What You Might Be Missing

DSC_0223With today being close to 9 months since I became fed up with being out of shape, I thought it would be a good time to discuss an often overlooked piece to your fitness goals: determination. Let’s face it, passively pursuing a fitness goal, or any goal for that matter, does nothing but put a hole in your wallet with nothing to show for it.

It’s not enough to merely want to lose weight or tone your muscles. You have to be willing to do everything it takes to reach your goals, not just part of them. You have to enter into a fitness lifestyle with goals set in mind and a “can do attitude” to back them up. You have to be willing to push yourself further than you originally expected and never allow yourself to give up.

Determination must be something that sticks with you throughout the process. The second you lose it, you start to lose confidence in yourself. Even when you miss a workout or eat a box of Oreo’s, your determination should get you back on track. You won’t allow a setback to prevent you from reaching your goals.

Your results will drive your determination and your determination will drive your results. They go hand in hand. If you truly want to see a physical and mental change in your health and fitness, the sky is the limit. Believe you can make those changes and don’t quit till you have reached every last goal you set for yourself.

“A dream doesn’t become reality

through magic; it takes sweat,

determination, and hard work”

TIP: I’m a visual person. Therefore, I have learned that having an end-goal in mind makes the steps to get there less painful. I know it sounds cheesy, but find a picture of someone that exemplifies a visual image of your goals. Either print this picture out or burn it into your memory. Going forward, anytime you lose focus, look back at this picture and remind yourself of your goals and why you can’t quit today’s workout after 5 pushups.

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The Father I Never Had

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After writing a post about how amazing my mom is for Mother’s day, I wanted to share how equally amazing my father is and the impact he’s had on my life.

The first time I met Bill, I thought “what a strange guy”. He told the same jokes several times within one weekend and was just all-around goofy. Fast forward 12 years, and you guessed it, he’s still that same, goofy guy that tells his classic one-liners: “A horse walks into a bar and bellies up to the bartender. The bartender says, ‘Hey Bub, what’s with the long face?'”

This guy, along with his entire family, took me in as if I was their own. They treated me like I had been in their family since birth. He pushed me to be better, make good grades, stick with sports, and taught me that for every action there is a reaction. For the first time in my life, I had a father figure.

To this day, he still tells me, “You are where you are in life by the decisions you made 5 and 10 years earlier.” When I made the decision to stay with the Evans’ family, it was one of the hardest choices I have ever made, but because of that choice, I became the woman I am today. They helped raise me into a successful, loving person.

As I let my guard down to my new family, I realized that while no family is perfect, they loved perfectly. They welcomed me in with open arms, and I’ve never looked back. My dad may be a big jokester, but he’s serious when it comes to his family’s safety and wellbeing.

To the man who taught me how to drive a car while nervously gripping the passenger door handle, picked me and my sister up from volleyball practice, drove us on dates (while being extra awkward and corny), helped me move into my college dorm (and every house after that), walked me down the aisle on my wedding day, I thank you. I thank you for stepping up when my biological father didn’t.

I love the relationship you have with my daughter, your granddaughter. She’s just as lucky as I am to have you. I thank you for showing me how a man is supposed to treat a lady by loving my mom, Holly. You guys were my first example, and I looked to your relationship to help me along the way in mine. I think I did alright!

Not just on Father’s Day, but everyday, know you are appreciated. You have taught me many life lessons. You always remind me to not take life too seriously, and you know how to make me smile even when I’d rather not. You are the best, and I can’t thank you enough for being the dad I never had. Love you, Pops!

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A Look Into “My Gym”

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As I’ve said before, with my busy lifestyle, the gym isn’t an option, but that wont stop me from reaching my fitness goals. With the help of my trainer, I’ve pieced together my perfect at-home gym. I’ve had several requests for more information on “my gym”, so I am writing today to tell what it consists of. No, I don’t have a fancy weight machine, but that hasn’t stopped me from gaining muscle.

In the beginning, I was doing a basic full body workout that I found on Pinterest. The only thing that called for a weight was one exercise, the Oblique Twist, but I just used something heavy around the house. My first purchase for my gym was a set of three kettle bells (5, 10, and 15lbs) and a few dumbbells (5 and 10lbs). As I’ve grown stronger and added new workouts, I’ve bought heavier weights. Target was having a sale at the time of the second weight purchase, so I’m working with mismatched weights. Oh well! Look at this way – my weights add color to my bedroom with the assortment of colors.

