Fitness

My personal weight loss and fitness story

by Melody on April 4, 2014

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My youngest son was about six months old and in a fit of motivation, I announced to my blog readers that I was going to start some sort of fitness something or other.  Then you guys were like “Hooray.  Let us know how it’s going, we’re excited to see progress” and all those things that make a person feel bad when they don’t follow through.

I still vividly remember the first workout of Jillian Michaels 30-Day Shred.  I woke up about 5:30 AM and slogged through the most uncomfortable 25 minutes of my life.  It felt like every muscle in my body had turned to gelatinous sludge after having babies and not one single joint knew where it was supposed to move and how it was supposed to support my body.  My eyebrows were sweating.  I got very angry.  I couldn’t sit on the toilet for about three days.

When you read these motivational articles about working out and perky, skinny and unnaturally tan people tell you to “JUST GET MOVING. YOU’LL FEEL SO GOOD”, it’s all a bunch of lies.  Nothing feels good in the beginning.  But you have to get through the beginning at some point to get to the great.

It took me a LONG time to make exercise a natural part of my daily routine.  It started out as a serious chore.  I tried every day to talk myself out of it and often succeeded.  It took me over 3 months to complete the 30-Day Shred.  However, every time I pressed play on the video, I felt a little better.  I lost a little weight.  I gained a little more energy.  I started realizing that I actually felt better AFTER the workout, instead of focusing on how hard it was to get started.

I finished one more round of the 30-Day Shred and was ready for a new challenge.  My husband had purchased P90X a few months back and just the thought of it terrified me.  I just kept pushing play, I figured out a way to work it into our routine.  I forced myself to put on my workout clothes.  I pushed play.  I worked out early in the morning before my kids woke up.  I worked out during Dora the Explorer.  I worked out while dodging Lightening McQueen.  I worked out on vacation.  I did the ab workout with a 25-pound toddler on my chest.  It never occurred to me to skip a workout.

What next?  A great friend of mine had been a part of a CrossFit gym and had been hinting that I should come try it out.  Every week I was all “I’m so busy. I have to wash the car. I have to take out my own spleen.  I have to pay taxes. I have to move to Montana.”  So we tabled that idea for awhile.

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My husband stumbled across a local mud run coming up in our area and we both kind of felt each other out, waiting for the other one to say it was crazy and we should never do it.  Neither one of us was willing to say all the words and we ended up signing up.  Never in my life had I run more than a mile (and that was probably in elementary school), let alone a 3.2 mile course with obstacles and mud and ALL THE OTHER PEOPLE RACING AND WATCHING ME.  The night before, I couldn’t sleep and woke up at an atrocious hour and started nervous baking.

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adidas has over 670 products discounted up to 50% off right now! They have amazing deals for guys, gals and little ones too.  They have a HUGE selection of shoes, apparel, sports bras, training gear and more.  You can easily sort by category, sport, gender, color and more to find just what you are looking for.

D67715_01Some of my favorite deals are in the kids’ section, including training tees and sports bras for just $10.  I LOVE the classic adidas Dragon Shoe for kids.  Even though they aren’t exactly the same, they bring back fond memories of Run DMC.

Click here to browse around.  Shipping is FREE on orders of $49 or more and returns are free through March 31st.

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Just for today, March 24th, Reebok is offering 60% off on all Shapewear items for women! Don’t miss this perfect opportunity to update your workout wear for the spring.  Prices start at just $25 for tanks, so as low as $10 after discount.  Leggings and capris start at $65, so just $26 after discount.  This is a HUGE sale and a crazy price drop.  If you have been checking out any of these items, now is the time to buy.

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The Reebok Shapewear Action Tank shown above would be just $14 + FREE shipping after discount.

A little about this tank and all the Shapewear products:

  • Fitted athletic design contours to your body, won’t get in your way during high-performance exercise
  • ShapeWear by Reebok features power mesh panels designed to help smooth and shape key trouble areas
  • Princess seams visibly flatter pear shaped body types
  • Skinny straps for added range of motion

Click here to check out all the available styles.  Use promo code SHAPE60 at checkout for your discount, shipping and returns are always FREE.

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There is something about personal recommendations and our need for them.  If I hear you say that you love something and I even sort of kind of trust you, I will most likely buy it or download it or borrow it or go see it or listen to it.

