defyingfibromyalgia

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


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Facing Your Fears

All too often, fear paralyzes us.  It prevents us from taking chances, from growing, from becoming a better version of ourselves.  What I’ve learned is, when you face your fears, you become stronger and more resilient.  Your confidence goes through the roof and you reflect on the experience thinking, “I can’t believe I just did that!”  And what a great feeling that is.

IMG_3564Let Fear Motivate You

Since I began my journey, I’ve been on a mission to squash every fear I have.  My fear of failure.  My fear of being unable to do something.  My fear of making my condition worse.  It’s always been about my mindset.  It’s a sort of a “What have I got to lose?” situation.  I mean, really.  What do you have to lose?  If you start out in unbearable pain – constant pain.  If you start out exhausted and unable to enjoy life.  What do you have to lose by pushing yourself?  In my mind, not much.  And so that’s where I started.

As I’ve made progress, I’ve been able to accomplish things that truly seemed impossible.  So much so that I’ve never even considered doing them.  And then, all of a sudden, I find myself doing them.  There have been so many achievements of which I’m proud in this journey.  My first HIIT workout – that was a WOW kind of moment.  The first time I found myself able to do burpees – it was like, how in the world am I doing this?  And the first time I was able to reach a summit.  Now that was really something.

Getting to the Summit

So, the first summit wasn’t exactly planned out.  We just sort of went hiking and there we were – at the top.  At the beautiful, breathtaking, emotional top.  At the 13,000-foot top.  At the 3 ½ hour hike top.  It was AMAZING.  And at the time, it was certainly the most difficult thing I’d ever done.  That is, until the following week…

IMG_3680Mount Audubon

August 25, 2013

Mission: Mount Audubon

Elevation: 13,223

Feeling: Determined

Start time: 8:21 AM

With dogs in tow, we set off to reach the summit. James (my significant other) and I had no idea what kind of adventure we were in for.  But, as we climbed, we found out it was a bit more of a challenge than we’d expected.  As we ascended the mountain, we were taken aback by the views.  The ever-changing landscape of the mountain.  It was truly stunning and impossible to capture in photos.  We climbed.  We went from dense forest to rocky paths.  And I mean rocky.  We weren’t really tracking the time – we just IMG_3672kept going.  We reached the switchbacks and that’s when things got interesting.  We didn’t think the views could get better, but they did.  And better.  And better. We also didn’t think the path could become more treacherous, but it did.  And it continued to do so all the way to the top.

The Final PUSH

We sat down right before the final push to the summit and looked up at the path we had to conquer.  We had a light snack and tried to compose ourselves.  The fear was building up inside me and I was having one of those conversations with myself.  “You can do it”, “You can do anything”. Thinking of the things Chalene Johnson yells at me during my workouts.  The “trail” was entirely made up of rocks.  Boulders really.  I had never done anything like this and I WAS TERRIFIED.  It was time to go.  I came to get to the summit and a bunch of rocks weren’t going to stop me.IMG_3728

I stood up and looked at where I’d spend the next hour.  It was less than a half-mile, but it would take us an hour to get to the top.  It was wobbly rock after wobbly rock.  Fear was building.  I stepped, looked for something to grab, hoped my dog wouldn’t fall, and honestly thought several times that this would be how I would die.  I was okay with that because I was doing something impossible.  I was happy and proud that I was even trying.  And I was pretty sure no one with Fibromyalgia had ever tried this before.  I was also sure that 95% of “normal” people would never consider trying this.

IMG_3724Finally, we were at the top.  I sat on a rock (there were plenty!) and wept.  Happy tears. Tears brought on by relief and adrenaline.  I just sat there.  I looked around at the incredible views and thought “holy sh*t, how did I get up here?”  Then came the tough part: the descent.  After being so scared, how was I going to get down the mountain?  Time for another conversation with myself.  This one consisted of, “There’s no other way down.  You have to do this. You have no choice.  You can do this.”  And then we set off to descend the mountain.  To somehow get down these rocks.

Mission AccomplishedIMG_3735

8 hours and 19 minutes after we started our hike, we made it to the bottom.  I had never been so happy to see cars, other people, and a place to sit.  On our way down I said to James, “I really don’t think this was worth it.” When I got to the bottom I said, “I’ve never been more proud of myself.  It was totally worth it and I’d do it again.  Just not anytime soon.”

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Recap: TurboFire Beachbody Challenge: Week 5

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5 weeks down, 15 to go! This week, we’ll do something a little different with my recap.  Now that I’m 5 weeks in, I can say I love each and every workout.  I get excited each night before bed when I check my calendar to see which workout I get to do in the morning.  My workouts are ALWAYS scheduled.  They are non-negotiable and that structure is encouraging and somehow comforting.  I love TurboFire.  I love being strong.  And I know this is the best thing I’ve ever done for MYSELF.

