Tuesdays With Mary: Inspiration Station!

downloadNo one did anything real nuts today at the gym. I know, I couldn’t believe it either. So instead I’ve decided to throw a little inspiration at you.
There is a stunning woman who comes into the gym every day to work out. Today she shared with us that she is exactly 30 days away from her 50th birthday. I was absolutely shocked. This woman looks amazing. But looks aside, she is always lifting really heavy weights. She keeps her reps to 8-10 on most exercises. Is she “bulky”? Nope. Does she look like a man? Nope. She looks like a very fit and toned woman. So often you hear women who are so terrified of looking like Schwarzenegger they avoid weights with two digits. This nearly 50 year old is a perfect example of what to do!
That’s not even the inspirational part. She likes to push herself but she is a smart lifter. When she adds weight she asks for a spotter. Today she wanted to challenge herself on her bench press, so Kyla (the trainer at the gym and all around perfect human being) and I challenged her to set a new Personal Record. Just to give you the back story, this woman usually benches 60 pounds for reps. So, for today, we encouraged her to just PR one rep. We started low and kept adding, and adding, and adding. Her PR? 95 pounds. 30 days from her 50th birthday. So everyone needs to man (lady) up and stop making excuses. I know that it’s hard and you may not actually feel like working out but guaranteed it is the fountain of youth. Get out there and lift up some super heavy weights and then put them down again. You’ll thank yourself!
How are you guys working out this week? Comment below or tweet me @notmommaterial

Tuesdays With Mary: Never Trust a Know It All

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Never, ever, ever trust a know it all in the gym… or anywhere for that matter.  The gym is rife with douchebaggery on a daily basis but no douche is worse than a know it all douche.  This is usually a guy, sorry dudes but its true.  Generally this person walks around telling people they are doing it wrong.  What is “it”?  Anything.  These are also the same people who will scrutinize your vegetables and lean protein, for what ever reason, as they cram pizza down their gullets.  These are the people who always have a better way of doing any exercise.  Oh I should bench press and twice the speed and keep my elbows locked?  I’ll get right on that.  I should jerk with my back while doing deadlifts?  Got it.  I should limit my cardio to 10 minutes if I want to gain muscle and lose fat?  Nailed it!

I am now, and always have been, a proponent of doing what ever feels good for your body.  I started Intermittent Fasting, and got my beautiful mother to do it as well.  If one more person tells us that breakfast is the most important meal of the day neither one of us can be held responsible for what we might do.  You see, there is not another human being on this planet who is the exact same as me.  We all have different genes and metabolisms, will power and work ethics.  Therefor it stands to reason that the new diet trend going around isn’t going to work for everyone.  My challenge to you this week is to do what feels right for you.  If you look and feel better when you workout for long periods of time and eating 7 meals a day, then keep right on truckin’.  If you like to eat one meal a day, then do that.  MMA fighter and my personal hero Rhonda Rousey reportedly eats in a 4 hour window and trains in jui jit su all day long, fasted.  She looks like this:

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I’m not going to tell that woman breakfast is the most important meal of the day or that she needs to eat a certain amount of food before she works out.  She might pummel me.  Incidentally, I train fasted as well and I’ve never looked better or been stronger.

On the flip side of the coin, if what you’re doing doesn’t make you feel great and isn’t getting the results you want, then change it up.  Try something for a few weeks and then make some small tweaks and adjustments.  It has taken me nearly 5 years to get to the point where my diet and exercise regimen makes sense to me.  I am still looking for small adjustments to make to help me lean out as much as possible, but they all come from my own research and trial and error, not because Dr. Oz said something would help me lose weight.  Chime in and let me know what you’re doing these days.  Comment below or tweet me @notmommaterial

Tuesdays With Mary: Cardio Queen Syndrome

 

Cardio Queen Syndrome is a real ailment affecting millions of women across the world.  It’s time to bring awareness to this ever-growing epidemic.  CQS is characterized by an obsession with doing cardio at the gym in the hopes of getting this body:

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Sorry to break it to you ladies but that body is a result of being 21, probably eating only lettuce, and Photoshop.  If all you do is cardio you are going to end up with a skinny fat body, not a sexy, toned, curvy physique.  Stop being afraid to lift weights.  You WILL NOT get “bulky” and “manish”.  That, my friends, would be the result of eating a million calories and deadlifting 500 pounds, so calm down.

