Winter Blues

motivation 2

The funny thing about being on a journey is that it never really ends. There honestly is no finish line to this…every day you just get stronger and continue to grow from your experiences.

I’ve been put to the test lately, as I’ve been suffering with some PCOS issues as well as a very bad flareup for my IBS. As if that wasn’t enough, I’m also battling with a freezing cold northeast winter. Now, I don’t know about you but I’m very susceptible to getting sick. So, in an attempt to not get myself deathly ill, my workout routine has been completely thrown off. All of this has given me a terrible case of the winter blues and I’ve spent most of this week feeling good and sorry for myself.

I don’t remember the last time that I had a hard workout. Sure, I’ve been keeping up with my strength training…but cardio has become like a foreign word to me. With my non-existent metabolism if I don’t workout, I will get fat. It’s a proven fact that regardless of my diet, without cardio I will gain weight. Being super paranoid about getting sick has led me to scale back my workouts…which means little to no cardio and big issues for my mental state.

Now, I know that cold weather is (sadly) part of life. I can’t spend the rest of winter being so bitter and miserable. I’ve worked way too hard and come to far for that. Besides, why be so miserable about something I can’t even control? That being said, I’ve come up with a preliminary winterized routine to keep myself in-check and keep me from going batty.

Beginning tomorrow, I will be doing hardcore cardio on weekends. This is because I can get to the gym during the day when it is typically (slightly) warmer. Since I work all day during the week, those days will be reserved for strength training. I will utilize DVDs and workout videos on days where it (God forbid) snows. If it happens to be warmer on any given weekday, I will take advantage and do a harder workout.

I’ve also decided to get my diet in check. I said I wanted to begin the IIFYM stuff but I need to get things working right again. My IBS has been horrible lately so I really want to get that under control and the best way I know how is to eat super clean and strict again. Trainer Bob (Harper) from Biggest Loser has been posting about a 30-day diet that he’s currently following. I looked into it and it seems like what I did last spring, just a little more strict. It’s the Whole30 diet and I will be starting that in a couple of weeks (beginning of February.)

With a bad stomach and a ruined routine, I’ve really been tested. This has all really done a number on me mentally. It’s really hard to see the “new you” when you are all swollen and aren’t working out. Hopefully with the new diet and a new workout plan, I can start feeling more like myself again.

It can be really hard to see the light at the end of tunnel when there’s so much darkness in front of you. This journey never ends and things happen in life that can’t be controlled but if there’s anything I’ve learned over the last two years it’s this: the bigger the obstacle, the sweeter the reward once it’s overcome. Always remember: nothing worth having comes easy.

Stay strong and stay in the fight!

-Gina
thefight2befit@gmail.com

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Expressing Gratitude

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Happy Thanksgiving everyone!! This year has definitely flown by but on this day I want to take the time to express my appreciation for some of the people that have made this one of the best years of my life.

I am thankful to have a core group of some really great friends. I’ve had most of them in my life since high school and they have stuck by me through it all. Many of these friends now have families of their own and I am extremely grateful to be a part of their children’s lives. I am also lucky enough to have a loving family, who has seen me through some very hard times in my life and who supports me through everything, good and bad.

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Most importantly, on this day I am thankful for finding happiness. For the first time in my life I am truly content and I have an amazing boyfriend to thank for that. He has been an incredibly positive influence and shown me this other part of myself that I didn’t know existed. I never imagined that being with someone could feel the way it does or that you could really be this happy…but it’s possible. It took us a while to get to this point…but I don’t think I would changed anything because now he’s not just my boyfriend…he’s become my best friend. He’s someone who I can tell everything to, who’s there for me in both good times and bad, and is the most supportive, genuine person that I’ve ever known. Sometimes I have to remind myself that this is real life and that I really have found everything that I could ever want…and more.

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I’ve been through a lot in my life but I can honestly say that I am thankful for it all. 2014 was one of the best years of my life. I am truly the happiest I have ever been and have found an inner strength within myself that I didn’t know existed. I am grateful everyday for the incredible life that I am living. While I may wish some stuff was different or that things in the past didn’t happen, I realize that I am a stronger person because of it all. I have learned that everything happens for a reason and that everything you go through, grows you.

On this day, be sure to take the time to express your gratitude for all that you have in your life. Cherish the time with your friends and family and enjoy all of the delicious food that today will bring. Try not to waste time agonizing over calories–just eat what you want (within reason.) If you do overeat today, don’t beat yourself up…just make up for it by hitting the gym tomorrow (or the stores like I will for some serious shopping!)

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Stay strong & stay in the fight!

-Gina

TheFight2BeFit@gmail.com

Back to Basics

Happy Friday! Hope everyone is keeping warm in this ridiculously cold weather that we’ve been having!

