This weekend, my youngest son played the last football game of the regular season. During the game, one of his teammates hurt his ankle. After a couple of plays, during which he was limping around on the field, the coach asked him if he wanted to come out. He said “no.” The coach asked him if he could play. He said “yes.” The team ran a couple more plays and he continued to limp around. Once again, the coach asked him if he wanted to come out. He emphatically said he didn’t. At that point the coach shouted across the field, “THEN STOP LIMPING!!!”
I was a little taken aback but lo and behold, to my surprise, he did. He stopped limping until he got the to sideline later on. I thought about that after the game was over. I thought about the times in life when you just have to suck it up. You might be a little hurt, you might be a little sad, frustrated or angry, you might be a little sick but you have to pull it together for the good of the team, your family, or your co-workers. If you’re going to go out there and be a player you can’t flop around making it obvious you’re a weak link. It’s not fair to yourself or those around you.
Even though my “mom antennae” went up when the coach yelled, I realized he was entirely right to call the boy out. If he was too hurt to play, he could have opted to take himself out. He wasn’t, and he wanted to play, therefore he needed to take a breath and “straighten up.” It was a good lesson for the boy and a good reminder for me too. There is a time and place for all things and when you’re checked in for duty, it isn’t the time to limp around.
First, let me present quotes worthy of a moment of contemplation
“It can not be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians, not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ.” (Patrick Henry)
“Intelligence, patriotism, Christianity, and a firm reliance on Him, who has never yet forsaken this favored land, are still competent to adjust, in the best way, all our present difficulty.” (Abraham Lincoln)
Then, let’s have a bit of lighthearted fun
On this beautiful day, I thought I’d share a few photos that combine a couple of my favorite themes…fitness and that wonderful, all-American spirit.
Wherever you are on this day, I’m sending you wishes for prosperity, love and a joyous heart! God bless you AND…
Fall is my favorite season and it’s here full force. I love the cooler weather, the colors of the season, comfort foods bubbling on the stove and of course, the fall holidays. I generally start decorating for Halloween on September 15th…for the children. It’s for the children!
I picked my costume early, then had the bright idea to create a thematic series of photos featuring it. I call them my Bad Maid photographs. They crack me up because the remind me of my youth.
My mom worked full time. She was a chemist and very active in the community so she was quite busy. She relied on my sister and I to do our share of the housework. Sadly, as a teenager I wasn’t the best cleaner in the world. As a matter of fact, it would be accurate to say I was often quite lazy. I rarely did an excellent job, so the Bad Maid is, in an amusing way a real reflection of myself during those years. When it was my turn to clean, I’d always do the vacuuming correctly (but I wouldn’t move the furniture to get underneath it) since you could see clear evidence if I did a shoddy job. I knew my mom would know if I didn’t do that job reasonably well. I couldn’t hide it. However, when it came to dusting, I’m ashamed to admit I didn’t lift a finger. I’d wait until right before my mom came home and spray Lemon Pledge into the air so it would smell like I’d actually done some work.
I’m sorry now that I wasn’t more helpful at that time in my life. Believe me, I bet my mom laughs from above when she sees me fussing at my boys for things like dumping dirt out of their shoes in the downstairs hallway (and then leaving the shoes there so I trip over them), tracking mud through my freshly mopped kitchen or finding a giant bucket full of little yellow BB’s spilled all over the carpet.
In the spirit of Halloween, and my misspent youth, I present the first of the Bad Maid photos.
Rest days are an important part of any fitness program. Truth be told, they don’t present much of a problem for most people since motivation to exercise at all is usually the problem, not motivation to take a break. Still, we all know people who go whole hog with their fitness program…until they burn out and then give up entirely for a long while.
You have to seek proper balance….balance between too much exercise and not enough. It’s an easy concept but sometimes not so easy to accomplish. It takes thought, attention and commitment. You can use official “programs” as a guide but each of us has different needs and our bodies require varying amounts of down time.
I discovered long ago that I could be successful with a 5 days on, two days off workout program. That fit into my lifestyle when the boys were very young and continues to the present day. I typically squeeze workouts into the week, which leaves the weekends completely free for family activities.
I typically re-assess my program every 8 weeks. If I’ve completed an 8 week block and I feel unenthusiastic about my workouts or my body is tired, I’ll skip a week (doing only cardio and light lifting as I wish) and then go back to my more formal workouts. It works better that way, psychologically, since I always feel like my workouts are on my terms. I can take time off when needed so I don’t get into that “I’m on a never-ending grind” mindset.
