Category Archives: Grow stronger!

Have To/Get To: A Perspective Shift

(As inspired by my favorite parenting role model, Carla.)
 
I have to….
 
I get to…
 
It’s a pretty different sentiment, and one I think I might be missing when it comes to a lot of what I do in the day. So it’s time for a massive reframe that focuses on everything I have to be grateful for.
 
I have to go to work.
I GET to go to a job I love, with people I enjoy working with and learning from, and I get to do it all in an environment where I’m comfortable, supported, and challenged.
 
I have to get so much done every day.
I GET to live a life full of people who trust me to get things done, and done well. And I get to benefit from not only their trust, but their appreciation and praise. Even better, I get to do it all with the help of a tiny but powerful team of people – both at work and at home – who make sure it’s always awesome.
 
I have to get up early.
I GET to wake up in a safe, warm home, cuddle a kid I adore, and get into my fully functional car to get us both where we need to go. And half the time I get to stop for coffee, which is a considerable luxury no matter how you look at it.
 
I have to go to meetings at the kid’s school, and chase people down to get her the education I need.
I GET to be involved in my kid’s education, to advocate for what’s best for her, and take advantage of staff and faculty who want what’s best for her as long as I’m engaged in helping to make it happen. I get to stay on top of what’s happening in her school days, and understand better every day what she needs most, and how I can help be the one to get it for her.
 
I have to work out.
I GET to spend a portion of my hard-earned money on a fun, supportive bootcamp where people genuinely care about how I’m doing and want me to succeed. I get to sweat out my frustrations a few times a week, because I have an incredible support system that helps make it happen, from friends to workout with me to an incomparably awesome mom who watches the kid.
 
I have to eat better.
I GET to focus on my health and happiness, to consume foods that make me feel my best and fuel my best intentions for my long-term health. I get to shop for things I like, spend time making them with care, and share them with people who share my goals. I get to make choices about what I eat, where it comes from, and how I prepare it, instead of being forced into less healthful decisions just because my financial, social, or resource situation dictates those things for me.
 
I have to spend money on my old car.
I GET to benefit from a car I didn’t have to pay a dime for, that continues to fairly reliably get me where I’m going, whenever I need it to.
 
I have to spend time and effort on cleaning the house, putting away the dishes, doing laundry etc…at the end of a busy day, when I’m tired and worn out.
I GET to live in a house with all of these comparative luxuries, and I get to provide them for my family. I get to wear clothes that are nice enough, eat off of dishes I bought for myself, and surround myself with a living space where I’m both safe and comfortable.
 
I have to handle everything, all the time, because my husband travels during the week.
This one needs more than just a reframe because it’s not entirely true, although it is something I find myself thinking a lot. I don’t have to handle everything alone. See aforementioned support system. But still, the reframe is…I GET to spend more time with my daughter than I’d be able to otherwise, and we both get to spend more time with my local family. I get to work a job that allows me some measure of flexibility to put my family first when I need to. And I get to shape the way I spend my free time on work days based only on what I want and need. I get to be the one she has deep conversations with, the one she cuddles with at night, the one she regales with school-day stories. I get to be the one to help her with her homework, to read her bedtime stories, and to watch Cupcake Wars with her while we eat dinner.
 
So the truth? I have so very, very much to be happy about. I’ve gotten into a rut of thinking about all that I “must” do lately, and it’s long past time I reframe it all to consider everything I get to do.

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The Secret of Change

The secret of change…

The truth is that I’ve been thinking about change a lot lately. Specifically, that I think it’s time for one. I injured my tendon, which led to a month off from bootcamp to let it heal. In that month, it was my job to wait for the pain to fade, and then focus on daily yoga to help stretch out my tight, overworked body and let things begin to heal more fully.

And maybe that’s what my mind needed too. So the pain began to lessen, and…I got bronchitis. For the 4th time in the last 3 years. I am a bronchitis machine, it would seem. And so I didn’t do yoga, and I shouldn’t have. I listened to my body. I took time off. I slept. I hydrated. I rested as much and as often as possible.