I’m finally starting to get back on my feet after being sick for almost two weeks. I had vertigo for most of last week. If you’ve never had it, consider yourself lucky–it’s a very annoying illness. You don’t feel sick in the conventional way–you just get incredibly dizzy for no reason…which also makes you nauseous. Vertigo can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days to even a few weeks. Lucky for me, mine was gone by Sunday. However, to treat the vertigo, I was told to buy motion sickness pills.  I was so sick, I didn’t care what was in the pills or what else they could potentially cause—I just wanted to stop being dizzy. So while the dizziness dissipated, I had new issues come Sunday night. Turns out one of the side effects of these pills is that they mess your stomach up…bad. Having stomach issues already, this was a recipe for disaster…and unfortunately one that I’m still battling as I write this.

Whenever my stomach issues (IBS in particular) flare up, I notice a pattern with myself. The longer the stomach issues drag on, the worse I feel mentally. I worked really hard to lose weight and get myself in good shape but during these lovely times, I can’t really workout. Sure I could lift weights or do leg work—but I can’t do the cardio which will get my mind right. Without that, what’s the point? That go hard or go home mentality really bites me sometimes.

I started this blog in the hopes of helping others who may have similar struggles and show anyone that they can do it too. I know that not every day is going to be perfect on this journey and that things happen. We get sick, we get busy…life just happens. The important thing is how you bounce back. I still have moments where where I slip back into negative thinking. When my stomach is blown up and I feel crappy, I tend to think that I look like a cow. Deep down though, I know that once I am able to work out again that feeling will go away. Thankfully, I have surrounded myself with some great (and patient) people who remind me of this and talk me off a ledge when it’s needed.

IMG_7860My game plan is get back to the gym (or maybe even run outside if the weather warms up a little) this weekend. As far as my diet, I think I’m going back to basics. I’m going to start using MyFitnessPal again to keep me accountable. Since I want to lose some more weight and lean out, I want to do some research on reverse dieting and IIFYM. With the holidays quickly approaching, I need to get back on track with everything. I will share my findings with you all as soon as I can.

Stay tuned for a healthy Thanksgiving recipe, to be posted this weekend 🙂

Until then – stay strong, stay warm, and stay in the fight!

-Gina

TheFight2BeFit@gmail.com

Race Day Review

I did it! I ran my very first timed race! It was no marathon but it was the start of something pretty great for me.

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After suffering numerous setbacks over the summer, I worked really hard and trained my body back into running shape. Mother Nature had other ideas. It rained most of the day prior to the race…and the day of wasn’t much better. While it wasn’t raining, it was super windy and cold. This only added to my nerves. I pushed forward anyway and made the drive to Six Flags Great Adventure.

Once I got there, the nerves disappeared. The race was a Biggest Loser RunWalk and they are the best races to do. They have a community vibe and are very unintimidating. Past contestants from the show are usually on-hand for each race. Dan and Jackie Evans from season 5 host each RunWalk but other contestants usually make special appearances to run and/or cheer everyone on.

The race went through the theme park and looped around…into part of the Safari! At one point, I looked to my right and saw a bunch of Chimps all in a line watching us all run. It was a pretty awesome backdrop to run my first real race on: roller coasters, the Halloween-inspired red fountain, and then the safari.

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Course map

I ran the WHOLE time…pausing briefly once for the pit-stop of water that they had at the 2-mile mark. As I ran, the cold no longer bothered me and the wind wasn’t in front of me so that wasn’t much of a factor either. The terrain was a bit muddy at times from the rain the night before but I pushed through. As I said the BLRWs are a community—and everyone supports one another and cheers each other on throughout the race.

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My goal was to finish in under 30 minutes. I knew with the weather I wasn’t going to hit a PR but as long as it was under that time I would be happy. As I approached the finish line, Pam Geil (from season 14—aka the season that inspired this journey) called my name and cheered me on. Apparently she remembered meeting me at the off-road challenge we did last year!

DAMN GIRL! Hanging out with one of my season 14 inspirations, Pam :)

DAMN GIRL! Hanging out with one of my Season 14 inspirations, Pam!

I took notice of the clock as I crossed the finish line – it said 30:24. I got instantly upset with myself but let it go, knowing that I had completed the race. What I didn’t realize was there was a delay –I didn’t start the race with the first group (when the clock actually started.) I started about a minute and half after the clock did, meaning my time was actually 28:47….which put me in first place in my age group! I never came in first at anything…ever…

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Crossing the finish line!

It’s been a few days now but I’m still in shock when I think about it.  This race was an amazing experience and through training and finishing, I learned an important lesson. Seems every time I doubt myself or have to dig deeper for motivation, greatness happens…which is proof that when you lose the excuses, you find results.

