Monday, July 18, 2016

Fitness and Me - A relationship history

If you follow me on IG @fullhouseofroyals - you'd think I was a fitness fanatic and always have been.

However, if you have followed me over the years here or on other social media or if you know me IRL, you'd know that I am either highly committed to the point of annoying or completely disconnected, uninterested and not giving of two shits with regard to exercise, fit and healthy living and all that jazz.

I have had the benefit of genetics on my side for the majority of my life where when I heard "it's not fair, you're so skinny" it was really a true statement.  It wasn't fair.  I ate anything and everything whenever I wanted to.  I did not workout and still fit in size 4-6 on the regular.  That shit is just not right.  Right?

Well, skinny was ok then because I was young and lazy (and clueless).  Then I had kid #1 & #2...and I was all "what the f happen to my hips?!"  So like a woman with a mission, I worked my tail (pun intended) to get in shape.  It worked, of course.  I put in the time and commitment to exercise every day, even if for a little bit until I was back to my fighting self.  (at least my clothes fit again)

With 2 babies, I was on and off the workout wagon.  I'd go a few months and then off.  Again, no consistency.  As they got older and I had a better handle of my schedule, I tried to make more of an effort.  We had a home gym with the bench all the weights on it and a recumbent bike (which was my post baby savior) and that is all.  I tried to go down there a few times a week for a little while but still not enough to be impactful.

Then, my life turned upside down for awhile.  I started riding my mountain bike on trails outdoors by myself.  It was very therapeutic.  You have a lot of time to think and reflect when you are on a long bike ride and you get to appreciate things that you normally would take for granted.  Like the bunnies crossing the path or the beautiful vibrant colors in the birds or the crazy sounds of the water in the bayou or the cicadas in the trees.

Finding solace on a bike was great but also very time consuming.  Loading it up and getting all the gear up to the trail and back was a pretty big commitment out of any given day.  Then one Summer in 2009 actually, I was sitting on the couch watching the IRONMAN championships in Hawaii on TV. You know how they cut away and do those inspirational stories about people overcoming huge obstacles and committing to doing something so massive for themselves, for a cause on behalf of someone else or just to prove that anyone CAN do whatever they set their minds to do?  Yea, well...I was watching that and I can't remember what or who the story was but it inspired me.  It motivated me.  It MOVED me.  Literally.

I jumped off the couch, laced up my shoes and took off running.  There may have been an f bomb thrown in the mix  to the tune of "f this, I have to do something".  I am not a runner.  The only time I ever ran was in high school gym when we had to run around the track. Or if someone was chasing me, duh.  (Actually, I take that back.  I ran before that.  When my sister in law was getting wedding ready and we lived in the same apartment complex, she started training for a half marathon.  I trained with her on the treadmill until I hurt myself.  I didn't really "train"...I didn't even own running shoes...just tennis know the ones.  I didn't know anything about heartrates, pace, nutrition, stretching...NOTHING.  (it was pre-internet so ignorance was easy)  I can't even remember how far I ever ran...4 miles?  6?) Sorry, tangent much? Heehee

So I ran...I ran hard and fast and turned around and ran all the way in to my living room with fists in the air and a "HELL YEA!".  It was Summer in Houston so probably also about 100 degrees outside. In the middle of the day.  It was the worst time ever to try to take up running.  But I did.  Shoot, I didn't even know how far I went!  Come to find out, I drove to my turning point and learned that I ran 2 miles roundtrip.  WHAT?!  Oh joy!

What followed was trials and tribulations of doing something to my body that my body was just not used to.  I learned a lot about shoes, pace, heart rate, gadgets, body mechanics, plantar fasciitis, IT bands, stress fractures, going out too fast, too hard, too slow too much too soon.  All that.  I did 5ks, 10ks and eventually my first ever half marathon.  With all the injuries and still being green to it all, it was an overall 'Meh' experience.  I found that my knees were weak, my hips tight and my heart not very efficient.  But I also found that there was a sweet spot to this running thing.  The first mile or two were pure crap.  Everything cracked and your head goes through an inventory of all the things that hurt.  I was looking forward to the next light post or tree to be my stopping point and I always pushed just a little further.  But then, when you finally find a groove and you are already on your way back home you realize, hey...I can totally keep going.  I'm going around the block again!  No, I'm going around the neighborhood again!  And 5 miles turns into 8 or 9.  Runners high.  It's a real thing.

Prior to this run epiphany, we as a couple, had run through one round of P90X.  I believe if I had continued with that while running, I would have eliminated a lot of my injuries.  But that is nor here or there now.  Just hind site talk.  I learned through that experience that I CAN do pushups!  A lot of them!  My muscle tone was probably in peak form for my life at that time.

After the half marathon was done, I decided I needed to put my love for the bike to better use. My dad, an avid lifelong cyclist, has been telling me for YEARS that that is what I needed to put my efforts in.  But of course, do we ever listen to our parents?  Uh, yea. Exactly.   He was also the one that told me I should run track in high school and I thought he was nuts.  I shoulda listened.  Sorry dad.  :/

My dad had done many bike races and rides over the years including the MS150 a good 12-15 times. My hubby was nice enough to buy an official road bike and I started training as soon as the half was done.  I experienced some brutal training rides in freezing winter and in the hills but no injuries other than IT band flare up here and there.  I did the MS150 two years and to this day, love getting out on the bike.  I try to do a minimum of 20 miles (much to my hubby's dismay...haha) and will sometimes try to ride with my dad and not get my ass handed to me.  (He is tough to keep up with...his "casual" rides are hardcore workout rides for me!)

