“I can’t.”

 

No, I am not going to be making an argument here for you lifting anything with your mind.  Until someone proves to us that lifting anything (let alone an x-wing (let alone has an actual x-wing to lift)) with their mind is possible, we are working within our realm of human possibility here.

I have heard “I can’t” from a lot of Jedi, and every time I do I want to beat them with a gimer stick.

KJzGqPU(Seriously…I am just going to move to a swamp, put on an antic disposition like Yoda and be done with it.)

First off, if you say you can’t, then you can’t.  You have already failed because you refuse to try.

Second off, maybe you are right.

~Wait, what‽‽‽~
(Interrobang for the win!!!!!!)
(There is a new term/punctuation mark for most of you.)
(Learn something new every day.)

So, you say you can’t learn a foreign language.  Or you say you will never be able to lift a certain weight.  Or you say that you can’t run a marathon.  Or maybe it is something else completely.  Maybe a diet goal, or a savings goal…anything.  You might be right.  You may be incapable of that thing, but that does not mean you are incapable of improving your ability.

If you look at the grand end goal from the beginning, of course it seems impossible.  A foreign language, weight lifting, marathons…those are HUGE goals.  In order to make any sort of progress, you have to break those goals down.

Instead of saying you want to learn a foreign language, start by saying I want to do x many DuoLingo lessons of a language per week, or I want to take a class in that language, or I want to learn how to count to ten in a different language, or buy a textbook in a language and commit to learning one chapter at a time.  You may never become fluent in a language, but you may learn just enough to help translate for someone or communicate with someone who only speaks that language on a basic level.

Instead of saying you want to lift some massive amount of weight.  Find out what you can lift now.  Start doing reps 3+ times a week of what you can lift until that becomes easy.  Add a few pounds and repeat.  You may never reach that massive weight, but you still made yourself stronger than when you began.

Instead of saying you want to run a marathon, start by saying you want to run a 5k (3.1 miles and usually the shortest race distance) in 45 minutes or less (approximate minimum time for a race I usually do), or break it down even further and say you want to do a mile in 15 minutes or less.  Once you can do the mile, do the 5k, once you can do the 5k, do an 8k, then a 10k.  You may never run a marathon, but you can still run more than most people ever attempt.

With each of these small goals, once you achieve it, you set a new small goal.  Then another.  Then another.  And you keep working towards small goals until AND BEYOND, achieving the most you can possibly achieve (because generally, if you do not continue to practice a skill or ability, you lose it).

I give you one of my favorite quotes:

ENGL1102blogpostbetter

I have seen this quote get a bad rap…even saw it on a list of quotes that need to stop being used, but it means so much to me.  Shoot for a goal, no matter how impossible it may seem, because even if you really can’t achieve that goal, you can still make progress, still improve.

I learned this as a little girl.  For two years I tried to learn how to do a areal (no handed) cartwheel.  Two years I failed.  But every time I stepped up to the mat I repeated over and over “I think I can” (yes, like the Little Engine…like I said, I was a kid.)  My attitude and my mantra was known to my acrobatic classmates, many of them were inspired by it, they would use it for themselves, they even took to repeating it with me when I when I would attempt it each time as a form of encouragement.  It was amazing how powerful such a small thing had become.  Finally one day I did.  A month later I could also do an areal walkover.  No matter how impossible it ever seemed, I never stopped trying.  Never stopped working to be better.

Unless you are talking about plans you cannot commit to, or something like that, never say you can’t.  Because when you do, what you are really saying is “I won’t.”

 

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Overcoming

Physical limitations.  Some of us are lucky not to experience them in any real way.  Some of us are not.  Sometimes it is a temporary limitation, perhaps you broke your leg playing basketball and need to go through an extensive period of physical therapy.  For others, it is something they will carry with them for their entire life.

It is very easy, when you have some sort of physical limitation, to just blame it for not being able to do certain things and move on.  “I get chest pains when I run, so I can’t run.”  “I have tendinitis in my hands, so I can’t climb.”  “I have a bad back so I can’t….anything.”

“If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.”
~Jim Rohn

This even applies, to some extent, to major handicaps.  Look at the Paralympians or the numerous other athletes who have missing limbs and what not, but still find a way to be active because they are driven to do so.  If you are in a wheelchair, make use of your arms.  If you are missing an arm, trying running.  Yes, in some cases they are only able to gain the fame  they do due to expensive prosthetics, treatments, or other expensive aid, but we are not looking for fame here, we are looking for effort and intent.

