Monday, April 30, 2012

Round two!

Last week, three of my boot camp friends (more like Angels) asked me to do boot camp with them again.  They are so awesome, and so supportive, and I agreed.

This morning was our first day back after a two week absence.  It was a lot different this time around.  Waking up was no problem.  Starting the exercises was no problem.  My body, while glad for the rest, was happy to be back. 

Did you know I'm a possessive person?  Just ask my friends, they'll tell you.  This morning, when we go to the ramp, there's people on our ramp (WHA!?!) Then, if that wasn't enough, they were copying our moves!  They had tires and were doing tire flips!  One of my friends, Deb, even commented how they're stealing our ideas.  So, I told her 'imitation is the sincerest form of flattery' even though I was irked. lol  But, after that, I didn't give them a second thought.  I was too busy trying to breathe.  The cool thing about this morning (one of many) is that we moved from car tires to truck tires!  WOOOHOO!  I knew I would be happy to be back, I just didn't realize how happy I would be to be back!

With everything happening the next few weeks, I'll be needing my boot camp and my boxing to work out my stress and not kill anyone.  I cannot wait until Wednesday!  I might just go in myself tomorrow!  I'm ready, let's do this!

Until next time,
Pray for my dear podmate whose birthday is this Friday!!!  Happy, Happy Birthday, Podmate!  I love you most...FOR GOOD!


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

12 down zero to go!

 Six weeks, twelve hours, 6,000 calories burned.  Muscle gained.  Weight lost.  I went from hating tires to loving them.  I ran/speed walked the entire roof this morning.  I've done countless push ups, dips, medicine ball sit ups, tire pushes, tire flips, tire pulls.  I've ran with tires and medicine balls.  I've ran with weights tied to me.  I've ran while carrying sandbags. I've ran with a rope around me being pulled by someone else.  I've ran more in six weeks than I have in 42 years.  When I say 'ran' I mean run/speed walked.   I have made great strides and great friends. I don't know what possessed me today, but the tire I picked up was heavier than I'm use too.  My first thought was "that's okay, it's the last day of boot camp and I'm in the mood to kick a little tire."  It was a toss up, the tire kicked my butt and I kicked its butt.  I found out I am stronger than even I realized.    I found out that 5:30 is *really* early in the morning.  I found out that I have a love/hate relationship with Coach Steve.

Coach Steve.  The man is a maniac in the best way.  For someone who loves to swim, he sure loves to run a lot!  Coach Steve is amazing.  I don't know if the Coach was anyone else if I would have followed through.  Coach Steve is tough.  He keeps pushing you beyond your limits.  He doesn't tear you down to build you up.  He just starts out building you up and keeps going.  In his eyes, there is nothing we can't do.  And, if he believes it, it must be true.  If he lit the ramp on fire and said to go up with my tire, I would.  As usual, I'd say he was drunk or crazy (note, he's never drunk or crazy) but I would go up nonetheless.  He knows my strength better than I do.  I started boot camp wanting to throw up the first ten minutes.  Then, that threshold moved.  It got further and further into the hour.  Today, I left everything I had on the ramp.  I left so much sweat and energy on that ramp it will short out a car and restart it.  I wanted to throw up at the very end.  I was worried for a while that if I didn't feel like I wanted to throw up, I wasn't pushing myself.  I was, I just had gotten stronger.  And, that's because of Coach Steve.

Then, there's the other participants.  They are equally amazing.  When I'm always the last one up the ramp they never complain.  Not once.  In fact, quite the opposite.  They cheer me on with 'you can do it!  Come on, Gina!"  When I had 10 dips left to do and nothing left in me this morning the cheered me on to finish, and I did.  They are such a great source of support.  We take care of each other.  We started out with 11 people.  Two guys.  We finished with five women.  Zero guys.  We rule!

There are my friends.  My Carol is nothing short of amazing.  Every boot camp day, I get a text either wishing me luck, telling me to work hard, or how proud of me she is.  There's the countless email and texts I get from my friends telling me how proud of me they are.  There's the greatest compliments of 'skinny minnie' and my personal favorite 'skinny bitch' :D  And finally, there is my husband.   He has not complained once when the alarm (which he sets) goes off at 4:45am on boot camp days.  He never complained when I come in afterwards to shower and accidentally wake him up.  He always tells me how proud of me he is.  Sometimes, it hard for him to see changes because he sees me everyday and that's okay.  Because everyday, he loves me.  Everyday, he tells me how proud of me he is.  Every boot camp day he says "go get 'em" or 'how'd your do?"  He is my biggest cheerleader and I love him for it.

Six weeks ago, I signed up for boot camp to help push me through the end of my fit & fierce program.  I figured it would give me an extra kick.  It did more than that.  More than I ever thought possible.  I gained in wisdom and in strength and I could not be happier!

