A Week of ‘Not Good Enough’

This is a more serious post than those I usually share, but I suppose that comes with the territory of labelling yourself as honest/a real human being…right? SO HERE IT GOES. VULNERABILITY YAY πŸ˜€

The past week was a rough one for me. Hormones running wild, motivation at a low point, positive thinking a rare occurrence, interest in doing anything nonexistent. I was down & out of ways to get back up.  

[Obviously this is a much deeper issue than one blog post can possibly cover- but this is my best effort to talk about it based on my own experience..]

Not a single thing about me seemed to be good enough. 

No workout was satisfactory. No outfit I put on could make me feel comfortable in my own skin. No amount of coffee could keep me alert. No ‘victory’ could stop me from feeling like a loser. No promise of making a positive impact was enough to make me look forward to getting out of bed. 

A few fleeting moments of happiness & self love came throughout the week. But they weren’t enough. Nothing was enough. 

All of the advice & practices for wisdom I share with everyone else were just not helping. Or, if I’m being honest, I just didn’t want to put in the effort. 

I was convinced I wasn’t worth the effort to be happy with myself. 

I was convinced I didn’t deserve to love who I am. 

I was convinced all of the progress I’ve made was just not good enough.

I was convinced that the comparisons I was making between myself & other people were important & worth the space in my brain. 

I think we all experience these stretches of negativity & self sabotage fueled by a lull in self-love. Some of us have these experiences more than others. Some of us don’t acknowledge our feelings (me), & then when we do decide to process our feelings it becomes overwhelming & lasts a whole week. We all lose sight of our goals. We all fall out of love with ourselves. We all have bad days (or weeks, maybe even months). 

But I think there’s a positive note behind these valleys of self-hate. Although they suck, & they drain you of your mental enegy, they can be a great opportunity to re-focus. When you come out on the other side of any internal struggle, your desire to fight for yourself is stronger. The goals you have for yourself become clearer when you leave the fog of feeling less than worthy. The love you have for yourself intensifies when you test it with your own negative thoughts. 

After a long week, I know that I am good enough. I am worthy of my own love. I am strong. I am my own person, I make my own progress at my own pace, I have my own standards that may not satisfy other people’s standards, & that’s okay. Do I think I’m free & clear of all bad days & negative self-talk? Hell no!! A healthy relationship with yourself takes just as much work (if not more) than any other relationship. We have to put in effort to develop our own self love.

We all deserve a loving relationship with ourselves. We all deserve to be happy in our own skin. 

You’re good enough. You’re worth positive mental space. Don’t forget it!! ❀

~peace & all good~

It’s Okay to Ask for Help

A few days ago I decided to attempt to squat 205lbs… 

How is this relevant to asking for help? 

Well, I had just squatted a personal best of 195 the day before, along with a lengthy set of deadlifts. My body (especially the lower end) was tired. I’d never broken 200lbs before. But I thought I was ready. 

I did one slow, slightly painful rep. I got back up from under 205 lbs! πŸ˜€ 

Of course that wasn’t enough…

I stepped up to the bar ready for round two. Stared at myself in the mirror for a while, contemplated if the song I chose was the right song, stared some more… 

I was going to do this. 

‘Not so fast there, pal!’ my brain screeched…. Ok, maybe I’m not going to do this. 

I was offered a spot & hestitantly accepted the offer. Before I even started to squat this person noticed a form issue I had (I wasn’t squaring off my feet) & pointed it out… I fixed my form according to the advice I was given & got myself ready to start (again).

I got all the way parallel, started to come back up, & before I got 3/4 of the way- I panicked. I felt myself inching back down…the opposite of where I needed to go.. So. I called on the help that was there to support me. It was kind of awkward & I felt like I had failed. 

Those negative feelings quickly went away once I realized how hilarious it was that I panicked even though I knew someone was right there to catch me. I didn’t fail. I tried something new; I reached a new one-rep max & I let someone help me when I tried to take it further.

That’s the point of accepting other people’s help- none of us can do everything on our own. We need the support of others at certain moments in our life. Whether that support comes in the weight room, at work, in the grocery store, when a crisis hits; whether it comes from a close friend, or from a complete stranger…it’s never a bad thing to embrace!

There is always going to be someone to help you. You never have to panic about impending doom or failure.

