Wellness is about so much more than nutrition and fitness. Wellness includes your mental, emotional, and spiritual wellness on top of your physical well-being. That’s why today, I’m going to feature a book that helped me find direction, make some major life changes, and thoroughly enjoy the life I’m living!

I came across this book while listening to a podcast and read it for a 2016 reading challenge. It inspired me to examine my life and think about how my current lifestyle was affecting all aspects of my wellness. It prompted me to consider how I could be more intentional about building a life that supports my goals, rather than letting life take me wherever it may while my goals lay well-intentioned and sadly, unmet.

Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want by Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy offers exactly what the title implies. The book helps you to identify your priorities, make clear and specific goals, and be proactive in creating a life that supports those goals. In fact, their premise helped me realize that spending my time working for someone else was draining me mentally and emotionally, and inspired me to open i’mPowered Nutrition & Fitness. Now I get to spend my day achieving my goals and helping others support the lives they want with a foundation of proper nutrition and wellness.

Living Forward begins with taking you through the interesting exercise of writing your own eulogy. Sounds strange, I know, but it was actually very eye-opening. By starting at “the end,” you get to determine what will really matter in your life after you’ve gone and what you want others to remember about you. Starting from there, you work backwards to build a life that perpetuates those desires. First, you create a list of “Life Accounts” for each priority in your life. For example, mine include God, health, husband, kids, family/friends, career, generosity, financial, home, and self-development. You assess the current status of each account, write a detailed description of your desired outcome for each, and set specific quarterly goals to gradually move the current status toward the end goal.

Finally, you take these goals and create your “ideal week” schedule. This helped take me from goals – which I have often made in the past and found no time to achieve – to actual implementation of my strategies to get there. You start with a blank calendar. You review your goals for your most important life account, and schedule whatever time you need to complete those. You move on to your next important life account, and do the same. So on and so forth until you have created a schedule that is reflective of what matters most to you. It reminds me of one of my new favorite quotes:

“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”

– Stephen Covey

Going through the life planning process helped me realize that spending 40 hours per week in an office working for someone else was keeping me away from what was more important to me and ultimately came in higher on my list than my career – God, my health, and my family and friends. That realization led me to the decision to change my career path so that it worked around these priorities instead of against them. Now I have plenty of time to achieve my goals in my most important life accounts, and that has been a huge boost for my mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical wellness. Who couldn’t use one of those?

The realizations you make might not be so drastic (or maybe they will be more!) but regardless, they will help move you towards the life you want. Go for it!

Have you read this book? Let me know what you think!

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and I have no affiliation with the producers or manufacturers of this product. As an Amazon Associate, I receive compensation for any purchases of this product through the link on this post; however, I never feature or support products that I have not tried myself or that I do not believe to be useful, ethical, and worthy of recommendation.




Can you believe we have been goal-getting for a month already? It’s crazy! Here’s how we’re doing:

Becki

Goal #1: Lose 7 lbs to return to my usual body weight
     • Use my daily food group checklist to stay within recommendations and get enough food from each food group each day.

How I’m doing: I have been using my food group checklists (and loving them – they are so quick and easy!) and I’ve lost 5 lbs so far. Only two to go! The checklists make way more sense for my lifestyle right now than using a food tracker like I have in the past. They give me plenty of flexibility while still keeping me accountable. I think being home a lot makes it easier because I usually have access to something from all five food groups.

Goals #2-3: Decrease resting heart rate and blood pressure to normal ranges and increase cardiovascular fitness from “fair” to “good”
     • Complete 40-60 minutes of cardiovascular exercise (heart rate 115-155 bpm) 5 days per week

How I’m doing: I’ve probably averaged 4 1/2 days per week but I’m hitting my heart rate goals and I’m enjoying the cardio options I have selected. Most often, I’m doing Youtube cardio dance videos because they are convenient and so much fun, but it’s been beneficial to have alternatives for the days when I’m just not feeling the dancing.

