Running – North vs. South

I love to run, I mean, I like to run. Rather, I like how I feel when I get done running. And therefore I run. I’m mainly a fair weather runner, and when we lived in WI I logged many miles indoors on my treadmill because it wasn’t quite running weather in my opinion. Occasionally, though, I’d lace up my shoes even when it was chilly just to break up the monotony of running inside. This morning as my feet were hitting the pavement, I began thinking of the differences between running here in GA and running up north in WI. Here’s what I came up with:

The Preparation:

In the North: How many layers do I need? One, two, or three? Should I wear pants or capris? Do I need mittens? Should I cover my ears? Do I need to wear something over my mouth? I better stretch, I’m pretty stiff.

In the South: What is the least amount of clothing I can wear and still be appropriate? Is 40 too old to be running in booty shorts and a sports bra? Will these shorts hide the booty sweat so I don’t look like I peed? I need to put on sunscreen so I don’t get skin cancer. Wow, I feel so loose I don’t even need to stretch!

The Run:

In the North: Holy smokes is it cold! My hands and ears are so cold they’re burning! Is it safe to be breathing this hard through a scarf? Wow, I can’t breathe. I better take the scarf off. Mmmm, the air smells crisp, like Christmas. Too bad it’s April. Now my hands are sweating. I’ll just take the mittens off. Can you get frostbite on your hands when they’re sweating? Ewwww! I swallowed a mosquito. How are there mosquitoes when it’s this cold out? Can you get West Nile Virus from swallowing a mosquito? I’ll have to Google it. How much longer do I have to run? Am I done yet?

In the South: Holy smokes is it hot! I can barely breathe with this humidity. Mmmm, the air smells earthy and flowery and a little bit like a sewer, or is that the salt marsh? I hope it’s the marsh. There’s so much more oxygen here at sea level, so why am I breathing so hard? All that oxygen is probably really good for me. I bet I’m getting healthier and smarter just by breathing it. Oh my goodness! I just ran through a cobweb that probably had a scary spider of death on it that is probably crawling on me right now. AHHHHH! Oh Lord, I hope no one saw me do the freak out spider dance! It’s probably laying its eggs in me right now! Can I make it home to call 911, or should I knock on someone’s door so I don’t die? Maybe it was just a cobweb. I don’t feel anything crawling on me. My freak out spider dance probably got it off of me. How much longer do I have to run? Am I done yet?

Scary spider of death

Post Run:

In the North: Thank God I’m done. I feel so good! It is so hard peeling off these layers! I guess I’ll throw them right in the washer since all these layers nearly fill up a whole load. Wow, I’m actually sweating on this first layer! I’ll just re-hydrate with a glass of ice water. Oh my goodness I’m freezing. Oh no, now I’m cramping up! OK, stretch it out. Stttrrreeettcch it out. OK now I need to get in the hot shower so I can stop shivering.

In the South: Thank God I’m done. I feel so good! Holy smokes am I sweating! I didn’t know that I could sweat this much. I actually have sweat running into my, oh never mind. I feel so loose. I should stretch just to see how flexible I am now. I can reach right past my toes! I’ll just re-hydrate with a gallon of ice water. If only I could sit down, but I don’t want to get the chair/couch/carpet all sweaty. I guess I’ll just walk around until I stop dripping with sweat. One hour later. . . well I can’t wait any longer to take a shower. Maybe a cold shower will cool me off. I’ll just hang my booty shorts and sports bra to dry before they go in the hamper. It will be a week before I have a full load.

And there you have it. Running is definitely different here in the south than it was in the north. I’d love to hear how it’s different where you live. Let me know in the comments below.

 

 

The Passing of Time

I took my oldest son to his new high school to sign up for classes. Even typing the words doesn’t make it seem real. The baby boy that had the hiccups in my belly for what seemed like 9 straight months. The toddler who never stopped moving except to sleep which he only did at night. The preschooler who cried and cried the first day I took him to preschool and made my heart ache until I picked him up and found out he had been fine as soon as I left. The grade-schooler whose teachers described him as a leader in class but who came home and only talked about gym and lunch. And most recently the middle school student who has grown into a man-child who is always hungry, and is funny, and athletic, and kind. This child of mine is going to high school.