Two weeks later, when the exhausting hacking cough finally abated, I was finally ready to return to yoga…only to discover the pain was back, but different this time. Sharper, lower, less severe but more insistent. So I went back to the doctor and…my tendon is healing nicely, but it turns out that some of the pain was thanks to a build up of uric acid that has formed a sizeable crystal on my heel.

I’m taking a medicine to dissolve the crystal, but as it’s dissolving the pain is much worse and any impact or weight bearing is rough.

So it looks like I’m out another month until the crystal is dissolved. I’m super bummed about it, but sticking with daily yoga and doing the workout Mike sent me a few times a week.

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Cheer Me Up (+ a GIVEAWAY)

We said goodbye to our pup of 16 years on Wednesday and, honestly, I’m still in the grieving phase. So, to cheer myself up a little bit, I wanted to talk about some of the things that are making me feel really happy right now.

StarburstCabooseSoybu – I’m on a mission to find incredible, easy to wear, doesn’t break the bank workout clothing. So when I got the chance to review some Soybu gear thanks to getting to know them at FitBloggin last year, I jumped at the chance. And you guys? It’s amazing. The Starburst Tank is insanely comfortable and looks incredible on, and the Killer Caboose pants might actually be dangerous! Both of them move beautifully for yoga, and breathe well enough for outdoor bootcamp. So in love.

Want your own Killer Caboose pants? Leave a comment after you complete each step! Every comment is an entry.

  1. Follow Soybu on Facebook
  2. …on Twitter
  3. …and on Instagram.
  4. Join the Soybu mailing list  (and get a 25% off coupon when you do!)
  5. Tell me in a new comment what you want most out of your workout gear

I’ll choose a winner by next weekend!!!

20160101_135606St Ives – I got some amazing St Ives stuff from a recent Influenster box, and I am LOVING it. I used to rock the old school apricot scrub when I was in high school, and I switched away from it for a LONG time. Now that the oatmeal scrub is hanging out in my bathroom, and it smells amazing, I figured I’d give it a go. I’m SO glad that I did. It’s great for getting rid of dead skin without being harsh on my face. They also sent an awesome citrus bodywash and pear lotion that are equally incredible.

Camp Gladiator – I can’t say enough about how Camp Gladiator has given me back a love for challenging myself physically, and the camaraderie is unmatched. Trainers check in on me, other campers friend me and add their support to mine. People encourage each other, no one is out there to judge anyone, and I’m FIRED UP. I hate missing it, and even when it’s incredibly tough and I am DYING out there, I love it. I’m SO glad I found it. You should try it if it’s near you. Check out the locations here.

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I Am a Gladiator (or FREE CAMP GLADIATOR BOOTCAMP)

879957dfc17a10151c7You guys.

I’m not saying everything is perfect right now. I mean, tomorrow is Christmas Eve and I’m having an early morning surgery to remove some impressively gigantic ovarian cysts. So…there’s that. And food? Still far from perfect, so I’m still trying.

BUT…otherwise? I just canNOT say enough about how much I’m enjoying my workouts lately.

  • I get sweaty and gross, to the point that my ponytail drips and I could legitimately wring out my clothes.
  • It’s all outside, so the humidity is a beast.
  • I get sore, so sore.
  • I have to drink electrolyte water with BCAAs or I get dizzy.
  • Anytime I can, I get up at 5am to do the 5:30am workout.

And I am loving. every. second.

It’s SO hard, and some days I can only do half the reps I’m supposed to, or I have to skip things all together. But I’ve long since stopped feeling embarrassed or weird about it.

The truth is that the environment is amazing. I can go to any camp, anywhere they’re offered, at any time. I can hang with all different trainers, get used to different styles, and no one cares how slow I might go as long as I keep trying.

There are people at EVERY level, from super beginner to competitive athlete, and we all work together to make our workouts awesome.

The trainers are impeccably trained, and all certified.

The workouts are shockingly fun, and the hour goes by SO quickly.

I’ve never, ever felt this good about working out. The group atmosphere keeps me going, the trainers text me if I bail but aren’t obnoxious about it, and I’m already starting to see some legitimate strength and endurance gains.

So, since I signed on the dotted line and put myself out there for a YEAR of this, I want to get as many people as I can hooked on it too.

