Life is a Series of Sprints

Last month I had the honor of hearing Todd Durkin speak a couple of times at IdeaWorld. Now, I’ve talked a couple of times about my experiences at the conference already here on the blog. But I’ve had this really on my mind and I want to share it with you!

What if life isn't a marathon? What if, instead, it's a series of sprints? Are you ready to sprint with me!?

“Life is not a marathon. Life is a series of sprints and recoveries.”

This was something said by Todd Durkin during his keynote address to BlogFest. It resonated with me then and has been on my mind ever since. I can get caught up in the marathon mentality pretty easily. There is always more I should be doing and I just have to keep working at it, right?! Sound familiar?

This mentality has been something I’ve struggled with for a long time, but the past couple of years have really highlighted it. And I will be honest…I think it’s at least part of the reason that I have had so many health issues the past year. I always want to push harder, longer, do more. So when I got back from the conference, all that energy wanted to go into working more, even has I said that I was going to try to stay more balanced!

Well, my plans for the past month and all I wanted to work on and do kinda fell apart. My body had other plans, leading to me getting sick twice within 3 weeks and just overall struggling to keep up with my basic responsibilities! But as I’ve been recovering, this idea of sprints and recoveries really has just been repeating in my head. In the past, any time that I have been sick or unable to make progress for a while, I have gotten overwhelmed and stressed with the idea of all the things I wasn’t doing.

But what if I view this time as a recovery? What if instead of getting stressed and overwhelmed, I view it as time to get ready for that next hard sprint?

So this is what I’m trying to do now. To be kinder to myself and hopefully view things with more understanding. Life isn’t a marathon….I don’t always have to be ON and neither do you! So if this resonates with you…if this is something that you have struggled with too, I hope this helps you make that mentality shift.

Are you ready for your next sprint?!

If you want to join in with me on this next sprint, one way to do that is by joining on on the #AssOffTheCouch September Challenge from Couch to Active! There will be a ton of awesome prizes being given out and it will be a lot of fun! The challenge starts September 1st (TOMORROW) so don’t wait! Use the code 7022smus to get 30% off your registration, bringing the price down to $11.90! Register here

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How Do You Eat an Elephant? – Shannon from Tough Mom Fitness

I am so happy to welcome Shannon back to share her thoughts on successful goal setting! If you missed her Finding Fitness interview, make sure to check that out here!

Use these steps and tips for your successful goal setting!
Photo by Rekita Nicole

How Do You Eat an Elephant?

 

One of my favorite sayings is “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” We can apply this wisdom to many areas of our life but for the sake of this post I’m going to focus on making the change to a healthy lifestyle.

 

For many years when I was trying to lose the 25 extra pounds that had stuck around after 2 pregnancies I’d get overwhelmed. When I looked at people who were in shape or eating right or just loving life it seemed like they were so far ahead of me. And, honestly, they were. I didn’t know their stories. For all I know they could have been standing in the exact same spot as me 3 years prior. I was comparing my beginning to their middle. At the time I couldn’t see any of that. My mind wasn’t working that way. All I could think was that there was no way I could ever achieve that.

 

That negative mindset held me back from making any progress for over 4 years. Then suddenly a switch flipped in my brain. I can really only attribute it to a perfect storm of thoughts coming together in my mind. At that point I changed my process and eventually lost 40lbs…twice. Yes, I got pregnant a third time and had to do it all over again.

 

Write It Out

 

Before you can make a change you need to know what you’re working toward. What is the end goal? We’re talking big picture here. Maybe your goal is to lose 40lbs and lower your cholesterol. Or maybe you want to lose 30lbs and run a 10k. Give it some thought and write it down. Don’t let fear hold you back from how big it seems.

goal-setting

Make it SMART

 

Did you write down that big goal? How do you feel when you look at it? If your goal is big enough you likely feel a mix of excitement and overwhelm. This is where most people stop. They dream big but when it comes time to work toward the goal they have no idea where to start. Your next task is to turn your goal into a SMART goal. It should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.

 

Let’s use the example of losing 30lbs and running a 10k. Those are really two separate goals so we’ll make a SMART goal for each. For example “I will exercise 5 days a week to lose 30lbs in 7 months so I have more energy to play with my kids.” And “I will follow a 12 week training plan to complete a 10k so I can check it off my bucket list.

