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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Camp Gladiator, Day 1

Oh hey.

I’m back. Hopefully more consistently. I finally have my hormones balanced, and I’m starting to feel better. I have more energy, more balance, more happiness. I had WAY too little testosterone, and fixing that issue is already well worth the (fairly easy) procedure.

As my hormones went downhill–and it took me nearly two years to realize that was what was wrong–energy and motivation got harder and harder. I felt sad nearly all the time, constantly craved crappy snacks, and had ZERO motivation to get off the couch. I fell quickly out of the habit, and it’s been months since I even did yoga regularly.

So now it’s time to pull myself out of that, and if I don’t do it now I’ll settle into this new no movement habit for good. So, perhaps despite my better judgement, I signed up for a promo deal for Camp Gladiator.

From the CG website: “Camp Gladiator is more than a fitness boot camp, it’s an experience. Created by American Gladiator Grand Champion Ally Davidson, Camp Gladiator has become the fastest growing and most dynamic fitness program in the nation. Camp Gladiator is a four week adult fitness boot camp that promises a motivating and challenging environment where men and women of all ages and fitness levels can push themselves. Campers should expect a total body workout. A typical session could include interval training, sprint and agility drills, stations, plyometrics, body weight strength drills, cardio mix, and much more. Camp Gladiator is designed to increase your functional strength, speed, stamina and, most importantly, to deliver results.”

Tonight was my first workout. I was super hesitant to try it out because my schedule makes it so hard to consistently make any workout happen…but I did it. And? Here’s the truth.

In the car, driving home: I was the fattest, slowest, and weakest. I was embarrassed and sad. I felt awful and nauseous. It was the worst thing ever. I don’t think I ever want to go back. I could only do maybe a third of the exercises that they gave, and even those I did so slowly that I managed maybe one round when everyone else did four. I know I’m not supposed to compare myself, but this was completely disheartening. I feel awful.

1 hour later: I feel a lot less awful and more hopeful. Maybe I’m being too hard on myself. Maybe I need to really put on my blinders and focus on only me. I need to fuel better before, hydrate better during, and get the right modifications in place.

3 hours later: I’m really proud of myself for going. I know I have a lot to gain from sticking with this for the six weeks I signed up for. I’m in this to make myself stronger, and not for any other reason. I have nothing to prove, nobody to impress, and so much to gain.

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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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The Journey So Far…

On July 28th, I bought a journal at Target, sort of on a whim. It was right after I wrote my last blog post, which was all about feeling stuck and needing to find a way to push.

Things didn’t go so well at first.

7/29: I’m feeling tired and frustrated with Day 1. I’m trying to make plans–to eat and move with care, to make good food choices, to get back to daily yoga–but I feel so lazy and already so discouraged. Lost before I began…which isn’t going to get me anywhere, and I know it.

7/30: I think I’m scared…scared to succeed, to discover my own limitations. I don’t want to know how out of shape I am, how dependent on junk food I’ve let myself become, how hard even simple workouts might be for me now. I’m afraid to find myself having to start over from 0…and what if I can’t? What if I make it two minutes? What if I hurt my knee? What if it’s my fault?

8/1: Today was a mess. I felt fat and awkward and ridiculous. I couldn’t stop making uncharitable comparisons and I felt awful about myself all day.

8/2: My body image is suffering big time right now. I’m feeling incredibly self-conscious, about my stomach in particular. I don’t like feeling disconnected from my body this way, and I’m trying to think through other paths to recapture my connection to myself. I’m trying to consider new plans for movement, nutrition, thought…anything that might help me respark the connection that I seem to have had only the barest grasp on.

And it just kept getting darker.

8/3: I am in one giant black hole of self-criticism right now, pulling me in half and half and half again until my self-love and my confidence are reduced to so much confetti. I feel scared and lost and frustrated, and I don’t even know why. I want to reach out and ask for help…but how? Help with what? I don’t even know what I need right now, so how do I ask for help? How do I break out of this current pattern–this all-too-familiar, old-school pattern–of doubt and discomfort, of food as punishment and movement as something to be rebelled against?

8/4: Man, today was pretty dark in terms of my mood, and my food was totally hopeless…I wake up every morning and commit myself to making beter choices. So far, I haven’t made it past lunch before abandoning that commitment and tossing myself fairly headlong into half-intentional destructive eating and thoughts that chip away at all of my confidence and joy.

But then? Maybe a little upswing?

8/8: Overall a great day, with food and movement I enjoyed. I spent time with my favorite people and didn’t stop to think about my pants size, my stomach shape, or anything else that could have put a damper on my day.

And that tiny upswing had me spending HOURS plotting out a DIY version of the Fix to try. I’m way too broke for the real deal, but found some resources online so that I can do something sort of similar.

8/9: I’ve plotted, planned, and prepared, and atleast on paper I’m all ready for my DIY plan. I’m pretty scared of it, particularly in terms of how hard the workouts are going to feel.

