Thursday, April 23, 2015

Dmitriy Made It Happen

I have spent a lot of time talking about my trainers.  Two entries are dedicated to Mike, who passed away suddenly in November, 2014.  Mike helped me to believe in myself, which is what I needed to get serious about my fitness goals. When Mike died, I was devastated.  I did not think I could go back to the gym and the idea of replacing Mike with someone else sent me reeling.  I realized I could not regress, that I had to move forward.  I asked for Dmitriy because he was very friendly, always said "hello" and I felt like I might be able to be comfortable with him.  Getting to know a new trainer is NOT easy.  It's a whole learning curve for both people.  I was not thrilled about the idea, but I knew I had to trust Dmitriy.  I did not want to waste time "trying out" all the other trainers to "pick the right one."

Dmitriy has been amazing.  First of all, he was completely understanding about my difficulty in moving forward.  Second of all, he had "the talk" with me about the reality of achieving my goals and what I need to do to accomplish them.  I fought him on logging all my food and he would not hear it.  He insisted, so I did it.  As a result, I went from a Size 16 at Christmas, to a Size 14 two weeks later, to a Size 12 at the end of January, to a Size 8 in March.  A size 8!

Dmitriy is a competitive body builder.
Dmitriy has helped me in other ways as well.  I have a bad knee.  Rather than let me live with it that way, he focused on me developing flexibility and gave me the tools to strengthen my leg.  As a result, I cancelled the surgery I was supposed to have in January.  Dmitriy made it happen.

Furthermore, knowing I wanted to do those stupid push-ups I hated so much, to make Mike proud, Dmitriy put together a series of routines to help me develop my upper body strength.  I went from not being able to do any push-ups at all to being able to do three sets of ten during the time I've been training with him.  Dmitriy made it happen.

Finally, Dmitriy has been my biggest cheerleader with helping me towards my goal to do the Ride to Remember in September.  He said, "Do you have a bike?"  I was like, "Ummm, yeah but it's an old one.  I didn't even think about that.  I guess I need to get a bike."  One Sunday afternoon I saw him at the gym and he asked me why I wasn't outside riding with the weather so nice.  I said, "Umm, you are absolutely right."  That is what a trainer is supposed to do.  He's not supposed to listen to you complain about your tough day, or let you whine about how hard it is to follow your nutrition goals. He is supposed to help you develop the tools and push you to accomplish the goals you set for yourself.  Dmitriy has done exactly that.

This was my first ride of the season.  It was sooooo cold.  I did not have my new bike yet, so I went out on my old creaky one.  It was grueling.  But I was glad Dmitriy challenged me to do it.

Other people have noticed it too.  I got this Facebook message from a friend of mine when I posted the Timehop photo below last week.  (To protect her anonymity, I have deleted her name and blocked out her picture.)

I know this post will make him very uncomfortable.  He doesn't want the focus on him.  But I think he deserves it.  I have only been able to achieve so much because Dmitriy is such an amazing trainer.  I will forever be indebted to him. 

Me and Dmitriy
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Monday, April 20, 2015


After months of trying, I FINALLY did three sets of 10 push-ups today!  I couldn't be happier.  I almost cried when it happened, but my excitement trumped the tears.  

When my trainer Mike died in November, I set push-ups as one of my goals.  He was always making me to do modified versions of them.  I hated them.  I would stand there tell him, "No.  I am not going to do that."  He would shake his head, point and say, "Yes, you got this."  The modified push-ups started on the TRX machine, then at a bar about waist high and eventually I graduated to a bench.  One of the last times I worked out with him, he tried to get me to do them on a BOSU ball and I said, "No way.  I can't do that."  I never dreamed I would be able to do actual push-ups.  I just did not think it was possible.

At my first session with Dmitriy, I told him about Mike making me do push-ups and that I really want to do "real" push-ups.  So Dmitriy put together a series of different routines to help me build my upper body strength.  When I got frustrated (which happened often), he switched things up for me, resulting in significant improvements.  In January when I was finally able to do two push-ups, I thought that was awesome.  In March, I got to five push-ups, which really got me charged up.  Two weeks ago I was finally able to do ten, but the goal all along, has been to do three sets of 10 push-ups.  Today that goal was realized.  I am so tickled!!!

