Prioritize your needs

Hi all! As promised I’m back with a post between the spring semester ending and summer classes beginning. I literally cannot believe another semester is done. It feels like just yesterday I was frantically deciding whether to change my major from Neuroscience –> psychology or outdoor education and last minute sneaking my way into classes.

The decision was made and I’m good with it. While I’m extremely interested in a outdoor education, having a solid background in outdoor adventure groups and communities growing up it’s something that I’m really passionate about. On the other hand, it isn’t something that I felt like I wanted to major in “enough” to put myself in a position of taking that many more classes. The way I see it is, if that is the direction my life is meant to go it will happen regardless and psychology is also a great background to have for the field of outdoor ed/adventure therapy.

img_8052

Throwback to Mt. Isolation (september 16′). 12 miles, 5k vert gain. One of my favorites thus far. The suck was real but so was learning to love the process.

One year left, one year left. I keep telling myself this on repeat and it helps. It’s not that I’m “bad” at school. I’m for the bulk of my college career a straight A student minus the period I attempted balancing school + work + treatment. Rather, it doesn’t feel right. I enjoy learning, I love it and feed off of it. Increasing my knowledge base and understanding of both the material I’m studying and the world in general makes me feel grounded. However, sitting in a class full of other students with numerous stimuli and distractions doesn’t jive well with my brain. I can rarely focus and while that was okay the past two semesters, I’ve been apprehensive about the upcoming school year. So I’m doing something about that and choosing to be proactive and supportive of my needs rather than just being in la-la land and pretending I’m a perfectly productive student in the classroom.

. Four FULLY ONLINE summer classes. There is the money honey. I honestly dig online classes, I feel that I’m able to grasp the material equally as well if not better than in-class lecture format because I’m not wasting time sitting in classes unfocused and angsty only to go home to teach myself everything I supposedly just learned in class. I feel very uneasy in classes/on campus which fascinates me because it’s only been like this throughout my time at my current university. It could be the school (size), it could be that my mental health is in a different place now than before and I tend to actually feel my feelings, not feeling like I fit in AT ALL, a combination, or none of the above.

Life is said to be this balancing act – a see-saw if you will. I agree with this, there are good days and bad days, days of growth where you thrive and break down walls, then there are days when the going gets tough and honestly I think the best way to manage these days is being able to take care of yourself. Life isn’t giving in or giving up. It’s not hiding from the world or holding yourself back. It’s owning up to yourself, being present, and showing up in the world.

As I mentioned in a couple posts back when discussing the process of overcoming an injury, “count your rainbows not your thunderstorms.” – Alyssa Knight

IMG_1058

In addition to this, I think it’s being capable of accepting and honoring where you are at now, which may be an entirely different place than a month ago, a year ago, or two months in the future. As human beings we constantly are growing, evolving, and increasing our depth of understanding – having the mental flexibility to allow this and accept/be okay with it is HUGELY IMPORTANT.

I am not where I though I would be at 23, almost 24 years old and that is okay. There is no universal law saying that I need to be doing X or have accomplished Y by the time I’m 24. These are my own self-imposed guidelines/goals/expectations. They are the feelings that strip enjoyment out of life. The feelings of being a failure because I decided that I don’t want what I once thought I did, or wondering why I’m unable to roll with the punches the way society expects me too.

17626643_10155107868667170_7744240611380686183_n

I’m not abnormal. Heck, what even is normal?! I’m working with who I am to develop the best version of me.

There are days where I have to take a step back from everything and just try to enjoy the little things. Focusing on small stuff helps keep the big stuff more manageable. In the past year I’ve come a ways in terms of being able to recognize when I need to do this instead of keeping pushing through which inevitably leads to either becoming burnt out and/or increased anxiety/panic attacks.

IMG_1226

Enjoying the little things – favorite space in my bedroom – lilacs, star dish with sea shells and tea bag quotes, a few pictures, my globe (in the back), and a card a dear friend gave me.

IMG_1228

Close up. Oh hey Panda 🙂

SO what have I been up to in my week off from school? A whole lot of nothing. I’ve worked pretty minimally, enjoyed the sunshine and warm temps, spent time with friends, and given myself space to prepare for the hefty load of classes in my near future (tomorrow!).

