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Sore is Good

If you’re out of shape and you first start working out, almost anything you do is going to make you really sore.

As you get into a workout routine, your body adapts. If you do exercises regularly, it’s harder to make your body sore unless you push it. It’s still very doable (up the reps, increase the weight, do a combination of both).

I make a little next-day soreness a goal of every workout. I want to be able to feel the difference in my body. It’s easy to be complacent and be ok with just getting to the gym. And at a certain point in your fitness goals, that can be a major accomplishment.

But soreness means you’ve pushed past a previous barrier. Your body is recovering from something you did that shocked it. It’s replacing the old stuff with something stronger.

Like anything else, a little pain means a lot of gain.

So know that the dumb walk you have to do because your legs are still killing you from yesterday’s squats should be a stride of pride, not a walk of shame.

And now, here’s the poster from the movie “Pain and Gain” for your inspirational viewing.

pain and gain

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Fitspiration

Mixed feelings on this one.

My friend showed me an awesome blogpost about a guy who takes down some of the most ridiculous fitspiration quotes. I couldn’t find it when I did my standard three seconds of research for this post, but I did find another pretty good one.

Here’s the thing… the critics of fitspiration are right. They can be unrealistic, dumb, and sometimes even dangerous.

But here’s the other thing… I don’t take them all that seriously. There are times when my body wants to stop because it’s used to just being lazy. There are times when I think I’ve hit the limit on something only to push through the plateau and reach a new strength or fitness peak. There are times when I do have to use my mind to talk my body into trying something difficult that it turns out is possible. So, to that end, these posters are absolutely right.

If you go into every workout with a mindset of pushing yourself further than yesterday and doing something you think impossible, you’re going to sail past your fitness goals in no time. Having a little healthy fitspiration picture with a great quote can help you visualize that goal and feel it even stronger. And there is nothing wrong with that.

If, however, you think you’re going to look like the girl in the picture if you go into the weightroom and push really hard without doing any research or listening to your body’s cues at all, you’re going to both hurt yourself and hate yourself for not looking like the picture after a week of working out.

Have realistic expectations for yourself. And if the fitspiration helps your lazy butt get to the gym, put that shit up all over. If it makes you feel bad about yourself because you don’t look like the perfectly photoshopped model who hasn’t had carbs since the 90s, get rid of that shit. But find something else that does inspire you to go.

Like anything else, see it for what it’s worth. If it adds value to your life, keep it. If it makes you feel bad, lose it.

I’m a bit of a sucker for cheesy inspiration, so I tend to love fitspiration pictures. Then again, I also love my chocolate so I accepted long ago I won’t look like the models. But that doesn’t mean I don’t try to get in my best shape by pushing my boundaries on the daily.

Speaking of, I gotta stop typing now and get to the gym. The weights are waiting wondering why the woman isn’t  working out…whoops.

Love Your Body

Yeah, yeah, yeah that title is totally hippy dippy, I know. But it’s very true.

Last weekend, I was in Las Vegas and was lucky enough to spend a major chunk of my afternoon lounging at a ladies spa located in my hotel.

It was awesome. For a very cheap price, I spent the whole afternoon (post-workout, of course) rotating between a crystal steam room, sauna, whirlpool, herbal room, rain temperature station, wave room, igloo, and even a salt grotto. It was so freaking cool.

Part of the spa was “clothing optional.” My friend and I decided we’d take them up on that. Rather than wearing our swimsuits, we were going to just let ourselves be free. We figured, “This is Vegas. Anything goes.”

When we finally got to our time in the spa, we dropped down to our birthday suits, wrapped ourselves up in the provided towels and went to experience the amenities.

It was so interesting because rather than most of the women being like us… *ahem* FREE… most of the women were wearing bathing suits in all the spa things.

Now I understand you could make an argument for hygiene. Sure. Whatever.

But let’s be real for a second. A spa like that is going to maintain its cleanliness really well. And, most of the time you could sit on your towel or be standing while enjoying the environment.

Besides, I don’t think most people were in their bathing suits because of hygiene. I think they were in it out of embarrassment.

Which is where this hippy dippy title comes from. When I looked around and realized I’d be the only naked person in the whirlpool, I got self conscious at first. Then my friend I was with (who was also naked) was like “Screw it. Clothing is optional. I don’t wanna wear my suit. I don’t know why everyone is being so weird about it. It’s just bodies.”

And I agreed. And we were the naked people amongst the suited. And after a while, I decided I was going to make the people in suits feel like the weird ones. I don’t care about your body. I assume you don’t care about mine. So let’s leave it at that.