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I also got a yoga mat, but to be honest, I don’t use it very often. It doesn’t really seem to make a difference when you’re working out on carpet. My trainer asked me to get bands to add intensity to some of my workouts, which you find just about anywhere. Make sure you get bands that are long enough for your body! Another word of caution: I had to get a second set with grips so I could do kickbacks without popping myself in the head. I would post a video, but I would like to maintain the appearance of a professional.

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Over time, I’ve added new items as my workouts have changed, my strength has increased or out of sheer convenience. For example,  I added a stability ball because the only bench we have is downstairs in our kitchen, and I wanted to be able to do the entire workout upstairs. Little did I know, this added another level of intensity to my workouts. Again, be sure to get the right size. I originally bought a stability ball that was too small.

My gym is very basic, but that doesn’t mean it’s not effective. All of my results have come from using what I have at home and the items mentioned above. Even when I am out of town and get to use a hotel gym, I still use the dumbbells and kettle bells. As you become stronger, you’ll need to add heavier weights, but start little and work your way up. I still use my 5lb weights for a lot of different workouts, so your previous purchases won’t go to waste.

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Just because I can’t go to the gym doesn’t mean I can’t workout. If lack of time has prevented you from a healthier lifestyle, I am here to encourage you to stop sidelining your physical health. Go get these basic items, set goals, and get to it! While you’re at it, subscribe to my blog to get more inspiration and tips delivered right to your inbox.

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A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

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It’s true what they say – a picture’s worth a thousand words. It freezes a moment in time. It transforms a memory into a tangible object that can be shared with others. It serves as a reminder of the past. It provides a point of reference to show how people have changed. However, there is something far greater than a picture, and that’s living in the moment.

The more time we spend attempting to capture the perfect photo, the more time we take away from absorbing qualities of life that can’t be captured through a lens. While at the beach this past week, I watched Evan and Ella wade into the waves. Ella had the time of her life, and both her and Evan were wearing the biggest smiles. Ella’s laugh filled the beach as the sun glistened on her face. While a picture could have captured their smile, it wouldn’t have captured the overwhelming feeling of their love, the comforting smell of the ocean salt, or how the storms parted a few hours beforehand to present a perfect, sunny day.

Before we came to the beach, I had an extensive list of all of the staged photos we would take, but once we arrived, I put the camera away and enjoyed life. I captured every moment, this time as a memory rather than on a memory card. I soaked in every moment in both my mind and in my heart. I do not have a thousand new photos to upload, but I have a plethora of new memories that I can share with others.

Our grandparents tell great stories without photos to remind them. We then have the opportunity to take those stories and envision what they saw and how they felt. It leaves room for imagination and questions. We live in a society so focused on capturing every memory that we are letting too many pass by. Let’s live more in the moment instead of in the picture.

A picture might be worth a thousand words but the memories made are priceless.

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Your Abs are not on Vacation

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My friends call me crazy, but I can’t neglect my fitness and diet while on vacation. Dropping both of those for a week would have a huge impact on my progress, and I must stay focused on my long term goals. Lucky for me, our hotel has a gym. Not so lucky for me, they also serve breakfast. I have to be careful to not over indulge so I can enjoy treats on our beach adventures.

Vacations have a funny way of making you want to eat enough food for a family of 5. While I’m at the beach, I can’t help but want to grab a snack every few minutes. To make sure I stick to my diet, I packed several healthy options so when I feel the need to snack, I won’t ruin my diet.

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Don’t worry; even when a gym isn’t available, you can still squeeze a workout in. No, I don’t recommend bringing weights on your trip – that would be a little extreme. Besides, you have a hard enough time getting your husband to hold your purse while you shop; do you think he’s going to tote around weights for you? Running is usually an option when the weather permits, but if you are anything like my trainer, you’re not a big fan of cardio. Before heading off to your next vacation, develop a bodyweight exercise that can be done from your hotel room. Take time to get your body familiar with the new workouts before you leave for your trip. There are a ton of ab workouts that require no weight, and if you’re anything like me, you love a good ab workout.

To make sure you maximize your time on vacation, plan to wake up 30 minutes earlier than the rest of your friends/family. That way, you don’t take time away from the other people you are on vacation with. Instead of coming back from vacation dreading stepping on a scale, continuing your routine while on vacation will ensure that your progress stays on track and you’re closer to the beach bod you’ve been working so hard to obtain.

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