Wednesday, June 25, 2014

What Are You Doing To Stay Accountable?

I love when I get the opportunity to talk to anyone with my FT Family, and I had an opportunity to talk to one of my FT brothers who I haven’t seen in a while. In fact, I think today was the first time I saw him this month. Which, once again, this shows that even though we don’t see each other that often, how we continue to support each other. We were having the typical, hey how ya doin’ conversation, and then he asked if I ended up meeting my U2 goal. I know, you’re probably wondering what does this have to do with accountability. But, bear with me, I’m getting there! :) And, because I haven’t met my U2 goal quite yet, due to some minor setbacks, I got that, “well, crap, he had to ask” feeling. And with a disappointing tone I said, “No, not yet.” And then I proceeded to tell him about the Advocare challenge I’m on, and basically just telling him the things that I felt contributed to me not meeting my goal. His response to me was, it probably doesn’t help people keep asking you about it. And before responding to his comment, I stopped for a second thinking to myself it does kind of suck to have to say I didn’t meet my goal; but, then as I explained to him, that’s actually a good thing. It helps keep me stay accountable to my goals. See, told you I would get to the point! Ha! :)
Now, you hear A LOT about accountability in health and fitness, and if you have some type of accountability plan in place, it will definitely make meeting your goals easier. There are many ways you can keep yourself accountable and I want to share some of the things I do on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis, and other ways that have helped me be so successful with my health and fitness journey.
As far as daily, there are two things that I contribute to my success, and that is daily journaling of my nutrition and workouts. I write down what I eat, the times I eat, and even make sure I’ve figured up the calories to make sure I haven’t gone over or under what I need for that day. I also have a workout journal that Michael provides to his clients if they choose to use it, and I write down all my workouts from my sessions to even my cardio. This allows me to, not only monitor what I’ve done for that day, but helps me know when I’m improving. For example, I’ll take an AMRAP (As Many Rounds As Possible) workout from like six or eight weeks prior, do the exact same workout and see if I can get more rounds in than I did the last time. I carry these journals with me EVERYWHERE! I call it my health and fitness bible and anytime I need to refer to it, 99% of the time I can whip it out of my bag or purse. In fact, I had it in my purse and one of the girls with me asked, “Did that just happen?”. Yes, yes it did….LOL. But, these two things are a major key to being able to monitor your fitness and nutrition so you will know where you need to modify when something’s not working, or if it’s working where to keep doing what you’re doing.
Now something I do weekly to help me stay accountable, is I weigh in every Saturday. Even if it’s up a little, or a lot sometimes, it helps me know where I’m at as far as the scale. At this point, Michael and I are able to look back on my nutrition (or my week in general, especially if it was a stressful week for me) and modify where needed. Of course, we don’t only focus on the scale, and that’s really important that you realize the scale isn’t everything. You can be up a few pounds on the scale, but because you’ve improved in other areas, that week you might have hit a new PR or even able to finally zip those pants that you’ve wanted to wear for so long. So, even though we don’t want to focus only on the weight, it’s still a good weekly tool to help keep you accountable. Notice I said weekly, DO NOT weigh yourself daily or even multiple times a week. Pick a day and time to have has your weigh in time, and weigh every week on the same day and time. I weigh in every Saturday morning right before our 9:00 AM group session. And if at all possible, use the same scale. This will help you be more consistent and help better guide you with accurate results, at least that's my opinion anyway! :)
Each month Michael likes for us to have some type of goal. It can be any type of goal, weight loss, new PR in deadlift, more pull-ups, or even just doing something outside your comfort zone. Anything that will give you something to help you stay focused on your goals to make sure you don’t get completely off track. This month he wanted us to focus on getting outside of our comfort zone, so I have getting a tattoo and rock climbing. Well, one is done, my tattoo, and I’m working on setting up the other. It might not be this month, but I will get that done.
Some other things we do to help keep myself accountable, we do assessments so I can see how I’ve improved on inches and even body fat percentages. I also have this blog as a tool. Being able to get on here and write like this, not only helps keep me accountable, but it really helps so many others and that is something that really makes me happy. I love knowing I’m giving back to others who need a little more encouragement and motivation, and that they are becoming healthier just because of something I’ve written. But, I will say, one of the best things you can do to help keep yourself accountable, is verbalize what you want to do and even how you’re going to do it. Tell your friends, family, co-workers, anyone that you see that can help you stay accountable. When you do this, many times when you find yourself in those weak moments, you tend to get through them without giving into the temptations. For example, if you tell your co-workers you want to lose 20 pounds and in order to do that you have to really watch your nutrition, if they see you about to give into the temptation of buying the candy bar out of the vending machine they can say, hey what about that weight loss goal you’re wanting. Now, and this is from personal experience (and you’ll know from my last blog post), you want to make sure you’re telling the people who truly support you. Those who truly want you to be successful will be able to call you out in a positive way, without it coming across as mean or hurtful.
This morning when I was asked if I had met my goal or not, he didn’t ask in way that made me feel like I was a failure, but just in a way that reminded me, no I haven’t met my goal and yes I know what I need to do to get there. And that’s the other thing I REALLY want to stress. Set your goal, figure out what you have to do to get there, go for it, but if for some reason along the way you have a bad day don’t worry about it. So you had one bad day, get back on track the next day and keep going until you meet your goal. Also, if you don’t meet your goal in the time you set yourself, again don’t stress about it! I’m technically about a month past what I wanted for my U2 goal. Am I disappointed? Yeah, a little, but I know what and where I had issues; and I know what I have to do to get there so I’ll just keep moving forward. And as Michael has told me many times, “It’s not a matter of IF you meet your goal, but WHEN you meet your goal.” Don’t ever change your goal just because you don’t meet it when you wanted to, instead keep your goal insight and just keep moving forward until you get there. Because, as long as you continue to keep yourself accountable, you WILL meet your goal! What are you doing to stay accountable?