I want to share my favorite things with you.  Like every week.  Big things and little things and meaningful things and practical things and not-at-all practical things and delicious things and glorious things.  Every time I share things, you guys are all like “I want that” and “Thank goodness you told me about this thing that I never knew I needed” and “It looks crazy, but if you like it, I’ll try it”.

The CrossFit Open

Let me first explain the Open.  Anyone and absolutely everyone can sign up to participate and it is basically the preliminary stage before CrossFit Regionals.  For five weeks, each athlete that is registered must complete one workout each week as prescribed (read: no scaled movements and listed weight) in front of a certified judge.  If you do well enough, you move on to Regionals.

Let me repeat.  Every single person that wants to sign up and participate can do so.  This means we are theoretically in the running to move on.  Does this mean the majority of us will move on?  Absolutely not.  So why do we sign up?

In 2013, I had only been doing CrossFit for about four months when I signed up.  A few of the prescribed movements, I’d never even heard of before and the majority of weights I had never lifted.  My scores were low but I found myself setting personal records (only because I’d never tried some of the movements before).  If I had been in a regular workout, I would have scaled the movements or lightened the weight to something more manageable, but this forced me to give it my best shot and see what I was capable of.  The community of my gym members was like something I’d never seen before.  We all banded together to worry about and dissect the workouts, cheer each other on and pump each other up after every week.

In 2014, I now have the unique experience to share with all my fellow athletes who are newer to CrossFit.  When people find out about the Open, most assume it’s not for them because they are too new or “not good enough” at CrossFit yet.  I convinced and yelled and argued with anyone who would listen that they should sign up, based on my experience in 2013.  We have since created this AMAZING group of athletes who I have already watched set their own personal bests and push past their limits and it’s so inspiring.

For me, this year has been a whole different animal.  The prescribed weights are all completely manageable and I am halfway decent at all the movements, so my preparation and thought process going in are completely different!  I have been setting goals for myself (more than just one rep!) and have been able to push through so much more.  There is a certain level of anxiety that comes with actually trying to do well, versus just trying to not die and get through a workout.

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What’s been most interesting to me this year is that I can see a measurable difference over last year.  Last year, I was only able to do 3 chest to bar pull-ups, this year I got 15.  Quantifiable improvements and results!

1797130_10202717281447470_1567963195_nCheering on my fellow athletes

My favorite part of the Open this year is that I get to be the encourager.  I get to cheer and motivate and talk to people about their accomplishments.  Paying it forward in the healthiest possible way!

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Pat Summitt

While my kids are terrorizing the kids’ section at the library, I take approximately 45 seconds to quickly browse through the adult section and see if something catches my eye.  I’ve been reading a lot of biographies lately and I am always intrigued with books about sports and famous coaches in history, so this book on Pat Summitt caught my eye.  I had watched a short documentary on her with my husband, but didn’t know much about her beyond the fact that she was a coach for the Tennessee Lady Vols for many years and she had recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

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I can’t believe this deal is still available and I get to share it with you.  Last week, I was searching for a good deal on a new pair of shoes for CrossFit (I’ve torn up one pair on rope climbs and just straight worn the heck out of another pair).  I stumbled across this pair of New Balance WT110 on 6PM.com for just $36.99 + FREE shipping!  I didn’t share it at the time because I was pretty sure it would be gone in five seconds, but apparently I was wrong.

These shoes are regularly priced anywhere between $70 and $90 and they are AMAZING.

They are set in between a barefoot running shoe and a traditional cross-training shoe.  They weigh next to nothing, are super flexible and are constructed from open mesh on the top.  These have a slightly different sole than I’m used to with a more rugged design made for outdoor use, but they have been so fantastic in and out of the gym.

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Look, look.  There they are!  Click here to purchase.  Shipping is FREE with all orders.

You can see what else I’m currently wearing to the gym here.

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What I’m currently wearing at the gym

by Melody on March 6, 2014

Top picks for fitness apparel and gear (CrossFit approved)

When my husband and I first started working out and going to CrossFit, I was wearing whatever I had in my closet, old t-shirts, old running shoes, bleach stained sports bras.  Not that there is any problem with any of these things, but I realized that in the middle of some of the most intense workouts of my life, I was wasting precious time messing with and readjusting my clothes.  The fabric of my shirts was all wrong and was making me even more sweaty than was probably necessary.