Improving

Facing this challenge head on has been pretty remarkable thus far.  Steadily, I am improving.  I am growing stronger and more confident in my abilities.  Steadily, fibromyalgia is getting further and further away.  My thoughts don’t surround it any longer.  I think of other things.  Things I can do now.  Things I couldn’t do before.  I think of the possibilities.  The world of possibilities that didn’t exist until I took this risk.  This challenge.  This journey to awakening the fighter that I’ve always been.

Overcoming

Even with such great strides, there is the old “habit” to overcome.  You know the one.  The years in the making habit of thinking “there’s no way I can do that”.  During this week of TurboFire, that habit made itself known.  There were certain things – things that would be challenging for anyone – and I thought “I shouldn’t even try that because I know I can’t do that” – CAN’T?!?!?!  And so I tried it anyway.  To my amazement, I CAN do that!

It’s all about overcoming those things.  Facing those challenges head on.  Finding out if you can, rather than assuming you can’t.  Sometimes you fail.  But sometimes you surprise yourself.

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Recap: TurboFire Beachbody Challenge Week 4

Slide1Another week down!  Woohoo!  Okay, so that’s 4 down, 16 to go.  But who’s counting?

Let’s take a look at week 4, shall we?

Summary: I like to kick, I like to punch, I like to HIIT

Like all other weeks, this one started out with a BANG!  Chalene likes to jump right in and get your week started with an intense workout.  But then, all of TurboFire is rather intense.  So, there were Fire workouts, there were HIIT workouts, there were Sculpt workouts, and there was the formerly dreaded Core 20/Stretch 40 workout.  This week, I seemed to move through the workouts with less effort than the previous weeks.  Even as things get “easier”, each workout leaves you out of breath and SWEATY.  I can feel the results and I love it!

The Best

At this point it’s tough to pick a favorite.  I love every TurboFire workout.  And, what’s even better is I’m able to think less and less about the fact that this would have been impossible a short while ago.  I focus on pushing myself and getting it done each time I push play. And that’s just what I do.

My favorite moment of the week was the completion of the HIIT 20 / Sculpt 30 workout.  It was the longest HIIT workout thus far and I KILLED it.  I am unstoppable! 

TF_product_configuration_170x100What is TurboFire Doing for Me?

Now that I’m a few weeks into the schedule, I think it’s good to reflect on the process as a whole and really share the things I’m gaining from it.  It’s impossible to list everything, but a few things really stand out.

  • Fibromyalgia: Probably the most obvious outcome of this challenge is the affect it’s having on my FM symptoms.  I’m not saying the symptoms don’t exist, because they do.  What I am saying is that they are not the central theme of my life any longer.  Being fit is.  Being capable is.  Being strong is.  FM has really taken a backseat to all of these positive things.  Thanks to my choice to get up every morning, push play, and really PUSH myself through these tough workouts.
  • Confidence: To say this process has pushed my confidence through the roof would be an understatement.  The fact that I’m doing this for ME is like saying to myself “YOU matter; YOU’RE worth it; YOU deserve a better life.” It makes me feel important, valuable, and unstoppable.  This has changed how I see myself, how I feel about myself, and the confidence I have every single day.
  • Strength: This may seem obvious, but TurboFire really makes you STRONG.  Both inside and out.  I love feeling empowered and like I can take on any challenge.  It makes me more capable of facing any obstacle that comes my way.

Final Thoughts

I chose not to have a “least favorite” workout this week.  At first, the challenge of the whole thing becomes a bit overwhelming, but I am now at the point where I look forward to each day’s workout.  I check my calendar before bed to see which one I “get” to do in the morning.  I absolutely love this and love what it’s done for me.  Finding your “soul mate” workout is a beautiful thing.  Are you ready to find yours?

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Recap: Beachbody TurboFire Challenge Week 3

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Dates: June 17 – June 23

Total Workouts: 6

Total Workout Duration: 315 Minutes / 5 1/4 Hours

Nutrition: Beachbody Shakeology Vegan Chocolate DAILY; Vegan Power Diet

Supplements: VegaSport Pre-Workout Energizer; VegaSport Recovery Formula; CoQ10; MSM / Glucosamine

Okay, I’ve made it through another week!  Phew!  As usual, TurboFire was the perfect combination of CHALLENGE and FUN.  That’s why I love it.  I was super impressed with some of my progress this week.  In fact, I think it’s safe to say I AMAZED MYSELF!  So, let’s take a look at the recap so you can see what I mean…

First Impressions

This is week 3 – I can totally do this.  I began with ZERO anxiety and 110% confidence that I would KILL every workout.  And I did.  A positive attitude goes a LONG way!