What now?  Well, I started fit & fierce 4 life last night (similar to fit & fierce but the next level).  I also signed up for boxing!  I'm going back to my regularly scheduled routine.  I miss my Zumba with Lori more than I ever thought possible (I have a meeting at church tonight, but I'll be their Friday, Lori!).  I found that I couldn't do both in the same day, that it was just way too much for me to handle.  I will continue with my new ff4l program and I will continue pushing myself.  And, rest assured, I will still have my love/hate relationship with Coach Steve.  He's teaching boxing!!!!  I expect to be pushed beyond my limits and I am looking forward to it!

So, I implore you to try something new.  To push yourself beyond your limits.  You can do anything!

Until next time,
Sign up for fit & fierce for life!  It starts next week and you will thank yourself for it!


Monday, April 9, 2012

11 Down, one to go!

Today was the penultimate boot camp.  I hated Coach Steve mostly from the word go.  He made us walk up to the roof.  Truth be told, that's the part I hate the worst, almost more than running.  We ran the roof, ran it with our medicine balls, then did drills.  Then, we walked back down.  He had us grab our tires (yay!  It's just not a good day if I can't get my hands on my tire!), a rope and two 10 pound weights.  We tied BOTH weights to the rope and around us and up the ramp we went.  Oh, and every three seconds (not really, but it seemed like every three seconds) we had to drop and do 15 push ups on the weights.  Then, when that was done, we did tire throws.  This is where I got one of my two favorite compliments of the day (and the day has barely begun!).

A tire throw is just what it says.  You get in the squatting position and then throw the tire.  Coach said "Gina can throw a tire!"  I didn't realize this.  But, it turns out, man, I can throw a tire at least 5 feet :D  I know this because the yellow lines in the garage are five feet long and I threw it a little further than that consistently.  Then, we put one of the weights IN the tire and carried it up the ramp.  We did more tire stuff.  Lunges, etc.  My arms and legs feel like jell-o.  I don't think there is a muscle in my body that isn't screaming out, and I could not be happier.  Yes, yes, I give Coach Steve a hard time.  But I love him.  How can you hate someone who only wants the best for you?  Who knows your limits better than you do?  Who pushes you to be your best?  When your pulling 20 pounds up a ramp, it's easy to hate him lol, but I say it with love.  I am not going to say I'm in the best shape of my life, because I only lost 20 pounds (and almost 14 inches and 2 jean sizes in TWELVE weeks!).  I have way more to go and that's okay.  But I am feeling awesome and that's what counts.

I love that I can walk in the studio and our first words are "Happy Easter!" and about how Jesus is Risen.  You can't do that at any other gym that's for sure.

As most of you know, I gave sweets up for lent.  I told everyone who would listen that my Easter basket better have Peeps, black jelly beans, and gummy bears in them.  Then, Coach T said no.  She said not to.  She's such a great coach so I changed my basket.  I got a beautiful mug from my amazing husband.  I had one mini Reece's cup and one twizzler.  Then, my niece made this AMAZING chocolate pudding cake.  She gave me a slice, but I didn't eat the whole thing.  Almost, but I didn't.  Our appetizers went from chips and dips as the usual to a cheese and pepperoni tray and crudites!  I had ham.  And more ham.  And, pineapple bread pudding.  What?  It had fruit in it.  And, my Carol makes it special just for me :D  So, all in all, I didn't go hog wild with the sweets like I thought I was gonna.  And, I kept reaching for water all day.  I did have about 4 oz of sprite, but the rest of the day was water.  It's mostly all I drink now.  So over the last twelve weeks, little by little, I made lifestyle changes without really realizing they were lifestyle changes.  Pretty cool, huh?

So, what was the other compliment I got?  A sweet friend at boot camp asked me how many kids I have.  So, I told her "I've got a freshman, sophomore, and senior in high school".  Her response was "how old ARE you?"  She did not believe I was 42.  I had to say it like three times.  She thought I was in my 20's!  I credit, God, the gym, and my Mary Kay products (which I was not wearing for boot camp!).   AWESOME way to start my day!

I hope each of you have had a blessed Easter.   I wish you all a beautiful day and remember, when you feel that no one loves you, or no one cares, I do.

Until next time,
Happy Monday!


Friday, April 6, 2012

Jesus and Billy Joel

So, as I woke up this morning, Bob started talking to me.  My eyes weren't even open, and He had much to say.  I just went to confession last weekend and one of the things I mentioned was that I judge.  I can't help it.  Well, um, apparently, I can.  It's something I really need to work on and Bob reminded me of that on this Good Friday morning.

