Believe, when you are most unhappy, that there is something for you to do in the world… Helen Keller
I’ve been doing some more soul searching the past week –
The past few days have been pretty stressful. Scott’s mom is in the hospital. My dad and step mother got into a car accident this past weekend. Their car is totaled, they are banged up but going to be OK. The thing is, experiencing your parents’ getting older is tough especially when they didn’t take particularly great care of their health in general. It’s another reminder that lifestyle definitely catches up with you as you age. And when you are experiencing it from a distance – it’s hard to really see how bad a situation is. You have to rely on your parents to tell you what’s going on. Reality is different depending on the filters we put on.
In other stressful news, Scott and I are both not feeling well with different maladies. Nothing too serious but enough that we both went to the doctors last week and are on meds. And to top it all off – Scott’s car broke down on Friday evening and a bunch of money $$$ later, the car should be fixed by tomorrow.
All of this has me thinking about what I really want out of life and why am I not feeling as happy as I think I should be?
Career wise: Do I want to continue heading into an office and working for someone else? The culture and company I am looking for based on my experience with my last position is a lot more clear than it has ever been. The issue is, I’m not sure my current situation is meeting the requirements as I had hoped it would. In the past 90 days of me starting, there have been a ton of changes and restructuring. Things I didn’t know about when I accepted the position. The changes aren’t really in line with my background, interests or what I was looking for. It’s disappointing to say the least. I was hoping to be able to grow, learn, be challenged and thrive in this environment. At this point, it’s not really looking like many of those opportunities exist. Never say never, of course, but having learned my lesson at my previous job, I realize that if it doesn’t feel right, I need to explore options.
I am stressed out and feeling a bit lost. Life sure doesn’t stop for you to catch your breath…
- 7 Weird Reasons Your Back Hurts
- TED: Depression: The Secret We Share
- Are Super Athletes the Secret to Health?
- A 2-Minute Walk May Counter the Harms of Sitting
Who doesn’t love Tina Fey – not only being super funny, but also subtlety showing the lengths women go to conform…
As a fitness enthusiast, I crave challenges and variety to stay inspired. But as committed as I am to living fit and healthy, there are times when I feel my momentum and enthusiasm start to wane. It happens to the best of us from time to time. These “exercise humps” are usually a sign that it’s time examine what’s going on in your life, reconnect with what motivates you to live this way, and make changes to your current fitness routine to push you through.
Here are a few ways I get re-inspired to get over an exercising hump:
Remind myself why it’s important.
It’s not easy to live fit and healthy. It’s a choice you have to make each and every day. When I find myself looking for excuses to skip a workout, I go over my personal reasons for living this way. My reasons are varied but include looking and feeling great and preventing immobility as I age.
Add spice to my current workout routine.
Most of my workouts are created by my trainers or instructors, but there are ways I can add in my own touch. It’s what I call making them ‘spicy’. For example, during a boxing session, I may add in an extra move to one of the runs, or focus on speed vs intensity during a round.
Try something new.
Some exercise humps happen because you are bored. However, if you’re open to trying new things and aren’t afraid to be a beginner at something new, there are an infinite number of fitness methods to cure boredom. Zumba, Pilates, Yoga, Hiking, CrossFit, Boxing, Cycling, Trampoline…the list goes on and on. Pick one or more to try on the regular to keep you engaged and energized.
Ask for help.
Getting frustrated with the lack of results? There are a lot of experienced and friendly experts out there, online and in person, that can help. Some offer free articles and advice online, while others may make themselves available in person. For me, the best advice and inspiration usually comes from my own network. However, no one else knows when slumps start to develop, so you have to be proactive and make seeking out advice, advice and inspiration a habit.
Everyone hits a wall during their fitness journey. Even the most dedicated athlete has to shake things up once in a while. So, the next time you find yourself hitting a fitness slump in your own routine, recognize it as a sign that something needs to change and change it.
There does not seem to be enough hours in the day lately to get it all done. My new job has me so busy and now that spring has sprung – there is so much to get done. I’m not alone in that feeling I am sure – we are all running at a thousand miles a minute now a days it’s hard to quiet your mind and slow down sometimes. I think that’s one of the reasons I workout – to have some time to really focus on how I feel physically. A few friends of mine recently made some comments about how I am always working out — well, first that’s not true. I work out regularly for about an hour five times a week. That leaves a whole lot of other hours during the week when I am not working out. However, after the years of doing this – it’s almost like an addiction. I crave a good workout for mental and physical reasons. I feel better when I move my body. Who doesn’t? Well according to a new study and the Wall Street Journal, a ton of people out there don’t exercise regularly – 1 in 4 Americans to be exact…
“We are deep in a national crisis. We’re not sweating enough. We’re running away from sports. We’re fleeing from fitness.
