Leaving Depression Behind and How to Love the Skin You’re In

I used to joke about always being in shape. I’d say, “I’m in shape, round is a shape!” I would laugh for a few seconds then the manufactured joy would cease and I’d immediately feel bad or guilty for the state of my health and my out of shape body. I haven’t always been self-conscious about my body, the self criticism and loathing didn’t start until after I had put on nearly fifty pounds over the course of 6 years. It seemed like I just woke up one day with all this extra weight. I guess I’m the type that “carries it well”. In reality, I think what happened was that I was so distracted by my depression that I couldn’t see what was really going on, and since I was in such a fragile state, no one close to me was about to suggest that I may be getting a little bit chubby. Maybe someone should have made me go run around the block a few times, exercise causes the release of endorphins and serotonin, thus making you feel happier and making you less depressed. There are countless case studies and success stories of people curing their depression with the help of exercise. I hope that knowing what I know now about the positive effects of exercise on depression I can help somebody through their tough time. Here’s the funny thing about depression, you may think you’re out of the woods, but something like realizing you’ve gained a bunch of weight while in your depressed state can put you right back in that depressed state. Now, more than ever, you need to be strong so you can make an action plan.

I’ve recently read a few articles of women who would be classified as in “extremely good shape” and their “backward transformations”. What these women chose to do was to evaluate the way they were living their lives and decide if what they were doing was making them happy. One woman, who was a competition bodybuilder, decided that her overly strict diet and workout program were making her miserable, and causing her to believe that she would never be good enough. Her “healthy” lifestyle was making her very emotionally unhealthy. So she decided to take it down a notch and enjoy some freedom in her life and soon became much happier. She chose to love the skin she was in, knowing that she was in control. The secret to loving your body through thick and thin (no pun intended) is to know that you have the power to change what you don’t like. There is no magic pill, or crash diet that will save you from the true dedication needed to change your body. Once you set your goal, make a list of milestones so you can evaluate your progress. When you reach the milestones, make sure to recognize how all your hard work paid off, and remember your goals as to help motivate you to push on. Look at your accomplishments and say well done, and if there’s still work to be done get to it. Also, recognize that it’s not just your body that makes you beautiful/handsome, valuable, intelligent, funny, worthwhile. Love it in all stages and be thankful for what it does right, you know like breathe on its own. Get rid of the negative and unrealistic influences in your life, one of my friends shared a funny article about the impossibility of wearing a Victoria’s Secret swim suit if you are a mom. You can read it here, then quickly use your VS catalogs as campfire starter.

I challenge all of you to be nice to yourself this week. Write a positive note to yourself on your bathroom mirror so it’s the first thing you see in the morning. Tell yourself you’re wonderful, and your hard work is paying off. See if you don’t start smiling from the inside and find new motivation to conquer your goals.



The continuing saga of the band van…My weekend was jam-packed with trying to finish this project before Joel comes home on Wednesday from his trip to Europe. The next modification was to build a giant box in the cargo area of the van that would serve two purposes. First, this box would serve as a more secure storage space for the band’s gear. By creating the box, which would end up being an inch and a half thick, we would make it nearly impossible to to get to the gear in the event that a window was broken. Also it would hide the gear from sight, deterring someone from breaking in in the first place. The box would also serve as a platform for a queen sized bed so that the guys could take turns driving and sleeping. So with design help from our good friend, Treb, and actual build help from another friend, Tim, Tim and I spent a beautiful Saturday making this modification a reality. Tim is so incredibly talented, he can literally build or fix ANYTHING!!!! If you need any home improvement projects done please contact him via Facebook here. This is just one photo from one of his amazing projects

Tim sent me the shopping list for The Home Depot, and I got the supplies the night before heading out to his house. Note to self, don’t go shopping at The Home Depot when you are too tired to see straight, you will forget something. Like the piece of lumber that will be the top of the box, you know something small (epic facepalm)…Luckily we needed a couple of other things from The Home Depot, so I didn’t feel completely stupid having to go back to the store. Ok, I lied, I felt completely stupid…Moving on, I learned a few things about building along the way: measure and re-measure to make sure that things are perfect. It’s not very easy to fix a miscalculated cut, and you don’t want to have to make another trip to The Home Depot. We were persistent and this wasn’t Tim’s first rodeo, so we luckily didn’t run into that issue. Also, complete strangers will help you load ridiculously heavy pieces of lumber into your rad van just for the opportunity to have a look inside 😉 Another really important lesson I learned was that your project is going to turn out as good as your tools. If you have the wrong tool for the job, you are going to be fighting the design the whole way which could cause mistakes. This leads me to another point, power tools are sexy…And make sure to wear eye protection, and close your mouth around the table saw, ahem (still spitting out sawdust). Finally, I have an unhealthy phobia of splinters, please don’t judge me 😉