I started shopping around for some semi-inexpensive options to get me started.  I asked the girls at my gym about their favorite items, as they knew first hand what I needed my clothes to do.

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Zella Live-In Capris

If I could get away with it, I would wear these Zella Live-In Capris every single day of my life.  They are crazy comfortable, well made and have the perfect fabric.  They are stretchy, but not thin.  They are flexible, but stay put through a crazy workout.  I wear the capri pants more often, as CrossFit can be a smidge difficult and the long pants hold in more heat.  If you have another suggestion for great workout pants, I’d love to hear it.  Although the challenge will be actually getting me to try something different.

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New Balance Minimus Trainers

As soon as I started CrossFit, I knew I needed to find a new pair of shoes.  I had a pair of cross-training shoes that got in the way at every turn.  We do so many different types of movements, including tons of agility, jump rope, weight lifting.  The huge soles of my shoes were tripping me up.  I didn’t want to spend a fortune and be one of those folks that starts at a gym, decks themselves out in all new gear and then never comes back.  My good friend has a pair of these New Balance Minimus shoes and I was able to find them for about $40 (total steal!).

These are set in between a barefoot running shoe and a traditional cross-training shoe.  They weigh next to nothing, are super flexible, are constructed from open mesh on the top and have a midsole differential of just 4 mm.  The soles are made by Vibram, who make those freaky finger-shoe looking things.  While I can’t stand those shoes, I do love the durable and flexible soles the company makes.

Amazon has several styles available, all with FREE shipping.  Joe’s New Balance Outlet is also a great resource, just search New Balance Minimus.  There are several different styles of the Minimus, including cross-training, running, trail running. You’ll just need to read through the descriptions and decide what is right for you. I have both the running and the barefoot style and I’m happy with each one.

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Marika Tanks

I have several workout tanks that I like, but have been loving my Marika tanks.  The Seamless Harmony Trinity Tank is my FAVORITE.  The material is super soft and comfortable and holds up well to multiple washings.  They are fitted enough to stay put during a workout, but not so tight that they are uncomfortable.

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Reebok CrossFit Gradient Board Shorts

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Why I registered for the 2013 CrossFit Open

by Melody on February 27, 2014

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I originally posted this last year after the 2013 CrossFit Open, but I felt that it would be appropriate to post again since the first workout of 2014 was released today.  Hopefully this can give those of you new to the Open some inspiration or convince you to sign up.  It’s such a fantastic experience!

It’s not because I actually think I can compete.

First off, let me tell you a little bit about the Open if you aren’t sure of the details.  It consists of five workouts over the course of five weeks.  Just about anyone can register and compete in the Open, you just have to complete each workout in front of a qualified judge (our local gym has three so far) or submit a video.  Everyone that is registered and submits a score/time is a competitor and has a chance to make it to regionals and then the CrossFit Games.

So technically, I am now “competing” against thousands of other athletes across the nation.

Again, not that I think I can actually compete.

When people are looking for motivation to start working out or continue with a program, you always hear the same advice.  Join a gym, workout with a partner, find someone to hold you accountable so you just show up.

I’m blessed to have made it past that stage.  Just by joining and showing up at CrossFit, I feel like I face my fears and insecurities everyday.  However, there are definitely times I may scale back on the weight I’m lifting or not push myself to try new skills, it can be easy and more comfortable to stick with the known.  Signing up for the Open blows my comfort level out of the water and into the next hemisphere.

To submit a qualifying score, you have to complete your workout in front of a certified judge.  At our gym, this means you are working out with one, maybe two, other people at a time.  Your technique is on display, your endurance is on display.  Your nerves are rattling around in the pit of your stomach.  Your score for each week has to be submitted by Sunday and the workouts aren’t even announced until Wednesday.  You have minimal time to process the madness, prepare and complete the workout, which just adds to the anxiety.

The first workout wasn’t anything I hadn’t done before, but the sheer amount of weight threw me for a loop.

