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New, Different, Challening

I appreciate the encouraging words about my kipping pullups from yesterday’s video. It’s clear to see that I have a lot of work to do before my kipping even slightly resembles what it’s supposed to look like but as I mentioned in my post, I am really okay with that. To be honest, I kind of love to suck at things when I first try them. One of the reasons why I fell in love with yoga was because I was so bad at it when I started but each time that I came to my mat I saw the tiniest bit of progress. It was amazing to watch my body adapt, little by little, to the practice and new challenges that I was throwing at it. Sometimes I really miss being a “baby yogi” where everything felt foreign, different and hard. I remind my students all the time to appreciate wherever they are in their practice. Progress happens when you take it breath by breath, pose by pose, practice by practice.

(This was taken during my early ashtanga days…one does not look like the other! :))

The same can be said for running, making the commitment to train for a race is exciting. Whether your goal is to tackle a new distance or achieve a new PR, going through a training program and seeing improvement in your endurance and speed is satisfying. During tough training runs, I always visualize crossing the finish line of whatever race that I’m training for. It always gives me a little extra motivation to remember that awesome feeling of accomplishment that comes when you meet a goal.

Starting CrossFit has been fun for me because it’s a totally new challenge. I love feeling like a beginner and knowing how much improvement is possible. Every class is an adventure for me and I am really enjoying learning skills that are totally new to me. I’ve been sore in places that I didn’t even know I could be sore and I get such a rush from finishing a hard Workout of the Day, especially when it’s full of new movements or heavy lifts. I have to modify so many things by using lighter weights or using resistance bands but again, I don’t let that bring me down. Instead, I use it as motivation to keep working at it in hopes that I can do the full-on workout one day.

How do you handle new fitness challenges? Do you like to set new goals and try new activities? Are you okay with not being the best at something when you start?

Now for a look at a few recent meals.

My attempt to eat  a little cleaner is going really well. I was in serious need of a grocery trip so my lunch yesterday was a repeat egg scramble. Scrambled eggs, black beans, goat cheese, spinach, salsa and avocado. After an afternoon trip to Trader Joe’s (in which I somehow managed to spend $90 – how is that even possible at TJs?), meals should be much more varied moving forward!

Dinner out was a salad with bibb lettuce, grilled red onions, pecans and grilled chicken. Lemon-thyme vinaigrette on the side.

Breakfast this morning was great because I finally broke into a jar of Barney Butter that I have had in the cabinet for months. I am sad I waited so long to try it because it is amazing! Salty and a little sweet with a great texture. It was the perfect topping for my apple cinnamon oatmeal.

And that’s all I’ve got for you. Hope it’s been a good week.

{ 25 comments… add one }
  • 1
    Sana April 12, 2012, 2:55 pm

    I think the challenge of running is so addicting, you can see and feel the progress so quickly!

    • 2
      Jen April 13, 2012, 6:09 pm

      i agree! that runner’s high is addicting! 🙂

  • 3
    Mary Ann April 12, 2012, 2:56 pm

    I love a training plan. My life feels more organized if I have a set number of miles to run, days to lift weights, etc. I even write down my work outfits by the week so that I rotate clothes. No I’m don’t have OCD. However, today all my plans went flying out the window. While on my scheduled 10 miler, I tripped on a lane-blocker at the university track and my head went flying into a pole. After only 6.5 miles! Just kidding. I’m lucky to be able to type this, but the next weeks running plan has now changed. I will focus on getting well ( I have a fairly large, red nose and a neck strain, thanks heavens that’s all) and thanking my lucky stars.

    • 4
      Jen April 13, 2012, 6:09 pm

      haha – that’s creative to write down the outfits so you rotate clothing. i am so sorry about your 10 miler accident. that sounds awful. feel better soon and take care of yourself.