After: We all signed the back of the box with well wishes







Here you can see the storage space for all the gear, which includes: guitars, amps, stands, full drum kit, upright bass, full size keyboard, effects pedals and more. On top is 1 1/8″ thick douglas fir that can support several hundred pounds. When the van is backed up to a wall or garage it will essentially be impenetrable. The box is secured to the floor of the van in case of a rollover accident it won’t crush the person on top. I will be outfitting the bed tomorrow with 4″ thick euro foam which is much lighter, and longer lasting than a traditional mattress. We are kicking around ideas for how to safely secure the sleeper to the bed in case of sudden stops or being rear-ended, and so far the best idea, from Tim, is to anchor a wide mesh cargo net to the top of the bed to keep the sleeper from shooting out the front window. You can also see the finished blackout curtains in place making it pretty swanky inside.

In order to have enough cargo space we took out the third row bench seat, taking the carrying capacity down from 12 passenger to 8 passengers. I can’t wait to go on tour, or camping, or travel across the country as a gypsy…

So, $300 in lumber, a perfect afternoon hanging out with some amazing friends, building a surprise project, topped off with a rewarding dinner of margaritas and fajitas sitting under the stars is definitely one version of a perfect weekend in my books. I think that Joel will be very pleased and surprised with the finished product, plus he gets to go out to Campo, my favorite Reno restaurant, for a thank you dinner for Tim and Lori who built this for me as a gift.

I’m still looking for names for “The Band Van” so leave a comment below!

The Epic Transformation of “The Band Van” Part 1

I’m going to stray a little off topic from my own personal “epic transformation” and share with you a project I have been planning for a long time. As you all know by now, my husband, Joel, is in the touring band The Novelists. A few months ago he acquired his dream touring vehicle, a Mercedes Sprinter. A few of the most awesome features include 20 MPG fully loaded this thing is as big as some RV’s, it has seating for 12, it runs for 250,000 miles before any major scheduled maintenance, it’s easy to drive, you can easily tow a trailer and it looks super cool. There is actually an up-and-coming company that converts these vans into tour vehicles for bands. Bandago is the company and you can check them out here. Fuel efficiency and low maintenance make these vehicles a top pick for touring artists.

Since the Novelists tour all over the country they needed to modify the van in a few ways. Me, being the planner that I am had been planning to surprise Joel with the modifications complete when he came back from his trip to Europe. So I recruited the helpful assistance of my mom to make the first set of modifications. I had the idea of making it impossible to see inside the van from the outside, obviously to keep prying eyes from spotting thousands of dollars of musical equipment and breaking into the van, as well as creating a dark and more temperature controlled environment for sleeping. I perused the vast internet for curtain and blind ideas, but came up short either due to cost restrictions or having to do a lot of work to attach the curtains to the structure of the van. So I decided to make blackout curtains that could be easily attached to the van without damaging the structure of the van and were affordable.

2014-05-23 14.20.39

Free labor!!!

The van has six 54″ windows, and two 22″ windows in the back. I was able to find blackout curtains by Martha Stewart that were 54″ wide by 80″ long, which made it amazingly easy to make two curtains for the Sprinter out of one panel. At $19.56 a panel at The Home Depot this made the curtains very affordable. I wanted the curtains to be easy to install and remove so I figured I’d use industrial strength velcro to attach the curtains to the window frames. 25′ by 2″ wide industrial strength velcro cost about $25 and I sliced the velcro in half width wise to get a total of 50′ by 1″ wide. I got my mom to be my sweatshop labor and we spent the afternoon measuring, cutting, ironing, and sewing. I think we also shared a few moments of cursing too after we realized that sewing through adhesive backed velcro will make your needle sticky and eventually break and cause damage to your sewing machine, oops. We endured and completed the project in about 4 hours and around $110. Much better than $70 each from the British company, Van-X.

