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?

 

 

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!

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!

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!

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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Sunday and Some Color

 

 

I cannot lie, I have been in a bit of a funk lately. Things have been so crazy and hard to control, that even the gym therapy hasn’t been enough. I have been derailed, and I hate being derailed. Even though I started out on a semi-negative note, I want you to know that this will NOT be a whoa is me type of blog.

When I woke up this morning I stumbled into the bathroom and just looked at myself in the mirror… not a pretty picture, but the first thing I noticed (besides my crazy, wild bedhead) was my lack of color. My face just looked void of a happy smiling bit of color that I really pride myself on. So, once done powdering my nose, I checked the weather. BEAUTFUL! It was supposed to be beautiful!!! Perfect way to find my color again!

I asked my hubs if he wanted to go for a walk, and since he is a big time game designer and had work to do, he had to respectfully decline. Next idea, phone a friend! As a coworker has listened to my stories of racing and exercise when she moved into her apartment she told me on several occasions to call her if I wanted to go for a walk as there is the Pleasant Run Trail right across the street. So that’s exactly what I did. I sent Amy a message that very simply said, “Feel like going for a walk today?” Within 5 mins I got the response I was hoping to receive “Absolutely!” Great. Maybe a little bit of nature and a whole lotta sun would help with this lil black rain cloud that was hanging over my head.

As soon as we started walking the conversation took on a life of its own. We talked about kids, her grandkids, work, nature… you name it, we talked about it! The further we walked the better I felt. Before we knew it, we were almost 2 miles away! We talked ourselves to a park that I am not even sure where or what it was! I realize that for those of you who do know me, my being directionally challenged is not a secret – and finding out I had no idea where I was is also not a surprise… but what is the surprise to you, we made it back!

By the time we got back to her apartment I was sweaty, had crazy frizzy hair, and probably did not smell all that pleasant, but man, I felt wonderful! I so needed it! I made it a point to go look in the mirror and aside from the crazy walking hair, I noticed my color was back. Those 3+ miles made all of the difference in the world.

Sometimes as I work through #becomingabetterme I forget that just being with like minded people makes such a difference in my world and helps me get back to center. Thank you for that today, Amy, I needed it!

Happy Mothers’ Day #becomingabettermother

Doing all that I do, every day, is solely for my kids. Ok, so not solely… but damn near.  There are things that I do as a mother, that I hope with everything inside of me, that my children see and even take with them on their own road. I realize my children are very close to the legal “adult” age, but I hope that I have not been too late in teaching them the important things I have learned along my journey over the course of the last few years…

DETERMINATION, GOALS, SELF AWARENESS, and WONDER…

Let me explain.

Determination: When I decided I was going on this journey of #becomingabetterme, I knew that if I didn’t set my mind to it, I wouldn’t get anything done. Having to push myself to do things I didn’t really want to do, that was my determination coming out. I guess that could also be considered stubbornness, but hey, determination is a prettier word! Talking about plans and following through with those plans is totally different and I needed to make sure my children know that too.

Goals: Setting goals and attaining them is one of the most fulfilling experiences in the world. Personally I have to set a group of smaller goals and then see how those add up to the bigger goal I am after. I have done that several times – even talked about a lot of them in other writings, but my favorite is still my running goal. I know I can’t go out and run a 5k, lets not even pretend I can do a half mile without dying, but the point is, I have pushed myself to run, even in its smallest increments, I did it. The big goal is being able to do the 4 miles, but I am happy with the .04 miles as a jumping off point!

Self  Awareness: Only you can determine that. I wont lie, I still struggle with this one. I tend to focus on what I have not yet accomplished, but I know I am better than I once was, even if I not yet what I want to be. I think this is what keeps us humble and grounded. Knowing we always have room for improvement. Even if I have not got this one licked, I still try to remind my kids of their strong suits and encourage them in the areas where they are lacking.

Wonder: Never lose your sense of wonder! Never stop trying new things! Never ever settle for what is less than who you are! If someone who have told me 3 years ago that I would have ever got off the couch and started working out, I would have laughed! Let alone having a trainer, finishing two Spartan races, several 5ks, a 10k, and a couple random mud runs… those ideas were just knee slappers back then! Then you add in the loss of 38 lbs. UNHEARD OF!! I am not done finding myself, everyday is new adventure, and everyday will remain just that!

I guess the moral of this story is that even though it took me roughly 37 years to figure out what makes this life go ’round, I want my kids to start out with what I have learned at the beginning of their adulthood, rather than smack dab in the middle of it. #becomingabettermother is just one more thing to add to my TO DO list, and ya know what? I got this!

 

 

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.