Reflections

At this point in my journey I want to take a day and reflect on what has happened so far. I’ve spent three weeks trying to create new habits, and also trying to get rid of rabbits that are destructive to my life. During the first week I did body weight measurements,  a food diary, and size measurement throughout my body. Tomorrow is my first weigh-in day. I choose to only check my weight every 3 weeks because I do not want to become weight obsessive.  My focus is overall change and creating habits that will should be sustained throughout my life.

It’s not about losing a ton of weight really fast it’s about creating a better me. I’ve nearly finished reading the book “Level Up Your Life”  by Steve Kamb.  This book goes through how to create a life that you would like to live. Many of us look up to superheroes,  athletes, musicians, and many other famous people.  This book allows you to look at how to create a blueprint to become more like those Heroes that you admire. For anybody who is starting out with trying to make a change in their life,  whether that be Fitness, a career change,  or is tired of feeling as if everybody else has figured it out and won’t tell you, “Level Up Your Life”  give insights  as to how to develop a life that you would like. I strongly recommend this to anybody who enjoys reading self-help books,  or anybody who would enjoy reading a book about a geek who turns his life around from being extremely unhappy but financially stable to fully enjoying his life and also financially stable.  Steve gives his testimony  at the beginning of the book describing how he had worked in a construction job in the sales department. He described how unhappy he was in this job and that he went day today reading having to go to work.  By making a leap of faith Steve then quits  the construction job to go work in the music industry. The story continues when Steve discovers how unfulfilled he felt in the music industry job and that he takes a leap of faith to create something that he wants, to create a life that he wants. And with the success of this adventure Steve is able to share some of the techniques and wisdom two other nerdy people who just want to be happy.

But enough about the book. I feel that the habit creating has gone well as I am personally driven by goals and enjoy being able to check off on my list various items throughout the day.  In the last 3 weeks I have been able to keep a food diary, perform yoga, workout, walk, play music, study for my exam, practice French,  and keep up a Blog without sacrificing time outside of my normal schedule. I attribute much of the motivation to continually try and improve to both nerd Fitness and my desire to create a happy life that I want to live. I know that’s whatever tomorrow’s weigh-in brings I will still feel proud of the progress I have made in 3 weeks. Until next time.

-Marley

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Stress is a crazy, crazy thing.

Stress is a constant companion in today’s world. Many people claim to thrive off of stressful situations, but I wonder how does it affect your performance? I know that days that I have been stressed my workout sessions feel less productive than on days that I feel less stressed.

In the Journal of Sports and Exercise Psychology a study was conducted on long distance runners and the effects that cognitive fatigue had on performance. Experienced runner performed two 3,000 meter runs on an indoor track. One time was after experiencing cognitive fatigue and the other was under non fatigued conditions. The results of the study were that completion times were significantly slower after experiencing cognitive fatigue verses non fatigue.  Furthermore the study concluded that there was no difference in Heart rate, blood lactate levels, or ratings of perceived exertion. For more information go here. 

Continuing our trek down the ugly side of stress the American Psychology Association has this to say about long term stress.

Chronic stress
When stress starts interfering with your ability to live a normal life for an extended period, it becomes even more dangerous. The longer the stress lasts, the worse it is for both your mind and body. You might feel fatigued, unable to concentrate or irritable for no good reason, for example. But chronic stress causes wear and tear on your body, too.
Stress can make existing problems worse.2 In one study, for example, about half the participants saw improvements in chronic headaches after learning how to stop the stress-producing habit of “catastrophizing,” or constantly thinking negative thoughts about their pain.3 Chronic stress may also cause disease, either because of changes in your body or the overeating, smoking and other bad habits people use to cope with stress. Job strain — high demands coupled with low decision-making latitude — is associated with increased risk of coronary disease, for example.4 Other forms of chronic stress, such as depression and low levels of social support, have also been implicated in increased cardiovascular risk. And once you’re sick, stress can also make it harder to recover. One analysis of past studies, for instance, suggests that cardiac patients with so-called “Type D” personalities — characterized by chronic distress — face higher risks of bad outcomes.5

So, how do you coup? How do we break the cycle of chronic stress? How do you manage it? Let me know what you do in the comments.

Planning out your schedule!

I am going to be busy the next few days. We are planning and prepping the first Pride party in our area and I know I won’t have a ton of time to sit down and write out a blog. So instead of getting stressed out I’m writing the post a few days before. Scheduling ahead is a positive thing so you don’t have to feel super stressed to accomplish a task. If I do get some time I’ll go back and edit these post and make them that much better, but getting a basic form down is the main priority.

