Wednesday, January 11, 2017

On Not Caring What Others Think At the Gym....

I've always been intimidated at the gym...the scale of that intimidation falls from highly to slightly depending on where I am fitness or motivation wise.  I was not an athletic girl in middle and high school.  I loved science and reading and music.  Most of my exercise was in marching band.  I was on the track team once, but only joined because of a cute boy and since I couldn't run well, I was put on shot put, an event I came in dead last in our regional meet. 

Needless to say, I wasn't a jock.  While I was a highly active child, string bean thin, riding bikes and playing outside, once I hit puberty, which coincided with my best friend moving away and the death of my grandmother, I put on quite a bit of weight and have been overweight to varying degrees my whole life.  Even when I was in the Army National Guard, I wasn't highly excited about fitness.  I hated running and, admittedly, didn't put in the work to be optimal.  When I got out in 2003, I even said, "The only time I plan on ever running again is if I am being chanced by a dinosaur!"

Sometime in 2013, when I was trying to get back in the Air National Guard and after my enlistment, I started to get pretty excited about fitness.  I think it had something to do with the fact that there were many on this base that took it pretty seriously.  Many were in cross fit, scoring "Excellent" on their Fitness Assessments.  Their attitude was infectious...but I preferred running because I was by myself, at my own pace.  Being in the gym with all those cross fit enthusiasts wasn't very motivating to me.

2014, however, saw my chondrosarcoma diagnosis and subsequent surgery.  If I was intimidated before, it was through the roof when I was cleared to work out again.  For one, I couldn't walk fast, much less run, because I still had a residual nerve damage that caused a transient foot drop (this eventually resolved itself mostly) when I tried to walk fast or run and my floppy foot would trip me up.  In the gym, after doing leg work to build up my right leg, which had atrophied, I would have to grab a hold of something to get myself off of the floor, or limped off the machines.  I let it get to my head and discourage me because I was comparing myself to people.  People who had been working hard and killing it longer than me and people who didn't have to come back from a major bone resection and muscles reattached in ways that still boggle my mind (my orthopedic oncologist, Dr. Timothy Damron, is a rock star).

This defeatist attitude allowed me to stay away from the gym and put on more weight. In 2017, I don't plan on letting it get to me anymore.  Something in my mind is finally clear of all that nonsense.  I walk right up to cables, regardless of the swole bros and gals (I say that respectfully), and get to work, even if that means I'm using light weights or my leg gets wobbly.  I hit the bench press even if I am only pressing 65lbs.  I walk on the treadmill regardless of whether my weak leg makes me walk heavy like Frankenstein's monster or makes me drift like I'm taking a sobriety test. The way I see it, I have just as much right to be there as anyone and I will not slink back into the shadows.

I say this because there are many people who avoid the gym.  You might feel like you are being judged or made fun of. Hell, maybe, in the past, you WERE judged or made fun of.  Maybe you compare yourselves to others.  Maybe you have a significant amount of weight to lose or, like some of my fellow CS survivors, have physical disabilities, or not familiar with the equipment.  We need to stop caring what others think.  We need to own our fitness and not let this intimidation bring us down.  We need to say, "F**k it!" and walk into the gym like a boss, like a bad ass, like a warrior.

Let's do this!!!

Monday, January 9, 2017

How motivation comes at the best times....

This weekend was an odd weekend.  I had drill, was pretty draggy, my residual nerve damage in my right leg from my CS surgery flared up....and I found out that an uncle of mine died of cancer.  I wish I could say we were close, but I did have fond memories of him and it saddened me, especially since I didn't find out until after his funeral.  Last night I soaked in my Epsom salt bath with lavender and jasmine oil and let it soothe my damaged leg and pained heart.  The bath helped, as did a much needed early bedtime, and I was ready to get back to it this morning. 

I only occasionally have nerve issues with my leg, but when it hits, it's like a reminder of my cancer diagnosis and my altered state of physical being.  I knew that my morning workout was going to have to be easier, even though I wanted to push harder, so it discouraged me. 

Our base gym has two televisions.  Most of the time it's on two channels, Fox News (which I mainly ignore) and ESPN.  So, I'm on the treadmill and this commercial comes on. 

