Tag Archives: new year resolutions

“I used to be am an athlete”

Last night I did 85 full push ups, rows with a 20lb weight, tuck jumps, mountain climbers, Russian twists, plank jacks, weight swings, and squat shoulder presses…for half of my workout. That statement may be super un-relatable, unimpressive, or arrogant in your opinion…Personally I think it’s pretty damn good considering that a month ago push ups quickly fell to my knees, I struggled with a 15lb weight, and took one (or two) breaks in 45 second mountain climber intervals.

I digress…The point of this is not to post all about the butch sweaty shit I fill my evenings with, but instead to speak about fitness from the perspective of a former ‘athlete’. It wasn’t until I was talking to my doctor before the holidays that I realized how far off the fitness trail I had gotten. I think those of us who grew up playing competitive sports consider ourselves [still] to be athletes…training the amount my peers and I did, the mentality becomes a fiber of your self-image.

We, the starlets of ‘girls’ and ‘boys’ athletics may or may not have gone on to play varsity sports…hell, I ran a bloody marathon…or did something to keep the freshman 15 off….but now we’re men and women. Men and women who work, 8-5, which is really 6-6 when you consider getting ready and the commute, and then we go to happy hour because some days never end and we work now, so we can afford pretentious hipster beer to support local start ups run by 20 year olds making triple our salary. Then we go home and creep social media comparing ourselves to all of our other graduate friends while also watching Netflix and planning our next trip on our grown up vacations to motivate ourselves to go to the gym. But we’ll go tomorrow because we’re athletes and we get fit/lose weight/look great easily and naturally due to ‘muscle memory’. Then the vacation is actually soon, we check the weather to see how much we will need to be in a bikini, then pay too much for shadowed spray tans, cut out carbs and drink 4L of green tea a day.

Or something like that.

As mentioned, I had a moment of clarity when I went to my physician before Christmas. She asked what my fitness habits were like. I promptly said: “I’m fit”. She asked what I did to be ‘fit’, to which I got flustered and began reciting my athletic achievements from high school and college to have her so bluntly clarify what I had done in the last week, ‘’or month even’’. My response was “I walk to work…which is like 30 mins a day…and I go to yoga….sometimes…well….but not hard yoga”. Yes, my lack of evidence was a bit embarrassing… perhaps worse, she said I was ‘just an average adult’…I think I signed up for the Blitz Conditioning 30 day challenge that night.

I got to a point where I wanted to get fit. A point where losing weight was secondary to performance. I had been to Blitz’s HIIT (High intensity interval training) a few times. The first time I was sore for 5 days (also part of ‘I used to be an athlete’ syndrome….known as ‘5 years ago this was a joke, so obviously I can do it now’ complex”), so committing to 4 days a week for a month seemed extreme. Also, Blitz is pretty far from my house considering I commute by foot or transit, AND the challenge was 200 buckaroos. (Successful completion results in a ‘free’ February). So if, IF, there were days where my performance and restoring the facet of my identity that included ‘athlete’ weren’t enough…the mentality of it being a ‘$200 class’ got my ass to the gym.

30 Day Challenge: Nailed it!

30 Day Challenge: Nailed it!

A month, nearly a ‘stone’ lighter, and many inches slimmer I can say with confidence that the 30 day challenge was the best ‘diet’ I could have done. Why? Because I am going to stick to it. Why? Because my life is more fun, includes more great people, I don’t crave my old lifestyle, and I am achieving goals (fitness and otherwise) again. Having to get classes done by Friday has made me avoid procrastination in the challenge but in every part of my life. I feel like I belong to the Blitz community; seeing the familiar faces is my social fix and it keeps me accountable.

Four days a week is a lifestyle challenge not an ego challenge (like 30 day every day events). If all studios did 4 day a week challenges there might be hope to a healthier Edmonton (& society in general). How can people preach to make ‘SMART’ goals, then host challenges that represent unrealistic long-term outcomes?? Exercising 4 days a week should be a habit. It shouldn’t be ridiculous. It isn’t ridiculous. And by the end of 4 weeks—the time it takes to break a habit—you realize it. More importantly you enjoy it, and you want to keep doing it.

HIIT is a great workout, you can read that in any journal or health blog, and many places offer it. So why Blitz? Because I am an athlete: I train, I set goals, I crush them, I set goals, I fail, I re assess, repeat. I’ve come to the conclusion that being an athlete is a mindset rather than a level of performance, and Blitz has made that accessible to me when I thought it was lost with my ‘youth’. I think I have been through every single one of those phases in the last months and I have felt supported and inspired to continue both by the trainers and my peers at every step of the way. That is worth any commute or price tag in my opinion.