Monday, June 23, 2014

Negativity - Ignore It Or Use It

Recently I’ve encountered some negativity from some friends, or let me rephrase that, I’ve encountered some negativity from some individuals who I thought would always be considerate of my needs and feelings regardless of the fact we share different opinions of how I proceed with my health and fitness journey. It seems like every couple months I get a few people who, just when I think they’ve grown up, will reach out to me with negative comments about Michael and Fitness Together. Even though it still bothers me, I have however decided it’s not worth getting so upset that it affects me in a negative way, and I’ve decided it’s not even worth replying to anymore. I’ve even gone to the extent of telling them how it makes me feel when they do this, but they still don’t respect me enough to keep their negative opinions and comments to themselves. I mean it still hurts because I cared so much about my friendships with them, but at some point I have to do what’s best for me and just let go. So, for about the last month I’ve really just been ignoring any type of contact from these individuals (text and FB messages), but came really close today to replying with how I really feel about them and their comments. But, it seems every time I do reply with how I feel, it makes it worse for me because all they do is come back with more negativity instead of any type of apologies for what they’ve said or done to make me feel that way.

One of the things I’ve noticed is they only reach out when it seems I’m really doing well, and like I mentioned before about every couple months. And I’m not sure why, but it’s like they are seeing that I’m doing well and are doing what they can to point out the negative. For example, my most recent weigh-in update talked about how I gained a little over 6 pounds, but I also mentioned that in the past two days I lost almost 3 pounds of that because I was on the max phase of the Advocare challenge; and I also mentioned the new PRs I made on bench press and back squats. Well, in my opinion, they took this as an opportunity to point out the negative. They both mentioned the struggle of the scales, and one even made the comment you can be great and still be a failure as they pointed out my gain on the scale.

