The Horse’s Mouth, Apple Carts, and Other Stupid Metaphors

Well, hey there. Life has taken a bit of a hectic turn–as it tends to do just when things start to feel like smooth sailing–and we’re in a period of transition over here as my husband settles into his great new job with the not-so-great commute. Of course, more commute time=a much longer day for him, and a lot of added stress on both of us as I have to man the ship here at home and do all the kid-related running around, most of the cooking, etc. Like so many worthwhile things in life, this new job for him has given us new challenges, but it’s worth it.

And as you know from my last few posts, I’m not quitting, but I am struggling to find a balance between the hectic-ness and continuing my forward motion on this journey into badassery.

I’ve written about 10 blog posts (in my head, of course, where they’re not as interesting to you) but by the time I get a minute to sit down in front of the computer, I draw a blank. What was that fabulous phrase I had in mind while I was driving to class at 5:20 the other morning? Or the gem I came up with just before I drifted off to a dead sleep last Tuesday night?

So I came up with a fairly brilliant idea and started using the voice recorder on my phone. It helps while I’m driving, as I usually tend to be the most inspired on my way to or from workouts. I’ve had this one recording I thought had some good ideas in it for about three days and kept trying to get to working it into a post. And it just hasn’t happened.

So then I came up with a possibly even more brilliant idea but semi-terrifying idea to just give you the straight recording…why don’t I just transcribe that shit for you so you can get the crazy thoughts straight from the horse’s–er, my–mouth? I’m not going to edit it or try to make it make sense. I’m just going to give it to you. Talk about getting real. I am not thrilled about doing this but it’s in line with my stepping further and further out of my comfort zone, and giving you a birds’ eye view into my struggles.

Here goes (please let me type fast):

“I’ve been trying to figure things out. I’ve been trying to figure out what my problem is…why my attitude is so bad…(insert sound of blinker clicking…) I’ve been trying to figure out why I’m so grouchy when a couple of weeks ago I was so excited about what I was doing and how I was progressing. My progress didn’t stop. So what was the problem? Why did I lost my excitement for my journey, including writing in the blog?

I was waiting. I was waiting for…no, I wasn’t waiting. That’s bullshit. Let’s be honest. I was putting off. I was putting off writing another post until I had it all figured out. Ha! Yeah, right.

And then I remembered. People that read this blog…that like to read this blog…don’t need me to have it all figured out. Part of what I wanted to do on this blog was share my ‘figuring out’ process. I definitely don’t have it figured out yet, but here is what I know:

  • I like waking up at 4:30am. I like sipping my coffee and having some quiet time in the morning.
  • What I like even better is going to the gym after my coffee-sipping, working my ass off and coming out feeling like a f**king rock star.

But after that morning high, why am I so up and down throughout the day? That’s what I don’t know. Why do I let the fact that we’re in a time of transition affect me so much?

Because I’m a human being, that’s why. Duh.

So here we are in another time of transition and uncertainty, and I’m worrying. About a lot of things. I’m worrying about my family, I’m worrying about money, I’m worrying about…why am I worrying so much? What are my expectations? What am I trying to make happen that I can’t control? Because that’s what makes me worry. When I can’t control stuff.

Here’s another thing I know…what I can control is my own choices. And when I start to feel out of control with other things in my life, I start to let control of my food go. That’s stupid! That’s counterintuitive. Why would I do that? Why wouldn’t I take control over the things I CAN control? I don’t know. Human nature? At least, my human nature.

So you see I’m still figuring it out, but I have to hold onto the things I know.

  • When things feel out of control, I can control my own choices.
  • Endorphins are good, and I especially love them after morning workouts.
  • When I eat a brownie that I mixed out of a box, it tastes like shit, and gives me a headache later on. And doing that is f**king stupid.

The end.”

(At this point, I had turned off the recorder and kept driving. Then, I had some more thoughts pop into my head and turned it back on.)

