Archive | November 2013

Gratitude- A Time of Thanks and Giving

Well, it’s that time of year again. The time where the weather gets colder, holidays are upon us, the year is coming to a close, and we take time to reflect on what we are grateful for.  It’s also a reminder that we should take time to express gratitude on a more regular basis, not just when the year comes to an end.

gratitude-quotes-01

I love this!

Deepak Chopra says it best that:

“Gratitude is such an important force that we can use to expand our happiness, create loving relationships, and even improve our health…It is a fullness of heart that moves us from limitation and fear to expansion and love. When we’re appreciating something, our ego moves out of the way and we connect with our soul. Gratitude brings our attention into the present, which is the only place where miracles can unfold.”

In the spirit of Thanks and Giving, here is a list of 20 things I’m grateful for…

  1. Having my family alive and healthy
  2. Getting to see my family for the holidaysquotes-for-family
  3. Technology allows me to stay in touch with friends & family when I can’t see them
  4. A roof over my head
  5. My well-decorated house that reflects my style and personality. I love it!
  6. Plenty of food in my fridge and pantry
  7. A reliable vehicle that gets me where I need to go
  8. I stay busy but also take time to appreciate the little things
  9. Coffee…warm, delicious coffee. I love it.
    Coffee_Love.jpg.crop_display
  10. Hot showers…there’s nothing like it
  11. The drive and desire I have to commit to a healthy lifestyle
  12. Mental and physical strength
  13. Friends who appreciate and value my company and who I feel the same way for in return
  14. Being comfortable in my own skin
  15. Self-confidence and acceptance
  16. Resiliency to handle setbacks gracefully without falling apart
  17. An open mind that allows me to accept others’ ways of thinking and being even if they are not the same as my own
  18. Being able to forgive others even if I do not receive an apology or closure
  19. Faith that things will be alright in the end…if it’s not alright, it’s not the end
  20. Being at a place in my life where I may not have everything I want, but I am content with what I have

thanksgiving-blessing Source

I have to say, making this list really got me into the spirit of being in the present and being thankful. It’s amazing  how just being conscious of the the things you are grateful for can instantly boost your mood. Try making your own thankfulness list!

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” -Melody Beattie

Happy Thanksgiving 🙂

Ciao for now!

 -E

Advertisements

Legsssss!

Well I’m feeling super after a kick a** leg workout this morning. I got up a little earlier because I wanted to do a longer workout to make up for a fun weekend with family. I took Friday-Monday off from the gym while traveling to Massachusetts to spend some much needed time visiting my sister, dad, and grandmother…and even got a surprise visit from my brother on Saturday!  It was awesome and after going HAM last week at the gym, it was good to have a few days off to rest and allow my body to recuperate.  Sidebar: even though I know that rest is just as important as working out, I have to admit I often feel guilty for taking more than a day or two off from the gym. Of course, if someone else told me they were sore and felt like they needed several days or even a week off, I’d encourage them to take the rest rather than overdo it…funny how it’s easy to give advice but not always easy to follow it!

Anyway…back to legs. I am proud to say that I’ve still been using the power rack instead of the smith machine…If you remember, I blogged about making that switch on my birthday last month.  Today I started off with a lil cardio on the elliptical and then went straight to squats. Normally, I do seated leg curls & extensions first (and on the same day as squats), but I know squats use a lot of energy and you generally get more power if you do those first. So I did a warmup with the bar and then did a combo of narrow and wide-legged squats for 15 reps each at 10, 15, 20, and 25 lbs. The weight is moderate, but I know if I try to go heavier right now, I’ll sacrifice form.

images

Source

Next up, 3 sets on each leg of weighted static lunges with 15lb dumbbells. Emphasize the glutes and give them a good squeeze on the way back up, and you’ll feel those puppies burn! haha It hurts so good!  Followed those up with donkey kicks for 3 sets of 25 reps each leg with foot to the sky and 25 reps each leg with a lateral raise.  You start off feeling okay, but toward then end, your booty and thighs will be screaming. Trust me.

donkey-kicks

Donkey Kicks

Source

In the spirit of true masochism, I finished up with a combo ab/side leg raise for 3 sets of 20 reps each leg, and wrapped it up with about 100 calf raises (50 with toes pointed straight, 50 pigeon-toed).

side_iso_ab_with_straight_leg_rise_m_finish

Iso-Ab With Straight Leg Raise

Source

I’m hoping for a little delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) tomorrow morning…Told you I was a bit masochistic 😉

On that note, have a super week!