We need to bring awareness to this epidemic and find a cure.  If you, or someone you know suffers from CQS please consider lifting or donating some weights to them.  Encourage them to change.  It takes a village to cure people with this disorder but I know it’s possible.

I wrote this post today because I witnessed it at the very gym where I work.  This thing hits close to home and affects everyone in some way.  During the lunch time rush, a woman came in and started walking on the treadmill at a 3 mile per hour pace.  Eventually she raised the incline to 2% (yes, I crept on her for sure).  She did this for over an hour.  She left with nary a bead of sweat.  The benefits of a lasting weight training regimen are more than just looking better naked… although that is a pretty dope benefit.   Weight lifting increases bone density, increases metabolism, and lowers your risk of diabetes.  It can also help you perform all your cardio activities (hopefully more than walking) more powerfully.  In addition, it produces more “white muscle” which helps control your blood glucose levels, because it burns glucose as energy.  White fat specifically draws glucose out of the bloodstream to power through the lifts.  “Red muscle” on the other hand uses fat oxidation for energy.  Boom, science!  Basically, whatever color the muscle is, it’s killing it metabolically.  And probably most importantly it’s nature’s numero uno anti-ager.

If you know someone who does endless low intensity cardio, chime in, let me here how that’s working for them.  You can comment below or tweet me @notmommaterial

Tuesdays With Mary: Manners!

It’s another Tuesday which means I’m unsupervised at the gym.  I’m also super efficient so I usually have upwards of 2 hours to sit and people watch.  Here’s what I saw today:

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There’s a guy who works out at this gym every day.  He’s a beefy, handsome type guy who clearly comes to the gym to workout, not to socialize.  Today, while he was in the middle of doing skull crushers, a woman he works with came up to him and started jawing about some client or some other nonessential piece of knowledge.  This poor guy, being a well-mannered human, placated her and listened as she rambled on.  He didn’t, however, have too  much to say back as if to say “Hey lady, I’m workin’ out here, be cool.”  She was none the wiser and continued to talk his ear off… for 20 minutes.  So here’s my first manners lesson for the day, if someone is working hard and has their headphones in, leave them the hell alone.  The majority of fitness enthusiasts don’t come to the gym to socialize, they come to work out.  Go figure.  Be respectful and save  your conversation for another time.  If you don’t know the person you’re trying to talk to or you’re trying to hit on a girl, do everyone a favor and hit the bricks.  Being hit on at the gym makes most people uncomfortable.  I don’t know about you but I look terrible at the gym.  If you’re doing it right you’re all red-faced and sweaty.  Not cute!  Move along and save your advances for a bar or the grocery store like a normal human.

Next lesson: DON’T STINK!!!!!!!  Sense your body odor and control that shit.  Please do not make the entire gym smell like onions, no one likes it.  The gym is also a place where you breathe hard (if you’re doing it right) so please respect the oxygen that we all have to share.  Today it was so bad that I could smell it in the women’s locker room, and the perpetrator was a man.  I tend to get super sweaty when I workout and I’m always so concerned with stinking that I put on deodorant before, during and after my workouts.  I will not be that person.  I also wash my clothes after every workout.  Here’s the deal people, you may think you can get away with wearing a pair of pants more than once but I’m here to tell you that you can’t.  Knock it off already.

The bottom line is that everything that applies outside of the gym, also applies inside the gym.  All interpersonal norms and societal mores need to be followed.  On top of that there are some pretty important gym tenets you should be down with.  I think someone wrote a blog about that!

Comment below with your crazy gym stories or tweet me @notmommaterial

Tuesdays With Mary: Chronicles From The Gym

I know I’ve fallen off the blogging wagon this year.  I’m back and committed and ready to go.  So I’m going to start a new series called Tuesdays With Mary.  

