Ask Me Anything!

I'm an over achiever... It's the first 2 for me

So I thought it would be fun to answer common (and uncommon, lol) questions that I get in person or over email and social media.  If you have one that you would like for me to address next time around- feel free to comment or email it, and I will do my best!

Q:  What is your diet plan? What do you do for nutrition?
A: I eat whole and clean foods… I abstain from dairy, sugar, most legumes, and unsprouted wheat/flour. I drink water or Coffee. I use coconut creamer in my coffee, and Almond Milk for my protien shakes. I follow the Whole30 food list about 97% of the time. The 3% that I don’t follow is in my condiments and on my cheat meals. I don’t really sweat my sauces and condiments that much… If is is something I use really often, then I try to purchase the sugar free option (hidden sugars are the worst). Also, Whole30 doesn’t allow for cheat meals, and I have one a week. I try to make it a dinner and out at a restaurant- so that I have to walk away from the table, and so it’s my last meal of the day (so a cheat MEAL doesn’t become a cheat DAY).

Q: Do you like running?
A:  Nope. I honestly HATE the first 2 miles. After that- I do usually kind of hit “meditation” (especially if on trails)… and the world backs away– including the pain and the voices in my head telling me to go to Starbucks and chill instead.

I'm an over achiever... It's the first 2 for me

I’m an over achiever… It’s the first 2 for me

Q: How do you prep for an actual race day?
A: Race Day preparations start about 3 days out…and giddy-ness begins about a month out, lol. At 3 days out, I do not attempt any very heavy or fast PR’s (personal records) in the gym. 2 days before a race I will go in and run or lift- but pretty light for me. I mostly work on mobility and flexibility type stuff. Burpees, Swings, and box jumps if I am just dying for a quick sweat. The day before a race is total rest. I may take a leisure walk, but that is it- as far as workouts are concerned. Sometimes I carb load– sometimes I don’t. If it is more than 5 miles… then I will. The day of the race- I eat a peanut butter and jelly on Ezekiel Bread, and I take a coffee, banana, and protein bar on the road with me. Sometimes I eat it all, sometimes I don’t. Everyone’s pre-race meal is different. That’s what works for me. Some swear by two eggs and an oatmeal… some do a bulletproof coffee and a donut. Play around and see what works for you. But test before hand… race day is never the time to try something new.

My OCR race outfit is: Sports Bra, Spandex top (long sleeve cold gear for Spring/Fall races)… I wear either tights or spandex runner shorts (depending on weather) on the bottom. Smartwool socks and Innov-8 Trail Roc shoes. I don’t do cotton and I run commando. Any cotton at all *will* chafe and panties just create a convenient little hammock for the worst mud of the race to collect in. I also put some conditioner in my hair when I am pulling it up into a ponytail- total lifesaver when  you are hosing off later… the mud comes right out and no massive tangles. Ladies- do not shave your legs the day of the race. Taking brand new exfoliated skin in to murky waters is just a bad bad idea.
IMG_6119

Gear Bag for after the race:
**I always bring 3 trash bags. 2 for me- one for clothes and one for shoes, and an extra for someone else. There is always someone in the dressing tent that forgot hers. You’ll be her hero.
**2 packs of baby wipes. I tear through them and don’t care… use them like tissue to get as much as I can off. And again- I give anything I don’t use to the other ladies in the changing tent.
**Complete change of clothes. Don’t forget your underwear and bra… those will be dirty and you’ll need fresh. I’ve forgot undergarments TWICE, I kid you not… it just didn’t register when I was packing my gear bag.
**Flip Flops… If you have two raggedy pairs… bring them. One to use while still at the event, and one for the car ride home. The festival area will still likely be muddy after you clean up… so save your floor mats with the spares.