I think it turned out wonderfully, and my mom and I were ecstatic at how perfectly we calculated out our materials. We were within inches of velcro and had a perfect fit on all the windows. Stay tuned for the Epic Transformation of “The Band Van” Part 2, for pictures of the completed curtain project. I’m also taking suggestions for the name of “The Band Van”. The rules that apply are: German name, since it’s a Mercedes, and female since I have a hoard of drooling men ask me if they can check out the van anytime I go somewhere. I’m thinking, Zelda which means “grey battle maid” and because Zelda the video game character was an explorer. Leave me a comment with your suggestions!!!

The Ultimate Cheat Sheet On Motivation

Motivation well-springs are not everlasting, unfortunately. But I have found a few things to be true: momentum begets momentum, once you start the ball rolling it is easier to keep it moving, rather that starting and stopping and hopefully starting again. So the initial motivation is important to nurture and cultivate, in order to get that ball rolling. Next, it is easy to become distracted by things that we claim to be more important, but in reality are not as important than our goals. When we start to make excuses for why we are not working toward or accomplishing our goals, it is important to regroup and find a way to focus on the original goal. Sometimes this is a good stopping point for that goal, and instead of feeling guilty about not working on it, you can reevaluate the situation and say that it needs to be put aside for now, and it will be revisited when the current situation changes. Now you have made a conscious decision about the goal, rather than letting it slip away, neglected and unfinished and feeling guilty.

Sometimes having too big of a goal, either in scope or unrealistic expectations due to money, time or other resources, can quickly kill any motivation. Biting off more that you can chew can be so damaging to motivation, that it blind-sides any possibility of reevaluating and downsizing the goal to a more attainable level. It’s the mentality of believing that if you couldn’t accomplish the “huge” goal, then anything less will never be satisfying, rather that the “shoot for the moon, even if you miss you’ll land among the stars” idea of going for the big goal, but achieving anything at all toward the goal is also productive. I’ve compiled a list of common excuses and their solutions of why we can’t accomplish our goals.

  • I don’t have time

Ok this may be a valid excuse, but in the idea of setting a goal, you need to evaluate what the time commitment will be. So, make the time available to work toward your goal, just like you make time to go to work or eat or sleep. If your goal is important it should be part of your daily routine

  • I don’t have money/resources

In the case of a fitness goal, this excuse is thrown right out the window. You don’t need money to join a gym and get a personal trainer. If you have two feet and two arms and access to the internet you can plan a workout that is just as effective as one you’d get in an expensive gym. It doesn’t cost anything to run around the block or do pushups in your living room. Heck there are countless blogs devoted to fitness on a budget, both money and time budgets.

  • I don’t know how

This is also easily debunked. With information so readily available there is no excuse for not being able to learn. If you don’t have the drive to learn how to achieve your goal, you may want to reconsider your goal.

  • This isn’t working as fast or in the direction that I wanted, I’m just wasting my time

Being impatient with the results of your goal can kill it prematurely. It’s like throwing a temper-tantrum that halts any further progression. You remember the rolling ball from earlier, well this type of attitude is equivalent to trying to push a giant boulder uphill, and then crossing your arms in disgust because it’s hard, and “you’ll never get to the top”. Then the boulder starts to roll backward, smashing you and your goal. Don’t give up, make adjustments, find smarter ways to do things but don’t go backwards.

I hope you found a few good tips on how to stay motivated, as well as some helpful ways to debunk excuses. We all need to nurture our motivation, no one else is going to do it for us. How do you stay motivated, I’m always looking for new tricks and perspectives on motivation. Leave me a comment below or follow me on twitter @julesackerson

30 Day Activity Challenge

Hello loyal followers! I’ve been busy the last couple of weeks finishing up finals and projects for my first semester as a graduate student. Woo-hoo, I’m glad to report all went well, and I am still alive, and as inspired as ever to continue my transformation! Every once in a while it is good to step back, evaluate, and adjust your goals, or the route by which you wish to achieve them. My results after evaluating my original goals were this:

  • I still want to continue my original goal of total body transformation and hope to see major results by the end of the summer.
  • I am going to take a break from waking up at 5:30 am to go to boot camp classes
  • I am going to continue a mostly paleo diet
  • I am going to start preparing for my first 5k, The Color Run on June 28th
  • I am going to do something active (and mostly dog friendly) every day, for the next 30 days
  • I am going to increase my water intake to at least 1 liter a day

My goals have remained the same, but the path on how I get there has changed. I really liked my boot camp classes, and I will incorporate a lot of what I learned into my running/training routine, but I need a break from waking up so early. As far as my diet goes, it seems to be working for me and I seem to like the routine of meal prep. It has proven to be more cost effective and I get to come home for lunch and relax from work for a little while. I chose to set the goal of the Color Run since it is a little over a month out, and I want to have a goal to keep me motivated to do something active every day for a month. Since I have been so busy with work, school, and personal fitness I have been an awful dog Mom. I owe it to Emmy to show her that I didn’t forget about her and that I still love her. There’s only so much homework a dog can stand, so we’re going to get active together. I’ve always struggled with drinking water, so I’ve added lemons and limes to my shopping list and will be making fruit-infused water to drink each day in hopes of increasing my water intake.