Time is a funny thing. It’s steady, we can measure it and use it as a tool to measure by, and yet I can’t seem to grasp it.  I can’t understand how each day continues to have 24 hours and how the number of days in a year has remained the same, but yet it seems like my life has been on fast forward. Because in my mind, in my idea of time, I’d still be holding my baby in my arms and rocking him to sleep, not standing on my tip toes to kiss his peach fuzzy, sun-tanned cheek.

I know that I only have 4 years left. Four years with him sleeping in my house, four years of sitting at the table with him on a regular basis, and four years of getting to peek in his room to say good night. I know I’m being selfish, but four years doesn’t seem like nearly enough, but yet it’s all I want for him. Because as much as I don’t want to let go, I also don’t want to hold him back. I want him to want to leave home in four years. I want him to know that he can, to be strong enough to leave, to be confident and independent enough to go. And when that time comes, I hope I am strong enough and confident enough and independent enough to let him.

In the mean time, or rather, the present time, I want to be just that – present. I’ll concentrate on being there while he experiences high school and friendships and sports and learning to drive and learning about life. I’ll work at being that person in his life to help him if he needs it, guide him with any bit of wisdom I can muster, and just enjoy him in all his adolescent glory. I’ve been warned that the high school years go faster than any prior time in your child’s life, but I’m not going to think about that. Time is a constant, after all. You can measure it, and measure by it.

So, we will turn another page in the calendar next week and I’ll watch my baby boy get on the bus to go to high school and the tears streaming down my face as I write this tell me I’ll be crying then too. I know he will do great and I can’t wait to see him experience the “glory days” guys my age still reminisce about. And though I’m going to cry, and my heart will ache, just like my preschooler once upon a time, I’ll be fine by the time he comes home. . . and I’ll be ready to hear all about gym and lunch.

 

 

What’s Your BHAG?

Holy smokes! It’s been quite a whirlwind of events the last couple of months and that’s meant no time spent writing for this mama. Since I wrote my last blog post, we bought an existing franchise, went to a week long training, sold our house, bought a new house, moved our family 1101 miles, left all our friends and family behind, and thankfully have begun making new friends. My husband has been working crazy hours learning how to run the business while I run our kids around to new summer activities and try to do some sales for our business as well. Our lives are quite different than they were, though exactly as we planned.

More than five years ago, Kevin and I imagined how we wanted our lives to look and then wrote down our goals. For some time they were tacked up to our bulletin board in our kitchen. We never stopped talking about those goals. . . live somewhere warm, with great schools, near golf courses, and own a business. Many of you have heard of BHAGs (Big Hairy Audacious Goals) before, and for us, those definitely fit that description.

For us, making a BHAG took courage. Once we had it worked out in our minds, we wrote it down. Then we talked about it and began to plan it out. Then we started talking to other people about it, which took more courage. Because as you know, not everyone is going to support your BHAG, but that’s OK. And once we told people our big goal, we felt an added pressure to actually reach it, which was important. No one was holding us accountable, so the added pressure, though only perceived, was instrumental in helping us reach it.

This move across the country, this gigantic leap of faith, this BHAG we’re living out, began as a thought. And just as Napoleon Hill encourages in his book, Think and Grow Rich, we wrote down that thought. Then we planned, and today we are putting that plan into action. We are just an average family, but 2017 is not an average year.

Here we are today, living out our BHAG, and you can too! Take your dream, write it down, and start making plans. It’s time for us to write out our next BHAG. Are you ready to write yours down too? Share your BHAG in the comments below and let us help you reach it!

Focus on the Routine

Though it seems I’ve abandoned Motivating Action in the last month, I have a great excuse – I’ve been too busy taking action! My husband and I have been super busy, stressed, and excited because we have finally found an existing small business to buy! Yay! As we dot our i’s and cross our t’s, it hasn’t left much time for me to sit down at the computer to type, though I’ve written many posts in my head. The process of buying a business is completely foreign to us, so you can imagine how overwhelmed we have felt. That and the fact that this business is in a totally different part of the country mean that many changes lie ahead for our family.

Change can be hard for so many reasons. While I was working out this morning, I was thinking about the big changes we will have to make this year, and it naturally made me feel a little anxious. All of the What If’s began creeping into my mind and my worry gene, passed on with loving apprehension from my mom, kicked into high gear. But as I continued my work out, I began to tame my worry by focusing on what won’t change.

