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July 8, 2015

Fitness Funk

funk

When you read “Fitness Funk”, you may be thinking of that smell that your workout clothes get after about 6 months of working out in them, but that’s not what I’m talking about. Although, putting vinegar in with the detergent will help keep that from happening (just saying).  What I’m talking about with fitness funk is what a I’ve been dealing with since fracturing my arm and losing my uncle. Now that I’m thinking about it, it could be just called “life funk”, which is probably more relatable to most of you.

So what is it?

It’s that time in your life when you just don’t feel like yourself and life’s obstacles seem to be coming at you at 100 mph. It’s also one of the most dangerous places to be. It’s what got most of you into the dark place a lot of you may be in, which led to being where you are now which is unhappy.

Most of the time when we encounter someone overweight or needing to make a change, there’s a lot of “un-happiness” involved that got them there. Whether it’s from overworked and busy life schedule, it all leads down the same slippery slope. It comes with no warning and by the time you realize it’s here, it’s too late to avoid it. My funk has been a little different, when I hurt my arm almost 2 months ago, it has kept me from being able to play tennis and do ANY kind of resistance training. That for me is a bad combination. Working out is a stress reliever for me, tennis has become a love for me, when you take those away it makes Todd a very sad boy. Then you add in the loss of my uncle 2 weeks ago, it gets darker.

So what’s the point in all this?

For starters, we all have funks, it’s what you do with it that counts. It’s whether you wallow in it and let it become a black hole in your life that starts to take up permanent stake in your life, or if you claw and fight your way out of it. For me it made me somewhat depressed and not act like myself around Alisha and I found myself pulling away from the social scene and friends. I’ve been putting on that fake persona with everyone else but knowing something wasn’t right, then a friend of mine told me that when it happens it forces you to examine things and re-focus. So I did.

For me it’s made me appreciate the lifestyle that I live and made me realize how important it is to take care of yourself and stay healthy and prevent injury. It also made me focus on my daughter and wife more and realize how important they are and that I need to make the most of my time with them. It made my dad and I reconnect in the last couple of weeks after losing a brother and an uncle and how much he and I need to appreciate the time we have together. It’s made me realize how important having those things in my life are.

Don’t get me wrong, from a workout standpoint doing strictly cardio workouts has been fine, but it’s boring after a while and it’s not me, it’s not what my body responds to, it’s not what makes me happy and allows me to relieve stress. I talk all the time about finding your “soul” workout (and that was before the whole Soul nickname came to be with Shaun), that workout or type of working out that makes you feel like you’re living in that space where you belong. But I’ve just accepted that there’s things I can’t do until the arm is healed, much like those of you who have to modify feel when you see us or people in the videos doing things you can’t do. It reminds me of how I felt when I was 255 lbs. and couldn’t do a pull up to save my life.

In time things come and patience is a virtue, one I don’t have a lot of. I just want you to know that whatever you’re dealing with in your life, you’re not the only one. It’s easy to look at people and think, “Wow they got it all figured out!”. They don’t. I don’t and neither do you. Nobody does. The ones who pretend they do are the most fake of all. I want you to know that we all struggle with different things at different times, but take comfort in knowing that we are here for you and we get it. As I’m writing this I’m still not 100%, I haven’t been posting in our Challenge Groups on Facebook like I should (because of the withdrawal thing) but Alisha has picked up the load. I’m better than I was a week ago and I’ll be better on Monday when the doctor hopefully releases me and says “GO BE YOU” and I’ll be back! Until then I’m going to remind myself each day that it’s ok to struggle and embrace where you are and live today to the most no matter what.

I’ll make ya a deal, I’ll do it if you will … sound good?

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June 3, 2015

Self Image, the Good, the Bad and the Critical

You know what I find funny? You think that once you’re in shape that your body image issues go away. WRONG! What else I find funny, is that even fitness professionals like Shaun T have body issues. As he and I have become best friends, he’s taught me a lot about body image, but the most important thing he’s taught me (and he doesn’t even know it) is that by him having body image issues he’s shown me that we ALL deal with it. And it’s ok!

