Rip Van Winkle

Early morning workouts are the best!

Early morning workouts are the best!

So THIS is what narcolepsy feels like? Eyelids were 20 pound weights. This was the sleep I could not fight, TKO. The morning workout had the best of me yesterday. An hour after an early dinner, slumber fell upon my like concrete blocks, heavy and deep. I stirred briefly around 10pm after 4 hours of snoozing. Went back and quickly found the REM cycle.

I’m not sure if it’s the switching of time or the addition of a weight routine heavier than the 3-5 pounds I had been use to. Whichever, it was the best sleep I have had in a long time.

As predicted, my eating was perfect yesterday. The morning workout kept me conscious of everything I put in my mouth thereafter. So at the crack of dawn this morning, I got up and did it again. My arms and chest are still warm on the inside. It’s a beautiful feeling!

Until next time…

If you want something you have never had, you must be willing to do something you have never done.- Thomas Jefferson




I am not a morning person – at all. I prefer to sleep in, I choose to get up. The benefits outweigh the perceived inconvenience. Early morning workouts keep me on track with my eating plan all day. Pus, I get to work out with Michael Jackson and Jay-Z. The last thing I want to do is sabotage all the effort just made. I have also noticed I am 10x more alert by the time I start work. Lastly, I am guaranteed to sleep like a baby at night.

This morning I was wrapped in my thoughts of the people affected by the devastation of Oklahoma tornadoes yesterday.  There were 51 killed, 20 of those children and the death toll is expected to rise. Those people have greater concerns than getting to the gym. As we remain under the threat of storms all day today, I am very aware it could have easily been here, could have easily been me.

I am grateful to have the opportunity to get up and move my body early in the morning even when I don’t want to. So I mashed out 2 miles on the Precor and wrapped up my back, ab, oblique routine and continued to pray for those in Oklahoma.

Until next time…

Compassion  is not weakness, and concern for the unfortunate is not socialism. – Hubert H. Humphrey

To Leave Or Not To Leave, That Is The Question

just do it

My first intention was to retrieve my new hire packet and go home.  Tornadoes had ravaged Oklahoma and St. Louis was beginning to have bad weather. Tornado watches all over the plains and midwest part of the country. I wanted to make it home before it all started.

When I walked into the gym, I didn’t ask for the packet. That small firm voice wouldn’t let me.  I went straight to the treadmill and hammered out a good mile.  I paid close attention to my form and breathing, trying to make every movement count.  It felt wonderful.

After the treadmill I hit the weights.  Outside lightning lit up the night sky, inside we were all like little worker bees who seemed to dismiss mother nature’s workings. Chest, shoulders, triceps and biceps were worked to exhaustion, especially the triceps.  My arms feel like warm noodles.

Once done, I finally get my packet from friendly cool man Luke. This past weekend I nailed my audition at Club Fitness for a Spinning Instructor substitute position.  Taking this next step is exciting and motivating. However, I do not like evening workouts. I prefer to start my day with them. It provides a huge sense of accomplishment that stays with me all day long.

Therefore, I bid you all good night. Tomorrow I will be there bright and early.

Until next time….

“Every time you are tempted to react in the same old way, ask if you want to be a prisoner of the past or a pioneer of the future.”  ~Deepak Chopra

New Beginnings

Progress Over Perfection

Progress Over Perfection

Eyes  full of compassion and frustration while listening to me go on about the last few months, he took a sip of water and simply stated, “You must be willing to recognize when seasons begin and end in your life and not overstay our time in that season. Hands down, you’ve had some rough times but you already know what to do. It’s a small hiccup don’t let it trip you up. Get to work.  Choose growth over grief. This is your opportunity to begin again only this time more intelligently.”  I leaned back in anticipation of escaping a forehead thump that never came.  That ladies and gentlemen concludes the “Get off your ass and make it happen” speech, my dear friend’s response to my confession of a 19 pound gain.

So simple, so true and right on point it was. There was nothing else to say and plenty to do.  I went home and wrote out two plans: one a workout schedule complete with lots of variety of cardio, weight resistance, endurance and recovery, the other a menu comprised of mainly fresh fruit, fresh vegetables and beans.  Anxiety had subsided and a quiet force had taken its’ place.

