Do you want to be BETTER? It is such a simple question. Of course, the answer is YES, I mean, who wouldn’t want to be better? I like to think I strive to be a better person than I was the day before, but in reality, what am I really doing to make that happen?
The bootcamp that I go to sends out daily e-mails, on a variety of fitness related topics, and a lot of them get me thinking. And it gets me thinking not just about my fitness abilities and goals, but also my life in general.
There are just sooo many things I could be doing that would help me become a stronger athlete, that I Just. Don’t. Do.
Diet plays a crucial role in the life of an athlete; there is no denying that. I learned that first hand during Ironman Lake Placid; if I don’t give my body enough calories/fluids, my body will not be able to support my goals. But honestly, I really don’t pay that much attention to nutrition; and weight-wise, I know that I am pretty fortunate with regards to that. For the most part, I try to eat somewhat healthy, but I know I could eat wayyyy better than I actually do. I don’t eat a lot of fruit or vegetables, I eat pizza multiple times a week, I eat a TON of carbs, have a major sweet tooth, and protein/energy bars would probably comprise an entire food group for me. Plus, I’ve been on a major trail mix kick since Christmas.
And by trail mix, I really mean:
Besides what I am eating, I should pay attention to the QUANTITY and QUALITY of those calories. Am I getting in the right ratio of protein/carbs/healthy fats? What about micronutrients? … Basically, I have NO FLIPPIN’ CLUE.
And to BE better, I know I need to make changes. For starters, I should start LOGGING my foods – EVERY single thing I put in my mouth so I can see my areas of strengths and weaknesses. To see where I need to make deviations; to note when my body feels strongest, or sluggish. If something isn’t working, or I’m not making progress in the direction I want to, I will have something to look back on. Something I can learn from.
And like everyone, I like to indulge in the occasional cocktail. Andddd, sometimes I overindulge. I’m sure it affects my performance. Even so, I make sure to carry on with whatever workout I had planned for that day. I at least tell myself if I’m going to drink, then I need to get my workout in. NO. EXCUSES. But I can’t help but wonder if my workout would feel differently had I not drank the night before. Would it feel easier; would I push harder, go further, pedal faster, etc. etc. etc.
Maybe I can try limiting myself to one glass … 😉
Sleep is when my body recovers, and even though I try to go to bed early, I’ve always had difficulties falling and staying asleep. When I don’t sleep well, not only do I feel tired throughout the day, but I also know it limits what I can give in my workouts. Am I really able to give 110% on four hours of sleep? What positive changes can I make that will help me reach my goal of 8 hours a night?
Everyone knows I like to run, but my pace is pretty consistent at 9, 10, even 11 minute miles. I don’t do tempo runs, fartleks, etc. I don’t follow a plan. How am I going to ever get faster if I don’t do speed work? I have a bike trainer, but I’ve never put the second block on to simulate a hillier course. I kind of just do laps in the pool now, instead of trying new exercises, incorporating swim sprints, etc. So how will my form and time ever improve?
At Bootcamp, I haven’t really added weights to my deadlifts. I probably lift the lightest bar there, maxing out at 105 pounds. I’ve never attempted a higher box jump. I always set it at the lowest level. When toes-to-bar are posted on the board, I don’t even try them. WHY? I like to think I am pushing myself, but when I look at every little thing, there are sooooo many areas I can try harder. And really, it’s just about trying. You’ll never know your limits unless you push them.
Where is my fitness level going, now? Where CAN it go?? But most importantly, I have to probably figure out where I want it to go. What are my GOALS??
Do I want to try and run faster? Break a 1:45 half? Qualify for Boston? Try a Spartan race? Aim for the Trifecta?
If running harder and faster means I get to run less, and do less races, then I probably don’t want to go for that right now. I enjoy being at races/events so much, that I’m happy with where I am. I just like being out there: meeting new people, crossing a finish line, being with friends, etc. So, I guess, at this time, I’d rather be able to do more races at a slower pace, than have to do less. But do I have to choose? Are there changes I can make that can allow me to do both?
What changes am I willing to make? what changes are out of my control?
The same questions I’m trying to answer with regards to my fitness are the same questions I should, and NEED to be making with my life.
Because I sure as hell am not where I thought I would be in my life.
I have my Master’s in Educational Psychology and Methodology. I feel like I can do absolutely nothing with that degree, and every job I apply to, I usually hear nothing back. Every job I see that sparks some interest in me, seems so out of reach, and I wonder how people get the jobs they have. From working in a student affairs setting, to a study abroad program, to working for IRONMAN (<— DREAM JOB!) … How does one stand out amongst applicants and get noticed?? I JUST want a chance. Even though I am grateful for the job I have, I don’t want to be working in the field forever.
I don’t date. But I don’t want to be single forever. It would be nice to be able to share my life with someone.
I still live at home. I would like my own place, more independence. To not get yelled at when I leave a cabinet door open.
But like above, all the things I want REQUIRE change. Scary changes.
They require facing fears, stepping outside comfort zones, taking chances, making mistakes. They require hard work.
In terms of my career, it requires me figuring out what I really want to do with my life. I’m 26, and I’m sad to say I still don’t know.
I have regrets, like not finishing Teach for America, or for not choosing a different major. But I need to get past those things, devise a plan and finally GO after what I want, no matter what that is.
And maybe the scariest of all, I need to accept that changes in other areas of my life may lead to changes in my athletic life. If I move out or go back to school, I may not have the funds to do as many races, maintain memberships at the gyms I go to, etc.
If I go back to school, I may be even more strapped for money, and may also have LESS time to work out.
And if I date someone, I may have to ease back on my training or long runs to make time for the other person.
But again, do I have to choose? Or are there changes I can make throughout all areas of my life that will allow me to get closer to my goals? To the life I eventually want to have for myself (even if I don’t quite know what that is yet!)
In summary, it boils down to change. Change can be good, or bad. It can be surprisingly easy, or an enormous struggle. It may feel impossible. It may take try, after try, after try.
But we are capable of it.
Enough of my rambling ….
Here’s my weekly recap:
1/21 – Stationary Bike (67 minutes) Rode 20 miles; Treadmill (8 min.) Cool-down walk; F.I.T. Bootcamp (1 hr.)
1/22 – F.I.T. Bootcamp (1 hr.)
1/23 – Swimming (1 hr.) 2,500 yards (First time back in the pool after 3 months off!)
1/24 – Stairmaster (90 min.) Climbed 561 flights of stairs; Stationary Bike (35 min.) Rode 10 miles (Longest time on the Stairmaster ever!)
1/25 – Bike Trainer (3 hrs., 3 min.) Rode 50 miles of hill repeats
1/26 – F.I.T. Bootcamp (1 hr.)
1/27 – Snow Day.
Total: 10 hours, 23 minutes
What are some changes you are trying to make in order to bring you closer to your fitness goals?! … Whatever they are, cheers to being stronger and better than you were yesterday!