How heavy should it be?

The weight you lift, I mean….

I think I just had a Yoda moment :-P

O.K. Let’s move onto the meat of the matter shall we?

doyoueven-terminator

One thing I see a LOT in the gym (aside from many varying forms of weight lifting that could possibly kill somebody) are ladies lifting light.

I mean, like LIGHT. Before I move on I must say that I’m not talking about squatting the bar because you are working on form and building muscle. I am not talking about brand new lifters who NEED to start lighter than they usually do. I’m talking about those groups of ladies (cause they tend to be in flocks) who are so afraid to lift heavy they stay lighter than they should. This post is for you.

Womens-Weightlifting-Meme-2

Let’s bust the common myth: weight lifting will not make you bulky or huge. Tuck that fact away. Women can benefit greatly from regular weight lifting. If you’re not trying to compete, you can get by with 3-5 lifts per week and reap the benefits such as:

  • Increased lean muscle mass
  • Increased metabolism
  • Increase bone density (it’s more important to you when you’re older so start now)
  • Increased tendon and ligament strength
  • Fewer injuries such as joint rolls and sprains
  • Higher self-esteem
  • Increased energy….once you find your balance :)
  • Increased libido (Helloooooooo, nurse!)
  • Tighter skin

I could go on and on, but we’ll stick with these for now. Most women won’t lift heavy due to the fact that they worry they will look bulky. If these women DO try some heavy weights, chances are they may experience the slight swelling that can occur when your tissue expands due to the load. This will usually dissipate after a while, but some ladies get scared. They may also notice the scale moving on up and find that disturbing. Well, contrary to the popular saying, muscle and fat weigh the same. I mean, a pound is a pound right? The fact is muscle is far more dense than fat and therefore it takes up less space. Less space makes for a leaner body overall.

Are you sold on the heavier weights yet?

Once you start to take in all the benefits, the next question is ALWAYS, “How heavy should I lift?”

In my own opinion, I think you should second guess your lack of spotter :) but let’s break it down by goal.

Weight lifting really is a numbers game. Everything you do is like an algebraic equation that is solved by your body. So, let’s take a look at popular goals and the algebra one can use to reach them.

  1. You have some body fat to melt and you want things to STOP jiggling pronto: With this goal your best bet is a rep range of 12-15, meaning the weight should almost be immovable by the time you hit 13-14. Notice, you are going for a FEELING here. You’ll notice the more you lift that you have strong days and not-so-strong days. Take it in stride and always show up.
  2. You’re over 35 years old/have experienced a HUGE weight loss/are noticing loose skin OR all of the above: THIS is my specialty. The rep range you are shooting to hit is 6-8 (some scientists offer 4 is good, but I find my joints will give out when I go that heavy). Again, you’re going for a feeling here. The weight should be immoveable by the time you hit 7-8. This particular rep range with heavy-duty weight (adjusted to your specific strength) has been shown to increase elasticity in the skin by increasing the production of collagen. It also helps to force produce more testosterone, which will help bring balance to hormones that become imbalanced with age AND it helps to spice up that sometimes lagging libido.
  3. You want to compete on American Ninja Warrior……or you dig endurance sports. Your particular rep range protocol is anywhere from 15-30. This will be lighter weight and focus on different muscle fibers to pull the load. You may use 5 pounds for an overhead press, but by the time you reach 30 reps I promise your shoulders are on fire. Tis builds endurance in the muscle and increases endurance between the mind/muscle connection.

I know it seems complicated, but here’s the deal: you have to know your body and know your goal. Since I have lost so much weight, I actually incorporate the first 2 mostly (with a lower rep focus on the larger movements) and will throw in high rep every once in a while to burn out the muscle, increase size or just to do something different since I get bored easily.

My advice to you is to play around with it and try. keep a record of what you lift AND if you think you can lift heavier next time. You can always try a slightly heavier weight and if you only get 2 reps, be happy, drop the weight and finish your set. your results are determined by you alone. So make your gym time personal.