But here’s the deal, before Michael took over all my private training, I was literally stuck for like 9 months. I went up and down with the same five pounds. I just couldn’t break the plateau no matter what the trainer at the time had me do. We tried modifying my nutrition, cardio, and even my sessions, but nothing seemed to be working. Now, looking back, I will say a lot of it had to do with my attitude because I allowed myself to be pulled into a negative atmosphere. So, I had a negative mindset and kept a lot to myself instead of talking with Michael. I was so unhappy that it didn’t matter what I did, because until I changed my attitude and my surroundings, I wouldn’t break that plateau. Michael took over my private training July of 2013, and when he did, not only did I start to see results again, but overtime became happier and as some even mentioned, “Back to the old Shui!”. I was talking with Michael today via message, and he made the comment that this was probably my first plateau within a year. And as I thought about it, I thought, actually I haven’t plateaued at all since he took over my training. Yes, I’ve had a week or two where I may not have done so great, but we either knew it was from stress, lack of sleep, or he would modify my nutrition and then the next weigh-in I was getting results again. So, even though this past week I might have gained a little over 6 pounds, I know that is not a plateau but the fact I did something my body wasn’t used to and that was taking in an extreme amount of fiber and fruit for the cleansing phase of the Advocare challenge I am doing. But, now that I’m on the 5th day of the max phase, I’m already feeling better and I have no doubt I will be down on the scale this Saturday when I weigh-in.

But, besides all that, here are a few highlights of how far I’ve come in just the past year since Michael took over my training by staying positive (for the most part, we all have bad days) and trusting the process by doing what he says with my workouts and nutrition.

  • I’m stronger (I’m deadlifting 275 lbs, back squatting 215 lbs, and bench pressing 155 lbs)
  • I’m leaner
  • I'm down from size 18 to 14
  • I'm down 40 pounds in the past year

So, today I decided to not only ignore their words, but I’m using all their negativity towards me and my efforts with Michael and Fitness Together to fuel my motivation! Instead of pondering on what they’ve said and sulk about it, I’m going to ponder on what they said and use that as fuel to push harder in my workouts, stay on target with my nutrition, and turn all my efforts into success. I will use their negativity to make my life positive!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Weigh-in Update - Keep Moving Forward

Sometimes I have to stop a moment, step back, and look at what all I've accomplished in the last three years and just exactly how far I've come; and today I had to do just that. As reported last week I was down a little over four pounds, and because I'm doing the 24-day Advocare challenge, I did a weigh-in on Thursday so I would know where I was at when starting the max phase of the challenge. I was quite disappointed, but did my best not to stress or get upset. I knew from what others have said that the bloating feeling I was having was normal and the results come in the max phase. I was up a little over six pounds when I weighed on Thursday, which I can already tell you a lot of that is water retention which is probably from all the fiber and fruit I was taking in during the cleansing phase. So, when I weighed in today, which is my normal weigh-in day and only two days since starting the max phase, I had some mixed feelings. Although I'm still up from last Saturday, I was happy to see I was down 2.8 pounds from my weigh-in on Thursday. This made me hopeful the max phase has kicked in. I really had to take a moment and just really think about this because I was upset and starting to get discouraged thinking I'm not ever going to meet my next goal. I also kept thinking what is the point of even moving forward with the challenge if it's not even going to benefit me or my goal. But, after taking a moment to just think on things, I know I've come so far in the past three years and I need to be very proud of that, which I am. But more importantly, I know as long as I have Michael and my Fitness Together family, I have no doubt I'll be able to not only meet my next goal I've set but I'll be able to go even further! And focusing on the positive of the week, I hit two new PRs and killed a burpee challenge! The burpee challenge was to complete as many burpees in seven minutes and I was able to get 61 burpees in, that's A LOT of burpees for someone who hates them so much...LOL! And then I hit new PRs on bench press and back squats. I increased my bench press by 10 pounds and was able to bench 155 pounds, and then increased my back squat by 30 pounds and was able to squat 215 pounds! So, even if I'm struggling on the scale now, I have to look at the non-scale successes I've had this week and also just remember how far I've come and that I WILL meet all my goals! I just have to keep having faith in myself and keep moving forward!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Just Do The Damn Burpees!!!

