My6inchchallenge's Blog

Tackling difficulties and overcoming the challenges life serves up – by Dona Halliday

Archive for Fitness

Boot Camp Blessings – Physical, Spiritual & Emotional Training

The "Right" trainer has a vested interest in making you leaner, stronger, healthier, better

Challenged to Transform

I wanted to lay some ground rules after I signed up for boot camp, compliments of Sherri Adair/Best Self Magazine Atlanta, so I sent an email to Kevin at The American Boot Camp Company stating, “…I’ve never liked working out hard, I don’t really run…, I want to start at a comfortable place… I love my workout being fun…”

If I had done my homework I would have known that boot camp was not the place for that mentality— that’s like showing up for life, stating, “I don’t do conflict, I don’t do challenges and I want life to happen on my time, every time.

There are certain things we can change, but some things were designed to change us. Knowing the difference will determine how we respond to life’s challenges and who we become as we go through and emerge.

Here are 6 lessons about Boot Camp Blessings:

1. I wanted to show up for boot camp and just walk the park and listen to the birds. The rewards of a boot camp and those of walking the park are completely different – Choose the thing that will get you the results you desire.

2. At night when I’m tired and hurting I remember how much I hate boot camp. In the morning when I’m rested, I’m excited and eager to go – Don’t make decisions that can change the quality of your life when you are vulnerable and driven by your emotions, things have a way of looking better in the morning.

3. On Thursday after 6am as I knelt on the cold, wet grass, doing painful, ridiculous things that are supposed to tone me, lift me and shape me, with the head trainer shouting “WORK THOSE GLUTES!!” I found myself thinking, “I really don’t need that good-looking a bottom…”  In the midst of challenges, quiet your negative thoughts and focus on the big picture. Looking better is just icing — being healthier, stronger and a better you IS the big picture.

4. Every time I decided to “sit it out” I heard several voices going, “Come on Dona, you got this, you can do it!” The task of your trainer is to push you, stretch you, challenge you, encourage you and produce growth…. even when it hurts, angers and irritates you.

5. It’s Sunday evening and I’m more prepared for my week than I’ve ever been. Clothing? In car! Breakfast/Lunch? READY TO GO!  If you look at this the wrong way you can go through the discomfort, the difficulties and the pain of it and still miss it – Don’t miss the things designed to discipline and mature you. Be trained by them!

6. Do the work – exercise, eat right, rest well and expect to see results. The evening after my first workout I headed to “Y” to soak my aching muscles in their whirlpool. As I jumped into my tankini and boy shorts I looked in the mirror and declared, “I see results already!”

2012 — A Mind To Do

2012 - A Mind to do, for it's the time to do

It's the time to do

As I sat and sucked on the bottom of my fifth ice cream cone I once again discounted the wisdom that when we know better we do better. A few days earlier, in a hurry to get to some location that does not seem that important now, I had found myself  divorcing the wisdom of safety — I had closed one eye, peeked at the yellow light ahead with the other, and to my horror, had accelerated.

For many days in 2011 I had groaned when my clock alarmed at 4:45am, and instead of jumping out of bed to stick to my fitness routine, I had pulled my cover closer, curled around my teddy bear, promising myself, I’ll exercise tomorrow. When my clock alarmed again at 6am signaling my prayer time I had sometimes crawled out of  bed to pray, but mostly, I had either slept right through it or sent up some mental prayers while I was still curled in bed.

Maya Angelou said “When you know better you do better,” and though I’ve used that quote often, as I draw to end of 2011 I take a look around: at myself, the body of Christ, friends and acquaintances, employers and co-workers, our politicians and our world, and I question, “Do we really do the better that we know?”

I think about the things we’ve learned in 2011, the seminars we’ve attended, the sermons we’ve heard, the truths we’ve discovered, the amazing stories we’ve read, the life lessons we’ve experienced, and I have one simple prayer as we move into 2012 – “Lord, give us “a mind to do.”

Give us a mind to act on the good we know, a mind to use the knowledge we’ve already acquired, a mind to live the wisdom we’ve already attained, give us a mind to live out the love we so fluently speak of — give us a mind to do, for it’s the time to do.

I believe when we know better we become equipped to do better, but a life of living the better we know  must move beyond the acquisition of knowledge. We need “a mind to do” — where there is a marriage of knowledge, wisdom and discipline, a marriage of truth, love and kindness, a turning from selfish agendas to the serving of others — a mind that enables us to live more eloquently than we can ever speak.

Fit for something

Surrounded by Senior Sheroes

A FIT life requires flexibitly

We walked around the park enjoying the cool weather, over 200 years of life and life’s experiences combined, “pounded” the track. No matter our age we still need to exercise, so we had gotten in the car, Laura, my mom and myself and had headed to the park.

At 88 years Laura had the privilege of setting the pace and as we walked I was about to jokingly comment on how fit we are but stopped myself because I knew what the responses would be. Laura would be quick, she would laughingly say, “yes, fit for something!” my mom would say, “of course we are fit, right Laura?”