2013: Good Health

Isn’t that what you hope for when you’re old and have everything else? I’m sure your genetics are great, and you eat gluten free, plus you’re too young to have any ‘bad’ diseases. You’ve never smoked, wear SPF 60 and limit risky behavior (or whatever they call unprotected sex these days)…Let’s, just for a minute, pretend that none of that matters.

I’ll start with the obvious: Never take your health for granted because anything can happen. Having an achilles repair at 15 will teach you that the odds aren’t to be trusted. And in recent news, for somebody that is typically pretty healthy, last year I had stitches, an xray, CT, ultrasound, and extensive non-routine blood work (all overseas). Being unwell while travelling magnifies the perceived severity of the situation because you are losing valuable days you could be spending seeing the world being drugged up in bed. Then you think about it for a few minutes (because you’re stuck in bed) and you realize that if you’re living the life you should be living, a sick day at home should suck just as much (almost).

So yes, it is important to do all those things (the sunscreen and whatever else), because we should do all that is in our control to achieve our best health and every bit helps…but we also need to make the best of our health while we have it because you never know when things could take a turn for the worst and an unfortunate reality of it is the luck of the draw. It shouldn’t only be cancer survivors who celebrate each day cancer free, every day any of us is healthy is a day somebody else isn’t. We, as a society, seem to have gotten on some messed up bandwagon where we need to lose it all before we appreciate having it [that’s assuming we ever get it back to the same capacity]. I don’t know about you, but I’m not keen on the idea of waiting for a tragedy to start living the life I want. All I wish for now (on wishbones, tarot cards, shooting stars, etc.) is good health. That’s what my parents have done for years while I’ve been wishing for the newest Apple gadget or big career opportunities but what good is any of it if you don’t have your health?

“Being fit feels better than junk food tastes”…or something like that. But seriously, it does. Not only does not gaining weight save you money on oversized sweaters and useless diet pills…but it makes you happier with what you have and who you are. The confidence gained from being fit, not skinny or jacked, merely ‘fit’ can change your outcomes in relationships, the workplace, and your overall confidence in pursuing goals. I’ve realized that if I can go workout with friends it costs less money, equal time, and an inverse calorie expenditure as going out for food…somehow I just figured this out recently. In addition to that, I am meeting more people and becoming more integrated into my community. I suppose the whole ‘fit’ thing all comes back to the idea of accept or change…but I feel like the challenge we (or maybe just I) face is in the goal we are setting. When I was in India I lost 30 lbs in less than 2 weeks. I was lighter than the number on my driver’s license and I had never felt so weak, incapable, and unwell in my life (even once the sickness had left my system). It was then, that I was my ‘goal’ weight that I realized I had been setting myself up for a choice between unhappiness and failure…not so fair to do to yourself if you ask me…

I saw an article the other day that said the most successful goals are those we don’t share with others. Psychologically when we tell others about our goals we consider them done. Yes, telling others keeps you ‘accountable’…but do others really hold you to your word? Most friends will just support your excuses, and I’m guilty for it too even with the people I love most. When I set goals and tell people I find (personally) that I am making goals that sound impressive. The are also usually far beyond what I would have to achieve to be happy. Would I like to look like a VS model? Well I certainly wouldn’t turn you down…but if you offered me Jennifer Lawrence I would be just as healthy (probably healthiER to be fair), and because my life would be more balanced I would probably be happier too.

When I decide that I am going to start working out more and eating healthier because I will be happier I actually stick to it. Mostly because it is a lifestyle shift rather than a random number that signifies success. I believe that health and happiness come hand in hand. More than ever I am realizing the unhealthy images we try to achieve for our bodies and how we waste so much time hating ourselves for not achieving them. When I got home and got my bloodwork done after all that I had been through and my mind went to the worst case scenario I wasn’t thinking about how if I found out I was dying I’d like to look more fit in a bikini. I was thinking about the people I love and my mark on the world. A healthy weight is part of good health, and a certain level of fitness is a healthy challenge to strive for, but the obsession over image versus health is a serious issue I’m still in the progress of working through.

All of that to comes to the general statement that the healthier you are, the better you feel, the more you will be willing to try new things, the more you will learn & experience, the happier you will be, the more people that will be in your life, the odds of living longer or at least holding more healthy years is better, and so you have more time to make memories…and in the end, isn’t that kind of what it comes down to? So I’ve decided two things: to commit to health and to be grateful for every day of it I’m granted. The seemingly terrible chore of getting out of bed at 6 AM is in fact a gift some people don’t have the luxury of doing…now consider all the other extraordinary things our healthy bodies do to us every day…