If you are in a wheelchair, you will likely never be able to run a marathon, but what CAN you do.  Similar to how they say losing ones sight heightens a persons hearing (maybe not to the extent of Daredevil, but still), if you cannot use your legs, learn to use your arms.  If you are missing a limb, make use of the other three.  Will it be difficult at first? You bet it will.  Is it worth it?  You will have to make that judgement for yourself, but I have never heard anyone say no.

I would say yes.

******

I have mentioned before, that one week after I was born, I was diagnosed with SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).  For the first year of my life, I was hooked up to breathing monitors.  For the first year of my life, I was on all sorts of medications that, as an infant baby, made me cry constantly.  Around the time of my first birthday they finally started to ween me from all of this (and according to my mother, being off the medication made me a completely different baby).  Around the time I was in third grade however, I began to notice something that would prove that those days were not entirely in the past.  I started getting chest pains every time I ran.  Sharp pains, that felt like being stabbed repeatedly to the chest and made it nearly impossible to breath.  From 3rd grade through about 7th grade, I was constantly at the hospital, seeing various specialists, undergoing all sorts of testing trying to determine the cause to my pain.  Eventually, I told my mother I was done, I did not want to see anymore doctors, they were not finding anything.  Many years later I would find out that my mother and the doctors had came to the conclusion that this was a birth defect, but my mother never shared this with me until I told her that I had always assumed that was what it was (I was in my mid-20’s when that happened…thanks mom).

Through all this time, and on all the way through high school, I was always on a doctors note.  I was excused from running in gym class, and I was permitted to carry advil or a similar medication with me at all times in case I had an onset of chest pains.  I even left school several times because the pain would come on and be too much to ignore (stress can bring them on as well).  I submitted to the pain.  I let it dictate what I could and could not do.

Then, one day, a few years after high school, I decided that I was done letting it dictate what I did, and I started running for the first time since I was a toddler.  I have never really stopped since.  Two years ago I ran my first 5K.  Last year I ran my first 10K.  I cannot run the entire time, I have to do intervals…usually 2 minutes of running vs. 3 minutes of walking, sometimes reverse if I am having a good day, but I still get up and do it.  I have learned to breath through stress related episodes, so that I can continue with what I am doing.

I also have a bad back.  I landed a flip-flop on my head when I was fifteen years old.  Messed up the lumbar area of my back forever.  I had about a year of treatment, three times a week, and it is better than it once was, but it will always be a problem.  There are a lot of exercises I come across when doing workout programs and just go nope…nope, my back cannot handle that now.  If I can modify it, I do, and sometimes I can work up to doing the regular move.  Other times I cannot.  So, I focus on the exercises I can do, and I take extra care of my back.  I stretch, I foam roll, I make extra sure to drink enough water (you would be amazed the difference in how my back feels when I am properly hydrated compared to when not).

******

Both of these things I have learned to manage (as well as a few other lesser issues, like my recent develoment of Reynauld’s Disease).  These are worst than what some people experience.  They are also nothing compared to what some people experience.  Still, they were my struggles, they were mine to overcome.  If you have some sort of disability, you need to figure out what you are capable of.  Research others with your same problem who have excelled physically, read their stories, follow their advice, and even see if you can talk to them about it.  Talk to anyone you can who can give you expert advise.  If you have a regular doctor or physical therapist, talk to them about what you can do to achieve these new goals.  It will not change overnight, it is a long road, and all uphill, but when you get to the top of that hill, look down, and realize how far you have come…yeah, it is worth it.

As Jedi, we should be prepared for anything that comes at us, in anyway we can.  How can you prepare yourself?  How can you improve yourself?  Everyone begins as a novice, what matters is that you begin.

Travel Workout

The best laid plans of fitness are often completely derailed by travel plans.  You have your routine at home, whether it is a trip to the gym after work every evening, a run every morning, or time set aside each day in your home gym; when you travel, you are not following your daily routine of work, play, or work-out.  Often times this is due to equipment.  Someone used to going to the gym or using at home equipment are not sure what to do without their machines and weights.  Sometimes you stay at a hotel with a good fitness center.  Sometimes you stay at a hotel with a very bare bones fitness center.  Sometimes you stay at a hotel with absolutely no fitness center, or you are staying with friends/family.  Whatever the situation, there are a few solutions.