We had 17 minutes to do as much of the following as possible:

40 burpees
30 snatches at 45 lbs
30 burpees
30 snatches at 75 lbs
20 burpees
30 snatches at 100 lbs
10 burpees
As many snatches at 120 lbs as possible

Your total score is the number of reps you could complete in the time given.

If this was an everyday workout, I would have been all “Sweet, burpees, those are doable.  I’ll probably just scale back that 75 lbs though, there is no way I can get that over my head”.

There is no scaling back for the Open.  There would have been no point in me completing any lifts at a lighter weight, as it wouldn’t have counted.  75 pounds, I’m coming for you.

Big ol’ bundle of nerves up in here.  That’s my CrossFit girl for life judge, Dani.  She’s the one you can thank for my incessant ramblings.

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Here we go.

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45 pounds and one angry face.  My husband says he’s never seen anything like it.

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The Color Run is happening all across the nation!  If you have participated in a run in the past or have been interested, now is your chance.  For any Color Run race that is not currently sold out, use promo code COLOR5OFF to save $5 on your registration fee.  There are a few select new cities that launch with special pricing that will not accept the promo code, but these will be marked with a double asterisk.

If you haven’t heard of the race, here is a little info from the site:

The Color Run™, also known as the Happiest 5k on the Planet, is a unique paint race that celebrates healthiness, happiness, individuality, and giving back to the community.

Less about your 10-minute-mile and more about having the time of your life, The Color Run is a five-kilometer, un-timed race in which thousands of participants are doused from head to toe in different colors at each kilometer. The fun continues at the finish line with a gigantic “Color Festival,” using more colored powder to create happiness and lasting memories, not to mention millions of vivid color combinations. Trust us, this is the best post-5k party on the planet!

With only two rules, the idea is easy to follow:

1. Wear white at the starting line
2. Finish plastered in color

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Joe’s New Balance Outlet has a fantastic price today only on the New Balance Minimus 10 Running Shoe in Diva Pink/Yellow, marked down to just $39.99.  These are regularly priced anywhere between $70 and $110, this is one of the lowest I have ever seen!  Shipping is just $1 in honor of President’s Day.

These are the style I wear to CrossFit and they are an amazing shoe.  They are set in between a barefoot running shoe and a traditional cross-training shoe.  They weigh next to nothing, are super flexible, are constructed from open mesh on the top and have a midsole differential of just 4 mm.  The soles are made by Vibram, which makes them really flexible and durable.  You can see what else I’m currently wearing to the gym here.

Click here to purchase.  This deal is only available through Monday February 24th at 9 PM PST.

 

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Joe’s New Balance Outlet has a fantastic price today only on the New Balance 670 Women’s Running Shoe in Orange with Pink, marked down to just $34.99.  These are regularly priced at $79.99, this is an amazing price drop!  Shipping is just $1 in honor of President’s Day.

Description of the shoe:

A stylish choice for the runner seeking comfort, the 670 offers the New Balance patented ABZORB® cushioning technology for a smooth and soft ride that lasts mile after mile.

Click here to purchase.  This deal is only available through Friday February 21st at 9 PM PST.

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Yesterday was a busy day for fun posts, deals and grocery store updates.  I spent some time at Costco gathering prices for the new organic coupon booklet and included some details about the new store layout.  Yoke’s Fresh Market deals starting today (2/12) are now up at the blog, with their fantastic case sale going on this week.  Grab boxed macaroni and cheese for just $.37, canned tomatoes for $.50 and more.

I also talked about some of my favorite things this week, including why I love the Olympics (or think I do), a super fun kids’ game that won’t make you want to poke  your eyeballs out and the little spatula that could.

Don’t miss out on my fantastic giveaway!  Enter to win a few of my favorite products from Tropical Traditions, Coconut Cream Concentrate and shredded coconut with no added yucky stuff.  I use these on a daily basis and am excited to share them with you!

Here are a few of my favorite deals happening today!

 

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Joe’s New Balance Daily Deal

The Joe’s New Balance Outlet Daily Deal today is the Men’s Cross Training 813 at just $29.99.  Regularly price on this item is $79.99!  These are lightweight and low-profile and come in Blue with Black and White.

Buy any two pairs of shoes at Joe’s right now and automatically receive an additional 10% off, including the Daily Deals.  This drops your price to just $26.99 per pair!

