Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Popping My Head In

...To share some exciting news with you! Drumroll please...!

In talking with Kevin about shows, it's official--I have set a date!

That's right, June 22, 2013, I will finally step on stage and compete in my first bikini competition. You heard it here first, now hold me accountable! But don't ask me how many weeks out I am, because I have not yet calculated that... With my work trip next week, I don't plan on laying out a game plan with Kevin until next Friday.

And yes, that's the icing on my cake for a great night.


(Playing around with signatures, by the way. At pure barre, I signed in as Elizabeth and was actually fond of them referring to me as such during class. I think I'll keep it.)

Monday, January 28, 2013

Letting the Light Shine Through

Generally speaking, I try to limit the very personal details that I put into my blog. However, lately I have been "blessed" with some unfortunate information which left me feeling broken down, misused, and deceived. While in the past, I have wallowed in the pain of similar situations, I've taken time to identify that these negative influences were there all along, and I just didn't recognize them at the time.

I still won't get too much into it but just for the chance to set up where my current mindset is. I am one to believe the best in people, to see the positivity that other's fail to see, and while I guard my own past, I welcome other's with an open heart and lack of judgement. Unfortunately, some people take advantage of that. I won't say much, but I will say this--the worst (or "best" depending on how you look at it) liars are the ones that only give you a version of the truth while omitting the whole truth. They are the ones that lead you to believe them the victims, and never accept fault but are always willing to point out yours. They are the ones that are continuously self-deprecating with the hopes that you will lift them up and mend their "wounds." And then one day, the world becomes a little less opaque and a little more transparent and you see that they were like that all along. But still, the "blame" is "yours."

So clearly, yes, I have been dealing with a little bit of the aforementioned stuff, and while hurt, I choose to look for the light at the end of the tunnel. Nay, I take it a step further and I choose to BE the light at the tunnel. Your circumstances will not change if you are not willing to. As long as you sit idle, your hopes are unattainable. So I refuse to sit idle. I refuse to wallow. In response to a well-known quotation, I WILL be the change I wish to see in MY world. And with that, 2013 is my #YearOfSelfishness.

There are many things I struggle with, most notoriously that I am highly afraid of judgement. Cripplingly so, at times. It doesn't so much hold me back as it does make me anxious, stressed out, and brings me to tears at times. My greatest friends only know a version of that. And now so do you. It has not been until recently that I have admitted this to a few select souls, including my mom, and still, this is only as much as I'm willing to admit. This is one of the many things that I am ready to tackle this year, but it makes my motivation for my #YearOfSelfishness even greater. So without further ado, here is what I plan to accomplish in 2013!

2013 Year of Selfishness Goals

  • Tackle my fear of judgement. Learn to accept that those that love me are not judging me.
  • Find a third party to confide in. This goes hand in hand with the previous goal.
  • Finally compete in a bikini competition. True story: this Saturday, in the midst of my unfortunate news, I immediately walked up to my trainer and said, "I'm ready. I'm finally ready to do that bikini competition." To which he replied, "You've always been ready! Just pick a date and we will go from there." I do love the support :-)
  • Operation Self-Improvement/OMHRM. This one I am keeping under wraps for now, but select close friends are in the loop with this. Let's just say that I am doing me this year.
  • Spend my time with whomever I want, whenever I want. This means saying no to more things that I don't necessarily want to do, and saying yes to things that are maybe new and intriguing. It means not feeling compelled to attend activities or pressured into situations, but being the picker and the chooser. It means:
  • Building on the positive and eliminating the negative. This couldn't be more crucial. And it's already in full swing. If you've noticed by my Facebook presence lately (What do you mean we are not facebook friends?! Follow me IMMEDIATELY!), then you are already aware that I'm extending my positivity outward. What good is positivity if you are not willing to bestow any of it on those around you? Flash a smile to a stranger once in a while--I'm sure you will find that they can't NOT smile back.
  • Stop apologizing for trivial things or things that I have no hand in. That one is self-explanatory.
This is a very rudimentary list, and even more so of a post, but I really wanted to get this out tonight. Which also explains the lack of pictures. Although I will leave you with this snippet of a conversation between me and my "stepmom," one of the most supportive, understanding friends I know:
Oh goodness, do I love her! And she has had some exciting news of her own here lately, just getting accepted into law school and all... Gotta love those that love what they do and will go to great lengths to make the world better for those that are deemed forgotten. 