Enjoy the journey my friends. & remember to let a little help in from time to time πŸ™‚

P.S.- I wrote this post at night while trying to sleep & it relieved a significant amount of anxiety that had built up in my mind/body. Not sure why.. Maybe it has something to do with allowing all of you to help me release my thoughts?? 

Workout Wednesday: Bi’s & Tri’s Partner Workout

~Happy Workout Wednesday~*~

Yayy for working out with a friend! I find it fun to work out with someone else because you can switch up your routine & have some fun with your workout. Workouts should be fun even when you’re alone, but sometimes ya just need that extra spice.  That extra spice (in this case) is a workout partner.

The reason I decided to try out an arm-focused partner lift: my younger sister has been coming to the gym with me & actually lifting πŸ˜€ Sooooo I have to find ways to keep her interested & occupied at all times…or else she’ll be lost to the world of distraction.

On this particular day, it was time to train arms. Here’s what I came up with*:

Barbell Curl & Pass: Stand across from your partner. DO 1 rep of a barbell curl, pass the bar to them. Wait for them to curl 1 rep and do 2 reps when you get the bar back. Work your way up to 10 reps. If you’re feeling extra strong & ~vascular~, work your way back down to 1 rep!

Tricep Dips: 4×8    +    Jumping Jacks: until partner is ready to switch

I threw in some cardio because you should keep your heart muscles working too..So you can strengthen your friendship while you strengthen your arms!! HAHA

Skullcrushers: 4×12    +    Switch Lunges (switch leg after each rep): until partner is ready to switch

Tricep Rope Push-down: 4×12    +    Hammer Curls: 4×10

Finish with whatever cardio you like- keep the partner pattern going & have fun! Add some more lifts if you so desire. Adjust the rep/set ratio if needed.

Drink lots of water, friends! Feed your body the fuel it needs. Enjoy!

 

*You can most definitely do this workout solo!!! Just modify the switching activities to a certain amount of time in between your own set! πŸ™‚

Start Your New Year’s Resolution NOW

The new year is a crazy time. The world of fitness & health gets more frustrating than usual- filled with people jumping into new fitness routines, people who vowed to make this year their year

We’re all guilty of this ‘new year, new me’ mindset. We start making promises to ourselves to change all of the things we didn’t like about the previous year. We tell ourselves this year will be different- we’ll get in shape, we’ll run that marathon, we’ll finally try those healthy recipes that have been bookmarked for months..

Why do we need the number at the end of today’s date to change to allow ourselves to be better? What is the purpose of waiting? Maybe it helps us put off our own health without feeling guilty, because ‘once January comes around things will be different’…’the new year is when I’ll get serious about working out’. 

Here’s my advice to you (& myself): START NOW!!!

Start researching. There’s a wealth of information for anyone new to the world of fitness & health & wellness. Here are some of my favorite user-friendly places to search:

  • BodyBuilding.com Sooooo many free workout plans, informative articles, exercise how-tos, & even supplements! This is literally how I built my lifting knowledge-base. 
  • Fitness Blender I just discovered these guys. Their YouTube channel has a plethora of at-home workouts that range from interval cardio to weight training.
  • Bad Yogi Official Erin Motz is a seasoned yogi who totally gets that most people who do yoga are not experts… She has lots of free classes that make you feel good about your imperfect practice πŸ™‚

It’s going to take some time before you find a fitness regime you really enjoy. It’s going to take even more time before your hard work is gratified with visible results.

Experiment with different types of exercise. Figure out the different things you’d like to try now.

Make small changes each day so you don’t shock your system & give up when it gets too difficult too fast. 

Get a jump start on your 2016 goals!! Have fun, try new things, & never give up on yourself! 

I hope you all have a wonderfully funky final week of 2015. 

~peace & all good~

Tips for the Perfect Gym OutfitΒ 

Gym attire is a very loaded topic. But don’t worry, I wrote this blog post to answer all of your fit fashion questions πŸ™‚

What should one wear when doing cardio? Should you wear sweats or leggings to lift? 

How color-coordinated is too color-coordinated?

Are your top & bottom flattering?? Will people see that you aren’t the perfect image of fitness? Is it obvious you’re actually wearing underwear??? *gasp* 

Yoga….can a single post even cover the wardrobe woes of a new yogi?