Fast forward to having two more babies.  Nothing is more motivating than knowing the outcome of things from previous experience and knowing what to do to change results.  So last two babies, I worked out AFTER as a remedy to get "back" to my old me.  This time, I was going into the pregnancy being the best, fittest me so that getting back is not quite such a difficult journey.

My pregnancy fitness was on point.  It was my first REAL training.  I learned how to swim (I think I documented some of that here on this blog!), I started doing yoga regularly and also added spin classes and aerial fabric and conditioning classes too.  Baby #3 came and went and my body snapped back like a rubberband.  It was fantastic!  And then...I got busy being a working mom of 3 and I slipped again.  Until I found out I was pregnant with #4.  New goal!  I got back on the same type routines and again, boom, that kid popped out and was back to my old self in no time flat.

I ran with them, pulled them on the bike and did some spot workouts at home here and there but again...nothing to keep me committed.

Last year, I figured my goal oriented nature was the only way to keep me on track.  Sign up for things, commit to train, show up and do it.  I've documented my whole trial "half ironman training" experience on this blog too.  Feel free to peruse at your leisure. ;)

I worked my butt off for a good chunk of the year.  I ran, swam and biked.  I hot yoga'd here and there and I lost my ass.  Literally.  All the cardio makes all the curves disappear on me. I did several sprint tris and then school happened.  My schedule blew up and getting the workouts in was getting harder and harder.  So, I stopped trying.  Rather than miss a few here and there, I chunked the whole program because I didn't want to "half ass" it.  Makes sense.  No.

So my  hubby got me going again Jan 1, 2016.  Motivated me to get my ass in gear...I even had a hashtag for it.  #newyeargetmyassingear  (look it up, it's true!) I committed to doing SOMETHING every day.  Not for a race day.  Not for a due date.  Not for a milestone birthday. Not for a weight number.  Not for a size.  Not even for a trip.  Although having one as a reward is totally ok. :)

The new goal was to do something for ME.  To set an example for my kids.  To be healthy for my family.  To motivate myself and others that could be in the same predicament.  To prove that everyone has the same number of hours in the day and no matter how tight, you CAN make SOMETHING happen each day to make you feel better.  Because every workout makes you feel better.

So now I am in month 7 of this #newyeargetyourassingear movement.  SEVEN.  Longer than pregnancy fitness time.  Longer than post pregnancy fitness time.  Longer than training for a full freaking ironman if you think on that.  And I can say proudly that I have done SOMETHING 95% of those 7 months.  Check my insta...haha.  I keep myself accountable there.

Here's the thing I did this year that I hadn't done in the past (for very long anyway) - I started lifting weights.  Consistently and often and actually increasing the weight too!  I've had gym stints in the past but not like this.

I decided to use all the machines in the office gym and learn all the things that they can do.  I'm stronger for it.  Not skinny.  My ass is semi gone but the part that has stayed is hard. Lol.  You'll be able to bounce a quarter off that baby soon! Ha!

I am slowly becoming less timid about going to the big gym and trying a machine there.  It can be really intimidating sometimes...especially if they don't have a little picture by them explaining how they work.  Lol! I'm all about instructions, man.

I am now officially addicted.  I look forward to going to the gym and have a hard time leaving because I want to try "one more" exercise.  Times 3 rounds of 15 reps.  Haha.  I still run but my lack of steady training and heat/humidity of the summer has affected my pace which in turn affects my ego.  Just keeping it real.  I like to go fast.  And when I can't, it pisses me off.  So I go further instead. Slow and steady, I guess.

Here's a revelation: 7 months of weight training, some yoga, cycling and running and no injuries. Hmm.  Maybe there is something to that whole moderation is king thing.  (Remember the half marathon earlier this year?  How I was all gun ho and then hurt myself?  Well here's the refresher link and also here)

So now what?  Staying on the steady train my friends. I am seeing big results in the way my body looks and I love the way I feel and I am not following some crazy training schedule or diet plan to do it (moderation and smart choices).  My friend wants me to do a tri with her in a few weeks but I haven't been in the pool in a long while.  I think I may have forgotten how to swim!  I may give it a go, we'll see.  I also have some pilates classes lined up, more bike ride dates with the hubby (yay) and I think I may get back to doing the aerial yoga classes again too.  My other friend wants to do a destination race in Utah early next year and the triathlon in Cuba is also very tempting.  I just don't know if I want the training schedules.  Haha.  Now that my muscles are stronger, running longer and harder may be easier and will keep me injury free.  I will take that all into consideration soon.

In the mean time, we are going to be converting a double garage to a home gym later this year that I am really excited about planning and designing!  It will be great to have a nice space to go to without leaving the house (or tripping over cars and My Little Ponies - haha)

So although fitness and I go way back and our relationship has been through ups and downs, it is finally this year that we've gotten to better understand one another and bond.  I look forward to building this relationship and sharing it with my family and friends (including you!).

Come check out my daily updates @fullhouseofroyals on Instagram or on Snapchat : valofthevilla for motivation, inspiration, reviews, funny commentary, music, recipes or plain ol foodie pics.  :)

Hope you're all having a fab summer!