Sports Imagry- The Script for Success

Proper training and nutrition are absolute essentials for achieving your fitness goals of a healthy, strong body. But you can reach your goal much more quickly by adding sports imagery. Sports imagery asks for you to be aware of not only your physical realm but also to picture yourself at the top level of your goals- attaining and even surpassing them. If you think you are winner.. you are already part of the way there. This immediate improvement in your confidence can also translate into improved performance, speedier growth, or speedier changes. The more you often you picture yourself achieving your goals.. the closer you will be to attaining those goals.

winning-ticket

Step 1: Choose what you want to accomplish.
Step 2: Take several deep breaths to relax.
Step 3: Imagine the skill- be very specific- use as many of your senses as possible. Don’t just imagine what it will look like, but what you will feel like, hear the compliments from others, feel the power and strength in your muscles, imagine your pride in the accomplishment
Step 4: Repeat- do not let anything distract you from imagining yourself at the top-

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Practicing Mindfulness

Mindfulness – the practice of living in- and accepting- the present moment. It’s roots lie in ancient Buddhism. This practice as gone from a little idea to be embraced by hundreds of millions of people. Google even offers its staff a mindfulness program. It involves stilling the chatter and focusing on the here and now without dwelling, judging, or trying to change anything. They say that harping on the past or future is way stressful on your nervous system and physical body as well.

The more mindful you are- the more dominant your relaxation response becomes. Because of that, your body will learn to produce less stress hormones. Other benefits of mindfulness are; that it has been proven to warn off anxiety and depression, decrease blood pressure, heart rate, and inflammation, shrink belly fat, increase pain tolerance, increase sexual satisfaction, and lead to less social anxiety.

So- how do we become more mindful? First, don’t expect to be mindful all the time- the human mind is designed to wander. With that in mind (pun intended) let’s get started. 1. Just breathe- find a comfortable place and breathe naturally- just relax and think about your breathe in and out. Focus on your physical sensations. 2. Become more aware of how your body feels- all the time. How does your butt feel in the chair you are in? How do you hands feel holding your phone? Feel your hair as you brush it. 3. Acknowledge your feelings- don’t push them away. If you are sad, angry, stressed… explore that emotion- be aware of where it is coming from. 4. Use mindfulness in a situation- stay aware of the moment- don’t just ahead or to conclusions- stay in the moment. 5. If you can’t stay mindful- don’t get frustrated- you can use this easy acronym S.T.O.P Stop, Take a breathe, Observe what’s happening, Proceed.

The 3 Most Important Times to be Mindful
1. Sex (better focus= better orgasms) 2. Exercise (better focus= stress reduction, less injuries, better results) 3. Snacking (better food enjoyment, smaller portions)

Have not done this in awhile

So- here I am again.. as usual there has been an indeterminate amount time that I haven’t blogged after blogging like crazy. I am such a sporadic person about just about everything. I eat healthy sporadically, work out sporadically, and have sex rarely… LOL.

What has happened with my life? Well, two weeks ago I was let go from my amazing really cool job. I walked into work on a Monday morning all dressed in my kit and ready to ride. Some of the other ladies were already at the office so, in my usual manner, I made a joke about it being a “ladies meeting.” Then, with no warning I was told that it was my last day. “The company is moving in another direction, and you are not part of it.” I don’t think I could have been more shocked. I have never been fired, let go, laid off, or any of the other terms that describe “losing your job.” I didn’t even know what to say… what to ask.. or really, what to do. Some of my things had already been packed- I packed the rest, put it in my car, and drove home, in shock. I messaged a few key people and really spent the whole day talking to people about it. Everyone was in shock. Then, after lunch, another person was let go. It shocked me that he was let go too. But i can say that I felt a little tiny bit better knowing that it wasn’t just about me. I didn’t want him to lose his job- but I didn’t want to be in this alone. and then I realized that I am never alone.