Consequentially, my resting heart rate is normal! I haven’t had my husband check my blood pressure or re-tested my cardio yet, but I’ll do that at the end of the plan. The lower resting heart rate is a good indicator that my cardiovascular fitness has improved – plus the workouts are getting easier!

Goal #4: Improve posture by stretching chest, hip flexors, and decreasing anterior pelvic tilt, while strengthening back muscles
     • Complete tailored yoga practice 5 days per week and strength training program 2 days per week

How I’m doing: Again – I’m probably more often hitting 4 1/2 days on the yoga than five, but I’ve done pretty well. The strength training is pretty quick and simple so I’ve been incorporating that more than 2 days per week. I took a comparison picture – not expecting too much difference only one month in – and I was really impressed with the improvements!

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My head is higher and not so far forward, my spine is in better alignment, and my hips are further back. My pelvis tilts less (still have a ways to go) and shoulders still roll forward but not quite as much!

Charlie

Goal #1: Lose 20 lbs/Button wedding pants without “sucking it in”
     • Track intakes with My Fitness Pal, aiming for goal of 2000 kcal per day.

How he’s doing: Charlie has been faithful with his tracking and though I don’t think he loves the discipline of doing it, he does love the accountability it gives him. He tracks as he goes and makes decisions for the rest of the day based on where he’s at. So far, he’s lost 11 lbs!

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I swear I did not intentionally make the “before” photo have poor lighting!

Goal #2: Increase cardiovascular fitness from “Excellent” to “Superior”
     • Follow the P90X workout program to do 60 minutes of exercise daily.

How he’s doing: He’s working out like a boss! Charlie has been doing P90X daily and if he feels like one of the videos was too easy, he tosses in a second cardio video and does two-a-days! He’s insane, but it works for him and he’s enjoying it. He’s definitely noticed that the videos are getting easier as he goes along.

Goal #3: Improve flexibility from “Good” to “Excellent”
     • Do some yoga each day.

How he’s doing: Charlie has compromised to doing yoga three times weekly, and has definitely noticed a difference in his flexibility. He can put his hands flat on the floor in a forward fold now!

We’re excited about getting our goals! If you’ve got some goals you’d like some help getting, check out www.impowerednf.com for more information about meeting with me to set up your wellness plan!



We are about three weeks into our goal-getting and we’re cruising along pretty well by now! Though I have to admit that the first week was rough. Holy moley.

Improving your fitness is tricky, in a way, because your body is trained for exactly what you have asked it to train for. If that is running 3 flat miles regularly, you’ll be trained for that and it won’t be tough. But add in an unexpected hill or try to push to 4 or 5 miles and that will be tough. Your muscles and cardiovascular system are simply not prepared for it. If what you’re trained for is couch surfing, you’ll be trained for that and it won’t be tough. Anything more though – climbing stairs, lifting boxes, or going dancing with your sweetheart – might be pretty tough.

So when you set a goal to improve your fitness, whether it’s cardiovascular or muscular, you can bet you’re going to be dealing with some discomfort.

Exhibit A: Becki and “The Stairs”

It was a cold, January morning. I had a “brilliant” idea.

“Charlie,” I said, “do you know of any long flights of stairs locally?”IMG_1171

“Sure,” he replied. “The 2nd Ave stairs. Why?”

“I was thinking I should start running stairs to up my cardio, ” said I.

Why? Why did I say that? I should have my head examined.

So off we go, to “The Stairs.” I in my new jewel-toned, patterned leggings thinking I can conquer the world, and Charlie in his excellent cardiovascular shape and 45-lb weight vest. Sickening, isn’t it?

So off I trot up the stairs, jogging all the way. I make it to the top with minimal protests from my quadriceps. Down the stairs I go. Lap one done.

Charlie is wisely pacing himself.

I, however, am feeling so good I immediately (no rest, who needs it?) turn right around and jog back up the stairs. Halfway. Until there is fire all throughout my chest and I think my heart is in imminent danger of fatal explosion.

“Am I dying? Is it all over? I must have some kind of undiagnosed heart condition!”

So this is what it’s like to have “fair” cardiovascular endurance. I gotta tell ya, I’m not a fan.

