Hello from Gillespie, Illinois, where I’m spending Labor Day with Sean!
It’s only 61 degrees outside! I love summertime, but I think it’s pretty safe to say that we’re all a little sick of the oppressive heat.
In honor of the cooler temps, I woke up yesterday with a warm, fall-ish bowl of oatmeal:
1/2 cup prepared with water and almond milk, garnished with banana, a hidden glob of Better’n Butter, almonds, and flax seeds.
Freshly ground yesterday! Gimme those Omega-3’s!
The little flax grounds also snuck into this delicious pizza dough for yesterday’s lunch:
Whole wheat flour, flax, and basil. How’s that for a hearty, nutritious powerhouse?
I made two mini pizzas for myself. One had truffle oil (forget that olive oil – this stuff is so much better! Even the smell of it reminds me of eating truffles in Rome!), onions, lots of garlic, and mushrooms. It is pretty much the arch nemesis of Sean’s favorite pizza since he hates mushrooms and loves meat, sauce, and cheese. The other one was spread with hummus, then half was sprinkled with Daiya and the other had some vegan chickin strips.
Forget the Styrofoam plates. These were heaven.
Enjoyed with a side salad:
A little while later, I was hungry for a snack, so I chopped up the cantaloupe that’s been chillin’ on our counter all week. It was a good thing I did – it was in danger of being overripe pretty soon. I fixed myself a bowl of cantaloupe, strawberries, and a few banana slices, and topped it with a few spoonfuls of yogurt and chia seeds.
But anyway, I want to share #5 on this past week’s Friday Five with you! I held off before because it required a slightly lengthy story. Oddly, I started Friday Five because I thought it would be a quick, to-the-point way of sharing information. Turns out, I’m quite a chatty blogger.
On Friday night, I attended one of my favorite gym classes, Cx30. It’s a 30 minute core class, and it is notorious for being completely killer. Since it’s only half the length of a normal group class, the movements are more intense and there is less down time. Ohhhh, the plank-ups….
It’s such an effective class, and I take it between 3-6 days per week. Friday evening is my favorite time to take Cx30 because the class size is pretty small and everyone is able to spread out. Also, mostly men take it on Friday, so I feel pretty macho! In fact, there were only 3 women this past Friday, and yet there were 7 men! I think they sort of wander in from the weight-lifting area. The new guys always look so lost!
After class, I hopped onto the elliptical for some speed drills and hills. I was totally in my little zone, when I realized one of the guys (I think he was in his mid-20’s?) was standing beside me.
“I’m sorry to bother you,” he said, “but my friend and I are standing over there trying not to pass out from that Cx30 class, and we couldn’t help but notice you over here just going crazy on the elliptical. We don’t know how you can do it, but I just wanted to say ‘congratulations.’ You’re amazing.”
I thanked him and felt very flattered, but not until I was on my way home did his comment really strike me. The fact that I was able to keep exercising so intensely after Cx30 didn’t seem like a big deal – I did it all the time. I’ve gotten used to the idea that I don’t leave the gym until I’ve hit fatigue.
Don’t get me wrong, I always feel accomplished when I leave the gym. I feel strong and unsinkable. But all of the crazy things I do – like working out on my own after Cx30 or taking 2 classes in a row – seem normal to me. That’s just what I do.
So imagine this situation:
You’re running a marathon. That’s 26.2 miles. You’re on your 13th mile, and as you reach a hill, you start to become aware of your aching muscles, your tired feet, your labored breathing. You’re definitely not going to quit, so you’re left with two choices:
- Think about the path ahead of you. Miles and miles and miles are still awaiting your footfalls. Even though you’re tired, there is such a long way to go.
- Think about how far you’ve come. Miles and miles and miles! You’re legs have just carried you 12 miles – more than you ever thought they could do.
I tend to fall into the first option. When I’m at the gym, I’m always thinking of how I want to improve. Whether it’s a quicker speed on my runs, improving my endurance in Body Combat, or reaching a new barbell weight in Body Pump, it’s like walking up an endless flight of steps: I have to keep climbing and getting stronger. I don’t think there’s necessarily anything wrong with this mindset. In fact, I think that’s how most of us were raised.
This mentality seems to come from coaches (ballet teacher, in my case) who keep pushing you to the next level, teachers who say they don’t give 100’s on essays because there’s no such thing as the perfect paper, and parents who say, “The B is great and all, but why didn’t you get an A?” In part, I even think it’s a valuable mindset to adopt. High expectations are what encourage us to go for goals that seem out of reach. After all, you don’t want your life to flat line, you want it to get better and better.
But after the young man’s compliment at the gym, I’m going to go with the second option. It’s also important to step back and see just how far you’ve come! Instead of worrying over the fact that my lower abs aren’t as defined as the uppers (a stupid thing to worry about, really), why not be proud of how healthier I am now than I was 3 years ago? My daily gym routine would have seemed impossible back then. Even though I worked my way up to running 5 miles at a time, I was a much slower runner. And now, when I find myself wishing I could move up to 15 pound weights for bicep curls, I’m going to remember the time when lifting 5 pounds was an immense feat.
I keep forgetting where I came from:
And I need to be grateful of where I am now:
The point is, why should you beat yourself up because you’re not where you want to be – in your fitness, your job, you education, etc.? You are never going to be a complete, whole, person, and your life will never be totally static. That’s okay!
So here’s my labor day task for you: stop for a while and look back at the road behind you. Who were you 5 years ago? How have you improved/matured/strengthened as a person since then?