Sunday, November 12, 2017

When Life Gives You Lemons , Make Orange Juice and Leave the World Wondering How the Heck You Did It

My sweat sister!
I have spent a good portion of my life "chasing perfectionism."  I did not start out this way, but there was a period of my life where this was being promoted and it has kind of stuck.  Especially so with not feeling well.  I was taught to never "show" that, to put on a happy face and face the world. I think you have to be very careful if you are counseling someone this way, because everyone interprets things differently.  Spending my life chasing perfectionism is exhausting.  Vince Lombardi said "Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."  I'd agree with that.  But it has also been said that "Perfectionism is self-abuse of the highest order."  and "Chasing perfection won't attract those you are meant to serve, sharing your vulnerability will."

It is with that in mind that I write this post.  I have not felt well for awhile.  But having been taught to never show that or talk about it, I've kept it quiet.  However it has affected my mood big time and I actually was hating my workouts for awhile now.  My crappy mood is usually what my trainer will pick up on as we are no longer in the same state and that is the case here.  I told him a few of my aches and pains, but not all and he cut me back some.  After one week of being cut back, I already could tell the difference.  My body needed that rest.

This past week I went to see my Rheumatologist for a routine appointment.  But I made a list of all the things that were hurting on my body and I asked her to help me sort them out.  Was it arthritis, was it tendinitis, was it carpal tunnel, was it a broken bone.  I would say that I do believe my doctors will help me if I am honest with them.  So I laid it all on the line.  Turns out that I have three different things going on.
A Motrin free hand for 36 hours - shows the swollen knuckle
of arthritis.
One - the rheumatoid arthritis is back - after leaving me alone for 7 years.  This I kind of knew, but was really afraid to say anything because I figured once it was back, it was back for good.  OR I would need to go on a
 steroid.  But here's the thing.  My doctor has been with me on this journey of mine and she KNOWS that a steroid would work against my progress.  She is aware of many other ways to attack the RA before ever having to suggest a steroid.  AND it can go away again.  This is not the beginning of the end.  So we made some adjustments to medicine and I will go see her again in 2 1/2 months instead of in 6 months.  Unfortunately this affects my hands, my elbows, my ankles, and my feet.  But I feel confident we will nip it in the bud again.

Two - my right wrist has tendinitis.  I need to rest it for four weeks.  When she told me to rest my right arm for four weeks, it was like a ten-ton brick was lifted off of my chest.  I almost cried with relief to know that it wasn't going to hurt every time I tried to pick up a weight.
Ring finger wouldn't straighten.
Three - my ring finger on the right hand.  I think it got jammed when I fell off the stability ball and I am having trouble making my finger straight.  We did an x-ray (I do not know the results) and I have an appointment Monday with an Occupational Therapist.  But this needs to be rested for four weeks as well.

Now, having said all of that, let me state that she has NEVER told me to stop exercising.  EVER.  She suggested swimming, elliptical, leg day, abs, and anything I wanted to do with my left arm.  So even with all that going on, I can still get my exercise in.

Now here's the really cool thing.  I started swimming again a little over a year ago.  I've become a lot stronger in the water.  And get this, on Monday I got in the pool and my ring finger was bent at the middle knuckle.  I began swimming.  The pain ran down my finger into my hand into my wrist -- for about 200 yards and then the pain stopped.  When I got out of the pool an hour later, I could extend my finger completely.  Also when swimming, no joints hurt.  And swimming is one heck of a workout.  It's the only thing I do that actually makes me hungry (starving actually.)

This is not a "pity" post.  I want you to know that you can do it too.  I'm going to keep doing the things I can, letting the right arm heal, and continuing with forward progress.  I know it's working because I have to go clothes shopping again.  The treatment we started for the arthritis has provided MUCH relief and the rest I have given my wrist has helped too.  And I'm enjoying myself again.
This is me - enjoying myself again!
And if my trainers have made it this far into the post, please know that I am working on making sure you know how I feel, because I know you are not mind-readers.  It's a personal problem with me from years of chasing perfectionism and thinking that I cannot show others my weaknesses.