I have a close group of friends that are like family to me.  I have a wider group of friends that are some of my closest friends.  I have a parish full of friends.  I have friends in other states and other countries.  I have friends who are atheists, who are gay, who are straight, who have had abortions.  I have friends who have been married and divorced.  I have friends who judge.  Basically, all my friends, even the holiest ones that I have, we are all sinners.  Yet, I really don't judge my friends.  I don't hate my friends who have had abortions.  I don't hate my atheists friends.  I don't pass judgement on them.  I love them unconditionally because they are my friends.  No, they weren't always my friends.  We grew in love and in faith.  Even the atheists ones.  I don't judge any of them.  So, why do I judge others?  Bob reminded me this morning that Jesus was friends with tax collectors and sinners.  Now, in no way am I saying I'm like Jesus.  Nope, I'm a sinner too.  But I thought it interesting.  Jesus didn't judge the tax collector or the woman who had an affair.  Why should I?

I've never claimed to be perfect.  Nope.  far from it.  So here's my quandary.  If I don't judge my closest who sin just like everyone else, why do I judge those who are not my friend?  Why do I judge the conotworker who drives me crazy?  And, more importantly, how do I stop?  I like to say "I don't gossip so listen close the first time" lol  but mostly kidding.  How do I not judge the person and just love them?  Jesus calls me to love them, not like them.  Thank God, because that would take more energy than I have to give.  I learned that it's okay not to like some people.  Different personalities and all that.  But I can still love them.  Some are easier than others to love.  But, then again, Jesus never promised it would be easy, He only promised it would be worth it.

And, to tell you the truth, I love hanging out with my friends.  With people.  As someone once said to me (I forget who it was, forgive me, please) "you've never met a stranger".  Which is true.  I consider most everyone a friend.  How can I not?  And, since Jesus is the only perfect person I know, we are all sinners and like Billy Joel said "sinners are much more fun..." in Only the Good Die Young.

Today is Good Friday.  One of my ultimate favorite days of the year.  I love tonight's Mass.  I love the veneration of the cross.  If Jesus can forgive those who betrayed Him, Judas, Peter, those who crucified Him, who am I to judge?

This is one of my very favorite pictures.  It's called forgiven.  You can see the sorrow on the man's face who hammered the nails into Jesus.  Look how limp his body goes when he realizes what he's done?  Now, look at Jesus?  He is not only holding the man, he is holding him up.  He is gripping the man.  Look at Jesus' hands how they are passionately gripping him.  Almost as if they are the only things holding him up.  That is pure love.  That is pure forgiveness.  

So, one day at a time is the way I see it.  Today, I will work on not judging.  I make no promises of being perfect, but I make a promise, that I will try.

Happy Good Friday.

Until next time,
What are you working on today?


Monday, April 2, 2012

We've only just begun

Is my least favorite Carptenter's song.  But, it is true.

Twelve weeks ago, by the Holy Spirits prompting I joined the Fit & Fierce competition at Leading Cast Rhythms & Fitness.

I've joined many gyms over my time.  When I was in my 20's and still stick thin.  And, in my thirties, when I was not.  I liked the swimming pools, the sauna's, and the treadmills were okay.  Watching tv while listening to my music and working out was great for my adhd.  I'd meet with the personal trainer as one visit was always included.  I've always had bad knees (at least in my thirties and up) and couldn't do the stair master, so I stayed away.  The trainer showed me how to work the weight machines and how many reps to do and then I was off on my own.  It got very boring.   And, I'm not gonna pay some trainer who looks like a model to watch me sweat.  I'm self conscience enough, that's why I'm at the gym in the first place!  It never stuck. 

Other than the Holy Spirit, I can't name the reason I joined the studio this January.  I don't know what my catalyst was, I just knew I wanted to do it.  There, I met the best most supportive people.  I learned about nutrition.  I learned that you can't target an area to lose weight and that it's gonna come off wherever and whenever in whatever order it comes off.  I learned that I like sprouted bread.  I learned what sprouted bread is.  I learned I wished we had a Sprouts store in Allen and that since we don't 10-15 minutes really isn't that far to drive for good, fresh, vegetables.  Yes, miss 'loves everything that's fried' is eating fresh vegetables.  I learned how to cook kale.  Although, I prefer it in my sandwich.  I learned that grape seed oil is yummy and that people will not look at you funny when you tell them you don't like olive oil.  I learned that my beloved margarine is one chemical away from being plastic and that I actually like real, honest to God, real, butter!  I learned that exercise is good and that I can do anything given the right tools.

