The Small Promise

There have been several periods of time in the past year or two that I have dedicated to waking up early. They’re interrupted by long and short periods where I’m traveling too much or my schedule explodes and it’s physically irresponsible (notice I didn’t say impossible) to get up early and have the same schedule.

But when I can, I do. And I find it to be really delightfully productive.

In order to get myself back on track when I have the time and space in my life and schedule to commit to my early morning routine, there’s one small act I do every night religiously. Well, I guess there are two. The first and main act is that I sleep. I like my sleep. I need my sleep. I make sure to prioritize and get my sleep.

The other thing happens before I sleep though. I’ve read tons of articles, books, watched videos, and listened to podcasts about getting up early. It does not come naturally to me. Even when I do all the things you’re supposed to do, it’s still difficult. I get used to it but it never gets easy. I do it because I know that overall it will make me a happier and more productive person all-around. I enjoy that. I don’t enjoy getting out of bed while my dogs and husband are happily, quietly still snuggling. 

But see I’ve already done this one thing that, for me, somehow makes it easier to get up and get after it. You ready to hear it? I’ve done so much build up in order to get to this point. Now I feel a lot of pressure to make this thing life-changing.

Eh, whatever. Here’s my secret: I’ve set my workout clothes out the night before.

That’s it. A shirt, pants, and sports bra are waiting for me on the couch by the door. 

For me, that’s the little extra edge I need to get after it. That’s the proof of a quiet hopeful promise that I made to myself before this day even started that it might be a good one. That’s the little boost my past gave my present Briana in order to make our ideal future a reality. Just those clothes sitting there beckoning me and making it easier to change then immediately get out of the door to my early yoga.

If you were reading this thinking you were going to hear some new or totally mind-blowing tip, I don’t mean to disappoint. The truth is, you’re either going to find what little trick works for you and let your own discipline and commitment see you through to your goal or you’re going to continue to have excuses.

There’s no one thing that I read that made me think “Oh that’s the hack, I just need to do that and getting up early to attack the day will work out easy.” Instead, I read a ton. Like, obsessively. I read books by Navy Seals (lots of them) who are open about their early bird philosophies. I watched videos of people who try it out. I tried to discuss tactics with natural early bird friends.

While I’m sure bits and pieces of all that information were implanted in my brain simply by sheer volume, none of them were the deciding factor. It was when I realized that I was really obsessing over this idea that I might as well use some of that energy to simply try it.

I had to make space in my life and schedule to make it doable for me. But once I made the choice, I started noticing how it felt. And it felt good. Knowing that it felt good added to my motivation to do it despite the fact that it wasn’t getting any easier. I was feeling better throughout my day and improving my own life in the process.

And even with all my new motivation and happiness surrounding the not-so-easy ongoing choice, I still have to set my clothes out the night before. And, when I do, I’m still significantly more likely to get after it.

I’m not saying everyone has to get up early. It’s irresponsible (notice again, not impossible) for some people to commit to it. But whatever goal you want to achieve, find that little personal hack that makes you feel more emotionally committed to it and maybe makes that goal slightly easier the next day when your motivation is waning and the demons in your head are slowly moving from whispers to shouts. Quiet them with the incessant sound of that soft mantra you already promised yourself. For me, it’s simply, my clothes are here, I might as well go.

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Gymversations

Shut up.talking-cell-phone-bench-press-set

Sorry. Not you.

Unless you were  the asshole on his phone the entire time he was lifting last week. If that’s the case, SHUT UP.

Allow me to explain my rudeness (which is brought about by your rudeness).

I get it. I do. You’re super busy and important. You have many leather-bound books and your apartment smells of rich mahogany. And you quote movies to make people laugh because you probably don’t have a lot of original jokes of your own. I get it. And I get you.

But I don’t want to hear you. I’ve got my headphones in. Do you see? Of course you don’t. You’re not looking at me. You’re staring at yourself talking on the phone in the mirror and you’re enjoying what you see. Meanwhile, the rest of us are wondering if you’re going to be giving up that coveted flat bench anytime soon so we can actually use it.