Want to try it out for yourself? Live in one of these cities? Check out the links to see when and where there are camps near, you:

Sign up with my code, and get the JANUARY 4 – JANUARY 30 camp FOR FREE. That’s a four week camp, that you can go to anytime you want. And it’s free.

Ready? Here’s how:

 

  1. GO to www.campGladiator.com and click SIGN UP
  2. Click REGISTER NOW
  3. Click Single Camp $189, SIGN UP
  4. Click CAMP January 4 – January 30
  5. Select a primary location where you will attend camp most often, you can attend all locations
  6. Click proceed to CHECKOUT
  7. Create an account
  8. Enter promo code in the Promo Code box (HEATHERHURDCHEER2016)
  9. Click APPLY PROMO and the price will change from $189 to $0
  10. Credit card number is required to sign up for camp, but your card will not be charged
  11. Click PLACE ORDER

 

 

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Becoming a Camp Gladiator Convert

633b6127b6515c03486ea73cda8a074cIs it hard to get up at 5am to go to bootcamp? YES. Especially on the mornings when I didn’t go to bed early enough.

Would it be easier, and even more fulfilling in some ways to go back to bed? Yes, yes, yes. Sleep is important too, and I’m sure I’ll choose it sometimes. In fact, I slept in this morning.

So why get up? Because I can. Because right now my body needs, and us even beginning to crave, the challenge. My head needs the community, and the push. When I go to bootcamp, I eat better. I sleep better. I feel stronger. And when I can’t make it in the mornings, I’ll find an evening camp and get in my three camps a week because I want to keep that going.

Have I seen results? Yes? No? I don’t think I look different, and I haven’t weighed myself. But I FEEL different. I’m happier, stronger, and proud of what I’m doing. I do think I’m seeing small gains in what I can do during the workouts. It’s happening slowly, which is how I’d prefer it anyway.

I never, ever thought I’d like bootcamp. It’s outside. It’s (playfully) competitive. We get on the ground. I come home filthy and irredeemably sweaty. There are a lot of other people there who are faster, stronger, leaner.

And it turns out that every one of those things plays a role in how much I LOVE going. Outside can be fun. The competition is truly playful and not mean or weird. We DO get filthy, and sometimes it helps me feel even more like a badass. Those other people? Are too wrapped up in kicking the butt of their workouts to give a flip what I’m doing or not doing, and they’re supportive of everyone else to boot.

I really love it. I signed up for a whole year. It’s not the easiest for me to work it into my schedule some weeks, but I’m determined to make it happen.

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November 15, 2015

Sometimes when you say I just can’t help it, other people here I give up, or I don’t care. And sometimes those people are right, but sometimes you really can’t help it. Sometimes there’s more going on than you could possibly know. And that doesn’t mean that you should let your life spiral out of control, that you should sit back and watch as it falls away from you. What it does mean is that it’s time to ask for help, to reach out, to ask questions and understand everything that’s happening. What it means is that there might be factors outside of your control, but that doesn’t mean you have no control.

For a long time, I let myself believe that I didn’t care, that I had given up. I had no control around food I said and I thought that I meant it. I thought it was my fault. I thought that I had just given up, and that I was ready to let everything go. I thought I wasn’t supposed to care about my health anymore or that maybe I had just stopped. And maybe, for a while, I did just stop. I felt hopeless, helpless and I didn’t know where to turn or what to do. But in the end, I finally did reach out. I started paying more attention, I started asking questions of myself and of the people who I trusted. I ask for help, and in the end I got testing done.

As it happened, I had a pretty severe hormonal imbalance. In the end I still didn’t know affixing it was going to solve any problems or make everything worse. But I knew it was worth a try or at least I hoped it was. Now I’m several weeks into hormone therapy, and all of a sudden things feel clear again. Finally.

All of a sudden, my ridiculous cravings for everything bad for me, everything sweet and heavy, everything that would make my stomach hurt or make my head hurt or deplete my energy seem to be gone. I’m not so hungry, I’m not so tired, I’m not so sad. Finally.

I’m not saying everything is perfect, or that everything is fixed right now. I’m not saying I’ll never struggle with food again where that I don’t already do it every day. But now it feels like there might be some hope. I finally have some energy again, & I finally feel like maybe it’s okay to not eat that afternoon snack just because I’m bored, or sad. I finally feel like I want to get off the couch, at least sometimes.

