Getting to the Core of it!

The Truth about Abs

        I have been trying to figure out what exactly my next blog post was going to be about. Bouncing ideas around the last few days, however none of them really stood out. Until yesterday. When the reality of the egotistical industry I work in hit me like a ton of bricks. I was taken back a bit, until I realized I was staring myself in the face.

        So, as we all know, school is about to end; for some of us, beach vacations are upon us, short shorts, crop tops, the choice between two piece or a one piece, sun kissed skin and sun bleached hair. There is one thing, that is seemingly on every one’s mind, and social media doesn’t let you forget…. ABS! Every morning as I sip my coffee and scroll through Facebook, my feed is flooded with 10 min AB challenge, or that magic pill or smoothie that will have your abs popping by dinner. Nonsense. Let me just start out by saying, there is no such pill, no such shake, no wraps, no specific workout that will produce AB’s in a short period of time. What will produce those results, are low body fat, good nutrition, and good genetics. The reason I decided to blog about this topic is due to the discussion I had with two brand new female clients the last two days. It literally blew my mind that both women… BOTH, literally said the exact same thing to me. They both said “I WILL DO ANYTHING FOR VISIBLE ABS!” WHAT?? 

          My first initial reaction was, is it that serious? Really? Anything? As I listened to both of these women talk about this goal they have of visible abs, I reazlied, this idea was coming from social media and not just  Facebook, twitter, etc. Just media in general. Fitness, has been sexualized, and women want to be desired. As mothers and wives, as we enter our 30s, 40s, we realize our youth is behind us, gravity has begun to take control of all things that once stood up right without the help of wonder bras, and double sided tape! We want to be tight and flawless. The media is quick to share photos and videos of fitness models and athletes who have 12 pack core, very little body fat, glimmering with sweat as they promote different supplements that will help the everyday joe schmoe get that desired chiseled look. What the media fails to show, and what most people fail to realize, those athletes spend, years of their lives, hours and hours of their days training, and training hard. They are meticulous about what they put in their bodies, supplement wise and nutrition wise. They are on strict nutrition programs, to make sure they are fueled properly for the energy they are expelling and the type of sport they are training for. They didn’t wake up one day and miraculously have that chiseled core and amazing athletic ability. They trained hard, they gave up things, they sacrificed.

                As I explained to these ladies, the work it was going to take to produce the results they wanted, I could tell that wasn’t what they wanted to hear. Based on the conversation, they thought they could keep up with their moderate 2x a week cardio sessions, neglect of the weight room, and lack of proper nutrition and basically just add some crunches and planks and achieve the desired look, by the end of the week. When I explained that while it was a good idea to train their core, for strength and in time, aesthetics, until their body fat came down, they wouldn’t have visible abdominal muscles. Their response… “So, the ab challenge on Facebook won’t give me abs?” Unless your body fat is already low, the answer is no!

                Thinking about this throughout the last few days, I realized…. that was me! At one point in my fitness journey, I was always doing those ab challenges, always wondering when they were going to pop through. It wasn’t until I got serious about my nutrition, that I realized, I really don’t care if I ever have a 6 pack. Having them meant I was going to have to be meticulous about my nutrition, almost all the time, to maintain.  This means, carefully choosing where I go out to eat, making sure what I eat fits into my daily macros, maintaining my workouts, skipping delicious foods at family functions, because there is literally no way to track those foods. It’s just not worth it to me. Would I like ABs? Sure, are they my priority? No. Will I celebrate the day I see one show through? MOST DEFINATLY! The celebration may possibly be with a cupcake…kidding…. not kidding. The point is, that look takes sacrifice, unless your one of those people who won the genetic lottery and have that carved, sculpted look without even trying, Abs take work and they take sacrifice. Continue reading Getting to the Core of it!

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I’M BACK! *UPDATE*

 

Phew!!!!  it’s been a while since I have blogged anything. It’s been a crazy crazy year. Where to begin? Let’s see, I stopped CrossFit and began strictly training for an Olympic Lifting meet. During this time, I was interning at our Barbell Club as an OLY coach. The hardest part wasnt the heavy lifting or all the food I had to consume…that was the fun part…the hard part was giving up cardio. I’m not going to lie, it was nice not having to run, or be out of breath, but it was difficult to exit that state of mind. During this time, my husband put in for a promotion, and was offered the job….in Louisiana, 9 hours away!!! So, ten days after accepting the position, we drove to La, found a home, drove back to TN, packed up all our stuff, drove back to La, moved into our new home, 3 days later, DROVE BACK to TN, competed in our Oly Meet, and then finally DROVE back to La, for good. There was so much driving, it was exhausting, physically and mentally. Despite all the chaos, the husband and I managed to place first place in our weight classes for our OLY meet. That was exciting and rewarding, I wasn’t optimistic going into the meet, so it was nice to reap the rewards of my hard work.