The other day, the Journal’s Sara Germano reported on a mind-numbing survey from the Physical Activity Council which found…well, it basically found that 1 in 4 Americans didn’t exercise at all in the past year.
One in four. For a year. Yikes.”
It is a crisis – just look around suburban America. How many people around you are living less than healthy lives? We are all busy. We are all tired. We are all pushed and pulled in so many directions – but your health should be non-negotiable and top of the list of importance. Not only for you, but for the example you are setting for your children. They learn from what you say and do. You don’t have to be an Olympic athlete, just MOVE YOUR BODY! Go for a walk, stretch, do sprints – whatever. Do it and continue – it’s a long term journey with peaks and valleys.
It’s not easy I know- but have you seen people living with chronic illness or immobility? That’s not easy either. Which hard would you rather have in your life?
What you believe has more power than what you dream or wish or hope for. You become what you believe.
The Skulpt Aim uses a technology called electrical impedance myography or EIM. ‘Myography’ literally means “The description of muscles.” EIM measures two separate features of the tissue: its resistive properties and its capacitive properties
Skulpt Aim measures body fat percentage and Muscle Quality (MQ). One of the first questions I have been asked is what is Muscle Quality (MQ)?
“MQ, or Muscle Quality, is a rating of your muscles’ fitness that was designed to be intuitive. Aim uses EIM technology to send a small current directly through your muscles. It uses 12 sensors and multiple frequencies to get very accurate readings. Since current flows differently in muscles based on their composition and muscle fiber size, Aim is able to evaluate the quality of each muscle.
Similar to the IQ scale, the average person has an MQ of 100. Higher MQ scores correlate with stronger, leaner, more defined and firm muscles.”
So in layman’s terms, the higher over 100 your score is, the stronger, leaner and more efficient your muscles are. Higher numbers mean better fitness.
When it arrived, I took it out of the box and found it pretty easy to set up. I put the device on the charger for a while before testing as recommended. To see how easy it was to use, I decided to have my boxing instructor Connor try it out. Without telling him much about it overall, I showed him the Skulpt website and let him figure it out. It took him only a few minutes — and he began using it.
To get started, he watched some of the videos to learn how to properly measure using the device. It’s different for males vs females.
How to get your Total Body MQ & Fat percentage
To measure your body’s MQ score and fat %, you’ll need to measure four areas: biceps, triceps, abs, and quads. There are videos available to help you learn where to properly place the device to get accurate readings.
It took only a few minutes to measure and what’s cool is there is a Skulpt app available to help you track your stats so you can see progress as you continue to work towards reaching your strength and fitness goals.
My instructor/tester, Connor, thought it was useful and cool. It gave him an idea of where he was at fitness wise – which for the most part, was right where he should be. There were a few areas that were not quite where he felt they needed to be and in his words “I have some work to do.”
Connor will retest in a few weeks to track his progress as he puts in the necessary work…
Here are some recent articles about this revolutionary device:
- PC Mag: Skulpt Aim
- Indiegogo: Skulpt Aim: Revolutionizing Fitness Tracking
- Men’s Fitness: SKULPT AIM LETS YOU KNOW YOUR MUSCLE QUALITY
- Cult of Mac: Skulpt Aim takes the pain out of measuring body fat
My initial thoughts: For people who thrive when they have actual data at their fingertips while working towards their fitness goals, this device helps you see if your workouts really are making your body stronger, even if the scale isn’t budging! And it’s easy to use and you can track it — this is the kind of info that we never really had at our fingertips. Now you just need this device and a few minutes –and you get accurate readings to help you adjust your fitness programming or goals as necessary.
This is really the future of fitness – being able to track and evaluate how your fitness program is working at the touch of an app whenever you want to evaluate your progress. I love it.
Thanks to Skulpt Aim for sending me their device. Even though I received it for Free, there was no expectation on their part to influence my review. My opinions here are my own.
NPR just published Learning To Move, Moving To Learn: The Benefits Of PE – encouraging schools and communities to bring back real PE classes. It’s no secret that “neuro-cognitive development is associated with exercise and can benefit from exercise”, so why aren’t we demanding that our children get more exercise??