But you don’t care. You’ve gotta talk to your buddy about that chick you got digits from last night. You haven’t called yet. You’re playing it cool. Playing the game. As a woman myself I’ll be surprised if those digits were actually real. But maybe you knew that. Maybe you called immediately when you got home to tell her goodnight and realized they weren’t real. And your feelings were hurt. And you cuddled up with your blankie and watched The New Girl to feel better. But you don’t want your bro to know that. So you’re gonna pretend like you didn’t call. And that you’re totally the man. And that you’re amazing.

I hear you.

No. I mean I physically hear you.

And you’re annoying. And you’re saying nothing of import. And this conversation can wait. So get off the phone and get back to that bench press. Or I, the only chick in this weight room, will throw you off of it. And that’ll be embarrassing for you. And your bro on the phone. And no amount of New Girl will be able to laugh it away.

So hang up, shut up, and please get back to lifting.

I thank you.

Vegas Britney Motivation

I’m headed out of town with some girlfriends. We’re going to Vegas. And we’re gonna see Britneybritney vegas Spears perform there. And I’m stoked. Like, totally stoked maaaaaan.

For the past couple weeks I’ve let her be my motivation. Girl looks good. And she’s had two babies and some messed up stuff happen to her. But she stays in great shape. And has an athletic body. So it’s a shape that’s attainable for me (at my best…).

I may not look like her. But at least I look like a better version of me while trying to look more like her. But also staying true to me. Because me as her wouldn’t look good but me as me but in her-like shape would.

I don’t know what I’m saying. I’m drunk already.

Vegas, Britney, Vegas!

 

Coach Potato

fitness21No. I didn’t misspell couch. I meant coach.

I’ve been considering getting a fitness coach for a little while. Not a personal trainer (momma can’t afford that right now…) but a fitness coach. There’s this lady online named Rachel Nicole. She’s picture here. She’s in badass shape. And her prices are reasonable.

I even emailed her. I wanna buy the 3 month package. She gives you the whole nutrition and the fitness plan and check in with you weekly about your goals. And you get access to her via text if you need it or have specific questions.

I think that sounds perfect for me.

I’ve just been holding off. I was going to buy it several months ago, but instead I spent money on (more) improv classes. I have no regrets about that choice (even though they’re not yet paid off…), but I’d like to refocus sometime soon on getting in badass shape like this chick. If I had spent my money on this, I would have spent like 1/3 of what I spent on my improv classes. If that gives you any perspective about how expensive friggin classes are out here in LA.

I haven’t committed to it yet. I’m letting myself recover financially from some other choices and trying to get some money coming in from some of the (many) investments I’ve made over the past year.

But hopefully soon I can get up off my butt and support this lady who will in turn support me on my own fitness journey.

Until then, I’m considering myself a lazy coach potato.

I used (a lot) of parenthesis in this (blog) post. I (don’t) know why. I (do) know it’s confusing. I’m (very) sorry (?).

Alright, Alright, Alright already!

MMcConaughey120309_08-fullI grabbed coffee with a comedy friend of mine this weekend. We were discussing our projects and all the ways to be a good performer in this career and whatnot. We also discussed just balance in general- talking about how to fit in fitness with everything else we are juggling. I mentioned how hard it is to find time for a workout. And he relayed the following story:

His friend worked with Matthew McConaughey on set for one of his projects not long ago. He said that they worked on lines together and spent tons of time together over a period of several months. And he said, in that time, McConaughey always found time- no matter how busy or strenuous their schedule- to get his workout on. They were getting up at 5 am and working well past midnight. But he would always find time to workout. Even if it was at 2 am when he had to be back up at 5 am, he found 30 minutes to get on the bike and get in a good sweat.