I'm very familiar with Jim Valvano and his awesome 1993 ESPY speech. I've watched it more times than I can remember.  This commercial for the Jimmy V Foundation really got to me and that's without even hearing the audio.  My cancer fight was pretty simple.  I had surgery, I healed, I go to my scans, but it was still a fight.  It wasn't like the people here in this commercial, but I know what it's like to overcome the news and everything afterwards.  It reminded me that I was a fighter and to not give up. 

After that commercial, I upped my speed and incline and instead of lamenting that my fellow Airmen in the gym were running and squatting heavy, two things that are hard for me, I remembered that I am in no competition with them, nor does it matter if I can keep up....I'm coming back from my own battle, one they do not know or cannot understand unless they go through it.  

Hope and perseverance are things you have to have to live a life after a cancer diagnosis.  There are stretches of time where I don't even think about it.  I don't fear it like I used to, but I also know the possibility of a scan coming back questionable.  I know my life can turn on a dime.  Those with cancer that have to fight so much harder than I ever did have my utmost respect because even in their darkest times, they continue to motivate and inspire.  Life is a fragile thing so live it out loud as best as you can.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Happy Anniversary, my love!!

Today, my sweetie (Cafe Racer) and I are celebrating our third anniversary!!  He's my rock, the sweetest guy I've ever know.  He has seen me at my best and at my worst.  He saw me through cancer, through times of self-doubt, and always encouraged me to follow my dreams.

Happy Anniversary, my sweet man!!  I am thrilled that you are my partner in crime in this crazy trip called Life!!

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Sunday, January 1, 2017

Four Ingredient Paleo Pancakes and Adding New Exercises to Workouts

Happy first day of 2017! It is page 1 of 365 opportunities to make this year awesome!  Last night, the hubby and I didn't partake in the usual frivolities that normally happen on New Years Eve. We do nerd life here, so it was an evening of watching "The Return of the Jedi" and "The Force Awakens".  It didn't, however, stop us from morning snuggles in our nice warm bed until 10:30 am.  Yes, I's known that on the same sleep schedule on the weekend as during the week is best, but I'm not getting up at 4:45 am on a long holiday weekend.  To me, one of life's simple joys is a bed of fluffy pillows and quilts on a cold day, so it was a later start for us.

We're trying to clean up our diets, so we've been researching different eating plans.  Paleo has piqued my interest because it's close to how we eat here anyway.  This morning I decided to start our day with Paleo Pancakes.  I got a recipe off of Pinterest, tweaked it a little, and have used it quite a few times.

The basic recipe is 1 mashed banana, two eggs, vanilla, and spices. I was making enough for two so I doubled it.  The original recipe called for cinnamon, but I used pumpkin spice because I like to pumpkin spice ALL THE THINGS.  Use as little or as much vanilla and spices as you like.  This will make a thin, crepe like batter so if you want to thicken up, I suggest a little bit coconut flour to thicken it up.  I cooked these up in coconut oil and, voila!! Dress these anyway you wish...fruit, pure maple syrup, peanut butter (I know not paleo, so use moderation), anyway that suits your fancy.  These were wonderful fuel for our workout.

I'm a big fan on changing things up when working out.  I get bored easy and that is usually my downfall.  This is why I not only utilize my local gym, but have a home gym with all kinds of goodies like medicine balls, swiss balls, a mini trampoline, barbells, and workout tapes. Sometimes I'll just pipe music in my ears and dance my ass off, or put on my training gloves and hit our freestanding punching bag.  The important thing is that you move.  

Today we did lower body, an area I focus on frequently because since my CS surgery, I deal with a slight atrophy in my right leg that I want to keep at bay.  I had been seeing two particular cable exercises on Instagram that I wanted to try; the Cable Squat and the Cable Pull Through. Both seem popular for two they really work the legs and glutes, and two, if you position your camera right, you get a good ass shot.  I was shooting for reason number one and once I got the hang of them, they quickly became my new favorite exercise. I found some photos off of the Internet to show the movements because there was no way in hell I was taking a photo of me doing them.  Trust me though, readers, I did them.

Weighted cable jump squats! The FULL glute workout is on bowmar fitness YouTube! Head over there to watch and subscribe! - This version of jump squats is much safer than with a dumbbell or a barbell (if you're looking to perform the movement). Exercises like this will not only develop your glutes but also aid in becoming a better athlete. I did 3 rounds to failure - FULL WORKOUT: bowmar fitness YouTube  Snapchat: sarahbowmar Twitter: sarahbowmar_ Email: Membership web...:
Cable Squat - photo from Instagram (Sarah Bowmar)

Cable Pull Through
Cable Pull Throughs

Please remember to stay within your limits.  I can see a move in Instagram and want to go beast mode with it, but I have to remember to take it easy.  For example, because of my leg was reworked after the surgery, one legged dead lifts and half moon yoga poses are a problem, because, quite simply, my leg does want to go that route anymore.  Just be careful, but have fun with fitness!