 

Chunk It Down

 

Now you have a timeframe for your goals. I suggest working toward one goal at a time, unless they’re very closely related (such as losing weight and lowering your cholesterol). I’m going to continue with the examples I used for SMART goals. In this case I’d start with the weight loss. A big reason that people get so overwhelmed when it comes to losing weight is because they try to do too much right out of the gate. They want to workout at high intensity levels 6 days a week and overhaul their nutrition. Then what happens? Three weeks in they’re completely burned out and they quit.

 

You need to approach it slow and steady. Much like the tortoise and the hare – slow and steady wins the race.

 

So how can we chunk down the weight loss goal? Make a list of all behaviors that need to be addressed for you to reach your goal.

Need to exercise more than twice a week.

Need to start resistance training.

Need to cut out my daily soda habit.

Need to eat more veggies.

Need to cut mindless snacking.

Need to drink more water.

 

Look at your list and decide what makes the most sense to start with. Let’s start with exercise. Go from walking for 30 minutes twice a week to doing it 3-4 times a week. At the same time, look at what nutritional changes you can make. Increase your water intake by 10oz. Add a serving of veggies to two meals.

 

Commit to these changes for 1-2 weeks. Evaluate how you’re doing and then pick another item from your list to work on. When you break your goal down to manageable tasks it becomes much less overwhelming.

 

This is what I had to do in order to move past my overwhelm and achieve my results. Making a lifestyle change is hard. It’s a combination of nutrition, fitness, and mindset. Facing that looking only at the big picture of the end goal is enough to frighten anyone into inaction. But if you can use the process that I outlined above then you’ll be well on your way to success. Just remember,  “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

Shannon Dombkowski helps moms find their fabulous. She’s a certified health coach, personal trainer, wellness educator, mom of 3 girls + one lazy dog, blogger and the girlboss behind Tough Mom Fitness. Her passion is helping moms adopt and sustain a healthy lifestyle by making time for moving and nourishing their bodies while improving their mindset. She shares her tips on her blog and various social media sites. You can follow along on her blogInstagram, and Facebook.

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Fitness Gear – What I’m Loving Right Now!

Hey y’all! ……

Ok, so a lot of the gear I’m loving right now, fitness wise, are things I got from BlogFest! Our sponsors were so generous and there were a lot of awesome vendors at the IdeaWorld Expo as well! Some of this fitness gear has become things I’m using every day and am absolutely loving.

Looking to update your gear or try something new? Here are the things I'm using all the time right now and loving!

Takeya water bottle!

pink-water-bottle

Guys…This water bottle is amazing! Drinking enough water is so important and this bottle keeps it cold for so long! I don’t know about you, but I hate room temp water. It’s just the worst. Having cold water means I will actually drink enough! I fill it up with ice before I head to my “regular” job and will refill it at least a few times during my shift. The handle makes it easy to carry around and I love the dual lid design.

Plus, look at that color!!! It’s such a fun and vibrant pink!

Vooray bag

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The first time I saw Vooray was on Instagram around a year ago and I have been in love ever since! So when I saw that they had a booth at the Expo, I had to go down so I could see them in person. After about 4 visits in two days where I tried to talk myself out of buying one…I finally gave in! I am so glad I did! I absolutely love it! Right now, with my schedule, I’m only using it a couple of times a week. But once I (eventually) go full time with my business, I foresee needing it a lot more often!

Jaybird X3 Wireless Headphones

bluetooth-headphones

Before heading to the conference, I had been going back and forth about getting some new headphones to replace mine (they were slowly breaking). Now I’m glad I waited! I got these fantastic headphones as part of BlogFest at the Red Bull booth and they are working great. It took a bit for me to find a comfortable way to wear them. But they are super versatile for how they can be worn, so there is sure to be a fit that is comfortable for everyone! And they are very lightweight. My favorite part though is the clips that you can put on to the back to adjust the fit!

I’ve been wearing them both at work and at the gym and no matter what I’ve been doing they stay in. Full transparency: It took me a day or two to get the fit right for them to stay in like that. The first time I tried to run with them in they fell out immediately. When I ran yesterday they stayed in perfectly the whole time. The run-time has been really good too. I haven’t used them to dead yet, but I’ve used them all night at work and then at the gym with no issues!

Sweat Pink Tank Top

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This tank top is just so cute and comfy! I love the fit – it’s not super form-fitting, but not really loose and flowy either. It’s pretty much the perfect mix! And now that I’m officially a Sweat Pink Ambassador, I love having a bit of gear to wear and represent!