First, even in a new location, our family’s morning routine won’t change. I will wake up, make lunches, wake up the kids, help them get breakfast, and do everything I can to help ensure we all get a good, positive start to the day. Second, no matter where we are, I will do my 20 minutes of exercise. Those 20 minutes each day help to keep me centered and healthy, and provide a sense of accomplishment that energizes me throughout the day. Third, we will continue to sit down as a family to eat dinner together every night we can. (If you have little kids and are struggling to stay sane while sitting down for meals together, hang in there! I promise you, it will get much better and is totally worth it!) Finally, I will read to our daughter every night before bed for as long as she wants me to and turn off the boys’ light when they go to bed.

As we anticipate and prepare to leave our extended family, our friends, our home and neighbors, and all that we are familiar with, we can only hope to ease into our new surroundings by focusing on the routines that will remain unchanged. As you do today’s workout and go about your day, think about what routines you and your family have that would remain unchanged even with a change in your surroundings. I can only think, that those routines that further provide a feeling of stability are what my family and yours, will rely on to get us through all of life’s changes.

 

Recipe for Fitness Four

Strength

  • Sumo Squats with Weights
  • Reverse Lunges with Weights
  • Leg Lifts – Standing – Alternating legs
  • Donkey Kicks with weight tucked behind knee
  • Side Curtsy Lunge – Alternating sides

Cardio

  • Run 2 minutes @ 2.5%
  • Sprint 1 minute @ 5%
  • Run 2 minutes @ 3 %

Repeat Strength then Cardio

www.itsstillwarm.com

 

A Slight Correction

 If you are looking for a workout to do today, look no further! Here is the third Recipe for Fitness. Before you get started, I just have a quick thought.

Yesterday, while driving six hours south through Illinois, my husband and I drove through a wide swath of snow. The roads were just wet in the beginning, but eventually became snow covered and very slippery. We saw car after car in the ditch, with panicked drivers on their cell phones calling, I imagine, their loved ones to let them know they were ok and then a tow truck to pull them out.

As I sat in the passenger seat and my husband drove carefully, I thought about one of the first rules of winter driving I learned – don’t over correct. In other words, if you start sliding, don’t jerk the wheel, but instead calmly take your foot off the gas and make a slight adjustment until your tires grip the pavement again. And then I got thinking, how that driving lesson applies to life.

We all make mistakes and some of the mistakes are outright failures. Our tendency is quite often to over correct. Instead of making a small adjustment to right our path, we panic, jerk the wheel, and find ourselves with even bigger problems. 

I encourage you today to not over correct when problems arise.  Remain calm, .make a slight adjustment, and right your course. Mistakes happen, but this way, you’ll stay out of the ditch.

[recipe title="Recipe for Fitness Three" time="20 mins"]

Cardio – Set Treadmill to 3% incline

  • Walk 1 minute
  • Jog 1 minute
  • Run 1 minute
  • Sprint 1 minute
  • Jog 1 minute

Strength

  • 1 Minute Plank (this will help stretch your calves if they are sore from yesterday)
  • Overhead Press
  • Push Ups
  • Front Arm Raise (alternating arms)
  • Tricep Kickbacks (bent over/alternating arms)

Repeat Strength then finish with Cardio. I.E. Cardio, Strength, Strength, Cardio

www.itsstillwarm.com

[/recipe]

A 1st Grader’s Cautious Tale

As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve been busy doing a lot of substitute teaching the last couple of weeks and I absolutely love it! In fact, I wish I’d started subbing years ago. I love the flexibility, working with the kids, learning from the wonderful teachers and staff at the school, and getting a glimpse into my daughter’s day at school. Though I’ve only subbed at the elementary school so far, I look forward to spying on, I mean subbing at my sons’ middle school as well.

