Saturday, February 27, 2016

FOCUS

I started this journey more than two years ago.  TimeHop keeps reminding me of where I was one and two years ago.  This has me really thinking about what transformed my weight loss journey most.
The first seven  months of my weight loss journey were pretty much a crap shoot.  Once I started focusing on my fitness goals, things came into much better perspective.  I finally got the courage and self esteem I needed to keep going.
With the first two months of 2016 just about over, if one of your goals for this year is to lose weight, I challenge you to come up with some additional fitness goals to boost your motivation.  Chances are you will have to go outside your comfort level, you might think you can't do it, you may question, "Why am I doing this?"

For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?
Luke 14:28

I started to see the best results in losing weight when I actually improved my nutrition.  Equally important was my focus on achieving measurable fitness goals...the Rugged Maniac (a 5K mud race), doing push ups, pull ups and training for the Ride to Remember.  Endeavoring to accomplish these goals shifted my focus from weight loss to fitness and helped to motivate me unlike trying to lose weight alone.  I would call it fuel for my journey.
One of my biggest challenges was doing push-ups.  I was determined to do them and was so discouraged at not seeing immediate progress.  Then one day, for ha has, I tried to show the girls at work what I was trying to do and I did two of them.  That tiny little boost kept me energized to keep working at them and eventually I met my goal to do three sets of ten push-ups.  (Now I do them like it's nothing, but looking back to last year makes me smile.)

April 20, 2015:  I was finally able to do three sets of 10 push-ups!  (This is only one set, but still...)

After that, Dmitriy challenged me to do pull-ups, I didn't think I'd be able to do them, and surprisingly it didn't take long.  I can now do three sets of 3-7 of them. The guys at the gym sometimes stop and comment, "Wow, that's impressive."  Because apparently a girl being able to do pull-ups is cool.
This was at the Marines Challenge after the Rugged Maniac in 2015.  I did 5 1/2.

Then he shifted my goal to doing tricep dips.  I could not do them.  My overall strength had improved significantly and the pull-ups came relatively easily, so I was discouraged at the lack of progress.  I used to try them and think, "You're never going to be able to do these.  This is stupid.  Why is he making you do these?"  Seriously, that's what went through my head.  Then one day, when I had a session with him, he had me tweak what I was doing ever so slightly and BAM, just like that I could do them.  It was remarkable.  Now I can do three sets of 5-8 dips.  They aren't easy and they probably never will be, but I can do them.

But Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all thins are possible."
Matthew 19:26

If you are trying to lose weight, and you find yourself wavering in your motivation, I challenge you to shift your focus from the weight loss to a couple of measurable fitness goals, like running a 5K, hiking, push-ups, or whatever else peaks your interest.  If you want some help coming up with some, check this website:  Top 25 Fitness Goals to Get in Awesome Shape.

Setting separate fitness goals is a strategic way to help you lose the weight you need to lose.  Come up with a plan to make what you want happen, act on it!  Then celebrate bench marks along the way, even the small ones.

Consistency

To do this, you must be consistent, this is key to progress, both in weight loss and achieving your goals.  Dmitriy gave me exercises to improve my upper body strength and I did them about twice a week.  As part of my "pre-work out," I tried push-ups just about every other day, with my goal always to do one more push-up.  When I hit a plateau and got frustrated, I'd take a couple days off from trying them.  I'd go back in a couple days and suddenly I could do two more than I could the time before.  I kept trying.  I did not give up.  I was consistent.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12:2

Flexibility & Mobility

A big part of my story is the debilitating pain I had in my left knee as a result of arthritis.  To deal with this pain, my training concentrated on strengthening the muscles in my leg, but also in flexibility and mobility.  Every day I spend several minutes stretching and foam rolling whichever part of the body I am planning to workout.  If I'm doing legs, I stretch and foam roll from my feet to my lower back.  Better than physical therapy, this is why I was able to overcome the pain I lived with 24/7, and why the surgeon cancelled my surgery.
When I am doing upper body workouts, my pre-workout includes stretching my arms, shoulders, back and chest (not pictured).   When I take a day off from the gym, I make sure to do some stretching and foam rolling at home (even if it's only for 10 minutes).  Where do I feel tight?  Where and I stiff?  What is sore?  That's where I focus.
Improving your flexibility and mobility is key to developing your overall fitness level. If you're not sure where to start, try with a beginner yoga class.

Training for the Ride to Remember did so much for me...not only did I accomplish the impossible, which gave me a huge boost for my self-confidence.  But now I love riding my bike more than anything.  It's given me something to look forward to and helps keep me focused on nutrition and fitness.
I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:13

Don't forget to HAVE fun!!!!  
It should not be a chore.  Take pride in your accomplishments.  Enjoy the process.

Question for you:  (Answer in the comments below.)
How are you doing with your goals for this year?

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