“You know what? Maybe, maybe what I’m rebelling against is expectations. My own expectations of myself–which we all know are ridiculously high–everyone else’s expectations of me, YOUR expectations of me…my readers. Maybe even though I love hearing positive feedback (who doesn’t?) it puts additional pressure on me to meet those expectations, to be who everyone thinks I am.

What if I’m not that person? (pause) Am I really that person? (longer pause) I want to be that person. (REALLLLLLLLY long pause).

This is what happens when my apple cart gets upset. Everything in my life that I’ve ordered so nicely gets turned over. And I have to reshuffle it. But maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe there’s something really cool at the bottom of the apple cart and I never would have known it was there if it didn’t get turned over.

That’s the f***ing stupidest metaphor I’ve ever heard. Seriously lame. (longest pause ever).

Okay. That’s it.”

So, okay, there you go. And this reminds me of a quote that I have on my personal FB page and try to live by:

This “transition time” is not just something to be gotten through. Life is a series of transitions, and I’m going to keep working to figure it out, control what I can, and, in the meantime, enjoy the ride as much as possible.

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This is a shameless horn-tooting post. You’ve been warned.

Listen, some days you just have to revel in your own awesomeness, especially when said awesomeness comes from working your ass off regularly. Plus, I’ve been meaning to post some more detailed info about my workouts, and this is a good excuse to do it.

Today’s workout was The Hulk, created by my amazing (but possibly evil genius) trainer Christa. It is a strength circuit with looooooong intervals (over a minute) where we are encouraged to lift as heavy as we possibly can with the goal of leaving the workout feeling like a limp dishrag. (Mission accomplished. In a very big way.)

We’re also encouraged to keep a scorecard of how much we lifted and/or how many reps we did. This can get a little confusing–well, at least it did for me today because my brain started to get addled after awhile and I would forget to count, etc.–because you’re running from one exercise to the next, choosing the right weight, and trying to log your results all in a short rest period between intervals.

Folks, get ready for the shameless horn-tooting I’ve promised you. Because I rocked that workout in a serious way today. I couldn’t even believe what I did today, and am so proud of my progress, and some MAJOR WINS I had.

Now, my clothes didn’t actually tear apart during the workout, but I seriously felt like the Hulk.

So, here’s what I did, in the order I did it:

  • WIN! Explosive shoulder press: 6 reps with 2 40# dumbbells (that’s 80# total, just to make sure you didn’t miss it), and 5 reps with 2 35# dumbbells
  • Goblet squat: 31 squats holding a 45# dumbbell
  • Seated row: I used a purple band (the most resistance) AND a red band (lowest resistance) combined and did 19 rows
  • Box jumps: This is a HUGE WIN for me today. There are 3 levels of box jumps with the Rogue boxes: regular, high, and you-must-be-insane high. Since I overcame my terror of the Rogue boxes, I have mostly been doing regular, with one or two high mixed in when I’m feeling especially saucy. Today I did 10 jumps onto the high box, and I am so proud of myself. I wanted so badly to turn it over to the regular level, but I resisted the urge and kept jumping high. (To give you some perspective, the high box probably comes up to about my mid-thigh.)
  • Bridge lift: 22 reps (I think?) with 70#
  • Unexpected win! Farmer carry (using the hex bar loaded up): 155# Holy. Shit. I actually didn’t realize how much I was carrying until the end of the round when I went to get my scorecard filled out. I counted twice to be sure because my math can’t always be trusted.
  • A bit of a fail. Romanian Deadlift: I had some trouble with these today. I picked up the heaviest weights I’d ever tried for these, 2 45# dumbbells, and it wasn’t the weight but my grip. My forearms following those farmer carries were just done. Plus, Christa came over to show me that I was bending down too low. I ended up dropping one of the weights on my foot like a dork, and during this whole process, completely forgot to count how many reps I did. But, the good news is that I (barely) made it all the way through the round with those super heavy weights.
  • Jam ball slams: 26 slams
  • Meh. Chin ups (using the equalizer bar): these are my nemesis; one of my weakest exercises. I did 11.
  • OH YEAH! Pushups: For the first time today, I tried using a resistance band to make my pushups a little (okay, a LOT) more challenging. I was able to do 3 pushups with good form and depth using the red band (lowest level of resistance). After I dropped the band, I did 12 more pushups.
  • Goblet lunge: I did 17 reps with a 45# dumbbell. And at this point, I was seriously feeling exhausted.
  • TRX chest press: I did 10 reps on the lowest angle I could do…not quite parallel, but getting there. I came up a few inches towards the end of the interval and did 3 more reps.
  • Wall ball: I did 15 throws with the 18lb ball, and I was super proud of the height I got.
  • Blurg. Pull ups: Well, shit. Pull-ups are the part of the workout that make me feel defeated, especially when they come at the end of a workout where I’ve been pushing to my max. I used one purple and one black band to assist, and I managed 2 full pull-ups before I had to start holding midway. I know this is the way I’m going to build up to dropping a band, but it still feels so lame. I didn’t give up, though. I kept pulling as high as I could and holding til time was up.
  • HOLY BADASSERY WIN!!! Deadlifts (with the hex bar): So here I am. It’s the end of the workout. The last interval, and I feel like I could just be done. Oh, and have I mentioned yet that today’s workout was the 6th workout I have done in a row this week? Yeah. I could have gone easy. But I didn’t want to. I decided to see what I had left, because I think we always have more left than we know. I loaded that bar up for a total of 205#, thinking I’d have to drop down during the interval. I DIDN’T. I did 5 slow, painful, excruciating pulls, each time sure it would be my last rep. At one point, I actually felt like I might cry a little from the exertion and the emotion I put into that last round. But, with 5 seconds left, I made that 5th pull. It was such an amazing feeling to know that I really had pushed to my absolute limit.

