WW: Double Lift Weights Faster.

I have felt very heavy today. It seems that Baby Rebel has decided to lay at the bottom of my stomach all day long, giving me the feeling that I’m carrying around a 50-pound stone. To top it off, it’s snowing, heavily, my gym closed early today like they do the day before EVERY holiday, and I can place bets on that no, they won’t open tomorrow after all (they’re typically only open for a few hours on Thanksgiving, and for a $5 donation to the local food pantry, anyone, even non members can work out).

So after turning my kitchen into a complete disaster trying out a new cupcake and frosting recipe for tomorrow, then making dinner… I rolled out my mat and grabbed some kettlebells.

Sure, I could have just sat on the couch, relaxed a little. Enjoyed what I’ve got for power before we lose it (which I really hope we don’t). Snuggled with my dog and read a book or pinned some pins… But I know that moving for at least a half hour was my best option.

My little guy resides primarily on my right side, and right against my back. If you ever see me walking with a severe lean to the left side, and maybe even my right arm up in the air, don’t mind me, I’m just trying to stretch out and release some of the tension (and pain) he’s causing by parking those long legs of his right there. Being still for me during this pregnancy has been severely uncomfortable most times.

Getting moving tonight it was…

On the pretty sure chance that I’m going to lose a complete day this week at the gym, and feeling ambitions, I hit up two of Jen Sinkler’s Lift Weight Faster challenge workouts.

The Oyster

*3 rounds per side, 6 rounds total

One-Armed Clean x 10 each side
Racked Squat x 10 each side
One-Armed Push Press x 10 each side
One-Armed Bent-Over Row x 10 each side

The Swing Dancer

*Complete 3 Rounds of this kettlebell & body weight circuit as quickly as possible.

Bodyweight Star Jumps x 10 reps
Kettlebell Two-Handed Swings x 10 reps
Bodyweight Lateral Lunges x 10 ea side
Kettlebell Two-Handed Swings x 10 reps
Kettlebell One-Armed Rows x 10 ea side
Kettlebell Two-Handed Swings x 10 reps

Now, my total time was probably about 30-minutes for both. Considering I can’t bowl right through the workouts, I’d have to say, that’s pretty dang good. Even given I had to work on my mat around my dog, who always makes himself at home on it the second it gets rolled out.

Give each one a shot, and if you do, post your times for each and what you thought of them!

Transformation Tuesday: Not what you expect.

This is a different kind of Transformation Tuesday post.

And in it, weight isn’t going to be discussed. First, because for me, it’s never been about the number on the scale. It’s been about what I see in the mirror, how I feel every day. Even before pregnancy.

I also hate that once a woman becomes pregnant, her weight and how much she gains is suddenly an open topic for any and all to discuss. No. What that woman weighs and gains is for her and her doctor. Unless she chooses to speak about it herself, let it lie and stay away.

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Hitting the gym, 18 weeks out from what was to be my first figure competition in October. June 13, 2014.

On June 13 of this year, I thought, in all seriousness, I was taking a different kind of progress photo at the gym. Sporting my latest Goodwill find, a little modified because t-shirts make me sweat SO bad in the gym in the summer, I snapped a quick photo.

I was working my way into a training program that would hopefully have me stage ready by Oct. 26 of this year in the Granite State Open. A competition I planned to compete in with a friend of mine who had done a few shows already.

I had no idea that nine days later, I would be finding out I was five weeks pregnant.

I knew the body could do amazing things having had several friends and family members go through pregnancies, but it wasn’t until I myself was experiencing it first hand that I realized just what my body is truly capable of.

It’s amazing how much the body changes and adapts to what is going on inside, and just how much you’re still capable of doing while it’s all going on. That first week I knew I was pregnant, I thought I’d have to change so much more with my routine, and had planned to, as time passed and the pregnancy progressed, make those changes and adaptions.

At almost 28-weeks… I haven’t really had to change anything.

I go to bed a little earlier of course. I eat an extra meal (or two) a day. I’m dealing with a lot of severe pain with my spinal disease. But otherwise, it’s all still business as usual.

I’m still working full time, teaching classes, hitting the gym three times a week, doing yoga. I’m still out there raking away at the leaves (although my husband wouldn’t let me shovel snow either time we’ve gotten it so far). Cleaned up my gardens… and so on.