I have gotten so much support from my friends and family. They have given me advice, written me recommendation letters, taken me out for drinks, ridden with me, and all the while listened to me talk (not like I EVER stop talking). If I have heard the whole adage “when one door closes, another one opens” once…then I have heard it at least 20 times. They have reminded me that there is a better place out there for me.. that maybe it was time to move on (with the whole debacle from earlier this year) and they have told me that I am awesome. I have even talked to my therapist about it.

Here is what I have learned/experienced/felt. 1. I am hurt to be tossed aside so callously. I was told by the 2nd in command that “it’s only business.” That’s not true- it’s only business to them, it is very personal to me. I think they forget that they asked me to move here- to leave my family, home, friends, and everything to come here. 2. I miss it, or at least the people. I miss being able to tell people that I work for such an amazing company. And I miss being a part of it all. I feel like I am in mourning, like there is a hole in my life. 3. I miss being friends with all of those people. Some of them (not all) I had to drop from my life. If they cared for me as a friend, they would have warned me. They would have checked on me and offered to help. 4. I am no good without a schedule. I like for things to be neat and orderly, and not just items, but my life, my schedule. I haven’t ridden like I used to even though I have lots of extra time. 5. I miss “him.” I know that now, there is never a chance that I will see him, and that makes me sad. 6. I am leaning on my faith. I know that God has a plan. I just wish I had a tiny peek of the plan, but that is why it’s called faith. Believing in what we cannot see.

So- I will keep the faith… keep riding and taking care of myself.. and keep you updated.

Starting Again…..

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The past 10 days have been FABULOUS! I got a chance to take care of myself as an athlete and learn to pick some new goals. So- here I am starting something new again. I am asking for prayers of focus. I seem to run out of steam or get distracted pretty easily by the rigors or dramas of life. I know many of them are self-induced… I do tend to be sadomasochistic and put myself into situations that are GUARANTEED to hurt me either physically, mentally, or more often spiritually. So- this time- I will try not to overwhelm myself with too many changes… and try not to get distracted.

“What is my main goal?”- you ask? I am looking to get myself into peak shape so that I can compete and be selected for the 2015 Army Team for Warrior Games (and maybe even better things) as a cyclist racing and even running… yes- me- fast and furious! I have started by making a bunch of mini goals (1) giving up gluten… you should see the big bag of stuff I got out of my cabinet. (2) Going back to the basics by having nutrition and activity logs. (3) Making sure I get enough SLEEP! (4) drinking plenty of fluids. (4) Either cycling, running, or at least walking everyday (without over-training). I think these are enough goals for now.

LESSON 6: ORGANIZATIONAL SKILLS

When you are habitually and sometimes obsessively organized people either laugh at you… or… they want to know how you do it. Well… I adapted a form I found online- to help others organize their lives- I know that for some of you- just filling out this form everyday would be exhausting. but for me, just the act of crossing things off the list or looking at it all filled out at the end of the day- is very satisfying. They say that one of the keys of successful people is to formulate, track, and accomplish goals. Well- just crossing things off my list is an act of completing goals. (Sometimes I will even put easy stuff on there- just so I can feel good about crossing them off- don’t judge)- so here it is- make changes as you need to- or don’t use it at all. I am sure it could have been much prettier but its the best I have tonight- its a Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet.

DAILY LOG SHEET

Lesson 5: Grateful

Today I am grateful for my life. Last night it didn’t seem all that important to me. I hit the lowest bottom I have seen in a very very long time. So today I am grateful that I had friends online to chat with me in the wee hours of the morning. I am grateful that my roommate had family over. And I am grateful that God stayed with me… all night.. as I cried, sobbed, wept for myself, my loneliness, and my loss. So today I implore you to start your own gratitude log.

Gratitude Log

Do you know that practicing gratefulness on a regular basis helps you to be happier, healthier, more rested, and more successful?