Now it’s your turn: Comment below with any questions you have on weightlifting OR the tips and tricks you have used to progress your lifts.

Oh, and let me know what your favorite lifts are when you train!

Michelle

mc-7174 WM

Funny Thing Happened Today…..

Good morning!

Let’s all get caught up real quick, shall we?

I just started back at the iron yesterday after a 3+ week break (it was forced) due to some health issues (not caused by lifting).

So….I’ve had a few mixed emotions.

First, I am excited to get back to the gym….however, that feeling is followed by the quick second of not wanting to leave home made harder by being home bound for so long. Any introverts feeling me?

Getting up the last 2 mornings has been a mixture of those 2 emotions in some way….going to bed is the same as I seem to talk myself out of going by the time I close my eyes.

THEN, I remember how I FEEL when I go regularly***(see note at bottom)

Funny-memes-how-I-feel-after-the-gym Something like that :)

This morning was my first leg day in what felt like forever, and after yesterday’s eh back workout, I wasn’t too pumped. So, I put on my fave Converse (the BEST for leg days) and set out to train these sticks that have taken me through life so wonderfully.

The workout itself wasn’t epic at all (I don’t favor epic as I try to aim for consistent), but it felt great. I trained legs unilaterally (one at a time) to address the many imbalances in my lower half AND the weight pushed wasn’t too shabby for such a break.

Two very rewarding things happened because of my consistency:

  1. A guy came into the sauna and asked how long I had been lifting. This is sauna guy’s favorite question….and mine too :) . See, these past few weeks I’ve felt small and not in a good way (why do women always strive for small anyways????). My midsection felt fluffy and my arms look like little noodles, lacking the curves they had not too long ago. So this question came as a great source of motivation for me. You see, I’ve been working out for 10 years (12+ years of yoga) and lifting consistently for 4 years. The body goes through an ebb and flow, but my soul mate workout is still there when I’m ready to pick it back up. My muscles start to remember the grip of the bar and the press of standing. I train for something far bigger than a show…..I truly train for the flow of life itself. Other than my marriage, this lifestyle has been my biggest commitment.
  2. A lady in the locker room (who had a cute workout top on) asked, “Didn’t ya’ll have some kind of show this past weekend?” It took me a while to realize that the “ya’ll” meant competitors. I had been added to an elite group. Even if you competed once (or 20 times) and no longer do, it is still an elite group. The group isn’t about who came in the leanest…..it’s about being a finisher. Did you know that under 5% of people actually have what it takes to finish out the goal of competing???? True story. It’s strength of mind and character that gets us there and it’s that same strength that keeps us going when life gets tough. She ended the conversation with wishing me luck on this weekend’s comp. In my eye, I am nowhere near competition shape, but she sees me in a different light.

bursting pipes gym meme

That begs the question of why can’t we see ourselves in that light?

When I go to the gym I wear long tights and baggy tops (although sleeveless cause YEAH!) so it wasn’t my six-pack (which is in there somewhere) or my lines that made her think I was ready for comp…it’s my passion lived out in the gym.

I’m grateful for the passion that I have. The passion in the gym is a gift! I start every morning with quiet time and a thankful prayer. I dedicate my workouts to those who cannot move, even though they desperately want to. I think about what I could be doing each day to inspire women to become the best version of themselves….the version outside of the aesthetic. That’s the one thing I think of and strive to do whether health permits the gym or not. That is my calling and I work out to ensure I am fit for my calling….not my jeans.

Now it’s your turn.

What light do you see yourself in? Does it match the light others see? Are you practicing a life of passion?

I’d love to hear, and I am listening! Let me know how I can inspire you :)

And by the way, thanks for inspiring me….

Michelle

***NOTE: heavy-duty weights is MY soul mate workout and the one I love the most…..you find the freedom to try things and figure out yours. There is no one way.

Strong Camp 14 Photo by Paul Buceta taken at Strong Camp Houston 2014

 

What if we were just OK? AND some Instagram inspiration

Oh, my, goodness….2 posts in 1 week?!?!?!? You gotta pinch yourself right?

