We throw off the lie of perfection and cling to our identity in God as we strive to be whole, healthy, and fit. Our goal is wholeness, not perfection.

Archive for the ‘fitness’ Category

12 Days of Christmas: Day 4 – Move More

4th day

…my blogger friends gave to me: The permission to Move

That sounded weird when you read that, didn’t it?  Permission to move?  Aren’t we usually being told that we have to move? Especially this time of year.  Take a leisurely scroll through your Instagram or Facebook feed and you’ll likely be bombarded by images telling you to “work off” your Christmas indulgences.  How many times this holiday season did you eat something and think “That was x number of calories, so I need to do y number of laps/miles/burpees to burn it off”?

But the truth is that movement is a gift.  We get to move, we don’t have to.  Just ask anyone whose ability to move has been limited or restricted.  Unfortunately, movement can seem like a chore when we lose sight of the fact that it’s a gift.  Too often we approach exercise as a means to an end instead of simply enjoying the act of moving.

Why? I don’ know about you, but over the years I have succumbed to the pressure of the ever changing idea of “fit”.  At some point I went from liking exercise to needing to exercise.  I always had more pounds or inches to lose.  Bondage.  That’s what that is.  God sent Christ to free us for freedom, not to get caught up in bondage again. {Galatians 5:1}

So, if one of your goals for the new year is to move more, that’s great.  Just remember to move in a way that is enjoyable.  A way hat doesn’t lead back to bondage, but celebrates the gift of movement.  Here are two programs that focus on wholeness, not just fitness:

revelation_motto

Revelation Wellness

2014-WHAT-IS-REFIT

REFIT Revolution

Are you currently moving on a regular basis?  If so, what do you like to do to celebrate your ability to move?

Permission to Be a Mom

My body is not my own.

My name’s Reina and I’m a recovering fitness addict, image addict – I’m not sure which one is more true.  The last time I was regularly active, it wasn’t so much of an obsession as it was a really positive outlet.  But once upon a time, I was a fitness addict.  I was more concerned about the end product and it overshadowed the joy and blessing of being able to move and breathe.  I pushed my body’s limits just a little passed comfortable in order to get stronger, and faster, and build endurance.  And let’s face it, I wanted to look good in jeans.

I’m definitely a recovering image addict, and I think that’s something I’ll struggle with as long as I’m on this side of heaven.  It changes, the degree to which I struggle with it.  And also the specific focus of the obsession regarding image, that changes.  There are better seasons, better days, and then there are those days and seasons when I really struggle to let go of the opinions of others.  I truly do believe that it’s an illness, disease, whatever you want to call it, that women are prone to be effected by more than men. Or maybe we just reflect it or act out on it in differently than guys do.  In ways that are more noticeable.  I don’t know.

One of the unexpected benefits of being a new mom of twins is that my twin pregnancy really humbled me in the area of obsessing over my fitness and image.  I was teaching fitness classes when I became pregnant with the twins.  I really enjoyed it.  I loved the endorphins, the comradery of teaching group fitness classes, the whole group dynamic – and it could be a class as small as two people.  One person actually, when it came to my 5:30 in the morning classes.  It was awesome to have other like minded people allow me to partner with them in the endeavor to get healthy and fit, to strive for progress over perfection.  We formed real bonds, created real community.

When I got pregnant I thought, “This is awesome!  I’m going to keep teaching classes and I’m going to teach until it’s time to give birth.”  Then we found out I was carrying twins and I was told that wasn’t going to happen.  The last class I taught was in early August and the next fitness class I participated in was in October.  And in those two short months I could tell the difference in what I could handle, or rather couldn’t handle.  The next time I worked out again was in December and whoa buddy, what I could do was limited even more.

During this time (August to December) I was gaining weight (to be expected) and battling pregnancy acne (as if I wasn’t self-conscious enough already with the rapid weight gain).  It was becoming more and more evident that my body was not mine.  My body was a home to the two lives growing inside me.  It was a cafeteria to feed them.  I was also processing their nutrients, their blood, their oxygen, their waste.  There were so many things my body had to regulate, and my body’s needs took a backseat.