Q:  How do you clean up after mud runs?
A:  Initially after the race- I attempt to hose off at the showers BEFORE I get my bag from Gear Check. If you get your bag first, then you have to attempt to keep an eye on it and keep it close but dry while you shower. This is damn impossible. The whole “shower” area (read: bank of water hoses) is usually a big ass puddle… nothing is dry there, nothing. Just get the bag afterwards. Pro-tip: Do any swag shopping BEFORE your race and cram it in the bottom of your bag- better selection and your new stuff stays clean… mostly.
As I mentioned before- initial clean up is done with a hose and baby wipes while at the event. On the way home from the event, I stop at a car wash and make use of their floor mat clamps. Clamp your dirty clothes to the wall and get the pressure wand and go to town. 95% of the mud will be gone. Most of the color will return. But it is important to do this on the way home– the longer you leave it in the bag, the more set the mud gets and the higher the likelihood of mildew. Here’s a video of Margaret Schlachter from Dirt In Your Skirt getting it done… it’s a highly techinical process 😉 lol
Q:  How many pull-ups can you do?
A: 7.
Q:  What do you recommend for someone that wants to run, but is totally out of shape- and doesn’t know where to start?
A:  To get started- I am a big fan of the running apps for your mobile device. They usually progress you from very little running- mostly walking, to more and more running and less walking. Follow the plan, don’t jump ahead or skip days. If you had to walk more than what the app called for that day– then repeat that workout the next time you run.

Q:  I am currently using an elliptical for my Cardio (sore knees), can this be used as sufficient training for a 5k? I am also strength training at a Pilates studio.
A:  That is awesome that you are already tackling both strength and endurance! While the elliptical is going to help your overall conditioning… your bones and muscles do need running-specific training. If your knee pain is consistent, I would first get an “all clear” from your doctor- just to be sure there isn’t something that needs to be treated first. Then I would download a running app like I mentioned above. Your biggest risk is a stress fracture, which is essentially a repetitive-impact injury. Every step while running means your body is forcefully meeting the sidewalk- not gliding, as you do on an elliptical… All those little bones in your feet, ankles, and legs have to be trained up to be ready for that. Just start with a brisk walk to get going. The point isn’t to go far or even fast right now… it is just to get your body to start adjusting to the impact of “boots on the ground”

Q:  What protein powders or supplements do you use?
A:  I use Garden of Life RAW Protein (vanilla) with almond milk. I don’t use any other supplements.

Q: How often do you workout? What do you do?
A: I “workout” 6 days a week usually… Sunday is total rest.  I lift heavy and condition on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at Maximum Body Training.  2-3 days a week I add a run to my training at the gym- one that’s longer and one that’s shorter.  Once a week, usually Wednesday, I do lightweight or no-weight… just work on mobility, flexibility, handstands, etc.  I also do a couple of Muay Thai sessions at Coffey BJJ once or twice a week too- always on Saturdays at the very least.  All of this is totally dependent on feedback from my body though… if I am feeling worn out, low energy or maybe like I am fighting off a bug… then I back off.  I didn’t start off at this level either, of course… I started off lifting 2 days a week and run/walking one day… and progressed from there.

January Shiflett, RKC is a personal trainer, kettlebell instructor, obstacle course racing coach, and resident potty-mouth at Maximum Body Training in Cartersville Georgia.   You can contact her for classes and training opportunities at January.Shiflett@me.com

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I call Bullshit.

For most people success is rarely a straight line- it is full of misfires, stutter-steps, failures, and re-starts. Success for me started on an otherwise normal Tuesday, a day- like so many other Tuesday’s before it- that I could’ve made the choice to stay exactly the same.

But those decisions never really sound like how I just phrased it- do they? We tell ourselves we will start that “diet” on Monday… why? Because we just love how crappy we feel when we eat processed food, and we’d really love the opportunity to feel that way a few more days?!? And let’s not start that new workout regimen till the first of the month- because nobody ever lost weight or got strong when they started on the 13th, 17th, or 25th … right? Right?

It's total bullshit.

It’s total bullshit.

It’s all bullshit.   And yet we still listen to it, obey it, and believe it. We ultimately waste an incredible amount of time by being passive players in our own damn life story. Let that wash over you for a minute. By doing the same thing you have always been doing, by believing in the bullshit excuses, you are simply floating through your life completely un-engaged with your true dreams and goals. If you aren’t engaged and making choices that will bring you closer to those dreams then what exactly are you doing?