Now I find myself thinking about going to bootcamp. I’ve gone 3 times in a week, which is completely weird for me, and even weirder? I think I’m liking it. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I hate the workouts while they’re happening. But the way I feel afterwards, and the way I feel about going and getting them done, is amazing. The way I feel when I know I’ve completed a workout, pride and happiness and fatigue and soreness, it all feels worth it when I think about everything I can gain. I can gain strength, confidence, belief in my ability to do…whatever I want to do.

I feel like so much of that had fallen away in a cloud of so much sadness, and that I was really losing a big part of who I was and my motivation to do much of anything. I wasn’t writing, doing yoga, in fact I was barely moving more often than not. I was managing my walk training, but barely and with zero motivation or heart in it. Now that I’m looking at boot camp more often, I’m actually seriously considering backing out of my half marathon. It’s a weekend we might not even be here, and I just feel like I can only focus on one thing at a time right now. Boot camp gives me the opportunity to get stronger, – a quarter, to eat push by someone who knows what they’re doing. It gives me the chance to be surrounded by other people who are supportive, as you want some of the same things for themselves.

It’s not a perfect place. Sometimes it’s a little bit triggering, with everyone focus on calories in or out, weight lost or gained, or how big or small they think they look in their pants. But still, it’s a good place to be for the most part. People’s hearts are in the right place, people are supportive and happy, and people want everyone to succeed. The trainers are cool, and the workouts are really really awful but at least I feel challenged. The more I think about boot camp, the more I feel like I can see a different future. I feel like I can see myself doing this regularly, maybe even liking it sometimes. I can see myself stronger, happier, more confident, more able to do the things that I want to do. I can see myself feeling better physically, having more energy, continuing down this path of less snacking and more mindful eating. Most of it is the hormones, which I couldn’t be happier about. I’m just so glad it worked. I feel so much relief, so much, knowing that I have half a chance now.

But it’s not all on the hormones. It’s still up to me to make a difference, to make the right choices all the time. It still up to me to get up, get dressed, and go to bootcamp. It’s still up to me to make the right choices with food. It’s still up to me to be mindful of how easy it is for me to fall back into serious sugar addiction, and constant snacking just for the sake of snacking. I have to keep thinking, all the time. It’s something that used to drive me crazy, to think that I would always have to be fighting. But maybe that’s just the way it is for me. And maybe that’s okay.

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Equinox

And just like that, it’s fall. I find myself restarting my fitness plan for the third time in as many weeks. I started to feel bad about that, until I took a hard look at the last three weeks. More workouts, less crappy food, more produce, less stomach issues. So even if I never “follow through”, even if I never finish this the way it was intended to be done, I’m still doing awesome things and maintaining a significantly better lifestyle, much closer to my ideal health and wellness goals.

And what’s better? I’ve got the kid working out with me. She’s six, and she’s happily sweating and stretching and lifting at my side. She likes it. She asks when we’ll do it again. It’s awesome. Although I do, now, feel pressure to make sure she’s not hearing body shame in these videos, which is surprisingly (maybe not?) pervasive. I don’t want her hearing that you need to sweat off the pounds or work off the donut. That’s crap. We move because we’re meant to. We sweat because it helps us live and work and study in better moods, with more energy to give to the tasks at hand. I’m hoping that’s the lesson she’s learning, at least mostly. I know I can’t control outside influences forever, but I can try.

Speaking of the kid, she’s two weeks into the new school year at a new school, and overall she seems to be doing really well, which makes me happy. We really struggled with the decision to take her out of private school, but the cost was breaking us and it meant never being able to do other things–everything from buying much needed new mattresses and school clothes to seeing movies or going on vacation–without guilt and/or further financial distress. So we moved her to a public school…and she’s doing just fine. She’s bored in class, but she was bored at the private school too, so atleast we aren’t paying for her to be bored. And she’s getting the chance to meet a much more diverse group of kids, which can only be good for her. And seriously, the joy this kid finds in buying hot lunch from the cafeteria every day is amazing.