And although I was okay with it during the pregnancy, I really did think that once they were born and I reached the six weeks recovery period (really eight with a Cesarean) that I’d be able to jump right back into working out.  More than trying to get back in shape, I was trying to get active again.  It took me several months of chiropractic care to get my hips and pelvis to stay put and not jostle out of place.  I started doing well for a few days at a time, which became a few weeks.  I was doing at home workout programs and seeing some real improvements in my endurance and muscle tone.  And then the boys went to daycare and I went to work.  They got sick and lovingly gave their stomach bug to me and my husband.  After that, it just seemed like every time I put two days together of working out that something else would pop up.  It really feels like – not as an excuse, but as a reality check – that God’s telling me that now is not the season.  Now is not the time to focus on my fitness, but to focus on being a mom.

Although they are not living in me anymore, and I’m not their house anymore, I’m still their number one source of nutrition.  I’m still supplying the majority of their nutrients through nursing or expressing milk and sending it to daycare.  So I really felt God focusing my attention on my nutrition and food intake.  Unfortunately, when I lost a few pounds in September, my babies lost weight, too.  I’m not sure if my weight loss was tied to their weight loss or if it was just the timing because they had another touch of the stomach bug.  Honestly, I wasn’t heartbroken about not focusing on my nutrition.  It’s not easy to eat 3,000 calories of healthy food every day.  It’s time consuming and it’s costly.

But that didn’t change the fact that I felt torn between being okay with wearing my maternity jeans and wanting to hurry up and “bounce back” to my pre-pregnancy body.  There’s a lot of pressure in our society for women to “bounce back” and look like their pre-pregnancy self with a quickness.  Never mind the magazines that feature new celebrity moms who have lost their pregnancy weight and more in less than three months.  Those magazine covers have been around for years.  When comparison rears its ugly head I’m able to remind myself that those celebrities have nannies, personal chefs, personal trainers, and they do not have the schedule normal moms do.  What gets to me is when I see normal moms on Instagram and Facebook talking about hitting that pre-pregnancy mark.  It’s much easier to get caught up in the lie of “Well, if she can do it I should be doing it.”  It seems like getting back to pre-pregnancy size or smaller isn’t just a goal anymore, it’s an expectation.

I know I’m not the only new mom (or new again mom) who is looking for, waiting for, aching for permission to be okay with walking in the truth that our bodies are not our own.  To be okay with the current season of life.  Not that there isn’t a time to lose fat and tone up. I just know now is not that season for me.  I’m not willing to give up what little sleep I get to wake up super early in the morning to work out before my house wakes up.  And after a full day – waking up around 4 to either nurse or pump, getting myself and everyone else ready for the day, working 9 hours, doing Mommy stuffy with our oldest, nursing and getting the twins ready for bed when they get home from daycare*, putting our oldest to bed, cleaning the kitchen and preparing all bottles and pumping supplies for the next day*, and spending time with my husband before going to bed by 11 – I’m spent and working out is the last thing I want to devote my time and energy to.  If you’re a mom out there and you’re able to juggle working full time, a newborn, older kids, a husband, nutrition, and fitness – mad props to you.  I’m just not there right now and that’s okay.

Since having the twins I’ve noticed that what and how we feed our kids is a huge deal.  I see plenty of debates via social media about breast feeding versus exclusively pumping versus formula and mushy food versus baby led weaning and all sorts of craziness.  I regularly see posts where women lovingly give one another permission to feed their children however they see fit, to do whatever is best for their family.  People say things like “As long as the baby is happy, healthy, and thriving, let’s encourage one another and not tear each other down.”  I see plenty of those posts.

We may not talk about it outright but I definitely sense that there’s this issue of “bouncing back” from a pregnancy and how long it takes.  I’d love to see just as many, if not more posts, of new moms (and new again moms) giving each other permission to enjoy being moms and not having to feel the pressure of to do so within a certain time frame.  Giving each other permission to be present for the very, very short period of time when our children rely so heavily upon us.

So if no one else out there on the interweb can relate, then so be it.  But if you can, please hear me when I say you have permission to be a mom.  Because that’s so much more than enough right now.