There is rarely a dull moment when subbing in an elementary school, and the things that come out of the kids’ mouths so often has me chuckling. My favorite today was a first grader who came in from recess and told me the following – this is an excerpt from the conversation that actually lasted much longer with lots of additional information before and after from this verbose student who I can only guess will grow up to be a lawyer or a politician:

1st Grader – “I fell in a puddle and was cautious.”
Me – “You fell in a puddle at recess?”
1st Grader – “Yes. Feel my pants. They’re wet. I fell in and I was cautious and Sam* helped pull me out.”
Me – “Yes, I can see your pants are a little wet.” (As an aside, he wasn’t nearly as wet as many of the other kids I have seen this week with all of the melting snow, which had me doubting his story a bit.) So Sam helped pull you out? That was nice of him.”
1st Grader – “Yes. But I was cautious.”
Me – “You were cautious?”
1st Grader – “Yes. My face was in the water and I was cautious.”
Me – (Looking carefully at his perfectly dry face and hair.) “Your face got wet?”
1st Grader – “Yes! I was cautious and Sam helped pull me out!” (Somewhat exasperated at this point)
Me – “You were cautious? Do you know what cautious means?”
1st Grader – (Now looking a bit unsure.)
Me – “Cautious means careful. Were you being careful?”
1st Grader – “I . . . was. . . un-cautious with my face in the puddle!”
Me – “Ohhh, do you mean unconscious?”
1st Grader – (Very matter of factly) “Yes. I was unconscious**!”
Me – “Oh. Well thank goodness Sam was there to pull you out!”

*Name was changed
**Child was checked out to make sure he was OK, which he was. 🙂

Now that you have a smile on your face, here’s today’s Recipe for Fitness, focusing on your arms and abs: (Set your Tabata Timer app for 50 seconds work, 10 seconds rest, and 20 cycles)

Recipe for Fitness Two

Strength

  • Tricep Dips
  • Side Plank
  • Push Ups
  • Frog Sit-Ups
  • Windshield Wiper Abs

Cardio

  • Jump Rope
  • Moving High Knees
  • Moving Butt Kickers
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Burpees

Repeat Strength and Cardio

www.itsstillwarm.com

Your Workout is Too Long! 5 Reasons to Workout 20 Minutes a Day

These last couple of weeks I’ve been reminded what it’s like to work full time outside of the home while trying to fulfill the duties and responsibilities of a stay at home mom. I know I’m preaching to the choir when I say it’s exhausting! To anyone considering going to work after staying at home for an extended period of time, let me give you a piece of unsolicited advice – hire help! I think the only way to do it all is, frankly, to NOT do it all.

That being said, I’m not taking my own advice, as evidenced by my grimy bathroom counters and smeared mirrors. However, there is one area of my life where I just don’t compromise, working full time, or not, and that is my fitness routine. After five and a half years of exercising 20 minutes every day, I always find time to fit it in.

I know for my fellow workout addicts, only exercising for 20 minutes is going to feel like you’re cheating. You will think it’s not enough. I assure you, it is. In fact, 20 minutes is the ideal amount of time to workout in my humble opinion and here’s why:

Top 5 Reasons to Workout Everyday for 20 Minutes

1. No excuse is good enough to get you out of a 20 minute workout. So you say you have to catch an early flight? Get up 20 minutes earlier. You have a big presentation at work? Great – gather your thoughts during your 20 minute workout. You’re on a very rocky cruise ship and it’s hard to walk straight, let alone exercise? Do it anyway (this was a personal one that led to a 20 minute wog on the treadmill which looked more like an awkward gallop than a walk/jog.) After more than 5 1/2 years, I can guarantee that you can always find 20 minutes in your day to exercise.

2. 20 minutes of a medium to high intensity workout will not leave you feeling famished. When I used to do hour long workouts on a regular basis, for the rest of the day I would be starving and have to eat all day long to finally feel satiated, therefore, negating all the fat burning I had done during the workout. I thought it was only me, but in this New York Times article, they discuss a University of Copenhagen research study which showed the same thing.

3. 20 minutes of daily exercise will give you more energy. Without a daily workout, you can start to feel sluggish and it’s very easy to gain a pound here or a pound there. On the flip side, with an hour long workout, you can find yourself feeling exhausted, wiped out, and too tired to do much physical activity for the rest of the day. A 20 minute workout is just the right amount of time to get your heart pumping, the calories burning, and give you an energy boost to keep you moving throughout your day.

4. A daily 20 minute workout gives you the mental satisfaction that comes along with completing a task. This is the big reason I prefer to workout in the morning. That way, I know as soon as I’m done with my workout, I’ve already checked one thing off my list. That sense of accomplishment gives me a mental boost as I move on to my work. Now I can go through my day with the confidence that I’m already on my way to getting things done.