The body is a well oiled machine. And if you treat it right, it will stay that way. Even when it’s creating another life inside.

I can still see the tips of my toes, but I know nearing the third trimester, they will disappear.

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Nearing the end of my 27th week of pregnancy. Prepping for something else completely now.

22-weeks after snapping what was supposed to be a photo of me pre-competition journey, I snapped another photo in the same shirt. It’s one of the only few of my own that still can accommodate that growing belly of mine (I’ve since raided my husband’s side of the wardrobe and taken claim to some of the shirts he’s no longer able to wear because I’ve turned him into a meat head over the years and he likes his weights too).

In the photo, to the quick looker, not much has really changed. That baby bump is certainly there, and there is no way to disguise or hide it. Baby Rebel even pushes himself out against my baggiest sweats. But my muscles have become a little softer, the result of many, many weeks of continuous “maintenance mode”, cutting out all supplements, and being a little looser with my diet here and there (two bowls of Trix cereal before bed is totally acceptable, right?). And because I’m in maintenance mode and can’t really push myself, my strength is waning some.

In the grand scheme of things, it’s nothing. Nine months of having a front row seat to watching my body do something glorious – transform and create life.

Workout Wednesday: Classes, LWF, and Cardio.

I did something I haven’t done in awhile this past Sunday – I worked out with my class. Right there, alongside them, for all five rounds.

Typically, since getting pregnant and having that sluggish touch-and-go energy, I will demonstrate the full out exercise, a rep or two and give the modified versions of each, then set my class off to do their thing. I will walk around, watching the form of everyone, assisting when they’re a little off, or need help when they are having a hard time picking up a move.

For the past 20-some-odd weeks, it’s had me curious as to which style I was going to keep post-baby for all of my classes. My classes cut off at 10 people so that I am able to give the attention to each member there that they need. I want them to get the most from my classes, and that means helping them do it injury free.

Pre-pregnancy, I’d stand in front, facing the classes, doing the full workout with them, instructing and watching. If I saw someone who needed a little adjustment, I’d let the class roll on with the workout, while I went to help that class member. That approach works, and the feedback I got on my “style” was positive. The people who were attending my classes didn’t feel that I was scrutinizing their every breath, hovering over them. They had been to classes like that and found it a little unnerving and made them feel like they would “screw up” an exercise more because of it.

So when, in attempt to scale back the amount of hours logged working out, I stopped doing classes over the summer and started taking the opposite approach, I worried. I wondered how I could keep the dynamic of my classes the same, but not workout alongside my clients. I’ve mastered the art of not hovering, and it was hard. Luckily, most of my classes now are set people, and they’re still small. Over the past year, we’ve gotten to know one another well. So while they are working out, I walk around the room in a big circle, counting out reps, calling out the change in exercise, giving encouragement and just chatting with them. If I see someone now who needs help, I approach it the same as I did before. Let the class go on, while I helped the class member who needed it.

And it’s worked. They don’t feel like I’m hovering, they’re comfortable, and they keep coming back.

One of the greatest things for my class members to see this past Sunday is: That my workouts don’t just kick their asses, but my workouts can kick my own too.
I could have written my own for the day. I could have pulled one from my arsenal of workouts from classes past… Instead, I went to Jen Sinkler and her Lift Weights Faster for a good butt kicker of a workout. The one I chose? The Tortoise and the Hare.

20 Pledge Planks
15 KB Swings
10 KB Jump Squats
5 KB Windmills

The workout on Sinkler’s page calls for four rounds for time, but I pumped my class for five rounds.

Anytime I give a class a “for time” workout, I get amazing results. The encouragement I hear passed around, the drive and push that I see. It creates a spark inside my class members, so I wasn’t surprised when all five rounds were completed in 20-minutes or less.

I also learned, that the months I’ve been spending sans cardio? Have taken a toll. Good thing I started hitting that stair stepper for 15-minutes a few times a week.

Leaving Facebook.

I’m just a small town girl, which has shown me one thing: I never, ever want to be famous. Ever. I never want to walk down the street, swarmed by fans and have cameras thrust in my face at every turn. I never want to have to struggle to keep my private life private. I want to be able to come and go as I please. Live my life on my terms.

So then why does it feel like I’m smack dab in the middle of a red carpet, being grilled about why I wore my hair the way I did today (it’s down, a simple bobby pin keeping my long bangs from my face, if you must know)?

