Sunday, March 14, 2010

That fruity thing we did

So Darek and I survived our three-day fruit and vegetable diet. In fact, it was actually quite enjoyable. I'll admit the first day was rough -- I was dying for a turkey sandwich -- but by day three, the rabbitesque menu didn't seem so bad.

Call it a placebo effect, but Darek and I both felt like we had more energy than normal during those three days. Even on Tuesday, when I had my 4:45 a.m. client, I didn't feel a need for an afternoon nap. And while I usually treat myself to a coffee before returning to work in the evening, by Wednesday I was reaching for an apple with just as much enthusiasm.

We did modify a few things from our original plan. Halfway through day one, we decided to include nuts on the menu. And we allowed ourselves to drink coffee in the morning (hey, coffee beans are from the ground, right?).

The fun part was coming up with unique ways to make hearty meals out of produce. We ate a LOT of avocados, squash and mushrooms (not together, of course), and I invented a couple of recipes that I will actually use again.

I don't think I would ever do anything like this long-term, but it did feel great on Thursday, when we had gone back to our normal eating habits, to still be craving a juicy piece of fruit for a snack. Darek and I decided that we would definitely try to substitute more fruits and vegetables for foods such as granola bars and other quick-fix carbs.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Plant-atarian for a week

Have you ever severely limited what types of foods you consumed for several days at a time?

My mom recently forwarded me an email regarding the benefits of a fruit-filled diet. According to the email's author, eating fruits and veggies by themselves allows you to absorb more nutrients than when your produce is mixed in with other food groups. I am not usually one to buy into fad diets or deprival detoxes, but this claim piqued my interest.

The author advocated sticking to an all-fruit diet for three days and noting how much more energy you had. To me, this sounded like an exciting challenge. I love fresh fruit, and I wouldn't mind experimenting with my diet for a few days -- what did I have to lose?

I told Darek about my plan, and he agreed to give it a try, too, so yesterday we stocked up on produce (veggies, too) and enojoyed our last real meal until Thursday. I am really curious to see how this goes, and to be honest, a bit skeptical. While it may be true that Vitamin C from an orange is more readily absorbed on an empty stomach, how would my active body react without the protein and iron it is accustomed to? And would I be super cranky without my beloved carbs?

We shall see ...

Today I have eaten (as of 2:30 p.m.):
Bowl of fruit salad (strawberries, bananas, grapes, kiwi, blueberries)
Spinach salad with tomates, cucumbers, peppers, red onions, avocado, apple
A few strawberries
Glass of orange/carrot/apple juice
Bowl of broccolli

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Valentine's surprise

Considering Darek and I would only have one Valentine's Day as an engaged couple, I have to admit I was a bit disappointed when Darek said we'd be spending all of Feb. 14 with his family. My vision of a candlelit dinner with Josh Groban in the background was clearly not in the cards.

I didn't anticipate that this would be one of the most memorable Valentine's Days I've ever experienced.

The reason we were spending the day with my future in-laws was to celebrate Darek's grandparents' 60th wedding anniversary. To honor their marriage, a Catholic mass was held in their name. Respectfully, I linked arms with my future hubby and accompanied him and his family to the service, which was entirely in Polish.

An hour went by. I found myself fighting off yawns and praying my stomach wouldn't growl during any solemn moments. Finally, in the last 15 minutes of the mass, the priest motioned for Babcia and Dziadek to stand.

At ages 88 and 90, each grasping a cane, they stood up in front of the congregation and renewed their vows. I didn't understand a word of what was said, but within 10 seconds, I was a sobbing mess. In fewer than six months, Darek and I would be up at the altar, promising to love each other and support each other till death do us part. Now I know what that promise looks like.

What a wonderful event to witness on the Valentine's Day! I pray that Darek and I can follow in his grandparents' footsteps and enjoy at least 60 years of happiness together.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Grow up and get a "real" job

A few nights ago, a fellow trainer shared with me some negative comments he’d received about his chosen career. Specifically, this trainer was told he should “grow up and get a real job.”