5. A daily 20 minute workout will help you meet your weight loss or weight maintenance goals. Let’s face it, many of us wouldn’t mind losing a pound or two or twenty, and nearly all of us would like to avoid putting on weight. A daily 20 minute workout combined with eating healthy will help you lose unwanted pounds or maintain a healthy weight if you are there already. As we age, our metabolism naturally slows down and working out 20 minutes a day – especially a workout with weights – can help combat the natural tendency to gain a few pounds each year.

To help get you started with your 20 minute daily workout routine, I’ve come up with a 20 minute workout that I’m calling my Recipe for Fitness. I like to pack as much into my 20 minute workout as I can so I get the biggest bang for my buck. I also don’t want to waste time thinking about what I’m going to do, or to just settle on running on the treadmill for the 20 minutes which I love to do, but which gets boring after awhile. This workout is guaranteed to get your heart pumping, your lungs working, and the sweat beading up.

This 20 minute workout is designed with a cardio and strength component and will work each muscle group. It can be scaled up or down to fit your fitness level, and can be completed at home (with minimal equipment) or in the gym. This workout is meant to give you more energy throughout your day and will challenge you enough that you will feel that you have gotten a good workout.

For this workout, I recommend using a Tabata Timer app set to 50 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest with 20 reps. This should give you enough time to transition between each exercise. A few suggested ways you can adjust this workout to suit your needs – increase your rest time, increase/decrease your speed and/or incline, and use lighter or heavier weights.

Without further ado, here is your first 20 minute Recipe for Fitness:

Recipe for Fitness One

Cardio (Treadmill)

  • Run 2 mins at 6.0/2%
  • Run 1 min at 7.5/5%
  • Run 2 min At 7.0/2%

Cardio (Alternative)

  • Jumping Jacks 1 min
  • Burpees 1 min
  • Jog in Place 1 min
  • Burpees 1 min
  • Jumping Jacks 1 min

 

Strength

  • Bicep curl with overhead press
  • Forward lunge with weights
  • Push ups
  • Leg lifts lying down
  • Elbow plank

Repeat Cardio and Strength

www.itsstillwarm.com

I hope you enjoy today’s first 20 minute Recipe for Fitness! Be sure to let me know what you think in the comments below.

This is Trippy

In an October 2014 article titled “Unused Vacation Days at 40-Year High”, author Amy Langfeld, paints a disappointing picture. According to a new study by Oxford Economics, Americans are using only 77% of their paid time off which in essence means we are working for free one week each year. What’s worse is that, as Darren Hardy shares in this Darren Daily, 42% of Americans failed to use any of their paid vacation in 2014! This is despite the fact that we all know vacation time is good for us. Statistics even show that employees who use more of their vacation days have better performance reviews, increased productivity, and decreased turnover.

So why aren’t we using our paid time off? Some people say it’s the hassle of preparing to leave and then the increased workload when they return. Others just don’t want to spend the money to take an actual vacation and would rather work than just sit at home. I would like to call bull-sh%& on both accounts. The real reason we aren’t taking that time off is because we are afraid to take action outside of what is our normal routine. We are so used to getting up every day, driving to work, sitting at our desk, drinking our coffee, and going through our daily routine, that the thought of doing something different is downright scary.

You know what is even scarier? By forfeiting our paid time off, we are essentially working for free for that time, not allowing ourselves the time to recharge and refresh, not experiencing the joy that travel can bring, and prioritizing our jobs over all else. By working when we don’t have to, we are putting work as our number one priority, before family, before self, before all else. What is that teaching our kids and what are we telling our spouses?

Though the travel industry would prefer we use our PTO to take a vacation, we don’t have to. We can use that time to meet a friend for lunch, work on a home project, read a book, or get in a round of golf. Leaving our work behind for a day or two, or even a week, can seem, frankly, like a lot of work, but in the long run, we’ll be better off. Because let’s face it, if we left our job, they’d hire someone to replace us. Our family and friends couldn’t do that. Let’s show them they are our priority by spending time with them. Take that vacation, go out to lunch, just get out of the office and enjoy ourselves – because sometimes taking a vacation is the most motivating action we can take!