That's exactly what R&F did for me.  The people, the coaches and the members gave me the tools to change myself.  And, the change was so subtle, I didn't realize, how much my food choices changed.  With Bob's prompting (the Holy Spirit) again, five weeks ago, I joined the boot camp program with Steve.  Three more classes to go!!!  I learned that there's not a lot of people up at 5:30 in the morning, but there is at 6:30  I learned that insanity is fun and that tires are great exercise.  I could change a tire before, now I'll not only change it, but I can get some reps in while I'm doing it!  I learned that boot camp does not mean military screaming in your face and that my boot camp friends (and the ones at the studio in general) are some of the most amazing people I've ever met in my life.  I learned that when I grow up, it might be fun to be a zumba instructor (I say this because every other song on the radio I'm either making up a routine to it or thinking "I must tell Lori so she can make a routine to this song".  I learned that it's not about fast, fast, fast.  That I didn't put 70 pounds on overnight and it isn't going to come off in two hours. 

I've spent years trying what didn't work (for me), weight watchers, lightweight, special k (the cereal not the drug lol), slim fast, herba life.  And almost always felt like a failure.  I've spent twelve weeks with my new friends and I couldn't be prouder of myself!  You who have been with me through the years with this blog know just how amazing that is!

But, like the Carpenter's song that I hate so much, I've only just begun.  I am sticking with the studio, doing another twelve week program.  Looking forward to with great excitement (and dreading) the end of boot camp, and excited about the possibility of boxing.  I think I figured out why R&F is the place for me.  It's God centered.  The owners, my friends and coaches, are wonderful God loving people.  They don't hit you over the head with their love for Him, but when you walk in the studio, all you feel is love, that is until you lift a tire or a medicine ball, then you feel love and pain.

I just had to thank my coaches, Teresa, Angela, and Steve and all my friends at R&F for their love and support.  I could not have done, nor continue to do this journey without all of you. " Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."  Philipians 4:8 That should be the R&F motto because that is what they live.

Until next time,
Stop in for a Zumba class and as my Carol is so fond of telling me, "let go, let God"!


When love sees you

Six years ago, I went with the women of St. Jude to what seemed to me, a mystical place.  I had tried to go for two years in a row, but other stuff got in the way.  I was so excited the day the bus pulled up to our destination, I cried.  I couldn't believe I had finally made it to Montserrat Jesuit Retreat house.

My first trip I was so anxious.  What does God want to say to me?  Will I hear Him? etc.  I have come to cherish my time at Montserrat.  This year is no different.  You go when you're suppose to go.  Normally, as I said, I go with my friends from St. Jude's.  However, this year the retreat falls on my Sarah's birthday.  And, when I called to cancel, was told about an upcoming retreat.  So, nothing on the calendar, I called one of my favorite people in the world, my Patti, and she and I went together this past Thursday.

Now, I must tell you, it's not immediate silence.  You arrive Thursday for dinner and can talk during dinner.  After that you must remain silent until lunch on Sunday.  After unpacking, the first thing Patti and I did was hit the dock.  We sat there and chatted and as we did all the tension left me.  All the anger, all the anxiety, all my worries and I was filled with almost immediate peace.  It was such a gift.  I received so many gifts this weekend, it's like it was my birthday or something.  I had peace restored to my soul, I met amazing women, Patti and I got to witness to others.  I went to confession.  Oh, and I tried tilapia and it was AMAZING!  And, I hate seafood! lol

The retreat master was a wonderful woman.  She's the second woman I've had as a retreat master.  See on the weekends, it's not roaming about silently the whole time, only part of it.  You go through the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius (awesome guy!).  The exercises are only 30 minutes long and then you spend time contemplating them or whatever is on your mind.  There are three a day.  There's Mass, stations of the cross, the Rosary, meals.  You can be as busy as you want.  My favorite part of the retreat is when my head finally just empties.  No more thoughts.  It finally quiets down.  And then my thoughts are "look at the duck, oh wait it's a goose".  " Look at the clouds, that one looks like a cartoon dinosaur" and stuff like that.  It is truly a gift when your mind shuts down and you can just be.  It takes me a full day for that to happen.

Then, I reconnected with Jesus.  And, I learned things I didn't realize before.  Things I knew with my head, but didn't realize with my heart.  The retreat master did something different than most.  She had some songs that were pertinent to her talk.  One such song brought me to my knees on Friday night.

Can you guess which line brought me to my knees?  Let me know what you think!

The rest of the weekend was full of color and wonder and amazement.  God is so awesome.  I think one of my favorite gifts was confession.  My gifts this weekend were during confession, during the healing service, during the stations of the cross, reconnecting with a friend from St. Jude, spending precious alone time with God, spending precious alone time with my Patti, and spending time with my spiritual adviser.   A couple of my friends have had them for years and I always thought "I gotta get me one of those!"  So, this weekend, I did!

I arrived back into the real world yesterday afternoon.  Happy to be with my family again.  However, I did not want to go to boot camp this morning.  At. All.  But, with four classes left, how could I quit now?  I went, I'm sore.  I have three more classes left!

I wish you all a beautiful Holy week.

Until next time,
What can I pray for you?