YMCA T-shirt

Iowa-YMCA-apparel-raygun

Speaking of wearing and representing haha….My YMAC t-shirt is my go-to at least once a week! They are so cute, super comfy and are great to workout in! They were designed for our Des Moines YMCAs by a local clothing company called RAYGUN! (I loved them so much that I bought two!)

I am a big fan of our Y, and of the Y in general. I love the sense of community and support that comes from being a part of them and all the work they do! So I’m thrilled to have a shirt I love to wear to show my love and support of them!

Momentum Wrap

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I’ve been wearing this wrap almost every day since I got it! It’s so comfy, even during a workout. I can’t wait to get a few more from them!

Asics

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Asics are pretty much my go-to brand for shoes anymore, and I’m currently in love with my pair of grey and pink Quantum Gel 180 2! They are versatile enough to go from the weight room to going for a run outside and provide great arch support. I broke 2 bones in my foot a long time ago, so quality shoes are super important to me!

Listening to – Mantras and Macros

fitness-podcast

I get a lot of listening time available to me at my “regular” job, so I love me some podcasts! Now, most of them are history, business, or nerdy geeky fun, but I do listen to one fitness podcast! I found Mantras and Macros recently and have been steadily working my way through from the beginning. I love listening to Mallisa and her guests converse! She has so much great information to share and a lot of her personal story just hits home with me so hard. If you are a podcast lover, I definitely recommend checking her out! (She also has a wonderful blog to go along with the podcast, which I’m sure you will love! You are here reading mine after all :p)

So that is it – just a little snapshot into what I’m loving right now! Do you have any fitness gear that you are really into right now? What about fitness podcasts?! I would love to hear about it, so please leave a comment below!

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Veggie-Filled Meal Prep!

After my trip to Las Vegas, I was definitely ready for a food-reset! Am I the only one who finds it crazy that it was hard to eat healthy during a fitness conference? So when I got back, I knew I wanted to make sure that my meal prep for the coming week were packed with veggies!

Sadly, I didn’t get to enjoy it quite as much as I would have liked, since I ended up spending most of the week fighting off a minor flu. But that is okay! I got to experiment with some new recipes and I was able to save most of the prep that didn’t get eaten. The other plus side: Even while I was sick and had just gotten back home a few days before, I didn’t have to worry at all about what Draz was going to take for lunch or anything like that! Meal prep really can save you so much stress.

Enjoy!

Get your week off to a great start with this veggie packed meal prep, including breakfasts!

For snacks, I changed things up a bit. Before I left on my trip, I got some really delicious local ground mustard that I love to use as a dip. So I cut up some veggies to have as a snack to go with it! A couple of the days I ended up taking some pretzels to dip in it too. Have you ever used mustard like that? It’s delicious!

healthy-breakfasts-snacks-meal-prep

Other than that, I pretty much stuck with my basic meat and cheese snacks. We were running low on breakfast stuff as well, so I made up a couple loaves of my Healthier Cinnamon Bread and a batch of our Freezer-Ready Breakfast Burritos!

On to the main dishes! For Draz, I made some Slow Cooker Italian Red Pepper Chicken and more of his favorite Slow Cooker Island-Style Pulled Pork! I know I make that pork a lot, but it is so quick and easy, plus it’s one of his favorite dishes!

weekly-food-prep-for-two

For me, I made some burrito bowls inspired by this recipe, some garlic-y zucchini noodles (still working on the recipe for this one) and the One-Pot Cabbage Veggie Saute I shared with you yesterday! Overall, everything turned out great! With me getting sick, I ended up putting a bunch of the cabbage dish in the freezer, so I guess we will get to see how well that recipe freezes!

food-prep-main-dishes

Want to give our favorite breakfast a try? Get your grocery list here!

What are your go-to veggie dishes? Do you have a favorite? I would love to hear about them, so please leave a comment below!

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One-Pot Cabbage Veggie Saute

Guys…I LOVE cooking with cabbage. Not only is it healthy, but it’s filling and budget-friendly too! It serves as a great base for other ingredients and can take on a lot of flavor. So when I wanted to create something inexpensive that could use up a bunch of veggies, I knew what I wanted to start with!

This vegetarian dish has everything! Packed with nutritious veggies and flavor! (Plus it's budget-friendly!) The perfect addition to your meal plan this week!

