Wednesday 28 November 2012

Finding the Courage To Fight for What You Want

Why is it that some people succeed beyond all expectations while others fail miserably? Why is it that some people reach their goals and others give up when only part-way there?

The answer is courage. It takes courage to deal with all of the negative influences of people who say you can't do it and to say instead, I will do it. It takes courage to want something else for yourself even when you know it will be a difficult journey. It takes courage to say "I am not giving up" and courage to keep doing the things that are good for you even when you don't feel like it. It takes courage to want to change your life and even more courage to do something about it.

Change can be scary, whether it's changing jobs, changing your lifestyle, changing your friends, changing your habits, changing your weight or even changing your dreams. Fighting to make those changes, even when they're scary, takes an immense amount of courage.

We should all be courageous warriors for change in our lives. We all have things in our lives that need changing. We all have dreams and hopes and desires, and it is going to take courage to reach for them. It'll take courage to believe in yourself, and it'll take courage to face down whatever fears or obstacles are in your way, in order to get what you want. It'll take courage to disagree with the little negative voice in your head.

But it's worth it. Being courageous, believing in yourself and fighting for your dreams is worth every second of the journey it will take you on.

So be a warrior. Be confident. Be courageous.

Sunday 18 November 2012

Are you ready for the Zombie Apocalypse? #ZAP

My friends Anna Meade over at Yearning for Wonderland and Emmie Mears drew my attention to Zombie Apocalypse Preparation (ZAP).  In order to be ready to survive the zombie apocalypse, you have to be fit, able to run, leap and survive on only the food that's necessary to keep you strong. I have some friends doing #ZAP, and I think I am going to join them.


Here are some key points to achieve for your Zombie Apocalypse Preparation:

1.  Ability to run long distances at a decent pace. Good endurance.

2. Ability to lift yourself over walls or to climb up the sides of buildings. Good strength.

3. Ability to survive off of only food that is necessary to your continued health. Good nutrition.

Here are some ways that you can gain these abilities:

1. The best way to build up endurance is to practice. Participate in aerobic exercise for long periods of time. Start slowly but build up your endurance over time. Running is an excellent way to build up your endurance. Start by running for 10 minutes straight. When that becomes comfortable, start running for 15 minutes straight and so on until you can run for at least 30 minutes. It's even better if you can train until you can reach an hour of running.

2. There are many ways to build up your strength. Lifting weights is one way, but sometimes, you can replace weights with other things around the house. (If you're a mom of young children, you have an edge on others as you can practice lifting your children while doing other activities. It's a great way to build up strength.) Another excellent form of resistance training is swimming. My 19 year old daughter has found an excellent form of training for Zombie Apocalypse Preparation; she has taken up parkour. In parkour, she is training to do somersaults off of buildings, climb many different structures and run and jump over obstacles. It's a more extreme form of training, but might be an excellent and fun way to prepare. Doing push-ups, sit-ups and chin-ups are also good methods for building your strength.

3. In order to be eating for optimal nutrition and health, it is necessary to give up junk food. Sweets, chocolate and sodas are not going to do your health any good. Carbohydrates will only slow you down. You only need healthy carbohydrates such as whole grain breads, whole grain pasta and whole grain  rice, to help with some of the burn-off during your aerobic and endurance training. Protein is excellent to help with your strength training. And you need to stick to monounsaturated fats. You need fat to help you when times get lean, but you don't want the unhealthy saturated fats that will harm your heart. Eat things like fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, lean meats, eggs, fat-free yogurt, beans and legumes. Limit your breads and cereals. Get used to drinking plenty of water.

Now, I must admit that I will probably not be doing everything on this list. My endurance is already high as I have been doing a large amount of daily aerobic exercise for years now. But I do need to increase my strength training, so I am implementing this plan by adding strength training to my weekly exercise. Whether that means I will be lifting weights, training using a strength training video or taking up swimming, I don't know yet.

As most of you know, I lost over 145 pounds through healthy eating and exercise, and I maintained it for years. Recently, I have gained back about 15 pounds. This is due to old bad eating habits creeping slowly back into my daily diet, which includes a strong sweet tooth. I intend to go back to writing down my daily food intake and reducing the amount of chocolate and other junk food that passes my lips. I also intend to drink more water (something I have never been very good at) and upping the amount of fresh fruit and vegetables I eat.

I've been debating taking some form of karate classes. I haven't taken karate lessons since I was a teenager. Back then, I trained in Shotokan, which is a style that is a combination of several karate fighting styles. My eldest daughter is taking Taekwando, and my second eldest is taking a weapon's based form of Kung Fu. I will have to see what is available to me here and what the costs are before I decide what to do.

I'll be ready for the Zombie Apocalypse in no time!

Who is with me in joining in with #ZAP (Zombie Apocalypse Preparation)? Ready to become a ZAP warrior?

P.S. Another ability that is a good one to have in preparation for the coming zombie apocalypse is the ability to make lethal weapons out of common household objects. But since this is a fitness and health blog, we'll save that training for someone else's blog.