First, survey the area.  If you have a fitness center at the hotel, great, check it out, it may suit your needs.

If you are interested in cardio, they may have a treadmill, or you can look up possible routes near where you are staying.  I have a friend who goes to Sci-Fi conventions and sure enough, every morning as I am just rolling out of bed and onto the con floor, he is walking in in his shorts from his morning run (I prefer to workout at night).

Another option is to see if their are gyms nearby where you are staying (that is within commutable distance, whether that is walking, public transportation, or if you have a car) that offer free trials.  Even if you only get a day or two during a week long trip, it is better than nothing at all.

Finally, the no-fail option, is to have a travel routine that requires no equipment, or only equipment that you can easily fit into carry-on luggage.  This can work as your entire workout routine for the trip, or as a supplement to whatever else you are able to find.  Here is a list of some of my favorites (with links for more information):

  • Lunges – Works Glutes, Quads, Hamstrings – No equipment necessary
  • Squats – Works Glutes, Quads, Hamstrings – No equipment necessary
  • Calf Raises – Works Calves – No equipment necessary (also try toes turned out, toes turned in, and single leg)
  • Standing Hip/Leg Abductions – Works Upper Glutes, Outer Thighs – No equipment necessary
  • Resistance Band Bicep Curls – Works Biceps – Resistance Bands
  • Resistance Band Upright Row – Works Delts, Biceps, Traps – Resistance Bands
  • Hand Grip – Works Hands – Hand Grip
  • Plank – Works Core (seriously) – No equipment necessary
  • Donkey Kicks – Works Glutes, Hip Flexors, Lower Back, – No equipment necessary
  • Laying Leg Abductions and Other Laying Leg Exercises – Works – No equipment necessary
  • Laying Resistance Press with Butt Lift – Works Pectoral, Triceps, Glutes – Resistance Bands (I cannot find this with the butt lift, but it is an added bonus that adds  the glute element.  Just plant your feet so you are in a standard sit-up position, press down on them so that your butt lifts in the air, with all the weight on your feet and shoulders.  Hold that while doing the exercises, or press up and down with each rep.)

There are many more, including your standard jumping jacks, push-ups, crunches, ecc.; and a simple search for “travel workout” can lend numerous results for you to tailor your own routine.  It may not be as intense as your regular workout, but it will help maintain your fitness and schedule in the interim.

100 Days – Playground

I debated posting today’s 100 Days video…especially since it might make this week my first three-post week., but I really liked the focus on exercises that could be done with little to no equipment (I saw a couple moves I might have to steal), as well as the mention of doing moderate exercise regularly.  Note that the moderate regular exercise will give you the health benefits, but if you are trying to gain strength, gain definition, or lose weight (though weight is lost in the kitchen, but burning more calories through exercise helps, both through the instant burn of cardio and the increased metabolic rate resulting from an increase of muscle), more workout is necessary.

100 Days

A couple of YouTube personalities I follow (you may have heard of the one, John Green, author of The Fault in Our Stars) are going to spend 100 days, starting on January 1st, to make “lasting, meaningful, healthy changes in their lives.”  It looks really interesting.  In this intro video, John mentions meeting with a dietitian, a trainer, and a psychologist, as well as doing meditation, obstacle courses, rock climbing, ecc.  I might post a few videos if I find them really helpful, but otherwise it might be good to follow and watch (no, I am in no way affiliated, I just think it looks really helpful and interesting) for inspiration and information.

Be Healthier

An updated version of this post can be found in the drop down menu at the top of the page under “Be More Series.”  It will continue to be updated as information is uncovered in that location, but will remain the same here.

*******

Health.  The internal condition of your body.  The most important thing to your daily functions and, unfortunately, the most commonly overlooked.  Do you want to lose weight?  You need to eat healthier.  Do you want more energy?  Try eating healthier.  Sick a lot?  Cannot guarantee it is not something more, but might want to try eating healthier in addition to going to the doctor if it is something severe.  Food and Beverages are fuel for your body…if you put the good stuff in, you get better results.  Here are just some of my own pointers based on my experience and research.

