Fitness Friday 05.20 – Mental Health Edition

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, which I found to be pretty fitting as I’ve had a rollercoaster of anxiety, stress and mixed emotions, this month, about everything happening in our world as time continues to go on — and a few friends I’ve spoken to as well are feeling the same, anxious about doing things we used to never think twice about.

This past week has been tough. I’ve cried a bunch, dealt with my hamster wheel of thoughts and chest pains brought on by my anxiety. Even with all of that I’ve made sure to maintain one thing to help stay physically sound — my workout routine.  I’ve even started to do some virtual yoga with some friends on a weekly basis which has been a nice transition into different physical challenges and focused mental breaks.FitnessFriday05.2020In the midst of my tough week, I stumbled upon a LIVE White House Press Conference, which I don’t tend to watch normally, but I figured I would give a listen. Not long into the conference they transitioned to speaking about the mental health risks and had a Doctor speak about how these stay-at-home orders have and will affect mental health (Start watching at 31:52 – with limited Trump speaking). Her words, echoed fears that I’ve faced with slow interactions of getting back to ‘normal’ — I’ve feared that my anxiety is going to be amplified to the point that I may need to take medicine to just do everyday things, like traveling or visiting with friends/family — medicine is something I personally try to avoid, but understand it helps many people and glad that people utilize it to manage their stress/anxiety. I’ve feared that some of us might come out worse, than we went in, that maybe we won’t all be okay right away.

So if you’ve been struggling like me, I wanted to share some tips from the CDC for mental health, and specifically for mental health awareness month:

  • PAUSE. Breathe, notice how you feel.
  • TAKE BREAKS from COVID-19 news/information
  • MAKE TIME to sleep and exercise
  • REACH OUT and stay connected
  • SEEK HELP if overwhelmed or unsafe

Click here to see more how to manage stress from the CDC.

I would like to add, another way of seeking helping, it’s to talk about how you’re feeling with trusted family and friends. I’ve found that just sharing that I’ve feeling anxious and not great, takes those feelings out a bit, so they aren’t just pent up inside of me. The state of Ohio has started to open things up, and the walls are starting to come down, which has led us to face how we even just interact with some family that has caused some doubts, questions and unsure feelings.

I hope these 60+ days of ‘quarantine’ don’t lead to an ever life changing bout of increased anxiety for myself or others, but we just have to remember to take care of ourselves and listen to our bodies and minds when we’re not feeling okay. Stress and anxiety can really affect our physical state without us knowing — so pause and check-in with yourself and even others.

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For more resources check out the these Mindfulness Tools from Kevin Love and Headspace, Inspirational Instagram Feed, Mental Health America, Stress and Coping Resource from the CDC

Fitness Friday 04.20

Hi Bees! Looking back at last month’s Fitness Friday, we were just a week into quarantine, and the news of settling in and adjusting our lives and fitness routines accordingly was fresh and still settling in. Now it is very much a reality and further adjusting has been a continuous journey as each of the days passes. So now the real question — have you totally rocked your fitness routine or have you completely stumped it?
Fitness Friday_04.2020For me, I’ve been sticking to my workout routine pretty well — it’s of course been different, not as intense and shorter some days than others but I’m sticking to getting my days in. I missed a few days at the beginning of the month because I was having some bad medication side effects I was dealing with, but once I figured that out I was back in commission. I have even gotten a few runs in this month and pushing myself to slowly increase my mileage – this has been nice to get some extra calories burned!