It’s hard to describe how amazing it feels to accomplish the goals you set. I’ve pushed through a lot of adversity during this journey but I have managed to succeed in ways I never thought possible. To-date I have lost over 70lbs, went from a size 14 to a size 2, gained confidence that I never had, and gotten my body in the best shape that its ever been. A year ago I could barely run a mile without stopping and now I’ve completed a timed 5K, finishing only four minutes behind the girl who was first overall.

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BLRW 2013 vs. BLRW 2014

This whole experience was truly incredible. There’s something to be said about facing your fears head-on and using it as motivation to achieving your goal.  I don’t know that I will ever run a marathon but I will definitely strive to training my body for longer distances. One day I would love to run the Disney Half—I figure if I’m running that far I may as well do it with a tiara or character ears on my head 🙂

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Posing with my first place ribbon!

I want to thank the people at The Biggest Loser RunWalk . I was generously granted complimentary access to run and to the VIP area, which had plenty of food and drinks (and some much needed heaters!)

The pictures that I’ve included were taken by my amazing, supportive boyfriend who braved the cold just to cheer me on. Professional photographers were on-hand and took pictures throughout the course–those should be posted on the website soon and (since they are free) I will most definitely be sharing them once they are available! 🙂

This was something that I will never forget and I can’t wait to sign up for my next (hopefully longer) race! Remember if you believe it, you WILL achieve it. I suffered several setbacks and continue to face various challenges but crossing that finish line was proof that hard work does pay off. No matter how much you may struggle, always remember: nothing worth having comes easy.

Stay strong & stay in the fight!

-Gina

TheFight2BeFit@gmail.com

5K Training: The Home Stretch

Good grief I’m tired! I may be in the home stretch but this training is really kicking my butt…big time…

Yesterday should have been a leg day but since they already feel heavy and like jello, I didn’t think using heavy weights this week would be wise. That being said, I’ve decide to hold off on my leg-days until next week. I did manage to run 2 miles at the gym and did 100 squats at home. After all,  just because my legs can’t get extra work doesn’t mean I slack off on keeping the booty in check 😉
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Today was a whole different story. It’s supposed to be arm-day and was also supposed to be the day I ran my 5K distance. Well, my body had other plans for me. Not only could I barely keep my eyes open all day but my stomach was not a happy camper. My goal was to run a 5k on the track by my house right after work (so as to run while it was still daylight.) However, my stomach had other ideas and so I had to come home first…which of course meant running outside was out of the question. I decided I would watch the Biggest Loser, participate in the commercial challenges, then hit the gym for a run. Well, that also didn’t go as planned. I did manage to do one of the workouts–but I kept dozing off while I sat there watching the show. Not cool.

Once the show ended, I was really exhausted and started getting upset with myself.  Here it is 3 days away from race day and I knew that I needed to run 3.1 miles before Sunday in order to feel confident in myself. I got up and put on my workout clothes. I then looked at myself in the mirror and told myself how angry I would be if I didn’t do this run tonight. Sometimes things need to be put into perspective. The thought of how I would feel tomorrow made me push–and off to the gym I went.

I’ve noticed this week that running on a treadmill is much harder than outside–not only do you have to maintain the same speed the whole time, but there is no air flow. The same air circulates in the gym and it’s usually too hot. That coupled with my breathing troubles have made this training very difficult for me. Still, that hasn’t stopped me.

Tonight was probably the biggest struggle I’ve had in a while. My stomach was a wreck, I was extremely tired, I was having trouble breathing as I ran, and my legs are SUPER sore–but I did it. AND I SET A NEW PR! 12 seconds faster than my best time to be exact-go figure…

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Lesson learned..big time. You want something bad enough, you push yourself to get it.  As I was running, I thought I would throw up and I felt a little light headed—but I did it. I had to jump to the sides several times, pausing the machine to drink water. I just kept telling myself no matter how slow this ends up, you have to finish it. Tomorrow is the last day of training so I knew that it was now or never. I did it–and I know I can on Sunday too. We may be expecting really cold weather Sunday morning but I will just take my time and do my best. Just being able to cross that finish line and knowing that I accomplished the goal that I set for myself this year will be an amazing feeling.

One more day left…Stay tuned!

Stay strong & stay in the fight!

-Gina

TheFight2BeFit@gmail.com

 

5K Training – Day 8

  • Cardio: Run – 2 miles, 17:50
  • 100 squats (non-weighted)
5K Training – Day 9:
  • Cardio: Run – 3.1 miles, 28:25
  • Biggest Loser commercial challenge – 15 push-ups

5K Training: Weekend Edition

I apologize for not posting this earlier. Sometimes I feel like there aren’t enough hours in a day. Seriously…where does the time go?!

