Fit2B Advancing: Week 1

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I will say upfront that it has not been easy to prioritize exercise lately. Sometimes I miss a day. Sometimes I have to split a workout over multiple sessions on multiple days. I prefer to workout without my kids, but more often than not, I have them literally underfoot while trying to exercise. Because I can’t afford to wait for a better time. I’m not willing to delay until things get easier. I want to start working toward my healthier, stronger body now. So I do, even if it means it’s not ideal or convenient.

Week 1

Studio Workout One: Go for a 5-10 minute walk then do “Pilates in Pajamas”

Walking Workout
Since the weather wouldn’t cooperate, I substituted the walking workout for a walk outside. While this workout is longer than the prescribed 5-10 minutes, you don’t have to do all of it. Or, if life is crazy, you can do like I did, and do them on different days.

Pilates in Pajamas
This is an old favorite and really a joy to start with. It is gentle, and has a steady pace without being too easy. I found that I didn’t break a sweat, but definitely felt my muscles working.

Studio Workout Two: Do Peaceful Blend

I don’t usually get to do this workout, first because it’s so long and secondly because for a long time it didn’t run properly on the Roku which is where I do the majority of my exercising. It was borderline miraculous that I got through it at all with minimal interruption. It was the first real workout I’ve done in the new house in our family room where the TV has taken up residence. While I absolutely still hate the carpet in here, the very cushy carpet pad makes things quieter and more comfortable than the wood floors in our old house.

I know that I still have a separation and from what I can tell, I haven’t made tons of progress. But I felt strong. I was able to engage my core at the times I needed to and thing didn’t feel floppy. In general my middle feels much less squishy than it has for the past few months.

Daily Double: Do TS Transitions to warm up. Then do Wall Workout with guest instructor, Kelly Dean.

I love both these workouts, though I actually find that pairing them together produces too much redundancy for my taste. Wall Workout with Kelly is one of the most complete upper body, lower body and core workouts in under 10 minutes. Bam! No excuses about not having enough time. Transitions is a nice get yourself moving kind of routine without being too aerobic. I know there is nothing inherently special about it, yet I find myself coming back to it again and again.

BONUS: Accomplish some medium-intensity cardio training for 25 minutes on two additional days.

Half-Round Foam Roller routine
I really enjoyed this routine. It was challenging and interesting. The balance component was especially fun. It reminded me of some aspects of ballet class that I miss. I had to do some modifications since my half foam roller is a shorter one. (I grabbed my son’s My Pal Scout to support my head at the end and it actually worked quiet well).

Get Up and Down
This is similar to Align it Flat but feels much more like a workout while still containing those important alignment cues.

I’m excited to feel like I’m finally making progress in prioritizing my health and fitness. I’m realizing more and more that I need and want to be stronger. Not because I want to look a certain way (though that doesn’t hurt) but because I need that strength to be effective in my life. I so appreciate the Fit2B Studio member forum. I shared some of my discouragement about my unclosed abdominal separation and feeling stuck in my fitness. I got so many encouraging suggestions and Beth Learn herself even chimed in to say that maybe I needed to challenge my core a little bit more while still maintaining proper engagement and alignment rather than just wait until things were fully healed. This is one of the many things I love about the Fit2B online community. Beth and her business partners have built a wonderful support network to help us heal and grow, and I’m honored to be a part of it.

Week 2

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Categories: Fit2B Advancing, Fit2B Studio | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Making Peace with Imbalance and Process

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I am what is called a J on the Myers Briggs scale. Part of this is that I like product better than process. I’ve been working through a decorating course and it’s been a bit difficult because one of her big points is that it never has to be finished. But I want it to be finished. I put to put the cherry on top, call it done and sit back and relax. I find it very difficult to relax sometimes. I need to be productive and check things off. But I’m having to accept that life is not like this. (Yes, I know that’s basic logic and most of you probably figured this out ages ago, but I’m just getting to it now so bear with me).

When my daughter turned one, my mom bought me the first book in this series. The authors talked about the concept of equilibrium and disequilibrium. Basically, children cycle between phases of equilibrium where things are more balanced and settled in their body and emotions, usually making them more easy going and pleasant to be around and disequilibrium. During disequilibrium, things are just off. The child is bothered by many things, easily distressed, often unhappy.

(It should be noted here that this is relative to the child’s personality. My son is difficult at the best of times, so you have to very attuned to notice the difference. I usually become aware when he his disequilibrium because suddenly things get worse than I imagined they could).