I have two major regrets from my weight-loss journey. The first was my all or nothing approach to food.   If I made a bad choice- then I would just chuck the whole day. I would essentially say “screw it” to making good food choices for the rest of the day… because I had already gone and messed it all up with ONE bad choice earlier on. That type of thinking allowed me to be a victim to the “accident/cheat/slip-up”, and lets be honest, I never tripped and fell face first into a pizza, I made an active choice to eat it. This rationale also alleviated me of any responsibility to practice self-control for the rest of the day. This bullshit set me back over and over again.

The second major regret was waiting so long to get into the gym- I wanted to wait till I had lost “enough” weight so that I wouldn’t be the “fat girl” and I would better fit in and fly under the radar. This type of thinking is SO SO bullshit on so many levels:

  1. That thinking means that the current gym members must be assholes and would look down on me for doing the exact same thing they did… join a gym to get results.
  2. Lifting heavy weight and following a training program is THE fastest way to ignite your metabolism and lose body fat… you know- the results I wanted.
  3. I was intimidated because I knew that I couldn’t perform the way I imagined the members inside the gym could. And I was right. But by not joining- I only confirmed that fact and delayed my own success indefinitely.

 

Here’s the thing- I know it takes a lot of guts to dress up and show up at a gym, especially in the beginning… you don’t know anybody, and you don’t know what to do- and everything feels weird and uncoordinated. You can do yourself a world of favors by hiring a personal trainer ahead of time. By hiring a trainer you can make sure that you not only perform exercises safely and correctly… but it also means that you’ll have a friendly face there too.

Here’s the thing… I think that we listen to the bullshit, like what I listed above, in order to keep ourselves safe. The reality is that we are all just very fragile, delicate souls. We don’t want to reach out and make profound change- because it could mean that we have to be really uncomfortable for a while. It could mean that our friends will be critical, or maybe even distance themselves from us… or coworkers may take potshots at your new “fanatical” ways. Making change would also mean that we have to shrug off our safe/damaging habits… which would leave us alone and defenseless to some dark parts of ourselves that are scary to confront. In fact- I can almost promise that there will absolutely be some really gnarly junk that you are going to have to address… after all, you haven’t been listening to bullshit for all this time, for no reason have you?

There is good news though y’all. Once you start ignoring bullshit, and deal with the real issues that lie beneath… there is happiness, balance, and incredible peace on the other side. It’s not all unicorns and butterflies 24/7… But you begin to recognize all that old bullshit when you see it, and you tell yourself to quit listening. You start defending your inner peace and happiness like your life depends on it- because frankly… it DOES.

So what’s it going to be? Are you going to keep denying yourself your very own happiness… just sloshing along through a fog of a life? Or are you going to call out the BS, shrug it off, deal with it… and claim the goals and dreams that have been sitting here waiting for you all this time?

Much Love,
~January

 

January Shiflett, RKC is a personal trainer, kettlebell instructor, obstacle course racing coach, and resident smart-ass at Maximum Body Training in Cartersville Georgia.   You can contact her for classes and training opportunities at January.Shiflett@me.com

RACE REVIEW: SAVAGE RACE GEORGIA

Remember that right arm... it'll be relevant later.

My final race for this season was the Fall Savage Race at Moonlight Stables in Dallas Georgia.  This event was billed as “The Race Built to Kick Your Ass”, it promised 6 miles worth of gnarly trails and intense obstacles that have a reputation for getting in your head-  with freezing ice baths and high jumps into watery graves.  I was originally set to run this event with a team- but between spinal surgeries (my racing partner), and a general chickening out by hardened MMA fighters… I was running this bad boy solo.

THE OBSTACLES:  As I was driving on to the property there were really only 3 things on my mind- Shriveled Richard, Davy Jones Locker, and Colossus. These are 3 are just a couple of Savage’s Signature Obstacles- a quick description of each:

Just go to your warm happy place.

Just go to your warm happy place.