I digress a bit…..

After you get over the shock of the posts, let’s get down to business. Specifically, let’s get down to the business of being YOU, just as you are and totally rockin it.

Sound good?

believe-in-yourself

We use the above image and saying for a lot of different things ranging from weight lifting to test taking to running, etc. You get the point right? But what if we used it in the sense that right at this moment, we really are OK?

In other words, do you feel like you are enough? Do you feel like you have what it takes, no matter your swimsuit size (those darn swimsuits!), no matter your thigh size and no matter the invisibility of your 6 pack?

I have a truth bomb for you from the ultimate TRUTH:

20 Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, 21 equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. -Hebrews 13:20-21

So, this says nothing about God equipping us with a 6 pack so more people will listen to us……or perky glutes to get the job done. Everything we need, we will find ourselves equipped*.

*Side note as always: I’m not advocating sitting around eating ice cream and Cheetos and not moving, but I really don’t think that’s what most people do. I do think most of us worry about our waistlines in the WRONG way though….

I want you to think about that for just a bit….what would life look like if you were OK with where you are? I know this is foreign to most because the American Dream tells us to always strive for more, but what if we could accept where we are especially in terms of our physical state? Better yet, what could we accomplish if we didn’t worry about our body fat?

This past month has been quite the eye opener for me. I noticed post-comp that I struggled with excessive mirror syndrome….as in, I kept looking in the mirror. I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting to see, but the lack of a 6 pack (which I NEVER have unless my body fat is super low) was disappointing. It was so disappointing that it began to take up mental space that would have better been used for other things. In fact, I am convinced that we could find the cure for many diseases if we didn’t focus on certain body parts we wanted to change. I ended up getting sick and long story short I got grounded and have been doing ONLY body weight, low impact stuff for about 10 days. It has admittedly been a struggle, but the mind needs more growth than the muscles at this point.

I can say that I am almost “THERE”…the place where I am OK with the cellulite on my thighs and the extra fluff over my proverbially absent 6 pack. I’m OK wearing a swimsuit and things actually moving. The body was designed this way people! Stuff moves. Some body fat is actually GOOD. I garnered the inspiration I needed from some Instagram accounts that are REAL and HONEST….I also deleted accounts that had boobies, excessive 6-packs, and way too shorty shorts :) I suggest you do the same as scientists have actually found those images to strike closer to porn and further from inspiration.

That said, here are my top accounts to follow:

Busy Mom Gets Fit

GORGO Magazine

Sarah Vance

Fit PB Queen

Amber Dodzweit

 

Top Blogs I’m Digging Right NOW

Even though I am a blogger (and still finding my blogging path), I still enjoy blogs of other professionals to keep things fresh.

Point: our own perspective is not always the best :)

So, today I am sharing the top blogs I’m reading this summer.

Blog Concept

1. Thrive Personal Fitness. Pamela is a personal friend of mine (and has even blessed us with a contribution HERE) and I really love her fresh, real-life take on fitness. Check her out and sign up for updates.

2. Nutrition Stripped. I JUST came across this via good old Instagram. With the fresh recipes and easy to follow guides, it’s a win for any thoughtful foodie.

3. Do You Yoga. This is a go-to for all things yoga in life, and they manage to keep it upbeat, current and inspirational.

4. One Degree Ministries. I met Tracy through a writers/speaker conference and have loved watching her blog grow and take shape. A great blog for every need in life.

5. Shameless plug. OK, so this is technically my blog :) but it is also the beginnings of a movement to empower women to step into who they were created to be and leave all fear behind. Join us :)

Those should keep you busy for a bit.

Read them on your laptop outside for extra credit and stay tuned for some big changes!

 

TIGHT Review of RBX Capri

Hello people!

It’s flex Friday AND review day…..it’s been a while since I’ve given a review.

Today will be a brief review of the new RBX Capri. I specifically tested the digital camo capris.

RBX

Let’s dive in to the three F’s for any clothing review: Fit, Function, and Fashion (in that order please).

