Fitness

Just show up

Just show up 3

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After a nearly a week of wearing ridiculous pajamas, eating various forms of candy for breakfast, and indulging in more than my fair share of fruitcake, I’m back to blogging. While I always enjoy celebrating Christmas with my family, it feels good to return to my everyday routine after six days of sugar, sleeping in and…well…more sugar.

It also felt good to get back to the gym. Let’s just say my “healthy holiday habits” involved swapping the eggnog I typically pour over my Christmas Crunch cereal on the morn of December 25th for a somewhat lighter option.

You may know it as whole milk.

(See why I used “somewhat”?)

And so, when my sister Hayley encouraged me to join her at the gym for a Saturday night workout, I knew I couldn’t (and more importantly, shouldn’t) say no.

I didn’t want to go. I was tired, sluggish and didn’t like the idea of messing up the hairdo I had so painfully styled just a few hours earlier. My exhausted body was yearning for some sleep, but even I realize that that going to bed at six-thirty on a Saturday night is completely effing ridiculous.

“Fine,” I told her, “I’ll come with…but I’m just going to walk on the treadmill. I haven’t worked out in four days, and I need to ease my body back into things. Plus, I don’t want to get my hair sweaty.”

We arrived at Hayley’s training gym (she’s a competitive rower), and were delighted to have the space to ourselves. Hayley plugged in my iPhone and blasted my Spotify workout playlist at full volume. I slowly schlepped over to the treadmill, wishing I had opted to stay home and get some shut eye.

And then I heard it. The song that for some reason I’m still unable to pin point, motivates me unlike anything else.

(“Let’s Get It Started” by The Black Eyed Peas. Please, no judging.)

It’s virtualy impossible for me to “just walk on the treadmill” while that song is playing. I let out a knowing sigh. So much for not getting my weave sweaty.

Sixty minutes, 150 “wall balls” and a whole lotta kettle bell swings later, my hair was a hot mess. But the rest of me? The rest of me felt fantastic. I could practically feel the eggnog draining from body in the form of sweat. I was reminded of that “you never regret a workout” mantra.

I also realized that in life, sometimes the most difficult part of a challenge is simply showing up to face it. How many times have you dreaded going to the gym, only to get a phenomenal workout after forcing yourself to just get it over with? What about not wanting to go into the office, only to have a productive and fulfilling day after you arrived?  And who hasn’t procrastinated on cleaning out the garage or sorting through a messy closet only to realize the process and end-result were enjoyable? I find this concept particularly true in blogging — not all my posts are off-the-walls amazing, but I make a point of posting five days a week, whether I feel like it or not. Ironically, the days I don’t want to write have spawned some of my most popular entries. Go figure.

Success in all areas of life is typically the product of consistency. You don’t always have to be at your best. You don’t always have to feel excited or motivated. You don’t even have to like it. You simply have to show up. Consistency produces momentum that leads to results. Period.

As I think of my New Year’s Resolutions (which I’ll be sharing tomorrow), I’m realizing that every single one of them can be achieved if I “Just Show Up”. I’ve been wanting to learn a new language for years. Yet have I researched tutors or booked any classes? Nope. While becoming fluent in a new tongue isn’t the easiest task in the world, could I do it if I committed to a one-hour class once a week? I’d sure like to think so! If I take the time to book the classes and “Just Show Up” I should be butchering another language with confidence in no time.

It’s incredible the things you can learn about yourself from something as simple as a trip to the gym. In fact, I think “Just Show Up” might just be my new mantra for 2014.

(It’s between that and “Say No to Egg Nog”.)

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The Fab Five: December 2013

The Fab Five: December 2013 4

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For this month’s installment of the Fab Five, I’ll be featuring all my favorite goodies from my recent trip to Australia. Southern-hemisphere dwellers, you’re in luck! (Although you probably discovered these gems long before I did.) As for those of you up here with me? Let’s hope you don’t mind spending a small fortune on shipping….

1. Drinking Custard

drinking custardI was completely crestfallen upon learning that drinking custard isn’t actually something you drink. (While I couldn’t find a photo online, I swear the label actually reads “Drinking Custard”. Back me up, Aussie friends?)

In contrary, this delicious sauce is intended to be poured over pies, crumbles, fruit, and if you’re me, pancakes. Think of it as a far superior alternative to cool whip. It is decadent, flavorful, and in my opinion, totally worthy of drinking on its own. (In secret, of course.)