Shriveled Richard: A storage container filled with ice and a bit of water… but mostly ice.  To navigate- you jumped in at one end, completely immerse yourself under a submerged baffle, then swim to the end and hoist yourself out.  I was in the second heat of the day, directly behind the elite heat (I always register early to avoid truly slopped up obstacles and trails) so the ice was really, uh, “fresh”.  This obstacle was just horrid… and there was little relief once I got out.  I really needed to run to get blood circulating and moving again- but this is where faith in muscle memory comes in… because you just can’t feel a damn thing below your belly button.  I was shocked to shit to look down and see that my feet were trotting along down there.

 

As close to terminal velocity as I ever want to be.

As close to terminal velocity as I ever want to be.

Davy Jones Locker: It’s a high jump into water, simple and straight forward.  I have never done a high jump at a race- and simply free falling into not-a-swimming-pool really worked on me.  As I ran up to it- I felt pretty good- ballsy and ready to go.  And I did jump with very little time spent thinking about it.  But about .04 seconds after I jumped, I started questioning some of my capabilities as a responsible adult decision maker.

 

Just a little up and over, and you are done! /sarcasm

Just a little up and over, and you are done! /sarcasm

Colossus: Colossus is approximately a 20ft quarter pipe with a dangling rope.  You run like hell, grab the rope, climb, and pray that someone will help you navigate the transition from the rope to plank.  This is always the hard part for me.  I have no problem getting to the top of any wall… but when a rope is involved, I totally don’t know what to do once I get there. I usually end up just flailing my legs over and free-styling it.  However, on this behemoth- you are damn near vertical at the top of this wall- which would mean some type of muscle up to get on the plank… but with my injury (more on that later)… well nobody had time for that.  Thankfully, a fellow racer grabbed my wrist and put it on the lip- because I just couldn’t trust I would catch it on my own. From there I got the rest of myself up, and then climbed up and over to the slip-n-slide.

I am thrilled that I conquered the 3 obstacles that were totally un-nerving me pre-race.  The obstacles at Savage ran the gamut from pure fun, to miserable, to unique, to vomitous (colon-blow, anybody?).  I was not disappointed in any way- they were all constructed solidly, and I felt the volunteers did a great job encouraging folks, but also avoiding bottlenecks.

THE TERRAIN:  I feel that the terrain was average in difficulty… but STELLAR in beauty.  The run, in and of itself, was such a gorgeous and beautiful run.  The property at Moonlight Stables is just breathtaking- we ran through thick woods, winding trails, and open pasture.  We had some fog, mist, and rain… and I managed to be out by myself for a large percentage of the running and it was just stunning.

THE FESTIVAL:  This race was well-organized and the festival area ran like a well oiled machine.  I was parked in less than 5 minutes from entering the property, and the walk from the car was not bad at all.  Once inside the gates, there were tons of super knowledgeable and helpful volunteers…smooth check-in, plenty of porta-potties, a clean showering area, and ample room in the changing tents.  I don’t normally complain about the standard $5 bag check that most races charge these days… I accept it.  But all of the other major races are also giving race images for FREE these days,too.  Not so at this race… this is a huge deal for a solo runner (I didn’t have any spectators to grab pictures for me)… and I am simply unwilling to pay the Marathon Photo fees. Savage needs to join the big boys and ditch the paid photos.

Tis a flesh wound.

‘Tis but a flesh wound.

Battlewounds...

Battlewounds…

OVERALL: The only major issue I had on this course was totally self-inflicted! Gah! I managed a pretty long and deep laceration at the “Me So Thorny” obstacle (the 17 year old boy that lives in my brain loved all of obstacle names SO MUCH, lol)… which ultimately ended up requiring 4 stitches later that day. But again, the staff at Savage Race (in this case the EMT on the course, and the paramedics in the First Aid Tent) were thorough and diligent in not only quickly treating my wound- but also getting me back on the course- which I truly appreciate.  I had a good streak- 16 races without a major incident. I am kinda okay with Savage taking that honor, and being the first race to leave permanent battle wounds.  That said, I lost approximately 20-30 minutes being treated- and subsequently I didn’t run as hard or fast, and stopped several times to help others up obstacles.  I was having a great run up till that point though… which I saw in my results that were published the next day.  Had I kept the pace and not got injured- I would have likely been in the top 5 women for my age group (I love that Savage does age/gender awards)… With the setbacks I still finished 21st out of 150.  I am pretty stoked about that… but that just means I am ready game for a re-match in Spring!

