at the calendar, and the bank account, there is no way of running a Spartan this year. I haven’t found a 5k that has really struck my fancy. So creating my own track and getting a virtual 5k medal, has been what I have done. None of that is really sparking me. I need a new adventure, I need a new challenge.

The question is, what do I do??? I feel like I should be trying something new, but have no idea what that should be??? I don’t want to sound like I am whining, but I think I am… #becomingabetterme was started at the beginning of this journey to remind myself that this was all about doing more, being more, but now… now I feel stuck.

I guess the only thing left to say is, life might be knocking me down right now, but since Life hits like a b*tch, I will just get back up and keep searching for that next challenge, because afterall, I am #stilltrying.

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.

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Sticks, Stones, and Words

I have said from the beginning this journey of #becomingabetterme, it was more than just the physical changes that needed to occur. I talk about them the most as they are the easiest to fix. Now, do not get me wrong, it has taken a lot of work, a lot of tears, and whole lot of whining to get where I am now, and it was not easy, but changing your weight or your muscle tone is definitely easier than changing who you have been for the majority of 39 years.

I have not always been someone to say how I felt, believe it or not. I would get mad and cry, but a lot of times I would hold back what I really was feeling for fear of hurting the person I was talking to. My MoMo believed in the “sticks and stones” things and preached regularly how bruised go away, and physical scars healed, but those words… good, bad, or hurtful… are always out there. She even told me one time that it was like a constant word bubble over your head, and the one you hurt always saw it, no matter how many times you apologized.

Anyway, without the details I will just say that my life changed, and I decided I was going to be the one in charge. I was going to make sure I said how I felt when I felt it, so never again would I wish I had been honest.

As I have gotten even older my brass ways have gotten the better of me. Sadly, in my quest to be honest, I forgot that some people struggle with brutal honesty, either positive or negative. As a supervisor I would just say “yes, you did it right” or “no, you did it wrong” no difference in my tone, just a simple matter of fact way of saying how it was. I didn’t look at this as negative really, I felt that if I was giving as much emotion to the “yes” as I was to the “no” I was not being harsh. My mistake.

After a few (or more than a few) conversations with a fearless leader of mine – someone who also has a knack for telling it like it is – I realized that maybe this was the next box I should check? The me that interacts with others, the Mom, the Friend, the Coworker, the Employee… that me, she needs to soften the edges. Although my job is 100% figuring out the black and white of the issue, and how it fits into our MANY rules, I still needed to work on my delivery.

Since I have been more conscience of this decision, I can see a change in how my coworkers receive my words. Even in how they ask me for help. I have seen a difference in my children, they are less afraid of “being in trouble” and more realize that I am their mother and correcting them is my job. I would even go as so far to say I have changed as a friend. Being asked for advice and/or my perspective on a situation is really a form of respect, and I see that now.

Overcoming my fear of failure was hard. Overcoming my self doubt was hard. Overcoming my urge to fire back was really hard… but keeping calm, speaking in a way that does not come across as know it all (which, I have been accused of being), this has been the hardest thing I have ever done. Each day I try just a little bit harder, speak a little bit slower, and sympathize a little bit deeper.  I will never be any less passion driven, or feel less of a need to succeed, but I am trying. Trying to become a better me.

 

PS. Fearless leader, if you have read this, thank you.

Creating and Measuring Goals

2016-04-17_15.30.25 GOALS

  1. Lose weight
  2. Get healthy
  3. Become a better me

Why did I set such vague goals? Well, simple… so I could achieve them… duh!

Before I go any further forward, let me go back a little. When I started this journey I was tired, weak, fat, unhealthy, unmotivated, and genuinely unhappy. I knew that was not how I wanted to live. My biggest concern was failing again. I had done that too many times before, and let me tell you, It sucks. When I think about all of the money I sunk into fad diets and random pills, it makes my stomach turn. Anyway, how was I suppose to get it right this time? What plan could I set in place to keep this from happening? I am normally the kind of person who makes a decision and just takes off running with it, but this time I couldn’t do that. I had to make it work.

Goal #1:  The first decision I made was about the weight loss, as it was the biggest issue involved in this journey. I knew that the total pounds I needed to lose was well in the 50s and that number scared the crap out of me. How do you get to 50 without getting discouraged? Well, in a conversation with myself (yes, I literally talked myself through this), I knew I had to make my goals small. By small I mean in 5lb increments… I know me, and having the metabolism that I have, getting to that five lbs was going to be rough enough, let alone knowing there would be plateaus involved as well. Setting a high goal than that might have stopped me before I even got to the first lb lost.

Goal #2: This may have been harder than the idea of losing the weight! The idea of “the gym” I had in my head was a scary place. Full of supermodels walking around with leotards and beauty make up – you know the place I would never fit in, the place where Olivia Newton John recorded her Physical video?? (do I need to remind you this is STILL a judgment free zone?!) Anyway, I finally got the guts up to give it a try. There, too, I started small. How does one remain on their butt and still get in exercise – THE BIKE! That is it! Starting point! There is no place to go from there, but up! Adding to that, correcting the diet… baby steps: no more cokes, more water, no more McDonalds cheese, more veggies, GOT IT!

Goal #3: This one was a little trickier, but the attaining the above two, made this one easier. Becoming a better me was more of a well rounded plan. Being more confident and being healthier would make me a better mother, a better friend, and a better person – A BETTER ME!

As I started this over a year ago, when I get a little down, I have to go back and do a progress report of these goals….

GOALS:

  1. down 38 lbs and counting
  2. working out with the trainer and going to the gym 3-4 days a week
  3. a work in progress… this journey of #becomingabetterme is no where near completed.