I still can’t get over the fact that we don’t have this in the states. Surely, it would be an instant, pourable sensation! While I’m assuming it’s nearly impossible to ship, I did manage to find a super simple recipe if you want to whip up your own batch at home. Think  of it as my Christmas gift to you.

 

2. Lorna Jane

lorna jane

Think Lululemon, only….less douchey? Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Lulu…but I think we can all admit that founder and former CEO Chip Wilson is kind of a jackhole. In contrast, Lorna Jane Clarkson–the founder of this Australian activewear brand–is an incredibly positive role model on multiple levels.  The brand has a truly positive message–Move, Nourish, Believe–that feels legitimately empowering and genuine. As far as the clothing goes, the price and quality is right on par with Lululemon. I actually prefer Lorna’s stuff as they tend to embrace more color and pattern. (Those floral mania pants have my name written all over them. Also on my list? The 2014 Move Nourish Believe Journal.)

The good news? LJ has recently expanded to the United States! While they currently only have stores in California, you can shop till your blue in the face on their website. Did I mention the free site-wide shipping? Yes, please!

 

3. Weis Bars

weis bar

I discovered this tasty little treat on a hot day in Surfer’s Paradise. And it was heaven. (If heaven tasted like mangoes, vanilla ice cream, and macadamia nuts, that is.) These ice cream bars are made in Queensland with love — and real fruit! Surprisingly, they also aren’t too much of a splurge in the calorie department.

Obviously, shipping these frozen nuggets of delight to the states is out of the question, (unless you’re, like, Oprah or something), but I plan on recreating them at home with a scoop of mango sorbet, splash of cream, and tablespoon of chopped up mac nuts. (Sorry…that’s the best I can do.)

 

4. Bonds

bondsundies

Bonds. Bonds! How did I survive twenty-nine years without Bonds?

I learned about Bonds thanks to our Contiki tour guide, Carolyn. She informed us that all the ladies and gents in Oz swear by this Australian brand of underwear. “They are the most comfortable things you will ever invest in,” she claimed.

Turns out, Carolyn was right. I’ve since fallen madly in love with Bonds for the following three reasons:

  1. They ship to the U.S. Easy, peasy.
  2. By signing up for their free rewards program, you get twenty percent off every single thing you buy for, like, ever!
  3. They make granny panties suitable for someone under the age of 30. (And yes…I love me some granny panties.)

 

5. Dual Flush Toilets

dual flush toilet

I know, I know. Dual flush toilets exist in America. But they were absolutely everywhere in Australia. During my fifteen days down under, I don’t think I came across a single toilet that wasn’t dual flush. Congratulations, Australia — you have outdone us with your eco-friendly ways again!

Seriously, though. Think about how much water we Yankees waste every single day using a single flush commode. It’s kind of really insane. Let’s face it —  America needs more dual flush toilets. There. I’ve solved at least half of our nation’s problems!

While I have little control over the governments toilet mandates, I am able to made a difference at home. And Australia  has inspired me to jump on the dual flush bandwagon and never look back! Sure — there will be a bit of an up-front investment, but I’m hoping to save a bundle on  utilities in the future.  Particularly as I work from home — so I’m here flushing away all the live long day.

(Oh how I long for the days when our utility bills were lower as both Scott and I were at offices all day.)

(And yes. I realize that’s a really weird thing to think about.)

******

There you have it. My five favorite things from the land down under! Any Aussie treasures I left out? Of course, an honorable mention is given to my beloved runner-ups: Tim Tams and Harry’s meat pies. (Sorry guys. You just couldn’t compete with drinking custard.)

Psst! Want to check out Fab Fives of months gone past? Be my guest!

 

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My body is NOT a wonderland

My body is NOT a wonderland 3

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I’ve always been one of those girls who bruises easily. Add to this my affinity for bumping into things on a regular basis, and you have the walking antithesis of Mr. Mayer’s ode to Jennifer Love Hewitt circa 2002. Black, blue, scraped and scabby? That pretty much describes my lower half. (It’s also the reason I keep airbrush leg makeup in my cosmetics arsenal.)

So, while I’ve always been sporting banged up extremities, I’ve never had anything to blame it on, other than my own general sense of clumsiness.

Until now, that is.

CrossFit, I’m officially calling you out for roughing up my anatomy in the following 4 ways:

Bruises

bruises

And not just on my legs. There are bruises on my collar-bone and shoulders from doing power cleans with the bar. (Apparently that means you’re doing it right.)

Last week, there was also a distinct hematoma on the underside of my chin. It was attained while mistakenly whacking my face with the barbel on the upswing of a jerk press. (Apparently that means you’re not doing it right.)