S I G H

Here is a simple answer to the question of ‘what to wear to the gym/while working out’: whatever you feel comfortable in. If you enjoy the skin (& clothes) you’re in, your confidence will complete any outfit!!

It really doesn’t matter what clothes you put on for your sweat session. If you feel great in a Lulu Lemon outfit (& can afford a LuLu Lemon outfit)- good! If you feel great in a baggy t-shirt- even better! Less money spent on gym clothes means more money for food πŸ™‚ ….or, you know, student loans and rent… 

I usually browse Instagram/the Internet in general with fitness or food in mind… This causes me a lot of frustration for multiple reasons.. 

  1. I do not have excess money floating around me waiting for me to spend it. Okay, am I just broke, or are gym clothes expensive af?! Like why in the world would I spend $50 on a shirt I’m going to wear with the intentions of getting sweaty & smelly? I don’t even spend that much on shirts I wear to work… I’m a bargain shopper. Marshalls/TJ Maxx, Target, Fabletics (when there are sales), or the clearance rack is where you’ll find me looking for clothes I can actually afford.
  2. *not related to clothes but…* Eating nutritionally perfect meals every 2 hours does not fit my life. As much as I would love to be able to eat the best food possible at all hours of the day, there comes a time when it’s just not realistic. I would go crazy if I deprived myself of the food I want to eat just because it doesn’t fit my precisely planned nutrition goals. Can I live?!???
  3. I don’t work out in shorts and a sports bra. More power to ya if you feel comfortable in minimal gym clothes….& your gym allows you to workout in minimal gym clothes. I don’t. I would rather be in leggings and a sweatshirt, but that’s not what’s depicted by any mainstream fitness superstars. No one is ever wearing a shirt. Ever. 
  4. When I work out I do not look my best. My hair is generally just doing whatever TF it wants to do. I sweat a lot. I don’t hide it if I’m exhausted. Sometimes I smell… It’s not a picturesque scene when I exercise.. Which makes it hard to relate to the images of ‘fitness’ plastered all over the Internet & advertisements. 

   #gainsandtoast lolz
Sorry fitness media, but unlike the people you promote, I’m a normal person trying to be healthy.. To my own dismay, I’m not sponsored by an athletic clothing company or supplement brand. So I have to pay for the products I use :/ 

I know it’s awesome to step into the gym with a brand new outfit that you love. You feel good when you like the clothes you’re in- even at the gym! The new-ness of your threads gives you extra motivation.. Trust me, I know those feels. But that doesn’t mean you need to take out a loan to buy yourself some gym clothes.. It also doesn’t mean you have to wear something that makes you uncomfortable.

Time that you spend working out is your time. Make it what you want it to be, not what you think other people would want it to be. Take control of your workout. Wear & do things you enjoy. 

You’re all fabulous, no matter what the mainstream fitness bullshit says. 

The End. xo

~peace & all good~

Power Circuit

You don’t have much time. 

Your motivation to workout isn’t exactly where you hoped it’d be. 

Your period cramps are starting to kick in. 

You have things to do, people to see- the gym isn’t your only obligation.

Whatever the reason is, you need a quick & effective workout. You came to the right place!

I needed a lift that wasn’t too labor-intensive…but I wanted to sweat & feel the burn in all of my muscles. I made up a circuit workout that let me take care of those needs, but still get of the gym to do the things I had planned for the day.

All you need for this workout is a barbell & some plates (or various dumbbells) & about 20 minutes. In just 3 moves you’ll use almost every muscle in your  body, build muscle strength, & get your sweat on πŸ™‚

*I did about 15 mins on the treadmill (walking) to warm myself up before lifting. For a video of this workout, check out my Insta: @leedle_g*

Hang Clean ~ Hang cleans are sort of a deadlift variation… Accessory work HANN. 

  • Stand with your feet hip-distance & your hands shoulder-distance on the bar. 
  • Bend at the waist with the bar just below your knees. Keep your back straight, stick your butt out, keep your knees loosey-goosey. 
  • Spin around 3 times. [HA! Don’t spin around, just making sure you’re paying attention.] 
  • Now, pull the bar up along your legs into a forearm curl. Move the bar back down in a controlled way.

You just worked your whole front & back body. Yay muscles!!