I’m realizing that this is how my spiritual life is, and probably will always be. How long each period of time will last varies. If only it were as easy to predict as the typical 6-9 month cycle of a small child. I will never arrive and suddenly have it all together. I hate that thought. Because it means I will constantly be in process.

I hate being in process, it feels off balance and involves continual change. I told my counselor that I fear stagnation, but I don’t think that’s exactly accurate. I aspire to experience security and stillness. My desire to continue growing is at least in part because I want to get to wherever it is I’m going. But it’s an impossible destination, because when it comes to knowing God, mathematically we’re dealing with infinity here.

So if I can’t arrive, I need to learn to live where I am and try to enjoy the process. Obviously I won’t always enjoy it, but I can remind myself that the bad still is only temporary and try to lean into the good stuff. (This applies to both parenting and spiritual growth by the way). To cling to grace and accept the mercy offered to me. Remembering that I am loved for who I am, not what I do. God is not trying to trick me. If I am genuine in my seeking of him, he won’t let me miss the mark, even if I’m not sure what exactly it is I’m shooting for.

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There is No Avoiding the Big Questions: Five Minute Friday

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I thought that if I made different choices I could have saved myself from this. Then I started reading the work of women different from me. They had teaching ministries and high performing careers outside the home. Yet, they too were struggling with the big questions. Why am I here and how do I really love? I’ve been going through my own purpose of life debates. Wondering if some how the choices I’ve made are going to get in the way of me becoming who I’m meant to be, of not fulfilling or even coming close to my potential.

After years of being an overachiever, I married young, worked mostly meaningless jobs to pay the bills and then became a stay at home mom. I’m not one of those super woman stay at home moms either. My kids rarely do craft, when we do they are never Pinterest-worthy. I don’t bake with them often, because it usually ends in yelling and mess. Needless to say I won’t be winning any awards for most fun mommy. I thought that some how my choices would mean that God couldn’t use me, that I no longer had any “real” work to do for his Kingdom beyond wiping noses and bottoms.

But that was a lie, and it continues to be a lie that I face daily. Because yes, the things I do every day with and for my children are part of the work of the gospel. But also, everyone has these kinds of existential questions at some point. If I had taken on a high powered career, had children at a different time or not at all, I would still have come to this place. We all must face the questions of what were we born for and what are me meant to do.

Right now that means realizing that what I do is only part of who I am. I look at my 17 month old son. He offers no concrete work or objective function. (In fact he makes more work for me.). But he is adorable and winsome and makes my heart glad. Who he is, is enough. I’m coming to terms (again) with the fact that I am loved for who I am.

But I also know that I was created with work to do. I have this deep fear that some how I will miss that work. That on this long and winding road of life I will veer left when I should have gone right and end up off course, missing out on wherever God wants me to be. I often questions my choices and decisions (many of which are joint decisions which affect the separate but complementary callings of my husband and me, and our family). I haven’t figured it all out yet. It’s all part of my acceptance of the process and the journey, which goes against my personality that likes to check things off the list. But I’m also realizing the peace that comes with that acceptance. Knowing that I have a purpose, even if I don’t know exactly what it is or what it will look like in the future, has to be enough for now.

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Fit2B Advancing: I Begin Again

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I have had a very hard time rebuilding my regular exercise habit since moving into our new house in early January. Why is this you ask? Firstly, because I’ve spent most of my time unpacking, painting and generally dealing with the chaos involved in moving. Secondly because for a while there was barely room enough to turn around, let alone get down on the floor for a workout. But things have settled down a bit more now that we’ve been in our house about a month and I’ve been trying very hard to make exercise a priority again.

For those of you who follow my Fit2B journey regularly, here are a few quick statistics. I started taking my measurements and recording my weight in January 2016, when I was 4 months postpartum with baby #3. It had been a difficult pregnancy and a rough delivery. Breastfeeding had been a challenge and I hadn’t had much time to focus on exercise. The baby weight was not easily leaving. In fact it held on harder than with any of my previous children.

A quick caveat here, I give you these numbers so you can see the progress that is possible using tummy safe fitness rather than ripping, shredding and breaking out bodies as many other fitness philosophies recommend. Fit2B works for me, but maybe you’ve found something else that works great for you. If so wonderful. If you haven’t, feel free to follow along with my journey. But remember, these are the numbers for my body, and yours will be different.

 

January 2016

Weight: 154 lbs
Diastasis measurements: 2-3-1 (for those who are new to this, that means approximately 2 finger widths above the navel, three at the navel and 1 below it.)
Stomach measurements: 36 inches

I was lucky enough to meet Beth Learn in person the following month and while she confirmed my measurements, she also told me my separation was very deep and the muscles very disconnected. That was discouraging news, but I pressed on anyway.