I slogged (no more trotting) up the rest of the way and managed to go down, and up, and down, and up and down once more before my lungs, heart, and quads could not take it anymore. Meanwhile a 50-something lady in excellent shape has been lunging the stairs two at a time since before we got there, and continued after we left. Impressive.

We walked back to the car and I flopped in the passenger seat, my inner drama queen insisting that I truly was going to die and that I should make sure my husband knew how much I really love and appreciate him.

The fire in my chest lasted for a painful thirty minutes, during which torture I had a succession of three different thoughts:

  1. “Man, I really, really, REALLY need to improve my cardio.”
  2. “I totally get why people quit exercising after the first day or two. This is horrific.”
  3. “I should write a post to help people get through this and get to their goals.”

So I decided to write up a few tips for others who are facing a fizzling New Years’ resolution in the face of a difficult new exercise program:

  1. Remember your finish line. What is your purpose? Why are you doing this? It usually has to be something bigger than the way you look to stick, so think bigger and in detail. Think health – how will your body feel when you are fit? What health issues will you not have to worry about? Think abilities – how will it feel when you can climb any set of stairs or take on any challenge with ease and confidence? Envision it in detail to yourself before you hit the gym (or the road or the stairs, etc) and keep that picture with you when it gets tough.
  2. Difficulty = progress. To an extent, anyway (caveat below). If it’s not at least a little tough, you might not be pushing hard enough to see improvement in your abilities. You don’t have to kill yourself, but when you push past what your body can easily do, that’s when the training comes in. You’re telling your body that the cardiovascular or muscular capabilities it’s currently trained for are not enough to meet the physical demands you’re putting on it. So when it rebuilds, repairs, or builds new cells, it will make them better. They will be more easily oxygenated or stronger or whatever is necessary to be more trained for the activity you’re asking your body to do.
  3. Work up to it. I was probably a tad too ambitious – power mad with the confidence of a new pair of leggings – to go trotting up those stairs like I’d been running them all my life. It didn’t have to be so hard. Some exercise is way better than none, so start slower and gradually increase to prevent some of the (very literal) heartache I experienced. It can be tough to admit that you’ve lost some edge or abilities you once had (oh, how the mighty have fallen!), but it’s better than quitting after 1-2 days and giving up on achieving your goals!
  4. Be patient. The first 4-6 weeks of a new exercise program (one you’ve never done before) produces mostly neural and cellular changes. That means that you’re building new nerve pathways. That also means that you may or may not feel a difference, and you also may not see any difference. That does not mean that you are not training your body. Does anyone have a guess as to the length of time the average person sticks with a new exercise program before quitting? 4-6 weeks. People are quitting because they aren’t noticing results, but that’s because their bodies are building the foundations for the results they are looking for! Hang in there – don’t give up!

It took me about three stair days and three days of other cardio before it wasn’t really miserable to climb those stairs anymore. All in all, remember that when you start any new exercise program, your body is totally unprepared for it – take it easy, push gently beyond what is comfortable, and be patient. You’ll get there!

 

 

 


Here’s part two of the guest post from my awesome husband Charlie! Go back and check out his first post if you missed it – that will help this one make much more sense. Now, to be completely honest, Charlie basically designed his program himself, so I can’t take too much credit. He did, however, discuss it with me along the way and has ended up selecting (mostly) the type of plan that I would have designed for him anyway. But I’ll tell ya, there’s some truth to the saying that you can’t help your friends or family! He was a little stubborn on a couple of points, but overall a good patient (hehe). Here’s (from the husband’s mouth…er…keyboard) how Charlie picked out the program that works for him:

 

So, I had a few goals of my own, in mind. Here they are:

1. Lose 20 lbs (bringing me down to about 180 or so)
2. Increase my cardiovascular fitness from Excellent to Superior.
3. Improve my flexibility by doing more yoga!
4. Fit back into my wedding pants (they are too tight, now)

Now, like Becki, my own goals are all pretty synergistic. Losing weight happens through diet and exercise – thus, I have to increase my cardio. In doing so, I’ll benefit greatly from stretching, and the net result will be me strutting around in my weddin’ pants again. Of course, there’s the whole getting started thing – which, as anyone who tries to “get into shape” knows, absolutely sucks. I have found that my body roundly rejects any change of routine. At least, it tries its dangdest. And my body and brain will work in cahoots against me.