The husband, as always, is traveling a lot for work. He hates being away, but it comes with the job, so we spend a lot of time on Skype and phone calls and email to stay connected, and then we celebrate his very existence every weekend and on the ocassional day that he’s home during the week. It happens now and again.

So we’re doing well, all told. I’m stupid excited for pumpkin season. The kid and I are both looking forward to a repeat of our ComicCon costumes for Halloween, and we’re in the process of researching all sorts of cool after school options for her now that we actually have a tiny bit of money to put toward enrichment programs, karate class, swim lessons, or whatever else strikes her fancy this year.

I’m really glad it’s fall. I’m yearning for the Mid-Atlantic fall weather, with cool breezes and crisp leaves and that smell in the air. Instead, I get more muggy Florida days for at least another month, but I can still enjoy the fall. I know it makes no sense, but it has always felt like a time of renewal for me, and this year it feels particularly apt that it’s happening…because it’s time. It’s time for a sloughing off of old habits and old thoughts, and turning toward some shiny new ones. It’s time to recommit myself to all the love I have around me, to giving and receiving it, to being grateful for it on a regular basis. When I focus on love–for myself, for others…it hardly matters which–everything else tends to fall more simply into place, and the world seems gentler around me. And that’s what I’m aiming for in the end. A life that feels at times thrilling, but more often than not just gentle. At ease with it’s own existence. Full of possibilities but striving for nothing more than simply being in the moment, the here and now.

Writing feels good, particularly now. I’m determined, among the swim lessons and school events and work crazies, to start making a little more time to write again. I have a partially finished, potentially wonderful story sitting on my computer breathlessly awaiting completion, and I have this blog, that has been the portal to so many meaningful connections in my life.

Thanks for being here.

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8 Days

In a somewhat random move, I decided 9 days ago that it was time to take on a challenge of my own. To do something bigger, harder…something to get me back to ME.

So I looked into 21 Day Fix. I looked into Cize. I checked out a ton of options…except school is about to start again, and tuition went WAY up this year, so the truth is that the money is just not there. In my searching, however, I stumbled onto this DIY Fix post. And I jumped in. I made plans, I listed out foods, I searched for meal plans, and I made my workout schedule.

The Sweaty

Today is day 8, and I’ve exercised every day. Hard, sweaty, uncomfortable workouts that have left me feeling a little pukey once or twice. I’ve been sore. I’ve pulled a muscle a little (it’s better!). And I’ve stuck with it. I’m feeling more energy already, and the workouts are starting to get a little easier, but just barely. I’m still modifying nearly everything. Some things, like jumping jacks, I’ll always modify since impact-based exercise aggravates my compartment syndrome. Other things, like a lot of weight-based exercises I’m modifying because I don’t own weights…but the truth is that even if I did I’d likely be setting them down for a lot of these moves.

I’m trying not to be frustrated by that, and instead to just be proud that I’m showing up and doing the work every day. It’s a HUGE deal for me right now.

The Snacky

My food has been less successful, but still doing pretty well. WAY fewer snacks, LOTS more produce and healthy proteins. Less snacks, sugary carbs. So again, I’m working on recognizing my awesome instead of worrying about perfection.

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MEGAFORMER

CGN8ZtzWgAA8ZUHI’m generally up for new fitness classes, so when I saw that a new Megaformer studio was opening up and offering free classes for the first week, I signed up right away.

“Put simply, the 10-foot-long, 250-pound Megaformer is a Pilates machine on steroids. You’re rarely ever working just one muscle group—for example, you may do biceps curls with resistance straps while doing a lunge. “It allows you to target muscles from so many different angles, which you can’t really do on just one machine,” says Sebastien Lagree, a 39-year-old French former bodybuilder who invented the Megaformer with the aim of turning the classic Pilates reformer, which he calls “the old horse and carriage,” into a Lamborghini (he’s currently working on an upgrade, the Supraformer, due out later this year).” (source)

I got up at 5am to take a 6am class on a Wednesday morning and…

It was awesome. The machine definitely takes some getting used to, and the instructor didn’t always give the clearest of instructions, but overall I followed along pretty well. I had to take a few breaks here and there, but I felt like I was keeping up well enough.