I made some major strides this week and grew a lot in my strength and durability.  I attribute that to two things: one, it’s been 3 weeks since I moved to a high altitude climate and I think I’m getting used to it; two, I’ve worked my butt off every single day.

Favorites

Well, well, well…  How to pick a favorite?  6 awesome, challenging workouts. 6 days of feeling empowered, strong, and invincible.  Here are a few favorite moments from the week:

  1. HIIT 15 + Tone 30 – Thursday June 20: This is the second time I’d done this workout and, well, it got a LITTLE easier.  The biggest thing?  I CAN JUMP!  When doing plyometric training, jumping is key.  When you have FM, jumping is HARD.  But, I kept trying until I could do it.
  2. BURPEES:  Okay, okay, okay.  I know a lot of you do these without breaking a sweat.  But, really, I didn’t think it would ever happen for me.  Chalene calls them “SUMO” but you know what she means.  You know you’ve got to try.  Until you CAN.  This week, I finally could.  And I was AMAZED.  This was the day I wrote my post “Amaze Yourself”.
  3. Core 20 + Stretch 40: In last week’s recap, I listed this as my least favorite workout of week 1.  After doing it each week, it’s moved to the favorite category.  It’s TOUGH.  But it WORKS YOUR CORE!  What I’ve learned is: your core really is the key to all movements, so you need to WORK IT.

Secret Weapons

  1. Shakeology: I suppose it’s really no secret, but I LOVE Shakeology.  It REALLY helps my symptoms and truly is the “Healthiest Meal of the Day”.  It gives you everything you need to FUEL your body and keep moving through the day.
  2. VegaSport: In watching TurboFire before beginning the program, Chalene mentioned drinking Beachbody Results and Recovery during workouts, especially HIIT workouts.  The thing is, it’s not vegan so I knew I couldn’t drink it.  So, I looked for a vegan option.  I found VegaSport.  Not only is it vegan, but it’s also formulated with ALL NATURAL ingredients. I use both the Pre-Workout Energizer and the Recovery Accelerator and LOVE THEM BOTH.  A great option if you want a natural way of soothing sore muscles after working out so hard.

Overall: Week 3

Hey, I did it!  I LOVE the challenge of TF and I love that your strength grows exponentially each time you workout.  My body is changing, I am growing stronger, and I feel better each day.  Actually, I feel AMAZING.  Fibromyalgia who?  Yep, it can kiss my grits.

See y’all next week for another recap!

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Amaze Yourself!

Are you waiting for someone to come along and give you all the answers?  Someone to say, “This is how you will make your life better”?  Well, it ain’t gonna happen!  The thing about it is, this is YOUR life.  Take control of it.  Find the answers.  And do something to make your life better.  Make that choice.  And you just might be amazed.

I Can Do Anything!

Do you ever just feel invincible?  That’s what happens when you take control of your life.  When you start making positive changes.  Changes in your relationships, career, health, fitness, home, and anything else that might be bringing you down.  The changes I’ve made have led me down a path of amazement.  Amazement at MYSELF.  At the things I CAN do today that I COULD NOT do yesterday.  Sometimes, I just stop and think, “I’m amazing”.

Now, I don’t mean to sound cocky.  I’m anything but.  What I do mean to sound like is someone that is accomplishing something HUGE.  Someone that was completely incapacitated by a condition for the last 7 or 8 years that decided enough was enough.  Someone that took that condition by the b@!!$ and said, “you do NOT get to ruin my life anymore”.  That’s me.

And in so doing, I have been able to continuously grow in my abilities.  DAILY.  I wake up 6 days a week at 6am and workout.  I give it my all.  Today, I really had to stop and reflect on how far I’ve come this far and how amazing it really is.  I had to think about my inability to walk up a flight of stairs a few months back and my ability to do plyometric High Intensity Interval Training today and KILL it.  That’s amazing.  I had to think about the fact that I thought I would NEVER ever ever ever (times infinity) be able to hike and I do it EVERY DAY now.  I mean, can you see why I would say I amaze myself?

Do Something for YOU

The thing about what I’ve done is, while it does benefit those around me, I did it solely for MYSELF.  Every day when I workout, I do it for ME.  When I choose to eat healthy, I do it for ME.  What do you do for YOU?  Do you do enough for yourself?  Do you give yourself the opportunity to be AMAZING?  Go ahead, give it a try.  You just might achieve something you never thought you could.  The only way to find out?  Try.  Do something for you today!

AMAZE YOURSELF!