Okay, so, I am definitely proud of myself. But why should you care? Maybe you don’t, and that’s cool. But my point to you is this: I am just a normal person, with no superpowers or special talents. And if I can do these things, really, ANYONE can.

All that stands between someone saying “I wish I could…” and someone (like me, today) saying “I did” is the work. Are you willing to do the work?

I am so grateful to my trainers, Christa, Karin and Mike, who motivate, teach, encourage and inspire me regularly, but at the end of the day, I did the work.

And guess what? I’m still working, so those pull-ups, chin-ups, and Romanian deadlifts better watch their backs.

Shedding Some Unwanted Pounds

This post is about flab. Metaphorical blubber, I mean. That hypothetical muffin top that keeps drawing your attention and reminding you how much farther you have to go instead of letting you focus on how amazing your arms look.

I’ve written about this before, sort of. But it’s become a theme for me, and a huge challenge.

This post is also about haters. I say this only because I kind of like that word; it makes me feel a little like a hip hop badass to throw it around, AND there are some hilarious images to be found on Pinterest when one searches “haters.” Like this one:

hater cat

Look at this badass cat!

This cat rocks. Look at him. He’s like the freakin’ honey badger. He don’t give a shit about haters. He’s just that awesome. Why can’t I be more like this cat? Granted, I would prefer not to have to lick myself clean, but I would really like to adopt his attitude a little bit more wholeheartedly into my life, toward the “haters” and toward all the other crap that I allow to come between me and my badassery.

So, let’s talk about this unwanted fat in our lives. For me, there are two kinds of figurative chubbiness that I would like to shave off my figure: toxic people (the haters, yo!) and overcommitments.

Let’s start with the people. Ahhhh, the people.

Like I’ve said before, my life is bursting with amazing people that support me, laugh with (and at!) me, push me to be my best, cheer me on, and keep me going when I want to give up. (I bet lots of them are reading this, so THANK YOU! I heart you so very much and consider myself a lucky, lucky girl to have you in my life.)

Then there are the other people. You know the people I’m talking about, because you probably have some in your life, too.

These are the people that tell us–not necessarily in words, but in their actions and attitudes–that we’ll never meet our goals, or that our goals are not worthwhile.

The ones who tell us we’re not good enough.

The ones who tell us how annoying our obsession with health and fitness is.

The ones who tell us they don’t care enough about what’s important in our lives to recognize our struggles and progress.

