My journey from CAN'T to CAN – one workout at a time.

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Slide1How do you define yourself?  If you had to pinpoint the one (or two) thing(s) that make you so very you, what would it be?

I suppose this connects to the previous post (Workout Moments of Enlightenment).  I suppose this also connects to the feeling that many of the people I know or have known seem to want to box me in or fit me into a specific definition.  Sometimes, it’s as if they want me to be limited in my abilities still or have a specific set of guidelines by which I operate.  Well, the thing is, I believe we are constantly evolving.  At least those of us with self-awareness and a desire to be the absolute best person we can be.  So, how can we remain the same?  How can we always be defined as X when we are evolving into Y?

I know it must be tough for loved ones when you see a person you care for struggling with some illness or condition.  In fact, I really do know – my mother has Multiple Sclerosis.  But what I’ve noticed as I’ve taken back my life and decreased my FM symptoms dramatically is that there are times when loved ones fall back on your previous limitations.  For example, before my transformation I couldn’t carry much of anything and felt a bit like an invalid at times.  Now, my strength has grown dramatically and I’ll basically carry anything I can.  I’ll do anything I can.  Sometimes, I’m asked “Why are you carrying that?” or Why are you doing that?” My answer? “Because I can.”  So I suppose even throughout my evolution(s), one label remains.  One word will always define me: fighter. 

Today, during my workout, I was amazed at a new achievement.  As usual, it might not seem like much to most people.  But, to me, it was thrilling.  What I’m noticing day after day is that I really am eradicating “Can’t” from my vocabulary.  I can remember when I was unable to do this specific thing on one of the TurboFire workouts and I said “I’m not able to do that yet” – YET.  And what happened?  Now I can.  That’s a fighter for ya.  I just thought, hey maybe I should try this again and see if I can do it yet.  And there you go.  Sometimes you just have to keep trying.  Try every day until can’t becomes can.  It’s a pretty remarkable feeling.

So think about it.  How do you define yourself?  Do you let others define you?  Take control – you own this.  You set the rules.  Make it positive.  Make it empowering.  Define yourself in a way that motivates you to do better; to be better.

There are no excuses.  Just try.  Just give it your all.  And you just might be surprised.


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Workout Moments of Enlightenment

Sometimes, mid-workout, you hear something you’ve heard a thousand times but for some reason – today – it just resonates with you.  And, today I was doing a TurboFire workout with Chalene Johnson.  For those of you who are unaware, she is basically amazing.  She says exactly what you need to hear, when you need to hear it.  She knows when to say “push yourself”and when to say “you’re doing great!” So today, I had one of those moments.  I’d heard it before, but today I thought “I need to write about this”.  So I am.   Here is what she said:

“Never give yourself negative labels.  Give yourself labels that are positive.

Seems simple, right? Well think about it. Really think about it.  How often do you give yourself negative labels? Me? I used to live in a perpetual state of negative label-dom.  Fat. Stupid. Worthless. Not good enough. Weak. A lot of them were learned; drilled into my subconscious by a less than great parent until I started to believe they were true. But, they’re not true. None of them. And that’s one of the many things I’ve realized throughout this process.

One of my biggest labels? One of the things that has been hanging over my head, negatively impacting my life for years? Fibromyalgia. When you say “I have fibromyalgia” it really is just a simple fact. But when it becomes all that you are, it’s a label. A very negative one at that. In years past, saying “I have fibromyalgia” was the equivalent of saying “I’m weak”, “I’m a quitter”, or “I’m just not good enough.”  Today when I say it, I’m saying “I’m a fighter”, “I can”, and “I am good enough”.

Some labels you can’t change. Some labels you choose. Choose positive ones. Force the ones you can’t change to become positive ones.

Never give yourself negative labels. You are good enough. You can do this. You are worth fighting for.


