Happy Birthday to ME – 51 Lessons

Well, I’m above ground for another year. I don’t know where the year went, but it’s my birthday again and time to ‘celebrate’.

Challenge Workout - Happy Birthday

I’m not a present kinda person, I really prefer to celebrate with experiences and creating memories, but that’s not to say I don’t have a present for YOU.

You can click here to check it out.

Being on the planet for 51 years has afforded me a few lessons I thought I’d share with you. Here goes:

1. Moderation – Definitely NOT a sexy word, but the whole concept of moderation in all things rings true where fitness, nutrition and life are concerned. Too much of anything is a recipe for disaster long term.
2. Consistency – Ya, another UNSEXY tip, but it’s more important to show up consistently for a workout and healthy eating than the hit and miss method. It’s possible to have abs at any age, but it really helps if you consistently practice healthy lifestyle habits.

3. Wear the good stuff – I used to save all my ‘good’ workout stuff (and other ‘good’ clothes) for I don’t know when. Now I wear all my favorite things in an effort to wear them out before I die. No one is going to wear my things when I’m dead, I may as well enjoy them now.
challenge workouts4. The squat rack is my best friend – If I have an Olympic bar, some plate weight and a squat rack, I can do anything. This is MY pick for the best home gym equipment. Throw in a pull up bar at the top of the cage and you’d think you’d have given me a diamond. Make the squat rack your friend too 😉

5. Greek yogurt must clearly be made by God – How can something be so rich and creamy, chalk full of protein and also be low carb? I love the Greeks for this. Maybe I’ll just move to Greece.

6. Callouses are a badge of honor – Yes, it’s weird that I’m proud of the hard earned callouses on my hands.

7. Eccentric training is easy on my joints – If I don’t have plate weight/DB’s needed, or if my joints are sore, I can do eccentric training to build and maintain strength. I can do this with bodyweight too.

8. I can do it all – As I age, I notice that I can still do intense workouts but I need a little longer recovery time. If I ever sat down and took a break, I may not be able to do this. Which leads me to…

9. Never sit down – Age won’t stop me from doing things I’m not ‘supposed’ to be able to do, like human flags, pull ups and ‘soon to be’ muscle ups (so far just band-assisted ones).

10. Eggs are cool – The perfect protein, I can make a savory dish or I can have a treat meal of sprouted grain egg funnyFrench toast with them. I love eggs.

11. Don’t train arms – As much as I love sexy looking arms, I hate training biceps and don’t love training tri’s. The way to get smokin’ arms is to push and pull a lot of weight with compound movements: push ups, bench presses, pull ups, rows with bodyweight, BB’s or DB’s.

12. Holy hamstring/bum training – If you want a nice bum and legs, a squat bar and kettlebell swings are your best friends.

13.  No calories in the mix – I rarely drink alcohol, but when I do I always tell myself I should do it more often. 😉  My drink of choice has NO calories in the mix. My favorite drink is vodka, soda with a splash of cranberry or my new favorite: vanilla vodka, soda and lime. If it’s wine, it’s Malbec. Don’t ask me anything else about wine, I just don’t know.

14. It’s good to be different – If most are doing one thing, I like to be contrary. This doesn’t always fly with teenagers :/

15. Underwear is over rated – Probably TMI, but if the laundry doesn’t get done, there’s no real drama if it’s a commando day.

16. Up for a quickiequickie – It’s not the amount of time DAILY that’s spent working out, it’s consistency over time that adds up (back to the unsexy #2), thus, the quickie workout is brilliant.

17. No quickies! More TMI – quickies are good for workouts, not ALL things 😉

18. Down the rack – If you’re doing a few sets of an exercise, there’s no reason to use the same weight and reps for each set. Going ‘down the rack’ is my favorite strategy to keep intensity high. Start with a weight that’s challenging and then reduce the weight if necessary for the next set (or even in the middle of a set) if form goes or it gets too heavy.