Vacations fall under that “my choice” category too. Sometimes I workout a lot when I’m on vacation, sometimes a little and there are times when I don’t do a thing in the way of exercise. I play it by ear. If I want to exercise, I do. If I want to sit on a beach chair with my feet up the whole time, I do. You have to be gentle with yourself if you want to be successful over the long haul.
I was lucky enough to be able to take a little trip to Mexico recently. I visited the gym once and did a light workout, I did my push ups, pull ups and squats daily, I walked along the beach and played in the waves. I did a little swimming and that’s it. It was relaxing and refreshing and now I’m hitting it HARD. It feels great after the break.
Make sure you fit those rest breaks in too!
When trying to get or keep in shape, it’s of the upmost importance to stick to a healthy eating plan. There’s nothing I love witnessing more than fitness enthusiasts busying themselves in the kitchen, making nutritious, delicious meals. Watching them cook kinda makes your mouth water, dontcha think?
Yep! Seeing them at work sure inspires me to want to eat healthy!
It’s not actually my birthday today, it was earlier this month but I believe in prolonged celebrations! Actually I’ve been busy and I’ve neglected to post my annual, official birthday photos. I always take a couple pictures to help track my physique from year to year. As most of you know, I changed my routine in a significant way about 6 months ago. I expected a loss of some muscle mass..and that did happen. I was still able to keep a little meat on my bones and I’m pleased that I was able to accomplish that.
I’m going to work on getting a little of my upper body mass back over the winter months. I’m going to specifically target my shoulders and back (of course biceps and triceps will come along too). We’ll see what happens if I add a couple of heavy lifting days to my week.
It’s been 24 years and I still love lifting. I enjoy tinkering with my program and seeing what I can make happen with consistency and force of will.
I’m looking forward to the next year of improvements. Are you with me?
Let’s do this thing!
What did I do for exercise this morning, you ask? I wrestled and pulled and pushed. I didn’t want to. It wasn’t voluntary. It was a husky production.
Anyone familiar with the personality of huskies, knows they have minds of their own…which I like…most of the time. Today was not one of those times. My
rotten sweet darlings forgot all their manners.
As we were happily and calmly walking along the street, we came upon two men who were distributing door tags around the neighborhood. Now my
rotten sweet darlings, know full well who belongs in our neighborhood and who is a new person to be examined and explored. The men distributing the door tags looked as if perhaps someone had picked them up off a downtown street corner and paid them a few bucks to take the advertisements around. They were unkempt to say the least and my rotten sweet darlings were determined to make their acquaintance. I didn’t share their enthusiasm…and so began the wrestling match.
My dogs are big but more than that, they’re strong (in body and mind). They wanted to go meet those guys and I wanted to walk quickly past. I tried to pick up the pace and they would walk a couple of steps then refuse to budge. I pulled the leash to encourage them to see it my way and they sat down. It was a war of wills (and muscle).
Needless to say, I did get my way in the end and we continued on our walk, during which time, they displayed exemplary manners as per usual. I did notice my heart rate was rather high right after the incident so I suppose I could thank them for some extra cardio. Uh…no.
My huskies are my favorite cardio companions. We love to go for long, fast walks, up and down the hills where I live. I’ve never had dogs in my life before, let alone known any huskies so I’ve been fascinated by how their coats change according to the season. In the winter, when it was consistently cool, they started growing very thick fur, which did a marvelous job keeping them warm (and their skin dry) during our trips to the mountain snow.
When it started getting warmer during the day, out came the thick fur, leaving them with a much less dense coat.
Humans don’t have that kind of natural protection from the elements. We have to take precautions to stay safe when we exercise outdoors in both the winter months and in the hot summer months. Heat related illnesses are a serious issue this time of year. The following is a good reminder of what to look for and how to react if you or someone else starts to suffer ill effects from the heat.
(The following was taken from “Hot Weather Exercise Tips” posted by the Texas Heart Institute)
Heat-related illnesses occur when the body is unable to cool itself properly. Sweating is the body’s first method of cooling, but, in some cases, that cannot lower the body’s temperature enough. Illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke are usually preventable, but many people still die of them every year.
Heat exhaustion develops in people who are exposed to high temperatures and who do not drink enough fluids. People who are especially at risk for heat exhaustion are the elderly, children, people with high blood pressure, and those who work or exercise in hot environments. During heat exhaustion, the body is able to maintain a normal temperature for a while, but only at the expense of other body functions. If not treated, heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke. In athletes, heat exhaustion results in sudden decreased performance and exhaustion.