  • 5
    Sierra @ Posh Meets Pavement April 12, 2012, 3:31 pm

    I’m starting CrossFit too and LOVING it. I agree…it really takes you outside of your comfort zone, even if you are fairly into fitness. I love the variety and how strong I feel. Starting out is fun, and it’s important to enjoy the process as much as the destination. I love the sentiment of this post.

    • 6
      Jen April 13, 2012, 6:07 pm

      i love it too! take today’s class…we’re deadlifting, bench pressing and doing hanstand walks. so random and it’s been so fun to do all these new movements.

  • 7
    Kimberly @ Healthy Strides April 12, 2012, 3:32 pm

    I love that you shared the photos of early yoga practice. I was stretching after spin, and I am horribly inflexible. It made me wonder if I’d ever be able to touch my toes when seated.

    Anyway, I love a reasonable challenge … if that makes sense. I love the feeling of being competent but knowing that I could do better. I think that’s why I enjoy running. I can do it but I know I can go farther and faster. Same with Body Pump. I can squat but I know I can get stronger and add more weight.

    Side note: I had emailed you about Body Pump, and I am excited to say I’m taking the plunge at the end of the month. Thanks!!!

    • 8
      Jen April 13, 2012, 6:02 pm

      haha – i was pretty terrible when i first started practicing yoga. i worked so hard at it and it was slow going getting my body to unwind after all those years of running. i totally get you on a reasonable challenge. i am excited that you decided to go through with bp training!!! 😛

  • 9
    Sarah April 12, 2012, 6:23 pm

    When faced with a fitness challenge, I like to plan ahead. When I was training for my first half in February, I followed a training plan but adapted it to how my body was feeling each week. For example, one week I would increase my mileage by 1 mile, and the next, maybe 1.5 if I was up to it. I always have a set goal in mind (e.g. Just get through 13.1 or be able to maintain a certain mileage/hr) for the event. When I’m feeling that the run didn’t go particularly well, I remember how when I first started 3 years ago, I couldn’t even go 2 minutes without stopping and that keeps me going. I love feeling challenged with new activities and mastering them. It makes me realize that my body could do things I never imagined!

    Anyways, I love your blog and have been reading it religiously for awhile now! Thanks for being inspiring and real. 🙂

    • 10
      Jen April 13, 2012, 5:56 pm

      sarah – thanks so much for reading my blog and taking the time to comment! i love that you based your training off of how you felt v. feeling like you had to strictly stick to a schedule. congrats on that first half!

  • 11
    Tiffany April 12, 2012, 7:14 pm

    Hey Jen!
    Just wanted to thank you for introducing me to moroccan oil. Its been a great help with my curly hair 🙂

    I love how you appreciate the beginning stages of practicing yoga. I’ve never thought the beginning stages of something can be appreciated. But you are so right, every time you practice you are improving and learning something new, which is really exciting. I’m starting law school in the Fall and I think this attitude will definitely help me through the next 3-4 years. Although its easy to wish for something to just be over so you’re good at it already, I want to appreciate learning the law, writing briefs and cases even if i may not be the best at the beginning. Its exciting to know that i’m getting better each time and with time my confidence will grow so I’ll one day be a great lawyer.

    Hope you’re having a great day! 🙂

    • 12
      Jen April 13, 2012, 5:49 pm

      hi tiffany – i’m glad you like the moroccan oil. i’ve used it every day since i discovered it! good luck with law school. it sounds like you are mentally prepared for it and i know you’ll be an excellent lawyer when you emerge on the other side of the three years! 🙂

  • 13
    Miriam@Bellaspire April 12, 2012, 8:15 pm

    I love your attitude about embracing challenges whole heartedly and embracing your progress. You never seem overly frustrated at yourself and it’s definitely something to look up to. I’m excited to see your take on clean eating combinations. Sometimes it can be so boring but you have a way of combining things and making the presentation look awesome!!