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Marika Fitness Apparel 40% off

Marika is running a fantastic sale on fitness apparel right now, with an additional 40% discount being taken off all already-reduced sale prices.  They have a huge selection of items, including sports bras, tanks, light jackets and more.   Several styles and colors of capri pants are available at just $22 after discount.

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Have you been looking for a cool new running shoe for your next workout? Reebok has been inspired by hi-performance, Z-Rated tires, and created the Reebok ZQuick training shoe that delivers sports car handling for your feet.

The Reebox ZQuick is designed for running and the ZQuick TR is designed for a more all-around training environment.  They both have plenty of color combinations for those of you that like to mix and match your outfits (P.S. I’m turning into one of those people).

Check out the video above for more information on how they designed the shoe and the purpose behind all the features.  Who knew so much went into shoe design?  I love how they anticipate an athlete’s needs in all situations.

Click here to check out the new Reebok ZQuick.  Shipping and returns are always FREE at Reebok.

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Finding your Fitness Motivation with This Beautiful Frugal Life

You’re heard it all.  Get to the gym if you want a beach body.  If you want to get healthy.  If you want more energy.  If you want to lose a pants size (or five).  If you are coming off years (or even just months) of inactivity, you are going to need something stronger than your desire to sit on the couch and eat potato chips.  And this looks different for everyone.

For YEARS after I graduated college, I went on this up and down roller coaster of emotion regarding my weight.  I desperately wanted to look like one of those adorable petite girls at the beach in their teeny bikinis, instead of walking around in my bathing suit with my thighs causing a forest fire with all their friction and attempting to suck in the 30 pounds in my stomach I’d put on since high school.  Every single time I put on clothes in the morning, I desperately wished I looked (and felt) different.  But apparently not desperate enough to actually DO anything about it.

There have been spurts of effort, like the time I did step aerobics for about six months in the basement gym of our local rec center.  Or the time I went running once.  Or the time I bought insanely expensive Pilates videos and had to move every single piece of furniture in my adorable (read: impossibly small) apartment just to get through one video.  I wanted the results SO bad, but didn’t acknowledge the fact that it would be a lifetime commitment, not just a weekend energy burst.

Even while I was operating in my rare “fitness modes”, I was eating Jack in the Box for dinner and Subway when I really wanted to be healthy.  I had absolutely zero understanding of what a balanced lifestyle looked like.  I just wanted results.  Deep down, I think I’ve always known that the quick fixes didn’t work, which is why I always started with exercise.  I’m not a pill popper or necessarily a trend or fad-follower and knew what it would take to get the results, I just had no idea what would keep me on the road to where I wanted to go.  All too often, I would start a program and then lose interest, lose motivation, get too sweaty or just want to go out and have a beer with my friends.

What in heavens name was going to get this to stick?  The hamster wheel was getting exhausting.

What got me started on this final (final?? most recent??) road was a fluke.  After our second son was born, I was feeling understandably frustrated about my alien body.  Things didn’t sit the same, look the same, feel the same.  I broke a sweat moving from the couch to the kitchen to get a glass of water.  Out of the blue one day, I decided to announce to my dear blog readers that I AM STARTING A FITNESS REGIMEN.  Lordy.  Then you guys were all “Tell us about it.  I want to hear about how it goes.  Show us pictures”.  Now apparently you expected me to follow through.

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Today on Living Social, you can snag a fantastic deal on a month’s worth of CrossFit classes at CrossFit 509 in Spokane.

Details on your options:

  • Two weeks of beginner courses + 2 weeks of unlimited classes just $80 ($160 value)
  • 3 On Ramp sessions + 4 weeks of unlimited classes just $100 ($325 value)

On Ramp classes are ideal for those who can’t fit beginner classes into their schedule, or for those who would prefer one-on-one coaching.  These are both AMAZING deals.  We pay over $150 per month for unlimited classes at our gym and that’s without specialty beginner classes or On Ramp sessions.  If you have been wanting to try out CrossFit and live in the Spokane area, jump on this.  I ran into a gal in Spokane last time I was there that went to this gym and she loves it!

Click here to purchase your voucher.  Limit 1 per customer, plus additional as gifts.  All classes must be redeemed by same customer within 30 days of first visit.