Life is full of choices.  When life gives me lemons, I choose to make orange juice and I will leave the world wondering how the heck I did it.

Friday, November 3, 2017

To Become A Champion, You Must Love What You Are Doing!

Winning is not the most important thing.  Winning is a byproduct of having your life in balance and keeping what's most important in perspective........     To become a champion, you must love what you are doing, and have fun when it counts the most.  Happy swimmers are fast swimmers........ Be happy!!!!!!!!!!!

That is the sign on the wall at the CMU pool where I swim.  Sometimes I forget to have fun and to be happy.  Life is meant to be lived and enjoyed!

Be happy!
A quick update on me.  I know that my wrist is NOT broken and that my wrist does NOT have arthritis.  Two really good things to know.  I am taking two weeks off of "lifting" anything with my right wrist.  I just completed week one.  I see the Rheumatologist for a scheduled appointment next week and then I should know more after that.  I am still on course with my 20 week plan.  I've added an extra day of swimming in these two weeks.

I love swimming for a variety of reasons.  It brings back really happy memories.  It reminds me of my college friends.  I enjoy the solitude of swimming.  It's easy on my joints.  It's one heck of a cardio workout.

Ten years ago I swam one Masters swim workout.  The coach said I had a great breaststroke and would I like to join the Masters team.  I said, "No, but I will once I hit a certain weight."  That weight number was 175.  It is now ten years later, and I have still not hit that weight. 
Me swimming breaststroke (today.)
I made this same argument with Trainer One in the Fall of 2015.  His response was along the lines of "If you love swimming, you should be swimming.  Don't let your weight stop you from doing something you love!"  So I found a suit big enough and I got in the pool at Gold's Gym -- all 250 plus pounds of me.  I could swim 100 yards without stopping and then I was POOPED!  I kept swimming but only one length at a time.

October 2015 - if you love swimming - SWIM!  (Trainer One)
Today I am swimming faster and much further than I was when I started.  I'm always smiling when I swim (well except for when I need a breath.)  The pool just feels like home to me.  I love the smell of chlorine - many happy memories with that smell.  I was thinking today had I waited until I weigh 175 to get in the pool, I still would not be swimming today.   So the take away from this post today is don't let your weight hold you back from doing something you love!  You may have to start slow and you will not be as fast as your younger self, but I bet you'll love what you are doing!

Me today - Butterfly (without fins).  This means my abs are getting stronger!
Photo cred for the today pictures goes to Whitney Robison

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Be a Fighter Jet!

Are you frustrated?
Are you not where you want to be in life?
Do you feel like no matter what you try nothing seems to help?
If so you need to be more like a fighter jet!
Let me explain.....
As you probably know there is no magic pill or "positive-thinking" method that can get you there. It all comes down to your habits or lack thereof.
As John Maxwell says " People have uphill dreams, but downhill habits"
Another way I've come to look at this that I've adopted from one of my mentors is the difference between a fighter jet and a crop-duster plane.
Obviously there is a BIG visual difference you can see in these two planes. But I believe we can learn a lot more than meets the eye between these two aircraft.
Start adopting these three "habits" of a fighter jet if you want massive success that you can sustain.
Be a fighter jet!
1.) Pre-flight Routine
In order for a fighter jet to take off and get into the air, a lot of special clearances and operations need to happen. The pilot must go through a lengthy checklist and there is a whole team on board to make sure everything is cleared and the flight goes smoothly. However, anyone who can fly any ol' plane can walk outside and jump in a crop-duster and off they go.
​If you want to be a high performer and get the most out of each day, you also need to start getting into a routine. For starters get 7-8 hrs of quality sleep each night. Wake up at the same time everyday (yes even on the weekends). Your body thrives on consistency so doing this sets your sleep/wake homeostasis cycle and circadian rhythm biological clock properly so you're operating at maximum efficiency each day.
Just like it takes a whole process for a fighter jet to even take flight, to consistently achieve your goals it requires the same. You need to plan and prepare for the week ahead. Look at your schedule, what events are coming up? Make sure you've gone grocery shopping and that you have some meals and snacks prepped for when you know you'll need them. Be sure you've made time to get in 3-4 workouts for the week as well.
Now you're cleared for take off and ready to dominate your week!