    • 14
      Jen April 13, 2012, 5:47 pm

      i do get frustrated with myself and my body…especially when i try to train for distance races…which is why i’ve kind of quit doing that. there are so many other things that i can do that physically challenge me. i don’t have to run distance races!

  • 15
    Carrie April 12, 2012, 8:57 pm

    I have to fight to not get discouraged and quit when I suck at new things. If I’m not good at something right away, my first reaction is to move on to something else. But the few things that I have stuck out, like running, really make me appreciate my improvement. I try to remember this when learning a new skill. I get caught up in comparing myself to others, when really I need to focus on myself and MY improvements.

    • 16
      Jen April 13, 2012, 5:46 pm

      carrie – i understand everything you’re saying. i see it all the time with new runners and yogis. you just have to embrace the challenge and remember that at some point every other person was a newbie too. you can’t be awesome at everything on day one. seeing your body change and grow stronger is so empowering!

  • 17
    Brittany (Healthy Slice of Life) April 12, 2012, 9:21 pm

    I think the challenge is my fascination with running. It’s so difficult for me and makes me want to conquer it even more! I love pushing myself to see what I’m capable of, which is why I am beginning to (finally!) get hooked on exercise.

    • 18
      Jen April 13, 2012, 5:44 pm

      i’ve loved following your running (love that you call it wogging) journey. so excited to hear you say that you’re getting hooked on exercise!

  • 19
    Liaa April 13, 2012, 12:03 am

    I love your outlook on progressing in fitness! It is so refreshing that you don’t have the mindset that you might as well not do it because you are having a hard time. I need this mindset, I often get frustrated and just stop because I want to be perfect at everything. I’ve been doing some of the crossfit workouts at my house, and boy are they intense, but I also like pushing my body to that limit to see what it can do…now if I could challenge myself to the exercises I feel are hardest!

    • 20
      Jen April 13, 2012, 5:44 pm

      it’s so easy to get into that “not good enough” trap but embrace the opportunity to grow and become a stronger version of yourself…physically and mentally! i hear you on the hard exercises – i usually only do that kind of stuff when i’m in a class or with other trainers to motivate me! 🙂

  • 21
    Kristyn April 13, 2012, 4:33 am

    Having a goal to work toward is always what I need to get me motivated… my dedication and motivation usually declines when I am not actually working towards something. I love to run but often dont push myself as hard as I would like to or go as often as I should if I am not training for a race. I ran my first half marathon last summer and loved it but it really tired me out, so this year I am going to do a couple 10 km races instead – it still gets me out on the trails and makes me try to beat my time. Did my first long run in a long time this morning and it felt great!

    • 22
      Jen April 13, 2012, 5:41 pm

      it is motivating to have a specific goal to be training towards. i do enjoy breaks from training and being able to run at my leisure sometimes but following a plan and knowing that you’re working to get to the finish is awesome. i love 10Ks too. great distance! congrats on getting that long run in!

  • 23
    Sarah April 13, 2012, 8:05 pm

    I’m a runner and love training for races and the exhilaration on race day!! I have not been a member of a gym in forever and have just stuck to running as my main exercise for the past 3+ years. We are getting to ready to join a gym and I am really wanting to participate in group exercise classes to give my body a new challenge. I was going to ask you since you have experience in different kinds of exercise classes, what you would recommend starting with.

  • 24
    Kaitlin April 25, 2012, 7:54 pm

    Hi Jen, Ive started to get my husband into fitness and hes doing well with strength training however I want to get him out and running or doing some other type of cardio! Do you work out with your husband or are there any couples that you see training together? Any tips for how to give that gentle nudge!

    • 25
      Jen April 26, 2012, 11:49 am

      hi kaitlin – it can be hard to get your significant other to join you on activities they don’t usually do. i do have quite a few couples who attend yoga classes together. as far as cardio/running…maybe make it fun at first to get him started. what about training for a 5K together so you have a shared goal and then maybe he’ll get in the groove of doing cardio/running.

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