One of my biggest hurdles is my new WFH gym. I have one kettle bell weighing in at 25lbs, one hand weight at 10lbs, a jump rope (that I can only use outside) and a yoga mat. I tried to order to hand weights early in the pandemic for in-store pick-up at Target, but those quickly sold out, hence after I ordered two — only one was available *face palm* So I’ve been reliant on body-weight and cardio based workouts and my runs when the weather is decent. Anyone else the same?
FitnessFriday_04.2020(2)Now for some real talk. I’ve been able to maintain a pretty positive outlook through all of this — but this week I hit a wall. Wednesday was tough. It was a long work day, I had intentionally pushed my workout to the evening — but by the time the day wrapped up I had no interest in working out. I wanted to cry. I was feeling on an island, feeling drained, and uninspired. So I sat and stared out the window for a bit, ate a pretzel stick and four animal crackers and debated with myself in my head. I finally got up, made myself go to my basement gym, put my sneakers on and queue up a 36-minute cardio workout. I’m glad I made myself workout, I needed it. I felt about 80% better, but it was definitely better than crying and feeling sorry for myself — although I know we all need those moments sometimes.
FitnessFriday_04.2020(3)Luckily, my Coach is still sharing and posting lots of free workouts on his YouTube Channel so if you’re looking for something new be sure to check out his page! I have also done some virtual yoga with my dear friend from Yogatta Give Back— she is hosting a donation based session every Tuesday. Finally, I’ve seen that through sharing my workouts and talking with friends/family we’ve all sort of kept each other motivated knowingly or not — so share your struggles and share your successes because you just might inspire someone to go for a run!

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Here are a few of my favorite Quarantine Workouts: The Big Nasty, Fitness Test, Giant Metcon Circuit

Fitness Friday 02.20

Happy Fitness Friday! Since the start of the year, I’ve been sticking tight on sticking to my workout routine and making sure I’m checking off the boxes each week. I’ve been feeling great, feeling slimmer and my jeans and clothes have been fitting great! Although, I was recently quickly reminded at how easy it is to fall out of a routine. FitnessFriday 02.20 - bee life blog
This Valentine’s Day we definitely over indulged on a few sweet treats and I also missed a workout or two, in addition to enjoying leftover cookie skillet for a few extra days (so good!)!  So what I quickly realized was that it’s easy to fall off a bit if, I’m not sticking to the workout routine that works for me.  I know myself, and I know I need to stick to a minimum of three days of a good workout, stick to a stricter diet and limit my cheat days — and any derivation of that hurts more than it helps!

Bonus is we’re only two months into the new year, so this reminder definitely comes at a good times, especially as busy season is quickly approaching.  I’ve been sticking to my goals and also know which ones I need to continue to work on, like my core strength!  What lessons have you learned about your fitness journey so far this year?

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Fitness Friday 01.20

It’s the first Friday of 2020 and what better way to kickoff the New Year than planning out your 2020 fitness goals. If you read my last Fitness Friday of 2019, you saw I graded my 2019 fitness goals, and how well I did them — or not! I feel like I really bounced back at the end of this past year coming off a big middle hurdle and without a big wedding coming up, or other major motivations, my primary fitness goal is to not only maintain, but just feel good and happy with myself.
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I’m going to be a little boring, but a lot of my fitness goals are going to be the same as last year. Why? Because they’re what works for my routine, what my body needs, and also what I enjoy doing. Although I’m going to tweak a few, include a few more specifics and guidelines to help make these more attainable this year!

Build and Maintain My Core Strength. My back injury was definitely a wake up call to how I not only need to build my core strength but I also need to maintain it.  I learned so much about how different parts of my body help or overwork themselves to makeup up incompetencies in other areas. So I’m going to start focusing on integrating my PT exercises in 3X a week.

Bootcamp 3X a Week.  This works for me. Waking up and getting my workouts in before I head into the office, ensure I get my workouts done and checked off for the week.  Even getting all three done within the work week opens Saturday’s up for volunteering, a run, or just social time with friends!

Finish 6 Runs in 2020. Usually B and I are able to get a few runs in each year, this past year we only did one! So I’m putting a number to it, to plan better and have a goal. I’ve already signed up for two races, one is tomorrow, and looking forward to getting a few more in the books throughout the year.

