Posts Tagged With: Perseverence

7 Quick Takes Friday, Vol 13: Getting Back on Track Edition

First of all, my prayers are certainly with Jennifer during this dreadful, uncertain time.¬†Let’s petition all of Heaven for the protection and care of the Fulwiler family!

I’ve been absent from the blogging world for the last few weeks. The holidays were busy, busy! In addition to endless Christmas shopping, and running around, I decided about a week before Christmas to get a jump start on my fitness goals for the new year. So, instead of blogging, I’ve been using what precious little time (and energy) I could muster to jump around the living room like a maniac so I could feel the burn! The result? Now, 5 days into 2013, I’ve already increased the length and intensity of my workouts . Woot!

I did so well last year. For 6 months, I worked out, and I was training to do a 5K, but…life got in the way and I got off track. Then, I started having health problems and didn’t want to risk making things worse. Well, not working out hasn’t made my health any better, so I’ve decided to work through the pain. In the 6 months that I did manage to stay on track last year, I learned a lot, so I’ve decided to pass on some of those lessons with 7 things I recommend for getting in shape.

1: Shoes. Proper ones.

When I started working out, I wore 10$ sneakers from Walmart. Within a few weeks, I was on cloud nine. Every day, I could feel myself getting stronger, I had more energy, and I just felt….better! Then came the pain. Shin splints. The worst part about shin splints is that there is no gradual progression. One day, perfectly fine, the next you’re in screaming agony at the slightest exertion. Walking becomes strained, squats and lunges become painfully difficult, and jumping jacks? Jogging? Butt kicks? Ha! No way! I ended up having to decrease the intensity of my workouts for a few weeks to allow myself time to heal. At a time when I was moving forward so brilliantly, to have to step back was a slap in the face. Not knowing very much about shoes, I bought a pair of Skechers Sport sneakers for 50$. After some heavy mileage, I recently ordered a replacement pair through Amazon, that are pretty much identical, but with pink trim! They came with pink laces, too! ūüėÄ



I’m sure a good many people would say they weren’t up to snuff since they didn’t cost an arm and a leg, but the difference was amazing. My feet not only felt supported, they felt loved. I also used a calf support, and continue to use it to prevent further injury.

Bottom line: GET SOME DECENT SHOES!!! And using a calf support from day one probably isn’t a bad idea. Having to dial down your intensity when you’re making progress sucks.

2: A Fitness Plan

You simply can’t just jump around your living room doing random exercises and expect consistent results. Last Christmas, I bought my husband an XBox 360 (which he was DYING to have) and I bought a Kinect as nice little add-on for the both of us. Oh. My. Gravy. It was money well spent, let me tell you! I bought a bundle that included my choice of game, and since I was being such a generous Santa, I chose a game for myself!

I highly, highly recommend The Biggest Loser Ultimate Workout for Kinect! ¬†Having Bob as a virtual personal trainer is just fantastic, and there are just so many ways to customize your program. You choose the length, (As little as 20 minutes. I mean, come on. You can start out at 20 minutes, right?) the intensity, and the muscle focus. You can also set it to utilize equipment you have, but I don’t actually recommend that. I set it to use my resistance band, but it didn’t use it for a few weeks, and then when it did, I was scrambling through the house searching for it while Bob was screaming at me to get with the program.

Overall, it’s fantastic. It’s like having 100 workout DVDs in one, but better. Bob constantly gives me feedback (sometimes quite unwelcome) when I fall behind, when I’m not kicking my leg up high enough, and when I’m nailing the routine. Really, it’s also safer than regular DVDs because if I’m arching my back when I need to keep it straight, Bob always lets me know so I can avoid injury.

If you don’t have an XBox, you can still make a plan! Here are some ideas:

  • Workout DVDs:¬†I’ve used “The Firm” workouts in the past and they’re great.¬†
  • The Gym:¬†I’m way too introverted to work out in front of people I don’t know and take the chance of running into people that I do know! However, it’s the best way to get access to a wide range of equipment. A few hints: Do some research online and build a plan for what machines you want to use and what kind of routine you want to do. Also, be sure to utilize the staff and don’t be afraid to ask questions. That’s what they’re there for! It’s better to risk looking silly for not knowing what you’re doing than to get hurt or not get what you’re paying for.
  • Spark People:¬†Whatever your plan is, tracking it via Spark People is a great way to track your success, get motivation, tools, and support.
  • My Fitness Pal, My Net Diary, and probably a bajillion other smartphone apps:¬†I really love My Net Diary, but it’s not available on my Kindle Fire tablet! So, I’ve been using My Fitness Pal, which is working out pretty good for me so far. The bottom line: look around and try a few out and see which one works best for you.¬†
  • Endomondo:¬†Endomondo doesn’t track your meals, strictly fitness, so I put it in a different category. If you’re running, biking, hiking, walking, Endomondo will track how fast, how far, and how many calories you burned. It’s great for competing against yourself, and seeing how far you’ve come.