My Personality: I’m very much a free spirited type. While I will typically groan about routines and planning, the truth is that I just hate making plans – I don’t actually mind following through on them. I love accomplishment and progress, so as long as I stick to my guns, I’ll see results, snowball my motivation and continue to strive toward my ends.

My Lifestyle: Fortunately, being a Firefighter/EMT gives me the opportunity to work out while I’m at work – both in the gym and on the job – so I don’t have a whole lot of excuses to wriggle out of exercising. It also gives me a fairly stable schedule everywhere except at work, where I never know what might happen in a given day. Given that and keeping an eye on my diet with a food tracker and I should be well set!

My true confession: I love being fit and flexible. I love lifting weights and working out. Heck, I even love running. But I also love eating food. And not just any food. I love milk. Sausage. Steak. Pie. Ice Cream. Rich, creamy, sugary foods. Cookies? Yeah, I’ll take 6. Cake? Make it a double. You get the point.

So, while I have already been fairly active in my exercising in the past, I need to intensify it and, more importantly to my health and goals, moderate.

And I don’t wanna. But I’m gonna.

Goal #1: Lose 20 pounds

So, this is the one that takes the longest. It’s the first goal I’ve set but it’ll likely be the last goal I attain, because it’s really a culmination of the efforts I’ll embark on in my next couple of goals.

In order to do this, I plan on exercising for at least an hour 6 times a week and counting calories with MyFitnessPal, which I have used to great success in the past. After asking my fantastic dietitian wife, I will aim for a diet of around 2000 calories a day – which is basically a 500 calorie deficit daily for a man of my age and stature – and based on caloric intakes of 50% carbohydrates, 25% protein and 25% fats (Note from Becki: This was a compromise – see my comment above about his stubbornness – so don’t take these recommendations and run with them! Everyone’s body is different!).

This sounds complicated, but eating a basic diet of whole foods – milk, eggs, vegetables, fruits, meats and grains – tends to land me within those parameters on a regular basis without any direct effort of my own.

Goal #2 and #3: Cardio/Flexibility

These are the really tough part. I’m embarking on a 90-day workout journey with everyone’s favorite series, the P90X series. Now, for those of you unfamiliar with the program, it is essentially a body weight fitness series that focuses on interval/circuit training. It focuses on a muscle group one day, then a cardio routine the next. Rinse and repeat. The first month or so looks something like this:

Day 1 – Chest and back

Day 2 – Plyometrics

Day 3 – Shoulders and Arms

Day 4 – Yoga

Day 5 – Legs and Back

Day 6 – Kenpo Karate

Day 7 – Rest or Stretch video

Repeat and so on. So you’re getting at least an hour a day in, and whether it’s a cardio based day or not, you’ll have a high heart rate regardless, thanks to the pacing. It’s a great routine for slimming down and getting used to using muscles you’ve been ignoring for a while. And I have lots of those.

This program, combined with my other activities, is what I’ll use to lose that weight!

Final Goal: Wear my wedding pants!

This is going to be very vindicating. I have a whole shelf full of pants I haven’t worn in a year – they’re just too tight. So I’ll train and moderate until they fit comfortably.

My Plan

Summed Up:

1. Moderate calorie intake to 2000 calories a day with healthy choices

2. Set aside 1 hour a day for active working out via P90X

3. Stretch properly and try to do a bit of yoga daily

4. Button pants without “sucking it in”.

Here’s to goals and go-gettin’! Thanks!