Bent-Over Row ~ Bent-over rows use your upper back to pull the weight ~against gravity~

  • Grip the bar slightly wider than shoulder-distance. Bend at the waist with your knees loosey-goosey again. 
  • Keep your chest loud & proud! 
  • Pull the bar up by bending your elbows & squeezing your shoulder blades together. Lower the bar back to start.

Military Press ~ Military press primarily works your shoulders & back. Everyone loves to work on their shoulder aesthetic. Back aesthetics are pretty lit too. Not to mention-you get stronger, you can hold weight over your head…it’s a terrific accessory lift.

  • Start with the bar parallel to your shoulders, either in front or in back of your head. 
  • Put your hands shoulder-distance or wider on the bar. 
  • Push the bar up using the power of your legs. Trust yourself! You got this, you can hold yourself & the weight of that bar. 
  • Slowly bring the bar back down to your shoulders. 

You’re using your shoulders, chest, upper back, & even your legs to successfully move weight through this lift!!

~ Repeat each lift 8-12 times (heavier weight, lower reps..lighter weight, higher reps) & complete the circuit for 4-6 rounds. Circuit workouts like this are great for strong, fat-burning, time restricted gym sessions. Your muscles get confused, they work during each lift, & your ticker (heart) gets a run for its money. This particular circuit also involves 3 compound moves; this means you’re utilizing multiple muscles to perform each lift. Efficiency at its best!

I went with a barbell circuit for this workout for multiple reasons. I’ve been working on my deadlifts…which means I’ve been working on my entire body’s strength & endurance. I’ve adopted some CrossFit-esque lifts (as you can see from this workout) in my efforts to add plates to my deadlift. That means more barbell-based lifts. More hang cleans, more overhead presses, more compound lifts. More sweat, more gains, more pain, more food, more sleep… Yeaaa…

Give this workout a try! You’ll feel strong, productive, & all-in-all like a badass.

Happy lifting, my friends!

Breaking Bad: Work Habits Edition

Greetings earthlings! This blog post is brought to you by tired mental state & me thinking about ways to save my weary brain..

We’re all (generally speaking) creatures of habit. We love routine, it makes us feel normal. 

Going to work at 9 am is my daily routine. Coming home between 4 & 5 pm is my daily routine. Sitting at my desk talking people through the process of a criminal case is my daily routine. Sitting….for hours… It’s making me go crazy. I love my job, & I don’t want to grow so entrenched in my routine that I start to resent it.

Since I’m finally able to wrap my head around my new routine, it’s time to take ownership of it! I haven’t been doing enough for me. I haven’t been taking my lunch hour or exploring the area around my office. & no one is stopping me from doing these things!! I’m not tied to my desk. I have the freedom to leave or take a break whenever I want…I just haven’t done it. 

So today I decided I’m going to commit to myself. I’m going to change some of the habits that I’ve fallen into during my work day. Not some ‘use the stairs to keep ur waist slim :)’ or ‘leave the carbs at home for more energy lolz’ BS. More like- ‘take care of your mental state during work so you aren’t burned out & agitated when you leave your office’…

Here are my 2 Golden Commandments to myself:

  • I will eat my lunch away from my desk. Yeaaa…. I’m sick of staring at my damn computer screen while I eat. That shit is depressing & makes for mindless food consumption. I like to enjoy my food. I’m going to use the time I spend eating as a refresher. Even if I’m still sitting in my office, I’ll be physically seperated from my desk & that will do wonders for my mind.
  • I will take a walk. Fresh freakin air. What a wonderful thing…that I definitely need more of. I think I’ve been discouraged by the colder weather recently, but I forgot how great even a short walk can make me feel! I’m going to bring some warmth accessories to my office so I can’t be deterred by the crisp or chill- I’ll always be prepared πŸ™‚

Peace of mind is an extremely important part of being healthy. As I’m sure we all know, it takes a lot more than exercise to create a happy life for your mind & body.. All of my fellow office workers- I hope yall can look at your own daily routine & see if you’re doing enough for you. 

I think this is a reminder from the universe that I need to take care of me. We all need that reminder sometimes.. We fall off track, we get run down by routine. That’s not the focal point though- what is the focus is what we do when we realize we’re not doing the right things for ourselves. 

Refocus. Set new standards for your daily routine. Throw some changes into the mix. Feel good about how you spend your days!!