3: A Heart Rate Monitor

The Biggest Loser Ultimate workout estimates calorie burn, and so does Endomondo. But there were times when I felt like my efforts weren’t accurately recognized. Especially when my Kinect sensor couldn’t see me doing my hiplifts because my living room is so small it couldn’t see me on the floor. At the end of the day, I wanted to know for sure. I looked at different products, but my research led me to the conclusion that the heart rate monitor was the best way to check my calorie burn.

It’s so much more than that!

Just knowing my target heart rate zone and where I am has made a big impact on my workouts. I can just glance at my wrist and know when I need to dial up the intensity. It’s also nice that an alarm will sound if I’m about to have a heart attack. We fat people worry about that. Knowing when my intensity level is dropping and knowing I’m not actually dying has really helped me to give my best at every workout.

I use an online calculator to check calorie burn based on average heart rate because the monitor seems to calculate calorie burn based on me being male. And it’s pink.¬†It turns out, though, that I do burn more calories than the game and apps tell me.

‘Cause I’m intense like that.

5: Nutrition

Last year, I was dead set on dropping pounds. I used Weight Watchers at first, because that’s what’s always worked for me in the past. As the weeks went by, however, despite sticking to my plan and working out regularly, the pounds were lingering, and I started having trouble getting enough energy to do my workouts. I looked over my food journals and checked the details. Turns out, points aren’t enough. It needs to be a little more complicated than that.

I wasn’t getting enough calories, for one thing, even though I met my points goal. I also wasn’t getting enough protein, hence the workout lag. I upped my calories, upped my¬†protein¬†and dropped some pounds!

The last few months, however, I’ve learned a lot more than that. Since I’ve been having health issues, I’ve started looking at food a lot differently, and focusing on getting the right nutrition. I only eat meat once a day, and make sure to get at least 5 servings of vegetables daily and 3 servings of fruit. More energy? Absolutely. Despite pain, pain, and more pain, I have the get up and go to get through my workouts because I’m cutting out the crap and cramming in the good stuff. There are some exercises I couldn’t get through before even after months of working out that I can do now. Eat your veggies! Cut out the processed crap! No sugar!

Well, that and…

6:QUIT SMOKING!!!!

I have not once had to stop while working out because my lungs were searing. I still need a break after an intense exercise, but I no longer need a break after every exercise.

7: The Right Motivation

Vanity is a powerful motivator, but it’s not strong enough for most people, and the rewards aren’t very meaningful. Focus on improving your health, your mobility, and extending your life. Do you want to walk with the greatest of ease when you hit 80 or do you want to hobble around at 50? Do you want to die at 50? Or do you want to run your 50th 5k at 50? I’ve lost a lot of weight since I was my all-time heaviest and the biggest victory I had wasn’t fitting into a pair of jeans or turning heads. It was the day I realized I could get in and out of my car without struggling.

I know my 7 must-haves are hardly exhaustive, but I hope they help you on your journey to better health! And head over to Moxie Wife for more quick takes with Hallie!

Note: While writing this post, I realized I was linking to a lot of Amazon stuff. So, I joined the affiliate program. If you should click on one of the fine products featured here and buy something, I’ll make a tiny bit of money that I’ll probably just spend on more stuff from Amazon.¬†Anything recommended here is the exact product I own. (Except the calf support. I have it in EXTRA large, not large as featured.)

Categories: 7 Quick Takes Friday, Everything Else | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Can’t Do This Alone

I’ve been doing a pretty good job of reducing my cigarette intake. Within about a week and a half, I reduced from up to 30 cigarettes a day, down to 10 a day. I got to that point by reducing down to 20 a day, doing that for a few days, then going down to 15 a day, and doing that for a few days until I got to 10. But something has happened at 10. I seem to be stuck.

Throughout this journey to quit, I’ve come to the realization that smoking isn’t just a crutch, it’s what I turn to when I’m stressed, bored, or tired to give me a little pick-me-up. I say I don’t have time to pray the rosary every day, but how much time do I spend smoking? And in those times of anxiety, shouldn’t I be turning to God in prayer?

I keep thinking to myself that I need to just cast off cigarettes cold turkey and throw myself wholly into the grace of God. I’ve been pretty good at talking myself out of it and telling myself that continuing to pare down gradually is better for me. It’s seamless. There’s no suffering. But every time I lit a cigarette, a thought sparked in my head:¬†You trust your cigarettes more than you trust God.