IMG_1235

Sports psychology/mindset reading

IMG_1233

I biked and she ran 🙂

I think that while I still deal with anxiety on a regular basis I’m much more accepting of it and I understand it better than I ever have. Taking time to just be and really pursue the things which light my soul on fire have been absolutely essential to my mental health. That and forcing myself to do things which while sometimes uncomfortable are only going to help me grow. I believe that there is a difference between doing things which are uncomfortable but promote growth versus things which are just not good for our personal needs (e.g online vs. in-class courses). I believe understanding where to draw the line for yourself and prioritizing this is the base of the pyramid in terms of self-care.

Prioritizing is knowing what you stand for. What are your goals? What makes you tick? What are you willing to put up with, sacrifice, leave behind, etc. etc. Learn to maximize everything that will help get you to your end goal. Look at the end goal and determine what needs to happen to get from now –> then. Focus on that stuff.

“Keeping your body healthy is an expression of gratitude to the whole cosmos — the trees, the clotuds, everything.” ― Thich Nhat Hanh

Why I love running & WHAT is my college major?!

Hi all! Happy Friday Smile I’m really excited that it’s almost the weekend, mainly because I’m heading off for a hike on Saturday with a friend who I met via social media (how cool is this community of people?!) and Sunday is a run day!

In my last post I talked about how I changed my major, but didn’t get into the nitty-gritty details… read: what I changed to. Since starting I’ve been Neuroscience, and I’m now a senior, on the five-year plan. The five-year plan is extremely common at my school, especially as a transfer from community college. Focus Sarah, focus… anyways, my major is now psychology. This was a hard pill to swallow at first. Mainly my ego was extremely against this because the two majors are very similar (same department) yet so different. I felt that neuroscience was “harder” because it sounded intense. That is point blank one of the worst decisions to stay in a major… because it sounds more appealing to your ego.

tumblr_oayud52nZq1snhjb1o1_500

IMG_0232 (1)

Descending Mt. Hancock

IMG_2873

I have loved my psychology courses at this point. Don’t get me wrong I’ve also loved most of my science coursework – genetics, anatomy & physiology, and biology. I did well in chemistry but the lab gave me anxiety. This SHOULD have been my “aha moment” that something just wasn’t right for me, but that didn’t happen, and to be honest that’s ok. I enjoy the lecture portion of science courses, but feel very uncomfortable in a lab. I’m not sure why, it’s just not my niche. Besides that, the neuro curriculum is very great for pre-med/vet/phd, which for forever was my plan. I thought I wanted to pursue medicine. It seemed like a great fit – I want to help people, I’m very interested in disease processes and holistic health, I am good at school, and I get along with people well. Great. I’ll graduate, go to medical school, become a doctor, and work in healthcare. Ok ok ok, I can do this… this is the plan… no detours aloud.

It didn’t feel right.

I’m not sure what the “plan” is, and quite frankly I don’t think I need to know what the plan is. I think being accepting of not knowing is the best place I can be in right now. I’m open to what happens. Sure, I am anxious, very anxious, but what is meant to happen will happen and I am focusing on that. I’m going with the fact that I enjoy psych coursework, understand it, and can use it in a wide variety of ways post-grad. I’m also super happy that I was able to take courses such as behavioral neuroscience and drugs and behavior for neuroscience which also count for the psych degree, and allowed me to really understand the physiological mechanisms in the brain.

16265953_10154901820302170_6361917723799212966_n

Just call me the bird whisperer

16143344_10154898811022170_2962420355156975893_n

A quote I posted a while ago has really been speaking to me lately: “You must go on adventures to find out where you belong.” – Sue Fitzmaurice

Yes yes yes. This is so true, at least for me. Experience has been the best teacher. Experience has allowed me to be accepting, vulnerable, open, and thoughtful. Here I am mainly talking about recent experiences which have opened my eyes to what else exists in the world besides the goals I’ve had my mind so intensely set on achieving, and therefore limiting my perception of the bigger picture. I’ve processed A LOT in the past six months. I’ve cried, journaled, questioned, experienced a plethora of emotions AND felt them versus shoving them down and away into a deep dark hidden black hole. I want to understand my dreams, not just on a superficial level, but on the deepest level possible. I am working to understand what motivates me and sets me on fire instead of what enlightens my ego.

This is where hiking, running, and fitness come into play. For years I have considered the gym to be a part of me, but more in a sense of my place to unleash my energy, not a place to explore my life purpose. I used to be very involved in the outdoors. I also used to run a lot. Both of these, outdoors and running, have made minimal appearances in my life up until last summer. Sure I’ve been in the gym lifting and taking some group fitness classes but not much else. I felt very in shape but missing connection. Since getting back into being outdoors, mainly with hiking, and adding running into my mix, I have felt more alive than I have in years and quite possibly… ever.