Now go flash a GENUINE smile at a perfect stranger--I DARE you!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

New Projects

You know that social calendar I showed you all last weekend? Well thank goodness I chose to write everything down in pencil! Between the weather and exhaustion, plans have been cancelled, replaced, etc., these past few days. While I'm still trying to get re-acclimated to blogging on a regular basis, I think the weekly(-ish) post will do for now. Between work, working out, and everything in between scratch that last part, there is nothing in between, I've been a busy girl. In fact, I haven't actually worn real girl clothes (i.e., anything that is not work clothing, workout gear, or pajamas) in quite some time. Last Saturday was really a fluke--the only reason I put on pants is because it just seemed inappropriate not to.
Aw, my "I'm a 5th grader" face,
and an example of work clothing (add jacket).
Anyway, coming back to the (as of yet undisclosed) topic at hand... This week has been super refreshing for me. I've been taking the time to recharge and reassess my workouts, what I want to get out of them, where I stand nutrition-wise, and where I can/will go from there. And I've drawn some pretty good conclusions.

The Workouts

To say that Pure Barre has become a bit of an obsession for me is a little bit of an understatement. And this is coming from a girl who is a self-proclaimed gym rat. I used to scoff at the idea of group fitness classes, because I just didn't think they were for me. Socializing while working out? Absurd! Do you even want to get in a workout, or would you rather just chat and jump around to music mixes? Well, call me a fool, but I have to apologize for ever thinking that way. Crossfit was the closest that I had gotten to group fitness, but even with those competition-style workouts, you are competing more against yourself--physically and mentally--than you are the other Crossfitters. I used to think Crossfit was the only acceptable group fitness, because it was the most badass in my mind. Boy, was I wrong. Lucky for you all (or just for my sake), I do not actually have any photos of me attempting Crossfit workouts, but let's just say Insert Photo Here.

Now, it's no secret that regular gym-going sessions had gone to the wayside when I started my job, but while time management was the most prominent factor, it wasn't the only one. Back in probably mid-July, I tweaked something in my left shoulder while doing power snatches. I didn't really care to admit it, because heck--I'm one tough cookie and I rarely complain about injury. Mostly because I don't ever push my limits to that extreme. It was something minor, and if I just took some time off, backed away from the competition (Stupid Mind--if Body says I can't do it, then don't do it!), and came back with lighter/smaller movements, then it would feel better in days, right? Meh.

Let's fast forward to every shoulder workout I've done since then. Some with a few weeks in between. Some with a few days in between. The result? Poor left shoulder is still feeling the same--hurting upon any weight-bearing motion, especially with any rotational movement. Even getting a barbell up and overhead for weighted lunges was a pain. Literally. Fast forward even more til yesterday, and I (luckily only) have bursitis. The remedy? Two weeks of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory meds (typically taken for arthritis--I guess this is a testament to my aging joints??), 2 sessions with a physical therapist, and 4-6 weeks of exercises given by the physical therapist. JOY. Oh, and it is mandatory that I refrain from any aggravating exercise that engages my shoulder. Well that's a real bump in the road!

I chose to read that last part as: Don't isolate your shoulders while working out. I may be told otherwise...but until then, I'm a stubborn mule except I'm much more active than a mule. So in summary... all of this has led me to rethink my workouts, especially for the next few weeks, and the new addition of Pure Barre is welcomed with open arms (and tucked hips).

There are some days when I will add pb after a run, after a gym session, or before a hike. Other days, I just do that (it's high intensity, low impact) and call it a day. I don't feel like I've done too much, and I don't feel like I've done too little. Unless we are talking about laundry, in which case I've had plenty of that in the past week!
Some of us don't know how to work a camera.
This was workout outfit #2 that day...
When I get a few more days into pb, I am going to write a progress post. I can already tell there have been some great results (heck, I can tell just by looking that that picture), but want to give it four more days since they say that you can see results after 10 classes.


Lately, I've been paying quite a lot of attention to how I have been fueling my body. As do many people, I got a little carried away over the holidays--not so much because of an abundance of food, but because I LOVE seasonal flavors. You had me at gingerbread ____. If you fill that blank with "Oreos," I can't say that you are wrong. But the blank can be filled with numerous words...