1. Drink Water – It used to be said to drink 8-glasses of water per day.  Good starting, but now it is more accurate to divide your weight by 2 and drink that much water in ounces.  So, if you weight 140lbs, you should be drinking 70 ounces of water per day.  “But water is boring!”  “I don’t like it!”  Try it for a while…if you need to add flavor, cut up some fresh fruit and throw it in (I discourage using the powder and drop additives because it adds a lot of other stuff you do not need).  It is AMAZING the difference being properly hydrated can make.  Skin is clearer, old injuries hurt less, more energy, better muscle repair rate…the list goes on.  DRINK WATER!

2. Eat a Balanced Diet – I am not going to tell you what to eat, because we all have different food sensitivities and preferences.  However, you need to balance out the main nutrients: Protein, Fat, and Carbohydrates.  How much of each you should be getting will be a personal discovery.  Someone who is dancing six days a week will have different nutrient needs than someone who sits on the couch all day.  Do the research, find your percentages, balance them out.  Do not cut all of one out either…the idea that carbs or bad has been smashed into our heads for years.  They are not.  Refined carbs are bad, but if you switch to whole grains…not so much.  Fruits and vegetables also have a lot of carbs, and sugar, but they are natural, and easier for your body to break down.

3. Reduce Sugar and Junk/Eat More Naturally – Get all the crap out of your diet.  I know you love your soda, but it does SO MUCH damage to your body, and seriously, there are numerous stories of people losing a lot of weight just by cutting out soda.  Stop with the processed food.  Cut out as many of the synthetic chemicals you can (yes, I realize that everything is a chemical, which is why I specify synthetic).  Eat fresher foods and not foods that would survive a nuclear war.  Now, you can indulge once in a while.  I, personally, have a massive chocolate addiction.  It is about moderation here.

4. Reduce Alcohol – Not saying you have to be an abstinent saint here, Jedi CAN drink.  Even Obi-Wan indulges in happy hour ever once in a while.  Again, moderation.  Have a glass of wine with dinner.  Go out for drinks with friends every once in a while.  However, if you are passing out every night with portions of your memory missing, there may be a problem.  Also, there is a difference between drinking and getting drunk.  Drinking to the point where you cannot control yourself renders you pretty useless if an emergency arises.

5. Eat Moderately (Calories) – My biggest issue…due to the chocolate.  Food is calories.  Calories are energy.  Energy is fuel for your body.  Yes, eat something you like to attain that fuel, but do not overeat.  The recommended calorie intake (which I believe is 2K calories) is WAY more than most sedentary people need.  I highly recommend getting a calorie tracker like Garmin or Fitbit.  They are not EXACT, but they will give you an idea of how many calories you are burning on a daily basis.  For women, you should never drop below 1200; for men, I believe it is 1500; but again, it is a personal number.  I am burning, on a sedentary day, around 1700 calories.  On an active day….I think my record was about 2800 calories.  You have to adjust what you eat for higher activity days, but that does not mean you can go to town on the refrigerator.

6. Control Dietary Issues – You might have a gluten intolerance or some other allergy.  You might even have something like diabetes.  Some issues require medication, though again, I have heard stories of people reversing those issues due to dietary changes.  Take the medication when it is crucial, but make the dietary changes as well and strive to be able to phase out the medication if at all possible.  I have genetically high cholesterol (thanks Mom and Dad).  When I came back from Italy in 2009, my cholesterol was around 380.  My doctor did not want to put me on medication because I was still so young, so I focused on changing my diet and the next time I was tested I had dropped to about 280.  You are what you eat.

Helpful Links and Apps
MyFitnessPal – I have been using this website/app for AGES.  It allows you to set up your own dietary goals, input the food you eat (you can even scan barcodes now), and will tell you where you stand with your goals.  You can even choose which nutrients to show (I show Calories, Fat, Carbs, Protein, Fiber, and Cholesterol).  MyFitnessPal will also sync up to most fitness trackers to factor in activity level.

Tone It Up – The aesthetics of the site and program are definitely geared towards women, and their Nutrition Plan costs $150, but the food is good for anyone, and you pay once and are a member for life.  I am in love with some of their recipes.  They post some publicly as well, but I found the investment worth it.  I used to hate fish and avocados…they have gotten me hooked on both.

Thug Kitchen – Hilarious recipe’s, language warning.  They have three cookbooks out as of October 11th.  I have not bought any yet, but I follow them on facebook and like what I have seen.

There area also great posts and inspiration all over Pinterest and Instagram if you look up health and fitness.

Remember two things that I hear all the time from Tone It Up:
You can’t outwork a bad diet.
and
Abs are made in the gym, but they are revealed in the kitchen.