Scheduling things out tends to help me in the long run, but I don’t enjoy super tight time restraints. My sister on the other hand while growing up would have the same routine every day after school down to the minute. For her this worked out well, but for me I need a little leeway in my schedule. Currently here is my schedule.

Everyday

  • Walk outside at least 10 minutes
  • Read a chapter
  • Write Blog Post
  • Record Breakfast
  • Record Lunch
  • Record Dinner
  • Record any Snacks
  • Yoga
  • Study for CPT Test
  • Dentist Prevention
  • Play Piano 10 minutes at least

Every other day

  • Workout Strength
  • Workout Run
  • French

This looks like a lot to do and in some ways it really is, but the more I do this schedule the more efficient I am becoming at getting these task done. Some of these task only take a few seconds to complete some of them are a bit longer, but if you notice I don’t have times written in for any of them except for duration on a few. As longs as I get these task done during the day I’m golden. This works for me but if you need something a little tighter in time restraints write it down and set alarms for things.

Once you figure out how to schedule and keep to that schedule you can make awesome things like the tv trays.

 

Marley

Sometimes you just need to uninstall a bunch of “junk”

Much like cell phones our lives tend to get cluttered with so much going on that you don’t even know everything that is vying for your attention anymore. I know about a year and a half into my contract my phone will start acting up because I’ve downloaded so many apps that I’ve just got to have to make my life easier that it ends ups doing just the opposite. My phone dies faster and is so much slower than it used to be.

“But Marley, that’s just what happens when you/it gets older things slow down.”

Why? Why does it have to? I know plenty of people who are older who move faster than some of their younger counterparts. To top that off I know that if you get rid of a lot of those needless apps your phone will pick back up on the some of the speed it was lacking. Now, as much as I would like to say this is about the older generation being kick tail in their lives it’s actually not. You know age is just a number and many of you are probably out there doing things only college kids have ever dreamed of. Nay, my friends this is about you. Yes, you. The one reading this blog right now. Look at the things around you and answer this honestly. How much of it have you used in the last year? Some? It’s most likely you have a “junk drawer” somewhere in your house that you love to stash things just in case you need it later.

I’m not going to ask you to get rid of it though it would probably be good to reevaluate much of what you have around the house. What I would like you to do is to look at something  much more difficult, look at the activities that you do everyday. Write them down. Even if it is something minor write it down. Got that finished? Now put a check mark next to it if it benefits you in some way.

  • Eat breakfast
  • Walk for 20 minutes
  • Watch Ellen
  • Play Video Games for 2 hours
  • Ect.

I’m not here to judge you in what you deem is important. I know that when I was teaching I would come home and just need some time to unwind from the day. The way that I choose to do this was to play some video games for a few hours. But, I also know now that I don’t have the same amount of stress so for me to play video games all day would be wasteful and would slow down myself from being the best kind of me. Sometimes what you have to do daily is good for you but you’ve got so much going on that your batteries are being run down to fast. What about a portable battery? Great, something like coffee or an energy drink that is a quick fix in a bind but becomes a crutch when you don’t take care of the root of the problem.

Moral of the story, be able to say no to some things if it is using up to much juice in your life because even if you do get a portable battery it’s only going to work for so long. Take care of yourself and you’ll last much longer.

Marley

Go Full or Go Home!

I enjoy lifting. I love feeling the sense of accomplishment after pushing a weight I hadn’t done before.  Would it surprise you to know that I’m a woman? Probably not, even though many women are starting to “pump the iron” to many of us are afraid of big bulky muscles. BAH! I’d love to see some muscle on myself, though it’s extremely unlikely unless I were to take steroids, to pack on the amount of muscle to look like she hulk. Anyway, as a woman lifting there is a funny thing that we tend to do that most men just don’t. No I’m not talking about checking yourself out in the mirror. Have you seen the guys at the gym most of them are worse than us! What I’m talking about is the debate between lifting clean perfect sets or lifting heavy under control but form tends to suffer a bit sets.

Most guys try to lift heavy because heavy lifting tends to lead to bigger muscles. Hypertrophy, the increase of cell size or number in the skeletal muscles in strength training, tends to happen in a variety of ways. I’m not a doctor so I don’t plan on going into super detail at this point. I want to research it more. But, basically the idea is if you lift heavy weights (80-90% of your one rep-max) for 2-6 reps then you will cause the muscle cells to enlarge whereas if you lift a lighter amount for 10-12 reps you will cause the cells to become more dense and able to handle the endurance. Both types are generally extremely strong, but perform different functions generally.