 

                Once we settled into our new home and new routine, my middle child started the new school year and I found a job. The local Wellness Center offered me a Part Time Personal Training position. In the beginning, it was just a way to meet new people and enjoy my love of fitness. However, its turned into so much more. I love love love the job and all my clients. I’ve made great friends and a handful of my clients who have been consistent have made tremendous progress. I really didn’t think things could get much better. Until my boss asked me if I was interested in becoming trained in house to become a regular Spin Instructor. WHAT?? I must admit, I was hesitant and nervous. It was hard in the beginning, now, 4 months later, I’m teaching 2 classes a week! Wasn’t sure it could get any better! I really need to stop saying that. Two months ago, I was asked if I would become the Heavy Bag Instructor for our Center. I said yes, I spent a few weeks training and I started teaching. I am currently the only class instructor and its booming.  I have most defiantly been blessed this last year.

 

I made two large commitments to myself at the start of the new year. I decided that I was going to take my health serious, get the extra weight off, get my Body fat to where it needs to be and get serious about my training. If I’m going to be a Personal Trainer, and teach people about living a healthy lifestyle, I need to practice what I preach. Another promise I made to myself, was to let go. Stop trying to micro manage and let things happen. With that, I had to give my life over to Jesus.  That meant, knowing, and trusting that it’s in his hands, and that he will take care of my family and myself. That was hard for me. Giving up all control to God, was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. However, once finally doing so, the rewards have been nonstop. His love has been insurmountable and with that I am eternally grateful.

 

                With all I’m glad to be back, be more consistent and to share my love and passion for fitness with everyone that I can reach.

 

Rachel

 

THE SCALE

Its only taken me 20+ years to make the decision and decide that this is what is best for my, mental, spiritual and physical well being. I have suffered in silence for so long. I have let it take control of me. I let it determine, my mood, my activity, my food. Most of all, I let it define who I AM! The dreaded scale. The small inconspicuous piece of bathroom furniture that taunts me daily. Every morning, during my brief, moment of uninterrupted silence, when the baby is still asleep, the hubby is preparing for work, I have a few moments to myself. DO I REALLY THOUGH? That cheap piece of bathroom furniture, is my life. As a woman, as a fitness professional, as a human being, that thing, has a control over me that I never thought I would allow to happen again. I spent my teenage years, battling between bulimia, and anorexia. I would go back and forth. Give each of those two eating disorders my all. Until, I felt like it was not getting the job done. Then I would switch to the next. I would binge until uncomfortably sick. Then I would spend 30minutes in the bathroom, purging as much as I could.When that stopped giving me what I wanted, I switched it up, thats when i became Anorexia. If i couldn’t have the best of both worlds, eating and purging, I was just going to  not eat at all. That went on for awhile. Well into my early 20s. Until I passed out, and was taken to the hospital. Weighing in at a whooping 95lbs. Even at this point, no one knew what was happening. I worked out so much, everyone just assumed I was tiny. No one knew I had a deep dark secret.  Despite, my obvious out of control life, the one thing that was consitient, was that damn scale. Every morning, every night, after every sickness! If it didn’t read how I thought it should, I knew how to make it adjust. It was my life line. The one thing I felt like I could control. LITTLE did I know, I wasn’t controlling anything. It controlled me! EVERY SINGLE PART  OF ME, i need that damn scale to feel like I was worth something. That number on the scale was suppose to mean, I was pretty, I was fit. It was suppose to signify that I was perfect. I was so lost.

I ended up getting some therapy. I got my eating under control, reigned in my unhealthy  workout patterns, I joined the ARMY. I felt like I was in control again. Then….I had babies. The first baby, I gained a ton of weight, I lost it pretty fast, not in any crazy way, just watched my calories and I ran. Then I started working night shifts, and put weight on. Then the second baby came. She is two now, and I am sitting here, lost all the pregnancy  weight, but I am sitting here at the overweight pre-pregancy weight. I’m not happy.