Watch the video below that highlights the La Sierra High PE program in the 60’s. It’s exactly what our kids need to be doing today– real physical fitness classes in school. Not only will it help them physically but mentally as well! Our kids will learn to deal with the stress of life. Also look at the people featured in this video –they look younger and healthier overall. I bet it’s because they have been fit most of their lives, starting early on.
PE 50 years ago…compare to today! Help us bring quality PE back to our schools: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/la-sierra-high-pe
In 1962, JFK gave a speech to the nation challenging them to make a “great national effort.” He held the La Sierra High PE up as the model for the nation to follow. 4,000 high schools followed this program. This is the only known digitized copy of his speech. The footage shows one high school PE class. Remember, this is a normal PE class at the high school. This was PE 50 years ago in America! Help us make this happen again. Ron Jones, MS, founder of The Lean Berets (Executive Producer), Doug Orchard (Producer/Director).
Sunday was the 10th Annual Scope it Out 5K. It was my fifth year running to celebrate my husband being colon cancer free! Seems so long ago now that he was recovering from surgery and chemo. Every year, I run this race as a reminder of how far we have come from those days and to continue to do my part spreading the word about how important it is for anyone with symptoms or at risk for colon cancer get screened. Remember: the treatment for colon cancer is a lot worse than any colonoscopy!!
Both my kiddos ran this year’s race too! Last year’s 2014 Scope it Out 5K, HB joined us and this year Nate Dogg committed and rocked it! I could not have been more proud of both of them! Apparently, Nate loves to talk while he runs and expects a two way conversation, so Scotty had the pleasure of counting cop cars, crowds of people and anything else Nate Dogg wanted to mention during the 3+ miles. Good times!
I still regularly visit blogs created by others battling colon cancer. When I got back from the race, I decided to visit a blog by a young women in Arizona: Michelle Whitehead Hastings. She had not been updating regularly because the cancer came back and she was undergoing some painful treatments. I wondered how she was doing and was shocked to learn she passed away late last month. Michelle was a women, wife, mother, daughter – a bright shining person, who tried to give back as she navigated her own treatment. I took a moment last night to say a prayer for her and her family. And although I didn’t know the news at the time – I ran the race in her honor. RIP Michelle.
I was pleasantly surprised to find out that my time was better this year than 2014 and 2013! Keep in mind that I am not a runner. I had not run since this fall and even then it was no more than sprints. While there is nothing amazing about my pace in the general sense, I am quite pleased with it. And I came in the top 17% overall. Not too shabby!
- 2015: 9:36
- 2014: 10:13
- 2013: 9:55
- 2012: 9:03
- 2011: 9:29
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- The Skinny on ‘Hidden Fat': Why Being Thin Is Not Equal to Being Healthy
- The Joy of Quiet
2015 Scope it Out 5K Event Photos
I mentioned that last week I visited the GWU Weight Management and Human Performance Lab to check out the lab and get some tests done so I can really figure out what the key is that will help get me where I want to be.
Todd Miller who runs the lab and is an Associate Professor in the Department of Exercise Science and was kind enough to offer me some testing so I can share my experiences with anyone interested in experiencing the lab.
Todd ran me through a series of tests and then we sat down, reviewed the results and discussed ways to get me where I want to be.
First, he measured my height and weighed me and then had me stand on a the Body Composition – BIA machine that measured my weight, body fat etc using electromagnetic pressure contact, not unlike the scales and other machines readily available. Then we used the Dexa machine…
Body Composition – Dexa (or DXA) -The gold standard for body composition assessment. The DXA scan uses a low-dose x-ray (approximately 1/10th the radiation of a traditional chest x-ray) and provides information about bone mineral density, fat, and fat-free mass in to specific regions of the body with an accuracy of ±2%.
After that test was complete, which took maybe five or so minutes, it was time to test my Resting Metabolic Rate – The resting metabolic rate (RMR) is the amount of energy (calories) a body burns while at rest, which accounts for approximately 70% of the body’s daily energy expenditure. This is the amount of energy needed to perform vital body functions such as respiration and circulation.
After the testing was done, Todd and I talked through the results. I gained some weight in the last year and half. It was as much as I had thought – so while that’s not great news per se, it wasn’t shocking and it confirmed my own sense of where I am. The good news… all the fitness I do – does make a difference whether I am at an optimal weight or body fat %. I am fit — and the weight i gained, once I lose it – I should be in the ‘good’ categories all around.
- Bone density is good.
- My RMR is high. That means I burn a lot of calories just being.
- I have a good amount of lean muscle mass.
