Shame

Sometimes I’m crushed by shame. An overwhelming, bone crunching, soul-eating shame. It could be in response to something someone said to me (about how I’m wrong or bad or otherwise unacceptable, or a story I’ve read, or a picture I’ve seen (usually of an near naked airbrushed model). It just stops. me. in. my. tracks.

Granted this doesn’t happen as much as it did years ago when I was in the throes of my depressive episodes. Thankfully. But it has happened this week. My emotional response is totally out of proportion to the incident. My whole being slows and is fatigued. I think it’s because the last several months have sent me several blows (to my ego? my self-worth?)

The powerlifting meet that wasn’t, and the kettlebell certification that wasn’t, had me deflated for quite some time. I didn’t know what to do with myself.

Escalating issues with my Girl Child, have been a HUGE focus of my attention lately. We have discovered that she has (un-officially) sensory processing disorder. The type she has manifests in sensory seeking behavior and at other times in falling apart. Even on good days she needs lots of mental stimulation to keep her from getting bored. I could handle physical energy, but trying to keep her occupied mentally drains me since I already have so much going on in my head. Reading up on SPD, I’ve gotten lots of good ideas and many of them seem to be working. So that’s a plus in my life.

And good thing I’m lifting in the gym again. Something about that heavy weight on the bar that keeps me sane.

When I’m low, it’s very easy for me to get fixated on what I don’t have. Glass half empty syndrome. Envious of everybody and Every Body. Yes, I’m vain, very vain. I want to look good naked. And even if I look good naked, I want to look better naked. And clothed. And have nicer clothes and not look like a hobo.

Then I start to look at all my desires. God, I have big ones. Unfulfilled. Like hiking the California coast, living in France for a month, some crazy idea of getting rid of all I own and backpacking from place to place and earning money pole dancing–or something like that.

But mostly I desire to have someone to talk to, to share ideas, emotions and big dreams with . I’ve been looking for this all my life and it still is lacking. A soul connection. Someone who “gets” what I’m into and wants to share it with me. Someone whose eyes don’t glaze over as I’m talking.

I know it’s totally not cool to say this, but I want to escape. Escape the life that I’ve created for myself. I feel trapped. Don’t get me wrong. I love my husband and my children. But sometimes that is not enough.

More movement. more nature. more dance. more ecstatic sex. more lifting. more time alone. more deep sparking conversations that leave my cheeks flushed and my eyes bright. Yeah especially that one.

I long for a wildness, a freedom, a colorful, simple, and vibrant life. And a bathtub.

Most people have no idea. No idea how emotional I am. How high my highs are and how low my lows. I can come across as pretty cool, private, quiet, reserved. It bothers me that people can know me for years and not know me. But of course that’s my fault.

So if you read this and are shocked, that’s okay. I’m shocked too. Shocked that I’m sharing this, but hey how many people are reading anyway? So, it’s kinda personal therapy of the vomiting-my-thoughts-and-feelings-all-over-the-place-that-makes-no-sense kind.

I “should” be….

I “should” be writing posts on “Top 10 Exercises you Should be Doing” or “Top 5 Nutrition Mistakes You’re Making”. I should be posting twice a week–or at least once a month! I shouldn’t be eating gluten. My daughter’s chewing, spitting, and mouth noises shouldn’t bother me. I should be calm and not angry. I should be well-dressed, oh-so-thin, polite, not make funny faces, make everybody happy, and above all be beautiful and not question the status quo.

I thought this was going to be a blog where I shared with you, the reader, tips, ideas, and inspiration about strength training for women. However, what wants to come out are (bad) writings about my struggles, and triumphs about my journey through life.

Well, so be it.

Maybe I’ll write about my struggles as a mom. Maybe I’ll write about our unschooling/homeschooling. Probably I’ll write about how difficult it is to take care of myself–which for me means lifting, writing, reading, drinking coffee, and being in Nature–for the most part ALONE. Probably I’ll write about MBTI personality types because I find that so useful in my relationships. Probably I write about body image, self image and how I’m learning to find peace and wholeness within.

Perhaps this is simply an outlet for myself–and that is ok.

Sometimes ( a lot of times) you have to just do something and do it badly. Make lots of mistakes. Try lots of things. Different things. Different from what you’ve been doing. Not be afraid of failure.

So here is what I’m living by

“Live with intention.

Walk to the edge

Listen hard.

Practice wellness.

Play with abandon.

Laugh.

Choose with no regret.

Continue to learn.

Appreciate your friends.

Do what you love.

Live as if this is all there is.”

