fit by 27

 

What ages have been defining years in your life?

Age 25 was a defining year for me. I tore the ACL in my left knee, ten years after I tore and had surgery on the right one. I was diagnosed with celiac disease. If those two life events weren’t enough, I was also completing my first full year as a classroom teacher in an innovative school model.  With the support of my husband, family, and amazing co-workers, I finally started putting my health before work (since I basically didn’t have a choice at this point), and with their support, learned to not let myself feel guilty for it. With these emotional breakthroughs, plus the fact that I finally have a more complete picture of my health and what my body needs to thrive, and I am ready to make 26 yet another defining year for me.

By the time I turn 27, I will be consistently eating for health in a balanced and healthy manner, I will no longer fit the medical definition of obese, and I will crave and love exercising again like I did when I was a teenager.

To help me stay focused on health as a fun journey and one that is centered around more than just weigh loss, but positive habits, I created a Fitness Bucket List for age 26. Here are all the activities I want to complete by June 7, 2016:

  1. Try every fitness class at my gym.
  2. Complete Blogilates for Beginners calendar.
  3. Complete a monthly calendar for Blogilates.
  4. Go at least one month in which Dan and I only eat out one meal a week.
  5. Make at least 5 recipes from the Oh She Glows cookbook.
  6. Make at least 5 recipes from the Skinnytaste cookbook.
  7. Make at least 10 new recipes from the Tone It Up nutrition plan.
  8. Run in a 5K race.
  9. Bike 100 miles outside on my road bike (versus a stationary bike at the gym) by the end of fall break 2015.
  10. Complete the Workitout 100 challenge.
  11. Complete a Whole30 challenge.
  12. Complete the 21 Day Fix workout plan as written.
  13. Go to the gym and workout before work every day for a week.
  14. Do yoga every day for a month.
  15. Follow a Tone It Up weekly workout schedule exactly as written for at least one whole week.

I will be posting overall weekly updates on my Fit By 27 journey, as well as some individual posts about different items on my fitness bucket list. I’m very excited to finally prioritize my health and go after what I want. I know I have created fitness challenges and projects for  myself in the past, and haven’t had a ton of sustaining success. I really believe I will achieve my goals, improve my attitude, and revise my lifestyle for keeps this year not because I have finally realized life is always busy and there is no perfect time to make big changes, but because I have finally matured enough to be able to handle that fact and just do it anyway. Here’s to 26 and getting fit!

Have you ever done any of the activities on my bucket list? Are you on a similar fitness journey yourself?


*image created using Rhonna Designs app

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My Life: What’s Up

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What’s New:

  • She’s okay now, but Madison hurt her leg playing two weeks ago. She was crying and couldn’t put any weight on it, so we took her to the ER vet. The vet said she probably partially tore something in her leg, so we’ve made sure she’s been taking it easy, not walking up and down stairs a lot, not jumping on and off furniture, etc. We also found out she has arthritis in both her back legs, so we are looking into the best ways to help her.
  • This season our team hosted an invitational meet that is annually held between the three high schools in the district and local private high school. It hadn’t been held at our school in almost ten years, but we worked really hard and pulled it off! It went well and I’m glad it’s over.
  • This winter has been brutual! Our district used six calamity days in January alone. I can’t wait for the weather to warm up!

What I am…

  • Reading: I just finished reading The American Heiress (review to posted later this week!). I am going to start reading The Friday Night Knitting Club next. I’ve heard good things about it; have you read it?
  • Watching (TV): My favorite shows are The Mindy Project, Community, Bones, and Parks and Recreation. Are you watching the current seasons of any of those shows? I love How I Met Your Mother, too, but I didn’t enjoy the first couple episodes of this season so I wasn’t anxious to keep up, and now I’ve fallen way behind! HIMYM fans, it’s gotten better, right?
  • Watching (Netflix): Dan and I started watching and quickly finished Orange Is the New Black. It’s an awesome show about life in a women’s prison. I can’t wait for season two! We are currently watching Friday Night Lights. We can’t get enough! Does anyone else love that show?
  • Listening to: Pure Heroine by Lorde. The CD has been on repeat in my car ever since Dan got it for me for Christmas. 
  • Doing for fitness: A couple months ago, Dan and I joined a gym just a few minute drive from our apartment. In addition to swimming at the gym’s pool, I also log time on the cardio machine and do Tone It Up! routines. With swim season, I am have only been getting to the gym a couple times a week. I love coaching and will miss it when the season is over, but I am looking forward to having more time to work on my fitness goals!
  • Posting: I have a fitness Twitter account I have shared on this blog before, but I changed my username recently from @getfitgetstrong to @kcdaily_fit. In addition to my personal Instagram @beagleandbear (which I am a bit obsessed with), I have a fitness Instagram @beagleandbear_fit. Feel free to follow me!
  • Loving: Madison is recovering well, the days are getting longer again, curling up on the couch with a big cup of tea and a book, the White Barn Candle’s scent Winter, snacking on pretzel sticks.

