Monday, August 8, 2016

Finishing Phase One of Nia Shanks's Beautiful Badass Strength Program - Challenge Notes

It's summertime! I haven't been posting. But I have been feeling fantastic through this summer. I got bored with my planned out fitness macrocycle, which gives me motivation to try to create one that's more interesting, but then my favorite fitness blogger released a six-month program that really called to me. I love Nia Shanks's no-bullshit approach to fitness, her encouragement to focus on the mental aspect of my journey, and her freaking workout programs. Her workouts are boss. The first month consisted of a four-day, upper/lower split, and holy shit I did it. I did sixteen strength workouts in four weeks! The phase one challenge was to focus on non aesthetic victories, which I thought I was pretty good at, but it's not always easy. I tried to stay mindful of my vanity - my desire to look at my body each and every time I pass a mirror or any reflective glass. Sometimes I'm looking at my body with joy and contentment, which is where I want to be. But sometimes I'm looking at it and screaming, "Why is that fat still there, Lisa?!?! Why don't you stop eating so much damn food and drinking so much damn beer so you can get SKINNY like you've always wanted?!?!" and that's not for me. That doesn't serve me. That won't be this Lisa.

Phase One helped me discover some pretty cool things:

  • I can lift a 30lb dumbbell over my head doing push presses! I can also safely lower it without disturbing a shoulder injury I experienced last fall.
  • I can do front squats! I can fold my arms and let the barbell sit on my shoulders and not choke!
  • Lifting regularly makes my job easier and more fun. I pushed a 1600 pound pallet from my warehouse to the next one over this morning, by myself. Yeah it was on a pallet jack but still... I'm telling you, it's amazing that my body can do this.
  • People sometimes like my point of view, even when it opposes the typical, "Pain is fat leaving your body! No excuses ever!" mentality. The Facebook group for this program has been so supportive, so friendly, and so fun. A month has gone by and no one has gotten into an argument over the merits of strength vs. cardio or white vs. brown carbs. This is glorious.
  • I still want to weigh myself sometimes, even though I've learned repeatedly that the amount I weigh does not at all correlate to how healthy I live and feel.
Phase Two switches us from a four-day split over to three total-body workouts per week. So I gain a day with no need to go to the gym, which is nice. There really wasn't much room in the first phase for me to do any of my favorite at-home cardio videos, like kickboxing, horribly choreographed but fun dancing, and more flowy yoga. We're encouraged to do thirty minutes of anything we consider ENJOYABLE or FUN on our days off from strength training. I'm definitely going to bust out Amy Bento's Rumble this week, and that's exciting!

The challenge from phase two is about nutrition, and I'm working this morning on trying to figure out which of her three tips to try to implement for the month. They're all great. The first one is to identify where things go off track with our eating habits. I already know that right around Thursday or Friday (hey, some weeks it's Tuesday), I stop giving as much fuck about what I'm putting into my body. The work week has me stressed, my meal plan only gets us through Thursday dinner, I want to drink. I've been taking some steps to combat this and am doing well on these.

The second tip is to only enjoy the "less than healthy" food that you TRULY ENJOY - don't snack on stuff just because it's around. I'm pretty good about this. I enjoy ice cream, cakes, cookies on occasion, and usually when we've prepared them at home with mostly whole foods. I'm good at saying no when I don't really want something. In most aspects of life, thankfully.

The third tip is to start over with a clean slate each time I "slip up" on these goals I'm already working. No beating myself up. No exercising it away. No dwelling. Just taking an honest look to investigate the why and how. I'm down with this one. I feel I generally need to focus on progressing from mindless eating to mindful eating. I might try to practice the chew meditation my therapist taught me a few times this month.

Anyways, I'm loving this program! Boss is out this week so I'm in charge of the shop and don't have much time, so dropping down to 3x/week at the gym is right on time woo!