​2.) Maintenance
As you can imagine the maintenance and upkeep of a fighter jet and a crop-duster is drastically different. It's the same way with underachievers and high- performers.
So fill your body with high quality foods (mostly unprocessed) and drink plenty of water throughout the day. A fighter jet requires a higher grade fuel than a crop-duster and your body is no different.
​If a crop-duster were a person it would be the kind that skips meals, powers through the day, and then picks the easy, cheap, and unhealthy option for dinner. The fighter jet on the other hand can't afford to miss any steps that haven't been take into account beforehand.
You only have one body, so take care of it!
Again, think about the fighter's stored in special hangers or on aircraft carriers guarded by military personnel.
The crop-duster?
It's just out there beside the old barn underneath a tarp exposed to all the elements.
So don't overeat, don't drink too much, don't smoke, or hold grudges.
​Keep your body and mind in pristine condition by watching what you do, what you think, and how you let things affect you.
Remember, you may not be able to change your circumstances but you can always change your attitude. Control what you can, cope with what you can't, and concentrate on what counts.
3.) Your Fleet
If you visit an aircraft carrier full of fighter jets, you aren't going to see any crop-dusters around.  Why?
Because fighter jets don't hang out with crop-dusters 
In all seriousness the people you surround yourself with will always have a massive impact on your life and what you're able to achieve. As a fighter jet you'd never go to battle with a crop-duster because it simply can't go as fast, can't fly as high, and is content with staying closer to the ground and doing ordinary things.
Who is in your fleet?
Instead, surround yourself with other people who want more out of life. People that are givers not just takers. Folks that don't gossip,who look to serve others, and who have a positive attitude.
If you can't remove certain negative people from your life (like family), then just limit the amount of time you spend around them so you can you be out and about making the world a better place.
You were made for more in this life.
Are you going to put in the work and effort to be a fighter jet which will allow you to have and sustain success, or are you going to settle for being a crop-duster and just get by?
The choice is yours.
I hope you'll choose to be a fighter jet!
Happy Hump Day!
Trevor (Blacksburg VA Fit Body Bootcamp)

Friday, October 27, 2017

But It Wasn't My Idea -- Week 12 of 20

Here is my reality.  I am not Super-Woman.  Surprising, right?  Yeah surprising to me too.  Sometimes I think I'm still that 19 or 20 year old athlete, but my body says NO.  My reality is I have two auto-immune diseases.  They call these invisible diseases because when people look at you, you look completely healthy.  But you don't always feel completely healthy.

Week 12 - Control the Mind
Week 11 I was a bit of a cry baby and everything hurt and this sucks, etc., etc., etc.  Week 12 I was told to cut back on certain exercises and swim more or do the AMT more.  I KNOW that was the right decision.  Hell I was thinking of suggesting it myself.  But to have it told to me instead of it being my idea, didn't go over well.  Does that ever happen to you?  Come on, be honest.  What is that?  Pride?

AMT with friends - makes time fly by.  (Well sort of.)
My RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis) seems to be flaring up.  However, it's not something I am real familiar with.  I had the original pain seven years ago and then the diagnosis and then a steroid treatment for a year and then really no pain since.  But when you have to take Motrin in the morning and the evening just so your fingers won't swell and if  you try to make it without Motrin your knuckles look purple, you might be in a flare up.