I have a love/hate relationship with burpees. We all have that one exercise that we just hate doing, and for me it's the burpee. And I'm always asking why we always have to have burpees in the workouts! But, I'll also be the first one to admit that it's one of the most effective total body exercises and I will incorporate them when I'm writing a cardio workout for myself. Even though I doubt there will ever be a day that I say "I LOVE BURPEES", I will however continue to do them no matter how much I hate them. I just have to keep in mind they really are a great exercise for my body, and I just have to do the damn burpees! :)

Monday, June 16, 2014

Motivation Monday - Leaving Your Comfort Zone

This month at FT we are not only focusing on our monthly goals, but getting out of our comfort zone. If you continue to only do things that are familiar or comfortable, you'll continue to get the same results. Find your comfort zone, and then push yourself even harder and see exactly what you can do!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Planning/Prepping & Happy Father's Day

First, Happy Father's Day to all the Dad's out there! I know I have been very blessed with a wonderful daddy. He worked hard to support our family to make sure we not only had everything we needed, but everything we wanted! I'm very grateful for everything he has done for me! :)
Now, I've talked before about the importance of meal planning and prepping, and being on this 24-day Advocare challenge I have the next three weeks of meals planned out. Today I will prep all my meals for the week so I'm able to better stay on track. But, part of the planning is preparing for things like today. Being Father's Day our family will be meeting up for dinner and one of the things I do that has been very beneficial, is I go out to the restaurant's website and look at their menu and nutritional value. This way I go in already knowing what I want to order and so I have less of an opportunity to give in and order something that I really don't need to eat. Now, typically, I give myself a reward meal on either Saturday or Sunday, and normally I would have this as my reward meal; but because the meal plan on the challenge didn't call for a reward meal I've already decided I will stick with the grilled chicken breast for my lean protein, side of green beans, and a dinner salad with a light balsamic dressing.
From my personal experience, when I was just planning my meals for the week and prepping them each day as I went, I did well with following what I planned but would have two or three meals where I might not feel like cooking that night and change it to something different. Now, I didn't just go out and get a Big Mac at McDonald's, I still ate fairly healthy, just not what I planned and probably not as healthy as it could have been. But, once I started prepping my meals for the week on Sundays, I found I stayed with my plan the entire week and have had better results since doing so. I encourage you, if you haven't already, to start planning AND prepping your meals for the week. Really focus on it for a month and I guarantee you, not only will you see better results, but by then it'll be a habit and it'll be easier for you to continue this routine. So, how well are you planning and prepping?

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Weigh-in Update - Discipline