New Year, New Beginnings, New Mind Set

Happy New Year, Everyone!!  My last couple of posts have been eluding to the commitment my husband and I are making towards a healthier lifestyle and how we want to share that with others to motivate, inspire, and encourage.  Keep in mind, neither one of us are in the medical field, neither of us are even personal trainers or fitness coaches.  What we are is a middle aged couple, that both work desk jobs, and live the lives of ordinary people.  What we hope to accomplish is living our best life, to be fit, to eat the right healthy foods, and to live our dreams.

So what will this blog contain? It will show how ordinary people can do extraordinary things, that no matter who you are or how old you may be, that you can transform.  Yes, the work is hard, mentally and physically, and it doesn't stop when the goal weight or the 5K is done, it has to be a lifestyle change.  There will be ups and downs, good days and bad days, successes and fallbacks...that's life, but isn't it worth it to life your best life?

Here's to an awesome 2017 all!! May it be your best ever!

Monday, December 26, 2016

Stop Quitting!

175 pounds.  That is what I saw today when I stepped on the scale.  Now because I embrace that you should respect and love the body that you are in, I didn’t go to my old habits of hating myself, putting myself down, and belittling myself.  I do, however, have to accept the fact that I am now the heaviest I’ve ever been, not being pregnant.  When you find yourself as heavy as you were when you were brewing a human being, you need to get real and see that as a sign.  I don’t look in the mirror and hate myself, but I know that I am not as healthy as I should be.  Last week, I couldn’t button the top button on my uniform, which is totally unacceptable as a member of the military.  I need to get serious.

Most of my life, I have not finished what I started and most of my life I have held onto more weight than I should.  One time, a few years back, I lost the weight and felt great, but then slipped back into habits of not exercising and eating the wrong things….and then my cancer surgery threw me for a loop and although I tried to be that bad ass cancer warrior, it took a toll on me mentally and physically.  I don’t want my life to continue to be unfinished projects and business.  I want to see that I can do if I don’t quit.  I want to see what I can do when I quit telling myself I can’t.

So, let’s see what I can do…….

Sunday, December 11, 2016

New Beginnings and Getting Serious!

In the recent few weeks, my husband and I have been talking about the type of life we want the rest of our lives to be.  With him being 50 and I just turning 44 last month, I am sure it's a conversation that many couples at this age, especially couples who have grown children, have.  Three of the concrete things that came out of these conversations that we both agreed on are as follows:

1) We want to be healthier because there are many things we want to do.  We want to travel, we want to be active, we want to be able to still do things in our later years with our future grandchildren.  Simply put, we don't want to simply exist, we want to live fully.

2) To be healthy, we have to make some changes....spiritually, mentally, physically.  That means we have to change the way we eat, we need to exercise more, we need to chill and be serious about self care, we need to nurture our souls as well as our bodies.

3) Continue to build on our solid foundation and create an atmosphere of love and caring,  To build a loving home.

These conversations came about because of a few rough past couple of years.  I had a cancer diagnosis, as well as having a job that caused me lots of stress.  Thankfully, I can say I'm two and a half years cancer free and I have recently left that stressful job, so it was like a weight had been lifted off of me.  I'm not bringing home my work madness anymore and we thought it was time to move forward.

I've decided to use this blog to chronicle our adventures as a couple, as a family, and people trying to experience the very best of life.  So here goes....

We started to get into the habit of meal prepping, but we always seemed to run out of food mid week so this time I went all out.  We find that meal prepping is essential for staying on track and it frees up A LOT of time during the week so a few hours in the kitchen is worth it to me.  Below is what I cooked up today. I absolutely love finding recipes on Pinterest.

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Clockwise from top left - Egg Muffins with onions, peppers, and spinach, Slow Cooker Moroccan Chicken with Sweet Potatoes, Roasted Garlic and Parmesan Summer Squash, and Harvest Vegetable Soup.

After all that work, I'm going to wind down with an Epsom Salt Bath and Lavender because you have to also chill and take care of your mental health.