Healthy Food Balance.  I generally try to eat less carbs, so that is something that isn’t going to really change. But I want to continue to maintain a healthy balance of less snacking, mixed in intermittent fasting, and those delicious cheat days. Maintaining food balance, while not depriving yourself is key to loving yourself and not sacrificing with fad diets.

What’re your 2020 fitness goals?

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Fitness Friday 09.19

Last month, I was sharing a few fears of why I’d been procrastinating getting back into a workout routine and back to my bootcamp classes – my excuse? Fear. And I said in my last post that come September 2nd, I was going to get back in the game. Well, I was two days off – but I was back on September 4th and have been able to slowly and steadily get back into a groove (for the most part) with my workout routine.

Not only was I afraid to get back into a routine because of hurting my back again – but I was also a little afraid at how sore I would be and how much I’d lost since being off for four whole months! But, luckily my first workout back was a good one, and my coach was super helpful and cognizant of workout modifications and making sure I wasn’t doing anything that would put unneeded pressure on my back and compromise it’s health again.
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In August I only had three tracked workouts and they were a few runs – and this month so far as of this morning I have seven tracked workouts! Hell yeah! Last week was a bit of a wild card, so I didn’t get in everything I wanted too, but this week I’ve made sure I’ve gotten back on track after, starting my first week strong with three workouts.  But, I’ve faced my fears and I’m taking one workout at a time and it feels so good to be back.

I shared how it’s taken a bit of time and understanding that getting back into a routine slowly has been the name of the game in the healing process, while also remembering to continue to strengthen my back and core. Which is something, I need to continue focusing on to help supplement my fitness routine.

It’s been all about listening to my body, understanding that my routine is not going to be perfect while also keeping the eye on the prize and focusing on my fitness goals, and being my best me!

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Fitness Friday 07.19

Last month I shared an update of how my fitness routine has been pretty nonexistent because of letting my back heal up after having my worst to-date “flair up” over the month of May and creeping into June.  I finally went to a specialist, which led me to physical therapy.  And I was not happy that physical therapy was the answer to my back problems… it seemed like an easy scape goat and one I’ve heard before.
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I was aphrenrsive about PT, but I really liked my physical therapist with my initial meeting and evaluation, and I ended up learning a lot in the process too. And luckily, by the time I got to PT, my back was feeling much better – so the goal of PT was to create a ‘maintenance plan’ for life and also to help combat those future flair ups. I did four weeks of physical therapy and have stuck tight to doing my exercises everyday – my physical therapist hasn’t put any restrictions on my physical activity, except for avoiding a few specific exercises when I go to bootcamp.  So guess what?!  I’m making a plan to get back in the game – first things first, continuing the strength my PT exercises and building my core strength.  Next up, adding in running.

Ironically, building my core strength and establishing a better running routine are two of my 2019 fitness goals.  Apparently the universe didn’t think I was doing a great job of accomplishing my core strength building and led me to PT – while I’m now grateful for and optimistic and feel better armed physically and mentally to combat and build my core strength.  So, now to keep things still safe and slow, I’m going to focus on running and get back to boot camp in time!

So I’m going to stop using this heat and humidity as an excuse, and I’m going to get out and run! What excuse are you pushing aside to reach your goals?

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My Week of Low-to-No Carbs.

CARBS. I love carbs. But carbs are also not so great for you – especially those traditional carbs like breads, granola, pasta, potatoes… I always try and eat as low carb as possible but I of course have my faults – a quick sandwich for lunch, toast for breakfast, the occasional pizza, granola bars so I wanted to cut out those quick easy fixes for a meal, especially since I haven’t been able to workout because of my back flair up.  My week of low-to-no carbs still included carbs, but not those empty carbs, I also kept my keto rules in mind for my eats! Here’s how it all went down…

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Fitness Friday 05.19

It’s time to talk food, that thing we love to hate – especially when it comes to your fitness success and reaching those goals.  Food has always been a struggle for me, understanding the balance of life, the things I love (that aren’t so great for you) and then also understanding my gastro issues that have been recent within the last 2-years. Because let me tell you, I love cake and cookies and cupcakes and I believe in the beauty of balance – especially when it comes to enjoying the finer things in life.
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Within my health and fitness journey, there are a few rules I’ve learned that work for me while being able to have that balance – and when I’ve been very strict with them I see great results – and when I’m a bit more lenient I know exactly what I need to cut to see a change. But one thing is for sure, whether I’m strict or not – I always enjoy those cupcakes.