Girls gotta stick together ;)

Girls gotta stick together 😉

Giving a hand... see bandaged arm. lol

Giving a hand… with bandaged arm. lol

This racing season has been such an amazing season… I hate to see it end. From taking my buddy Stephen on his first Spartan Sprint, to running the inaugural BattleFrog, to my very first Savage Race… I simply couldn’t ask for any better.  As I sit here typing I am so grateful for so many many things… To have a body that has not only survived years of neglect and shitty food- but that has grown and served me in endurance and strength… For my trainer, Beth Andrews RKC, that has worked with me, modified countless workouts, helped me train through injuries, and answered eleventy-seven times “Should I run?”.  I am grateful for all of my running partners… namely Jennifer, David, Don and Stephen… for listening to me bitch about being hungry or needing to pee, being hot, hating elevation, or cursing speedwork… or just totally jumping into a race completely blind- just to do it.  Finally- I am most grateful for my husband- Duane, and my 2 kids… for being so supportive of my hobby… They listen to me dawdle on about which races I want to do, what my goals are, watch you-tubes of races, and put on Academy Winning performances when I re-tell my own race stories.  It has also meant ignoring me bumping around at 5am to beat the heat in Summer to get my miles in, or meeting me at the gym when the schedule called for a “two a day”. It meant metric tons of Epsom Salt, Arnica Gel, band-aids, and motrin.  I am so so grateful… there is just no way to say thank you enough.

That brings me to 2015! (I know, I know!) Here is how my race schedule is shaping up so far. I will have a team at each race- please let me know if you would like to join our wolfpack! I would love to have anyone that would like to attend! If the group wants to- we can possibly even get together to train some before each race:

2015 OCR Schedule:
Feb.  28: BattleFrog Miami (15k)
March 7: Atlanta Spartan Sprint (5k)
April 18: Savage Race Georgia Spring (10k)
April 25: BattleFrog Carolinas (15k)
May 16: BattleFrog Atlanta (15k)
More to be announced as the dates become available! Additionally, I have a big HUGE announcement forthcoming about what I will be doing with all of my time between now and then!

RACE REVIEW: RUGGED MANIAC ATLANTA

Obligatory Solo Race Pose

So in between the badassery of BattleFrog Atlanta and South Carolina… and before what is promising to be an ass kicking at Savage Race– I signed up for a lighter race- the Rugged Maniac.

I highly recommend this race for any first timer that wants to do something similar to a Spartan Sprint… but is not quite ready for a BattleFrog or a Savage Race yet. The distance is like the Sprint- around 3 miles or so, and the obstacles are challenging but totally do-able and approachable for those just getting into Obstacle Course Racing.  The Festival area was a little small- but had everything you need- from merch, to showers and changing tents, to music and games.

This guy... thought he had photo bombing game... great shot of the festival area behind him though! ;)

This guy… thought he had photo bombing game… great shot of the festival area behind him though! 😉

The Terrain: There were a few small hills along the course, and some wooded trail running. But for the most part the course designers stuck to the well-used wide trails that are already established on campus- keeping the hard/rooted/rocky/technical running to a minimum.

The obstacles:  I really enjoyed the obstacles on this course. They were all very approachable and just plain FUN… not too much of a mental block for most of them. The Walls were either ladder style (the taller ones), or the shorter ones had a lip on them that you could wedge your toe on to help yourself up and over with.  The barbed wire crawls were situated between muddy humps and mud ditches- but were plenty wide enough that there wasn’t any bottle neck to contend with.  Their gauntlet consisted of a wide balance beam with swinging bags to knock you off- but the catch is that those MASSIVE bags don’t weigh more than 3 pounds- so you can easily over-anticiapte (like I did) and send yourself off into the water…

The Gauntlet's got Tricks

The Gauntlet’s got Tricks

They also had a slippery slope (inclined wall with rope), and a particle accelerator (waterslide) as their big finish- which again… just total nonsense. But nonsense is fun!!!