I hope you enjoyed my husband’s guest post. Today, it’s back to me! Today I will show you how I take my goals from ideas to action. As a quick reminder, the goals I set in my previous post were:

  1. Lose 7 lbs to return to my usual body weight
  2. Decrease resting heart rate and blood pressure to normal ranges
  3. Increase cardiovascular fitness from “fair” to “good”
  4. Improve posture by stretching chest, hip flexors, and decreasing anterior pelvic tilt, while strengthening back muscles.

Some really great news about the goals I have set is that goals #1-3 all work together really nicely. All in all, I need to improve my cardio and that is also one of the key parts of a balanced weight-loss plan, so I won’t have to do double-duty on exercise there. Goal #4 is a little different and will involve some specific stretching and targeted strengthening exercises. Before I get into the nitty gritty of how I plan to achieve my goals, I’m going to start by asking myself some of the same questions I ask my clients. These questions help me make appropriate suggestions/decisions about the types of plans that are most likely to work for each individual person. Here are my answers:

My personality: I’m a nerd! Epitome of a type-A personality, I love to organize, have a plan, and make lists! I love structure but I also love variety and I love to have fun!

My lifestyle: I’m primarily working from home now, which makes cooking and food prep much easier, as well as scheduling in time to exercise. In the past, I have used a food tracker to help me meet nutrition goals but I’m not really feeling like tracking right now. Despite my nerdy, type-A personality, I would like to use something with more flexibility that is a little less labor intensive since I’m focusing a lot of my detail-oriented energy on my business.

My true confession: I ask clients this question to learn what kinds of things they think are likely to be “bad” or that they think might hold them back from their goals. In reality, it’s so I can make sure to find out the foods or exercises they feel very strongly about (for or against!) and make sure to tailor their plan accordingly.

For me? I love chips! A lot. And ice cream.

I also do not care for cardio, in a general sense. I get bored! I need more mental stimulus than a treadmill, elliptical, or jog offers to distract me from thoughts of, “when can I stop doing this????” It doesn’t help that I’m so out of cardio shape now that it hurts to do vigorous cardio. For a cardio plan to work for me, it’s going to have to include fun and variety – lots of variety. And maybe some social interaction. That helps a lot too!

Goal #1: Lose 7 pounds

This one will obviously take focus on both exercise and nutrition. I’ll discuss exercise more in goals 2-3. I’ll cover nutrition here.

Since I’m not feeling like tracking intakes right now, I’m opting for a more flexible option. My easy-to-use nutrition plan was born after I calculated the recommended amount of calories for a day to lose 1 lb per week, then translated that into portion sizes from each food group for balanced and well-rounded nutrition. That essentially leaves me with a quick-and-easy checklist of portion sizes, like so:

Screenshot (26)

The list is designed to give me extra “slush calories” for treats, condiments, or whatever (like chips and ice cream!) so I don’t have to feel deprived or restricted.

Goals #2-3: Decrease heart rate and blood pressure, Improve cardiovascular fitness

The primary way I’m opting to attack these areas is by working on my cardiovascular endurance, as I happen to know that it is the primary cause of my increased heart rate and blood pressure. With cardiovascular training, you can decrease your resting heart rate, and decrease the work of your heart. Essentially, your heart becomes a stronger and more efficient muscle the more you train it.

IMG_1171

“The” Stairs

Since cardio can be boring for me, I’m keeping my plan open to allow for several different types of cardio including (but not limited to):

  • Cardio dancing videos from Youtube
  • P90X DVDs with my husband
  • Kickboxing DVDs
  • Scottish Highland Dancing (an old pastime I break out every so often)
  • Climbing a mean steep flight of local stairs

I’m going to make my action plan include getting my heart rate to a goal range (115-155 bpm) doing 40-60 minutes of any of the above cardio options 5 days per week. That way, I can choose what I prefer to do that day based on my mood and I’m less likely to be bored or skip.

Goal #4: Improve posture/target muscle imbalances

For this one, I was fortunate enough to have my dear yoga teacher friend Jessica at Zesa Wellness design a personalized, anti-desk job yoga practice to help me open my chest and hip flexors and strengthen my back. I’m planning to do this practice 5 days per week.