By the next day, I was SUPER SORE, but in a way I didn’t mind too much. Since the classes were still free, I ended up signing up for another one on Friday morning at the same studio, but with a different instructor. He was a little less clear on the instructions, but I was already more familiar with the machine so I did pretty well. I was pretty pleased that while a few of the basic moves were the same, there were a lot of different ones since it gave me the chance to work new muscles.

“The Megaformer workout is designed to develop core strength and muscular endurance, which means you will burn calories and work your muscles to fatigue with high repetitions,” says Michele Olson, Ph.D., an exercise physiologist and Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine, cautioning that a decent level of baseline fitness is necessary for anyone thinking about tackling it. “Its pace and challenge are not for Pilates neophytes,” she says. “It attracts people who prefer the amped-up pace and high-energy atmosphere.”

The second class didn’t make me nearly as sore, which meant I was up for one last class on Sunday morning with my buddy Dacia. This one was at a different studio, and while the studio itself was more established, I found the instructor MUCH harder to follow. Still, the workout was great and I got my sweat on for sure. A lot of muscles that don’t often get work got a great workout.

Honestly, I’d love to do the classes regularly, but between the schedule and the cost (about $30 per class to drop in, or $150+ per month) it’s definitely the wrong fit for me. Still, try it out! It’s worth the experience.

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Gain vs. Loss: Maintaining HAES through Weight Loss

How do you come to terms with results when they require a focus on the same tools that trigger unhealthy thought processes?

When you’ve spent years extracting yourself from the diet and weight loss mentality, how do you make sense of weight loss?  How do you celebrate an apparent result of choices made, when that result represents something that could trigger some seriously detrimental thought processes?

I don’t know what the answer is here. The truth is that this whole thing is complicated for me. I’m not really weighing myself right now, but I do occasionally step on the scale…because I own one?  Because I’m curious? Because it’s ingrained to consider my weight as an important piece of information? I can’t say for sure.

So as it so happens, I weighed myself just before starting both half marathon walk training and Pure Barre classes. I didn’t do it because I was starting those things. It just happened that way. When I looked back and realized I’d completed a month of both, I got curious about weights and measurements – I’d taken those a month earlier for the sake of picking the right sizes for Halloween costume pieces – so I figured I’d see where I was at.

A quick comparison made it pretty clear that I’d made some changed. In fact, I’d lost five pounds and a little over three inches.

I was thrilled. Elated. Then, frankly, a little scared.  I lost weight! Yay! Yay? Is it alright to be happy about it?  If I AM happy about it, is it just because I’m still wrapped up in old thoughts about health and success? If I celebrate weight loss, I feel like I’m just back to using that as a measure of success…which has proven to be drastically untrue for me.

So I’m trying to focus instead on something better. I made changes that I enjoyed making. I chose movement that made me feel good, gave me space to clear my head, and made my body feel strong and capable.  As a result of those choices, and either despite or unconnected from my food choices at the time, I felt better and stronger. I had more energy. I struggled less with mood fluctuations. As a side effect of these choices, I experienced some weight loss and a measurement decrease.  Those changes were NOT the point, are NOT the goal, and CANNOT be counted on as continuing changes even if my behavior remains otherwise the same.  The target I am chasing is the way my activity choices made me FEEL (awesome), the way they made me THINK (clearer), the way they made me MOVE (with confidence). Those are the things I’m chasing as I continue my journey.

And that’s where I feel like I can turn my focus to food. If it’s about losing more weight/inches, my attempts to eat better are never going to work. In fact, lately I’ve been trying to focus on WHY I continue to eat in ways that don’t best serve my body, and the more I think about it the more I feel like having any sort of appearance focus on what/when/why I eat is going to be counterproductive for me. If, on the other hand, I can focus on the things that will make me feel my best, be my happiest, provide me the most energy to get happily and productively through my days…then maybe I can make the choices that help me thrive.

So this coming week will be a week for me to focus on those choices. Even through the weekend, which for me is usually a time of acknowledged crap eating, I’ll be attempting to eat the foods my body needs. I’ll be interested to see what happens in another month if I can maintain the food choices that provide me with my best mind/body connection.

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