Saturday, July 30, 2011

My fitness and health evolution

Can't sleep and have never written about how I got where I am, health and fitness wise.  Thought it would be fun to revisit the journey to becoming a fitness instructor and caring about my health.  I'll start with high school because I really can't remember enough details before then.

I was always fairly active, though other than playing T-ball in kindergarten and being in a park district girls' basketball league in 5th and 6th grade, I have never been athletic or particularly into organized sports.  Lucky for me, running around with my friends was enough to keep me at a healthy weight even though my eating habits were pretty bad.  I never really thought about it at the time, but a hot dog and candy bar hardly makes for a well-balanced lunch.  My dad usually prepared dinner, and he did a good job making sure we had a vegetable each night, but looking back we definitely ate a lot of quickly prepared processed foods.  I think it's safe to say that nutrition wasn't such a popular news subject back then and what is considered a healthy diet has changed, so with the time and information at hand, I think we did OK with those family meals.

Always having been a picky eater, moving into the college dorms and eating at the cafeteria, gave me free reign to only chose foods I knew I liked.  I remember eating some fresh fruits and veggies, but we also had a soft serve ice cream machine as well as candy "mix-ins" and blender to make our own shakes in the cafeteria.  Delicious, yes.  Nutritious, no.  My friends and I didn't have a car on campus that year in the dorms so we had to walk everywhere and we made a habit of going out dancing several (probably too many) nights each week.  Although I didn't do any formal exercise, getting around campus kept me active.  I was able to avoid the dreaded freshman 15, but I can see a little fullness in my cheeks and midsection if I look back at pictures.  I don't think I weighed myself back then other than visits to the doctor, so I can't be sure about specific weight changes.

I think it was the summer after freshman year of college that I first tried out a Tae-Bo video (yes, VHS).  You know, Billy Blanks and his crew.  My step mom had been using them and I started doing them sporadically.  I didn't know anything about creating a fitness plan or being consistent with workouts.  I bought some Tae-Bo videos of my own and brought them back to campus with me.  I continued to exercise with the videos every so often, but my eating was still not good.  Living in an apartment led to a lot of Hamburger Helper (EW!!!) and eating out.  And I should also mention the late-night fast food stops on the way home from the bars.  Nothing better than some fried cheese sticks to help stave off a hang over!

Cut to life after college.  Living back with my dad and sister and driving over an hour to and from work each day didn't do much for my nutrition.  But the office I worked in had a gym in the basement and I started making a habit of using the elliptical or treadmill over lunch.  I found that I enjoyed sweating it out and burning off some stress with exercise.  After about 2 years, I returned to college for graduate school and that's when I really started to get into the whole fitness thing.

I started taking group fitness classes at campus recreation and took a strong liking to a Pilates class and a kickboxing class that had a dancey flavor to it.  I also began to educate myself a little about nutrition and made a real effort to improve.  After graduation, I needed a way to keep working out at home.  I found some workouts through a company called Beachbody.  The first ones I bought were "Slim in 6" and "10 Minute Trainer".  This put me on the email list for the company and soon I got an email about a new program called Turbo Jam.  It looked a lot like the class I had been taking on campus that I loved so much.  I got it as soon as it came out and shortly after found out that it was the at-home version of the class I had taken AND that I could train to be an instructor myself.  When a training came to our town, I signed up right away.  Meanwhile, I had also started taking classes in nutrition at the local community college.  I found that these 2 areas, especially when tied together, were really exciting to me.  Nutrition and fitness combined can do so much for a person's health and really change lives!

A couple months after the certification, I started teaching Turbo Kick and haven't stopped (except for maternity leave!).  I became certified to teach PiYo as well and love how it balances my Turbo workouts.  I also completed a year of classes at the community college to prepare for the NSCA Certified Personal Trainer exam.  That additional education has been very helpful in my group classes.  While I enjoy working with people individually, the logistics of setting regular training hours at a gym has proven difficult with current family responsibilities, but I do plan to pursue working as a trainer in the future.

I've been able to extend my reach as a fitness and nutrition enthusiast by becoming a Team Beachbody Coach about a year ago.  I help people reach their fitness goals by recommending products that I have used and believe in.  Shakeology is one of the products that I share with anyone who will listen!  It has truly made a difference in my nutrition.  By the time I found Shakeology, my eating habits had finally improved to a level where I could say I ate pretty well most of the time.  Veggies and fruits as well as whole grains had become staples.  But once I tried Shakeology, I was hooked!  Not only does it taste like a chocolate milkshake (even better with my favorite addition - peanut butter), I felt better every day that I drank it.  I started to notice that if I skipped a day, I would feel more tired and generally not as good.  Also, "nutritional indiscretions", as I call them, would leave me feeling physically ill.  My body became accustomed to good nutrition and would tell me when that's not what I put in.