Mary Anne Radmacher

15 Ways to be a Badass Mother

Are you feeling like you’re working your ass off and your life just keeps repeating like the movie Groundhog Day (like me lately)? Like what on Earth I am living for? Try some of these to get your groove back.

A hint: Movement is what many of these are about. You got to get up off your ass to make it bad yo!

It goes without saying that you will be doing all of these with your children or with your children nearby.

1. Jump on a trampoline. A big back yard trampoline is best, but a small re bounder is great too. I plan on getting one of those to use inside this winter. Tramp jumping makes me so happy. While you’re at it try a flip or two.

2. Dance to Lady Gaga or to whatever music you and your kiddos love.

3. Smash your psoas (and other muscles) a la Kstarr.   Yes, it will hurt and yes your kids will climb on top of you, but it’s okay. It will help you move better, feel better, and have less back pain.

4. Walk! Walk! Walk everywhere!

5. Lift some heavy shit

6. Drink raw milk and raw egg smoothies (recipe coming soon). This is my power drink. It almost always makes me feel better after I drink it and has loads of protein, good fats, and good vitamins.

7. Grow dreadlocks

8. Get some (sleep)!

9. Get some, get some (sex). I know, know it takes some orchestration to get this done when you have kids and sometimes it makes you feel crappier and not better, but experiment and see what works for you.

10. Go outside. Get some skin exposed to the sun and get some Vitamin D and some light in your eyes. Go barefoot. Work in your garden. Does wonders for your soul.

11. Breastfeed in public. Because it’s between you and your baby. It’s just life. It’s normal. It makes life easier when you’re out and about and you just IDGAF what other people think.

12. Believe that you’re awesome! No matter what other people think or what the voice in your head tells you (you know the one). Apply IDGAF.

13. Carry your baby without pain

14. Build a booty (see number 5) Cuz a big booty likely means you’ve been using it to do it’s intended job (moving you around) and not relying on your poor back to do the work of your hips (yes ouch!) Plus we like big butts and we cannot lie…

15. Eat! (Real Food) see number 6

Now your turn–share with me some things that lift your spirits and lighten your soul, and generally make you feel like a badass momma!

Training with Kettlebells, Stress, and Breast Infections Oh my!

Aside

The challenges of a mother lifting weights and attempting to live a healthy lifestyle are much different from the challenges of say a young man without children trying to get jacked.

The young man can work 10-12 hours/day, then hit the gym for 2 hours, plan every bite that goes into his mouth, and maybe get less than optimal sleep and still make progress, not get sick, be exhausted, or overwhelmed.

A mother of small children on the other hand needs a different approach. As a mom your cup of stressors fills up pretty quickly and you often don’t notice until it’s too late and you get sick, blow up, wrench your back, or get a breast infection.

Yes, breast infection. That was me last week. Ache-y, feverish, and with a very sore left breast (the one I have a fore-mentioned is the favorite of my son, because it has a stronger flow of milk. Since he nurses that side more of course it makes more milk and the cycle continues!)

Raising children is a HUGE stress to the body as is breastfeeding. Simply meaning that you need extra nutritional reserves (and emotional reserves) to deal with them successfully. Also did I mention that I have horrible allergies? So from now until it freezes–maybe October, that is another stress to my system.

Oh, and exercise is a stress on the system.

And I just decided to change the focus of my training to met-con/fat loss with kettlebells for a bit (so that I have more clothes to wear) since I just got pretty strong from the last 6 months of heavy barbell training.

So what does my metabolic-conditioning look like? 4 days/ week training instead of 3. Getting up early more days of the week which of course equals less sleep. Another stressor. And don’t forget cutting the calories back because that is what really brings the fat loss. And what does less food signal to the body?

Oh right, DANGER DANGER YOU’RE ABOUT TO STARVE! AND SO IS YOUR BABY! While I know that wouldn’t actually happen, and you know it wouldn’t happen, my body doesn’t (idn’t Mother Nature wonderful like that?)

Soooo perhaps it’s time to reassess goals. Again.

Maybe balls  to the wall (or ovaries if you prefer), isn’t the best option right now. But truly, I thought I was working in moderation! Body says otherwise.

Women everywhere need to take this all into consideration–unless you have a nanny and a cook, and someone to clean your house for you, and you don’t do any outside work at all–then I’m not talking to you. But, for everyone else (including myself), here are my suggestions.

1. Take a break

If you”ve been training hard for more than 3 months, you probably need at least a week totally off the training. And if you’re sick see number 4 and crawl into bed. I give you permission.