Because small town living.

My county has a population of 37,000 people spread out over about 17 different towns. Breaking it down, that’s really not a lot of people. Topping it off: Both sides of my family, the DiNapolis and the Vanorses are well known in this county. Everyone knows one side or the other. Add to that, my job. It’s puts me out there in the public frequently, be it covering games, attending something for theSCENE, etc. And the final piece of this pie? Being a personal trainer, or a small business owner, leaves me still out there, in the open.

The first 20 some odd years of my life were lived in relative obscurity. Once in awhile, I’d cross paths with someone who knew my family, and that was that. Somewhere, about eight or nine years ago, these people I’d cross paths with became more and more, and what was worse was: They felt that they had a right to my life.

The more I became known in my job (it happens when you’re the sole woman in a male dominated department), I could add complete strangers to the mix. People I didn’t know approaching me, and because I worked for their local news source, they felt they owned me. deactivated2

Life changing events, like marriage, babies, etc, draw out the worst in people. And my pregnancy has certainly been no exception to this rule. It had pulled people out in droves, the masses able to access me with harassing, menacing words in regards to my size, my continued lifestyle of staying healthy and working out, and more. When I didn’t know right at 20-weeks what we were having due to scheduling issues (another small town pitfall, when doctors are out, you have to wait), I was criticized. Despite it being out of my hands, and only two weeks later, at 22-weeks, we had our scan and found out we were having a healthy baby boy. Now it’s the name thing. Because we have decided to wait until we meet our miracle before naming him, criticism.

A lot of it, I have zero control over. I cannot quit my job. I cannot voice to these people how I really feel about their intrusion to my life, as I risk losing my job and it can damage my business. I can only continue to sigh, let it roll off of my back and move on.

I do not want these people to feel that they have a right to my child. Because they do not. He is entitled to a quiet and private life, just like my husband is. Just as I, when I’m on my own time, should be entitled to the freedom of living my life. Yet, no one gives me that opportunity.

The one area that I do have control of it? Social media. Twitter and Instagram are great platforms. They’re basic, they’re simple, and to my benefit, not entirely “in” in my area. They’re obscure forms to socialize. And I love them dearly. The profile you see of me is genuine on those platforms. The life of fitness, my crazy dog, and more. I’m honest and I’m open there. Why? Because it’s free of scrutiny of the public eye here.

Facebook? No. Despite my locked down settings, my vague profile on there, it left me too accessible to the public. So what did I do? I deactivated my account. I clicked that button and felt an incredible sense of freedom. I know it’s only one small aspect in the grand scheme of what is really going on here, in my small corner of the world. But it has taken a great weight off of my shoulders. I feel I can breathe a little easier. I can focus on my pregnancy, my family, my work, my business…

It’s amazing how something so small can be so big at the same time.

But now the issue being faced is: As the designated poster for sports previews, championship stories, etc, I no longer have access to the one driving source in our social media world here at the company I work for. So, who will pick up the social media input? Which brings the question of, can an employer maintain a social profile? Or is it up for them to decide?

I’ve certainly opened quite a rank can of worms with the click of a button.

Workout: Back to Basics.

This blog has only seriously been a million days in the making. Well, not really a million, but ten days. Seriously. Between a storm that knocked out power for three days, insanity at work (gotta love poll papers!), clean up from the snow storm, and life in general… It’s been a bit since I’ve been able to sit down and put this blog together.

Working out has been my therapy. It has helped me work through ups and downs, demons, happiness, sadness, frustration, anger… Everything. I sometimes find myself in the gym for hours, working my body – and my mind, in sync. It has kept me level.

The funniest thing ever, when I first started telling people I was pregnant, was what they’d say to me, informing me of things I would surely miss. I’d miss drinking. No, not really, because I’m not much of a drinker. I’d miss seafood. Again, no, not really, because I don’t eat seafood (I know, a coastal person who has no love for the food from the sea or lakes).

What I do miss, is being able to hit the gym after a long, stressful day of work, or after a day where it feels like everyone has piled everything on me to handle, and just go at it. Work it out and get through it. I also miss heavy lifting.

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It sucks doing it, but my “junk sets” are now my actual sets. Starting deadlifts with 65# and squats with 45#. Hard to believe 21 weeks ago, I hit a deadlift of over 300# and a squat of over 200… I’ll get back there. And that unimpressed face will be a crap eating grin again.