I’ve thought about getting them little exercise outfits complete with headbands and a little cape with SS embroidered on them – SeniorSheroes. Do you know how parents sometimes dress their children in ridiculous outfits because they think it’s cute? Well,…

I remember my mom made almost all our clothing when we were little and some even as adults, (the dress in the above photo she made about 6 years ago). I had never given it much thought before but it came to me that by the time my mom was about 21 years she had already had three of her four children. Lost in thought I was amazed at this woman who with limited education, (mama had pulled her out of elementary school because of a fight), had cooked, baked, done hair, made clothing for others and whatever else her hands had found to do to take care of her family. Then had worked toward her dream of her own clothing store. She had shopped in Puerto Rico, Miami and New York for clothing and had loved it.

I’ve learned so much from these women, my SeniorSheroes, from their wise and not so wise choices, from their triumphs and their really tough challenges, I’ve seen life rob them of their ability to remember and slowed their ability to move, but these women are fighters. I realize that as long as something stands up within us and refuses to curl up and surrender when we face the tough things of life, we will always be fit for something.

Do you have time for a core check?

What core area of your life needs to be strenghtened? Growth and change come from not only taking time to evaluate self but formulating a plan and following through with it.

How is your core?

“Do you know those toys that come with labels that say batteries not included? well this one says CORE not included!” My physical therapists were having fun at my expense after my five pathetic attempts at raising my upper body from the floor as I reached for a ball perched on my raised bent legs, and even though I protested with, “Do I really need to put up with this verbal abuse?” I was laughing just as hard as they at this funny, clever remark.

After hearing Willis’ remark Kurt came over, pressed lightly on my abdomen and asked, “do you mean the flat belly is only for show?” They were working on eliminating the pain caused by an injury to my left shoulder that had led to neck and back pains as well, and restrengthening my core was part of the plan to alleviate the back pain.

As Willis lectured me on the importance of having a strong core, I listened and took note of these girdle-like muscles that support, protect and enable movement. However, his first comment caused me to shift from the physical and take a look at other areas in my life and do a “core check”. In a society where so much can be about “show,” I recognize that there are some things that are too important for me to settle only for appearances.

If I were to ask you, “Do you know of anyone who seem to live a life founded on pretense? They are all about the show – how perfect they can make others believe their life is. They’ll buy it, lease it, go into debt to get it, as long as it creates the image. They’ll lie about it, fake it, and say it so many times that they themselves, though they don’t change to make it truth, start believing it. They’ll settle for the form of the thing and miss that it’s the power that makes the difference, and is available for asking.

If I asked you that question you’ll probably be able to list names and relay incidents. But I’m not going to ask that. I’ve come to realize that it can be easier to point out the challenges of others yet fail to recognize and address the same challenges in our own lives.

So, the question really is yours. Can you recognize any area in your life that is founded on pretense? Are you all about a show…?

Convicted with my hands in the air. Goodbye Zumba

“If you come out to party and have a good time, if you …. .” Normally, I won’t allow myself to get caught up in music if I thought the message inappropriate, but recently for the sake of fitness, and my love of  Zumba, I had deemed this acceptable and placed my habit of closely examining the message behind the music on hold.  You see, dancing to this calypso had become the favorite part of my Zumba workout.

I was loving the moment, and, much too vigorously, had just wind my way across the room to the left, then made my way back to the right. Lost in the rhythm, I followed the calypsonian’s  instructions….  “now put up you han, now wave you han, now wok up you waist…” I had settled into a shake that would rival Beyonce’s, a shake very similar to the one that had caused Mama much alarm when she had seen my workout routine back when I was much, much younger, a shake which I had since given up and only started again in my Zumba class.

I was there, hands in the air, body part shaking to the rhythm when something strange happened — music still blasting, calypsonian still instructing, Zumba teacher still leading, other students still following — in my mind I heard two lines from the Proverbs 31 text. “Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.” My shake slowed to a gentle sway as I asked myself one question that ended my participation in Zumba, “Would God’s virtuous women be doing this?”

That was early December, 2010. I have not been back to a Zumba class. I’m not here to write about what is wrong or right about Zumba, but for me I think I’m beginning to understand what Paul meant when he instructed the Christians in Philippi to “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Though we can never work to obtain salvation, (it’s God’s free gift to us) once we make a decision to turn from living life based on our own righteousness, and we accept the righteousness offered us through the blood of Jesus the Christ, we then accept the responsibility of being discipled by Him so we can learn to better represent him.

“Working out our salvation” I believe means as we learn from Christ, and are disciplined by Him and challenged by His word, we then make the choice to obey, to change, to grow, and to let go of those things that do not showcase the character and righteousness of God.

As important as physically exercise is, even more important is Paul’s instruction to Timothy, “… to train yourself to be Godly.” In the same manner as physical exercise; being heart healthy, building strong muscles, becoming fit, spiritually, take the investment of time, discipline and hard work.