Regardless, as I said last week, I've been staying away from the Devil juice. Ha--wouldn't that be GREAT if I called it that?! I've also been straying toward healthier options. Mostly lean proteins, green vegetables (typically frozen because they are easier/cheaper), healthy fats on occasion, and limited amounts of complex carbs. With my job especially, it's really easy to get carried away and end up snacking on the road, even when you don't bring snacks with you. Especially when you drive on average 3-4 hours in a day. I've made it a habit of bringing a ThinkThin bar or a Pure Protein soft-baked bar. Note: the Pure Protein links to the company facebook page because these bars are not currently on their website.

Alas, some recent eats, and some recent grocery store finds.
Part 2 of yesterday's lunch.
Part 1 was a protein shake due to lack of time.
Today's lunch: tuna, broccoli, and cauliflower.
Seasoned with coconut vinegar & nutritional yeast.
Both of these meals were easy to assemble and complex in nature, providing me with the energy to finish my day/workout.
So I went a little overboard on the yogurts...
New Campbell's soups, and a new-to-me mustard!
Stats aren't too bad (aside from the sodium)--
should be interesting to try!
I'm not much of a soup girl, but I found the latter two soups at Kroger yesterday and thought I'd give them a whirl. I'll let you know the verdict when I finally get to eating them. And the former picture. Um, yeah, I get really excited when Kroger has new flavors of their CarbMaster yogurts, and I tend to hoard them because they usually fly off the shelves. It's a huge pet peeve of mine that yogurts are so good for you in so many ways (high in protein, low in fat, etc.) but they are generally bogged down with sugar, sugar, and more sugar. These babies have only 4g carbs/8g protein. Although I'd love for the protein content to be higher, I'm just glad that sugar isn't the number one ingredient!

Let me stop here to mention that I am in no way a nutritionist. The food choices I make are based on having gone through different training regimins, different contest preps, and pure personal preference. I do what I feel is right for my body. I am not trying to dictate how anyone eats, and I surely don't 100% enjoy unsolicited advice, especially if you yourself are not a nutritionist. There are numerous diets out there, and I can honestly say that I do not follow a single one. Nor do I want to.

True story: I had a lunch appointment an in-service at a doctor's office the other day, and somehow the topic of breakfast was brought up among the staff and myself. I had previously mentioned that I eat egg whites/eggbeaters for breakfast EVERY morning (yes--creature of habit), and must have mentioned that I had oatmeal that morning. You would have thought that I said I binge in the morning, because a nurse quickly quipped back, "You eat eggs AND oatmeal in the morning??" If only she knew that sometimes I mix a yogurt in there...

Clearly, people tend to be mistaken about what a complete meal is. And this baffles me, especially from those that work in such a setting. I guess it just seems counter-intuitive that medical staff aren't necessarily the healthiest people. Who would have known? This leads me to my next venture.

New Projects in the Works

Today I met up with my friend, Teresa, who is not only a personal trainer, but most recently a BeachBody coach. I had a few topics I wanted to discuss with her, one being how the whole BeachBody thing works. I love that I am able to inspire my own desire to workout, but I want to be able to do more when it comes to inspiring others. Those that know me in real life can attest for the motivation I can provide, whether it be in the form of a running partner or just inspiring accountability by offering up my own. In my opinion, it's easier to make healthy choices when those around you are making healthy choices.

After an hour and change of talking with Teresa, she has inspired me to look into the BeachBody coaching and make the small step leap into becoming a coach, first by becoming my own testimonial. How? By joining a challenge program and seeing it through to the end, following it to a T every step of the way. I must be crazy or an easy sell ;-) but I am already in the process of choosing which program to start with. What does this mean for you guys? Expect to be hearing a lot more (sarcasm) from me!

Oh, and after that, I went on a hike.
Here's to not knowing where the road ends,
only where you first began.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Pure and Simple

I've taken to the bar, folks! And by that, I mean Pure Barre. Lately, I've been needing a change of pace when it comes to my workouts. Don't get me wrong, I'm still enjoying all the work I put in at the gym--strength training, running (on those darn treadmills since it's been too cold outside for my wimpy self), and some treadclimbing. Notice anything missing? Maybe some core work? Yeah, that's because I find it highly boring, especially when working out solo. Of course I enjoy the burn from it, but it's really hard to get motivated to do the same movements over and over. Yawn.