It baffles me how anyone can think that what we do is not a “real” job. Having previously worked for a magazine, where colleagues and I spent hours crafting articles for readers whom we’d never met, I feel that personal training is as close to reality as it gets.

Every day, we are in the trenches. We might not be doctors or peacemakers or humanitarians, but our job consists of far more than stringing together exercises and demonstrating proper form.

Back in October, I had the opportunity to interview Tony Horton, the mastermind (and body) behind P90X. Tony related personal training to practicing medicine. If you are a trainer, he said, you can call yourself “pre-med,” as in preventative medicine.

But it goes even deeper than that. In some ways, our clients’ goals define what we do for a living. For example, two of my clients are trying to get in shape to keep up with their young kids. My purpose, then, becomes helping these two individuals be better parents. Another client is trying to take time off his marathon – my purpose is to help him become a better runner.

I can think of no undertaking more real than to help people reach their goals through physical, concrete means. I’m proud to be personal trainer.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Life's work

How many jobs can one person have in a lifetime? More importantly, how many jobs can one excel at? I'm wondering this right now, as I consider what direction I eventually want to take my career. I enjoy working as a personal trainer but I feel like I can't be an excellent trainer if I also want to be an excellent writer. And someday down the road, I'd really like to be an excellent mom, too.

In fact, If I could, I would be a supermom, freelance writer, personal trainer, exercise physiologist, entrepreneur, photographer, artist, advertising copywriter, book author and professional dog walker.

The only person I've known to come close to such a feat was my dad. Somehow, he managed to balance successful careers as a barber and engineer, while being the best dad a child could ever ask for. Oh, and prior to that, he'd lived out his dream of racing stock cars. Sure, he lost out on sleep, but considering that he only lived to be 47, I think he took the best path out there. Just think if he'd had 47 more years!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Wake up call

This morning I woke up at the ungodly hour of 4 a.m. At a time when nocturnal creatures are eating dinner and college students are coming home from the bars, I was climbing into my car to go to work.

As far as I can remember, the only other time I’ve done such a thing was when preparing to catch a flight out of O’Hare – and in that case, I promptly returned to my slumber as soon as I boarded the plane. Today, however, I had to play peppy cheerleader for my 4:45 a.m. client, an investment-banking hotshot who starts work at 6:30 a.m.

I have to give the guy a lot of credit – he works 12-hour days and wants to be home at night for his wife and three kids. Kind of makes you think about people who “don’t have time to work out.” While I wouldn’t recommend those people haul their asses to the gym at 4 in the morning, I do believe anyone can “make time” for something, if they want it badly enough.

In fact, I probably should be napping right now (before I return to work at 6 p.m.), but Mr. Investment Guy has inspired me to sit down and write, the thing that I need to make time to do.

Today my boss sent out an email to all of us trainers with some words from inspirational speaker Anthony Robbins. Robbins says that if you’re not meeting your goals, you need to raise your standards:

“Raising your standards truly means turning your shoulds into musts. Everyone has a list of shoulds: ‘I should spend more time with my kids.’ ‘I should spend more time with a business plan.’ ‘I should lose some weight.’ I should, I should, I should. People don’t actually change. They just end up what I call, “shoulding” all over themselves. Convert those “shoulds” into “musts” and your entire life changes. … When you feel that you absolutely must get something done, you will find a way.”

Turn one “should” into a “must” this year.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Resolution No. 1: Write!

I can think of at least five New Year’s resolutions I’d like to make good on this year, but the one that matters to me most is to spend more time writing. Since I started working as a trainer in November, I took a break from freelancing to build my clientele. Just two months later, I feel like the creative side of my brain has been hijacked by resistance bands and BOSU balls. And as much as I enjoy coming up with unique ways to work the glutes, I’d like to exercise my writing skills, too.

With that in mind, I plan to spend a lot more time on this blog. I’ve decided to make it my priority to write something (and it can be ANYTHING) at least once a week. If I’m not working on an article or other project, this little site is where I’ll be. Stay tuned for my adventures as a trainer, updates on wedding planning and other details of my hectic yet mundane life. :)