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With the turn of the New Year comes the inevitable reevaluation of our goals, our lifestyles, our prior year’s accomplishments and setbacks.  My husband and I don’t really make “resolutions” per se, but something about a fresh new year makes us a little more aware of where we are, what we are doing, where we want to be.  It starts us talking about ways we could improve on our previous goals and successes.  Taking a fresh look at our lives and talking about the future is NEVER a bad thing.

We have come a long way in the last few years, in terms of our finances, our health and fitness goals, our eating habits.  We are in the fine-tuning stage.  We are setting incremental goals at the gym for lifting a little bit more weight and being more proactive about working on our weaknesses.  We have talked about getting a little more sleep, cleaning a few things out of our diet.  We don’t have any major overhauls taking place.

But this got me thinking.  For others who may have HUGE goals for 2014, where do you start?  So you want to get your budget in order, start an exercise routine and cut out processed food.  Where do you begin?  What steps do you take?  How do you keep yourself from becoming completely overwhelmed and giving up on all of your goals?

I’m a firm believer in baby steps.  And micro-managing.  If a goal or resolution is not broken down into manageable daily tasks or reminders, most of us would give up before we make any headway at all.  Start with one goal and make a list of the small steps it will take to reach that goal.  Or choose a few different goals, but only tackle one small piece of each at a time.  Change NEVER happened overnight.  And if it did, it was a quick fix and wasn’t meant to stick.  Real change and real progress takes hard work.  January 1st is not going to bring you everything you ever dreamed of, unfortunately.  But it can bring you the resolve to make the changes if you tackle it in a manageable way.

In the last three years, my husband and I have made small, practical changes in our lives that have snowballed into other areas of our lives.  We worked hard on making fitness a priority, which led us to research on cleaner eating, which led us to a different gym, which led us to tackling 12-mile obstacle courses in the freezing cold, which led us to do even more research on nutrition, which led us to talking about where fitness fits in our budget.  THREE YEARS.  Not overnight.  But if we never got started with a baby step or two three years ago, we would still be sitting here talking about how we wish we could change our weight/health/eating/budget.

Over the next few months, I am going to be talking about what I imagine to be the top 3 resolutions that crop up every year: Getting your budget under control, kicking off a fitness plan to lose weight/get healthy and cleaning up your eating habits.  I will walk you through our personal story (including both successes and massive failures), help with practical tips and advice for getting started and hopefully break these large and all-encompassing goals into manageable steps.

While we are certainly not the only people in the world that have figured out some measure of success in these areas and we certainly have a LONG way to go still, I feel that I can give an honest and open perspective about what it takes to meet or exceed your goals.  We are still taking two steps forward and three steps back, but we know what it takes to get where we want to go and that’s a big first step.

I’d love for you all to share with me your goals or resolutions for 2014!  One of the main things I have come to realize is that goals are never accomplished by one person alone.  They are a team or family or community event.  Having a good support system is key to success.

What are you looking to accomplish?  In what areas are you overwhelmed or need help getting started?  Do you have any tips for breaking down goals into manageable steps?

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. When you click on these links, you are supporting this blog. Thanks!

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If you have been wondering what in the heck this CrossFit thing is all about or have been curious to give it a try, you’re in luck!   Our local gym, Natural Selection CrossFit, offers a FREE class every Saturday morning at 9 AM.  This class is open to members and non-members and people of absolutely all abilities.

This gives you the perfect chance to try out CrossFit or supplement your fitness routine.  I have a few friends who did Saturday-only workouts for a few months before joining the gym for good.  You are under absolutely no obligation to join and there won’t be anyone at the door trying to force you to sign up, they just really want to show everyone what it is all about.

If you have never tried CrossFit before, I would recommend coming to the free introductory class first to get an idea of what it is all about.  Our gym offers a beginner class every Friday at 5:30 PM that runs through what CrossFit is all about, what to expect, basic movements and a short workout.

If you don’t live in Tri-Cities, most gyms do offer a free intro or beginner class to get you started.  You can check out CrossFit.com or just Google CrossFit and your city name to find a gym near you.

If you’re interested in knowing why I love CrossFit so much, you can read my 374 reasons here.

Please let me know if you have any questions.  I would love to see you there!  For more information, check out the Natural Selection website here.

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