Fitness Friday 09.20 – My Hike Life Lesson

As I was sitting and thinking about my monthly Fitness Friday post, my first thought is that I haven’t put in much work this month because of our trip and now quarantining post trip. But then, I thought about our trip and the good and hard hikes we took, and the one came to mind as a perfect example of life lately and often how our fitness journey’s may not always be perfect — so I thought I’d take a moment to share.

Before our trip out west, B and I put together a list of must-do’s that we wanted to make sure we accounted for! One of B’s absolutes was hiking Mt. Rendezvous – which is a hike we’ve done before. It’s a tough one — I instantly thought back to the first time we did it with my dad, the path wasn’t clear, we did some extra back and forth and it was long, with a decent elevation climb. I was instantly having doubts we wouldn’t be able to do it again, just the two of us. But the fun part about this hike is the waffle place at the top, which is the perfect post-hike treat and you get a free ride down from the Tram!

Our plans shifted slightly, as the Tram hasn’t run all summer due to the pandemic, meaning the waffle stand wasn’t open at the top, but instead shifted down to the Bridger Gondola stop where The Deck is (a popular sunset happy hour spot). So we decided to hike to the Bridger Gondola vs. the top of Mt. Rendezvous. Luckily for us the trails leading up are better marked since the last time we were there over 4 years ago and we could still get waffles and catch a gondola ride down from the Bridger Gondola spot! So after having our plan in place, we set our day to do the hike.

Now back to the meat of the story! We woke up early the morning of our hike to head to a popular sunrise spot to see the Teton’s in a reflecting spot of the Snake River (which was incredible!) — so we had a leisurely morning after that and I personally was pushing off our hike. But we finally got started just after the lunch hour, knowing we had at least 2 hours of hike ahead of us, and wanted to make sure we could catch the gondola down!

We started and the first mile or so was just incline, after incline, after incline — we had no breaks and I got gassed early on. It was hotter than I planned too, so I let the mental battle of defeat and my body feeling defeated get the best of me and I couldn’t stop complaining. I kept having to stop, catch my breath, blow my nose (allergies were on point out west), and continue to complain — B was not having it. But we kept going, and although B said after complaint #40, “Ok, we can turnaround.” — I quickly said “No!,” and kept hiking. I’m not sure if it was from that point on or just continuing to push through the discomfort and doubt… but after awhile my attitude and negative thoughts shifted and went away. I didn’t even notice it, we just kept going, took breaks when we needed, soaked in the views and chatted along the way.

Spoiler: We made it to the top! But the point of sharing this story is there are times when we just plain don’t want to do anything. When we don’t want to workout, don’t want to get out of bed, don’t want to adult or feel like we can’t. Those times when we already write ourselves off and consider something a failure — before it’s even done. This whole year has sort of felt like that, the whole year has just felt like a wash, I’ve heard it from many people, it’s been more of let’s get through this year and then we can go back to normal and do all the things next year.

But, when we got to the top, I felt so accomplished, I did it, B and I did it together! And it was pushing through the negativity and setting out to finish something we talked about doing no matter what. And it felt good! I was exhausted, but after awhile the pain and discomfort became part of the hike and something I worked with, until it wasn’t a thing anymore. This hike in a beautiful place taught me a little lesson, and that is to not write off defeat before it’s ever really started.

We’ve all been pushed around and down a lot this year. That’s why we need to remember and continue to celebrate our victories when we prevail through our own mental beatings and push through the physical pain. And we need to remember and acknowledge the fact that we are strong and can push through the pain, discomfort and doubt to accomplish goals — even if that is one day at a time, one workout at a time, or one hike at a time. And maybe, this year won’t completely be a wash.

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 no. 16

So two weeks ago, I was feeling a bit discouraged with my fitness progress as I had quickly fallen into a slump, which seems to be the routine and pattern lately.  Not to mention some life changing events have gotten in the way, i.e. new job. New job, means new stresses, and new stresses (for me) means, no time, a messy house, eating junk food, not working out, breaking out, and being worried and sick to my stomach. Even just putting my 2-weeks in was stressful, and the weird limbo period you’re in while your still at your job, people seem to look at you different and treat you different. It was a weird thing! People who had been so friendly just the few days before they knew I was leaving. Strange, strange. Can anyone else relate?

The point I’m trying to make is, in those stressful, life changing moments, it’s hard to focus on ourselves and take care of ourselves, especially if we don’t realize we need it.  And everyday might not be a routine, more or less the routine becomes more of a roller-coaster. 14Here are my tips for those stressful/busy times and ways to take a moment for yourself, since it’s often really hard to just do that.

  1. Get a mani or pedi, or both! This is only an hour or so, of dedicated YOU time. It’s relaxing and a time to take care of yourself and it’s also something that can easily be pushed. So take the time and do it!
  2. Take a walk. Sometimes the most we can get in the day is a quick 15-30 minute walk, if that. So take the time in the middle of the day or right when you get home to go for a walk – having a dog is an extra excuse because you’re not just helping yourself, your getting your pooch some extra fitness time too!
  3. Let loose. In whatever way that means to you.  It might not necessarily be the healthiest, but it’s all about balance! So whether it be a night out with friends, sleeping in, head banging to your favorite song, staying up a little later than normal, or a day of partying (to celebrate the Cavs first NBA Championship) – it’s OK to let loose and have a little fun to distract from everything else going on in life.
  4. Just breathe. And remember that everything is going to work out. Change is scary, and if we were all OK with change then nothing would ever stay the same and nothing would be challenging for us.
  5. Sweat it out. Sometimes the best distraction is a kick ass workout or a long run, focusing in the moment on what’s trying to be accomplished and pushing your self physically through a challenge can be what your mind and body really need.

It’s all about balance. But first we need to realize that we need to take a moment and relax, breathe and take care of ourselves.

Cheers to Friday and a long weekend!