The ones who tell us they are too miserable to share our happiness.

Toxic people. Haters.

When it comes to these people in my life, I can’t seem to summon that catlike badassery. Instead, I become the worst version of myself that I can possibly be, and that just sucks. It’s a constant struggle. As much as my rational mind says, “You rock, Steph. Those haters gonna hate and that’s their problem,” my heart always gives in to feeling hurt that everyone doesn’t love everything I do, and that some people are just unhappy and mean and I am a big, fat target.

So it’s time for this:

positive people

Truth.

Yep. The bottom line is this: I’m cutting the fat. I am not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s cool. People who want to be part of my life as I’m living it can join the party, and people who don’t are free to go.

Whether it’s someone reading this blog who I’ve never even met that says, “This bitch is crazy,” and never visits the site again, or an old friend from high school who gets sick of my constant blathering about how much I can deadlift (currently 235, in case you don’t know), it’s all good. I have my people, and they rock. I’ll tell them again right now how much I heart them.

Now, some of the awesomest people in my life love me DESPITE my possibly annoying focus on training and food. What I’m doing may not be their bag, baby, but they get it, and they support me so they tolerate my constant blathering about how much I can deadlift (235#, in case you missed it in the last paragraph.) An even bigger thank you to those amazing peeps who love me for all I am, even the parts they might not like as much.

So, my friends, I encourage you to come with me on this journey to shed your flabby-back-of-the-arm friends; the ones who only bring you down and keep your attention on the negative.


So besides the people, what about the other extra weight we’re holding onto? The commitments that don’t connect with our goals. The time-sucking obligations that we can’t seem to let go of, even though we hate them. Or, maybe we don’t HATE them, but we surely don’t LOVE them.

These obligations can keep us focused on the negatives instead of our badassery just as much as the haters, yo. (Is it just me, or should “haters” always be followed by “yo”?)

Let me tell you a little story. It’s kind of a mom confession, but you’ll probably understand whether you’re a parent or not.

My kids came home from the first day of school last night with a huge stack of papers. It was homework…for me. Five gazillion forms to sift through, read, fill out. Checks to be written for PTA membership, for lunch tickets, for the after school programs.

I came to the PTA volunteer opportunities form, and was suddenly crippled with dread. What lameass responsibility was I going to have to sign up for this year?

Then, I did something amazing. I put that goddamned form into the “recycle” pile, and didn’t look at it again. THE END.

(Now that’s a happy ending if I ever heard one.)

Listen, before you get all judgy and be like, “Oh, Steph hates the PTA!” let me tell you this. I have volunteered for shit at the school before, and my kids don’t seem to give a crap if I do it or not. Four years ago, I found myself on a planning committee for a Talent Show that my son wasn’t in, and never would consider being in, just because I felt like I had to be involved in some way. The people on the committee were nice and welcoming and all that, but in the end I remember thinking to myself “What the hell am I doing here?”

I’ve tried in other instances to be involved in ways that are more related to what my kids are doing. But, here’s the problem: I wasn’t having fun, my kids didn’t care, and frankly we don’t do much that involves the PTA. That’s just how our family rolls. My son plays lacrosse; I do the team organization and communication and my husband coaches. We are very involved in our church community; I am a co-chair on the Board of Christian Education.

You get the picture. The PTA stuff just isn’t our wheelhouse, so the volunteering stuff for it was like a giant piece of cellulite hanging off the backs of my thighs, drawing my focus and time away from things I loved doing.

So I cut that crap off. I paid the dues, but I don’t have the time or the energy to commit to something that my family doesn’t love and want to be actively involved in.

How often do you evaluate your commitments and think about which ones really matter and add to your life positively?I know I don’t do this nearly as often as I should. Many times, I just say yes, or sign up for something without even considering if I really WANT to do it enough to make the time.

For me, 5-6 workouts a week represent a huge time and energy commitment. What I have left has to be completely focused only on things that bring me and my family joy. That’s how I’m making decisions these days. If something comes along that might require my attention, time or energy–whether it’s a personal commitment, a night out with friends, a new activity for the kids, or something we might spend our hard-earned money on–if we are not like, “OH YEAH!!! That is awesome and I am SO doing that!” then it’s going in the recycling bin like the PTA volunteer form. Done. Boom.