282B7612-D0EB-4FD8-8633-8B1863963156

92760412-2760-4F15-9227-6F7FCEAA8BA0 (1)

Mt. Jackson. Winter wonderland.

I truly believe that things come and go as we need them. I got myself back into hiking and running for a reason – clarity and understanding, The two activities for me are not just a form of fitness but a form of being true to myself and are activities which set my soul on fire. I’ve talked about hiking on the blog before so right now I’m going to focus on running. I was a sophomore in high school when I first started running, and to be completely honest, at that point I didn’t love it, I did it as a means to work out more and it was a coping mechanism entirely intertwined with my eating disorder. Fast forward to graduation and I found myself training for my first Spartan Race and excited about the experience yet still very stuck in my head. After playing around with racing for a few years I ended up dealing with a considerable injury which sent me over the deep end with where I was mentally. Since this time I haven’t run much. Sure, I would do a mile or two here and there but nothing beyond that. After getting back into hiking and being outdoors over the summer, I began running again. In the beginning it was slow and low mileage, to test the waters and make sure I was adding it for the “right reasons” as I’m now much more aware of when I’m doing things which are maladaptive coping mechanisms.

In the past couple of months running again feels entirely different that it did when I began in high school. It’s freeing, therapeutic, enlightening, and bliss. I love it. I can’t even explain it. It’s like the feeling I had before my first Spartan but without being in my head. It gets me out of my head and helps me process, kind of like hiking does. It feels good, but most importantly, I feel good. Right now I am enjoying the process of getting back into running and allowing myself the space I need to understand why this activity is becoming more and more a part of my life again – but with positive attributes instead of negative ones. I think that all along I’ve been an “endurance junkie” (I mean look at my past life aka childhood with competing in jump-rope) but have never understood the meaning behind it and therefore it was never something beneficial towards my growth as a person. I’m now understanding this side of me more, and I’m very very open to exploring this part of my life which I closed myself off from for so many years. Another point I will add is how both hiking and running increased my ability to step back and look at my education as a big picture versus being hyper-focused on my ego’s goals. These two things have given me the space to find my thoughts.

For me, running is clarity, therapy, adventure, and a challenge. It allows me to push my physical limits and also helps me grow into a space where I feel the most “true to myself”.

“All great changes are preceded by chaos.” – Deepak Chopra

Pursue the dream that YOU see

Hi guys! I’m popping by today to say hello, post some pictures from fall and winter hikes, share a couple recent favorite quotes, and give a minor school and life update. I’ve missed posting on the blog. I haven’t felt the motivation to do so, I’ve considered writing something up but nothing felt genuine. I haven’t been sure of my current path, where I’m headed, and needed to take space for myself to determine where I want to head.

14344698_10154480082377170_318193134849513609_n

Mt. Isolation on a stormy day

It’s January 24th! What does that mean? It’s the first day of classes for the spring semester… except they were cancelled today due to a darling snowstorm. You know when the first day back is a snow day that it’s going to be a good semester Winking smile School updates are an interesting bunch and I am keeping it simple (for now). I’m changing majors, and no I’m not mentioning to what in this post. This has been an on and off thought for a long while now. Don’t get me wrong, I love neuroscience. It’s cool. I understand it. I’m good at it. Those three things however don’t cut it, at least not for me. I don’t feel as though I’m becoming prepared to enter the real world. I feel like a good student. Something is missing, classes feel off, my mind doesn’t ever stop wondering what else is out there. If there is one thing I know about myself from an educational perspective, it’s that I’m a lifelong learner. I believe that experience is the best form of education. Only though trial can one truly truly learn how to both interpret material but also execute the learned material. There’s input and there’s output.

15094248_10154674991257170_2723037204844009442_n

View from Wildcat A peak

“It is your thoughts and your thoughts alone that determine what’s possible for you now.” – Marianne Williamson

One point I will mention is how aware I’ve become of my feelings. Aware and accepting of. Over the past several months I’ve noticed a shift in mindset. I still overthink on a regular basis, but I let less stresses wear down on me. The way I approach stress has been from a different angle. Instead of trying to shove it down a hole and cover it with hobbies, life, and miscellaneous tasks… I’ve been working through it by doing the things which set my soul on fire and feeling my feelings in the process of these activities. Stressed about my major, jobs, career and life aspirations, needing extra quick cash, my inner demons… I ponder it hiking, snowboarding, running. I think through the stress while I’m in my least overwhelmed state and things almost automatically seem “less bad”. I have more control, more awareness, and more clarity or the situation at hand.