Honestly this is where I am very thankful to have a trainer that has stuck with me and knows my moods and my aches and pains and who can point out to me when I need to cut back.  Like I said, I wasn't happy, but I am at the end of that week now and feeling WAY better.  I'm going longer without Motrin.  So next step is to figure it out on my own (when to cut back) before going cray cray.

I have an appointment in two weeks, so don't worry about me.  I'll figure it out with my rheumatologist.  I downloaded an app that allows me to input a lot of information daily about symptons and quality of life.  I'll be able to bring my doctor this info and we'll be able to come up with a course of action (hopefully without steroids.)  In the meantime, I swim more and weight train slightly less.

Sometimes I am hesitant to write to you about my aches and pains and/or my autoimmune diseases, but I feel it's necessary.  The absolute worse thing I coud do would be to stop exercising.  Movement is great for the RA.  Swimming has been awesome for it, especially in a colder pool (as opposed to a warm therapy pool.)

Swimming does not hurt any of my joints - at all.  This week I have swum PRs (personal records) all week.  PRs for me since I started swimming again a little over a year ago.  Not PRs from when I was 20.  One workout I swam 3 - 1000 yard swims with 30 seconds rest in between each one.  That's 120 lengths.  Today I swam 2 - 1000 yard swims and beat my time from the Masters Swim Meet in March by one minute in the 1000.  That was pretty exciting for me.

Let's not let our pride get in the way when someone suggests something to us that we know is the right decision, yet it wasn't our decision.  Let's be bigger than that.   There I'm done preaching.

Just know that if I can do this, you can too!

If you need a laugh, enjoy my epic gym fail on the (unstable) stability ball.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Week 11 - Thursday, 10/19/17 - Note to self: "The trainer needs to think he's the boss."

Today I got good use out of the Urban Dictionary/Dictionary.  These young trainers and their lingo sometimes.  Thank God for google.  Today I looked up Tabata, cake walk, perceived exertion, and functional training.  More on that in a bit.

Paul wanted to see if we could lift our arms after
the Tabata of shoulder presses.  YES we can!
I'm not going to lie, Thursdays are my most challenging days.  I'm tired by Thursday.  But I WANT this, so I drop my son at school and head to Golds Gym.  I'm 30 minutes early for the training with Paul so I get in some core work and some shoulder stretches.

I meet Tori at 8 and we start our "upper body" workout with Paul.  Today we are blessed with deadlifts (6 sets of 10), and pullups (5 sets of 10).  Paul gives us the statistic of how many people can do a pullup.  (I don't remember the number but it's really low.)  I say, you know Ryan used to say that and we had to do pullups almost every day when we trained with him.  However, we've never done them since so I'm actually happy we are doing these.  Tori- are you happy?

Deadlifts and pullups
Back to the "fun room" to do kettlebell rows (see the towel on the kettlebell?) and TRX pushups.  I have an injury on my right hand so I am unable to do regular push ups at this time.  But if I use the TRX I can shift my weight away from my palm; however today my palm hurt more than usual.  But I got them done.  Also for the rows, when I did them with my left hand, Paul gave me a dumbbell to hold with my right hand.  Again that took the weight off of my palm.  It's not pictured, but we did that on the second set.  I have no idea how many we did.  I think after five I asked if we were done and he replied, Oh you want to do another round?

Kettlebell rows with a towel (I'm sure there is a fancier name.) and
TRX pushups
Our finisher was overhead press with dumbbells in a TABATA.  Back story:  While I trained with Ryan (in person), I simply did what he told me to do and never asked questions.  When I realized he was going to move away I started asking more questions, so I could learn the why of things.  Because I ask questions I know a TABATA is 8 rounds of 20 seconds of work/10 seconds of rest.  So Paul is keeping the time, I am counting the rounds.  I say, "Okay, just 8 rounds then, right?"  He replies, "No, as many rounds as I want."  I say, "A Tabata is 8 rounds."  He says, "A Tabata is 2 to 1."  If you ever worked out with me, by now you would be screaming, "Patty, shut up!"  We finish 8 rounds.  I say, that's eight.  He replies, I know.  Keep going.  The kicker?  I would have let you stop at 8 had you not questioined it.  (OK - so the Urban dictionary says I'm right.  I looked it up later.  But my being right, got me 2 extra rounds.)