 

2. Callouses

callouses

 

These are the result of gripping the bar with all my might, and just generally engaging in strength training badassery. This photo was snapped on a good day…often times these nubbins are larger, redder, and possibly oozing blood.

So much for my career as a hand model!

(And yes…I’ve had multiple people tell me I could be a hand model. Although perhaps that’s simply the polite way of saying “your face isn’t symmetrical and your legs are kind of stumpy.”)

 

3. Rope Burn

rope-burn

This raw piece of flesh on my ankle isn’t the only battle wound I acquired while climbing a ridiculously tall rope for the first time since third grade gym glass. My inner thighs–which were gripping that dang thing with all their might–have two dark, speckled bruises. To make matters worse, the discolorations are layered atop a collection of withered looking stretch marks left behind from late-night college pizza binges of yesteryear.

(Photo not included…for the sake of your retinas.)

 

4. Crack scab

Yes…it’s exactly what it sounds like. Although technically it’s more of an above-the-crack-below-the-lower-back-scab. I like to think of it as a fitness tramp-stamp…just less decorative and more scaly. It was earned by noble means — performing copious amounts of sit-ups on a hard floor without a single cushion.

Cushions are for wussies.

(Once again, photo not included for what I would hope are obvious reasons.)

*****

There you have it. The four ways CrossFit has made me look like I’ve engaged in a barfight. But is it worth it? Absolutely. CrossFit has challenged me in ways no other workout has, and while my body may be covered in battle wounds, it’s also seeing results I never thought were actually possible. (Also…the majority of the “owies” are from my own lack of skill and experience. The more I improve my form, the less disheveled I will look!) More importantly, CrossFit is fun. Really fun. It’s a community of wonderful people who feel more like family than gym acquaintances.

And let’s face it…my body wasn’t exactly a bruise-free wonderland before I started CrossFit. At least now I can explain that my banged up legs are from box jumps as opposed to drinking a bottle of wine and attempting to perform the Spice Girls ‘Wannabe’ music video dance routine at the bowling alley.

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Yoga Bombing

Yoga Bombing 2

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How to disrupt an uber serious hot yoga class in 15 easy steps:

1. Purchase a Groupon for twenty classes at a studio outside of Minneapolis. Sure, it’s 150 miles away, but you can use it every time you make a pilgrimage to the glorious, Costco-filled suburbs!

2. Make a pilgrimage to the glorious, Costco-filled suburbs and forget to bring workout clothes.

3. Stop by Marshall’s and pick up a super cheap sports bra and pair of booty shorts. Sure, it’s skimpy…but it’s twelve dollars cheaper than the more modest alternative. More fabric = more expensive!

4. Purchase a $9.99 yoga mat positioned strategically in front of the checkout area in order to avoid renting one from the studio.

5. Walk through the parking lot and into the studio completely barefoot, tracking in a significant amount of gravel in the process. (I wasn’t about to leave my fancy pair of TOMS in an unattended cubby hole for one of the yoga MILFs to steal while I was getting my zen on…)

6. Enter the yoga room at the last-minute possible, creating a very un-zen raucous while settling in a little too close between two disturbingly muscular grandmothers.

7. Realize you are the only person in the class who isn’t wearing long pants and a modest Midwestern tank top and start to self-consciously giggle. Loudly.

8. Unroll your brand new yoga mat, which takes a good thirty seconds and makes an incredibly annoying squeaky sound. Bonus? It has a potent “made in China” paint thinner smell that overwhelms the room and will probably give everyone cancer.

9.  Start sneezing uncontrollably as a result of the toxic yoga mat.

10. Knock over an entire bottle of Dasani during the first Vinyasa flow.

11. Blow your nose (loudly) into your towel out of sheer desperation.

12. Mistakenly smack your neighbor’s shoulder during tree pose.

13. Start sweating profusely onto the stinky, made in China yoga mat. For some reason beyond any explanation, excessive perspiration mixed with poisonous yoga mat fumes smells eerily similar to marijuana. Pretend not to notice as the disturbingly muscular grandmothers shoot you dirty looks. (Although you could swear the dude with the ponytail is winking at you.)

14. Slip during the balance poses, which results in a violent crash to the ground, splashing of sweat, and possibly a swear word that the instructor would describe as “full of negative energy”.

15. Almost back into one of the disturbingly muscular grandmothers on your way out of the parking lot.

*******

Namaste, Heat Yoga of Maple Grove. My sports bra and I will be back. (But only after we’ve adequately aired out our toxic Chinese yoga mat.)

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