15230717_10154712866707170_2518532898641311685_n

Mt. Tecumseh summit

“Great people do things before they’re ready. They do things before they know they can do it. Doing what you’re afraid of, getting out of your comfort zone, taking risks like that- that’s what life is. You might be really good. You might find out something about yourself that’s really special and if you’re not good, who cares? You tried something. Now you know something about yourself.” – Amy Poehler

I’m learning to trust my instincts. I’m learning to simplify things, keep my problems as straight forward as possible, work with the negatives and the positives simultaneously, and keep moving in the direction that I want to be moving towards.

15095615_10154674990617170_5149018392526724535_n

The Wildcats

“There is a voice inside of you
that whispers all day long,
‘I feel that this is right for me,
I know that this is wrong.’
No teacher, preacher, parent, friend
or wise man can decide
what’s right for you – just listen to
the voice that speaks inside.” – Shel Silverstein

16143185_10154898810932170_8051511550516187488_n

Summit of South Hancock

I’ve always been the person to keep adding more and more things. Adding to the point of feeling as though I’m a hamster running around it’s wheel, locked inside of a cage. I’m great at saying “yes”, both to things which serve me and are supportive to my life and at things that either don’t support me or are simply too much. Multitasking is another skill, however almost to a detriment because I keep feeling that it’s leading to me being productive in the sense of quantity but not quality. Letting go of things is something I’m not as skilled at. Letting go of “extra baggage” is crucial for growth. Letting go of negative behaviors, toxic relationships, things which no longer serve a purpose = essential for moving forward. I’m tired of feeling like I need to escape my life. I want to feel the strongest feelings in my life and be okay with them, cherish them, process them, and keep going. I’m working to grow myself into a place where I constantly want to be present in my life.

“The future belongs to those who learn more skills and combine them in creative ways.” – Robert Greene

That fitness thing

Hey guys! Happy Tuesday. When it’s Tuesday, I don’t workout Winking smile I’m actually being serious though. I’ve talked before about my gym routine and even given some examples of at home workouts. Today I want to talk about what I’m currently doing, which although fairly similar in structure to 2014’s post, there have been some changes and also about two years since I’ve talked about this with you guys. I can’t explain how often I get the question from friends, other bloggers, and readers… what do you actually do at the gym? I’m here today to begin answering that.

Before I lay it all on the table I want to quickly point out that I’m thinking about making this blog a bit more fitness, workout, lifestyle oriented. Just a thought. Everything from workouts (weekly workouts?), supplements (another super common question), what I learned in my sports nutrition course, gym clothing reviews, mobility, daily eats and snax, mental health and self care. These are all topics I’m super passionate about, so naturally I want to delve into them more. It will give me some direction to head in with future posts especially seeing that school is done until the end of August, I no longer work weekends, and have more free-time on my hands.

IMG_6288

Cool? cool.

So my workouts… The general outline is 5 weeks “on” and 1 week “off”. On meaning I’m pushing it, off meaning I do a deload week. During my “on” weeks though I do 1 active recovery day and one full off day. Deload weeks I will lift 40-60% of my usual weights and cut the length of my lifting sessions by about half by taking out some accessory work. I also take out metabolic conditioning workouts for this week to let my body completely restore and replenish itself. You can read more about deloading here if you’re interested. This general outline seems to work super well for me though as I have energy to get through the five weeks, feel refreshed after my deload week, am gaining both strength and endurance, and haven’t been injured since 2012 (knock on ALL the wood).

I’m not going to get super specific in this post because it would be way too detailed, rather I’m just showing an outline of what a 6 week cycle looks like and I’ll get into more of WHAT I do in following posts!

Typical week

Monday: morning lifting + evening conditioning (1 hr – kickboxing) I freaking hate the word “cardio” haha so I use conditioning instead because #IdowhatIwant

Tuesday: active recovery day OR full off day (whichever option I choose here, I’ll do the other on Friday – I choose full off day or active recovery depending on my soreness level and how busy I am on the particular day).