Symptoms of heat exhaustion include
Dry tongue and thirst
Nausea or vomiting
People who experience these symptoms or those who have heart problems need to see a doctor immediately. If someone is developing heat exhaustion, you should move him or her out of the sun right away and into a cool place. Remove any extra layers of clothing and give the person water or a sports drink to replenish the body’s lost fluids. If the person does not feel better after an hour, seek medical attention.
Heat stroke is a medical emergency. It is unlikely that conditioned athletes will develop heat stroke, but young children, elderly people, chronically ill patients, and even pets may easily get heat stroke. Heat stroke is a severe form of hyperthermia (very high body temperature) and requires medical treatment right away. Because the body’s cooling system has been overwhelmed by heat and dehydration, the body temperature may rise to 103°F or higher. If a person does not get treatment right away, heat stroke can lead to permanent damage to the body’s organs, including the brain. In some cases, people who do not get help right away can die.
Some signs and symptoms of heat stroke include
Body temperature of 103˚F or higher
Red, hot, dry skin (no sweating)
If you think that someone is experiencing heat stroke, call 911 right away. While waiting for an ambulance, try to cool the person by moving him or her out of the sun and into a cool place. Attempt to cool the person by any available method, such as covering them with a wet sheet, applying ice packs, or placing them in a cool tub of water. If possible, offer the person water to drink.
Memorial day rolls around each year and each year I take a few quiet minutes over the weekend to reflect on those who gave their last measure of devotion in the service of our country. For me, that’s not such an unusual thing. I think about our fallen all the time. I think about those rows upon rows of white headstones in our military cemeteries and about the men, long dead, who battled to protect the interests of the rest of America’s citizens in conflicts concluded before I took my first breath. I think about those lost in our more current wars. Sometimes I contemplate a particular quote from George S. Patton. He said “It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.” I can only manage to get half of that right. I do thank God that such men lived, but I feel an anxious tug when they pass. I think about their mothers and children…and it stings my heart. My friend, Gary Dolan, a Vietnam veteran and Army Ranger, created a touching piece about honoring the memory of the fallen on Memorial Day. He wrote “I believe our country deserves to be happy and free, because that happiness and freedom was bought with the blood of our fallen heroes. I think our fallen heroes would appreciate that our country is happy and free and would gladly accept that as a wonderful tribute to their sacrifice.” That sounds right to me. I think we honor them by living well, by being generous with each other, by showing kindness to our neighbors, by loving our families. We honor them by appreciating the hard-won liberties we enjoy and also by doing our part to protect and extend them to future generations.
Here are some flowers for all the mothers out there. Enjoy your special day!
Please remember, as you take care of your family, make sure you take care of yourself too.
I think exercise and paying attention to what I was eating helped me be a better mom, especially when my kids were young. It’s so easy to get spread thin. Tending to children is joyous and exhausting at the same time. If you take a small slice of your day to walk, lift, stretch, kickbox, dance…whatever gets your heart rate up, you’ll ease everyday stress and frustration, sleep better (when the babies let you), and be able to better handle all those unexpected twists life sends your way.
It’s easy to think that you don’t have the time to workout or think about what you eat but, I assure you, it can be done. You just have to be a tiny bit creative and make it a priority.
When my oldest son was a baby, I wanted to workout but I didn’t want to leave him for very long so on weekdays, I’d walk him in his stroller in the morning and lift weights at night after he went to bed. On the weekends and vacation days, I’d go to the gym. That involved rolling out of bed, washing my face, brushing my teeth, then slapping on a black baseball hat to cover the bedhead and hurrying out the door. There was no fancy-ing up after that, just family time. I wasn’t exactly the vision of glamour but my workouts kept me on a nice, even keel and I enjoyed hanging out with my son much more than if I’d been a perfectly coiffed but stressed out mommy. Sometimes there was laundry in the basket too long, sometimes the dusting had to wait, sometimes the closets weren’t completely in order but we were happy and healthy.
Taking a few moments to take care of yourself isn’t a luxury, it’s important, for you….and those you love.
This blog was nominated for the Primio Dardos award by fellow blogger Wilson Agaba. How lovely to have someone enjoy visiting and reading about life in the gym. You can visit his blog, Storing Hope, to see what he’s up to.