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?

Get your Butt out of the Rut!

Taking action can feel hard. It’s so much easier to sit in the When and Then Rut and talk yourself out of taking any action at all. For example, when it’s warmer, then I’ll get outside to exercise more. When we have more money, then we will get the repairs made on the house. When I’ve been at work for a year, two years, three years, then I’ll take my family on a great vacation, I just need to get settled in first. When we have enough money saved then we’ll think about having a baby because we want to be responsible and able to support a child.

The problem with these when and then statements is that once we get to the “when” in the equation, so often, we’ve already replaced it with another when and we never reach the “then”. So the temperatures have warmed up, but we’re still not getting out to exercise. Or, we save up some money for repairs on the house, but then our kids join a new sport and our savings are gone. How about after we’ve been at our job 3 years and we still haven’t taken that vacation because each new project at work keeps sabotaging our plans. And let’s just face it, it would take a really long time to save the $233,000 they say it now costs to raise a child.

As comfortable as the When and Then Rut feels, we need to get out of it! We need to jump the tracks, make a break, and get our butts in gear!

We need to stop saying when and simply start doing. We have to stop telling ourselves and others what we’re going to do and just start doing it. I am so guilty of this! I tell people quite often what I am going to do. A few months ago, I told a friend, “I’m going to start subbing and I’m going to start a blog THIS WEEK.” Guess which one of those I did that week? Neither one. Nike wasn’t kidding when they said, Just Do It!

That’s what Motivating Action is all about. Taking positive action, motivating others to do the same, and creating a snowball effect where all of us are getting shit done. I’m certain that taking action gets easier and easier the more we do it. Just like a muscle, we need to use it – practice, exercise, repeat, and we will get stronger and better and before we know it, taking action won’t be hard at all. It will just be what we do. Here I am, three months later, and I’ve subbed 6 times and I have a blog! I’m doing it! I stopped talking about when I was going to do it and just went ahead and did it.

Three years from now, when we look back, I’m certain we will realize that sitting in the When and Then Rut wasn’t that easy after all. It was uncomfortable, boring, uninspiring, and stressful. Taking action, on the other hand, is empowering, exciting, motivating, and invigorating. Life isn’t about sitting in a rut, it’s about seeing and doing and loving and changing and moving and growing.

What have you been talking about doing but not getting done? What can you do today to get yourself out of the When and Then Rut?

Execution Trumps Knowledge

I was recently listening to a Tony Robbins podcast on Castbox – an awesome app, by the way, that I listen to while working out, cleaning the house, making dinner, etc. – and Tony said something that made me run to my kitchen for a pen and paper. I’m pretty sure he said them just for me and was talking directly to me.  Here it is:

“Execution trumps knowledge 100% of the time.”

That’s it. Not even a full line, but spot on for this blog and my life. I love to learn. I love reading non-fiction, I love listening to podcasts, and I even love helping my middle schoolers study for their tests so that I can re-learn what I once knew. If you sensed before that I might be somewhat of a nerd, you were right!

Tony’s words hit me like a ton of bricks. They pretty much sum up the point of this blog – take action – execute. Get past the learning stage and start using it for good. Share that knowledge with others, pass it along, do something with it. Put down the book, turn off the podcast, and write, or go speak to a group, or find a client and form your business plan, but do something.

Where would our world be if Edison had known how to make a light bulb, but never actually had made one? How would we get from place to place if Karl Benz hadn’t built on the knowledge of other German inventors and created the first true automobile? Would we still be travelling by ship to get to Europe if the Wright brothers hadn’t successfully built and flown the world’s first airplane? I think we can all agree that we’d probably still have light bulbs and automobiles and airplanes, but the names associated with those inventions would be different.

And that’s what is important. These men took action. Despite the fact that other inventors at the time were working on and most likely had the knowledge to make the inventions, those others failed to execute. The knowledge that Edison, Benz, and the Wright brothers possessed wasn’t completely unique. How they executed their knowledge was 100% unique and their names are the ones we remember.

This is not to imply that knowledge isn’t necessary or a key to success, but how we use that knowledge is more important. You and I don’t have to be experts to take action and we may face speed bumps, road blocks, and outright failures along the way, but those will only help us execute better the next time around.

How are you going to use your knowledge to execute today?