Rise and Grind

It’s February. While the “New Year, New You” mantra may have waned for some, I’m still going strong. It’s not so much that I’m trying to reinvent myself. I’m really just getting back to where I was. I slacked off on exercising and eating well (and gained a few pounds) during the last quarter of 2015, but now I’m back on track.

pumpdaysYesterday was rougher than the typical blue Monday. Nonetheless, I stuck to my self-made schedule and went to the gym after work. I considered dialing 9-1-1 afterwards because I killed that workout. I wanted to build a house after that workout. I wanted to go on tour after that workout. I wanted to defeat Isis after that workout. I wanted to…well, you get the point. My mood had definitely improved. How is it that I wasn’t tired after expending so much energy? I’m sure there’s some scientific reason to explain why that happens. I feel so accomplished after a good workout. While I can’t run to the mirror after one workout to see a ripped six pack, I do see progress in the 6 weeks that I’ve committed to a more fit me. IMG_20160209_145812

I’ve been working out at home for the last 2 years. I’ve used Daily Burn and countless YouTube videos. Fitness Blender is my favorite subscription. As a former track and field athlete, I also did a lot of running. Somewhere along the way I stopped feeling motivated. That’s when I got a gym membership. I don’t go to a big box gym like Gold’s. The local place I joined had a promotion going on at the time where I got unlimited semi-private sessions for the first 30 days for $59. I actually think semi-private sessions work better for me than one-on-one sessions because there’s an element of competition that pushes me to go hard. Even though my 30 day promotion has ended, I’m still enjoying my membership. I love my gym. They have top of the line equipment and super friendly staff. I’ve bonded with my gym mates and different trainers. It’s like a family, and we’ve all got similar goals. Even when I take my 9 year old to the kid care section, all of the other kids welcome him loudly yelling his name upon entrance.

track girlI’ve always had an active lifestyle. I like running, lifting, and HIIT (high intensity interval training). For me, the more challenging aspect of staying in shape has been food. I love food. More specifically, I love sweets. I like Krispy Kreme doughnuts, Reese’s, Almond Joy, Raisinets, and will sing and dance for some peach cobbler with a side of vanilla bean ice cream. Glory!!! Since cleaning up my diet I’ve learned something about my palette; what I thought tasted good really isn’t that great. I live by the 80/20 rule now, but when I used to have a weekly cheat meal, I would often feel disappointed. One day I went to a restaurant whose food I typically enjoy, Popeye’s. My food wasn’t bad. It just wasn’t as good as I had remembered it being. Some people like beer. Some people don’t. They say it’s an acquired taste. I think food works the same way. For a period of time, I had been eating junk. Once I started eating real, whole, nutritional foods I could see and feel the difference between the two. For the person who thinks healthy eating means fruit and boring salads, there’s so much more variety than that. Pinterest has given me so many healthy AND tasty recipes to try. Even if you’re not ready to make that leap, I feel a huge difference between eating out versus cooking at home. Not bad on the pockets either.

dyinWe’re all motivated for different reasons. I may want to look like a million bucks for my 30th birthday this year. You may want to walk on the beach without a cover-up or lower your cholesterol or lose a dress size before your wedding or lose the extra weight you put on after an injury. Whatever it is, it’s only February. You’ve still got time to make the necessary changes to be a better you. Seek progress, not perfection.

Word to the wise…there are a lot of options to help you reach your fitness goals besides long sessions of steady state cardio. An hour or more on the eliptical? Stop it. If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you. I’ve seen people on recumbent exercise bikes reading a book. Stop it! That’s not how this works; that’s not how any of this works. On the flip side, you don’t need to hurl during a workout or feel so sore the next day that you can’t hold your hands above your head. Leave #TeamTooMuch as well as #OvertrainingCauseIWantToLookLikeArnoldTomorrow and find a happy medium between strength and cardio.leg day parking

 

 

Bone, Scrubs and Harmony

cockersThe first dog breed I can remember being introduced to as a child was a buff Cocker Spaniel. He was full of energy, and I thought his long ears and curly fur were so cute.  I am still a dog lover with Cockers being my favorite. I had one once, but he suffered from separation anxiety after we moved to a new state so that I could work full time. I gave him to someone who could give him the attention he needed but still wanted a pet. I told myself I’d wait until I had a yard before getting another pooch, but the itch wouldn’t go away. Almost daily, I’d look at Cockers listed on Petfinder.com and other local classifieds for months. I even had the app on my phone. I saw one I really wanted, but my boyfriend at the time didn’t share my enthusiasm for the breed. Once that relationship ended, I was back on the hunt for my perfect Cocker.

In December I saw a 5 year old, neutered, black Cocker Spaniel listed at a shelter 2 hours from my residence. I was planning to drive to my hometown for Christmas and would pass through the city where he was located. He was such a catch; I hoped no one would adopt him before I had a chance to. Christmas day fell on a Friday. I knew they would be closed, so I went the next day on Saturday. To my dismay, the sign on the front door alerted me that they had not resumed their normal business hours and were still closed. The following Monday, I called ahead of time to make sure they would be open. I left work early around 2 o’clock. According to my GPS, I would arrive by 4:30 p.m. Even with the 30 minute buffer I thought I had, traffic derailed my plans delaying me by an hour. Again, they were closed upon my arrival.

reallyI had had it. After driving to this location twice, I decided I was not going to make the trip for a third time. Instead I went shopping for essentials like dog food, a collar, a leash, and so on. I went to a Japanese restaurant for dinner, watched some of my favorite shows on Hulu via my phone, and slept in my car that night. By morning, I was ready to see about my dog.

He was a lot hairier in person than his photo but nothing a little grooming couldn’t fix. After filling out some paperwork and paying his adoption fee, the doggy formerly known as Pepper was mine! It’s been a month now, and I’m so happy things worked out. He’s mild-mannered, housebroken, gets along with my 9 year old, and has no signs of separation anxiety. We renamed him Hamilton. In fact, he has a full name: Hamilton Coley Gordon. Hamilton comes from my favorite soul singer, Anthony Hamilton. Coley comes from my favorite gospel singer, Daryl Coley. And Gordon comes from the Spanish word for fat which is gordo. (His weight is under control now.)

I don’t mean to ruin this touching story by being a Debbie Downer, but I cannot take some guys seriously. Please excuse the foul language, BUT

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Quality time, communication, and consistency have and always will be important to me in terms of relationships with the opposite sex. To have a guy I’m dating text or call me after days or even weeks of silence to say hello as if we can pick up where we left off is inconsiderate. When I think about all of the effort I put into making a dog my own, there’s no excuse for a suitor to be so aloof during courtship. So yes, I’m likely going to either ignore you or have an attitude in response to the annoying, “hey stranger,” text. I want to be married one day. The way I see it, whomever I’m dating is a candidate to become a boyfriend. Once a boyfriend, he is now a candidate to become a husband. Don’t spouses see and/or speak to each other every day? Therefore, frequent communication is both a prerequisite and a requirement when dating and beyond (assuming we have the same end goal). Pay attention fellas, or you’ll be in the doghouse. kanye