(…and when I say “rocked” I’m not saying that in a bragging way. I mean it as a “Holy cow–it hit it like a ton of bricks” way! I share this post for a few reasons (which I’ll detail, below) but none of which is to brag. I hope you all know me by now to know that I want to be real, honest, and encouraging in what I say! And also, I am a little nervous to put this out there. Why? Because I’m not there yet and I’m still working on getting towards my goal!! )
A few months ago I posted a picture that my pilates students took while I was teaching. I downloaded it to my computer and then found another picture similar to it, taken just 12 months prior. Here they are.
It’s the first time that I really looked at what a difference this past year made. You may not see that much of a difference, but I do. (You know how that goes! You have a more detailed eye with your own body than with others’!) So it got me thinking about my journey over this past year!
February/March, 2012, I decided that I needed to kick it up a few notches. Yes–I had been exercising (generally 4 days a week). Yes, I had been strength training (2-3 days a week). Yes, I had been doing cardio. (2-3 days/week) But I was at a bit of a plateau. (To clarify, some of these things are combined on the same days) My body wasn’t reacting to what I was doing and honestly, I was a little bored. I was ready to kick it up and get serious. And as you can see, one year made a bit of a difference.
Here’s where purpose and intensity proved itself this year:
– My strength.
Man, I can really tell how much I’ve improved here. I used to go between 5 and 8 pounds with an occasional 10 pounds pushing it. I’m now doing 10-25 pounds (free weights) and using the olympic bar with additional plates on it depending on the type of exercise.
– My speed.
This summer, I ran a 5k and ran it in the fastest time I’ve ever done. In fact, I placed first in my age group! I wasn’t even trying to race until the end of the race when I realized that I was at the head of the pack and probably should really kick it in. LOL I know you are probably wondering why on earth I need to increase my speed. And you are right. Who really cares, but for some reason, it helps me train harder. I’ve noticed that the natural pace I would start at on the treadmill/elliptical etc is now inched up and I’ve got much more endurance and speed when I sprint.
– My eating.
This should be number 1 because while a workout is only 1 hour of my day, eating encompasses 80% of it! I learned more about protein, timing of carbs, and a few other things over this past year. I’ve played around with different combinations of what works, and can’t say that I have it down pat, but have defnitely found a few things that work..which includes,
I introduced protein shakes and BCAA’s this year. I used to do protein shakes YEARS ago, but found that it just puffed me up (because I wasn’t doing it the right way alongside my other nutrition) but this time around, it’s really been advantagaeous. I also use something called BCAA’s about 30 min before I workout.
– My Sleep.
Last year–and even a majority of last year…I was terrible at sleeping…and it used to be an area I took a lot of pride in! I had overloaded my plate so much that the only time that I could get things done was when kids and hubby were down. And honestly, when they were in bed, I wasn’t always “working” but just chilling and watching tv. Because of this, I was up late and then up early because as you know–kids don’t care what time you go to sleep! (They are still small) So I was very inconsistent with my sleep. It hasn’t been until the past 4 months ago that I’ve put it as a priority again. I’ve had to say no and step away from a few things, but honestly, I feel so much better when I get a solid night’s sleep and start the day early and refreshed.
Now let me show you a progress pic from just 8 months ago. Here’s a before and after of me doing pull ups at our house in September, and then again last week ,5 months later. I added some more muscle in that 5 month span just doing what I had been doing in the months prior. It. just. took. time.
And while we’re at it….
My weight has pretty much stayed the same, or even creeped up a few pounds, over this past year. My legs have also filled out with some more muscle so my “skinny” jeans feel a little more snug! I have to be honest. This messes with my brain sometimes. BUT, when I look in the mirror and see my muscle, and am able to lift up and increase the amount of weight I have each week, I seem to be ok with it. Again, I’m in this process with you all and have the same struggles you do!
This year wasn’t all roses though.
– I had a few rough patches where I wasn’t training or eating as I should because, well, I live in the real world.
– The comparison game hit me harder this year than it had in a long time.
– At times, I was consumed with all the info I had been reading that it became overwhelming and stressful
Am I perfect? No.
Do I struggle? Yes.
Do I have it all figured out? Heavens no.
It’s like this odd puzzle that I’m trying to figure out and fit and it honestly changes every week!
BUT–as you can see–you don’t have to be PERFECT to have change! Holla!
What’s the purpose of this post? I want you to know that:
a.) Longterm consistency is key
b.) A little bit of purpose to what you are doing will go a long way
c.) You don’t have to be perfect to have progress.
d.) Intensity matters. I’m working out the SAME amount of time that I had been years before. What’s the difference? HOW I’m doing it.
e.) You do not have to do what I do to have results. Don’t be disappointed that you can’t look like me or workout as much as me. Do what you can do when you can do it. And…refer to point c.
Finally, (because you know it’s coming) I feel that I’ve been at a great spot spiritually in my life this past year. The energy, zeal, and intensity that I carry in one area of life, usually follows to others and I feel that they’ve all aligned well this year. My spiritual focus is what keeps me grounded when I am struggling with my self-image, or start to get my priorities out of whack. God has been faithful to me in these areas. And YES–I constantly ask Him about my physical life! Why not? He created these masterpieces so He knows how to work it best!!
I will keep at all this because now that I know what I CAN do, I want to do more. It’s fun for me. It gives me a good outlet for all this energy I have! And it is really neat to see progress over the months. Remember, my friends, we are in a marathon, not a sprint. You may THINK you are at mile marker 24 when you are really at mile marker 3. Just keep going. Do what you know you need to do until the race is truly over, or you are lead down a different path. You can do it!