And at this point, I don’t know what I am unhappy about. If I really sit and think, what about my reflection in the mirror upsets me, I can point out one or two things, but if Im going to be honest, they are not things that just flat out are awful. So, I have to ask myself. What am I unhappy about? FIRST THING, that pops in my mind, THE NUMBER ON THE SCALE!!!. WHY?? WHY?? WHY IS THAT NUMBER SO DAMN IMPORTANT? Does it define, how much I can deadlift? How much I can back squat? Does it define, the type of wife I am or the type of mom I am? NO! So why is it important to me!!? I cant answer that! If I could, I would have thrown that stupid contraption away along time ago. I have this number ingrained in my mind. That perfect number. A number that somehow will make everything perfect. I think in the back of my mind, this magic number, will make me squat better. make me feel better, make me look better. Reality check, none of those things are gonna happen. WHY? Because, I know, I will never be satisfied.

Something has to change. I tell all my clients, don’t look at the scale. Watch your measurements, the way your clothes fit, how you feel, the new strengths you gain every day. WHY CANT I DO THAT FOR MYSELF?

SOMETHING HAS TO CHANGE!!!!! TODAY, THAT CHANGE IS GOING TO START. No  more scale. Its put away, so it cant taunt me every day. My focus needs to change. I know what I need to do. I have the education and the background to lead me to where I want to be. I need to defeat my obstacles and have a goal in mind and go for it. I need to take my own expert advice, and practice what I preach. So, no more scale. That number will no longer define me. IT WILL NOT DEFINE ME!! I am more than a number on the scale!!!

 

Why Cant I Lift, Today?

It happens to the best of us. We wake up one day, groggy, no energy. Did I sleep funky? Did I not go to bed early enough? Did the toddler in my bed, kick and punch me all night long? Whats the deal? Why do I feel like I got hit by a Mac Truck? No IDEA! We chalk it up to a crappy nights sleep, chug a pre-workout, eat some breakfast and head to the gym for some strength training, all along, praying this expensive pre-workout lives up to its hype. Walking into the gym, feels like a chore. However we push through. As you begin your strength program, you notice your struggling to hit weights, on any other day, you would warm up with. Today, those weights feel funky, feel like they weigh a million pounds. Whats the deal? I could lift yesterday? What so different in the last 24 hours? There is one culprit, we as Women, always fail to remember. Our…..MENSTRUAL CYCLE! That dreaded time of the month, that sends every other part of our bodies into a down ward spiral. Its not until the evidence of our cycle, rears its ugly head, that we then think…..so that’s why I felt like crap!!! But WHY? Why does this affect our strength so much? How can this cycle make that much of a difference in our lifts, in a 24 hour period?

According to the Oxford Journal, during the mid to late Luteal Phase of your cycle, is when you begin to notice your feeling off. Your core temperature rises, your metabolic rate rises as well. So this explains those sudden uncontrollable appetite, and the need to turn down that furnace and strip down the clothes. You may begin to notice the change in mood, as well. This is believed to be caused by the increase in the hormone progesterone.  If your appetite has sky rocketed and your blood sugar is low, you may begin feeling lethargic, so weights that were easy a few days ago, are now just a stressor.  Also, mood plays a huge factor in your lifting. If you walk into the gym, in a bad mood, not feeling what is planned for the day, your already tired, you  forced your self to come, when you really didn’t even want to get out of bed, don’t expect your lifts to be phenomenal. Try something different. Something more relaxing, less taxing on your system. Yoga, meditation, Pilates. Throwing something new into a routine, to help you out of a funk, wont break your progress. Honestly, some days, your body just needs a break. And if, prepping your body for a baby is taking its toll, sit back, drink some tea, watch your recorded shows, and let nature takes its course. In a day or two, all will be back to normal and you will feel refreshed walking in to the gym, ready to kill some iron.

http://humrep.oxfordjournals.org/content/12/6/1142.full.pdf+html

 

MAN….Im Starving!!