Today was weigh-in day, and after only six days on the 24-day Advocare challenge I was down 4.4 pounds this week! We have four more days on the cleansing phase, and then the max phase will be days 11 through 24. I'm really excited to see what kind of results I end up with at the end of the challenge. Don't forget, Michael Watkins owner of Fitness Together where I train, is a distributor for Advocare and you can click HERE to go directly to his Advocare site to learn about all their products and the 24-day challenge, and even place an order!
Besides reporting an update on my weigh-in, I wanted to write about discipline when it comes to food. Now, just to give you an idea of how far I've come, three years ago when I first started out on my journey I made the decision to not participate in office "food days" or attend certain functions with friends or family when I knew there would be a lot of food temptations. And it wasn't to be unsociable or what some might call a fuddy duddy, but it was because I knew I didn't have the discipline it took to turn down the foods I didn't need. And even though I may not participate in every "food day" at work, or make every event with my friends and family, the good thing is it's because I have other commitments or I just don't have the time to attend. I participate more in these things because I'm comfortable with knowing that regardless of what is served I know I have the discipline to choose the things that will get me closer to my goals.
Today we had our company's annual picnic, and I knew there would be food options that either weren't healthy or I didn't need. I will say overall we had decent options, but still made sure I turned down the things that I didn't need. The food items were: white bread, salad with ranch or Italian dressing, cole slaw, baked beans, grilled chicken, brisket, and cobbler for dessert. So, as I start at the beginning I turn the bread down because I don't eat white bread anymore, plus I knew I would be selecting baked beans which is a carb source as well. And of course had salad with Italian dressing. Good rule of thumb, avoid the creamy dressings like ranch. I got a small portion of baked beans and turned down the cole slaw. One I'm not a big fan of cole slaw, but also just because the main ingredient is cabbage it's still higher in calories and fat than what I want to eat due to the creamy dressing used to make it. Then I opted for a small piece, probably about 4 oz of chicken, and even though I could have opted for both I turned down the brisket. And after that I replied, "no thank you" when the server tried to hand me a plate of cobbler. So, I was able to attend a company event, eat healthy, and still enjoy myself.
I'm not saying it'll be easy, but overtime your discipline towards the results you want the most will increase and turning down all those tempations will be a habit for you. And some advice when attending functions that are set up buffet style, before you get in line and start filling up a plate, just walk past everything to see what all they are offering so when you start at the beginning you'll already have an idea of what you want to put on your plate so you don't end up with a lot of food you don't need. For example, if they offer both mashed potatoes and maccaroni and cheese, do you really need two carbs that are not even healthy carbs at that? Let me answer that for you, no you do not! But, by knowing they are offering both, when you get to the potatoes you can turn those down knowing you're getting ready to get some delicious mac and cheese! So, regardless of where you're at in your journey, always ask yourself if what you're getting ready to choose if it's something that will get you closer to your goals.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Who Do You Surround Yourself With?

Don't pinch yourself, yes you're seeing a new post! Ha! I've really got to get back to blogging regularly. I've noticed when I'm struggling emotionally and trying to stay positive, that lack of blogging is typically part of the issue. There's other things that might be going on, such as stress at work, not being able to workout as much as I would like to, or it seems my hormones are all whacked out when I'm getting ready to start my monthly cycle. Sorry fellas, this is life and we all know it! :) And the thing is, when I have all these things going on, instead of putting up my walls and shutting people out (because then they think I'm mad at them) that's when I really should be getting on here and blogging. It really helps me release any frustrations or anything that might be bothering me at the time.

I've come so far in the past three years, and have learned so much, that I LOVE being able to help motivate and inspire others to become healthier. And one of the things that I struggle with the most, is when I'm having my down moments, I don't feel I'm doing this and it's not fair to others. Regardless of what's going on at work or in my personal life, I try really hard when I walk into Fitness Together I am positive because I want other clients, and even trainers, to be encouraged and motivated to get the most out of the workout. And I have my moments when this doesn't happen, and even though I keep telling myself it's okay because I'm human and have bad days too, I still can't help but feel slightly guilty because what kind of motivation am I if I'm sulking and pouting. Sorry if I digress through this post, maybe if I blogged more I wouldn't have a million things running through my mind and I wouldn't do that! :)

Anyway, I've been extremely bored today because I didn't workout and didn't go to work, so sitting at home all day I was starting to get kind of bummed because my mind litterally is spinning and I ALWAYS overthink things and make my situation worse. So, after shedding a few tears when I was alone, I thought to myself, it's only ONE freaking day! And, so I decided to quit feeling sorry for myself and thought I would see when I posted something last. I was quite disappointed in myself that I've only posted two things this month, and it only was in regards to the June challenge. I know this blog doesn't only help me stay focused and motivated, but it helps so many others all over the world, that I thought I've got to get better at getting on here more often. Even if it's just a quick, hey life is great, with a quick motivational quote.