Particle Acclerator: AKA Adult Slip and Slide

Particle Acclerator: AKA Adult Slip and Slide

They also had free race images- just like BattleFrog and Spartan. But- one BIG drawback: no bling. When I inquired about Rugged Maniac Medals, I was informed that they will be rolling out finisher medals beginning in September. I do hope they hold to their word as that would really be the only major complaint I have about this race.  So if you are looking for a race to get your feet muddy in- go for this one- it was a ton of fun, and I think a great way to get introduced to OCR’s!

RACE REVIEW: BATTLEFROG ATLANTA

I ran the Atlanta BattleFrog 15k OCR this past weekend… and I have to be honest with y’all… my Spartan heart has been won over. Spartan Races are fantastic, challenging, exciting races- no doubt. But the BattleFrog…oh this race was PHENOMENAL.

The Atlanta race was the inaugural event for BattleFrog, so I expected there to be some kinks that would need to be worked out along the way. I experienced NONE… which is so huge for their very first event. I will also add that this is the first OCR that I have ran with a partner. If you can find someone of similar fitness level, and running pace to train with- you MUST run with a partner. While I have never had a problem with making buddies while on any course- there would always be lulls of misery and boredom along the way. If you have a partner, you can look at them and say “What the f*** are we doing!?” and then laugh maniacally when you are reminded that you trained for 6 weeks for this shit.

The festival area was pretty standard… check in was seamless- less than 60 seconds and we had our bibs in hand. We hit the merchandise tent, aptly named “The Exchange”, to pick up some shirts while we were still clean enough to handle them. I loved all of their Merch. They actually had women’s cut t-shirts! Even the finisher shirts were in men’s and women’s cut!! (I know, I know! CRAZY!)

We joined the 10am wave, and got to see a SEAL Demo while we waited in the chute.   The best way to describe their demonstration is “Drive-by via Helicopter”. It was amazing to watch the helicopter and the SEALS, with their easy skill… just too damn cool, and what better way to get pumped up right before your race!?   Then HOOYA! HOOYA! HOOYA! And we were off!
I am not going to go obstacle by obstacle thru the entire course- there is youtube for that. But I do have to make a few points about this amazing course design. It was obvious from beginning to end that the designers (veteran Navy SEALS) were very VERY intentional about providing a demanding, thoughtful, and intense course. There was no just sending the racers through muck and mud just to do it. We were in the water, up high in the air, over all types of terrain, down low through culverts, rivers, and crawling through obstacles. The obstacles themselves ran a wide range- from brute physical force, to mental strategy, to sheer patience and endurance to plot through.

I have to add that the volunteers at this race were unbelievable! They were enthusiastic, super helpful, and just freaking pumped up! I cannot emphasize enough just how solid this race was- from beginning to end. Oh- and of course the BLING… They had different size and color medals for the different levels of races… The larger medal with the blue ribbon was for the 15k, and the smaller medal with the green ribbon was for the 5k. Here is mine… it’s kinda my favorite:

Big Honkin Bling

Big Honkin Bling

I do earnestly hope that this racing series makes it for the long haul, and sticks around for a long long time. The quality of the event and course is definitely right up there with the big dogs- like Spartan Race… and it would be wonderful to have some healthy competition. If this race comes close to you- Sign up and Show up! You won’t be disappointed!

It’s not you- it’s your work out.

How many times have you started a diet or new workout regime- that DID work initially, but then plateaued, and perhaps you even gained some weight back? And how many times did you meet this problem with the answer that it “must be me”, “I didn’t go hard enough”, “I wasn’t consistent enough”, etc? So you increase the intensity and frequency- only to get a negative response- like injury or weight gain? Then blame yourself again- for something that MUST have been lacking in YOU?

STOP IT. No really… Stop the thing that is not working. It seems so simple- and really… it is.