Mike made me do it!
 Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you.
John 16:22 NKJV

I miss Mike and sometimes I feel guilty for finding success with my fitness goals when he's no longer here with us.  Losing him really kicked me into gear.  I just hope Mike can see me and is saying, "Trace, you got this!  Good job!"  

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Who is that lady?

Yesterday was an exciting day!  I was like a little kid waiting for Santa.  The anticipation was incredible.  I was giddy all day.  I had an appointment at 4:30 to get my new bike.

It was a little disappointing when I got there and they were not ready for me.  They did not realize I was coming in.  I had an appointment, the person that made it just did not communicate it.  It was all good - they took care of me.  I learned how to use bike shoes with clips.  (What an adventure!)  I tried to figure out how to use the bike gears - that was interesting.  I still have not quite figured it out, but I will.  After a considerable amount of time at the bike shop, I left with my new bike.  I was exhilarated.

When I got to the store, one of my former students was sitting in the parking lot, painting a bench.  I saw him, smiled and said, "Do you work here?"

Armando:  "No, they are my friends and I'm helping them out."

I talked to him for a minute...I was in a rush to get my bike, so I didn't take long.  I could tell, though that he was uncomfortable.  When I went out to put my wallet in the car, I said to him, "Armando, do you remember me?"

Armando (the look on his face was priceless, a complete blank stare):  "Ummm..."

Me:  "Armando, it's me, Mrs. Coleman from ...  I was your guidance counselor last year."

Armando (eyes widening):  "Mrs. Coleman?  ...?  No way.  I did not recognize you."

I laughed and said, "Yes, Armando, it's me.  Mrs. Coleman."

He was quite dumbfounded.

Me:  "Armando, it's okay.  I've lost 70 pounds.  My hair is up, I'm in gym clothes.  You just don't recognize me."

This was a first for me.  Armando was one of my favorite students last year.  (All the ones with a story are my favorites, by the way.  Just don't tell them that!)  His accomplishments made me so proud of him.  I think it's funny that he didn't recognize me.

This week is Spirit Week at school.  Today was Decade Day.  Erica convinced me to participate, so I dressed as Rosie the Riveter and she dressed as an 80's Flash Dancer.  It was so much fun.  Imagine what Armando would have thought if I had gone today to get my bike!

I am at a point now where I'm not really sure what direction to take with this "getting fit" journey of mine.  I have lost right around 70 pounds (some days it's 70, some days more, some days less, depending on daily body changes).  I feel good.  I feel strong.  There are still some ripples here and there that I would love to get rid of, but I know that will take the longest to diminish.  Subcutaneous body fat is a beast, but slow and steady wins the prize.  Being so goal oriented, I talked to my trainer, Dmitriy about this and he told me to take my focus off the weight and look at decreasing body fat and increasing strength.  Okay, those are good things to consider.  I'm so stuck on the pounds that it is not easy to think about it in different terms.

For sure, I know I have some real fitness goals.

One:  I still want to do three sets of 10 push-ups.  I'm getting closer, but I'm not quite there yet.

Two:  I want to be able to do pull ups without assistance.  I'm not sure why this is important, but Dmitriy is pushing me to do them, which I think is funny.  It is really cool to see how much I am improving with them each time I try.

Three:  I want to bench press 100 lbs.  I am at 75 lbs. now, but I think 100 lbs. would be really cool.

Four:  I need to increase my stamina and endurance.  I feel like a total wimp.  As strong as I am from the weight training, I can't get through more than 20 minutes on the elliptical.  (Not only is it boring, but it exhausts me.)

Five:  A two-hour bike ride, including hills.  Ideally I need to set a pace and move up from there.  Now that I have my bike, I can do that.  This will allow me to build on my cycling goals so I can do the Ride to Remember in September.

I just HAD to take my new ride out for a quick spin around the block last night.

So, who is that lady?  I would like to think I am the same today as I was a year ago.  Maybe, since I am feeling so much better, I am less depressed.  The exercise helps me to deal with stress better.  I would like to think my focus on fitness has taken the magnifying glass off my obsession with work.  I really was a bit of a work-a-holic, although there are times when I have to put in a lot of extra time.

I wonder how many Armando's I will run into.  "Who is that lady?"