Recently I started working VERY part-time at the front desk of a super small and quiet gym.  It’s basically the perfect job for someone who suffers from chronic vertigo and hasn’t worked in over a year, I sit down and do nothing!  I decided to write about what’s going on in this gym.  It’s a gym in a corporate office campus servicing some very large entertainment companies.  Since starting this job I’ve learned some really interesting things about gyms and the people who use them.  This week’s topic is Locker Rooms!

Firstly, I’ve learned that people are fucking (sorry for the cursing but it’s just that bad) gross!  Part of my job is of course to straighten up the locker rooms and to launder the towels.  Believe it or not the women are worse than the men.  There is literally hair on every surface.  It’s a wonder any of these women walk out with any still on their heads.  They leave used razors on the benches and seemingly spray hairspray everywhere.  There is also makeup on every single towel.  Seriously ladies why the hell are you wearing so much makeup to the gym?  The conditioner is always empty… always.  What are they doing with it?!?  Remember that someone has to clean up after you, even at the gym, so be courteous and pick up after yourself.

Now on to the men’s room.  No one knows how to close a locker.  This is actually a bigger problem with men I think.  You know how they can’t finish a task?  Well it happens here too.  Also much like the hairspray in the women’s locker room, there is protein powder EVERYWHERE.  I get it, you want to get your protein in right away so you get jacked, nevermind that you need to lose about 50 pounds before you’re in that mode.  If you’re so into your protein powder, you’d think you wouldn’t want to spill any.  Gotta get that 30 grams within 30 minutes bro.  The other day I actually found a 5 pound weight in the bathroom stall.  I have so many questions about this!  Why are you lifting 5 pound weights at all?  Why are you doing it on the toilet?  What are you using to lift it?  Is there enough disinfectant in the world to make anyone touch that again?

The big take away from today is: BE BETTER!  Stop forcing a poor minimum wage employee to clean up after you.  Just be cool man!

What are your biggest locker room pet peeves?  Comment below or tweet me @notmommaterial

Yes, I Watch What I Eat. No, I Don’t Watch What YOU Eat

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As you all know by now I keep pretty tight reigns on my food.  I personally don’t like to eat a lot of crap and choose to eat a diet consisting of mainly organic veggies and lean proteins.  As you also may know, I don’t give a shit about what you eat.  Remember the whole “Not judging people” thing I suggested.

Lately, just about every time I go out to eat with a friend they make a comment about not wanting to eat what they really want to because they think I will judge them.  I’m going to dispel this myth right now.  This is generally a behavior that is being projected onto a healthy eater.  Maybe they really do feel like they shouldn’t be eating those foods but the fact of the matter is, it doesn’t even occur to me to judge people for their food.  I certainly don’t enjoy being judged for my food, which I most certainly am on a daily, meal-ly basis.  There tends to be a feeling that it is ok to comment on a healthy eaters food but not on an unhealthy eaters food.  More on that here.

There is one caveat to this statement though… If you constantly complain about being fat but still eat cheeseburgers for lunch every day, I will judge you.  But not for what you’re eating, for being a hypocrite.  I cannot get behind someone who dislikes something about themselves but refuses to change it.  There is a saying in the fitness world, “Complaining doesn’t burn and calories.”  If it did, I’d probably weight 10 pounds.  So here is a call to action.  If you are unhappy with your weight, do something about it.  Yes, dieting sucks.  Yes, working out is hard.  Yes, it takes time out of your day.  However, if you really look at the grand scheme of things its not as hard as you think.  Make small changes.  You don’t need to go on a 1200 calorie a day diet and workout 3 hours a day.  All you need to do is swap your fries for a salad with that cheeseburger, or maybe take off the top bun and hold the cheese.  Maybe you walk places that are less than half a mile away instead of driving.  Small changes CAN have big results.  Don’t get discouraged!