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Courage

Slide1As I was writing my last post, “No, You Can’t” | “Yes, I CAN”I started thinking about the things that influence this choice we make to shut down the voice that tells us we can’t.  I thought about the courage involved in making the changes necessary to these types of challenges and the things most of us must face along the way.  One thing stands out above all other choices: relationships.

Who’s In Your Life?

Do you ever think about the kinds of people you surround yourself with?

Do they lift you up? Do they inspire you?  Do they motivate you to push through obstacles to achieve your goals? Do they make you feel as though all things are possible?

Or, do they bring you down?  Do they say “No, you can’t” when you talk about your dreams and aspirations? Do they bring negativity everywhere they go?  Do they suck the positive energy out of the room?  (I call them energy vampires)  Do they make you feel as though your goals are unrealistic and/or impossible?

I believe if you surround yourself with the latter, you’re more likely to listen to the inner voice that tells you “no, you can’t” than the positive one.  Think about it.  If you’re around negative people, don’t you become more negative?  Don’t they put you in a bad mood?  Don’t they bring a note of pessimism to all things?  Then why are they in your life?

Accentuate the Positive, Eliminate the Negative

Okay, this is where courage might come in handy.  When you have this revelation — this reality check that you may need to rethink some of your friendships and other relationships — it’s time to take action.  The way I see it, you have two choices:

  • Have a heart to heart with the person in the hopes that they are unaware of their negativity.  Sometimes, that’s all it takes to change a person’s life.  Maybe they’re longing for someone to help them turn things around.  Maybe you could be that person.
  • Remove them from your life.  Sounds harsh, right?  Well, what’s more harsh: allowing someone to ruin your positive moods and encourage you to give up on your dreams OR having the courage to surround yourself with people make life better?  Sometimes your only course of action is to move on.

Become Who You Really Are

It’s amazing to discover the difference in your life when these changes are made.  After many years of hard work, and a LOT of courage, I can honestly say I surround myself with people that inspire me.  People that make me strive for better.  People that support me no matter what.  People that tell me “yes, you can” even when I’m not sure if it’s possible.  Sometimes I’m astonished by just how great that feels.  I think about the things my friends are accomplishing right now and I think, “how did I get so fortunate to have someone that amazing in my life?”

These are the kinds of people you need in your life, if you don’t already have them.  This is how you find the courage to take risks that could truly change your life for the better.  The courage to face a challenge head on and find out what might happen if you try.  It’s true, this kind of determination comes from within, but there’s a lot to be said for having a group of people cheering you on along the way.

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“No, You Can’t” | “Yes, I CAN”

IMG_3064We’ve all got ‘em.  Those opposing inner voices.  There’s the good one.  The one that believes in you.  Then there’s the naysayer.  The one that thinks you’re a quitter.  When you’ve got something like FM, those voices are always at it.  Especially the naysayer.  Whether you’re walking the dog or just trying to get out of bed, that voice is always trying to get you to give up.  To admit that you just can’t do it.  And, man, how do you shut that thing up???

Well, I wish I could say I have the answer.  But I don’t.  That voice has developed over many years — over a lifetime of experiences — negative and positive.  She has been “trained” to tell you “you can’t do this”.  That voice is still in my head trying to convince me to give up on this journey.  To believe I shouldn’t be doing this.  To go back to being unable to do anything.  And, well, she doesn’t get to win.  Ever.  Again.  Nancy Naysayer already had several years, now it’s time for Polly Positive to get a chance.

So, how do you ignore that voice?

How do you push past the negative images, feelings, words, and beliefs to find your inner strength?  To find the voice inside you that believes you can?  It’s not easy.  And it’s something you have to focus on always.  Like all things, it’s a choice.

  • You choose to believe. 
  • You choose to try. 
  • You choose to hear positive words rather than negative ones. 
  • You choose to motivate yourself.  
  • You choose to overcome.

How do you get through a HIIT workout when you have FM? 

How do you choose to tackle an intense 20-week fitness challenge when you could barely walk up a flight of stairs just a few months back? 

It’s all the same.  You make a choice.  You either try or you give up.  You either listen to Nancy Naysayer or Polly Positive.  Believe me, I’ve got the “I can’t” voice SCREAMING at me during some of my workouts.  But I also have Chalene Johnson yelling at me to PUSH harderAND I have ME.  I have the person that I choose to be.  I have the person that I am becoming.  I have the will to be healthier than ever and to continue to strive for more.

You’re not alone.  Everyone hears “no, you can’t” – sometimes it’s from within, sometimes it’s from friends or family.  DON’T LISTEN TO ANY OF THEM.  Only YOU can decide that.  It’s up to you.  Shut down the negative, elevate the positive.  You can do this! ‘Nuff said.

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Get more info on Beachbody products here:

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