Goal setting

Back after a long hiatus. I think I tried to do too much too quickly (in blogging here & elsewhere and in life) and started to feel overwhelmed. Let’s try this again, shall we?

I’m on a break right now where I at least in theory can focus on some of my own goals for growth. Over the months my physical work sorta went down the tubes and scheduling conflicts have kept me from some of my regular stage combat work, so I feel like my strength & stamina need to be built back up again. However I have been walking regularly again, and last week I did my first run in a long time.  Nutritionally I’m currently vegetarian, working on improving my intake to fuel myself for what I want to do.

I’m going to start simply here… Physical activity 6 days/week. Ideally moderate activity 3+d/week, walking 10,000 steps the remaining days. (I am saying my goal out loud here so I stick to it!)

There is so much that I want to do, so much that I want to accomplish. Strength goals, skill goals, life goals. I have some pretty badass rolemodels in fiction & real life to look up to. And it’s hard not to do everything at once.  But I have to remember:

Growth Takes Time.
growth takes time

There’s also a Sanskrit saying of an amazing belly dancer (Rachel Brice) that states: “Practice becomes firmly grounded when continued for a long time, without interruption and with reverent devotion.” What does it matter if someone makes a lifestyle change that doesn’t stick? Amazing things can happen if you just keep at what you’re doing. Eventually I would love to have a practice of something that I can do with the level of devotion described in the quote, but right now it’s about getting my foot in the door.

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Anger fodder

Anyone who’s found their way to my blog and thought to maybe stick around for a little bit should read this, an open letter to everyone who has told women don’t get too muscular. It touches on a lot of different issues. And if you wanted something to fuel the fires of action, watch the video of the little girl, and I dare you not to be appalled and filled with righteous anger that NO GIRL should grow up in a society that teaches her to believe this.

It starts with women not being afraid to be strong. And it starts with men not being intimidated by strong women.

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Ramping up

Working on building my running base though I’ve been going out to run much less often than I’d like. Coordinating schedules and health between my husband and myself has been tough, especially sine he’s more weather-averse than I am as far as running goes. We’ve really only been running 1-2 times per week, and I’d like to do at least 3. The other consequence of trying to assess day by day whether we’ll run is that I haven’t been doing much in the way of leg work because it’s always “well, we’ll run tomorrow.”

Well you know what? I’m resolving to kick that in the ass. Cut the excuses. Even if there are lots of days we can’t run, I’m going to do SOMETHING every day. Even gentle yoga if that’s all I feel up to. I’ll allow one full rest day a week if I need it. (Framing this way because it’s an aim).

In the meantime I’ve been keeping my motivation up. Logging my steps, runs and food. Subscribed to a running magazine, letting the pictures and stories inspire me. I’m also starting to build a fund of woman-positive and body-positive sites for running, strength training, and combat. All things useful for prospective shieldmaidens.

I would also like to point out that there’s a new awards show next month called the Artemis Awards. They’ll be honoring the original Sarah Connor herself, Linda Hamilton. They’ll also be giving “Unsung Hero” awards, which I think is a great idea especially because stunt actors don’t get enough credit by the movie industry for the amazing things they do to make movies work. See more here.

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“Athlete” doesn’t mean size

I have probably alluded heavily to this in prior posts, but I really like body-positive fitness. I love the crap out of anything that highlights plus sized athletes because they are invisible in our culture in many ways.  If you looked at any sports or athletics related media, you would believe that no larger people, especially women, existed ever. The one way it seems acceptable for plus sized people to be featured is if they’re on the road to skinny – dieting, doing tons of exercise, etc. And then it’s obviously with the caveat that they’re not the “ideal” body, but they’re working for it.  Everything for plus sized people is in the context of weight loss.

I say screw that.

If you want to be active, be active. If you want to run, run. Bike, bike. Etc. You don’t have to be trying towards some body ideal… unless that ideal is GET MY BODY STRONG ENOUGH TO DO ___. Outrun the zombies. Finish a spartan race. A pull-up. Whatever!