What is new with you? 

101 Things in 1,001 Days

With it being New Year’s Day, I, like a lot of society, am excited for a new year and fresh start. I’ve written New Year’s resolutions pretty much every year for as long as I can remember. Recently, in the years 2011, 2012, and 2013, I created and followed what I called the New Year’s All Year Challenge. It went okay for me in 2011, and pretty well for me in 2012, but I did not keep up with in 2013. A lot of changes occurred in my life this past year (like moving out of my parents’ house, getting married, a new job, etc.), and trying to stay focused on multiple goals every month on top of those changes started to feel very overwhelming for me. I eventually let go of them because I tend to be a perfectionist and my lack of progress on them (due to focusing on all the other big events and adjustments going on) was unnecessarily stressing me out. While my 2014 isn’t currently shaping up to have the type of life-changing events 2013, I have decided to forgo doing a 2014 New Year’s All Year Challenge for the similar reasons. I want to achieve my goals in life, but I want to make sure I am doing so in a balanced way that doesn’t put unneeded pressure on myself.  I want to enjoy the journey and make sure I am having fun and spending time with those I love.

I am a longtime fan of Mackenzie Horan of Design Darling, and I recently realized her 101 Things in 1,001 Days project is perfect way for me to approach the next year. Well, really, the next 2.75 years. As she described it, it’s a “happy medium between writing a to do list and keeping a bucket list. It’s a way to dream big and make regular progress toward meeting those longer term goals.” So, I have crafted my own list and will begin my journey today! I look forward to sharing my progress and experiences with everyone. Happy New Year!!! : )

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Start: January 1, 2014

Wellness

  1. Compete in a masters swim meet.
  2. Complete a triathlon.
  3. Meet my goal weight.
  4. Do yoga every day for a month.
  5. Stop biting my nails.
  6. Complete a Bible study.
  7. Try every fitness class offered at my gym.
  8. Take a self-defense class.
  9. Give up swearing for Lent (and see if it lasts after that!).
  10. Complete a plank challenge.
  11. Floss every other day for a month (and see if I can finally maintain the habit).
  12. Go to the eye doctor.
  13. Eat as a vegetarian for a month.
  14. Complete a squat challenge.
  15. Try 20 different workouts from what I have saved from magazines over the years.
  16. Practice meditation/mindfulness every day for a month.

Outings/Travel

  1. Attend a musical I’ve never seen before.
  2. Revisit the major museums in Cleveland (4).
  3. Go to a Blue Jackets game.
  4. Go apple or berry picking.
  5. Attend a live comedy show.
  6. Ride the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.
  7. Eat at five new-to-me restaurants in the Cleveland or Columbus area.
  8. Go on a tour of a brewery.
  9. Attend a professional orchestra concert.
  10. Visit the Cleveland Botanical Gardens.
  11. Go camping.
  12. Visit the Underground Railroad museum in Cincinnati.
  13. Obtain a passport and use it, even if only to travel to Canada (the only other country I have ever been in besides the U.S.).
  14. Visit the National Museum of the Air Force in Dayton.
  15. Take Madison to the dog beach.
  16. Visit Cooperstown and the Baseball Hall of Fame.
  17. Attend Dinner on the Diamond again.
  18. See a major league baseball game in a stadium I have never been to before.
  19. Go to a BGSU home football game.

Family/Friends

  1. Send Christmas cards to all of our family and friends before the holiday.
  2. Host a book club meeting.
  3. Prepare a meal for my family using an outdoor grill.
  4. Do something extra special for each member of my family.
  5. Host a fancy brunch for my friends.
  6. Mail my closest friends and family cards for each birthday during these 1,001 days.
  7. Throw a party for my parents’ 35th wedding anniversary.

Service/Philanthropy

  1. Donate to PAWS in Madison’s name.
  2. Donate toys to kids in need.
  3. Donate to BGSU.
  4. Complete 25 random acts of kindness.
  5. Donate blankets or coats to those in need.
  6. “Pay it forward” at a coffee shop or at a tollbooth.
  7. Donate books to an organization that distributes them to those who need them or volunteer with a literacy organization.
  8. Complete 40 service hours.
  9. Sponsor an athlete at PSH or donate to scholarships offered through PCSD.