Basically, this recipe is one I just threw together. I’m probably going to edit this over time, but I liked it enough I wanted to share it with you from the start. With my trip to Idea World in Las Vegas recently, and both Draz and I working on building our businesses, money can get pretty tight. So making our meal prep as budget-friendly as possible is important! This recipe works great for that, and it’s flexible enough that you could really throw in most types of veggies that you have on hand.

To start off, here are the veggies that I used!

  • 1 small head cabbage
  • 3 bell peppers of various colors
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 3 carrots
  • roughly 4 cloves of garlic
  • a few handfuls of spinach

For the rest of this week’s meal prep (pictured below), make sure to check back tomorrow! (Or you can sign up for the email list and get it right to your inbox!)

 

weekly-food-prep

vegetarian-meal-prep-main-dish
One-Pot Cabbage Veggie Saute
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
6 15 minutes
Cook Time
30-40 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 15 minutes
Cook Time
30-40 minutes
vegetarian-meal-prep-main-dish
One-Pot Cabbage Veggie Saute
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
6 15 minutes
Cook Time
30-40 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 15 minutes
Cook Time
30-40 minutes
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a large stockpot on med-high heat and saute garlic.
  2. Add in cabbage, bell peppers, onion, and carrots. Season with red pepper flakes and pepper, to taste. Simmer on med heat for 20-30 minutes, until cabbage is softened and cooked down, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add in spinach leaves; simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until spinach wilts.
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Finding Fitness: Shannon from Tough Mom Fitness

Hey everyone! I am so excited to bring back my Finding Fitness series after missing last month! Let me introduce you to Shannon from Tough Mom Fitness. I love her story and her focus on showing a healthy lifestyle to her kids!

Looking for some inspiration on your own fitness journey? Then check out Shannon's story on this month's Finding Fitness!

Background: Can you tell me a little bit about yourself? I help moms find their fabulous. With short, but efficient, workouts and practical nutrition advice I work with moms so they can reach their goals without sacrificing precious family time. I’m a personal trainer and I’m also certified as a health coach. I’m an aspiring entrepreneur working on starting up a 1-on-1 online coaching business along with partnerships in my local community. On the personal side of things, I was born and raised in western Massachusetts. I married a [now former] Marine and we’ve lived in all corners of the US over the course of the last 10 years. We’re currently living in a small town near Savannah, GA. We have 3 daughters under the age of 8 and a lazy rescue dog. I live for coffee & running and I have a serious sweet tooth. I love reading and being outdoors.

 

How did your fitness journey start? What motivated the change? Along with that, what has kept you interested? After my first daughter was born I found myself carrying 25 extra pounds. I went back and forth with diets and exercise but didn’t stick with anything long enough to see results. That same weight was hanging around after my second daughter was born. By the time she was 2.5 years old I’d had enough with what I saw in the mirror. My husband deployed and I got to work on loving myself and making changes. Of course, he came home from deployment and I got pregnant again! After she was born I got to work losing the baby weight as soon as I was cleared to do so. The biggest thing that keeps me motivated is the love I have for myself. I don’t ever want to be back in that unhealthy spot – not in my mind or in my body. My girls also keep me motivated because they all mimic everything I do. Finally, my desire to enjoy my future with my husband is another motivator.

Finding-Fitness

What has been your biggest challenge in your fitness journey and how have you dealt with it? Three months after our 3rd daughter was born my husband deployed for about 7 months. I was working full time at a non-profit at the time and the kids were 3 months old, 3 years old, and 5 years old. I had to figure out how to reach my fitness goals when my life was in chaos. I did it though. I lost 30lbs through home workouts. I had to get up before the kids to get my workouts in (I still do!). I also learned the importance of meal prep so I could make sure that I was eating right.

 

Have you had any setbacks since starting your fitness journey? If so, how did you deal with them? We’ve moved 3 times in just over 2 years. Each move brings plenty of stress and I’m an emotional eater. With each of the moves I give myself the grace to do what I need to do in order to keep my sanity. Then I get right back on track as soon as I can. Usually I don’t stray far. At this point, eating well and working out are so engrained in my life that I can’t get off track for too long. But by allowing myself grace instead of beating myself up I’m in a much better place mentally.

 

What achievement are you the most proud of? Having the courage to step away from a job I was unhappy in and studying to become a certified personal trainer. That was 14 months ago and there’s no way I could have imagined that at this point we’d be living in another state and I’d be starting my own business. Many positive changes have come from that one decision. Oh wait, can I have 2? Back in November I ran a half marathon. By myself – not in a race – just to prove to myself that I could do it.