If there’s fat, so what? If there’s a lot of muscle and that adds bulk, so what?  It doesn’t matter if you look “good” in the workout clothing of your field of choice.  Do what you need to achieve the health and athletic goals you want.

Oh, and on that note.  Athletes come in all sizes. They’re not hiding, they’re just not getting media attention. Or not getting picked for major league teams. But you bet your butt they’re out there: people with awesome skills, dedication, accomplishments, record-setters in their fields… who just happen to not look like what you were expecting

I urge you to check this out: Are plus sized athletes promoting obesity? and the article it references, I’m plus sized and I’m an athlete for much more. This lady is awesome. Honorary Shieldmaiden.

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weight and emotion

Setbacks are really hard emotionally. They make you want to quit. Gaining weight – I don’t know if that’s due to extra snacking 2-3 days this past week, faulty scale (we did just have to change the batteries today) or what, but it hurts to see work undone in the form of numbers. From a personal tracking standpoint, I know that can be why people quit tracking (let alone quit a diet or exercise effort) – when numbers don’t make sense, or don’t reflect how hard you’ve been working.

I just have to remember that the numbers aren’t what it’s all about. It’s about being able to outrun zombies, wield a lightsaber effectively in battle, etc. It’s about feeling like you can do more than when you started. I ran today (in the snow) and felt pretty great doing it (during – mostly, afterwards – definitely!). Size be damned. I’m tracking the numbers out of curiosity, and snapshotting, not because a certain number will make me a superhero. That’s how eating disorders are made. And that’s not me.

Also, just because I googled “jedi weight loss” just to see what it would give me, this is actually great practical advice in a geeky framing: http://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/2013/05/09/5-jedi-mind-tricks/

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Combating self negativity

Based on a prompt to reflect on negative perceptions holding you back from achieving fitness goals, and positive things to think to combat them:

Negative thoughts – that I’m too deconditioned, that whatever I start I won’t follow through, that even if I try I still won’t measure up, that I won’t have time to do it even if I want to, that my motivation will flag

Positive thoughts – fake it til you make it. The difference is I AM DOING IT, where others are not. It doesn’t matter what you look like, it just matters that you’re on the road to better health. I have actually enjoyed it, looking back on my experiences, even if I didn’t like it in the moment. There is always time for something – no, it’s not always the obvious or easy choice. I can leave reminders, and inspirational things up. I can be strong. I can be a warrior. I can be amazing. I just have to do the work.

And for more inspiration, this, the translation of a beautiful tattoo of superhuman belly dancer Rachel Brice ~ “Practice becomes firmly grounded when continued for a long time, without interruption and with reverent devotion.”

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New year, new blah blah blah

Okay, holidays and sedentary work life definitely took their toll. Working in the new year to kick off bad habits and make some new good ones. Hubs and I doing some walking, some running… Having fun with The Walk and Zombie, Run 5k apps. Tracking calories in, NOT to starve myself or make myself feel bad, but to give myself a momentary pause before I put something in my mouth – do I really need that, is it worth it? Especially with all the junk food I’ve consumed. Haven’t invested in a fitness tracking device because I don’t know if it’s worth it, but am using some apps on my phone to help.

I happily received some warrior/shieldmaiden inspired gifts for the holidays and some great activities, helping me push onwards. Got some strong ladies behind me… Wonder Woman, Lagertha (Vikings), Brienne of Tarth (GoT), and all the Jedi I could hope for. And I just invested in new sports bras that fit really well and comfortably, because there’s no greater hell like unhappy or chafing breasts during a run. If that’s TMI, get over it. Men and women are allowed to have different body considerations for exercise.

Making themed playlists is also a fun way to inspire better workouts. Definitely makes the experience during it more enjoyable. Also a nice creative outlet.

Exercise today? Tracking it, again to keep me honest. Some yoga flow, with some side planking and flip dog and wild thing poses thrown in (google images for those, those carefree poses were exactly what I DIDN’T look like!)
4-min morning style marches and squats – cut it way back to two rounds, omitted the toe ups
Modified (couch) incline push-ups – 8
Plan to do some zombie running later today

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