One of the things I was really thinking about today, is no matter how discouraged I become, it never fails that there are always several of my FT brothers and sisters who are always there to encourage and motivate me to keep pushing and giving my all. Even when I have a day like today where I don't step foot in the stuido, and I haven't even seen them, the positive messages they send me always make me feel better. As you go through your own health and fitness journey, and as you have those moments where you struggle, just take a moment and look at your surroundings. And when I say surroundings, I don't mean "things", but the people in your life. Are they supporting and encouraging your efforts, or do they bring you down and discourage you by their negative comments and actions? Make sure you're surrounding yourself with those that challenge, push, and motivate you. That's why I love my FT family so much, because I'm able to do all these things for them, but when I'm down and struggling they do the same for me.

Oh, and the reason why I didn't go to work or workout today was because last night I got my first tattoo (pic below)! What's special about this one is it represents a major milestone in my health and fitness journey, and that I'm really close to being under 200 pounds for the first time in like over 20 years! When I got right below 215, it really hit me that I'm getting really close. And Michael, the owner of Fitness Together and my biggest supporter, always has a way of helping me stay focused on my goals. One of the things he came up with was the U2, which represents "Under 200". When I would start to struggle in a workout, he would always remind me of my "U2" goal and would continue to push me harder, even when I wanted to cry. So, when I deciced to do the tattoo, I contacted the guy I was referred to, gave him the elements and this is the design he came up with. I wanted something that represented my fitness journey, and I love all the weights and the kettlebell is one I use A LOT! And then I wanted the U2 and one of the many quotes that has helped me stay motivated, "I DON'T MAKE EXCUSES, I MAKE RESULTS". The flowers and colors the tattoo artist came up with and it added that pretty, femanine touch to the design. I LOVE IT!  But, I was recommended to not workout the next day, and because it was my first tattoo I took the day off from work so I could wear my tank top for a few days to make sure it heals properly. Now, I still have a few pounds to go before I get under 200, and I was really hoping to hit that goal before I got the tattoo, but as Michael reminded me when he said, "You'll get there. It's not a matter of IF, but WHEN you get there!" And I also started a 24 day Advocare challenge Monday, so I'm hoping once I'm done with the challenge I'll be under 200! Now, if you are here in the Tulsa area, you know I'm ALWAYS encouraging you to contact Michael Watkins (owner) or Keith Jacobs (manager) at Fitness Together Downtown or Fitness Together Jenks/Riverside, and I still strongly encourage you to do so if you are serious about getting healthier and want the best team of trainers in the business. Make sure you tell them Sherrie aka Shui sent you! :) But, if you're in the local Tulsa area or even outside the local area, and are interested in the 24 day Advocare challenge I'm doing or their products, Michael Watkins is a distributor and I encourage you to check out his site. Click here to go directly to Michael's Advocare site and check it out. If you have any questions regarding the Advocare challenge or any of the products, he would be more than happy to answer them!

Friday, June 6, 2014

June 2014 Challenge

Here is the complete June Guts & Glutes Challenge. I found a great picture that demonstrates the donkey kicks, but feel free to message me with any quesitons. Good luck on day 30! :)

30 sec plank, 15 lunges per leg
30 sit ups, 40 lunges per leg
40 sec plank, 20 lunges per leg
40 sit ups, 50 lunges per leg
50 sec plank, 30 lunges per leg
50 sit ups, 60 lunges per leg
60 sec plank, 40 lunges per leg
60 sit ups, 65 lunges per leg
40 bicycle crunches, 45 squats
80 bicycle crunches, 75 squats
50 bicycle crunches, 50 squats
90 bicycle crunches, 80 squats
60 bicycle crunches, 60 squats
100 bicycle crunches, 90 squats
75 bicycle crunches, 70 squats
110 bicycle crunches, 100 squats
70 crunches, 40 donkey kicks
100 crunches, 60 donkey kicks
80 crunches, 45 donkey kicks
110 crunches, 70 donkey kicks
90 crunches, 50 donkey kicks
120 crunches, 80 donkey kicks
100 crunches, 60 donkey kicks
200 crunches, 2 min wall sit