We finish with Paul and Tori says, I can stay and do cardio with you.  I am supposed to do 70 minutes on the AMT (elliptical) steady state (keep going - no rest) and get my heart rate to 141.  I'm already angry and I haven't started.  So I shoot Ryan a text off to Boston -- "It would help me mentally if you would tell me why I have to do 70 min steady state on the AMT and not intervals."  I don't wait for a reply, and Tori and I start chugging away.  About 10 minutes in I receive the following reply "Get on that AMT and bust out 70 min.  That's a cake walk for you."  What's a cake walk?  I've heard of a "walk in the park."  and I've heard of "a piece of cake."   After we are all done I look up "cake walk."  Basically it's a combination of those two terms.  Well I'm glad he thinks it's a "cake walk" for me.  I didn't feel that way.  (By the way - thank you Tori for sticking with me.)

At the end of the day, let's get real.  I asked for this.  It's working.  I just need to shut my mouth when I'm tired and not let the complaining out. 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Week 11 - Wednesday (October 18, 2017) Training by Teal

I love Wednesdays because when the workout is done, I am done with the Training by Teal for the week and that, my friends feels FANTASTIC!  Teal for those of you who don't know is Ryan's last name.  And Ryan is my original trainer with whom I still work.  He sends me two workouts a week that I do on Monday and Wednesday.  Today was no exception!
Let's just say a friend who knows me real well
bought me this shirt.
I started the day with 30 minutes on the AMT Elliptical - 35 seconds sprint, 25 seconds recovery for 30 minutes.  Today I was alone - no trainer, no friend.  So it's 100% mental all the way!  I am my own cheerleader.  I got to the AMT and the gentleman next to me says, "We've got to stop meeting like this."  It was actually pretty funny.  There are at least 10 AMT's, but there are maybe 2 that work well.  So there we were side by side.  Guess whose headphones didn't work again today?  Yeppers!

After my 30 minutes, I had 5 minutes rest to get to the "Fun Room," and set up my next exercise.  The "Fun Room" was actually quite full this morning with three trainers and their clients.  I set up a small box, two 10 # kettlebells, and a 40# kettlebell.  I had 20 minutes EMOM (Every Minute on the Minute).  I was to do 20 kettlebell swings (which I did with the 40#).  Then you can rest until you hit 1 minute.  And then I was to do 10 step ups each leg on the small box.  If you've been following me, you know this is a huge mental challenge for me.  Paul (aka 4) was in the room and noticed my perplexed face.  What's up?, he asks.  I'm supposed to do 10 step ups each leg and within a minute.  I don't think I can do it in a minute.  He replied, "Awe, I have faith in you.  You can do it."
Speaking of Paul, I'm a little beat up from yesterday!
Well I wouldn't know until I tried.  I got started 20 Kettlebell swings in about 35 seconds (so I got 25 seconds rest), then 10 step ups each leg.  That took about 55 seconds, so I got about 5 seconds rest.  But I did it.  I am NOT one to back down from a challenge, so I kept going for all ten rounds and I did it.  I was ambitious thinking I could do the step ups with the 10# kettlebells in each hand, but I did not attempt that.  Maybe next time.  20 minutes later (200 kettlebell swings and 200 step ups later), I got 5 minutes rest.

Sometimes there is this college young man who is a diver (I'm a swimmer) in the room at the same time as me.  Today Stewart was training him.  He (the diver) always encourages me and he did so again today after 9 rounds.  He's like, "Keep going.  You're doing great."  When you don't have a trainer in the room or a friend in the room, these little bits of encouragement help you keep going.