Stay tuned, the journey from TWOderville to ONEderland begins in 5, 4, 3, 2……

“You never fail until you stop trying.” – Albert Einstein

Keep Gettin Up

Get up!

The rustling of the leaves sounded like running water outside my window.  The feminine voice through my speaker phone confirmed it was nice enough for a run. It was 63 degrees with a relative humidity I quickly forgot. I had been on a roller coaster ride since I hit the 100 pound mark.  Up 4 pounds, then down 4 pounds.  I had been hovering there every since.  Yesterday I was down four pounds and resolved to move forward.

So much had changed.  I’ve had to repeat my mantra more than ever before: “Life circumstances are irrelevant to your goal.”  I’ve always been an emotional eater allowing food to be the anesthetic. Although I had learned different coping skills it wasn’t fool proof.  This fool had done it again. The difference this time is I recognized it quickly and the recovery time was a matter of days not months or years like days of old. Yesterday I was down four pounds.The weight loss journey has the lessons in the failures but only if you keep getting up when knocked down.

Life serves plenty of helpings of knock-down. I’ve had enough this year,  Lemme see.  I’ve got a plate of looming divorce, a side of forced job change a helping of illness and surgery and for desert, a colossal misunderstanding with a dear friend that almost broke our relationship.  “No thank you, I am full!” I shout to the universe. In reality, difficulties live at everyone’s door.  Difficulties do not discriminate and they certainly don’t give a damn about your weight loss journey. Discipline and resolve to finish what was started are so important. I can hear my trainer now, “Be a finisher”.

I am telling you to get up.  YES, you! Don’t just sit in your difficulties.  The gold is in getting up. Don’t wait until Monday, after your vacation, after the holidays or any of that nonsense.   Once you keep getting up, you’ll begin to noticed you don’t get knocked down as much. You are what you repeatedly do. I want you to repeatedly get up.  When you stall, keep going.  When faced with a detour, keep going.  If you have to pause, then pause, take a deep breath then keep going.  Your life is waiting for you RIGHT NOW. Go get it.

Until next time…

People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can’t find them, make them.~ George Bernard Shaw

BKM Surprise – Personal Training

Mondays are usually my day off from my BKM bootcamp.  I stood there deep in thought with my hands in soapy water, contemplating whether to stay or go.  I lifted weights just 6 hours earlier but I wanted a little more. I put away the last dish and flipped over my cell phone.  It was already 6:58pm. I would be late for Zumba but it was better than nothing.  I just wanted a light cardio, nothing all out serious.  I slipped on my shoes.

Jack Frost was doing more than nipping, he was biting. I hunched my shoulders, ducked as the cold air slapped the back of my head.  This is not the season for a short afro. I ran to the car for relief. I was twenty minutes late. Zumba was in full swing. I looked up toward the glass in time to see Briant standing outside the gym motioning for me to come out.  He had that look I didn’t like.  Hat on backwards, orange polo, lips pursed in a tight straight line, “Welcome to PT”, he said as he directed me to “my” spot.  Wide eyes and raised eyebrows, slowly, “what’s PT?” I asked no one in particular but was open to an answer from anyone willing.  He shoved a ten pound kettleball at me. I looked around at the other eight victims.  They were not new people but bootcamp veterans. They were all panting and sweaty.  They were all at or above my fitness level.  Anxiety settled in across my shoulders and made it’s home there, like a yoke.  The woman next to me finally answered, “This is personal training and it gets real personal.”  We did dead lifts, mountain climbers, jumping jacks with weights, sprints down Torture Hall with weights in ten seconds or under. Then we would repeat over and over again.

He called my name a thousand times.  “Montrice, this isn’t running, we are sprinting. All out! All out! Faster! Faster! Effort! You’ve got 6 seconds to get back here.”  I wanted to interject. I wanted to tell him I had already worked out. I wanted to remind him that this was my day off.  I wanted more but not nearly this much.  Someone in the group began complaining about the workout.  This caused us to run Torture Hall again.