Hobbies

  1. Read 75 books I have never read before.
  2. Bake a pie from scratch.
  3. Make a pizza (dough and sauce) from scratch.
  4. Complete compiling and order a full wedding album.
  5. See a classic movie in a movie theater.
  6. Knit a scarf.
  7. Make 15 recipes out of Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
  8. Be inspired by Pinterest 10 times to either create/bake/cook something or utilize a cleaning/organization tip.
  9. Back up all my photos.
  10. Make a T-shirt quilt.
  11. Watch 10 Best Picture winning films I haven’t see before.
  12. Back up all my music.
  13. Create Snapfish or Shutterfly albums for each year since high school.
  14. Bake 12 different recipes of cookies and cut each recipe into an unique shape using our Year Of Cookies cookie cutters we were gifted for our wedding.
  15. Spend at least two months blogging consistently (five days a week).
  16. Watch Gone With the Wind again.
  17. Organize all my workout and recipe clippings from magazines into navigable binders/digital files.

Career

  1. Start a history podcast and publish at least three episodes.
  2. Organize all my previously written swim practices and planning into navigable binders/digital files.
  3. Obtain a full-time classroom position and/or begin earning my masters degree.
  4. Learn all of the world’s capital cities and the names and locations of major rivers, mountains, etc.
  5. Develop my Honors Project (from college) into a full book.
  6. Organize all my lesson plans and resources into navigable binders/digital files.
  7. Find a way to combine my loves of social media and the field of education into something that serves a resource and/or community for either teachers or students.
  8. Truly study (not just skim/index through) all the swimming books I own and organize my notes on them into navigable binders/digital files.

Things That Scare Me

  1. Sing karaoke
  2. Buy a bikini and wear it in public.
  3. Get another tattoo.

Finances

  1. Pay off the Honda Civic Dan and I purchased in March 2013 ahead of schedule.
  2. Save at least $5,000.
  3. Create a solid budget and begin cultivating spending/saving tracking habits by following it successfully for at least two months.
  4. Finish changing name on all accounts/relevant records.
  5. Write a will and a living will.

Home

  1. Buy big plastic bins and use them to organize the storage space/seasonal decorations.
  2. Set up a home office.
  3. Create and implement a rotating cleaning schedule and follow it for at least two months straight.
  4. Do an intake of my belongings, donate or toss what I don’t need, and organize what I am keeping.
  5. Find a more effective system for receiving mail, disposing of it/filing it, and responding to it.
  6. Style our bedroom.
  7. Style our living room.
  8. Buy an actual address book and use it.
  9. Clean my car and keep it tidy for at least two months.

Fashion/Beauty

  1. Find a skincare regimen that works for me and follow it for at least 30 days.
  2. Buy a grown up watch, and wear it regularly.
  3. Learn 5 new ways to style my hair.
  4. Get a pedicure.
  5. Find the perfect little black dress.
  6. Get grown-up luggage and use it (instead of using my backpack from high school!).
  7. Find my “signature scent.”
  8. Purchase a monogrammed bracelet or necklace.

 End date: September 27, 2016    

 

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Swimming Daily: Day Zero

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Tomorrow is Day One of my “season.” I don’t know what to call it, these 15 weeks I will be training for my first masters meet. Winter season? Sounds good to me.

I’ve been talking about joining a masters swim team for a long time, and for various reasons and just plain excuses, it never happened. Recently, my husband Dan and I joined a very close by gym that has awesome hours and plenty of options for a workout…including a six-lane, 25 meter pool that has adult-only lap swimming during all the gym’s hours.

That was the final piece of the puzzle. This weekend, I registered with U.S. Masters Swimming and found a meet for which to train (I am going to enter unaffiliated and self-train).

I haven’t seriously trained for races or formally competed since my senior year of school…which was 2007. Since then, I have coached three summer rec seasons for ages 7-14 and I am currently in my third year as head coach of a high school swim team. I truly believe I have a much greater understanding of the sport and of athletics in general. Not only that, but because I have grown as a person and into a young adult since then (moving away from home, making all new friends, losing new friends, major break-up, the death of a mentor, family crisis, student teaching, graduating from college, accepting and quitting my first “professional” job, getting engaged, daily subbing, long term subbing, planning a wedding, lots of moving, getting married, etc., etc.), I am supremely confident I am much more mentally strong than I was when I was last a competitive swimmer. I have no doubt in my mind I will be more focused, more optimistic, and easier on myself without being easy on myself.

The aspect of deciding to train again and enter a meet that scares me the most is how out of shape I am. I am bit afraid of what my times will be like at the meet because I am so out of shape it is going to take a long time, longer than 15 weeks, to be like I used to be. I know that. I just need to know this is the first step.

I know the amount I gained a great deal of weight in college by letting challenges in life get the best of me and not taking care of myself…roughly 60 pounds, to be exact. I wasn’t sure if I was going to discuss the number, but not saying it won’t magically make it go away, and though I’d like to believe it doesn’t look like I gained that much weight if you compare 18 year old me to 24 year old me, I’m sure it actually does. That being said, I have lost 15 pounds since being at my peak weight, and managed to keep them off for some time now. I have stagnated.