Last 20 minute round was another 20 minute EMOM.  20 wall balls and then sprints.  Just Monday I had an EMOM and I only had to do 12 wall balls.  Why 20 today?  Good question, right?  There was just no one there to ask so guess what, I just did 20 wall balls.  I literally had about 5 seconds rest until it was time to sprint.  Good times!  At about #5 on, I felt like I was dragging my legs along in my sprints.  But I did it and NOW Training by Teal is DONE until Monday!  Hallelujah!  And Tori said she would join me Monday.  YEAH!

The rest of the day is spent at work and yet another doctor appointment.  Today in my Facebook memories was a picture of me 2 years ago at the Denver Rock and Roll.  So for fun I took the shirt (which now belongs to my husband) and took a picute today.  Below is the result.  So although I still see doctors for health issues, my health is 1000% better than it was two years ago.  You can do it too!


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Week 11 - Tuesday (October 17, 2017) AKA Tuesdays with Tori

Tori, Four (aka Paul), Patty
It was Week 9 of the 12 week Challenge.  I was still over 250 pounds.  We were in a semi-private workout, and there was probably six of us that morning.  We were doing a circuit of exercises and one of them was jump roping.  Well, in the past I had bought myself a jumprope because I could do that on the front or back porch and get myself some exercise.  However, when I actually tried to jump, I couldn't because I was so heavy and out of shape.  So this particular morning, I started jump roping and my smile was ear to ear, because I was doing it.  I was pretty damn happy with myself.  On the third round of the circuit while I was jump roping, I heard (and felt) an audible POP from my left knee.  My leg buckled and that was the end of the jump roping.  This was in March of 2016.

Many Dr. visits and physical therapies later and some set backs, I am back to squatting.  The biggest thing I need to do is speak up if something is hurting.  So far though so good.  So today, Tuesday, is Leg Day with Paul.  This begins at 8:00 a.m. and Tori always joins me.

Front bar squat (aka Mummy squat)
Here we are starting out with a front bar squat.  Tori is holding the bar differently than me because I have a "wrist" issue.  So I "hugged" the bar lightly and she "held" the bar lightly.  Here we did 5 sets of 10 squats with the bar (45 #).  Most times Tori can handle more weight on the bar than I can, but honestly just the fact that I can do these really does make me happy.  For me I am always working on keeping the weight on my feet off of my toes and getting low enough (they call that depth.)

More leg work.
Next we did a circuit of 3 exercises and 5 rounds.  20 TRX squats (really working on form), 10 stepups each leg (Tori with 30# kettlebells in each hand, me with 20#), and sled push (no idea how much weight was on there.)  I tend to be a little slower when it involves legs so this was the extent of our workout today, but it was a great one.

On to cardio for me.
From there, I went to the AMT (Elliptical) and did 70 minutes.  My headphones had died so I did it without headphones.  Let's just say a lot of you were prayed for today.  Today I did steady state which meant I just kept going for 70 minutes straight (no intervals) while trying to maintain a hr of 141.  

The reason I am doing so much right now is because I asked for a 20 week plan.  In order to lose weight, there must be a deficit of calories in versus calories out.  I am trying to make that deficit larger during these last 10 weeks.   With every pound lost, I feel better, I receive positive news from blood tests that I'm required to take (for Rhuematoid Arthritis and Underactive Thyroid.)  I can keep up with my kids.  I have a ton more energy.  The list goes on and on.

So there is my Tuesday.  For the rest of the day I have a teenager who has his last "drive time" after school today.  Then in about a month he can get his driver's license.  I will make sure again that I eat well and eat enough.  Between the leg day and the elliptical I once again have over 1000 calories burned, so this will be helpful in reaching my goal.

Some people have asked me what a typical week looks like - that is the purpose of these posts.  That's my Tuesday.