Women tend to be the opposite as our male counterparts we perfect the form and tend to add weight so slowly that you never really make large gains. *YOU WON’T GET BIG SO DON’T GIVE ME THAT LOOK* Women would benefit from aiming to struggle with the last 2 reps of their sets of 10. It’s not the extreme 2-6 rep weight but it isn’t the 10-12 reps easy peasy lemon sqeezy sets either. Both types of workouts have their benefits and you can judge for yourself what is more important to you. To help I know a little video series that you judge for yourself which you like better.

When I am bored I watch Strength Wars on YouTube. This series pits different types of athletes against each other in a strength competition to see who can have bragging rights. This link I am posting is to one of my favorite competitions so far. It takes a street workout guy and pits him against a professional bodybuilder. The results are extremely telling as to the difference in muscle type. If you want to watch it click on the link below.

Marley

Street Workout VS Bodybuilding – STRENGTH WARS 2k16 #12

Flowing with the go. . .

Yes, yes, I know the saying is “going with the flow,” but hear me out. Sometimes there is just absolutely nothing you can really do when you are always on the go. Your normal schedule is all out of wack because of outside influences. How do you get all your daily habits in then?

I have a habit tracker on my phone. It’s super simple it’s more of a glorified checklist with reminders for certain activities each and every day. Here’s what my current list looks like.

  • Write Blog
  • Read a chapter (any book, just one chapter)
  • Record breakfast
  • Record Lunch
  • Record Dinner
  • Record any Snack
  • Workout: run (not every day)
  • Workout: Strength (not every day)
  • Workout: Yoga (every day)
  • Study for CPT Test

Seems like a lot, right? It is and some days are much harder to accomplish all these task than others. Yesterday was one of those days. First off I woke up way later than normal 10 am. Then wife and I traveled to the local zoo, went to the Verizon store, went to a friends house to visit and swim and then finally home by 6:30. It was quite the busy day. Earlier in the day I was slightly frustrated due to A) being super tired from the night before, B) having my day seemingly hijacked away from me, and C) distracted due to the party that we are hosting this upcoming Friday.

Being a teacher for 5 years taught me many things, but this in particular was important. “Flowing with the go” Flowing with the go means that life sometimes go without your permission. Sometimes you have things that just need to happen that day and there is no way to get around it.

“Yeah, I get it, don’t get angry with what happens you just need to adapt.”

Yes, and adaptation is a sign of progress, but here is the difference with going with the flow and flowing with the go.

Going with the flow= Allowing yourself to be swept along and not get frustrated or angry. Life is an adventure and the detours are normally the best memories.

Flowing with the go= Allowing yourself to not get angry or frustrated when things are not what you are planning (so far the same with going with the flow) and still being able to do the things that you set out to do.

Both of these things are great and they have their place in the adventure of life, but they are applicable in different situations. In all honestly you have to be able to go with the flow to flow with the go.

Example: Yesterday. Normally, I can study at home with my textbook, read my chapter and blog all in my living room using the various things that I have at my disposal. Because I was out and about with the wife yesterday I didn’t have any time to really sit down with my textbook, computer, or book to do those things. I didn’t exactly have a ton of time to work out either, but I did do all of those things before I got home at 6:30.

Here’s my flow: Instead of thinking oh well I can’t do my blog post, read my chapter and study today. I just did those things with my phone while we were driving from place to place. I was able to look up information about Lipids, start this blog post, and read a chapter from my book from my phone. Thank goodness for internet and kindle! Instead of waiting to do my exercising at home once we got back I exercised in the pool while everyone was wading around and talking. Thank you water aerobics (incognito).

Now I could have gotten really stressed out and be angry that I didn’t have time to do the things that I set out to do, but I took a step back and reevaluated what I had and how I could use it to my advantage (teacher trait: You have 15 children all wanting to play an instrument and waiting around isn’t an option. “Everybody clap your hands, tap your toes, use the cabinets as drums” Just get them playing. Can you tell I was a music teacher?) My point is since you are on the go and can’t do anything about it work with it.  Adapt, see what you are doing and see if you can modify it to where it can count and benefit you in the long run. No I didn’t get to do any push ups today, but I did get a leg, ab, and back workout thanks to the pool and a little creative thinking.

If you are going to be on the go don’t forget to just flow, it makes life a lot less stressful.

 

Marley