Talk about the mother of all disturbing thoughts. However, I have a pretty strong sense of denial. I’ve been doing so well at reducing, there’s no reason to do anything crazy. Let’s be sensible, right?

I’ve been stuck at 10 a day for almost a week. To be honest,¬†I actually had 11 yesterday, with the excuse of “an extraordinarily stressful situation.” Then, this morning, I had 2 instead of just 1. I shrugged off the rising worry that I’m moving in the wrong direction. On the way to work, I realized something. No, I didn’t have an epiphany or sudden divine revelation. I realized I didn’t grab my smokes!

There was a moment there where I nearly turned right back around to go and get them. I would never turn back to go get my rosary or my prayer book, but I couldn’t imagine getting through the day without my cigarettes. No matter what lies I told myself, I knew I needed to go on to work without them. It was no accident that I’d left them behind, this was God sending me a clear message.

I didn’t turn around. I turned up the rosary meditation CD I had playing in the car and just kept going. My mind kept working on all the reasons why I absolutely had to smoke, constantly coming back to the “no one would expect me to just go without completely!” Then, I remembered how small my cross was compared to those who are suffering from addiction to meth, heroin, cocaine, crack, and whatever other demons rear their ugly heads. How much easier it is for me. I decided to offer up this tiny suffering, asking that those suffering from more difficult addictions would be given strength.

As I drove on, stripped of my excuses, the rosary meditation song filled the car with the perfect words at the perfect time, “I can’t do this alone, but I can do it with You…”

Categories: Chasing After God, Everything Else | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

We Will Outlast

Wednesday, Scott and I and all his family arose long before the crack of dawn and hit the road to attend the funeral of their beloved Aunt. It was a lovely service, and I have much more to say about that later, but we left the house at about 6:15am and returned home just after 9pm and I still had to do laundry. Scott hit the pillows pretty much immediately, so I sat down in the living room to sort and fold and decided to watch the Daily Mass via YouTube. I had read (and posted) the readings for the day for the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and a homily sounded just perfect for topping off the evening. Unfortunately, Wednesday’s homily was not available, but after a medium-sized hissy fit, I decided to settle for Tuesday’s mass. I was exceedingly glad that I did.

Fr. Mitch Pacwa gave the homily, which focused on the life and death of St. Maximilian Kolbe, who was killed in¬†Auschwitz after volunteering to take the place of another prisoner. For anyone to volunteer to be starved to death in order than another person¬†might live (there were no guarantees of life in Auschwitz, of course), is amazing, but what truly struck me about Fr. Mitch’s homily was what happened before and what happened after in regards to the¬†friary he founded in Nagasaki, Japan.

St.¬†Maximilian made several mission trips to Japan. When he built the friary, according to Shinto beliefs, it was built on the “wrong” side of the mountain and therefore out of harmony with nature. However, when the atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, the “right” side of the mountain bore the brunt of the blast and the monastery was protected.

The deadliest bomb ever created is dropped on a town, but the friary, built where it should not have been built, survives. We are that friary!

We live in difficult times. Christians cannot stand up for their beliefs without ridicule and animosity. Our Catholic institutions are being forced to pay for contraception and abortion insurance which is in direct violation of our beliefs. What will happen next? Evangelical atheism is rising and we see more and more billboards, videos, even t-shirts, for crying out loud, demanding that we stop this ridiculousness and throw away our faith. We face constant bullying and smear campaigns against anything or anyone which supports the gospel. Look no further than the Chick-fil-a fiasco. A businessman states that he supports biblical marriage and the internet explodes with accusations of hate speech. Co-workers I’ve spoken to who didn’t check the facts were under the impression that Dan Cathy stated outright that he hated gays, wouldn’t hire them, and wouldn’t serve them. Bottom line, you can’t stand up for what the Bible says without having a massive hate campaign launched against you. But this is much bigger than worrying that someone will be put out of business for standing up for what they believe. It raises this fear that Christians will eventually be stamped out and silenced forever.

But after the mushroom cloud dissipated, the friary still stood.

The Nazis rose to power and were destroyed.¬†The communists came and the communists went.¬†Even the Early Church was persecuted for over 300 years by the Romans. ROME FELL. All sorts of evil rises but it will always fall, and when it does, the Church will still stand.¬†We will outlast this madness ¬†because we are the carriers of a sacred message. When all of this has passed, no matter who rises to power and who falls, the Word of God will continue to be spoken and carried to those who need it.¬†God will always make sure we’re on the right side of the mountain. Christianity isn’t going anywhere.

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