Today is Wednesday! I have had 4 workouts since Monday, I still have one waiting for me when my husband gets home from work (our date). I have been going along with my day, cleaning, laundry, wrangling the toddler, took a 2 mile walk at the local walking trails, pushing a 30 lb toddler in a 30 lb jogging stroller, while I strutted my 16lb weighted vest. The hills are a killer. Going down, my shins and calves felt every single step. Going up, my arms, hamstrings, and quads were on fire. My lungs at the top of the hill, were on fire. My toddler, however, was enjoying the ride. Looking back at me wondering what all the noises were about. After that torture was finished, I had some errands to run. While running these errands, which included a stop at the mall to return somethings, I had to pep talk myself. NO PRETZEL!!! YOU WILL NOT GET A PRETZEL. Auntie Ann’s pretezel’s are so delicious. I am fully aware of my lack of will power when it comes to these delicious, salt, carb-loaded, buttery goodness. I ended up being strong…YAY GO ME!. My toddler got some. I have some how managed to  not eat any of it. Even as I type this, the left over pretzel nuggets are sitting on the table, within fingers reach of me, and I haven’t grabbed one!! That’s dedication. LOL. So, I get home, and I’m starved. Everything is frozen, because I failed to plan ahead. Lets see, what do I have in my cabinets? Albacore tuna, seasonings, I have some sweet potato’s, in the fridge I have parsley, eggs, cilantro. Lets see what happens.

I drain the tuna, remove it from the can and place it into a plastic bowl. I place the average size sweet potato in the microwave and cook until tender. While that’s cooking, I chop some cilantro, parsley and add it to the tuna. Crack open an egg, add that to the tuna. Melt some kerry gold butter, add 2 tbsp of that to the mixture. Stir together evenly. Now that the sweet potato is finished, I cut it in half, scoop the insides out, add to the mixture, and mash it all together. Once evenly mixed, I set the oven for 350 degrees, grease a muffin tin, and begin placing small balls in to the muffin tins. Then I press them down flat, and place them in to the over for 20-25min. Once done, take them out, let them cool and enjoy! They are actually really good. I expected it to taste fishy, but the sweet potato, I think softened the fish taste a bit. The original recipe calls for jalapenos, I didn’t have any, so went without. Which I don’t mind, Im not in the mood for heartburn later. I recommend trying these. If you store them correctly, they can be a great on the go snack, or even a quick lunch, pop them into the microwave and BAM, lunch is served. Carbs, protein and some fat. Paleo for those of you who follow that trend. You can find the entire recipe  at:

http:www.shemusclefitness.trainerize.com

Snack Proof

imageIf your human, then you have suffered from the snack attack. The moment in time, when the hunger pain strikes, you have wondered aimlessly around your kitchen, opening cabinets, drawers, scouring the pantry and fridge for that perfect snack. Your not sure what it is that you want, and everything you have, has no appeal to this insatiable desire for that unknown food. Three things happen in this moment, you finally decide on the snack, it may not be exactly what you wanted, but its cured that nagging hunger pain, you have snacked on almost everything you have in the house, nothing hit the spot, or you have chosen to not eat anything, and will walk around HANGRY, until you figure out what it is exactly that you are needing. Does this sound like you? I know I have many days, sometimes a few times a day when I feel famished. The snack attack is even worse, if your trying to change your nutrition habits. The need to eat and curb that craving can make you angry, irritable, tired, frustrated, etc etc. You don’t want to destroy all the good you have done that day, week(s). So what do you do? How do you feed the craving without destroying all you have worked for. EASY. Prepare. First off, take a good hard look at these cravings. When do they hit? What are you doing in that moment? How long has it been since you last ate or drank something? What did you last eat or drink? These are important questions, and you need to be honest with yourself. Are you really hungry, or are you bored, thirsty?  Personally, I noticed that my cravings hit, when my children napped. Its was quiet, first time I have had a second to think, to sit down. That’s when the cravings hit. HMMMMM…..I’M HUNGRY!!! What do I want? EVERYTHING AND ANYTHING!!! In most cases, I try to take a hard look at the situation and determine if I’m really hungry or not. Some times I discover, this moment of craving, is actually the first time I have thought about food all day. I haven’t eaten breakfast, had a snack, nothing. Ive consumed water and coffee, usually numerous cups. So in this case, I’M FAMISHED and I need to eat. On the other hand, on days when I have eaten breakfast, had a snack and eaten lunch, the moment of craving, is pure and utter boredom. So, what do I do. Well, in the case of boredom, I decide if I really wanna push my next meal time up. Do I have another workout planned? If not, I move my snack time up, and have whats on the menu. If I have a workout later, then the snack time needs to stay put, so I can be fueled for the torture I will be enduring later that day. So, if I’m starving and I cant eat, I get up and do something. I chug some water, fold some laundry, vacuum, do some reading, take the dogs out, yoga, stretch, write programming for clients, etc. You get the idea. Get moving. Nine times outta ten, that boredom craving will subside, because you are busy and have forgotten about it. If you get busy and you cant seem to shake the craving, then you need to take a look at what your eating. That’s a different post.