“Call it corny, but gratitude just may be the glue that holds society together.” Gratitude needn’t be directed at another person to hit its mark. Take just a few minutes each day to jot down things that make you thankful, from the generosity of friends to the food on your table or the right to vote. After a few weeks, people who follow this routine “feel better about themselves, have more energy and feel more alert”. -Psychology Today

Lesson 4: saudade

Sometimes a single word can express what you cannot- Saudade-

Among the world’s languages, one of the hardest terms to translate is saudade, the Portuguese word for a feeling, a longing for something or some event that one is fond of, which is gone, but might return in a distant future.

It often carries a fatalist tone and a repressed knowledge that the object of longing might really never return.

Few other languages have a word with such meaning, making saudade a distinct mark of Portuguese culture. It has been said that this, more than anything else, represents what it is to be Portuguese.

“The famous saudade of the Portuguese is a vague and constant desire for something that does not and probably cannot exist, for something other than the present, a turning towards the past or towards the future; not an active discontent or poignant sadness but an indolent dreaming wistfulness.” (In Portugal, by AFG Bell, 1912)

Saudade is not nostalgia. In nostalgia, one has a mixed happy and sad feeling, a memory of happiness but a sadness for its impossible return and sole existence in the past. Saudade is like nostalgia but with the hope that what is being longed for might return, even if that return is unlikely or so distant in the future to be almost of no consequence to the present.

One might say nostalgia conveys a feeling one has for a loved one who has died and saudade as a feeling one has for a loved one who has disappeared or is simply absent. In Portuguese, the same word, nostalgia, has quite a different meaning.

Saudade is what one feels towards people, places, feelings or situations in the following circumstances:

• An old way of life that is gone
• A lost lover
• A faraway place where one was raised
• Loved ones who have died
• Feelings and stimuli one used to have but which one is now tired of
• One’s lost youth

Although it relates to feelings of melancholy and fond memories of things, people and days gone by, it can be a rush of sadness coupled with a paradoxical joy derived from acceptance of fate and the hope of recovering or replacing what is lost by something that will either fill the emptiness or provide consolation.

According to historians, this word came to life in the 15th Century when Portuguese ships sailed to Africa and Asia. A sadness was felt for those who departed in the long journeys to the unknown and disappeared in shipwrecks, died in battle, or simply never returned. Those who stayed behind – the women, children and old folks – deeply suffered from their absence. There was the constant feeling of something that was missing, the yearning for the presence of the loved ones who had sailed.

A blogger, Elisa, explains it so well:

“You open an album, you read a message, you start reminiscing over a drink with your friends and suddenly there it is: you miss people (or something or a situation). In Portuguese there is actually a better word for it. It’s called saudades. The dictionary would translate it as (1) longing, yearning (for someone), fond remembrance, (2) homesickness, nostalgia.

“But it is more than that. It is this huge feeling that overpowers you and you just can’t shake it off sometimes, especially when you feel saudades of something or someone you liked it very much (a place were you were the happiest and you knew it even then, maybe).

Lesson 3: Some things you need to accept to be happy, YES, YOU

If you know me- you know that I am a really grateful person… but I am NOT always happy (who is?).  Along the way I have learned some things… broken some hearts… have had my own heart broken.. and am.. again… getting over it all.  Here are a few things I have learned to accept.

1. You are NOT what people say you are… The ONLY opinion of you that matters… is yours. You are the person you have become due to a lot of factors…  One of my most favorite quotes is from Carrie Bradshaw in Sex in the City-

“But the most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you find someone to love the YOU that you love… well, that’s just fabulous. ”

2. Plan B is often better than Plan A. Stop holding on to what is not working… job, relationship, outfit, hairstyle, outdated ideas.. and move on. My pastor in Tennessee @ Crosspoint Community Church actually wrote a book, “Plan B” by Pete Wilson- it’s on Amazon and I highly recommend it.

3. You are NOT the number on the scale. How you feel is more important that how much you weigh.       Nuff Said.

4. Make goals but REMEMBER the journey is more important than the goal. While you are running that race… cycling that century ride.. working at the job you have.. living you life.. remember to stop and look around- to enjoy it.