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Jammed: Me: 1 – Fibromyalgia: 0

On May 19, 2013, I reached a major milestone in this journey of mine.  I won’t say I “finished” anything, because I am far from done.  In fact, I plan to keep on pushing for the rest of my life.  The milestone?  I completed a Beachbody Fitness Challenge, which to most might not seem like that big of a deal.  But to me, it meant everything.  When you have fibromyalgia, you’re not “supposed” to be able to do those things.  And, realistically, I wouldn’t have been able to a year ago.  Even 6 months ago.  That’s really what the journey’s all about.  Never giving up.  Keep on trying until you can.

Turbo Jam: Day 1 March 25, 2013turbo_jam_logo

The first time I pushed play on Day one of my challenge, I was really hoping I could get through it.  I wanted to believe, but I still had that dreaded word: “CAN’T” hanging over my head.  That’s why I kept the journey private until now.  Aside from family and one close friend, no one knew I had taken this challenge.  I didn’t know if I could do it.  So, I pushed play.  And I did it.  And on day 2, I pushed play again.  And did it.  Day 3, pushed play; did it.  Well, you get the picture.

Turbo Jam: Through the Challenge

Somehow, I moved through the challenge, not really realizing just how amazing it was.  “It” being what I was in the midst of accomplishing.  When I would stop just for a second to reflect on it, I was astonished.  I was doing something I never thought I would ever be able to do.  I was paving the way for a future filled with possibilities.  Hiking, tennis, maybe even running!  Anything was possible.  Or at least it was becoming possible.

After about a week and a half, I was moving out of the modified workout (low impact) into the regular workout.  You know, the kind regular people do!  How was that possible???  Well, I guess maybe it always was.  I was adding weighted gloves, resistance bands and – OMG – jumping!  What?  Okay, so maybe those of you in perfect health don’t really get the big-deal-ness of this, but trust me it’s a big deal.  To put it in perspective, I could barely walk up a flight of stairs before – both from excruciating pain and from complete exhaustion.

photo-23I DID IT!

Not that I’m excited or anything.  On Sunday, May 19th, I completed the last workout of my Turbo Jam challenge. Seriously.  I freakin’ did it.  And I gave that workout everything I had.  110% all the way baby!  Immediately following my workout, I was elated. I felt a sense of pride I’d never felt before.  I accomplished something so huge that it was hard to even comprehend just how much it changed my life.  When I sat down on my bed to reflect on what I’d just done, I wept.  I just wept.  Happy tears.  Tears of joy.  Tears of pride.  Tears of possibility.  Tears of knowing that I can.  Tears of knowing I would keep going forever. Because I can.

What Did Turbo Jam Do for Me?

What didn’t it do for IMG_2752me?  Seriously.  Here are a few things Turbo Jam has done for me.  I know the list will grow when I start TurboFire® (which I will on June 3rd – don’t tell anyone, but I kind of already started – I couldn’t wait!).  On with my list:

  1. I can hike now!  Okay, really, there was no way in hell I could hike before.  I could barely walk my dog.  But now, I CAN HIKE.  In fact, I’ve even made it to the peak of a mountain.  Not a huge mountain, but a mountain nonetheless and that’s a major accomplishment.
  2. I’m happy.  Yep, working out really does improve your mood.  I’m so happy I think I irritate my family. I know I work James’ nerves.  But I know he loves it.
  3. I feel good about myself.  When I took the “before” pictures at the beginning of my challenge, I was not happy.  I look super pissed in the photos because I did not want that camera pointed at me!  AHHHH!  But I’m so glad I have those to reflect on as proof of what I’ve achieved.
  4. Fibromyalgia has become smaller.  As I pushed through the pain in the first few workouts, FM was becoming less of a force in my life.  I was taking control.  I was becoming the force that drives my life.  Sounds crazy, but up until then it was FM.  My symptoms are less prominent and almost non-existent.  I have energy.  I feel great.
  5. CAN’T became CAN.  Simple as that.  Now when I think of something challenging, I think “I wonder if I could do that”; before it would have been an immediate “Can’t do that”.
  6. I could go on.  Turbo Jam changed everything.

Every day I pushed play, I was kicking FM’s ass.  I was making it smaller.  This is my journey.  And FM doesn’t get to win.

There are no excuses.  Just try.  Just give it your all.  And you just might be surprised.


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