I have also designed a strength training program that targets my the muscles up and down my back. In general, I don’t recommend strength training programs that aren’t balanced (where they only train one muscle group or one side of the body), but this is my one exception. When I know there is already a muscle imbalance, I will sometimes temporarily train the weaker side only for a few weeks to help balance things out before incorporating a more balanced plan that trains the whole body. I’m going to complete this strength training plan twice weekly.

My Plan

To sum it up, my plan looks like this:

Goal #1: Lose 7 lbs to return to my usual body weight

  • Use my daily food group checklist to stay within and get enough food from each food group each day.


Goals #2-3: Decrease resting heart rate and blood pressure to normal ranges and increase cardiovascular fitness from “fair” to “good”

  • Complete 40-60 minutes of cardiovascular exercise (heart rate 115-155 bpm) 5 days per week


Goal #4: Improve posture by stretching chest, hip flexors, and decreasing anterior pelvic tilt, while strengthening back muscles

  • Complete yoga practice 5 days per week
  • Complete strength training program 2 days per week

I realize that may sound like a lot to commit to, but remember that I’m working from home and have quite a bit of control over my schedule. That’s one of the strengths of my current lifestyle that I’m taking advantage of with this plan!

Up next: Part 2 of Making My Husband’s Plan!


You lucky readers! Today’s post is a guest post by my charming husband Charlie! He’ll be giving you the background on how he set his goals. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the read!

Charlie’s Assessment Results:

Charlie

Resting pulse Normal
Resting BP Normal
Body Mass Index Overweight
Waist-to-hip Ratio Low risk
Body fat % Poor
Cardiovascular fitness Excellent
Muscular endurance (push-up) Good
Muscular endurance (curl-up) Excellent
Flexibility Good

 

 

Well, I’m was somewhat surprised by the results of the assessment. While I knew I’d been carrying around an excess of weight, I never think of myself as physically fit or in good cardiovascular shape. I do work out on a regular basis but it’s more of a sporadic schedule – I have not had a specific focus in some time, so I’ve basically just been sampling from the buffet table of exercise – and from the actual buffet table, it seems, based on my numbers. I’m at least 15 lbs overweight at the moment and my flexibility has suffered. My cardio is actually pretty good – but I tend to train that more often than I do anything else.

IMG_0592Charlie’s Story: About 5 years ago, I realized my health might actually be important! I was a truck
driver at the time – working 12+ hours a day, eating terribly, sleeping little and being quite inactive when I was not working. I started having back and knee issues – mostly due to sitting so often and being overweight. So I started working out – slowly at first, building endurance and strength, and increasing as I could. Eventually, I started using the P90x program and watching my food intake, which helped a lot! Once I completed that, I started weight training – heavy squats, deadlifts, bench presses, etc. – compound exercises, mostly. This fixed all my health issues!

Fast forward a few years – during which I began/achieved my quests to become a Firefighter/EMT and a husband – and my diligence in keeping my physical fitness at top level has dwindled. I still work out several times a week, but not with the intensity I used to. Added to that is the fact that I haven’t been regulating my diet in any way for a couple of years. Poor habit + poor habit = poor results. So, time to fix it!

Charlie’s Other Concerns: I have a history of knee surgeries and issues that I don’t want to exacerbate by ignoring my health. As stated above, I’ve had more issues/pain in my knees as my weight goes up, historically, than when I’m lighter or more active, so I need to keep my weight in check.

While my health is clearly important, equally so is my fitness for my career – and the folks I serve. I have a responsibility to the public to be capable of getting someone out of a burning building! Also, ever tried dragging a charged fire hose through a house? No picnic, that. And, while that, admittedly, is not a particularly frequent event, it’s a possibility. More often, though, I’m helping someone who has fallen and needs assistance or lifting gurneys with sick folks – and that takes strength, flexibility and conditioning, too.

And my pants are more snug than they used to be. That’s annoying. I like my pants. I don’t want to buy new ones.