During the following months I worked my way through Fit2B Beginning and incorporated many of the exercises from my past abdominal rehab with The Tummy Team.

 

August 8, 2016

Weight 145

(Notice I got lazy and didn’t record any other measurements besides weight. This was a mistake on my part, because results are sometimes seen in different kinds of ways.)

Then life got crazy so I created my own workout schedule called Fit2B Quick.

 

November 13, 2016

Weight: 143 lbs
Diastasis Measurment: 1-2-1
Stomach measurement (at the navel) 36 inches
Hip measurement: 40 inches

Then preparing to move and the busyness of the holiday season took over and I again reverted to the philosophy that something is better than nothing and began my Fit2B Minimal series, which I didn’t even complete thanks to the move.

 

So where am I now?

February 2017
Weight 140
Stomach measurement (at the navel) 35 inches
Hip measurement: 39 inches
diastasis 1-3-1

I find it weird that things have gotten stronger, but not necessarily much narrower. My middle seems to shrink and expand based on so many factors including hormones. But I am able engaged when I need to, which is very encouraging progress.

Please remember that these are just the numbers for my body. Your journey will be different. Sometimes it takes me more than a day to get through even a single workout depending on how much time I have available and how many interruptions there are. I think it’s more important to build a consistent habit than to push for longer periods of time. I do longer workouts when I’m able, shorter workouts when I’m not.

I’m trying to get back in the habit of keeping better records of my stats. I probably should take pictures too. Because things get muddled in my head. I think I’ve made no progress and let my discouragement weigh me down, but if I look back at the stats (and pictures when I have them) I am sometimes able to see real progress that I’ve forgotten about.

So here I go, on to Fit2B Advancing. My major focus here is to build stronger muscles, continue to close my diastasis and increasing my stamina through healthy cardio. Basically, while I do want to be a healthy weight, I’m more interested in being fit and strong enough for the life I want. That means being able to hold my toddler for long periods of time with good alignment and carry my almost five year old when I need to. As Beth Learn and Kelly Dean (of the Tummy Team) like to say: we weren’t built for exercise, we were built to live life strong.

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

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Take It Slow: Five Minute Friday

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Photo Credit: Paul Saad Flickr via Compfight cc

I’ve been attempting to find silence and solitude lately. If you don’t already know, I am also a mom of three young children. (Ok, don’t laugh at me yet). I’ve always been fascinated with many of the ancient spiritual practices that are rarely highlighted in the modern church. But I also live a life of noise and chaos, also known as motherhood. But I still believe it is possible for both to coexist; both silence and motherhood. My counselor recommended I begin thinking and praying about how I could work this into my life. I’ve gotten a little better at self-care.(Though I missed my weekly relaxing bath, and I find that I’m feeling the lack). But spiritual self-care is just as important.

There is nothing wrong with the prayers of desperation that are such a regular part of my day. But something in me wanted something more. I wanted to become more aware of the voice of God and more attuned to his presence in my daily life. I am consistently aware of my need for a Savior, but I wanted to reconnect with what it means to be Fathered and loved by the Almighty, just for being who I am. I can look at my 1 year old, and I love him just for being him from the moment he was born. Yet I have trouble believing God feels this way about me. So I am trying to find moments to rest and listen.

But how can I do that when my days are so full and so loud? By starting slow. When I am in the car without the kids, I turn the radio off and try to pray. I take deep breaths and meditate in the shower. When the baby is taking a nap and the big kids are watching TV downstairs, I try to take five minutes to sit quietly in my bedroom with my eyes closed and quiet myself. Choose to slow my soul and let the hurry fall away. I expect interruption and distraction. Then I’m not so surprised and angry about it. I just take a deep breath and begin again. (I am still very much working on this. The other day when both my big kids were pounding on the door I barely resisted the urge to yell “What could you possibly need right now? Can’t you understand I’m TRYING to TALK to GOD!”)

It has been very difficult for me to accept that life is process. I’m always trying to check off boxes and pursue goals hoping that eventually I’ll have arrived and I’ll be able to relax. But life is a constant progression of renovation and transformation. This unsettled nature of life goes against my natural state, my innate personality. I enjoy the destination more than the trip. So finding moments of silence and solitude is part of engaged and accepting the nature of the journey. Finding a place to pause along the road, whether it appears to produce results or not.

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Categories: Faith, Five Minute Friday, Uncategorized, Writing | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

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