**Note: Active recovery = something like a yoga class, or a short and slow “run” aka casual jog (1-2 miles @ 12-13 pace). Whereas full off day = I do nothing other than typical daily living.**

Wednesday: morning lifting and metabolic conditioning (10-20 minutes high intensity) (CrossFit terminology: “metcon”)

Thursday: evening conditioning (1 hr – kickboxing)

Friday: active recovery day OR full off day

Saturday: morning lifting

Sunday: morning lifting and metabolic conditioning (20-30 minutes high intensity)

IMG_6350

Playground.

Another common question that I’ll answer in this post is “do you do CrossFit?”… Put simply, no. I don’t workout at a CrossFit gym so I try to avoid confusing people and answer no. That being said, the gym I go to has a huge weight room and then a turf area (pictured above) with things like a rower, ski erg, slam balls, medicine balls, a plethora of kettlebells, boxes, tires, ropes, a Rogue rig (not pictured), gymnastics rings, ect. The metabolic conditioning workouts I do are either taken from Crossfit Invictus, made up by me but are things that would also be seen in a CrossFit gym, or taken from Instagram (because lets be honest, people post some good workouts on the gram’).

One thing is for sure though, double unders make it into just about every single workout I do because I love them and am completely biased towards the sport of jump rope.

IMG_6543

Weighted pull ups are another favorite. Mainly because I get to #dickaround Winking smile So there’s that for your Tuesday entertainment.

Like I said, I’ll get into more specifics in following posts, so like what my lifts consist of and a few examples of metabolic conditioning workouts. I’m thinking a weekly workout post idea could be of one of my metcon workouts from the week because those change each week whereas lifting is essentially the same week to week so that would be as boring as boring can be for you guys to read and therefore nobody would read. Kapeesh?

Questions: what are you favorite things to put into a workout (mine being double unders and pull ups)? Do you take a deload week/rest days?

“We often want it so badly that we ruin it before it begins. Overthinking. Fantasizing. Imagining. Expecting. Worrying. Doubting. Just let it naturally evolve.” – Anonymous

Pursue YOU

Hi all! Gosh it felt good to finally get something up last week after being on a complete hiatus this semester.

New tunes: tune in while you read. See what I did there? Winking smile

I know I usually (read: always) end my posts with quotes, but today I’m starting with one because it totally ties into all the stuff I’m about to lay on the table.

“NOTHING KILLS YOU LIKE YOUR MIND.”

Well, that’s bold and abrupt. But so f**king spot on. I saw a quote somewhere recently (probably Instagram, lets be honest) and it said: my brain has too many tabs open. THIS. I try to do all the possible things full speed and get myself into so much trouble. Anything and everything that I’m remotely interested in I will try to make something of it. This is both a fun and destructive way to live. I’m terrible at saying “NO” because I think I’m super woman. I’m definitely getting better but I’m stubborn and try to be two-three people on a regular basis. It’s a work in progress. I know I need to cut myself some slack because I’ve cut a bunch of extra baggage from my life in the past year which didn’t belong anymore and this shows progress which I’m happy to recognize.

IMG_6058

When Kombucha bottle words always nail it

I can’t help but feel lately that I’m going after the wrong goals. What? Wrong goals? I *should* say things that are beneficial but not entirely my calling. I found this list of 100 questions to ask yourself on Mind Body Green and wanted to share a few + my answers here.

What lessons am I learning right now? I am learning to honor my body – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually even more. I am learning that although I feel like I should have my life figured out it’s not necessary or typical. I’m 22 not 42, even then, things change, life changes directions. What is stable one day might not be a week later. Life is dynamic and fluid not static.

What expectations am I willing to release? I need to release the expectation that when I make a plan of attack it will go my way… always. This isn’t possible. LIFE happens. Like I said above, it’s fluid. Life ebbs and flows, ups and downs. I like to have a plan and that is ok. However, I need to be ok with it changing. Goals evolve.

In what ways can I be kinder to myself? I need to let go of expecting myself to be able to do it all because this is the thing which is undoubtedly driving me off of the deep end. It’s been all or nothing in each part of my life since I can remember, always saying yes, always going full-in or not going in at all. I need to learn to be ok with the unknown and in-between.

What in my life am I forcing? being a full-fledged science person. This is confusing, complicated, and messy. I’m going to try and explain: I love science. I love learning about new findings, research, medical approaches, holistic medicine. Reading articles on epigenetics or the newest finding on how x chemical affects x hormone is REALLY FUN for me. Listening to podcasts on autoimmunity, the microbiome, or synthesis of vitamins. This stuff utterly excites me. I love the learning and findings but am not so thrilled with being the finder. Does that make sense?!? I like interpreting and understanding. I want to be able to apply this to my career and future life. I don’t want to be the “finder” per say, rather a healer, guide, interpreter.

Where have I been playing it safe? in the gym. I want to compete again. Rather, I want to pursue what lights me on fire more than anything else in the world (yep, even more than reading microbiome articles). I’ll get into this more next time but there will be some changes around here, kids. Expect that. Smile

IMG_6037

“Find a way to block out all the noise around you, create a tunnel and dig.”

You know what you are capable of. Trust that.

OH HEY. Summer plans + where I’ve been

Hi kids! Holy crap I haven’t blogged since the beginning of the semester – nuts. Well, here goes nothing (lies, here goes a lot of updates… but that isn’t how the phrase goes Winking smile). What have I been up to? All the things. I can’t even say it’s been a “calm” or “simple” semester. I’m pretty sure the summer won’t fall close to that either.

This semester: it’s been a long haul. I took four classes and will be done May 13th for all of ten days (wahoooo)! I joined a genetics/genomics lab and am loving the work being done plus understand it which is super helpful. I received funding for a summer fellowship at my university for a research project in the lab. I quit my job of over 4.5 years because 1. it was a 25 minute drive each direction, 2. there wasn’t much room for advancement / leadership responsibilities, 3. I was a barista which isn’t very useful in comparison to other opportunities in terms of skill development for work/grad school, 4. a bunch of other stuff. I got a new job… more on that later. I wrote down a list of all things on my plate (finally) and prioritized the shit out of it. Literally did this on Friday so there’s that. Keep you posted on how this all goes. I also read my last post and told myself to listen to my own advice.

IMG_5967

I had a few really rough weeks (like the entire month of April) but have thankfully re-attached my head to my shoulders and things seem to be looking in the right direction. My path is definitely not going according to plan or ideal  like I had hoped but let’s be honest most things rarely go as planned and taking the long, winding, sometimes painful road is usually more fun in the end and ultimately means more because it’s life. I’ve been hitting a ceiling more often than I’d like to admit with my anxiety and I think it has a lot to do with not knowing where my priorities really are (hence the list making mentioned above). Or knowing them but not giving them attention. I’m stubborn and want to give 100% to everything. A few years ago a friend gave me a wonderful tidbit of advice: you can give 100% to one thing, after that everything is subtracted from 100%. I made my list and I know what has 100% and what only has a fraction of that. Doesn’t mean I won’t still be stubborn though Winking smile

IMG_5914

Looking at summer: I’ll be taking classes which aren’t entirely set in stone yet. I know I’m taking sports nutrition so I’m super beyond pumped for that. Hopefully the class will help me get more jacked. Kidding. Well not really to be honest. I’ll be in the lab a bunch working on my research project which is looking at the HPG (hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal) axis and it’s relation to parental behaviors with stress responses. It’s neat and super important stuff. I also get to geek out a bit. Other than class and lab I’ll be working some and living in the gym trying to get jacked. See I wasn’t kidding. No I’ll be in the gym trying like heck to get as strong as possible, work mobility and stability and lifting mechanics and develop a wider conditioning base.

IMG_5972

That’s about all I’ve got for this little blog space today but I’ll be back next week. But first to leave you with a quote like always… cliché but true.

“It’s time to start living the life you’ve imagined.” – Henry James

Life ramblings // fitness + nutrition talk

Hi all! Last week I left you off with how I was going to be testing out one rep max lifts – those went well. I ended up doing more of a three rep max and then calculating from there. With so many resources for online calculation of a one rep max from a lower percentage it’s so simple and much less taxing on the body. I’m not a big fan of 1RM’s just because of how much stress they put on your central nervous system. I think in a competition setting that is another story, but for me I’m just using that number to base my lifts at 80-90% off of so it’s not as big of a concern.

I’m doing a new lifting program which has me lifting heavier first and then moving to a lighter but still moderately heavy weight for the latter sets. I’ve always done more of a loading style in the other direction but have been finding myself warn out by the time I reach my heavy sets that either I struggle to get through them, my recovery blows, and/or my form goes out the window which makes me crazy. I’m really excited to see how this new set up goes and I’ll keep talking about this on the blog as well as it’s entirely new to me.