2. Change it up

If you’ve been doing really heavy strength training, do some conditioning or vice verse. If you’ve been doing 5×5, do 3×8. If you’ve been doing barbells do some kettlebells or maybe even go do some yoga. You get the picture–switch it up and give your body a rest from the same ol, same ol.

3.  Pay attention to good nutrition

This means eat. Not just “graze” on lettuce, coffee, and water. And it means eat meat, veggies, maybe some fruit, nuts, dairy. Real food. Not ice cream, chips and soda. Make sure you’re getting more than adequate protein, and healthy fats.

4.  Ask for help

Call the mother, the mil, a friend, your husband, for help with cleaning, grocery getting, childcare, so you can, you know, breathe. I know it’s tough to ask for help–but DO IT!

5. Sleep (Say what?)

I sleep with my kids which helps me get more sleep. This may or may not work for you. Make your sleeping arrangements so that everyone can get the most sleep possible. I always want to get back up after putting kids to sleep and spend time with my husband or get some “me time” but usually the next day shows that it’s just not worth it. Sleep probably has the biggest effect on your attitude, and your recovery from training than anything else.

Maybe I need to Shock! Gasp! Horror! have no set physical goal right now. I could approach movement from more of a primal angle, making it all about play. Just enjoying my physicality, dancing, jumping on the trampoline, walking, yoga… I don’t know, that might only work for personality types with a “P’ in their profile. As an INFJ I don’t know if I could pull that off. Live in the moment? Really???

Or I could trick myself and make play the goal–so many times per week try something new.

Yeah.

Don’t for a second believe that is going to happen.

Moms Don’t Get to Poop Alone

Compete in powerlifting. Complete RKC certification. Write an intelligent blog. Lose weight. Take a poop alone with no one screaming at you. Think thoughts through to their conclusion. Take a walk alone. Have an uninterrupted adult conversation that lasts for more than 2 minutes. Feel sexy. Have sex. Savor your morning’s bulletproof coffee.

All things you apparently DON’T GET TO DO when you’re a mom–at least this mom.

Because you are always on call. Because daughter is always asking you things like,”How many days would it take to dig to the center of the Earth?’ and running around the house in circles screaming like a banshee, and son is hanging on your leg pulling down your yoga pants because he wants to nurse only on the left boob.

Yes, I was going to compete in a powerlifting meet which was canceled for reasons nothing to do with my children. But in considering another meet in the fall, 30 minutes from my home, I think it is going to be too difficult to make it work for the whole family.

Giving up the RKC (for several reasons–which may be a separate post) has me a little down in the dumps.

I realize that I chose this life with children.  That I am choosing to breastfeed my child for longer than is deemed culturally appropriate. That if I didn’t choose this it would probably be lots easier for me to go do other things.

But are any of us completely comfortable with our choices? No matter what we choose there is always an “opportunity cost”. With something gained, something is always lost.

You marry one person, you can’t be with anyone else (at least not officially, not in this culture). You have children, you give up a lot of spontaneity and freedom (at least for awhile). You breastfeed and you give up more of the same. But, if you don’t breastfeed you give up the health and emotional, spiritual, cognitive, hormonal benefits for you and your child. You grow a garden and raise chickens and you have to take care of them. If you don’t, then you are at the mercy of having someone else provide your food. You get up early to lift some iron and you miss that hour of sleep. You eat the ice cream and you get the extra calories that go with it.

It’s not that either choice is good or bad (at least not in many cases), it’s just that you need to look at what you are giving up as well as what you are gaining. And look at what you are gaining as well as what you are giving up. Sometimes the gain is hard to see, or maybe non-existent, or maybe the gain comes down the road and is not immediate. Or maybe, for many of us, we’re not choosing what we want, we’re simply choosing by default–we’re choosing the easy path, the path of instant gratification or the path of staying comfortable.

I don’t ever want to make my choices by default, I want to make them on purpose.

I’m always looking at my choices and attempting to align them with my values. If I say I value health and strength, and physical vitality, then I need to live in such a way that aligns my behaviors with my goals. If I say my family comes first, than I need to actually put them first.

We’ve been told as women that we can have it all. I don’t think this is true. If you try to have it all at the same time, you will go crazy. Something will always get shorted. Whether that something is you, your health, your children, your career, something will be hurting.

Take it from Penelope Trunk. if you want children and you know you are a personality type that wants to (primarily) be with the children (that’s most women), then marry a breadwinner from the outset and don’t try to be a career woman, if that’s just not who you are. This doesn’t mean don’t have other interests, or don’t work at all. It’s just much easier if one person is the breadwinner and the other takes care of the kids.

