They Lured Me in With a Girls’ Weekend…Otherwise Known As, WTF Am I Thinking?!?

It almost sounds like the start of a bad joke: two runners, an Olympic athlete, and a fat girl stand at the bottom of a mountain…

Wait, let me back up.

Last year, a bunch of awesome people I know did some mud runs. They got muddy, and it looked like fun. I thought maybe this year, I’d like to do some mud runs, too. But as they new year approached, I became more and more focused on this idea I’ve had of doing what I love, of only saying “yes” to commitments that make me shout, “HELL, YEAH!”

So when I revisited the idea of mud runs, I was kind of meh. Frankly, I hate running. I didn’t used to hate running, but since I took up HIIT training, I have come to find it deadly dull boring, and it makes me feel like I’m slow and fat when everyone else is quick and lithe.

Yes, running is hard, but all my workouts are hard. One key difference has stuck with me, though: after the workouts I do now, I feel strong. Empowered. Totally badass. When I finish a workout that involves running, at the end I really don’t feel any of those things. I feel exhausted and defeated and miserable, and it sucks.

Here’s what I feel like, after running:

To be clear, I'd be the one on the left.

To be clear, I’d be the one on the left.

And here’s what I feel like after one of my current workouts:

Word, bitches.

Word, bitches.

Why wouldn’t I stick with the workouts that kick my ass the most efficiently AND that make me feel like a rockstar afterward?

So I was kinda shying away from the idea of it, and planned to set some goals just for myself that had nothing to do with running, whether in or out of mud-related obstacles.

Then some friends started bugging me.

Friend: Let’s do a Tough Mudder!

Me: No.

Friend: Come on, it will be fun!

Me: No, it will be awful and I will hate it. I don’t want to do it! I hate running! Leave me alone.

Friend: How about in Vermont?

Me: Eh…

Friend: Just adults?

Me: Ehhhh…still not really into it.

Friend: How about just girls, with a whole weekend in Other Friend’s house in Vermont and we can party and have a blast after we get all muddy?

Me: BLUUURRRGGGG!!! SonofanevilsuccubusFINEI’LLDOIT!!!!!

So here I am, against my will, doing a Tough Mudder in August. On a friggin mountain. With two runners and, oh, did I mention that Other Friend is LITERALLY AN OLYMPIC ATHLETE? What. The. Hell.

Yes, I am terrified. But I’m not terrified that I won’t be able to do the Tough Mudder. I know I will. I could finish a Tough Mudder tomorrow if I decided to…it might take me 6 hours, but I could do it.

What I am terrified of is being the weak link. The one who holds everyone back, or just has to resort to saying, “Just go ahead without me, girls. I’ll catch you at the finish line.” I’m terrified of being the fat girl who can’t keep up.

I guess in the end, things are as they should be. Sometimes, the things we don’t really want to do are likely the things we should be doing, and I think in this case it’s true for me.

And the hard part of this journey to badassery is that the more badass I become, the crazier shit I have to undertake to keep pushing beyond my comfort zone. And this Tough Mudder–specifically as part of a team–is waaaaaaaay out of my comfort zone. When I ran my triathlon, I did it alone. I had no one to answer to but myself. This is different.

As for my goals, it really helps me define them and have a clear deadline and REASON to completely crush them by the deadline, or have to have my fear become a reality on Mt. Snow in August.

229472543485348475_7mY5nOUj_cSo I have just under 7 months before I’m standing at the bottom of the mountain with 2 runners and an Olympic athlete, crapping myself. And in order to make sure that I’m NOT the butt of a bad joke, here are my goals between now and then:

  • Reduce bodyweight by 30-40 lbs (part of my fear stems from the fact that, while I am strong, I am HEAVY. My bodyweight is a huge handicap for me as part of my team
  • Increase my strength in the following ways:
  1. Work up to doing 30 consecutive pushups with good form and depth (currently I am at about 12-15)
  2. Increase my deadlift max–need to determine what my true current max is and then set a specific weight goal
  3. Increase my pullup capacity–I’m not sure what is a reasonable goal to set with this yet, because bodyweight plays such a role in it. I know I want to significantly decrease the amount of support I get from bands and make aggressive progress towards being able to do an unassisted deadhang pullup. I doubt an unassisted pullup is realistic for me in the next 7 months, but I will talk to my awesome trainers and get back to you!
  • Increase my endurance and overall workload capacity in the following ways (goals for the last 3 months of training) :
  1. Work up to run 3 miles consecutively without feeling like I want to kill myself. (Hmmmm, this one could be hard…and I know the Mudder is longer than 3 miles, but the one in Mt. Snow is actually quite a bit of walking since it is mostly up hill, plus the running gets broken up by obstacles.)
  2. Focus on increasing my metabolic workload by counting, tracking, and increasing burpees, climbers, box jumps, etc. during workouts
  3. Run at least once a week with my son, including speed and endurance work for both of us

So this is where I’m starting. These goals could change, as I plan to ask my trainers for input and feedback. But I’m not going to forget about them, and will let you know as they change with my training program.