PREPARE! I try to keep all my trigger foods out the house, Oreo’s, fruit snacks, chips. You know what I’m talking about. I purchase things that are light, but have good nutritional value. I keep measuring cups and spoons handy. Its important to understand how to read the nutritional information on packaging as well. Keep to your serving sizes, watch your portions. Pack your snacks if your going to be out and about for the day. Doing so, you will avoid drive thru and convenience store junk.

So today, I had a desire to eat. I have Class tonight, Olympic Lifting to be exact. 1 hour of high volume, heavy weight, self induced torture. Its what I love. Its important that I fuel myself for that. So, I eat. Today, it was 1/2 cup of 2% cottage cheese, and a 1/4 cup of Real Medley Super Grain Granola (apple cinnamon). I get my carbs, fat, protein, and some sweetness all in one. It holds me until I eat again before class. If your not a cottage cheese kinda person, switch it up for some Vanilla Greek yogurt.

Welcome to She Muscle Fitness

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Welcome to the She- Muscle Fitness blog. My hopes for this are simple; to reach as many people as I can, and share my journey. I hold many titles: Personal Trainer, Coach, Stay at Home Mom, Wife, Sister, Aunt, Daughter, friend and entrepreneur.  As a SAHM of a toddler, life is a challenge most days, attempting to muster up the energy for a workout, let alone laundry, cooking and cleaning. However, my hope is to entertain, inspire and encourage other woman and men to add a personal fitness journey to their list of “to do”, and reap the whole mind body and spiritual pleasure they will endure.

A little about my journey, I am a Certified Personal Trainer, Certified USAW Weightlifting Coach, Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach and Certified in Fitness Nutrition. I served in the United States Army for 5 years, and had the pleasure of serving my Country in the Iraq War in 2005-2006. During this time I met a man.  He later became my Husband and the father of my children.  I do owe all that I have become to the strength, support and love that this man has shown me over the years. He is the reason all that I love to do is possible.  A decade later we have three children, 13, 8 and 2 years old. To say that our lives are boring, is an understatement. I don’t think any part of our day is boring. With a toddler around, life never stops.

In the last few years my life has taken a turn down the road of fitness. I whole heartedly believe, looking back that this was the road that was intended for me all along, it has just taken me a long time to accept it and work towards it. As a teenager, I suffered from anorexia and bulmia. My idea of perfect, was not what I was looking at everyday in the mirror. The tailspin only got worse, when I felt as though, the people who were suppose to love me no matter what, only noticed the imperfections I had. I spent years suffering, and recovering. Now, into my 30’s, I cant say that I am fully recovered. While the binging and purging may seize to exist, my disorders come out in other ways. You never fully recover from an eating disorder, there is only control and understanding of your triggers.  Some days are easier than others, only because I have learned my triggers and in most cases, I can deal with them in a safe and effective manner. Then there are the days, when keeping my self in check goes out the window, and my disorders rear their ugly heads in the manner of cumlpulsion, anger and self loathing. . While I wont currently go into detail, we will save that for another post, I hope that those who come across my blogs, and are struggling with eating disorders and their fitness journey, feel comfortable and safe, to come to me, looking for answers, encouragement and help getting past this. I hope, to those, they will understand that I can offer support, encouragement and the understanding needed during this process.

During my journey, my goal has been to reach as many women as possible. Full grown women and young ladies, are subjected to the mass media and their photoshopped idea of what “perfection” is.  We have visions of thigh gaps(what?), 6 pack abs, extremely low body fat and tiny size meals. But this is not reality. We come in so many shapes and sizes, we are all beautiful in our own way. We need to embrace our beauty, embrace our differences, encourage and uplift each other. We need to embrace our stretch marks, accept our touching thighs, thinning hair, and mom bellies. We need to do what we can to make ourselves happy; inside and out. Fix what we can change, accept what genetics has graced us with. The moment you begin loving yourself, flaws and all, you will see others in a different light. That light as to start inside you, first and foremost.

I encourage everyone, Man and Women, to reach out to me. I have many options and can help in anyway that i can. I sincerely hope that beginning this blogging adventure will increase the amount of people I can reach, and help to change their lives for the better.

 

Love yourself,

Rachel Hobbs