So that's pretty much where I'm at now.  Still plugging away with 6-7 fitness classes each week until the baby belly will no longer allow for such free movement and doing my best to eat well every day while indulging these nagging pizza and cookie cravings as responsibly as possible.  Realistically, my schedule won't be likely to permit teaching 7 fitness class per week after Baby X arrives, but I will definitely be finding ways to keep up my fitness routine between teaching classes and home workouts.  I'll be on the look out for accountability partners to keep me on track, so if you want to join me to stay (or get!) healthy and fit, let me know!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Getting things done

Sometimes I feel so lazy with no motivation to get anything done.  Or sometimes there's just too much to do that I don't know where to start, so it's easier just to do nothing.  I think it's easy to get in a rut as a stay-at-home parent because you're home much of the day...there should always be time to take care of things, right?  I feel like, recently, I've been doing pretty well and have had lots of productive days and this has made me wonder what's different about those days when I feel like getting stuff done?  Am I just tired of looking at the big basket of clothes that need to be put away?  Feeling crafty in the kitchen?  I guess those things may be a part of it, but I think it has more to do with getting into the right mindset and remembering the sense of accomplishment that comes with getting things done.  So this is something I'm working on.  Creating the right attitude so I can keep the productivity going rather than sitting around, unmotivated, and being annoyed that the house is messy or that there are a bunch of random tasks piling up.  I'm not talking about anything huge here, just staying on top of your typical everyday business around the house.

For awhile, I kept a "To do" list on my phone.  It really did help me stay on top of things.  I think I'm going to go back to that.  Ever since I became a parent, I can't remember anything (or maybe because I'm getting old! Haha!)!  I space on something I'm supposed to do pretty much every day.  I think having that list in front of me where I can check things off as they get finished will go a long way toward keeping me on track.  OK, so I'm still going to get my naps in when I can.  I am growing another human being after all.  But that doesn't mean I can't still check lots of items off my list in a day...maybe my nap should be at the top of the list?!

I'm sure I'm not the only one who struggles with this.  It's tough to stay motivated, especially when it seems like just when you've finished a task, you have to do it all over again (cleaning the kitchen, vacuuming, planning meals, etc...).  I think that improving in this area will not only result in having an orderly household, but help me feel like a more well rounded person who can tackle whatever comes my way.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday thoughts

It's Friday.  Andrew is still napping.  It's been 2 days since I started this thing.  So I guess it's time to write a real post.  But, inspiration has yet to strike.  While I'm waiting for that to happen, a somewhat random collection of thoughts and what's going on.

I am so sore from my PiYo class yesterday morning.  My legs, my butt, even my abs (didn't know pregnant abs could get sore!).  We've been doing the same lesson for 3 weeks know.  This has me wondering if I'm really working that hard or if extra soreness is just a function of the pregnant body.  Or maybe it's due to the extra pounds I've packed on so far.  Regardless, I'm just thankful to be having a smooth pregnancy and am able to continue teaching my classes for as long as I want.

Then there's this heat.  Oppressive, energy-sucking heat.  And the heat warning keeps getting extended.  I shouldn't complain because, yes, we have air conditioning and I don't have to spend long periods out in the sun.  But the summer is supposed to be for playing outside!  I am so looking forward to getting Andrew back outside next week to play in his pool and go to the playground with his little friends.  The dogs are getting stir crazy too!

Despite the weather, I'm excited for some fun activities this weekend.  It starts off with a Lia Sophia jewelry party hosted by a couple of friends.  Our friend, Holly, is our awesome Lia Sophia advisor...check out her website: Holly's Lia Sophia site.  She showed me the new catalog and I'm pumped to see this stuff in person.  The family and friend fun continues tomorrow with the Speed Source (Carl's business) Open House.  Always fun to hang out with friends and grill some yummy food!  Then we'll be off to celebrate the marriage of my friend Lisa at her reception in the evening.  We sadly missed the wedding in Mexico, but are happy to be a part of tomorrow's party!  After all of that, I'll probably need Sunday to recover.  And plan for a trip to the county fair sometime during the week.  I'm already thinking about the delicious, fried fair food I'm going eat!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

So I'm starting a blog...

I’ve thought about starting a blog for some time, and recently decided to stop being lazy and just do it! Also, (like anyone with a blog, website, book, show, etc...) I guess I feel I have something to offer to the world above and beyond taking care of my family and home. Whether you can relate to my experiences, find useful information in one of my posts, or are just reading to pass time, I’d love to hear your comments (good, bad, ugly).