On the flip side, if you are overweight and you are happy about it congratulations!  You are winning.  The goal isn’t to be a certain weight, but to be happy with yourself, to feel beautiful, to ooze confidence, and to enjoy your life!

Here is an update on my Fitness Model training program:

I completed 13 weeks total of the 12 week program.  I had some major setbacks along the way.  I discovered that I have Hashimoto’s Disease.  Hashimoto’s is an auto immune disease that attacks your thyroid.  As you may know your thyroid controls a number of hormones and an imbalance can make it very hard to lose weight.  I definitely didn’t get the results I wanted, or was promised but I’m still proud of what I did.  I sizzled off 11 pounds of fat!  A lot of people said I didn’t have anything to lose but the fact of the matter is, I did… and still do.  Currently I have started Intermittent Fasting on a 16/8 schedule to try to jumpstart my fat loss again while I wait to be put on meds for my thyroid.  This means that I eat all my calories from 12pm-8pm and then fast from 8pm-12pm.  I have been training fasted in the mornings and have been able to do more than I have since the whole Meniere’s/Vertigo diagnosis.  I’m still waaaaaaaay behind where I was but I’m very please with my progress.

Comment and let me know how you’re training and what you’re eating, or tweet me @notmommaterial!

How Do You Do It?!?

I love to bake. I mean absolutely love it. It’s what I do when I’m stressed, or bored, or happy, or its a Tuesday! However as my faithful followers know, I don’t eat like that. I’m asked all the time how I’m able to make all these fattening and sugar laden foods and not eat any of it. For me its this one simple cliché:
Nothing tastes as good as healthy feels.
This may make me an enabler to the people who eat my baked goods but I truly believe that your health and fitness choices are up to you. I don’t need to police people, just like they don’t need to police me. So when I have a dinner party I don’t skimp on butter and sugar. When its someone’s birthday I make cakes and cupcakes and pies… but I never eat them. Depending on my fitness goals at that point I don’t even taste them. I always make two dinners for my dinner parties, one for me and one for my guests. And I’m totally ok with that.
If you go long enough eating healthy and cutting sugar out of your diet you truly don’t want it. When I do indulge I feel terrible. My body doesn’t want refined carbs and sugar. Mostly it wants healthy fats and protein, so that’s what I give it. It all comes down to will power and wanting something more than that moment of chewing will give you.
Often people tell me “You don’t understand, I’m an emotional eater.” or “I was raised eating a certain way.” In which I reply. “No. YOU don’t understand.” I was raised a certain way too. We all were.  My mom is the best baker ever and we always had chocolate chip cookies and vanilla frosting in the house. I ate only blueberry pancakes for almost a year. I grew up eating corn and mashed potatoes and friend chicken. I was taught to emotionally eat. Food was our reward for every good thing we did. It was also our comfort, our friend. But guess what, I’m an adult now. I can no longer use my childhood as a crutch for poor choices. Instead I have decided to make my own choices based on what’s best for me now. I used to be a size 16 (so, I get it) and I wasn’t happy so I changed it. I changed it by reconditioning myself to see food as fuel and not as a reward. Did it suck?  Of course it did.  Was it easy?  Hell no!  That’s why now that I’m almost done with the hardest diet and exercise (the training is only hard because of my Meniere’s. If this was 2 years ago it would have been really easy) program I’ve ever done, I have been rewarding myself with things that can’t be eaten. And it feels just as good, or even better. Because my eyelash extensions last 3 weeks but a cupcake is gone in seconds. Not that there is anything wrong with rewarding yourself with food. I just feel, for me, it leads to even more bad choices.
How do you reward yourselves for a job well done?
For those of you who are wondering how my program is going, its been rough. I’m down 8 pounds of pure fat. I had a bit of a set back and plateaued a bit so my trainer ordered me to take a few days of rest, which I’m not really happy about, but I feel better already. I need to learn to listen to my body more. So I’m basically taking a week off from carb cycling and going back to just a balanced eating program and picking up the carb cycling next week. Then I will have only one month left!!!

Let me know what your up to and follow me on twitter @notmommaterial