Introducing, Pure Barre Charlottesville. Newer to the area (not quite a year old), completely new to me. Since I butcher anything I try to explain, here's what Pure Barre entails, according to their website:
"Pure Barre is a total body workout that lifts your seat, tones your thighs and burns fat in record-breaking time. Utilizing the ballet barre to perform small isometric movements set to fantastic music, Pure Barre is the fastest, most effective, yet safest way to change your body. Students see results in just 10 classes.
Pure Barre is intelligent exercise. The technique protects your joints as it does not involve any bouncing or jumping. Each strength section of the workout is followed by a stretching section in order to create long, lean muscle without bulk. The workout launches a full blown attack on the areas of the body all women struggle with: abs, hips, seat and arms. It defies gravity by tapering everything in and lifting it up."
They aren't lying when they say that it works those four main areas--abs, hips, seat, and arms. I thought I was exceptionally fit (with the occasional treat or day off...or more rarely, a longer absence from workouts). That was until I tried this class. Day one was yesterday for me, and it left me sore and achy, but in a good way. Nothing that a hike up Carter's Mountain with the fabulous Stacy and puppy Maggles couldn't fix!  But I will get to that in a minute. Let's just say that I was very glad that I ended up doing a more strenuous hike than intended yesterday, because it left me a bit looser today. Had that not been the case, I probably would have been in trouble for Round 2 of Pure Barre today.

I ended up signing up for a new member deal which gives me a month of unlimited Pure Barre classes. But because I am leaving for LA for a work meeting during the first week of February, I want to make the most of my investment. Meaning? I fully intend on going to as. many. classes. as. possible. Yes, you read that right. Your first thought may be, "Geez girl, overtrain much?!" But in all honesty, this is a very low-impact but high-intensity (for me) workout. I think it will be a great compliment to my strength training and running. At this point, I'm not sure how I really want to plan out my workouts, but I've started writing down the times that I can make the class in my social calendar.
Yes, I literally have a social calendar...
You can thank my job for that necessary distinction.
Quick Impromptu Holiday Recap

At this point, I'm just trying to undo all the damage from the holidays, which to me were defined as the time period between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve, and perhaps a few days prior. Do I have excuses? Sure do. Do those excuses get me anywhere? Sure don't. Accepting responsibility and moving on...

Let's just say there was a little bit of this...
...and some of this...
...and a WHOLE lot of this!
And because a girl's gotta eat too, and I'm not a food blogger--
I may have indulged in some bonfire smores...
...and an amazing bison burger while in Philly.

Gifts were received, and gifts were given...
Unbeknownst to my manager,
this was already one of my favorite reads!
The Sissy was the excited recipient of this--
Pinterest Weekly To-Do Collage frame.
I don't know when this turned into a somewhat holiday recap (inappropriately outdated), so let's reel it in here. After the aforementioned holiday festivities, I've been trying to get back on track with fitness, so I've been eliminating the bad and reintroducing/reinforcing the good. What does that mean exactly? No cheat meals/snacks/etc. More/longer workouts. Including two-a-days.
Well aren't I disgustingly sweaty?
Sober Nights

Additionally, I have cut alcohol out of the equation until I get back to where I want to be fitness-wise. Hasn't been much of an issue, until last night. I'm a firm believer that you do not necessarily need to drink to be considered fun. I promised a friend that I hadn't seen in a while that I would go be social downtown with her last night, and so we did. I stuck to my drink of choice:
HA. Let's just say I stuck to water.
I told her beforehand that I wouldn't be drinking, and before I had a chance to explain, I was already met with skepticism. Luckily, she knows I'm crazy no matter what, so she approved of my soberness and off we went. A short walk in high heels later, and we had met up with some of her friends at a bar. Now, I believe this may have been an entirely different experience had I met up with some of my own friends, not strangers that only she knew, but I was sort of taken aback by this. I'm generally not one to say no to a free drink when a friend offers to pay, which is what her friends did. However, every time I said I just wanted water, I was met with retorts about, "Nah, I think you want a drink. What do you want?"

First of all, I just told you what I want. Secondly, I don't find a need to explain myself to you. Apparently, when you say you want a water and then you smile through annoyance when you're questioned/pressured, you are then accused of "not being fun" or "being mad." LAUGHABLE. I would like to think that this was a bit of a social experiment, but come on, people! Sure, I understand that people go to bars for one main thing, but what about DDs? Several of her friends literally told me I should cave to peer pressure. Instead, I caved to the pain in my feet from attempting to break in new heels and made the solo walk home at a reasonable hour.