I’m not going to discuss my actual numbers here – they are irrelevant to anyone but me. What I will share is that we talked about how much protein I need based on my lean muscle mass and what would be my optimal amount of calories to get me back to where I will feel most comfortable. The thing is my goal isn’t about being super lean. I want to feel comfortable in my own skin without being crazy about every little thing I eat or drink. I did that years ago – and it consumed my life. My goal is to be healthy and fit – not an Olympian or champion competitor. I am living this way so I am able to move, have fun, try new things and age without the fear of being immobile. That is what I discussed with Todd – he made some suggestions on what would be a reasonable caloric and protein intake per day to get me there. As for exercise, I clearly don’t need help in that area. I am fit!
The one thing that caught me off guard is how much protein Todd suggested I eat per day: 146g He based it on how much lean body mass I have. I am not sure how one goes about eating that much protein in a day but i have been trying without upping my overall suggested caloric intake. It’s been quite a challenge – the closest I have gotten is 96g.
I have also begun to track my fitness and food intake using fatsecret.com. Todd sent me an invite and he can monitor what I am eating from time to time to give me advice. Check it out –so far I am liking it.
One of things that has always confused me is why is it so hard? Todd explained that most of it is simple math – which is not hard but it is hard to put into place. Knowing that there is science and data behind what we discussed helped me leave the lab with a sense of an actual plan to get me back to where I will feel comfortable. Before that, i have just guessed at where I am and how much I need to eat. With Dr Miller’s suggestions, I feel confident about being able to do it.
I will keep you posted on my overall progress – the good and bad of it as we head into Spring and Summer.
I’m not going to sugar coat my struggle – I am really slipping with my overall nutrition and can’t seem to muster the motivation or inspiration to re-focus and get back on track. So, I figured i need some real help. I made an appointment with the director of the weight management and human performance lab at George Washington University for later this week. He is going to do some lab tests after a 4 hour fast and then we can take a look at how to get me to where I want to be. It can’t possibly be this hard to get on track.
My thinking is that fitness is not the issue for me. I need help figuring out a nutritional approach and he can help me get there. I realized this weekend — I need help, plain and simple. When you need help – ask!
I will be sharing the experience with you so we can all learn from it…
Don’t forget that March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month! I am running the Scope it Out 5K Washington DC Presented by Chris4Life on Team Hoagie’s Heroes to celebrate my hubby’s 6+ years colon cancer free. Will you join us on Sunday March 22 or donate to the cause? Scope it Out 5K Washington DC Presented by Chris4Life
- Another study for the “you can’t un-run your fork” file
- Scientists Officially Link Processed Foods To Autoimmune Disease
- Exhaustion is not a status symbol
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Brilliant way to highlight our country’s serious infrastructure problem: America’s crumbling infrastructure: It’s not a sexy problem, but it is a scary one.
- Saturday: Cycle Scene 1 hour
- Monday: 1 mile walk
- Tuesday: Boxing 1hour
Last weekend, I went to the grand opening of Cycle Scene in Ashburn. Cycle Scene is an indoor cycling studio with spice. I say that because it’s not just sitting on a bike and riding.
It’s an experience — there are specialized lights, including a disco ball, a great sound system, and motivational inspirations all over the walls. Depending on the instructor, the experience can be night and day each time you attend too. There are some that strive to boost you up, make you feel empowered and ready to conquer the world. There are others that are more traditional biking enthusiasts who take more laid back approach to your class experience.
I have to admit, i am normally not a huge fan of the stationary exercise experience. Treadmills, stair climbers, bicycles all equal boring to me. I find that they lack the excitement to keep me wanting to keep doing it but this seems to be a bit different. Having been to three classes so far, the instructor is the key. With good music and the right instructor to push and motivate me, it actually captures me. It also forces me to get a bit more inside of my head since I don’t need to worry so much about perfect coordination like in Boxing and CrossFit. It’s very mental and it allows me to practice meditation to push through the challenging peaks.
Cycle Scene is very boutique like – with towels and water offered freely and showers with all the amenities included. They have added touches as well -at the end of the ride, they offer eucalyptus infused wet towels to cool off, which was a much needed and appreciated touch because I was a sweating and overheated for sure. They also wipe down the bikes for you after your ride so you don’t need to worry about that.
I also like that you can do punch cards, which I did. It’s a way to add this into my overall fitness routine without having to have a bunch of different expensive memberships to different places. A huge part of being fit is to to continually vary what I ask my body to do and this way I can stave off burnout and boredom.