11049414_1550997555151873_1948866388_n

Insert random bicep picture because my face is absolutely priceless.

Another change I’ve been working on is figuring out what is going on with my digestive system. Yep, we are going to have that talk. Right here, right now. I’ve had GI issues pretty much since I can remember (circa age 5ish). My development and struggle with an eating disorder definitely exacerbated those problems and they have been worse ever since I started recovery and even with being in remission. It’s definitely frustrating because all my doctors kept saying that I would feel so much better as time grew between where I am now and my ED, so as to say the longer I stayed in a good, solid, healthy place. Also that things would improve once I got my period back, which happened two years ago this month (yahoooooo) and is a topic for another day because who doesn’t want an entire post on how to get your period back?! Exciting stuff I tell you. That hasn’t been the case so far though. I’ve talked briefly about this on the blog but I want to get a little more into it.

Recently with an increase in my time in the gym both lifting and doing other things such as running, kickboxing, jump rope, and of course… yoga for balance – I’ve been eating more which is fine and totally good and healthy BUT my gut symptoms have also increased. I’m finding that I do better with more dense food (read: higher calorie) vs less dense because I’m able to get in the nutrients without the bulk. I also have been following a “paleo-ish” approach for about two years now which for a while I did feel better, and I do still feel better than I did when I was a vegetarian and eating things like beans and more fiber-rich foods (don’t get me wrong I still love my veggies), but I’m wanting to experiment a little more in depth.11379149_462226437273669_947037059_n

Case in point on the vegetable lovin’:

Chicken + spring mix + onion + zucchini + sweet potato + tessamae’s (so good).

I think experimenting with our bodies on basic levels such as fitness and nutrition are really important for optimal living because it allows us to question things/habits that we partake in on a regular basis and see what is actually working and what can go out the window. Of course I believe in the motto if it’s not broken don’t fix it, but to be honest my gut has been broken for a while now and it’s time to actually get my act together and fix it. One really big motivator for me here is that my father has Crohn’s disease and seeing him struggle makes me that much more determined to figure out what is not sitting well with my body because I have that ability and am otherwise fairly healthy.

With that being said though I’m not a huge fan of promoting elimination style protocols unless completely necessary and ESPECAILLY hesitant in individuals who have a history of eating concerns because it can be highly triggering. I personally even don’t want to have to focus this much attention onto food but I want to feel good so I’m working with it. On the other hand though I’m in a really good place in terms of my recovery so I’m not concerned about going to a place that would be dangerous if I weren’t as solid. That is definitely an individual thing and something that I felt I really wanted to touch on quickly because it’s important.

I have the unique opportunity to work with an RD through school and because I’m a student it’s covered (by way of mandatory fees of course) which is amazing and I’m super thankful for that. I know a lot about testing my body for what works but clearly not enough because I haven’t figured it out yet! It’s nice to have another brain to pick for information and ask endless questions.

For now I’m actually just changing around things more based off of what I think could be causing problems versus a more “strict” elimination style protocol because I have some inklings of what could be causing problems. One thing I’ve noticed is that my energy is a lot lower lately and my recovery from workouts is also sub-par so I’m initially starting by thinking about what specifically could be causing that because obviously my digestion would be all over the place with those issues alone. I hope that makes sense? I’m starting my adding in more carbohydrate sources and reducing my selection of healthy fats because I’m pretty sure avocados and me don’t agree. I also think that nut butter is a bit of an issue and I’ve noticed I feel sick after eating it straight, so like a spoonful of almond butter ect.

12106210_887741871302531_1541972469_n

More carbohydrates =

Oatmeal + banana slices + raw honey + sprinkle of chia + spices!

I’ll keep some updates on what I’m finding to work and not work coming but I want to remind you guys who might be reading this with GI issues that every body is different and is unique in it’s requirements and what foods are digested the best to have an optimally functioning digestive system. Don’t copy what I’m eating unless it’s out of ‘oh hey that looks good (which I totally hope it does haha) I want to try that’. Don’t do it expecting to make yourself feel better, perhaps it might, but perhaps it won’t because what works for me might not work for you. Embrace your uniqueness. That is definitely what I keep having to tell myself because this is a really long process. Do what you can with what you have.

 

“Don’t think about what can happen in a month. Don’t think about what can happen in a year. Just focus on the 24 hours in front of you and do what you can to get closer to where you want to be.” – Eric Thomas