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. 
The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV

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Sunday, April 12, 2015

Training Ride

Today it is 64 degrees out. First warm weekend of the year. Far too nice to be inside!

Showed up 2 hours early for the college fair with my high school junior. Scratch that.

Went to the bike shop to pay off my new bike. Scheduled a bike fitting for Tuesday. This is becoming a reality!! 

Went home and said to myself, "Get out there and ride. No excuses."  So I did: 14.27 miles, not too many hills, a good training ride.  A LONG way from the 106 mile ride in September, but I'll get through it. My knee feels good. I need to improve my stamina and endurance. Goals to work towards.

My challenge for you: What is your dream? Does it seem impossible? Develop a plan to make it happen. Each step on the journey is an accomplishment. Celebrate it!  You'll only accomplish your dreams by taking steps towards your goals.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27

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Friday, April 3, 2015

What's your happy?

I hit a major milestone this week.  I haven't really had a chance to process what it means.  To be honest, I am struggling with how I feel about it.

Fridays are often a more casual day at work.  Last Friday, my friend Erica told me I need to get rid of my "granny" jeans.  I looked down and said, "What?  What's wrong with these?  I don't get it."  Okay, time to go shopping.  I had a crazy busy weekend, so by the time I got to the store, it was Tuesday night.  I grabbed a couple pairs of bootleg jeans, size 10.  For the heck of it, I grabbed a size 8.  Tried on the size 8 first and was in total shock when they fit!!!!  Tried on the size 10 and they were too baggy in the waist.  I said, "What the?"  I walked out with new jeans and a new pair of capris, both size 8.

There are no words.

When was the last time I wore a size 8?  I cannot remember.  I honestly think I might have gone from a girl's size 14 to a woman's size 10.  It's possible I wore a size 8 once or twice when I was in high school, in between binge diets.  My memory serves me that I was thinnest when I first got married.  I even wore a bikini on our honeymoon.  But I think I was wearing size 10.  That was 24 years ago, so who really remembers?

I have to tell you this scares me.  I don't really know how I should feel about it.  I've been working on  becoming "fit" for well over a year.  When I look at the scale, I am still 23 lbs. heavier than I was 12 years ago when I made my lifetime membership to Weight Watchers (which I did with points alone and no exercise.)  What happened?  Did fashion designers increase the fabric in their sizes to accommodate a fat nation?  Did my weight training make that big of a difference?  What does it mean that I can wear a size 8?

What scares me?  What if I fail?  What if I slide and gain the weight back?  What does that mean?

Worse.  I have witnessed first hand what can happen when a person loses a lot of weight.  Other things replace food in an effort to satisfy the emotional void that used to be filled by food.  The attention received for looking good is not worth a walk on the wild side, which could ultimately destroy a person's family and even the person him/herself.

Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid; for the Lord, Jehovah is my strength and my song; He also has become my salvation. 
Isaiah 12:2 KJV

In thinking about this, I realize that it's NOT the numbers on the scale or the number on the tag on my jeans that validates who I am or makes me happy.  My joy does not come from these things, as they are temporary and fleeting.  (I am not suggesting that I am going to give up on my fitness goals.  On the contrary, I now am more determined now than ever.)  Happiness and joy are found in things far more important.  The love I have for my friends and husband, my children, my parents, my dog (yes, he's family).  My career - I love my job and believe I make a difference in the lives of my students.  Even deeper is the love I have for God and an appreciation for the gift of Christ, for the sacrifice made on the cross that Friday, some 2000+ years ago.

What really makes a person happy?  It's not food.  It's not your physical appearance.

People tell me I look so much happier.  I am happy!!!  I feel so much better.  I am not in pain all the time anymore.  My depression has lifted.  I like what I see in the mirror.  It was only this week that I saw it.  But I know this kind of happiness is temporal.  The only true joy I can find is from the peace I find in the Lord.  The love and support I have from my friends and family sustain me and I count them among my blessings.

Found my ID from last year in my old office this week.  I did not see it until now.

My happy is ... a walk in the sunshine, a stroll on the beach, spring flowers blooming, time with my family, giving back to the community, making a difference in someone's life, spending time in prayer and worship with the Lord.

Me and Koby, January 1, 2015

Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.
Psalm 37:4

What is your happy?

Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof.
Happy by Pharrell Williams