Today was day 1…

8/10: I started the day with vigor and determination. The workout was SUPER tough (I felt pukey twice), but it was also great. I was hungry almost immediately though, and thought about nothing but food all day. I was so cranky, and by dinner I was sluggish and feeling weak & foggy. I could probably have chosen a better meal plan, maybe more veggies up front…so I’m going to try again tomorrow with a little more flexibility to my eating. I do need to focis on more produce, more real food…but maybe not in such a restrictive or controlled way. Today’s complete, constant focus on food was incredibly unealthy for me, and reminiscent of alot of dark head spaces.

So that’s where I’m at. By the end of the day, I deviated from my food plan with beer and cheesecake. Still, a MUCH better day (with a real, tough, sweaty workout) than most of the ones that have gone before…so that’s where I’m at right now. And now Gail has put out this FitBloggin Call to Action, and I want to say I’m in…

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Push

We must be willing to LET GO of the life we’ve PLANNED, so as to have the life that is WAITING FOR US. — Joseph Campbell

Maybe I need to push myself out of complacency and into embracing belief in myself and commitment to my own joy. Otherwise, I settle for what’s familiar, what keeps me stagnant.

I’ve been having these thoughts for days–weeks?–now and I can’t let them go. I am in a strange space, where my body doesn’t feel good, and my head is foggy more often than not. I’m not fueling myself well, and I’m letting stress and escape trump even the movement I love so much.

I’ve been on this crazy journey, this mission to find myself and settle into my center, to find peace with my body and my head. And I’ve come SO FAR with that. I’m SO proud of the work I’ve done to begin the lifelong process of unraveling so many years of self-hatred. Except that somehow, in the last few months, something has been shifting. I didn’t see it at first, but I’m seeing it now. Little ways that I’m sliding back into old OLD habits…eating ONLY for emotional release, intentionally choosing negatively impactful foods, seeking out all the wrong things. In a time I thought I’d escaped, it was punishment. I found subtle ways to punish myself, in the guise of reward or treat or indulgence, for what I saw as my own lacking. Now…I don’t know what it is now. I don’t know if it’s that, or something new.

In the process of finding a safe space, I needed to be gentle, to sit back, to relax into myself. But now it’s time to push, to not remain in this place, to revisit the edges of my comfort zone and see what comes of stepping outside the boundaries of what I once believed limited me. I don’t know what that means, or what the next step is for me, but it’s time to find something. I’m hoping I can lean on some of you to help me find my way, because I’m feeling a little lost right now.

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FitBloggin Recap – Part 4 (The Truth)

Here it is, friends. My FINAL FitBloggin recap post. I’ve talked about the logistics, the things I learned, and the people who moved me. So now it’s time for the rest of it. The deep stuff. The things it took me weeks to really wrap my head around, and that I’m still sifting through.

I’ve settled in to write this post over and over again, and I keep just getting a few sentences out before it all dries up again. It’s so much to process, so much to consider, so much to think about. I’m not even sure how to structure it all, really, so I think I’ll just jump in with the big lessons and takeaways I got from FitBloggin, and a few of the things that have really resonated with me since then.

I’ve made the right environment to fix the inside stuff. I’ve been working hard for years now to settle in, to right my head, to move with love. I’m learning to embrace my strengths, to live more and more in the now, and to really listen. I’m not always perfect–nowhere near, in fact–but I’m making continuous progress and enjoying the chance to connect to ME a little more every day. So…

It’s time I honor myself, start believing in my own power. I need to make space for real belief in myself, to allow myself to really dig through and meet my needs. How do I do that?

Do what makes you happy. That’s where it starts. Find my joy, do the things that light me up and make me feel wonderful. Yoga, meditation, long walks in the sunlight. Fresh food, indulgent sweets, and clean, cold water. But it goes deeper than that, I think. There’s more work for me to do.

I discovered it in savasana, during my go-to yoga move, the Savasana Weep. Yep, I cry in savasana. Just about every time. It’s something about the release, the realization that–just for that moment–the Earth will hold me and I don’t have to do anything at all. Settling into the final pose of my last yoga class, the instructor prompted me to let my body relax, let my thoughts go, and if there was an answer I was looking for, to listen for it. I couldn’t think of a question I needed answering, but an answer came all the same.

I have what I give. The same phrase, over and over again. I have what I give. I have what I give. It didn’t entirely make sense, but I couldn’t shake the idea of it. After a lot more thought, a fair amount of emotional upheaval, and meditation, I found some clarity in two distinct parts.

I have what I give…myself permission to have. I have time to dedicate to myself if I give myself permission to do so. Time to eat right, to sleep more, to write more. There is time enough for all of the things I NEED to do for my health and happiness, if I only give myself the permission, the right, the RESPECT to do so.

I have what I give…to others. I may not have much, but there is always something to give. My time, my love, my patience. My words, my skills, my support. We don’t have much money…but there’s a lot more to give. So I’ll offer up my yoga challenges, my blog, my ear, my shoulder…whatever I can to make a difference for someone else, no matter how small.

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