19. Stand up – I work on my computer a lot but can’t sit all day. I put my laptop on my eating bar to stand and work.

sev and my slipper220. Get a dog – As much as I dug my heels in about getting our latest dog. My heart was broken after losing Desi (don’t get me started about him). Now I don’t know what I’d do without Sev, our one-eyed rescue Rottweiler.

21. Massage…ahhh – I often forget how I feel ‘bag of soup relaxed’ after a massage and how my fitness performance improves. I need to get more massages.

22. Look beyond – I like to take the attitude that people don’t really have bad intentions toward me (or anyone), if things don’t go well, there may be more to the story that I don’t know about so it’s just best to let things go.

23. Read – There’s never enough time to read all the books that are on my shelf. A guilty pleasure that I do every night before bed to unwind, reading is under rated in today’s world as far as I’m concerned.

24. Turn it off – The TV of course…refer to #24 if you need to escape. tv keep calm turn it off

25. Pick a hill to die onI want my kids to come to me with all their stuff so I try not to blow a gasket about small things. If I can listen and support them without being preachy and judgmental, they’ll be more willing to come to me with big things. This applies with family, staff, friends.

26. Age is a number – I’m not going to freak out about the number 51, even though it sounds old as dirt. It won’t be used as an excuse to NOT do something; in fact, it will be used as a reason WHY I should do other things.

27. Jump rope – Yes, you already know I’m a jumping fool. I can’t say enough about jumping rope. If I’m down, I’ll go do 10 sets of 1-minute jump rope with a 10 second rest between sets. That’ll do the trick to turn the day around, unless I need something a little more potent…

burpee funny28. Burpees rock – Again, no surprise here. Throwing in burpees between strength sets increases workout intensity like crazy. I can keep the resistance high on the strength portion and then get my heart rate up during the burpee phase. This anaerobic training is fantastic ‘aerobic’ conditioning.

29. Children teach us – Opposed to the popular belief that it’s the opposite, my kids have taught me more about life than I could ever hope to teach them.

30. Paleo is the new black – I enjoy Paleo eating, but I’m not a militant Paleo eater. (Refer to #1.) If I have a black bean, the sky will not fall. I’m being sassy here, (I can afford to be since I have no food allergies etc). The majority of folks could benefit from basic Paleo eating, sometimes people get too focused on the details of a plan that they don’t do anything, (except maybe order a pizza while they ponder it 😉

31. Small steps get you far – It’s the small choices made daily that add up big time over the long haul. Rather than making HUGE changes to your lifestyle, just make small livable ones weekly. This is a sustainable way to live without feeling deprived. I used to hate vegetables, I drank diet soda all the time, I used artificial sweeteners, I thought I needed long cardio….need I go on? Slowly over time I changed bad habits. The good thing about turning 51 is that I’ve had more time to correct all my bad habits. If I live to be 200 (as I intend), I’ll be a regular Mother Teresa.

32. Floss – Just do it. I sound like your mom, but I’m a dental Nazi. I love clean teeth.

33. Planks – I used to have this creaky SI joint that bothered me a lot. Pretty sure my son was the culprit because it started after that pregnancy. My cure? I once went on a quest to do 200 push ups a day. I did this for a few months, I don’t know why; it seemed like a good idea at the time. Unbeknownst to me, all that planking whilst doing the push ups strengthened my core so much that I forgot about that creaky SI joint.

34. Ear buds are my savior – Confession: sometimes when I’m in a hurry or feeling anti-social in the gym or on a plane, I’ll put in my ear buds and not even put on the music. If you see me with ear buds, I may just want to be left alone.

35. Straps help – When training back, sometimes my grip strength goes first. In that case, I use straps to hold on. Now, if I wanted big meaty forearms, then I’d do forearm work to strengthen them more, but since I don’t much care about forearms, I use straps on deadlifts and even when I’m doing a ton of pull ups.