I do want to lose weight, and while I hope training helps me with that, that’s not what my training plan is designed around whatsoever. It’s designed for me to swim as fast as possible at that meet on March 29th, 2014. As I’m sure anyone who has been or is a swimmer knows, swimming makes you feel like nothing else. I’ve tried dozens of different workouts since then, but I couldn’t stick to them. After years of exercising as a part of a deliberate training plan with extremely specific and hard-fought goals, doing a 30 minute workout “just because I know it’s good for me” didn’t cut it. I wasn’t motivated, and I hated that I constantly like I was struggling to do a workout and the end result was just…that I completed the workout. Sure, it was a healthy choice, and when exercising is a habit it obviously has extremely positive and worthwhile results, but I want something for my workout besides just losing weight, or looking good, or knowing it’s good for me. I miss TRAINING and pushing myself as hard I as I can…and then harder.

So while I know my times in the meet on March 29th won’t be anywhere near my personal best times, I am psyched to work as hard as I can to get them as close as possible. All the while, I’m going to be documenting my journey on my US Masters Swimming blog and here, at Beagle & Bear. It will be under the series name “Swimming Daily” – daily because of my commitment and of course because it’s my new last name! : )

Off to bed…day one, tomorrow!

31 Day Blog Challenge: Day 12

For the month of March, I am participating in Fabulous Finds by Tiffany’s 31 Day Blog Challenge. Today’s prompt: something that you miss.

 

 

I miss swimming. Not in a coaching capacity (though I am sad season is over!), not in a recreational capacity, but as an athlete. Even though I love working out, I have trouble motivating myself to do so. While I am not alone in this phenomenon, I dislike that I deal with it at all. For awhile, I thought it was because I wasn’t on a team anymore and didn’t have a coach, teammates, or scheduled practices to hold me accountable. So I tried blogging about it. I tried working out with friends. I tried joining a gym and taking classes. Then I thought it was because I wasn’t training for something specific. So I tried training for a 5K (despite the fact that I totally hate running and always have). All of these reflections and efforts helped me, but none truly hooked me, excited me, or stuck.

Ever since moving back to Cleveland and trying to settle my post-college life, I have had pangs for swimming.  I mean PANGS: sick jolts of longing in my stomach, swoops of something akin to homesickness. And lately, these pangs have become closer and closer together. Not because I miss coaching, or being around a pool, or anything else like that, but because I miss being a swimmer. I miss training. I miss smelling like chlorine even after I take a shower. I miss being so sore it hurts to walk up the stairs, having skin so dry I have to take oatmeal baths, and an appetite so strong I can eat a foot long Subway sandwich and three cookies and still be legitimately hungry. I miss racing. I miss the focus I get right before a race and the harmony a good relay team has. I miss pushing myself so hard I have to crawl out of the pool when I’m done.

Then it hit me. Why am I trying to replace swimming? What’s the point?  Yes, it can be a time-consuming and somewhat costly sport. But why waste my time trying to fall in love with and become good at something else? It’s not working, and it’s not worth it.

That’s why, when my year-long gym membership is up for renewal next month, I am not renewing it. That’s why I’ve been doing better with exercising the past couple weeks. Because next month, I’m putting my money and time where it will make me most happy. I am returning to the swimming world. And you bet I am ready for it.

31 Day Blog Challenge: Day 9

For the month of March, I am participating in Fabulous Finds by Tiffany’s 31 Day Blog Challenge. Today’s prompt: Bucket/life list

I have definitely made bucket lists in the past, but (1) I made them years ago and my likes, dislikes, hopes, and wishes have changes since then and (2) I have no idea where any of them are anyway. So I just rewrote it, including what I am sure is some of the same and definitely some different. I had a lot of fun making my list and I’m looking forward to both crossing items off and adding more things onto it.

  • Travel outside of North America
  • Write a book
  • Host a fancy Thanksgiving dinner
  • Learn another instrument (I know how to play violin and alto saxophone)
  • Break 1:00.00 in the 100 freestyle (This is definitely the most “up in the air” item on my list)
  • Earn a masters degree
  • Fund a scholarship
  • Own, renovate, and decorate my own house
  • Climb a mountain
  • Visit as many national parks as possible
  • Go to Hawaii
  • Become known for a very delicious signature dish
  • Learn another language
  • Swim with dolphins
  • See a Broadway show with its original cast
  • Perform again. In a band concert, a play, something.
  • Learn a crafty skill and use it at least once to do something nice for someone else
  • Be hired as a full-time teacher
  • Learn how to change the oil in my car
  • Go whitewater rafting
  • Revise, further develop, and publish my Honors Project
  • Go fishing

 What’s on your bucket list?