And then he said something really telling. He said, “The people with the things we want and admire are willing to do what most of us aren’t.” Or something like that. I’m paraphrasing. I didn’t record our conversation. That would have been weird. And I’m enough of a weirdo as it is.

But that idea struck me. I’ve thought about it before and even written about it. But it was never so clearly illustrated as it is with a man who’s career and work ethic I admire.

Yes, I work pretty hard. But there’s room for improvement. There’s always room for improvement. I’ve been slacking on my workouts lately. I don’t like it. It doesn’t make me feel balanced. It makes me feel bloated and insecure. So how do I get the body I want and admire? I have to be willing to do what most people aren’t. I have to be willing to make sacrifices. More sacrifices than I’m already doing.

I don’t yet have the luxury paying my bills easily through creative projects. It’s coming- I’m sure- but it’s not here yet. So I have to give myself every advantage. And I have to work harder than those around me. In every way. And that means getting up earlier, working out more, and not making any excuses for why I don’t yet have what I want. I’m not patient enough to wait for it to come to me. I’ve gotta get clear about what I want and go out there, work my ass off, and get it.

No excuses. Only results. Let DO this.

Game Face

angry-face-girl-2I’ve mentioned before, I’m not the friendliest at the gym. I also don’t hide my emotions well in my life in general. Luckily for all of us, I’m a pretty happy person so I don’t go around scaring people all the time.

So it’s no surprise to me that an older man in the weight room commented on my expression the other day. He looked at me, started laughing (not the first time this has happened to me…) then said, “Looks like you got your game face on.”

I looked in the mirror. I was scowling. Big time.

I laughed and said, “Yeah, I get in the zone.” I said it too loud. I had headphones in. I didn’t want to take my headphones out because I didn’t actually want to have a conversation with this guy. I wasn’t actually listening to music, I was listening to nerdy podcasts. So I didn’t actually have to talk loud. I could hear him fine and had complete control of the tone of voice. But I wanted to pretend like I was listening to loud music. So that I didn’t have to converse with him. Because I didn’t want to converse with him. But I’m midwestern, so if he continued the conversation, I would have had to continue talking to him.

He didn’t. He shrugged and moved on.

A little while later, I’d moved to a different machine and he was near me again. He looked over at me and I couldn’t help myself. I’m a ham. I made a really intense scowl at him then started giggling. He started laughing.

You guys… if you give me an audience, I’m going to put on a show. It’s how I’m hard-wired, dammit.

You can take the girl off the stage, but you can’t take the stage out of the girl.

So now I just added another person to the list of people to avoid at the gym in a constant effort to remain anonymous. Dagnabbit.

New victim…er…gym boyfriend

the_avengers_and_the_justice_league_by_richrow-d6ger12I found him.

My new victim obsession person to creep out… I mean GYM BOYFRIEND.

I was at the gym during Magic Hour. Because I’m cool like that and have an active social life.

And there he was.  He had the body of Captain America. The charming smiles of Ironman. The perfect hair of Superman. The vocabulary of Thor. The patience of Hulk. The intrigue of Batman.

I wanna be his Wonder Woman.

Sorry. I’ve been watching a lot of superhero stuff lately.

The point is… he was beautiful.

He lifted next to me at one point. We didn’t speak. But anyone who reads this blog regularly knows that’s how it always is with gym true love.

Anyway… it was exciting. I’ll keep you updated.

My Girl, Jill

jillYears ago, I was a big, big Jillian Michaels fan. I read her book “Master Your Metabolism” and was totally hooked. I bought her 30 Day Shred DVD, subscribed to the podcast, and watched more YouTube interviews with her than I’d care to share here. I loved her.

But my fascination started to fade. I realized that she was a wonderful gateway drug into the fitness world for me and gives you that needed boost when you’re looking for quick, easy workouts and ways to regain a healthy lifestyle if you fall off the bandwagon. But like most of my intensely obsessive phases, I outgrew her a bit.

I still admire her work ethic and her workouts, but I’m just not obsessed anymore. I used it as a springing off point for my own research into what works for my body and my own fitness goals.