The commitments are always easier to weed through than the people. But we’ve got to keep working at it, because when we keep our eyes on the positive, life is good.

Indeed.

So cut the fat, my friends. Stop zeroing in on the symbolic dimples on your booty, and focus instead on what’s really important: your catlike badassery, and the people and things that bring you joy.

My Own Worst Critic: Check!

I am seriously privileged to work out with some amazing women. Last Friday morning, during the stretch after a workout, I had a very sweaty conversation with one such amazing woman. She told me how much she was enjoying the blog. (As have many others; I am truly grateful for all the positive feedback and honored that so many folks are reading. THANK YOU!)

But she did tell me one other thing (well, actually two…) She said she didn’t like the name of the blog, and that she thought I was way too hard on myself.

Okay, okay. I plead guilty to beating myself up on a regular basis.

Just to be clear, I am creating a sort of semi-humorous self-deprecating persona on this blog. But, to be even clearer, that’s pretty much who I am. I make jokes–often at my own expense–when I am nervous or out of my comfort zone. (Sometimes it’s just because I’m hilarious, but you get the idea.) As for the name, “Fit Fat Girl” is kinda catchy, and it will transition perfectly into “Fit (Formerly) Fat Girl” at some point in the future.

But overall, yeah, this friend is right. I am definitely my own worst critic. In my own mind, much of the time I’m not smart enough, strong enough, funny enough, cool enough, ANYTHING enough.

Image

I’m not really sure this fits what I’m saying, but it had to be included. For obvious reasons.

I do have my moments when I realize I am all those things, but they are precarious moments for sure, and they can be blown over by the slightest wind. Or even a tiny hiccup.

Take today, for instance. I just came off a truly amazing weekend. I watched people I love absolutely CRUSH the Fugitive Mud Run. (Completing a mud run was not my goal this year–I just don’t feel like I can afford to split my focus; I have to be 100% focused on my body transformation goals. Next year, watch out, mud runs!)

Afterward, we celebrated with a legit scheduled cheat meal, and then on Sunday we spent more time with great people. Oh, and I worked out about a million times. Five tough workouts in a row is no joke, but I finished it strong this morning. And all week, I’ve been getting such awesome feedback on the blog. I felt EVERYTHING enough, and more.

And then.

I let one comment from one person knock me down. Well, maybe two comments from two people. No need to get into the deets, but basically I had my efforts ignored by one person and sort of belittled by another. Aaaaaaand, despite dozens of compliments and empowering moments in the last week, I have been completely deflated, miserable, self-loathing, throw-myself-a-pity-party discouraged. Lame. I am so freakin lame.

Why am I lame? Because: I. LET. THIS. HAPPEN.

Yes, I know you’re all hearing Eleanor Roosevelt in your heads along with me. (Aren’t you? Am I the only one who hears her?)

ImageThe point is, whether you can hear Eleanor in your head or not, whether the two people noted above were uncool or not, this is MY fault. My deal. My hangup. I let it get to me; I allowed myself to be made to feel less than I am. Shame on me.

That shit’s gonna stop.

So these are now new goals for me: to be kinder to myself. To try to focus more on how far I’ve come instead of how far I still have to go. To surround myself with people who build me up, and tune out those who might be insensitive, thoughtless, or looking to cut me down.

Don’t get me wrong–I still plan to kick my own ass on a regular basis. There will be no getting complacent over here, and that’s the flip side of being too hard on myself…the good that comes of being my own worst critic: I keep pushing. I keep working. I always look for the next challenge, the next goal, the next step forward. How much better can I be? How much faster can I go? How much more can I lift? How much more can I give?

So even though I’m discouraged TODAY, even though I let stupid crap get to me TODAY, I’m still moving forward. Tomorrow is a new day, and I will wake up and be awesome. Like, Chewbacca on the drums awesome.

How about you?