That’s where I’m dying. In the gym. Out of every year, I had maybe a total of 4-weeks in which I would put my body through just a typical maintenance workout. Give my body one month, maybe a month and a half, to just chill out after putting it through some pretty rugged workouts. So, you can imagine, when I hit week 23 of pregnancy, being stuck on loop in maintenance mode… I was wilting like an unwatered plant in the sweltering hot sun.

I’ve been constantly fiddling with my workouts since finding out I was pregnant. For a run, I was doing something completely different every time I was in the gym. Most of the time, it was a set workout of doing x for arms, x for back, and so on. I’m getting bored. Like anyone would after five long months.

Which brought me to thinking, what can I do now? What haven’t I done in awhile?

So now, I’m bringing it back to the basics. It’s a win-win for me at the moment, I’m getting bigger, my range is being limited by that growing belly, and I really don’t know how much longer I’m going to be able to work out. I’d like to think that I’ll be doing it right up until the baby comes, but in attempts at being realistic: I know that might not be what happens.

Leg Day

Squat
Deadlift
Standing Calf Raise
Hamstring Curl*
Romanian Deadlift

*For us pregnant ladies, being on our bellies once it starts to grow gets hard. To modify it, use a cable machine, or a band looped around your ankle and bend your leg at the knee (like you’re kicking your hiney).

Arms & Back

Dumbell Drag Curl
Hammer Curl
Kick Back
Dumbell Triceps Extension
Wide Grip Pull Down
Supinated Row

Shoulders & Chest

Single Arm Overhead Press
Lateral Raise
Single Arm Upright Row
Face Pull
Cable Flye
Pec Dec

As of right now, I’ve only done one full cycle through the workout program. When I hit legs for the second time last Tuesday, I didn’t quite approach the reps in each set the same way, and I did the same tonight with my second time through with arms. The exercises stay the same in the workout, but alternate between straight sets with straight reps at a set weight, do staggered sets where you do 2 sets with maybe 10 reps of a light weight, then do a set to failure, or do pyramids.

The “Give It To Me” mentality.

Nobody gives it to you, you have to take it.

At my nephew’s football game tonight, I realized, I wanted to scrap my initial idea tonight of a running blog, and change it to something like… The “GIVE IT TO ME” mentality of fitness took over my chaotic mind.

It was a junior varsity game, the last one of the season. My nephew is on said team. However, true to this particular coach’s “style”, my nephew and all of the other junior varsity players — never saw the field. The varsity players had a record at the end of THEIR season 2-7, while JV has a record of 5-1.

I have been to many games this season, for many different football teams. Part of my day job as a sports reporter and photographer. This particular coach, makes me shake my head. Why? He would rather lose a game, shout at his defensive line, watch his team get crushed — than make the changes he would need to make in order to play a successful game of football, and win. Because that would mean taking seniors off of the field, and putting in underclassmen.

The seniors are automatically made starters, never having to earn their spot on the field, while the players who play their positions better, watch from the sidelines. A quarterback who ignores the coach’s plays and creates his own. A team that fights and swears on the field, causing them to receive a 10-yard penalty because of their behavior. A defensive line that opens up like the Panama Canal right after a snap.

These players should be benched, and made to work and earn their places on the field. But instead, the privilege is just handed over to them.

This week in my fitness world, a few different things happened. I said good-bye to my last seasonal client, who, while I’m snowed in, will be enjoying the warm sun in Florida. I had two of my 60+ year old clients push themselves through six rather grueling rounds of a new workout, something I knew they had in them, but they themselves didn’t. The pride on their faces at the end, made it all worth it. And I had a potential client call with the request to lose 25-pounds by Thanksgiving week, and have a “nice, flat, toned stomach”. She and her husband are going to Mexico for Thanksgiving this year and she bought a bikini a few sizes too small, six months ago, to get her “up for losing the weight”. Yet she just now reached out to someone to accomplish that.

25-pounds in three weeks. Not to mention what she called a nice, flat and toned stomach.

Realistic? No, most certainly not by any healthy means. I won’t lie. It would take a lot of work to lose just half of that in a healthy way. I refuse to encourage unhealthy behavior for weight loss. Absolutely refuse.