And GUESS WHAT?! I was energized and able to make it to the 9am Pure Barre class this morning. Oh, and I'm probably $20 richer for not spending hard-earned money. Enduring 31 dry days is by no means a crime. And in all honesty, I am amazed at my own willpower. Sure, I have wanted to drink at times through these past 13 days, but it'll just taste that much better, come February 1st.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

4 Score and 5 Months Ago

Goodness, how time flies! It has been almost 5 months (minus a few days) since I last updated you on my happenings, and let me tell you--there are a lot of them! You can thank my unfortunate case of food poisoning (yes, on New Year's Day) for this post, as I really have nothing else that I want to be doing other than curling up with my laptop. Watching episodes of White Collar, my new Netflix obsession. Catching up on blogs from the past 3 days, during which I was in Philly with the bestie, Katie, and her husband, Tommy.

So what have I been up to, you ask? Let's see...

  • I am officially employed with an excellent pharmaceutical company. It keeps me more than occupied during the week, and makes the weekends that much more enjoyable. Ah, welcome to the real world of grownups, Liz. I've been initiated into society, which I'm reminded of every time I look at my pay stubs and realize just how much money is being taken out for taxes--yikes!
  • I have an AMAZING apartment in the Historical Downtown area of Charlottesville. If you are picturing an older house with amazing architecture, then you have hit the nail on the head. Think open rooms, plenty of sunlight, dark wood fixtures in the kitchen, clawfoot tub, bay window in the bedroom... Need I say more? What's nice is that it's at the end of a circle, so it's quiet, and it's the upper floor of an older house that has been divided into two separate living spaces. My landlord conveniently lives on the first floor, so it makes it very convenient for rent purposes, if things need repair, etc.
  • I am back in the gym! Well...kinda. Crossfit has gone by the wayside. For now. I'm hoping to reincorporate it at a later date, but I had a period of time where I was getting acclimated to my job and the gym was just not as appealing as it used to be after a long day of driving. Additionally, I need to get my shoulder checked out, because it currently hurts to do any type of shoulder activity involving weights. This gets VERY frustrating, especially because my right shoulder is perfectly fine and IS able to throw around some weights, but the left just isn't having it. I can pinpoint almost precisely what happened that caused this, but it's kind of a boring story. And not really fitness-related at all. Which makes it that much worse, right?
  • When I said I had a period of time where I wasn't much motivated to go to the gym, I forgot to mention that was immediately following my month-long running spree. 28 days, so even though it was February-long, the last time I checked, February is a month. Just happens to be the shortest of all of them. I would have gotten those last 2-3 days too if it weren't for getting a pesky bug at the end of it all. Could have been those 2 days that I ran through Hurricane Sandy's effect on the area, including rain and wind. But don't be fooled by how awesomely dumb that sounds--Sandy did not do much damage to my neck of the woods. She was more like a miserable, miserable storm.
  • Speaking of running, I got a little crazy ambitious and registered for the Pittsburgh Marathon. Full marathon. My friends are doing the half, so I thought, "Why not do the full? You have 2 halves under your belt already, one being a trail run, so I think it's about time." Then I upped the ante by agreeing to fundraise for my registration (and then some) for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. As I briefly step up onto my soapbox, please check out my St. Jude Heroes Personal Page for a little more background as to why I chose St. Jude, and why I chose such a lofty goal of $1000. If you are able or willing to make a contribution, be it as small as you wish, I will love you forever, and dedicate part of my race to you.
  • Pittsburgh Marathon is May 5, but what until then? Only 2 (potentially 3) more substantial races--the Charlottesville 10 Miler and the Shamrock 1/2 Marathon. Yes, ambition. I have it.
  • I embraced the holidays a little too well, and because of that, I have a little ways to go to get my fitness level and my body to where it belongs. I chose to say that rather than "to where I want it to be," because that is such a relative phrase, and I am so self-critical that I would never be able to achieve that. I'm slowly cleaning up my nutrition, which is pretty darn easy when you have food poisoning. (Because you can't really eat... Because I thought that needed explaining...)
So as you can see, I have been and will be a busy girl! I have a few other goals that I'm working on exploring, but I do not yet want to verbalize them, because I need to set a foundation for them first. And I think some of these require pacing myself. I will keep you slightly less out of the dark than I have these past 5 months! Promise!

I fully intend on posting regularly (and with pictures next time, but I'm not too keen on them today for the sake of making this a little less daunting). I never meant to leave my blog unattended for so long, so please start holding me accountable, friends. P.S. Shout-out to Lacey who has already done so! Love you (and the rest of my small following)!