Keeping my body healthy is still important so I have to find a substitute for Zumba, maybe Body Gospel. So as I continue to strive to always keep the most important thing, the most important thing, I challenge you to do the same. Later in the scripture Paul reminds Timothy that he must remain diligent, for others must be able to see his spiritual progress.

Weight, waist and food challenges

I had gotten up at 4:45a.m hastily pulled on my workout clothes and sneakers not so much as a declaration of my intent to exercise, but more so as a warning to both body and mind that spontaneous “exercise-like” activities MAY take place. My primary task was that of cleaning, but cleaning can provide great work-out opportunities.

I was on the far end of the room and had bent to pickup something, on my way up I had turned my head slightly and in so doing saw the mirror across from me. I gasped and stared at a figure very much like myself on the other side of the room — still slightly bent over — but the figure was different in that its middle section was spilling over the top of its pant. I froze, eyes only moving, darting left to right, up and down, then to my middle section, then left to right, up and down then back to my middle section, totally shocked by my muffin top.

I straightened, examining my side profile — something was terribly wrong, for it seemed that my middle section had grown vigorously bearing much resemblance to my protruding back section, and my back section was protruding much less than I remembered.

I stood, baffled. Then I quieted my thoughts and continued my cleaning. Mentally I started back-tracking my activities over the past few months determine to find what had gone wrong. I felt betrayed, for only two months ago I had made a decision to get my body “holiday-ready”. That meant I had those two months to tone and build more muscle so that during the holidays my body would be its own 24-hour-fat-burning machine to provide balance for any over-indulgences.

That had not worked, my body said OVER-INDULGENCE in bold, large letters. The last two weeks’ over-indulgences of blueberries muffins, delicious large ones; cold and creamy, melt-in-your-mouth almond and coconut ice cream; moist and must-have-been-made-in-heaven strawberry pound cake; and those perfect pies with the flaky crust — sweet potato, pumpkin, pecan … and certainly not enough “exercise-like” activities, had produced some undesirable results.

I’m not obsessed with my weight, at 140 lbs and a height that varies depending on my choice of elevation, the experts say my weight is normal. But abdominal fat can adversely affect our health, as a matter of fact I learned that it’s important to watch our waist number.

I believe in striving to be healthy. Sometimes my quest for healthy living is easy and at other times it’s a challenge. It’s been a challenge for the past few weeks.

As I write this post, even though I am not hungry, I had nuts and a cookie and I’m thinking about the coconut ice cream that is in the fridge. I’m also thinking about those delicious homemade waffles my brother brought over this morning. I’m thinking it would be really nice to have them with scrambled eggs and crisp, crunchy turkey bacon. I’m wondering what happened to the last piece of sweet potato pie, I don’t remember eating it. I’m wishing that I had not eaten all the turkey neck bones last evening, those had been sooo good. I’m thinking about food — delicious, pleasurable, satisfy-me-now comfort food — but I’m not hungry.

Discipline reminds me that physical food should feed physical hunger, so I have to say no to eating for the rest of the evening and re-enforced the need to get back to a consistently healthy lifestyle.

Yet the holidays are far from over, and tasty goodies will taunt and tempt us with whispers of “Come, have some. That’s all? Come, have some more. You know it’s ok, it’s the holidays.”

Though I will still allow myself a little over-indulgence once in a while, I understand that moderation is key, as I become ward of my waistline, watcher of my weight and exercise willpower in my choices.

Work what works for you–Finding your fitness groove

Finding your fitness groove

"Saturday morning at-home exercise"

Class is over, we’re standing in the “Y’s” parking lot talking, 3 beautiful women, 3 different body types, all committed to our particular exercise routines and with different goals in mind. I’m the leanest of the 3, and lest you think I’m boasting, let me say that I’m a black West Indian who believes my heritage dictates that I should be packing at least a little bit of “junkiness in my chunkiness.” So several years ago when my doctor hinted at high cholesterol and I changed my eating habits and my hips disappeared I was not pleased. Years later, my healthy eating habits have remained, I’ve kicked up my exercise routine and I said good-bye to hips.

I’ve realized, though, it’s not only important to know the fitness level you want to achieve, but finding your personal fitness groove is paramount — that is, a routine that is fun, flexible, works and can grow into a life long habit.

I had committed myself to 2 nights at the “Y” (1 hour of yoga, 45 mins of cardio box and 1 hr of Zumba.) However, I wanted to exercise more often without having to give more time at the “Y”, so I needed to find something that I can do at home consistently. I have a range of dvds– pilates, yoga, dance, taebo and more but in the past I’ve lacked consistency. So now, every morning Monday to Friday I get up at 5am. I mix my chores with exercise and then I dedicate about 20 mins to jogging in place or dancing, a little yoga, planks, push ups, and I’m energized to face my day.

Does it work? Can 20 mins a day make a difference? My body says it can, consistency is key. So find your fitness groove and work what works for you.

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