*when my husband’s schedule allows he helps out with these tasks

A Message for Fit Moms

I’m reading You’re Already Amazing by Holley Gerth (read it and stop by here every Monday to join the conversation) and this paragraph stopped me in my tracks. It couldn’t have come at a more perfect time, because a friend of mine was feeling defeated by a workout she has been doing.

Making progress in life is hard work. When we insist on moving forward as quickly as possible, we can wear ourselves out in a hurry. Sometimes when God makes us wait, it’s one of the most merciful things he can do. It doesn’t inherently mean we’ve done something wrong. In fact, it can indicate just the opposite – that we’re right between some really big things God has for our lives, and we need to rest up.

I shared the paragraph with her and let her know that I can totally relate to wanting to be better/stronger/smaller/more fit/smarter/more experienced/whatever right NOW. It can be difficult, disheartening even, to not make progress at the pace I would prefer. But then God slows me down and I’m able to be grateful for the progress I’ve already made. I can easily forget that I just had babies, because they’re growing so fast. Not to mention what carrying them for 37 weeks did to my body. Our bodies are amazing for enduring what they did to carry and birth children. We (and I’m totally speaking to myself here) need to be patient and loving as we ask our bodies, often force them, to do things that will make them stronger in the long run but hurt right now.

As difficult as it can be, I sometimes like to have to talk to myself as though I’m talking to my 7 year old.  He is every bit the perfectionist that I am, which can lead to frustration and heartache on his part.  And lots of nevers.  Like “I’ll never be good at” this or that.  When these words come out of his mouth I call him over to me, pet and cup his face with my hand, look him straight in the eyes and tell him – “Yet.  You’re not good at it, yet.”

So to my fellow fit moms (moms working on their fitness) I say – be grateful for the ability to do what you can.  Try not to focus on what you used to do or what you can’t do, yet. I’ve found amazing women to walk alongside on my journey – via Facebook, Instagram, and even Twitter – a tribe if you will.  When the lie of perfectionism hisses, we speak truth over one another.  Do you have a tribe of truth speaking, encouraging accountability partners?

Quick PiYo Home Workout Review: Week 1

Why a quick review you ask?  Because I spent THREE days writing out a thoughtful review of week one and subsequently lost it.  I’m not feelin’ a whole lot of love for WordPress right now.  ***Update: WP angels helped me find my drafts through their Live Chat feature*** But I digress…

Alignment: The Fundamentals (42 minute workout time) focuses on proper form.  I almost skipped it since I am a PiYo Live (formerly known as PiYo Strength) instructor.  Glad I didn’t skip it though, because there were moves I haven’t seen yet and therefore needed to learn and others I needed to practice.  If you’re new to Pilates, Yoga, recovering from an injury (or in my case, pregnancy) I recommend you do Alignment for a few days before moving on to the actual workouts.

Define: Lower Body (21 minute workout time) focuses on the lower body but incorporates enough upper body strengthening that you’ll be wondering why your arms hurt if it’s a lower body workout.  There are LOTS of lunges in this workout, but my thighs are already tightening up, so I guess I should be happy about that.  My core is in desperate need of strengthening, so I have a love hate relationship with the Warrior Three pose in this workout.  Here’s a clean pic I found:

Warrior Three

I am not yet able to bring my leg up that high, but Chalene Johnson keeps reminding us throughout the workouts that PiYo is all about improving.  Which is awesome because on Tuesday I needed to use a chair to balance but by Friday I was able to do it sans chair.

Define: Upper Body (19 minute workout time) incorporates a ridiculous number of tricep push-ups.  I never thought I’d be so happy to do ab work as I was the first time I did this workout, because it’s the only relief we’re given between all the push-ups.  This workout does not have a warm-up, so I used the warm-up in the Lower Body workout and switched back over to Upper Body.  The challenging move in this workout is the Kick Through.  I’m able to do it when we’re just putting weight on the outside hip, but not when the leg kicks through and out.  Chalene makes it look easy:

PiYo Kick Through

Sweat (37 minute workout time) is aptly named.  It is flows like a PiYo Live class, except it does not include a cool down with static stretching.  I felt fairly confident going into this workout, after having completed the Define sections.  I figured that if there was only one challenging move in each of those workouts then I’d be good to go.  Wrong.  This workout brought its own challenges – THREE of them.  The Lower Body section of this workout incorporates a lot of balancing moves.  The most challenging for me being the Runner’s Balance.  It looks like this, but you’re hinged forward, balancing on the support leg in more of a squat and the foot of the raised leg is pushes back.

