Happy Monday, everyone! We’re having some really awful weather in Austin today — cold and rainy with a chance of ice — and I’d be lying if I said it was easy for me to crawl out of bed at 5:15 this morning to lift weights. But, instead of convincing myself that staying wrapped up in my warm blankets and skipping my workout wouldn’t do me any harm, I realized that not sticking to my routine on a Monday morning was the exact opposite of how I wanted to start this week.
Regardless of the crummy weather, how little sleep I got this weekend, or how many excuses I could have come up with to rationalize staying in bed this morning, none of them would have validated starting my week out in a way that gets between me and my goals. This has been a recurring theme for me throughout 2015 thus far. No, my year didn’t get off to a great start. I had a crap-ton of personal stuff going on in January, then had a few crazy weeks of pet health issues to deal with earlier this month, and work has definitely been picking up. I’ve been constantly busy, stressed out some (most?) of the time, and ready to give up a small number of times. Any time I catch myself thinking about that last one — giving up — I remind myself that it isn’t an option.
Some might call me crazy, but even when I had a funeral to attend or a vet neurologist appointment to take my little Bailey girl to, I still managed to get my workouts in. I haven’t gone a day this year (with the exception of my planned rest days) where I’ve chosen to skip the gym. The key word here? Chosen. I’ve chosen to stick to it. Every day, whether or not I work out and make healthy food choices is a conscious decision that I make for myself. Each time I choose to do something to better my health — eat a good breakfast, lift weights at 5:30am, turn down the cookies in the break room at work, or make it to boot camp at 5:30pm — I count it as a small win and mentally pat myself on the back. In the bigger picture, multiple small wins = major results.
I didn’t choose to have a rough start to the year. Most of what happened was completely out of my own personal realm of control. However, the way that I responded to different situations was 100% in my control. The me of two years ago coped with stress by over-eating and drinking. A lot. I didn’t take ownership of those decisions, either. This year, I made a point to stick to my routine and keep my health a priority no matter the circumstance. Today, I’m almost 3 months into 2015, in the best shape of my life, and hitting personal records in the gym every week.
I’ve been getting more comfortable with upping my caloric intake to fuel my body appropriately, and my muscles have been growing a ton. I could have used the last several weeks as an excuse to falter, but I chose to do the exact opposite. :o) And let me tell ya’ — it’s paying off! I squatted at 195lbs for 8 reps on Saturday morning, which is 5 pounds closer to my goal of 200 than I was a week ago. I was struggling with 165 at the beginning of the year. I was so excited about it, I took a selfie after finishing the set (and yes, I almost puked in that restroom behind me because I was pushing myself so hard):
PSA: lifting heavy is one of the best things I’ve ever done for my body. The more I’ve been eating, the heavier I’m able to go. And, my clothes are fitting more loosely. Seriously. If you’re looking for a sample workout and a few tips on muscle building (for women), I just stumbled across this article on bodybuilding.com that is definitely worth the read. You’d better believe I’m going to use the sample program outlined at the bottom, too!
While I’ve been kicking ass at the whole gym/exercise part of my routine, I’ve definitely allowed blogging to get de-prioritized since the end of last year. Time to change that! I definitely haven’t stopped cooking — in fact, I’ve been testing my limits more than ever before. In fact, just this past weekend, one of my awesome boot camp friends asked me to cook a slew of healthy, protein-packed vegetarian recipes for her, and I cooked 5 new meals that I’ve never cooked before ALL in one day. (Thanks for pushing me, Vani!) I just haven’t been as good at documenting as I used to be, so I need to improve on that. I’ve enlisted my good friend Kristina to serve as my blogging accountability partner, and I’m going to make time to do this at least every other week. Public commitment, y’all — please help hold me to this! :o)
So, my question to you is: what are you doing this week to get you closer to where you want to be in the future? Any time you make a choice that gets you closer to your goals, no matter how huge or tiny it is, recognize it. Take a few seconds to be proud of yourself. I don’t care if it’s as small as logging your food for a whole day or as huge as making it to the gym 6 days in a row and hitting PRs on every single exercise. Both deserve little pats on the back and some positive self-talk, so do it.
Asian Barbeque Steak Skewers
If you’re looking for a little bit of red meat in your life (yes, I eat red meat at least 2-3 times a week), this is one of my favorite ways to prepare steak. An hour or two of marinating, 10 minutes of assembly, 10 minutes on the grill, and you have a full, flavor-popping meal.
Cook time: 2 hours marinating + 25 minutes hands-on
- 10 oz lean flank steak (I’m lazy and buy the pre-cut kind from HEB)
- 1 tsp Lawry’s low-sodium seasoning
- 2 tbsp hoisin sauce
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 tbsp minced ginger
- 2 tsp Sweet Baby Ray’s barbeque sauce
- 1/4 cup chopped green onion
- 1 white onion, chopped into large chunks
- 2 bell peppers, chopped into large chunks
- 1 cup cooked brown rice
- Combine Lawry’s, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, ginger, and barbeque sauce in a bowl and mix well
- Transfer sauce to a large Ziploc bag. Add steak and green onions to bag, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours
- Thread skewers with a chunk of bell pepper, a chunk of onion, and a chunk of steak. Repeat until all meat has been used.
- Preheat grill to medium-high
- Cook skewers for 6-10 minutes, rotating once midway through cooking time
- Serve over brown rice