Little to No Carbs – Fun fact: Carbs are hidden in a lot of different things that appear to be healthy or good for you – this includes a fair amount of fruits and vegetables, like carrots, apples, bananas, and melons (just to name a few).  So really understanding what foods you’re putting in your body and what they contain is half the battle – then you just have to cut them out! Also pasta, just stop eating it.

When in Doubt: Berries – Speaking of knowing what is good for you vs. what is not – when in doubt when it comes to your fruits, berries are the way to go.  These are your besties and easy rule to remember: raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries. Yes.

No Dairy – This one isn’t so tough for me, since I’m lactose intolerant I pretty much steer clear, but I am able to enjoy hard cheese – like Extra Sharp Cheddar – so I can get my cheese fix, although I noticed that when I completely cut this out pre-wedding, I felt great and was trimmer. So I think there is some method to the madness of a dairy free diet, whether you have an allergy or not.

Say Bye to Pizza – I will admit, I also indulge in pizza every now and then when we’re home for the night – but again, when we cut out pizza for nearly 4-months pre-wedding the extra weight and temptation went away! We also can’t do cauliflower crust, because my stomach hates me – so it really became all or nothing from a pizza perspective.

Complicated Order – Don’t be afraid to have a complicated order at the restaurant and also just say no to the free sides ahead of time – because as much as you think you won’t eat that side of fries with your burger, let me tell you you’ll probably have at least half if they’re in front of you!  So when it came down to it – I would order a burger with NO bun (yup! cut those carbs) and I would order a side salad in place of the fries (bye, carbs!)

The biggest thing to understand when it comes to food and your health – not everything works for everyone.  Sure, there are a few obvious things that should be avoided, but no one “diet” works for everyone. The second thing to understand that it’s not a diet – it’s a lifestyle, you truly have to be proactive every single day to make smart food choices.

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Fitness Friday 04.19

Guess what! It’s still cold season – but when is it not? With cold season and daylight savings (have you recovered yet?) in full force it’s important that we take care of our bodies and our immune health, here are a few ways I make sure to combat this every year, especially when I start feeling like something might be creeping in – plus it’s just good to be our best, healthy selves.
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Good Sleep. In order to get good sleep, I like a natural herb Valerian Root at night – this helps my thoughts and stress shut off and get a bit of a deeper sleep than I normally would.  I seriously get some of the best sleep when I take this, although please read labels and consult with a doctor before taking! (because I’m definitely not a doctor!)

Drink Lots of Water. Getting into a good routine and pattern of drinking water is crucial, you mind find yourself using the restroom more, but staying hydrated keeps your skin healthy – helps muscles and joints work better – and helps keep the toxins out!  I’ve always heard drinking water helps suppress your appetite, but I have yet to have that happen to me. *smiles*

Remember to Laugh. I’ve been lucky enough to have a few good catch-ups with good friends, and one in particular was filled with belly laughs, literally the entire night. My face hurt, my stomach hurt, but it felt SO good, and I realized I hadn’t had a good laugh in a long time, and I needed it – it’s just good for the soul.  We need to nurture our souls just as much as our bodies because our mental health affects our physical health.

Exercise. It wouldn’t be a Fitness Friday if I didn’t mention exercise! Sweating out those toxins is another great way to combat cold and flu season – just be smart and clean if you’re in a group workout facility and hand sanitize as needed!

How do you combat cold season to be your best self?

 

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