Runners Balance

The next challenging move were the sumo squats.  My ligaments and joints don’t play well together since having the twins, so I had to continuously adjust my stance in order to put as little pressure as possible on my right knee.  I modified a lot when it came to the sumo squat section, especially the burpees.  I skipped them entirely and chose instead to modify with Michele Park.  I plan on writing Michele a love letter soon, because her modifications have gotten me through this first week of PiYo.

The last, and most difficult, move for me is complicated to explain and I can’t find a picture of it anywhere.  So, I’ll do my best to describe it and then update this post at a later time with a picture of me attempting it.  Here’s the sequence of the move: Plank –> Right knee to right elbow –> Extend right leg straight out.


Tips for the PiYo Home Workout – Week 1

1) Take a PiYo Live class if you can OR…

2) Find a Fit Club that is going to showcase a PiYo workout from the DVD set

3) Modify, modify, modify

4) Challenge yourself when you’re ready

5) Remember that Define: Upper Body does NOT have a warm-up so use the one from Lower Body


Disclosure: I am an Independent Team Beachbody Coach.  What’s that mean?  I’m a Beachbody customer who likes some of the programs enough to share my experience with other people.  By doing so I help them on their journey to better health.  And occasionally I get a “Thank you” check from Beachbody for doing it.

 

Already Amazing

Sometime this evening, I will be leading a workout routine, along with some wonderful women I met a couple of weeks ago, through REFIT Revolution, in North Carolina.  We worked on choreography and recorded several routines.  The one they helped me tweak is the routine we will be presenting tonight.  Unfortunately, I made a mistake in the original recording, so I recorded it again yesterday.

Now, I consider myself a fairly tech savvy person.  Not a tech geek, mind you, but I know my way around the internets (if you don’t get that reference you really need to check out Jon Acuff).  Well, apparently I don’t know my way around the privacy settings of Facebook.  I tried to share the video clip directly to the Facebook group we’re all in together, but it wasn’t an option from my phone.  Not wanting everyone to see it, I selected “Only Me” and then shared it to the group, forgetting that no one would be able to see it.

So I changed it to “Friends” and removed it from my timeline.  I didn’t delete it from my timeline, because I wasn’t sure if it would get deleted from our group.  I woke up this morning to notifications of likes and encouraging comments.  About the video clip.  That no one else was supposed to see.  I was mortified.  But then one comment hit me like a 2 x 4 – “Oh. My. God. You. Are. Amazing!!”  It was from my friend, and fellow twin mama (her boys were born the day after mine), Jennifer.

The thing is, I didn’t feel amazing.  At all.  Not when I was doing the routine – I was thinking about how frumpy I looked and that I probably should have worn workout clothes.  Not when I was done with the routine – I was out of breath and longing for the endurance I had before I got pregnant.

As a fitness instructor, I show the utmost respect, concern, care, and encouragement for people who are getting in shape.  I constantly remind them to do what they can and extend themselves some grace.  But until I read Jennifer’s comment, I hadn’t realized how I wasn’t offering myself the same respect, concern, care, encouragement, or grace.

My body is not the same.  Period.  It may never get back to the way it was.  I have to remind myself of that and be okay with it.  I want to strive for better fitness, and better health, but in a manner that does not belittle what my body has already achieved.  I need to celebrate my progress – daily.  I am going to focus on what I can accomplish, rather than what I was able to accomplish in the past.  Comparison is dangerous.  Especially when we compare ourselves to a former version of ourselves.  

Comparison v Grace

Jennifer’s comment and everything it stirred up in me reminded me that I’m exactly where God wants me to be.  At this particular time on my journey to wholeness, I am reading You’re Already Amazing by Holley Gerth.  That’s why when Jennifer told me I was “Amazing” it felt like a nod and a wink from God.  I would love for you to join me in reading this awesome book about grace and finding freedom in believing we are who God says we are.  Today is the last day to enter the giveaway.   

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