When I first started dieting and “working out” (long steady state cardio, like running and biking)- I dropped weight dramatically and fairly quickly at first. After about a month or so- the weight loss started to slow- and eventually stall completely. So I ran longer. I tried (Ha!) to run faster, and more often. It didn’t work- as a matter of fact, the scale started to creep back up! My hard work was reversing! Not only that, but I managed a stress fracture thanks to all that beating of the pavement.

About this time I was exposed to Kettlebells… and I started to dramatically drop weight again, AND I started to see a difference in my physique. I wasn’t just shrinking, my body was morphing out of a fluffy appearance and into more of a toned and athletic appearance. That’s not to say that there weren’t mis-steps and injuries along the way- I was am not a Personal Trainer- so I was throwing punches in the dark with my day to day work out program. That all said, just picking up the weight and educating myself on proper form and technique got me out of the hump- and I saw QUICK results.

Eventually though, even my beloved kettlebells ended up stalling me out at one point, so I moved to more traditional weight lifting workouts- and again saw results. The point is that there are some core elements to losing fat that don’t change: clean whole foods, cutting sugar intake and processed foods out of your diet will always work… Picking up heavy weight is also neccesary for healthy fat loss, improved overall fitness, and ultimately a good looking physique. But what I have found, is that your programming needs to change every 6-8 weeks or so. Just a few weeks of challenging your body in a different way will keep you moving forward… and frankly, my brain enjoys the challenge of learning something new and mastering a different movement. So when your workout stops giving you the results that it once did, do not just double down and kill yourself in the gym- just STOP… it’s not you- it’s your workout.

Staying on the Wagon

regretGetting started on a new diet and fitness regime is easy.  I mean really… we all know what we “should be doing”.  And the initial motivation is pretty easy to come by…  being unhealthy and overweight is not fun. And lets assume that you haven’t fallen for any gimmicks (pills, shakes, get-thin-quickies) this time around… and you purchased that gym membership, set an appointment with a personal trainer, and got rid of all of the fake food in your house.  You go with great gusto and determination through the first days, maybe even weeks.  But inevitably, the novelty *will* wear off.  What then?  This is where 95% get bored, sidetracked, and fall off the wagon all together.

So what worked for me, that kept me in the successful 5%?  Well, I do believe that going Paleo, and lifting heavy were absolutely crucial in my campaign.  And I do need to point out that I still abide by a Paleo Lifestyle and Lift Heavy 5-6 days a week, running the other two days.  I will admit that in the beginning, I thought the diet and lifting would be short-term… just to lose the weight and get skinny.  As I highlighted in my introductions, I learned that those changes would have to be permanent for me to be healthy and keep the weight off permanently.  So with the “permanent changes” in mind… you cannot have your special number on the scale as the goal.  At least not as the only goal.  You will reach that special number, then what happens? Well- most people gain the weight back.  And again- we don’t want to be that 95%- or most people.

I think having other goals that are performance based is the best way to stay on track.  Those goals can be competitive or fun- but I really and truly believe that you have to find something that motivates you beyond weight loss.  Having performance goals will keep you going during the plateaus, and keep you engaged and away from boredom.  For me that began with my trainer-friend asking me if I could do a Pull-up or Chin-up.  Nope.  I couldn’t.  But, you know what? I really wanted to be able to do them- when I took a second to think about it.  So I started incorporating exercises and looking up progressions to get me to that first pull-up and chin up.  Soon after that I found out about Obstacle Course Racing (AKA: OCR’s)- like the Spartan Race, Warrior Dash, and the Tough Mudder.  So I started training my running speed and my strength for those courses and obstacles. (I ran my first OCR at the Warrior in Alabama in October ’12, and I will be running my first Spartan Race in March ’13 in Atlanta…. I am so geeky excited!!!).  I also have weight lifting goals- being able to bench press XXX or deadlift YYY.  Yes, my weight continued to trickle down… but that has just been a happy consequence of working hard at my other, more primary, goals.

The point is that there are plenty of days that I really just want to eat that brownie, or say “eff it” to working out. And if “weight loss” were my sole motivator… I would have likely found an excuse. Having other goals have helped combat the “eff it’s” and keep me consistent and motivated… and firmly in the 5%.  🙂

See you next time,
~J