So now it’s your turn. What’s cooking for you in 2013?

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2012 Wrap Up and Stuff

So it’s 2013 and, Happy New Year, yo!

I try not to make too big a deal out of the new year because I want to make sure I remember that really, any day is a fine day for a new start. I used to be one of those peeps to make excuses about “waiting for the new year” just to procrastinate on any given goal I might want to achieve when I was, in fact, perfectly capable of starting to achieve the goal like, right now.

But it’s still true that we just finished a busy holiday season and the calendar change does provide a good opportunity to assess where we were, where we are, and where we want to be. Let the assessment begin!!!

I was just thinking about this today…specifically, where I was a year ago. Between me and you (and the entire interwebs, I guess), the truth is that last January I was in  a very, very dark place. Here are a few reasons why:

  • I wasn’t working, after leaving a job that was a terrible fit. This terrible job was one I took after much deliberation about whether I should leave my previous job that I loved and hated in equal parts. I had no love at all for the terrible job. It sucked in every way possible and was soooooo the wrong place for me. I knew at the time that leaving this awful horrible j-o-b was the right thing to do, but as three months passed with no offers–including a job opportunity for which I put in more than 60 hours of work to prepare a kick-ass presentation, and got the “wink, wink…nudge, nudge” from the selection committee, only to get a big, fat “no thank you” middle finger a week later–I was really started to feel regretful about leaving the first job, and generally worthless for being totally unemployable and a complete loser. It is a horrible, horrible feeling.
  • I had just lost my aunt. On Christmas Day. Enough said.
  • I was turning to food to cope with my grief, sadness, and feelings of worthlessness (see bullet 1). The more I ate, the worse I felt…causing me to eat more. I starting no showing for workouts, making me feel even worse (and subsequently eating more…you get it.) Instead of fulfilling my goal of continuing to lose, I was gaining back. More serious suckage.

So for these crappy reasons, I was in a place where I felt like I was letting everyone down, including myself.

I was failing my family financially.

I was failing my friends by withdrawing.

I was failing myself in pretty much every way I could think of.

No matter what I did, I felt like I couldn’t climb out of the huge hole of sadness and alternating self-pity/loathing I found myself in.

Life sucked a year ago. Or at least, I was making it suck by my pitifulness. (I just made that word up.)

In my case, a year made a huge difference, and I am grateful for the changes I made in that year.

It was a year of hard work, persistence, and focus.

up and over high

Not a year of perfection, by any means, but a year of decent progress on many fronts.

A year where I truly came to appreciate how lucky I am to have amazing, wonderful people in my life to support me and keep me on the straight and narrow.

A year in which we took an amazeballs cruise–paid off completely in advance (a financial goal, MET)–and it was pretty much the best. vacation. ever. With seriously awesome peeps. (Heart.)

disney cruise vacation

Seriously. Amazeballs.

A year in which I landed myself a job that was waaaaaay better than anything I had applied for previously. I just had to wait it out for the opportunity that was juuuust right for me. (The waiting sucks, though.) In this job, I am recognized for my value and in 2013, I am looking at a promotion and a pretty sweet raise. Ka-ching!

2012 was a year where I steamrolled my fear of being seen as the “fat girl on the stage” and did this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VaBHAXb2THo

and this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yCRTp88YUBs

Word.

So I set some goals, I reached some goals. Others took longer than I expected but I kept the momentum going.

In 2012, I started this blog, and, even though from October on I struggled to find time to keep up with it, I put myself out there, got some interest from all you delightful people, and knew in the back of my mind that I would be back when life calmed down a bit again. (Here I am, and howdy!)

All in all, it’s a year I can be proud of. And I am proud! I rocked a lot of shit this year! (How about you??? What did you rock in 2012? Share in comments or on FB!)

But let us not rest on our laurels. That is so NOT what being a badass is about.

So, the big question is, WHAT NOW? It’s 2013. What’s next? What challenges and goals do we want to rip the heads off of this year?

Honestly, I’ve been struggling to create my goals for this year, so I guess I have to take my own advice and go back to the drawing board. I want them to be specific, and attainable, but still challenging enough to be scary and shove me out of my comfort zone.

So I’ve got some work to do.

Stay tuned, and in the meantime, either share your 2013 goals with me and the peeps, or take some time to do your own work on creating badass goals so we can make 2013 as awesome as 2012.

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.

Three questions to change your life. Part two.

So after reading yesterday’s post about figuring out exactly what you want, and setting your goals in clear, specific and certain terms, you want to know what the next question is. Right on. But buckle yourself in, because it’s a tough one:

What are you willing to do to get what you want?

Let me ask this one in a bunch of different ways: What are you willing to sacrifice? How hard are you willing to work? What are you willing to commit to in order to make your goals a reality?

And there’s the rub, peeps. This is it. The sticking point. Where the rubber meets the road. Where the shit hits the fan. Where the chicken meets the egg. Or whatever.