I had no idea I could run that fast.  I didn’t want to be the cause of another sprint and I didn’t want to be run over by the women behind me. The hall is too narrow to run around and pass anyone. I would never push myself so hard. A faceless soldier to my rear kept shouting, “We can do this!”My heart was pounding like crazy but I noticed my recovery time was shorter. I was only two weeks into weight training but the kettle balls were not as heavy as I remembered. I was getting stronger. Between the exhaustion and heavy breathing I was excited by my progression.   Briant stopped in front of me, checking my form, demanding more, “this is gonna help you with your fitness challenge”.

Eight days ago I started a local 90 day fitness challenge.  Whoever loses the most percentage of body weight wins.  Briant had already made his expectations very clear.  More pressure, the good kind though.  “Your are competitive enough to do it,  you are capable of winning I expect no less.”  I knew him well enough to know I would hear those words again and again.

Until next time…

Don’t lower your expectations to meet your performance. Raise  your level of performance to meet your expectations. Expect the best of  yourself, and then do what is necessary to make it a reality. – Ralph Marston

Let’s Get It Together

“I had given it too much power. The three digit number, 338, had me paralyzed. So I decided to tell the world and set myself free.” Her face was radiant and she smiled as she listened intently while I told of my life long struggle. I was humbled and deeply moved that she found my fat girl saga radio worthy.  Jade Harrell, host and producer for KMJM and it’s sister station Hallelujah 1600, moved effortlessly in her element. She had called the day before, just hours after my weigh-in and asked that I come into the station to be interviewed about my 101 pound weight loss for her Let’s Get It Together show.  The request was surreal.

We did a mic check and she told me we would get started with the interview after she checked on a few things .I watched her flow in and out of her various roles in the span of an hour. Her sisterlocs adorned her head like a Nubian crown. She spliced an ad spot down to 15 seconds, confirmed her children’s sports schedules, set up a vet visit and followed up on a sports story. She juggled it all without any detected agitation leaving me in awe. She appeared comfortable in her skin, naturally beautiful without aid. She requested five more minutes of my patience. I gladly gave it. Talking with her was like catching up with a long-lost friend and I told her so. While I waited, we discussed all sorts of things; hair, family, my boot camp, my trainer, my victories, my struggles and my pursuit to rid my life of all things toxic. I drank more of the water she had given me upon arrival.  I didn’t want my voice to crack when we started the interview.

Jade held up a church finger.  A second later, we were surrounded as the sound of my voice engulfed the room. My voice was high and fully animated. Being hyper critical of myself, I cringed wishing I could do it all over. I shook my head slowly, “You tricked me.”  Jade leaned in from across the control board, “An interview should feel like a conversation. Your voice is comforting, convincing and motivating. It was raw and honest.  People need to hear your story. I thank you.” Her passion was showing, this was more than her job.

India Arie serenaded me home…It’s crazy and comfortable letting you in But there are things that I want you to know, let’s see, where do I begin… My body begged for sleep but my mind was unyielding.  Once I reached home I laid across my bed and rested while my mind raced. The weekend had been a whirlwind of excitement and I couldn’t come down no matter how much I tried. While I wrestled my mind for surrender, time marched on. Shortly after, it was time for bootcamp.

It was one of those days where I would rather skip it.  I went anyway. It was a lousy performance.  I went through the motions being careful to give enough effort to remain undetected.  My trainer was a lazy seeking missile.  If you weren’t giving your all he knew it and would be in your face to correct it.  I just didn’t want that visit. This was a just-good-enough day. My arms were like heavy logs and my legs like mountains to move.  Briant stopped the music and demanded more from us. I amped up my 50% effort to 75% and kept pushing.

When the class ended, Briant called me up to the front of the class.  I felt like one of those Southwest Airline commercials. I looked a hot mess.  I didn’t mind the sweat.  We were all sweaty.  I had on green sweat pants two sizes too big and a Komen for The Cure t-shirt that had seen better days. He handed me the wireless mic and told me I had 2 minutes to tell my story.  I don’t remember all I said but people were crying. When I was done speaking, I turned to hand the mic back to Briant when he presented me with a dozen roses.  My eyeballs leaked uncontrollably and I released myself to the biggest group hug. I left there with a stong knowing that I could reach my ultimate goal and sustain it.

What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as  what you become by achieving your goals. – Henry David Thoreau