I told her we could meet for a consultation, and made sure to make zero promise or guarantee I could do that even before she agreed to the consultation.

Why?

Because of the same mentality those seniors on the field tonight have developed. The Give It To Me mentality.

Results are not instant. You have to work for them.

The slew of advertisements for magic shakes, magic wraps or pills, those that will make you shed weight instantly – only encourage this mentality. The football coach I’ve mentioned here, he’s just like these advertisements. A world of false hope. The issue there is: Do they work? In reality: No. Very few work to some extent, but the results are only temporary. Lasting maybe a few days. Like with the players out there on the field. Only a few, a very small few, might be able to stand up to being able to prove that they deserve to stay on that field. The rest? Not so much. And with the magic potions: The damage to your body? Permanent. When those kids go off to college and think they’ll get the same privileges this coach extended to them? Heartbreak, because most coaches are not like that.

Over the summer, I had one of the gyms I contract with contact me because they had a woman who was getting married in two weeks that wanted to shed 20-pounds before her wedding.

My dilemma with clients like this, who are stuck in the Give It To Me mentality is: I take them on, make it clear that I can help them work towards that goal, make sure to NEVER say that I can do exactly what they are asking and — after just a session or two, they are not seeing results, it becomes my fault, I’m a horrible trainer, and I shouldn’t be working with people. I receive bad reviews from them. They tell all of their friends. It hurts my business. Never mind that I have several successful classes with glowing clients and reviews, or that I have many one-on-ones who have never once had a complaint… It will be because for the ones who want instant, finger snapped results, I’m “damaged”.

It is something that all trainers face. The clients who want as much in the result department, for as little to no work to them.

There is no magic workout. There isn’t a magic diet. It takes hard work and dedication to reach your goals in a healthy manner, and in that process, you learn the dedication and ways to keep successful and maintain your progress. There will be set backs, but if done properly, and coached correctly, those set backs will be easily overcome.

You won’t have it given to you — you have to take it. Dreams and goals only come to fruition if you’re willing to put the work into it.

Baby Rebel is… well, gonna be a rebel.

We found out last Tuesday that Baby Rebel is a boy. And that he is already living up to his, now well loved, nickname.

While it’d have been fun to experience life with a mini-me/girl, I realized very quickly, I’m best suited to be raising a boy. Make-up, princesses, actual style? I’d be a hot mess. Totally lost. I wouldn’t know what to do. Dirt, Tonkas, engines, bugs? I’ve got that. 1904093_10202773718804200_8158087595152938800_n

It’s quite funny that I’m having a boy actually. Women who are/have been pregnant or have children, know exactly what I’m talking about with what I’m going to say next…

Pregnancy seems to give the people around you a pair of brass balls. You get a lot of advice that you – guess what? Don’t even have to ask for! But you also hear all of those infamous old wives tales. The gender ones. The second the world around me was clued into my pregnancy, they came.

The only thing that indicated boy was the position of my bump and the low heart rate we were hearing on the doppler. Now, right off, I ruled out how I was carrying. Because of the positioning of my hips (tilted), my spine (from my disease), and the way things are tipped and tilted inside – I’m going to carry low regardless.

Everyone swore it was a girl. Morning sickness all day, that went away for week 21, but has since returned again in week 22. My face looks like a teenage girl’s face (she’s stealing my beauty). Among many other “tales”…

When the woman doing the sonogram announced “It’s a boy!” I pat my belly and smiled. Baby Rebel is already defying the world around him, and he isn’t even out of the womb.
Proving the world wrong, step one, check.

Just like mommy.

He’s an active little boy. The sonogram was hard to do because he wouldn’t hold still, and the heart beat on the doppler was fascinating as hell because in-between his heart beats, we’d hear “Whoooosh!” because he was still on the move.

He has been fascinated with kicking my belly button, I’ll poke my belly and tell him to cut it out, but it just makes him more persistent. We needed him to move just right to get a full spinal picture on the sonogram, but as he flipped all around, he wouldn’t show his back.

Don’t ever say no or stop, step two, check.

Needless to say, my little man already is trailing in momma’s footsteps, much to daddy’s worry.

So I guess we won’t tell daddy that momma’s worried about all the crazy things daddy did when he was younger, and our little guy wanting to do the same.

I guess I’m going to get a taste of my own medicine, aren’t I?