Yet the expectation for women to do it all is there.

Don’t get me wrong, I want to do the competitions and certifications. Let’s face it, as busy as motherhood is, it can be intensely boring for an INFJ who wants constant intellectual stimulation, deep meaningful connection with other adults, constant personal growth/physical improvement, and always needs a goal to strive for.

But, I need to be realistic (another thing difficult for INFJs) and assess the stage of life I’m in right now.

My mother tells me that I won’t be in this stage of having small children forever. Someday, much of the freedom and flexibility will return, and I will be able to whole heartedly pursue some of my other goals.

But in the meantime, I grit my teeth, clench my fists, continue my 3x/week lifting and training, and continue to take deep breaths, count to 10, change the diapers, and clean up the messes, and be extremely grateful for a husband and mother who give me a break so that I can complete a few thoughts.

What have been the hard choices that you’ve had to make? What have you gained? What have you lost?

My Confession

I’ve got a confession to make.

I am NOT good with technology.

So I am writing this post instead of getting up videos of my max lifts for you because, well, I don’t know how to get them up. I realize now that everyone else is adding pictures and video willy-nilly to their facebook and blogs because they have SMARTPHONES! I don’t even like the regular old fashioned mobile phone that just makes phone calls (something about being introverted and hating to talk on the phone).

Since I do not have a smartphone, I have to upload the video and pics (which I don’t know how to do without lots of reminders), resize or otherwise edit (which again I don’t know how to do) and then they can finally be put into my post.

This really hinders me from making quick, easy posts.

So, instead of posting my awesome videos of trying (and failing) to lift 220lbs, I will tell you about my experience beginning Geoff Neupert’s Kettlebell Strong program.

Since my goal of doing a powerlifting meet didn’t come about, I am switching my training back to kettlebells in preparation for  the RKC (Russian Kettlebell Challenge) certification that I am doing in October.

I am using the Kettlebell Strong program by Geoff Neupert which is all double kettlebell work. I am hoping that it will get me really strong and conditioned so that I have no problem with the snatch test and the rest of the work performed during the RKC weekend. The course is 3 full days of training, so a lot of volume.

I read through the Kettlebell Strong manual and have begun watching the video.

(And just for the record, I bought it myself, I am not an affiliate, I am not making money by selling his program)

Geoff recommends the clean and press as a great all around exercise for developing strength and power. I am going with this since my cleans are really terrible.

The manual and video cover a lot of corrective strategies for each exercise. I began applying these with the clean and immediately felt improvements when I was practicing. However, when I actually began training with my work weight bells at 16kg instead of 12kg. my problems came back.

Namely, banging my forearms as I rack the clean. This has always been an issue with me ever since starting with kettlebells. Because of this, I hesitate to teach the clean to my clients. And the clean is the foundation of double kettlebell work since you have to have the kettlebells in the rack to do any other exercise and you must clean them to get them into the rack!

[For reference here’s what a double kettlebell clean looks like.  Like I said, I’m not good with technology and  remembering how to embed a youtube video of a kettlebell clean is holding me up from posting this. So, at this point, you will have to find it on youtube it yourself if you don’t know and are curious:)]

Up  to this point, I have just kind of accepted that I will bang my arms and that I have to get used to it. But it would be really nice not to bang my arms. I know that I have too much of an arc when I bring them up my body, but I think I am afraid of hitting my fingers with the handles–which I’ve done before and it’s not very fun!

So the solution is to keep the kettlebells closer to my body, but how to accomplish that?

It seemed to work better when I was practicing with the lighter 12kg kettlebells, so perhaps I need to go back to that and practice. Geoff’s corrections include, keeping elbows glued to the body and remembering that the clean is not a swing (which is horizontal movement), it’s a vertical movement. He also recommends waiting a bit as you let the kettlebells fall out of the rack and get your hips out of the way at the last possible moment.

If you’re familiar with kettlebell cleans and have any suggestions or tips, please let me know what you’ve done to fix this problem!

Powerlifting Meet

Well, “fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me” or something like that.

Arrived at the meet at 8am which was taking place at the beach. No one there. Waited until 8:30 and still no one there. Yes, folks, the meet was CANCELED.

And yes, I was/am hugely bummed. And yes, I am getting my money back since the meet  was canceled the night before with no explanation (I didn’t get the message until later next morning).

But when you’re handed lemons make lemonade right? So, since my family was all in town–here’s what we did instead

(Pictures with my wonderful siblings, Josh and Daniell)

DSC00882 DSC00886 DSC00892

A huge thanks to my family members, many who drove long hours to come and support me.