With that being said, weekends are always the toughest time to train. We want to be able to sleep later, go out to enjoy free time, or do anything but spend time exercising. However, I find that on a weekend I am less rushed and I can dedicate myself to a much harder workout. For me, it’s actually my favorite time to workout and de-stress from the long week. I decided that this past weekend I would use the extra time to my advantage and attempt to run longer distances so as to be ready for Sunday’s race.

Saturday went well. Though I did have some errands to run and things to do, I still made sure to get a longer run in. I went to the track near my house and ran two miles. The time wasn’t amazing but it was my first two mile run in a while. Plus, it was outside in cooler temperatures…and I didn’t feel overly tired or winded after. So it was a success in my book.

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Since I had spent the weekend with my boyfriend, part of our plans included running a 5K to prep for Sunday’s race. Something about working out together makes it more fun so the added bonus this weekend was knowing I would get that chance. However, I woke up yesterday with the worst migraine that I’ve had in a very long time. This didn’t stop me. I knew I was one week out and I wanted to try anyway. So after resting most of the day I took some Advil, drank a cup of a coffee, and made my attempt.

As I started running, my headache seemed to dissipate. I kept going but I began to fight a losing battle with my breathing. Seems an inhaler is no match for strong winds. I pushed through anyway and managed to finish one mile. I paused my app and stopped to catch my breath. I probably should’ve started running again but after what happened back in July, I still get scared when I feel like I can’t breathe. So I just stop…and that’s just what I did yesterday.

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As I walked the rest of the way to get off the track, I couldn’t believe that I was allowing this fear to take over. Sure it was super windy outside but I didn’t have to stop. I could’ve paused my app, drank a little water, and kept going…but I didn’t. It was even more upsetting to think that the same thing could potentially happen on race day. This has been my goal all year–to cross the finish line of a 5K race. If I can’t complete this race on Sunday, I will be devastated. Before the summer I was running that distance in well under 30 minutes…and now I struggle to even finish it. It’s really done a number on me mentally but luckily I’ve had some amazing support this year, keeping me focused and making sure that I don’t give up.

After failing myself miserably for the goal that I had set for myself yesterday, I was a wreck. Rather than dismiss it, my boyfriend listened and talked me through it. He made sure to point out that I have never run in colder temperatures or on windy days…so to do one mile is more than I have ever done in that weather…and it was better than doing nothing. He always reminds me of how far I’ve come and how much I’ve accomplished.  I can’t speak enough about how important having a support system is tot he success on this journey. Words can’t really describe how amazing it’s been having this guy by my side this year.

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In retrospect, while I could’ve pushed myself it was probably wiser that I stopped. I always say go hard or go home, but I need to be smart about how far to push myself and really listen to my body. If I had kept going yesterday, it likely would not have ended well for me.

As far as today goes, I had full intention on going to the gym after work to run and lift for arm-day…but the day got away from me and it never happened. So I guess my body gets an unplanned (and much hated) rest day. Tomorrow I’m planning a double workout after work to make up for it–a nice, long run outside followed by lifting at the gym. I will shoot for a 3-miler tomorrow but will have to see how my stomach feels and how the day goes. No matter what, it will happen…no nonsense.

Each day brings new challenges but sometimes you have to push through the hard times to get to the good. After all, nothing worth having comes easy.

Stay strong & stay in the fight!

-Gina

TheFight2BeFit@gmail.com

 

5K Training: Day 2

Hey everyone! Sorry I didn’t get the chance to post this yesterday. I had quite a hectic day but thanks to Planet Fitness being open 24-hours, I was still able to get a late-night workout in…and continue my 5K training.

I got to the gym around 10:15p. I was able to run–but got tired quickly. I tried speeding the treadmill up in the hopes of finishing faster…which was dumb. Of course that only slowed me down because I couldn’t keep up. Still I managed to finish the mile and went on to my arm-day workout. I didn’t get the opportunity to hit my favorite location, where I use the assisted pull up machine, so I opted to use the shoulder press machine instead. I also decided not to use the fly machine as the muscle that it targets is where my injury was…and with limited training time, I don’t want to re-injure myself.

Between the crappy weather outside, lack of sleep, and being super sore…today is most definitely an extra coffee kind of day. I’ll hit the gym after work to power through my leg-day workout (yay!) along with another 1-mile run. Later tonight, I get a bonus workout as it’s Biggest Loser night…which means commercial challenges!  I’ll post the details of my full workout after the show. Enjoy your day everyone! 🙂

Stay strong & stay in the fight!

-Gina
TheFight2BeFit@gmail.com

Last night’s workout:
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Arms:

Lat pull-down  (40lbs) 25 x 4 (front & back)
Seated row (30lbs) 10 x 5
Tricep push-down (50lbs) 25 x 2
Shoulder press 1 x 10 (30lbs) / 4 x 10 (25lbs)
Seated tricep extension 10 x 5 (50lbs)
Bicep curls (2 -10lb dumbbells) 10 x 5 (each arm)