I wasn’t looking at them. I don’t care. Not only do I prefer to gaze at muscly, manly men, but spas aren’t meant for judgment. They’re meant for relaxation and personal enjoyment. It’s quiet time with you and your body just to take care of it and say “Thank you” for everything it does for you. I don’t care about anyone else’s body. For once, I’m concentrating on mine. Yours means nothing to me. Get over it.

Plus, I think there’s this idea that permeates especially American society that we need to always be modest. It’s embarrassing to put yourself out there too much. People might judge you.

Whatever. I’m officially done with caring what people think of me in any capacity. You don’t like my creative work? Cool. I don’t care. You don’t like my opinion on a certain subject? Cool. I don’t care. You notice my body isn’t perfect because I’m nakedly walking around in a spa taking in all the wonderful amenities sans a swimsuit? Cool. I. Don’t. Care.

I love my body. I work it hard. I try to take good care of it, but to be honest, it is much more forgiving of me than I deserve. I feed it pretty well, but sometimes Guinness is dinner. I workout regularly, but sometimes I feel like watching Portlandia on Netflix instead of going to the gym. I put on sunscreen daily, but sometimes I just don’t want to feel like I’m a snake with second skin and I risk 10 minutes of direct sunlight to feel how the other side lives.

I bruise myself regularly for no reason and it heals quickly. I get anxious and can pick at my face and it heals the scars. I don’t sleep regularly and it stays healthy and energetic. I sometimes feed it poison in the form of a Coke Zero and it forgives me by not dying. I eat too much sugar- especially for someone who has a higher than normal risk for diabetes- and it metabolizes it normally.

My body is good to me. And I love it.

And you should love yours, too.

Sometimes, that means letting it be free when clothing is optional.

But only when clothing is optional. I’m not saying we should all be nudists…

…yet.

Restless

When I was home last week in Indianapolis, I had a lot of trouble sleeping. Even if I went to bed early from regular exhaustion from the day’s activities, I would wake up at odd times with tons of energy.

If I had been home in LA, I would have attributed it to stress. But for a week-long vacation in Indy, I had absolutely no stress to worry about.

Many nights I couldn’t get to sleep at all, which is odd for me. The first couple nights I figured it was adjusting to the time change- I was trying to go to bed at 8 pm my time which is often only when my night starts.

I kept thinking I’d exhaust myself to the point where it would all even out, but I never quite got my sleep schedule on track there. Looking back, I think I know why.

It happens to be on occasion when I’ve had a (rare) lazy day in LA where I don’t exercise AND don’t spend the entire day and night working. I’m just restless. I get totally restless. I have too much energy my body is used to expending, and it doesn’t want to sleep until we’re done.

And I think that’s what happened in Indy. I didn’t exercise like I’m used to, so my muscles and body had all this extra energy it wanted to get rid of. Sure, I hadn’t slept much. Sure, my days were packed with lots of activities. But, for the most part, I still had reserves of energy my body wanted to use.

So… when I get back to LA (I’m currently at the Out of Bounds Festival in Austin) I’m gonna try and work out twice as hard to deplete some of those reserves and hopefully get back to sleeping like a rock.

Sleeeeeeeeeeeeep

I have a creative mind. Which I’m passionate about and proud of.

My creative mind is really good at coming up with creative ways to get around problems.  This serves me 90% of the time. My mind has come up with an alternative or solution before I even realize there was an issue.

Unfortunately, my creative mind seems to think waking up at a reasonable hour is a problem that needs a solution.

No matter what I do to try and “trick” myself into getting out of bed early so I can have a productive and efficient morning, my creative mind is two steps ahead of me. The new “trick” will work for a day- maybe two. Then my mind will fix the “problem” before I know it, and I will somehow out-smart whatever trick I tried employing and will sleep in.

People say “Have a routine! Have a bedtime! Stick to a schedule!” and while I know in my heart and mind that they’re right- that would help me more than anything else, I would like them to live in my world for a week and try and wrangle this mind, ideas, and goals into a routine schedule. It’s nearly impossible. When you get really excited about a new project you thought up at 11:24 pm and need to spend the next three hours working on it, you need to spend the next three hours working on it. You can’t convince your mind to shut off at midnight so you can go to bed. You can only create. You don’t really have a choice in the matter. It’s a compulsion that you want to serve. Creativity sometimes comes in brilliant flashes that you have to just ride out until the light fades.

And sometimes, you’ve finished a show and should come home and go to bed, but instead you want to get a drink with the people you’ve just spent time performing with. Sure, you could technically skip out on this, but a huge part of performing is performing with people you like and you can’t know if you like people or not if you don’t spend any time talking to them with words that were not prewritten.