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When I say Shaun has body image issues, I mean that he has those days where he’ll come up to me and ask me “Do I look fat?” When he first asked me that, I wanted to punch him in the face, but then I realized he was serious. To him there are days that he feels fat! To you and me, we would think “Are you serious?”, I’d give almost anything to look like you. Then I had to realize that yes, even fitness professionals have days where they feel fat.

I don’t know why this makes me feel better, except to say that it does and should with you, make you feel NORMAL. So I started talking to Shaun about this and one thing he said that rang so true with me is this:

“When we look in the mirror, our eyes always go to what we hate the most.”

And he’s right. When you look in the mirror, you always see what you don’t like about yourself, not the 10lbs you’ve lost, not the biceps or your calves from your years of running or playing sports … you see the flab (usually on your stomach) or the somewhat double chin or whatever you find to be your trouble area.

Your mind can play some serious tricks on you and you would be surprised at what’s there, that you’re not seeing. What I mean is this: people see us differently then we see ourselves. So many people pay me compliments on my arms, talk about how fit or muscular I am and you know what? I walk away from it not believing it. I will constantly go up to Alisha and say,

“I wish I saw myself the way others see me.”

She always tells me they’re right, but in my mind I still see and feel like the overweight 255lb guy that I was 7 or 8 years ago. It’s crazy…correction it’s STUPID.  I share this because it’s really hard to shake this, Shaun and I both have talked about this and we both go through it … trust and believe.

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Sometimes I go and watch our YouTube videos from years past and think “Man I was fit back then when I first did Asylum!” and then I realize that even then I didn’t appreciate or see myself the way I actually was … fit!

So my question for you is this: Why do we do it to ourselves?

We only have one life to live, why waste it making ourselves feel less than? There are plenty of people out there who will do that for us. Fortunately, we also have people who are there to lift us up, focus on that. Believe in the people and trust them when they say you look amazing.

Ciara is a perfect example, a good friend of ours who has lost a lot of weight since we met her in January and looks amazing!!! I told her the other night how great she looks and she said “Yeah but I still feel fat and don’t like this and don’t like that.” and I realized that she does it too. We all do.

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My point to you is this, you’re going to have days where you feel amazing and days where you feel fat. You’re never as good as you think you are and you’re never as bad as you think you are either. Learn to live in a space where you can see yourself as you are, amazing and unique.

Celebrate your successes, every pound, every inch counts. It’s all about the journey and you should thrive and live in each day of it. You will hit potholes and you will have stormy days but the good will always outweigh the bad. Remember that you are amazing and never compare yourself to others.

The truth is, we all have different body types. I will never have abs like Shaun does, it’s just not in my genes. But I can be happy with a flat stomach and see it as an amazing accomplishment and live in that! If I beat myself up over something I can’t change, then I’m wasting my time.

Another thing to consider that Shaun taught me, you have to be able to live a lifestyle that you can maintain. Which means if you are super strict and workout really hard to get down to 5% body fat….great! Now ask yourself can you maintain it? You may be able to, but then another person may like to indulge in sweets or alcohol and may only be able to maintain 10-12% body fat and still look amazing. In their minds, they may feel bad because they can’t stay at 5% because of what they like to eat, but they still workout hard, still look amazing and fluctuate between 5% and 10% and get upset! Let me let you off the hook, stop.

Another piece of advice I got from Shaun, live in a space you can maintain. When I was at my leanest and had the best abs I’ve ever had I was super strict with my diet, but in all honesty I can can’t maintain it. So Shaun told me,

You have to live in a space and know that you still look amazing and you’re in a space that you can maintain.

Am I super ripped? No. Am I happy? Yes! That’s all that matters. Do you, accept you and realize that you’re amazing the way you are today, you can get better tomorrow if you want and you can also live in the space you’re in. Ignore the days where the mirror talks smack and just remember that we think you’re amazing the way you are today.

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