36. Get one: get many – If you can do one pull up, you can do 5 if you keep at it. It’s the form that you have to get down, once your body learns this, with practice and training the right muscle groups, 5 pull ups are next. I’m taking this theory to my muscle up challenge. I can do a band-assisted muscle up now. I need to visualize what my body needs to be doing in space, build the neurological pathways and then train like a dog….a muscle up (or 5) is def in my future and yours too when you take this approach.
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37. Action relieves anxietyIf I’m ever anxious about something, the best solution is to just take action and do something to solve my problem. Failing forward still means I’m moving ahead.

38. Look both ways – I plan on living to be 200 unless of course a bus hits me first. I guess looking both ways before crossing is pretty basic survival stuff right? I still often need to be reminded.

39. Push/pull/legs – I’ve written lots about different training options, but my all time favorite split in the gym and one I always come back to is a push day, pulling day and leg day.

40. I can do anything – My good friend Rowena reminds me of this often like when divorce knocked at my door, when my bathroom sink faucet needed replacement, and when I face a physical challenge like 100 burpee pull ups. Henry Ford had it right. (Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.) I can. You can too.

41. Sleep! Magical. Really the only way I can manage #40. I’ve been using Lavender essential oil to help with sleep when I’m stressed or when the ceiling crack needs attention at 2 am.

fitnessshot 142. Oops, was I supposed to train abs? – Like #12, abs are an after thought or something I do on an off day of training. When lifting heavy with compound movements (complexes!), there’s not much need to train abs on their own.  Having said this, a favorite workout on an off day is: 1 min burpee, 1 min jump rope, 1 min abs for 5-7 rounds.

43. It’s okay to be mediocre – Sadly, my claim to fame is my poor cooking. I know that I could get better, if I practiced more, (like with anything else). I just don’t happen to have a passion for cooking. I can cook a few dishes moderately well and I’ll leave it at that. Instead, I’ll focus on other passions – things that I can be a rock star doing. I’ve decided to stop beating myself up for not being a great cook.

44. Focus on your strengths in life – Have you heard you should focus on your weaknesses? If that were the case, I’d have to cook all day long (and do math, taxes, clean house, comb hair, drive…) and do all kinds of things I hated. Why would I do that? Shouldn’t I just get people that love those things to do them? That makes the most sense to me.

45. Focus on your weaknesses in your workout – Obviously #44 doesn’t apply to your workout unless you want to look like that dude that forgets to train legs. Muscle imbalances and injury result when you forget to focus on a physical weakness.

46. Give, give, give – If ever I’m feeling down, helping someone is the answer since it takes the focus off me. It’s a gift to be able to give, no matter if it’s fitness advice, help with a business problem, dog sitting, lending an ear, financial help, whatever. What a privilege it is to be able to give back.

47. When in doubt, squat – This could be said about burpees too. Great legs are made under a (heavy) squat bar. I know I said I’m in love with the squat rack, but bodyweight training is the bomb too.

48. Get off thescale funny scale – True progress is measured with a measuring tape or look in the mirror or put on your jeans, but don’t be a victim to a number on the scale.

49. Shut up – Its never good form to bad-mouth someone. (see #50).

50. Cup half full – Focus on the positive and you’ll have more good things in your life. When you focus on all that can go wrong, it usually does. My level of happiness can be measured in my ability to find the goodness in situations and people.

51. Practice gratitude – I keep a gratitude journal to remind me of how ‘over the top’ spectacular my life is, even on my worst day. This keeps things in perspective.

Speaking of gratitude, I want to thank YOU for being a reader of my blog and for your support. I get lots of fantastic emails, Facebook messages and comments that remind me how lucky I am to be able to do what I do.

thank youAs my gift to you, I’ve reduced my programs to celebrate 51 years on the planet.

You can CLICK HERE to check them out.

You’ll find:

  • Pull Up Challenge
  • Challenge Fat Loss
  • Challenge Jump Rope
  • Challenge Burpee
  • Challenge Complexes
  • The 21 Day Challenge Diet
  • Challenge Workouts: Boot Camp Edition
  • Female Fat Loss Over 40

Now’s a great time to grab a few, you can’t really go wrong at these prices.

Happy Birthday to me, I’d never have thought I could be this ‘old’, well until 10 years from now when I’ll ‘wish’ I were only 51.