5. Being alone doesn’t mean lonely. I struggle with this one. Don’t settle for shitty company to just have someone around. This applies to friends, family,  and significant others.

6. It will NEVER all be done. I learned this one as a teacher. There will always be work to be done- no matter what your job is. Your To-Do list (and I make them ALL THE TIME) will never be finished- just accept it and rest when you need to rest- play when you need to play.

7. There will always be people who will disappoint you if you let them….. you know how that happens… we project upon them the expectations that we have stored up. Remember that everyone cannot live up to what we put on them, and think about that… and keep in mind… that you probably disappoint people sometimes too… and they still love you.

8. Last but not least- LOVE…. LOVE completely and openly. Don’t let your circumstances keep you from loving…. especially yourself. It all starts with loving your own heart.

Lesson 2: Rest

So- if you know me… you know I am GO… GO… GO… all the time. Well, this weekend… specifically today… I decided to chill, to take a rest. I ACTUALLY slept until 10:30 AM. I guess I needed it. I have noticed that when I go sooo hard that eventually I have one day that I just CRASH and crash hard. Well. I did a little research about the importance of rest days.

Overexercise: Warning Signs

Burnout and exhaustion: If you’re feeling frustration, disinterest or a lack of motivation in your workout, paired with decreased performance and drained energy, it’s a good sign you may be doing too much.

Irritability and mood swings: Anxiety, irritability and an inability to focus are all signs that you may need to take a break from exercise. Physical stress on the body behaves like mental and emotional stress.

Insomnia: Restlessness or inability to sleep, even after a recovery period and despite being fatigued during the day, is another sure sign of overtraining.

Illness and injury: If you frequently get sick or find yourself consistently nursing an injury, it’s time to back off. Without enough recovery time, exercise can break down the immune system making you more susceptible to colds and flu. Likewise, constant strain on muscles, joints and tendons can cause overuse injuries.

Soreness: If your body is consistently sore for days at a time, your legs and arms feel heavy ,and your resting heart rate is higher than usual, it’s time for a rest. All are good indications of too much stress on the body.

Well… here are a few reasons for you to take a well-deserved rest… mine includes the couch- popcorn and movies!

Happy Resting!

Lesson 1: Burpees

I picked Burpees as my first lesson because I woke up yesterday and couldn’t figure out why my abs hurt when I moved? I mean, I knew my calves hurt because I ran in my Merrell barefoot shoes for the first time in forever… but why were my abs hurting? Then I remembered… the Spartan tent… the Burpees I did… just to get another raffle ticket.. that I didn’t even win with. The Burpee.. for some, it’s the most hated move in fitness. For others, it’s the most perfect workout. It’s the one you want to hate but can’t because it just might be good for you. Inquiring minds are left wondering whether the ubiquitous exercise is the ultimate in core conditioning or just a necessary evil that’s imposed after an obstacle fail. I will attempt to answer that question here. –

The burpee works your legs, core, abs and arms unlike any other exercise because it incorporates a squat, a plank, a push-up and a jump.  “The burpee is quite possibly the single best exercise in existence,” says Dr. Jeff Godin, director of Spartan Coaching and department chair of Exercise & Sports Science at Fitchburg State University in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. “It trains almost every major muscle group, develops total fitness and improves body composition.”

HERE ARE THE STEPS TO DO A PROPER BURPEE:

1. Stand tall with your abs engaged, then drop into a deep squat while keeping your back straight. Place your hands on the floor just to the outside of your feet.

2. Kick your feet out as you extend your legs. You should be in the “up” position of a conventional push-up.

3. Lower your body as far as possible, then extend your arms to return to the “up” position.

4. Quickly pull your knees toward your chest to arrive at a low-squat position.

5. Explode upward with enough power to cause your feet to leave the ground. Return to the standing position.

It should now be obvious that the burpee is much more than punishment. Whether you’re an obstacle newbie or a veteran, you should think about making it your new best friend. Carpe burpee –
 
If you want to see a video of how to do it- here is a decent  tutorial: