Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas & the Devil Machine

This past weekend, J and I drove up to the Ocean State to visit his family for Christmas. Before we left, we came up with a plan of action for our cardio and training: we planned to train at a gym on Friday and Saturday, and get our morning cardio in by walking outside.

On Friday afternoon, we went to World Gym, where we usually train when we're up there. The first thing I noticed this time was that there were NO other women there. Zero. The gym was mostly empty to begin with, but I quickly realized that I was the only female. I shrugged and got to work. By the time I'd finished my workout and was on the dreadmill, I saw a few other ladies on the cardio deck (what is it with women doing only cardio?!).

While all the weights felt suspiciously heavier than usual, it was fun to train at a different place than my home gym. Plus, the lighting in this gym is the best I've ever seen. Everyone looks amazing while they're training! I may or may not have hit a few random poses in between sets. :P

Due to a case of the fleas (on our dogs), we had to head home two days earlier than planned, so we didn't go back to the gym or do our outside morning cardio walks.

Back at home, we both spent quality time with Mr. Treadmill at home, and got ready to head to our home gym to train on Monday. Except we didn't realize the gym closed at 4 pm! Instead of scrapping the workout, we decided to head to Gold's to train. Remember back in September when I got a pass to Gold's because I needed a change of scenery? It's still really nice to have the option to train elsewhere once in awhile!

I tried a new lateral raise machine and discovered that it's the devil incarnate. Srsly. It was a humbling experience as I knelt in front of it (literally), took the pin out of the weight stack and attempted to use the machine with NO weight. It felt SO heavy! After 14 years of training, you'd think I could use a lateral machine with at least some weight! Nope.

Me humbling myself before the Devil machine.
Completely dejected, I finished the set and then tried to raise my arms. Nothing happened. I tried again. I could move them an inch. Clearly the machine was effective. But I still maintain that it's the Devil.

Notice the full weight stack just sitting there while I struggle with NO weight.
It was fun to train at a couple different gyms this weekend, but it sure felt nice to be back in my home gym again today!

Did you train at any different gyms this weekend? How did your workouts go?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Lesson in Preparedness

Remember a few weeks ago when I forgot my gym shoes at home and had to work out in flip-flops? Well, yesterday, when I got to the gym and dug through my gym bag, I realized I'd forgotten a sports bra. And it was Plyo day. Yeaaahhh. Sigh.

I made it through the workout without any mishaps or wardrobe malfunctions (thank goodness!), but it wasn't the most comfortable workout I've ever had.

As I experienced the sinking feeling of realizing I forgot a major article of clothing, I realized that this was a good lesson in preparedness. In that I need to be more prepared, since forgetting clothing seems to be a trend with me.

Tonight when I'm packing my gym bag, I'm going to be adding in a complete additional outfit to keep in my gym locker. I already have some essentials in my locker: deodorant, wrist straps, wrist wraps, comb, jump rope, shampoo, and conditioner. But a spare set of clothes will be added this week so there will be no future "I forgot THIS" posts!

What do you keep in your gym locker?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

My Christmas Wish

An English major in college and a self-professed connoisseur of words, I have a deep appreciation for words and language. I believe in using the correct words to express yourself, and I believe that the same word can have various meanings and connotations to different people. I love learning new words and incorporating them into my vocabulary. Periodically, however, I get really sick and tired of hearing certain words or phrases.

My current phrase pet peeve is "on track."

I belong to several online fitness groups and forums, so I read comments from a lot of competitors and gym rats every day. People fascinate me, I'm nosy by nature (Facebook is an awesome way to be unobtrusively nosy, btw!), and I love to read, which means I spend quality time every day reading people's posts and thoughts.

What's with the obsession about staying "on track"? I continue to see this phrase over and over and over lately.

As in, "How are YOU going to stay on track this holiday season?" (Imagine the accusatory index finger)

And, "I had such strong cravings for chocolate yesterday that I broke down and ate half a pan of brownies. But I'm back on track today. Yay me!"

Or, "I plan to stuff my face at my office holiday party today, but I'll be back on track tomorrow! Yay me!"

Srsly, if "on track" means to stick to a pre-defined plan for meeting specified goals, why do I keep seeing comments about how people are continually falling "off track" or reading articles about how to "stay on track" during the holiday season?

Does it mean that someone's "track" isn't the right one for them?

Or does it mean that people are weak-minded? Or that they really don't want to achieve their goal badly enough to stay ON track? Why do they need a "track" anyway?

Are announcements of how "on" or "off" track people are really important in the grand scheme of things? By announcing they fell OFF track, are they looking for sympathy? Encouragement? Motivation? Attention?

The odd thing is, I don't see or hear men talking about this - only ladies. Are men not concerned about sticking to some arbitrary "track"? Do they not care? Or do they just focus on other things in their lives instead of constantly obsessing about how they look or whether they're failing as a person for not being "on track" at all times?

I admit that I'm totally guilty of using the expression myself.

I've even written a few blogs about being on or off track. But lately, the phrase has really started to grate on my nerves. There's so much emphasis on sticking to a diet or staying "on track" around the holidays, and while some information is helpful, there just seems to be an over abundance of focus on it lately.

Eating just 1 Christmas cookie instead of 15 just seems like common sense, no? So why do we need to talk about the "on/off track-ness" of it?

So festive!
My Christmas Wish

My Christmas wish is that we all take a moment each day to be thankful for all that we have. Instead of focusing on what we don't have or what we want, or worrying about staying "on track," take a moment to appreciate the beautiful things you DO have in your life. Take a moment to help someone out, or do a favor without expecting anything in return.

To me, the holiday season is about being present in the moment and about giving to those less fortunate. And in my mind, that's FAR more important than being "on track" with a diet.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Home Turf

Yesterday I discovered some exciting news! The dates of the 2012 shows in Maryland are now official! Ever since the disappointment of Team U and the subsequent reconsiderations of my goals, I've been waiting to find out the dates of some local shows.

I'm not sure whether I actually shared this with you or not, but I realized that my dream of becoming a Figure Pro is just that: a dream. It's not a reality. Before you start lecturing me on the power of positive thinking, please realize that I've been in the industry a long time and I am a realist. I'm not an idealist, nor am I a dreamer. I set challenging goals that I know I can achieve if I push myself. And the goal of becoming Pro isn't something that I can do on my own - it also involves other competitors and a panel of judges. I can only do MY best and be happy about that. I've made my peace with this realization, and I'm content to simply compete for the fun of it. (That's not to say I don't want to WIN, though!)

I love competing and enjoy every second of being on stage. I can't imagine NOT competing. So this coming year, I plan on doing a few local shows in the DC area.

There are a few shows in Virginia that may be a possibility, but the 2012 dates haven't been released yet. So as of now, my first show of the year will be the NPC Met-Rx Maryland States/East Coast Classic on June 30 in Rockville, MD!

I've never competed in a home state before, so will be a whole new thing for me! It'll be exciting to look out in the audience and see a bunch of people I know. I'm ready for 2012!

For you competitors: have you started planning for your 2012 shows yet? Which shows do you have your sights set on so far?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

A Keenan Family Christmas

This past weekend, J and I flew out to Minnesota to celebrate (early) Christmas with my family. We celebrated Christmas at this time last year too, as flights are about half the cost earlier in December than later in the month.

After several adventures early Friday morning (distracting the dogs while J loaded the suitcases in the car, sneaking out of the house so the dogs wouldn't freak out, getting lost on the way to the hotel parking lot, getting a visit from a police officer for being stopped in the middle of an off-ramp, getting a police escort to the hotel parking lot, racing to park the car in order to catch the airport shuttle, over-tipping the shuttle driver for waiting for us, and waiting an extra 45 minutes for a "mechanical issue" on the plane), we finally arrived in Minnesota.

We spent most of Friday visiting with my parents, then hit up the grocery store, went to the gym to train, and met up with my brother's family for Family Portrait Night at J.C. Penney and then dinner afterward.

The Keenan Klan!
We celebrated Christmas on Saturday! That morning (after cardio), I took my nephew out shopping with me to pick up a few last-minute items (for some reason, airlines discourage carry-on items like snow shovels). Then we opened presents!

Jeffrey & me showing off our new slippers
The boys modeling their new matching Under Armour shirts
I visited a few friends on Sunday, and then we went out to eat for J's birthday, which is next week.

Jess and me - we've been friends since we were kids!
Krissy and me with her daughter, Kali. Friends since middle school!
J finally got to experience the epic Birthday Burrito!
On Monday, we hung out with my parents and nephews, and then headed home.

Chillin' with Baby James
Hangin' with Jeffrey
It's always so much fun to visit relatives and friends! I'm glad I got to spend some quality time with them. Hanging out with them always fills up my Emotional Tank.

A Keenan Family Christmas
Do you go home for the holidays? Do you live near your family? What's your family Christmas tradition?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Case of the Fallen Tree

We make no secret of the fact that Christmas is J's and my favoritest holiday. We both love Christmas decorations, presents (giving and receiving), and family time. This year, in our enthusiasm for the impending celebrations, we decided to put our Christmas tree up in November. BEFORE Thanksgiving.

This is J's explanation: We're adults, so we can set our own rules. We don't HAVE to wait until after Thanksgiving to put up our tree.

Okay, I can go with that.

So we put up the tree and got halfway through decorating it before we lost interest in decorating. (We still haven't finished decorating it and keep tripping over the decoration boxes in the living room).

Our animals, while curious, aren't destructive (unless you count Ginger's magazine shredding habit destructive). While we were decorating, they "helped" by sniffing the ornaments, tripping us on our journeys to and from the decorations boxes to the tree, and chewing on the fake pine cones attached to the tree branches.

Bruno, Nikko, and Ed "helping"
Once the tree was up, Ed decided to check it out further.

Pretending to be "casual" under the tree

Being "sneaky"

Pretending to "just sniff" the pine cone, with no intention of chewing on it. Yeah right!
Last week as I was pulling into our driveway, I realized I couldn't see the tree in the front window. With a sinking feeling, I unlocked the front door and discovered this:

Thank goodness the TV was off to the side!
Now let me be clear: the tree was solidly standing when I left the house earlier. Who tipped it over? It could've been any of the four possible culprits, or a combination thereof. They all looked guilty, if you ask me. 

Surprisingly (and much to my relief), only two ornaments were damaged. Our tree decorating ADD actually came in handy, because we didn't have many ornaments on it yet.

This was the first time I've ever had an animal tip over a tree. I'm still wondering how it happened!

Back to its upright position
Have any of your animals or kids tipped over a tree? Were you there to witness it? Did anyone get hurt? (Hope not!)