Charlie’s End Game: My end game will essentially have me back in “fighting shape” – lighter on my feet, more flexible and with more practical strength than just weightlifting strength. I’ll be able to button my pants without thinking about shopping for a bigger size. And it involves me having more energy, because I’ve taken care of my body and am proactive about nutrition and fitness.

Charlie’s Goals: Of course, as a man, I want to absolutely crush my goals. And I instinctively want to set pretty high standards. So I’m going to do that. Here they are:

  1. Lose 20 lbs (bringing me down to about 180 or so)
  2. Increase my cardiovascular fitness from Excellent to Superior.
  3. Improve my flexibility by doing more yoga!
  4. Fit back into my wedding pants (they are too tight, now)

That covers my main goals. I’ll share my plan when it’s done! Thanks!


My Assessment Results: In case you missed the last post (or forgot!) I’ll remind you of how my body composition and fitness assessments turned out.

Resting pulse Elevated
Resting BP Elevated
Weight + 7 lbs from my normal
Body Mass Index Normal
Waist-to-hip Ratio Low risk
Body fat % Average
Cardiovascular fitness Fair
Muscular endurance (push-up) Very Good
Muscular endurance (curl-up) Excellent
Flexibility Good

My body composition overall is pretty good, with the exception that I happen to be up 7 lbs from what is normal for me, and I happen to know that it is not muscle gain.

My muscular endurance and flexibility have hung in there pretty well, but my cardiovascular system is asking for help!

My elevated resting heart rate and blood pressure are showing that my body is having to work harder to move blood throughout my body by beating faster and generating more pressure than it should have to. Definitely an area I want to improve!

 

My Story: I’m suffering from desk job-itis!! I have worked at a desk job for the last 2 1/2 years and it has definitely taken its toll! For most of the last 2 years I have made it a point to go for a 30-minute walk at lunch at least 3-4 days per week, but it clearly wasn’t cutting it for keeping my cardio up to snuff. I’ve tossed in yoga and weight lifting along the way, which makes sense in my results, as my muscular endurance and flexibility are still okay.

The last 2 months or so have been particularly bad for my inactivity, because I was still working full-time at my clinic and spending out-of-work hours preparing to open my practice. I made the choice to temporarily prioritize that over my fitness and now that I’m no longer working full-time I’m ready to turn that around.
IMG_1127

My other concerns: As part of my desk job-itis, I have developed some postural issues from muscle imbalances. It’s hard to “stand naturally” when posing for a picture of your posture but I tried here.

See how my neck and shoulders tend to roll forward a lot, rounding my upper back? My chest muscles are tight and my upper back muscles are weak from all of my hunching over a computer screen (and phone and books).

The other notable issue with my posture is that, because of the weaknesses in my back, I tend to let my lower back arch forward. The midline of my hips should be further back, nearer to my spine so that my spine is a bit more neutral to protect my back.

On top of this, my hip flexors (the muscles in the front of my hips) are tight from all my sitting and lack of moving, so they are causing my pelvis to tip forward and down. They need some stretching.

These are all things I would like to make goals to address!

My end game: I often ask clients to describe their “end game” – what are you going for? Describe what life looks like when you’ve met all your health goals. How do you feel? What do you do?

For me, I want to be strong and healthy. Strong enough to push and pull my own body weight and then some. Strong enough to surprise other people, but mostly surprise myself. Capable to protect myself. I want to be healthy in that my lifestyle supports my body in what it needs to function well – nutrition, sleep, movement, and flexibility. I want to be healthy to do my part to prevent risk factors or chronic conditions. I want to be healthy enough to “go out and do.” By that, I mean no matter what opportunity I’m given, I’m able to take advantage of it and am not held back because of my lack of health, lack of strength, or lack of endurance.

 

My Goals

Using the information above, I have created the following goals:

  1. Lose 7 lbs to return to my usual body weight
  2. Decrease resting heart rate and blood pressure to normal ranges
  3. Increase cardiovascular fitness from “fair” to “good”
  4. Improve posture by stretching chest, hip flexors, and decreasing anterior pelvic tilt, while strengthening back muscles.

In part 2, I’ll show you how I turn these long-term goals into a plan!