1. FIT

These leggings have a compression fit, making them wonderful for weight lifting as well as higher impact activities such as kickboxing and MMA ( a fave for me). The flat seams make them very comfortable and you can’t see anything through them in any light. You ladies know how important that is…..you hate putting on your yoga pants and looking good in your room only to have your best friend point out that everybody can see your granny panties in the mall. Not flattering. No worries with these. They fit true to size. I am a size 4 or small in most clothes and ordered a small in these which fit like a glove.

2. FUNCTION

This is where it gets technical, but just as important as fit. The RBX capris feature moisture wicking fabric, four-way stretch, flat lock seams, and fade resistant material (you know that’s why we always hang things…..well, one of the why’s). That means that these tights are the X-Man in your gym gear arsenal. My favorite thing is that the waistband doesn’t shift or roll. So you’re not always having to hike your pants back up to where they belong.

3. FASHION

I was incredibly surprised with how many things this camo capri already complimented in my closet. You can pair it with a slightly longer shirt for grocery shopping or movies (though I wouldn’t go so far as to try to dress them up…they are active wear people). The length is just right and they actually make legs appear a bit longer, which is hard with capri pants.

Overall, I fell in love with these tights and they are not pricey at ALL, which makes me love them more.

Want to check them out for yourself? Click HERE and browse around. Make sure you sign up for their newsletter and you’ll get a whopping 15% off! Check out the colors and share your pics on Instagram too, since we’d all love to see how you rock your tights.

Until next time, you can check out my Insta and see the sweet tight selfies I took :)

 

When you just can’t even…….

So, as discussed in the past, I have issues :-)

The first step is admitting it you know……

It used to be that I had a severe issue with the word “can’t”. I thought of it as an excuse, a cop out, the grown up version of the dog eating your homework, etc. I am since coming to realize that if we don’t respect our bodies we actually CAN get to a point where we just can’t even….(insert Starbuck’s toting basic white girl here).

***NOTE*** This post is not saying you can get away with not believing in yourself, so don’ t go there.

that-awkward-moment-when-you-are-wearing-nike-and-just-can-t-do-it-genvieve-nnaji-quote-instagram-SOSnation_com_

Recently, I got sick. And by sick I mean multiple trips to the doctor and bed rest sick. I discovered a few key factors to myself that those closest know all too well, however I denied them for too long.

  1. I have a severely obsessive personality. For example: often when I immerse myself in yoga CE courses I will find myself veering towards becoming a yoga hippy on the run from modern society. In contrast, when preparing for my show I became OBSESSED with macros, food logging and rep counting.
  2. The above mentioned personality trait creates an environment for imbalance, thus making me feel off balanced every day.
  3. This lack of balance in life translates to lack of balance in health.

Last night I was talking to Alan (the man who should get an award for putting up with my particular brand of crazy) and told him that after brainstorming what I wanted life to look like one of my biggest physical goals was to just be HEALTHY. That is my main goal right now: radiant health.

It seems odd because to look at me you would think I am healthy right? Wrong. When the mind and body are in a chronic unbalanced state, something will give. In my case, my current ill-health seems to be a direct result of an unbalanced life.

So, what can you do to avoid this?

Honestly, we are never 100% in balance at any time, BUT we can walk towards balance in a few key steps:

  1. Brainstorm your GOALS. Sit down with a cup of coffee or tea and take TIME to think about what you want your life to look like. This is the starting point to creating a life with purpose….you need a roadmap.
  2. Take your eyes off the physical for a bit. For me personally, this means doing more low-impact work at home and allowing my body to heal.
  3. Decide what health means to you. Is it a great physical? Is it feeling good in your own skin? Is it waking with energy?
  4. Determine the steps needed to reach your goal. Once you find even 1 goal worth the effort, determine the necessary steps. If you really NEED to lose weight, then you will need to set aside the time to workout each day and become more educated in nutrition. If your goal is to have a healthier digestive system (a great goal for anybody), commit to keeping a record of your food and maybe even hiring a nutritionist to help. Whatever the goal, there are daily steps that will help you reach it.

Staying balanced shouldn’t be something that will upheave your whole life. It should actually make it better. Think about one word that will help you stay focused. My word of the moment is SIMPLIFY. I want to live a simpler, less complicated lifestyle. This means workout routines that are easily accomplished in my home, fewer supplements, a bit more yoga and a streamlined diet that focuses on nutrients.

Now it’s your turn. What changes will you make to achieve balance?

I’m listening :)

Michelle

Oh, that fluffy feeling……

I have issues…….I think you know that if you’ve read my stuff :) If this is your first visit, well then, I’m human and have issues. Welcome.

This has been an off week for me. It’s actually quite beautiful here in Southeast Texas, but I have been fighting with wicked allergies. I haven’t struggled with allergies like these since my childhood days! The severity of my cough which stemmed from a head full of snot (not the exact term the doc used), resulted in two allergy meds and an asthma med….with little relief as of yet. I was also told to rest…whatever that is ;) . I am perpetually not a rester. I like to DO things. Unless we’re watching a movie, then I just sit there like a stump on a log. Moving on…rest to me is yoga, Piyo (great program!), low impact circuits, etc. You know, rest :)

This forced rest and fuzzy head could be a great time to work on the devotional book I am writing, but I have been utilizing it to allow my head to enter into a dark space instead. My competition was a little over a month ago and I have put on about 7 pounds since then (give or take a pound). My coach is trying to reverse diet me to a lean, mean, lifting machine……I find myself in a panic. These days I feel much more mean than lean. I call it “fluffy.” You cannot feel fat. Well, you can if you stick your hand into a tub of Crisco, but that would be gross. Fat is a nutrient that we need, fluffy is when you just don’t feel as lean as a certain part of your brain thinks you should be.

During the competition itself I was excited for this time…..then I realized that this time is summer time and includes swimsuits (see previous post for a good laugh on that one). This past Sunday we spend time at my brother in laws pool for Father’s Day (thanks MIKE!) and I realized from the reflection in the window that my mind isn’t always right. Even at 7 pounds heavier, things are still healthy looking. I’m not sporting a six-pack (I’m also not a teenage boy….so there), but everything looks in shape. Body fat is there, but not nearly as noticeable as the muscle and I seem to be in good proportion. I promise I wasn’t standing in front of the mirror for hours checking myself out, this was just in passing.

Musclemania 2015 Front Side Pose First contest pic on the blog! Thanks to Alfonso Aguire :)

OK, so the above pic is not a realistic version of where my body can stay. That’s why we get pictures at competitions! Duh….. So, the logical part of my brain knows this, but the junior high girl who was made fun of for her weight (and yes, I remember all the comments and all the names…..issues) wants to stay there for special occasions. This part of post-comp is hardly ever talked about though.

So, why am I talking about it? Well, for the .01% of you who may compete, I like keeping it real. For the rest of you, there is something you keep comparing yourself to that holds you back from progress. Let that sink in.

See, my goal right now is NOT to look like I did during my comp (well, I wouldn’t mind that when I hang at the pool…). My goal right now is to add muscle, increase strength AND set aside quality time with my family. That means I can’t spend all day in the gym. Holding on to a past version of myself hinders any progress because my mind is not taking in the present and looking towards the future. I am allowing what was once a small thought to fester and become overwhelming.

Don’t get me started on the old videos and pics before I started to put on muscle.

This can happen to all of us. We get fixated on what we used to look like or what we think we should look like. I cannot tell you how many clients have said, “You should have seen me when…” Well, what’s so bad about now?

I don’t know about you, but right now I do not have any bikini photo shoots in the next 6 weeks. I do have a family vacation, but if your family can’t love you then who can? Most of the time we are harder on ourselves than anybody else. This drives us to a sort of obsession and can literally keep us from reaching our goals!

What can we do?

You know I love it when you ask that! I have a few action steps to get us ALL on the right track:

  1. Get real about your goals. For me personally, I had to realize that I could not want to add muscle and want the body of a svelte supermodel at the same time. That did not lead to consistency of any kind. Muscle is good for me cause let’s face it, I really like to eat.
  2. Enlist some help you trust. Pay for a coach (mine has been so helpful post comp) or join a challenge group. Having this accountability and knowledge is super helpful.
  3. Consistency above ALL. I have said it time and time again: consistency is king (small king, big King is God just to clarify). You must stay consistent to reach any goal you set. If your brain is all over the map, so will your goals follow.
  4. Get a power song! I have a lot of them and my playlist is full of NF, Lacrae, Andy Mineo, and even some AC/DC  :) I’ll share my song of the moment with you though.

There you have it. Four simple steps to a better you! Don’t let the world tell you who you should be or how you should look and don’t let past events dictate it either. Strive for a better you to give back each day and things will start to happen :)

mc-7159 I wanted to use this one for a while :) Photo by Kendra Harwell Photography (in the Baytown/Houston area)

NOW, let’s hear it! Leave your tips and suggestions for reaching goals and not heading into a negative mind space in the comments below :)

 

Summertime woes: A realistic look at swimsuit season

It’s June 16th here and if you live anywhere in southeast Texas, then you are probably hunkered down with your bottled water awaiting the ominous sounding Tropical Storm BILL….just the name inflicts fear. ;)

More fearful than any tropical storm is swimsuit season. I think I can speak for us all here right? There are just so many things that can go wrong…

I had my very own little run in with swimsuits a couple of weeks ago. You see, I can’t swim….I’m more of a sink or float kinda gal. Meaning when in a pool of water I usually end up close to the wall canoodling with my hubby :) totally acceptable behavior.

Anyways, I decided that this summer I should branch out. I mean, I just got onstage in the world’s tiniest bikini and was judged for goodness sake! I think I can learn to swim a few laps for sport. So, on we went to Academy to get a slightly larger and much more supportive suit….

Into the lion’s den:

It started off rather innocent enough. I walked in feeling full of confidence and eager to get this party started. I grabbed several suits in several sizes (cause you just don’t know with those things) and catwalked my way to the unisex dressing rooms…because we girls can have secrets no longer. I got the first suit on with a great struggle and looked in the mirror. Not good. Like, really not good. I had to take a deep breath and remind myself that I had just competed. I then promptly wondered what the heck I had been eating. It seemed like whatever wasn’t firmly encapsulated in the suit spilled elsewhere in the most unflattering fashion imaginable…..sort of like sausage which was busting out of its casing. With much effort, I removed the suit, though I did worry I might have to call in assistance. I picked up a larger size in bright red…side note: that’s a LOT of red no matter what your actual size. Though this one was a little easier to put on and the spillage seemed slightly more contained, I still began to question my training and nutrition. I didn’t bother with the third suit and I marched out to put those demons back in the cavern from whence they come, otherwise known as the swimsuit rack. I then perused the bikinis only to decide my fragile ego couldn’t handle that right now.

For the next couple of weeks (weeks, people) I struggled. It felt like my workout pants were tighter (um, they’re spandex). I got sick and had to go to the doctor where the nurse weighed me and I didn’t appreciate the number she wrote down (you’d think we gals could help each other out). I then had to go through old videos where all I could think about was how thin I was and that all my clothes fit then….

Here’s the catch: I work to empower women to forget the scale. I strive to have more women comfortable in their own skin. I love the variety of bodies on the beach and want others to focus on progress, not perfection. So what the heck????

There are many things that can go wrong while swimsuit shopping. Do any of these bring back horrid memories of yesteryear?

  • Swimsuit sizing if really weird! I think if I wear a medium in workout tights then I should wear a medium in swim bottoms. Is this too much to ask??!?!?!? When going through sizes, I always feel as though I have stumbled into the toddlers department and nobody was kind enough to point me to the correct place.
  • Lighting: really people? It seems as though the ONLY lighting available in these places is the large spotlight used for interrogations…..”Did you really log ALL of your food this week?” “Yes, I swear! I’m not guilty!!!!!” The higher end stores splurge on slightly softer lighting which makes me spend more money. I await a swimsuit dressing room lit in carefully placed tea lights and playing smooth jazz to mellow my fear.
  • You have to keep your underwear on while you try on swimsuits. Don’t get me wrong, this is a great rule, BUT it also added like 10 inches of fabric to my hips (OK< maybe not, but it feels like it).
  • Cellulite LOVES swimsuit shopping. You may not even see it in your shorts that morning, but by the time you pull on the plastic lined bottoms you can rest assured it will rear it’s dimpled head.
  • There seems to only be 2 (maybe 3) options when shopping: barely there skimpy OR old lady afraid of sunburn. The possible 3rd is the “fat displacing” ones that really do nothing other than squeeze body fat into even weirder places.

It’s a wonder any of us get out of the dressing room! The attendant smiles sweetly and asks “Did everything work out?” while I stand there with 23 different suits and tears in my eyes….I muster enough courage to smile back and say “Yes.” Like, duh, I like to keep at least 10 different sizes on hand!

To make matters worse, women are held to different standards than men. The men in my life don’t fret over whether or not their abs are flat in their long trunks….they really just want to make sure the trunks are big enough to allow movement and eating. Who eats in a swimsuit?!?!?!? If I ever get in it I certainly don’t want people to see me eating. That might make me relax my abs, which is one of the unforgivable sins. Guys swimwear sends a totally different message! It says “You’re cool man. Captain America trunks make the ladies believe that under that beer gut you actually look like Captain America”. Meanwhile, we slather on firming creams and practice rolling in and out of chairs so visible stomach flab won’t show :/

How do we make it better? Well, first off, we MUST adhere to the truth that we are all a work in progress. Progress denotes change….we are therefore, ever-changing. There is no such thing as the perfect body and I believe variety is a good thing. The second thing to remember is that body fat is normal and to be expected. Now, how much depends on lifestyle choices. There are a lot of lean people, but the only ones who are fat-free suffer from serious medical issues. So be thankful for your health.

I will be embarking upon a swimsuit shopping extravaganza soon and I have a plan that I think may just work. First, I am enlisting my besties to go with me. This sort of thing is better enjoyed in a group. Second, a good lunch with a couple of glasses of wine will be enjoyed beforehand as swimsuit shopping sober should be reserved for the youngsters who have yet to mature into their cellulite. Third, as women we must realize that we are far harder on ourselves than is necessary. We are defined by our character, not by any number.

So, I encourage you to go forth and shop heartily sisters! Show your daughters that we are comfortable with the changes and challenges of life. Be the best example to others of grace while in the dressing room…..and I pray every dressing room door will remain on its hinge during your adventure.

Be bold because you’re already beautiful,

Michelle

mc-7059 Photo by Kendra Harwell Photography

 

I’m so jealous…….

Do you suffer from jealousy? You can admit it, this is a safe place :)

Seriously, do you ever look at somebody else (their body, their life, their kids that always seem to get along, their immaculate house) and feel a twinge of jealousy?

 

Today I am raising my hands high and saying “YES! I am jealous.” Mostly I am jealous of Giada de Laurentiis.

Ok, wait….what?!?!?!?!
Let me back this train of thought up for to better facilitate understanding (see kids, college English does come in handy).

The other day I took my daughter to the local library to grab some summer reading. That’s our idea of a fun day. While there I always do 2 things:

  1. I browse the DIET section to see what I am up against as a nutritionist :)
  2. I head to the cook books because summer is one of the best times to try new recipes….provided they don’t take all day.

So, I happily skip to the cook book section and begin to browse all the books available that provide mouth watering eats and treats for myself and the fam. I ran across Giada’s book Giada at Home. Now, I have checked this book out before and I have even used some of the easy and yummy recipes, but today something hit me like an uppercut to the gut. As I held the book I had a complex thought process that involved the vision of a perfect life: a clean house, kids who are ALWAYS happy, Italian food for every meal (my version of Heaven), and the basics of seemingly having it all together. To put it simply: I was jealous.

You see, I just came off contest prep a few weeks ago and have slowly been trying to acclimate to a “normal” life. School has also ended and my visions of my teenagers uttering compliments to each other as they clean the house spotless have come to a grinding halt (because my expectations obviously exceed reality) and I have started a new job which is a monumental undertaking of physical, emotional and mental energy. Not to mention the fact that I have begun to stress about workouts and nutrition, probably because those are the 2 things I feel are totally under my control. Are you tired just reading that? Don’t we all have similar lives? Don’t leave me hanging here….

Now you can see why my feeling towards Ms. De Laurentiis were lit on fire……but can you also see where I am letting my crazy show a little?

yourcrazyisshowing At least I can admit it :)

You see, I know NOTHING about the life Giada leads, other than what is portrayed in books and on TV. That may not even be her kids! OK, maybe it is, but will they be on the show as teenagers? Highly doubtful…..

The real source of jealousy came over my own life choices and my current inability to be OK with them. It’s summer and I still wake up at the butt crack of dawn to workout. My life choices have led here. The funny thing is I could stop, but like a drug addict I won’t. Why? Because this is, quite literally, who I am. I don’t workout to get skinny (have you seen me?) I workout to be SANE. The other option isn’t pretty. So, even though I LOVE what I do and I realize not many will give up sleeping in late on the weekends to hit the local track, I can still experience those twinges of jealousy that can derail my whole day….not to mention the fact that it keeps me bogged down and ineffective.

So what’s a gal (or guy) to do when jealousy rears its ugly rear? Well, we have control over our choices and our actions, so here are my personal action steps to getting it back together:

  1. Ask yourself what this person has OR portrays that is making you feel this way.
  2. Make a mental or physical list of your lifestyle/appearance/house life/etc. that you LOVE (even if it’s love/hate because it’s a part of WHO you are).
  3. Ask yourself what you are willing to give up to get what this person has.
  4. Ask yourself WHY (this is a key step here.)
  5. Finally, is what is portrayed really REAL?

In today’s media age we can portray the life we WANT to live rather than the life we do live. Let me give you a couple of examples:

  • My house is always a wreck and I DO take pics with a messy background (it totally makes me relatable), BUT before I got cool with the fact that the house looks like people actually live here, I would box up stuff and throw it to the side so my house appeared to be spotless. It’s all an illusion. And don’t play like you don’t do that, that why all your kids pics are either in the same part of the house or on the front porch. Be OK with who you are ;) mess and all.
  • My ABS are only visible first thing in the morning or right after a killer tabata or HIIT workout. SO….that’s when you get ab shots (that’s pretty much across the board). I have yet to be so comfortable that I will post a shot post Buca di Beppo plate of spaghetti and meatballs…with pizza…and dessert. I show you the best, not the 2 trimester :)
  • This one’s free: I post pics of my kids NORMALLY one on one with me. They look content cause they totally think their mom rocks (cause she does!), and it looks like a cool little fam. I don not typically post the pics of my teenagers picking fights with each other over every little thing and my husband and I rolling our eyes and trying to referee……but just ending up making them pick up dog poop as punishment.

See? We can choose to filter life to the outside eye. It’s not because I try to be anything I’m not, it’s because you don’t want to let people into every nook and cranny of your life AND you don’t really want to heap the negative stuff out there.

Another important part is asking yourself what you’re willing to give up in order to get with others seemingly have.

A good example is physical: I have loads of people tell me it must be nice to have all the time I have to workout…..yet they don’t want to hit the gym at 4:30 a.m. like I so often do. Giving up time is an issue for all of us, but anything worth having will cost us something. When I was getting ready for my competition the one thing I kept being told is that competition prep is so hard only an estimated 5% of people actually complete it. I wanted to be included in that minority and that is what allowed me to give up some things in order to succeed.

So, maybe we all deal with the green eyed monster in some form. It can actually push us out of our comfort zones and to the next level, which is a great thing…..just don’t allow it to make you ineffective in your own life.

Keep living fit,

Michelle

Slimmer Summer Q&A