I know I need to recognize that my body needs to rest. I know I need to respect the fact that I push hard, and my body need sleep as a result. And I know I should give myself a break and not expect to be able to go to bed at 2 am and wake up at 6 am totally awake and refreshed every day. That won’t fly with my body. Fine.

BUT THERE ARE SO MANY THINGS TO DO IN THIS WORLD. I NEED MORE TIME TO DO THEM ALL. AND SLEEP IS UNPRODUCTIVE!

So if anyone has any new ideas, tips, or tricks for helping motivate to get up refreshed, I’m totally open to them.

Everyone’s so friendly?!

The past two weeks at my gym have been odd. Not  because I have to choose odd exercises to compensate for this hurting foot, though that hasn’t been spectacular.

It’s been odd at my gym because…everyone’s being so nice to each other.

Normally, I’m totally anonymous. And I kinda like it that way. I like being quietly left to my workout so I can lose myself in my breath and my awesome music. I can get oddly anxious about things most people don’t think twice about. If I think someone is watching me, I inherently put on a small show. Whether or not they actually are watching. It’s the performer that comes out. And I love the performer- she’s my favorite version of myself- but she gets a lot of time already in Briana-world. Sometimes, I like to be the quiet, awkward, unfriendly, poorly dressed girl who clearly didn’t brush her hair this morning that’s lifting in the corner while everyone around her swears she’s a lesbian. I like her because she’s totally different than my somewhat put-together, friendly, out-going funny flirty girl. I’m very much both people- just different versions of myself depending on my circumstances.

What does any of this have to do with the people around me being friendlier? Well, if I know them by name and see them often, I could start feeling self-conscious when I’m around them. Because I know them. We’ve had a conversation. I’m expected to be friendly now. I should probably make small talk. At some point, we may talk about what we both do outside the gym. I’ve got to always be sure I wave hello and goodbye if I’m waking by because I’m midwestern and we’re really polite and that’s just what you do with people you know. I can’t just be lost in my own thoughts anymore, I now have to be aware in case someone I know is around.

I’ve seen this one guy several times. He works at the gym. He’s often there when I am. Last week, he smiled at me. Then a few days later, he half waved when he saw me. Then the next time I came in, he scanned my card introduced himself. Now I know his name. And he knows mine. He smiled at me again when I walked out of the locker room and headed to my workout. As I write this, I realize this could sound flirty. It’s not. It’s just friendly. But the point is, he knows me know. And I know him. We’ve got eye contact established. Now I have to be nice to him.

The last time I went to the gym, a new guy was working the desk. When he scanned me in, he made small talk then said “Have a nice workout, Briana” and smiled again. Now I gotta be nice to this guy, too.

It’s confusing. I don’t know if I like it or not. We’ll see.

Maybe it’ll make me workout harder, though, if I think people are watching me.

That is, of course, when my foot starts cooperating again and I can return to my normal routine.

Until then, I drink a Bud Light Lime and I write about working out.

Me Time

I understand people have gym buddies. It can be really good motivation for the right type of person. A few weeks ago, my girlfriend asked me if she could tag along when I was going to the gym as motivation for her. I was totally fine with this once in a while.

I get it. Everyone’s different.

I happen to be a personality, though, that prefers to workout alone. Unless I’m doing specifically training for some team sport or playing an active activity with friends, my workout time is my me time.

I’m out and about a lot amongst people. My day job requires that I talk to people and be pleasant throughout the day. My career is filled with working with different personalities and getting to know people from all over. And I love it. But it requires a lot of energy.

So when I workout, that’s my meditation time. It’s my reminder to breathe in my nose and out my mouth. It’s when I quietly check in with my body to see how it’s feeling and what it wants. It’s my time to listen to ridiculous, fun music or great podcasts and just relax.

In a world where I’m always (happily) giving myself to others in some capacity, my workout is my time to give back to my own mind, body, and spirit.

There’s a reason I gravitate towards running and don’t like spinning. Running you’re quietly by yourself taking in the sights and sounds and going at your own pace. Aside from the anonymous people in traffic, nobody notices you. You can zone out. You can relax. You can be invisible and invincible all at once. It’s magical.

Even lifting is as rejuvenating for me. I like being by myself and focusing on getting just the right form for the lift. I like to push my body hard but also listen and know when enough is enough. I like to take breaks between sets and just bop my head to the music I’m listening to and let my body recover. I like to scan around the room and let my mind wander to the personalities around me without investing in any one or anything too much. These people don’t know me. They don’t know the first thing about me. And they don’t care. And I love it.

So now if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go run to the ocean for a training run and some me time.