Ciao for now,

E

You’re An Animal!

Despite having several kick a** gym sessions this week, I’ve been feeling a bit “meh” about my progress. I know I’ve been consistent with training, and have been eating fairly clean (but I don’t count calories or limit myself to treats like wine or chocolate…because well, they make me happy! haha) So it’s really for no particular reason that I don’t feel as ripped as I normally feel after a gym session.

1344478936200_8378665

The reason I’m sharing this is because I know there are readers out there who will totally relate to this nonsensical feeling of “meh.” And I’m sure there are ways to be scientific about figuring out why…food diaries, cutting out treats, etc…but honestly, I don’t want to be that rigid because I don’t think it’s good for my mental health.

That being said, I got up at 5:30 this morning, as I usually do, and headed to the gym. Today was mainly shoulders and I focused on how many more reps I am able to do now, and with more weights than when I started weight training. I finished up with some ab work and bumped into a friend I knew at the gym and he was like “Wow, I was watching some of your moves you were doing earlier…You’re an animal! Keep up the great work!”

whos-awesomeSource

It felt great to hear the positive reinforcement, and it just goes to show you that sometimes we can be our own worst critic. We see ourselves every day, and it can be difficult to notice the changes that others are seeing that are the result of our hard work. Never mind the fact that the most important changes are likely happening on the inside!

Having an off-day? An off-week? Push through. Don’t quit. Hard work always pays off, even if there are days where you can’t see it in the mirror. Be kind to yourself…after all, you’re an animal! 😉

Ciao for now!

 -E

ProGress

We live in a success-driven world whereby “success” is perceived less as a journey and more as an ultimate destination. While this way of thinking can be motivating, it can also be discouraging and rob us of happiness “in the moment.” We think we will finally be successful when we ______________ …fill in the blank: lose 10 lbs, have a six-pack, get a boyfriend/girlfriend, get married, make x amount of money, drive x car… Can you relate? Are you auditing your own list of “I will be successful when’s?”

Rather than having this mindset, I’m reminded lately how much more beneficial it is to focus on and celebrate progress, rather than waiting for whatever finite parameters of success we have in mind.

celebrate-your-progress-e1355501619381

Source

By definition:

prog·ress (n.)

1. Movement, as toward a goal; advance.

2. Development or growth

3. Steady improvement

pro·gress (pr-grs) pro·gressed, pro·gress·ing, pro·gress·es  (intr.v.)

1. To advance; proceed: Work on the new building progressed at a rapid rate.

2. To advance toward a higher or better stage; improve steadily

This means that every little step we take in an overall forward direction is progress. Your goal is to lose 10 lbs? Great! Celebrate each pound lost. Celebrate new, good habits of eating more healthfully.  Your goal is to go to the gym 5 days a week? Great! Celebrate each time you get yourself there.  Is your goal to make six figures?  Fantastic! In the meantime, celebrate the progress of getting a raise

no-matter-how-slow-you-goSource

On top of that, research shows that positive reinforcement (i.e. celebrating progress) is more powerful than negative reinforcement (i.e. beating yourself up for not being exactly where you want to be). So, a kick in the ass may be necessary at times to get you going, but periodic self pats on the back will keep you going longer. 😉

 “Our ambition should be to rule ourselves, the true kingdom for each one of us; and true progress is to know more, and be more, and to do more.” – Oscar Wilde

 Ciao for now!

 -E