Despite the mixed metaphors, you get my point: this is the place where most people fall down, and here’s why: yesterday, it might have taken you a little while to really dig deep inside and figure out exactly what you want, but then all you had to do was write it down or say it out loud.

Goals

Today, today…I’m telling you that you need to determine–honestly–what you need to do to get it, and to admit to yourself–honestly–if you’re willing to take the needed actions.

Notice I didn’t say “able” to take the needed actions; I said “willing.” This is not a question of “Can I do it?” It’s a question of “Will I do it?” (Because I know you can do it.)

Frankly, this is the point where most people piss me off, usually by saying stuff that annoys the crap out of me. Like this:

  • Where do you find the time to do all those workouts?
  • Oh, I could never do the kinds of things you do.
  • I’m not sure I could stick to clean eating; I love chocolate/cupcakes/pizza/whatever too much

Wait. Let me be more precise. It’s not people saying these things that pisses me off; it’s when they combine them with phrases like, “I wish I could do what you do. I wish I could lose weight. I just can’t because…(insert 50 lameass excuses here.)”

My answer to those people? “It’s not that you can’t, it’s just that you haven’t decided you WANT to.”

I mean, really. Do these people think I have more hours in the day than them? Some special gift that makes this shit easier for me? HELLOOO!! I’m just an average person, working my ass off to reach my goals, and it is HARD.

I legit find it insulting when people say this kind of crap, like I am somehow privileged or lucky to be reaching my goals. Nope, sorry. It’s hard work and dedication (bordering on obsession, yes. I acknowledge that. But that’s what I need to do to get there.)

Don’t get me wrong…I’m not saying everyone should have the same exact goals as me, fitness or otherwise, because we each have our own path to follow.  Hopefully you’ve defined that for yourself a bit better by figuring out what you want.

But don’t SAY you want something, and then give a bunch of reasons why you can’t get it. If that’s what’s happening, YOU DON’T WANT IT BAD ENOUGH! (Yes, I yelled at you. But you needed it, and I did it out of love. Now go take it off your list of things you want, or stop making excuses and DO IT.)

If you want it bad enough, there’s nothing you won’t do to get it. No sacrifice you won’t make, no challenge you won’t overcome. You’ll have to make hard choices and do hard work. I know you are able; are you willing?

hard work

So let’s talk sacrifices and hard work in terms of my personal goals. Here’s what I, personally, have committed to:

  • 5 or 6 seriously tough workouts a week, usually at 5:30 or 6am
  • clean eating, 90% of the time
  • a monthly financial investment in my health
  • continuing at a job I like a lot, but don’t love…and putting in extra hours on my own to work towards my bigger career goals (perfect example: I’m typing this on my lunch break!)

What am I sacrificing? A lot.

  • my warm, snuggly bed at 4:45am (this is a muuuuuuch bigger sacrifice in the winter months!)
  • endless slices of cake/pizza, cookies, cheeseburgers, and other delicious foods I love on a regular basis (in fact, at a recent birthday party, I had to turn down a slice of a-mah-zing looking cake THREE TIMES!)
  • a new car to replace my nearly 10 year old banged up old Jetta–which does not have a radio, and is generally embarrassing to drive–because it gets me from A to B at this point and to afford the new car, I’d have to cut back on my fitness costs (right now, NOT an option)
  • family time on Saturday mornings and Sunday evenings

There’s definitely more to this list; these are just what immediately come to mind.

The list above also represents things I want, but I have judged that something else is more important. What is  most important to you? How will you prioritize your fitness goals with your career goals and your family goals, etc. etc.? The answers to those questions make up YOUR journey, not mine, and you get to decide.

But do decide; don’t just slop around like a lazy ass and “wish” that you could make your life better. DECIDE, and DO.

Here’s an example: Imagine you came up to me right now and said, “Hey, Nash, I freakin’ LOVE cake. I am going to eat it every day because this is my life and I choose to live it with cake. If that means I am going to have a muffin top/fat ass/thunder thighs/floppy back-of-arm jiggle for the rest of my life, SO BE IT. I will have CAKE, and it is worth it!”

chocolate cake

Come to me, my delicious friend. (No, I definitely did NOT just lick the screen. Shut up.)

That would be hilarious, but then you know what? I would high-five you and be like, “Word. Way to own your choices! Have some cake for me, and make sure you cross ‘rock-hard abs’ off of your list of goals and replace it with ‘eat cake daily.’ And rock on!”

As amazing as cake is, as much as I want a piece like RIGHT NOW, I can’t let anything take my focus away from my current top priority goal.

Oh look, a little quote image that sums up my meaning. You know how much I love those!

what you want most

(I really want a new car NOW. Sigh.)

Okay, that’s it. You know what you need to do. Work it out: review those goals, and figure out what lengths you are willing to go to so you can achieve each of them. Maybe some of them invite a more cautious, long-term approach, and others are so important that you need to jump on them with every fiber of your being (we’ll talk about that another day).

But today, YOU get to decide. So do it, and get to work.

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?