But then this past weekend, we had a little Renaissance. I was running late in the morning before getting to work and I really wanted to get a good workout in. I calculated how much time it would take to get to the gym, park, and still get in an effective workout before I came home, showered, got ready, and started fighting traffic on my way to work. I realized I really didn’t have time.

Then I remembered my girl, Jill.

I have a her Ripped in 30 program. I didn’t do it much because my apartment used to not have enough space. I also love going to the gym, so I usually would rather just do that. But on this Saturday morning, I realized all the factors were aligning and I could revisit my old fitness buddy for a quick and effective workout.

So that’s what I did. I did the week 1 Ripped in 30 workout. And it was great. It was everything she promises her workouts to be. Quick, challenging, doable, and effective. I even had a little extra time to add some extra arms and abs work on my mat afterwards. And I felt great. She had all the elements that I loved and hated about the DVD that brought me back to my obsessive days.

I even did it again the next morning (for time constraints again).

There’s really no excuse to not getting in a good workout. If you can’t make it to the gym or don’t like going… I don’t want to hear it. My girl Jill has put in a lot of time an effort to create great workouts you can do quickly at home and fit into any busy schedule.

So thanks, Jill. Can I call you Jill? No? We’re not friends? We’ve never met? Nobody calls you Jill?

Aw, Jillypooh. You’re such a joker.

Paper Towel Headband

sweet styleLast week at the gym, I saw a lady get creative. She took a bunch of paper towels out of the dispenser, tied them together and wrapped them around her head like a sweatband.

I assume this would work. The towels would absorb the sweat.  A little bit. Assuming the knot she tied stays and she only sweats for about five minutes.

While I think it was a creative idea if you forget your sweatband at home, I think just keeping a paper towel around to wipe your face off as it sweats would be just as efficient.

She just looked pretty silly. That’s all.

And I’m all about silly. 

So I guess what I’m saying is… I’m jealous she thought of it first.

 

Switch Up

I got some advice from a hunky personal trainer the other day. He said that people in good shape (and I include myself in that because of my frequent gym sessions) should probably change up their routine every two weeks or so to keep their body growing and guessing. He asked me how long I’ve been doing my routines at the gym. I told him, “A while.”

The truth is, I’ve been doing them since friggin’ June or July.

To be fair, the exercising I’m doing are the classics. And there are some schools that think the classics really are all you need to improve your shape. And I’ve been going up in weight and adding moves here and there. And because of my schedule, I’m not always doing the everything every time I go.

But I’ve been basically doing the same thing. And I like it. But it’s definitely time to get creative and change things up.

So this week, I did just that. I found a workout routine on my “Workout Trainer” app called “Dedicated to Muscle.” It incorporates a lot of different great movements and weights in a different order.

And it was really challenging! And I was terrible at some of the movements! It turns out I can barely do a weighted single leg squat. I mean, like… barely. And there was this move called “Pistols”… let me tell you… I couldn’t do them like at all! I was terrible at them! I mean, terrible! The couple times I tried to do a full movement, I fell on my rump. The other times, when I tried to do less of a movement, my balance was completely off and I could barely do it. Plus, my gym boyfriend was working out right next to me, so it was even more embarrassing! (But maybe made him notice me which is actually a good thing…)

It was actually really exciting to be terrible at something again. You really do get so used to certain movements. Even if you add weight to those movements, your body is already good at them. Just by trying these other movements I have a very hard time with, I can feel muscles that haven’t been working getting a good workout. I can feel my body trying to learn this new stuff and growing. I know that it takes a bit by bit to get good at something, so I’m looking forward to a couple weeks from now when I can do a full “Pistol” and a full movement on weighted single leg squat.

And once I can do those, it’ll be time to change it up again.

Gotta keep the body guessing. Just like I keep men in my life guessing as to how I feel about them and which of my many multiple personalities might show up.

I wish I were joking about that last part.

Alas and alack.