 

Outside of the physical, what have been some significant changes brought on by your fitness journey? The shift in my mindset. I’m happier now. I love myself now – flaws and all. I have more energy. I have a positive outlook on life. After going through the changes myself I now talk about the importance of mindset all the time.

Finding-Fitness

What are you working towards now? What are your goals and dreams, fitness-wise? Right now I’m working on building my butt. It’s always been flat so I’m working on giving it some definition! Other than that I’d like to run a half marathon again, but this time in a real race.

 

What does a typical training week look like? I workout 6 days a week. Some days have more training than others. I do resistance/strength training 4 days a week. Usually 1 day focuses on my upper body, 1 day on my lower body, and 2 days on full body. Then 2 days a week I do HIIT workouts. Finally, I run 5 days a week. The mileage varies depending on if the older kids are in school or if they’re riding their bikes with me.

Finding-Fitness

What does an average day of eating look like for you? I start the day with a full bottle of water after my workout. My breakfast is either overnight oats or eggs & veggies of some sort with coffee. I drink a protein shake around mid-morning because we’re usually on the go. Lunch is whatever I’ve prepped for the week. I try to keep it interesting so I change it weekly. In the afternoon I eat Greek yogurt and fruit with my coffee. Dinners vary but always contain a protein + starch + veggie.

 

Do you take any supplements? If so, could you tell us a little about what ones and why? If not, why not? I try to take supplements that add to or enhance what I eat, not replace it. With that said, I take the following supplements. Cranberry pills for recurring UTI issues. Probiotics for gut health. Biotin for hair, skin, and nails. Calcium because I don’t drink milk and want to be sure my intake is adequate.

 

What is your favorite exercise? Your least favorite? Running is my favorite by far. Least favorite would have to be balance exercises because I’m really not good at them.

Finding-Fitness

What do you do if you find your motivation lacking? I remind myself of my “why” – the reason(s) that I’m doing this. I also look to see if I need to switch up my workouts due to boredom or my body adapting.

 

How do you balance fitness with work/life/social/etc? How do you “find the time” to workout? I workout in the morning before anyone else in my house is awake. This not only helps me fit it in, but it helps me start the day with a clear mind. My workouts only take 30 minutes so it’s really not that difficult to fit in. When I run it’s typically only for 30-45 minutes as well. That’s a total of an hour – totally doable. For me, if I’m not exercising and eating right then my life isn’t balanced. I’m a stay at home mom and I’m trying to start a business from home. I give of myself all day long so not taking time for myself isn’t an option.

Finding-Fitness

What are your top 3 tips for someone just starting their fitness journey? I actually have a post that outlines the 5 Steps to Creating Healthy Habits. From this, my top 3 are:

  1. Focus on one change at a time. When we decide that it’s time to change we often want to go all in. That’s absolutely the wrong way to approach it. While it may work for a few weeks you’re really just setting yourself up for failure. Without easing into a new life you’re going to get overwhelmed and burn yourself out.
  2. At the end of each week take a look back at what you did. What worked? What didn’t? What should you keep doing and what should you stop? Did you stress-eat ice cream 3 times this week? Then you should probably find a way to combat stress that doesn’t involve food. By doing this weekly you’re able to stay on top of your habits.
  3. Give yourself a month. Changes don’t happen overnight. We live in a world where everyone wants results yesterday. There is no magic pill or shake to make the weight drop quickly and stay off. Losing weight, getting fit, changing your nutrition…it all takes time. This is supposed to be a lifestyle.

 

Anything else you want to share? I’m most active on Instagram and share a lot on Instagram Stories. I’ve recently started a group on Facebook for like-minded women to gather for support, accountability, and advice. I generally cater to moms but any woman is welcome to join us! We’re just getting started and building the group so if you’re interested you can request to join the Tough Mom Tribe.

Sara here again: Thank you Shannon for sharing your story! I hope you all found it as inspiring as I did!

Shannon Dombkowski helps moms find their fabulous. She’s a certified health coach, personal trainer, wellness educator, mom of 3 girls + one lazy dog, blogger and the girlboss behind Tough Mom Fitness. Her passion is helping moms adopt and sustain a healthy lifestyle by making time for moving and nourishing their bodies while improving their mindset. She shares her tips on her blog and various social media sites. You can follow along on her blog, Instagram, and Facebook.

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