As for my 30 day activity challenge some of the activities will include:

  • Running
  • Walking the marina
  • Biking
  • Swimming (Emmy doesn’t care for this one, but she loves to go to the beach!)
  • Hiking
  • Softball (Emmy will have to sit this one out too)
  • Yoga
  • and others

Mainly I will be using the Couch to 5K app to train for the Color Run, so I will be doing lots of walking, jogging, and running. I plan to include my plyometric exercises into my running training to help break up the repetitive nature. I also plan on doing basic arm strengthening exercises to balance out my top and bottom halves. 30 push-up challenge anyone?

This is the guideline for the pushup challenge I’ll be doing, and no, I won’t count the pushups as my “daily activity”. Who wants to join me? The 30 day challenge will run from May 17-June 15th. Leave a comment below and let me know if you want to join in on the fun, we can stay motivated together!


If The Shoe Fits

Alright fitness aficionados, I’m here to give you a little guidance on one of the most important pieces of fitness gear in your closet, your shoes! Let’s face it, these puppies support your whole body and if you’re wearing the wrong shoes you can wreak havoc on your whole day. Your shoes can literally add pep to your step, or cause you a great deal of pain. They can however correct problems you’ve been having your whole life like, pronation or supination.

Runners need to be especially mindful of their footwear choices, as they can be susceptible to injury if their feet and ankles are not supported correctly. They are also prone to shin splints and knee injuries, and wearing the correct shoes can add a layer of protection.

So how on earth are you supposed to pick out the right shoes?!? There are an over-abundance of choices, colors, styles, barefoot running, cross training…The market is endless. It should be a no brainer when it comes to trying on, and buying a pair of shoes, but there are many variables to consider.

  • Level of support: Do you need high arch support, do you need extra ankle support, do you need heel support?
  • Toe box shape: Do you have a wide set of toes or narrow toes? Do you have bunions or an injury? I personally need a wide toe box due to having all of my toes broken at least once.
  • Lace style: do you need laces that can be cinched down tightly, or do you need more room on top of your foot? Maybe you don’t want to mess with laces and go with a Vibram 5 fingers type of barefoot running shoe.
  • Weight: do you want a more substantial shoe that can withstand trail running, or do you prefer a uber light-weight feel?
  • Style: yes this is important, if you think your shoes are ugly you aren’t going to wear them, so you might as well not buy them.

When all else fails consult an expert. My podiatrist gave me some good advice for shoes for my type of feet and based on the type of activities I do. A really fantastic resource that we have in the Reno area is Reno Running Company. They have a really cool tool called the “Running Lab” that analyses the way you run and then allows their trained staff to guide you on buying the right pair of shoes. It’s a free service and you don’t need an appointment. Another good tip from my friends over at runnersworld.com is to get measured each time you buy a new pair of shoes. Your feet can change sizes over time and it’s important to get the right fit. Also, don’t be afraid to get rid of a worn out pair of shoes. As shoes deteriorate over time and use, they could begin to affect the way they fit and support your body. Replace your shoes every 300-500 miles.

So take a good look at your beloved Nikes and evaluate their effectiveness of your fitness routine. Is it time to chuck them since your big toe pokes through the top of the mesh? Do they make your feet hurt, or are you prone to twisting your ankle when you wear them? Look for wear and tear and uneven wear on the bottoms. Check seams, and overall structure and if they aren’t up to snuff it’s time to replace them. I will be getting my next pair of shoes with the help of the folks at Reno Running Company, you should go check them out if you’re in the market for new kicks. Leave me a comment and let me know what makes or breaks your running shoe preferences.

I Have Groupies, No Big Deal

We all know that success is contagious. People want to be successful and when they see someone around them being successful they do a few things: they adopt the habits of the successful person, they do their own research on how to be successful and implement their findings, or they do nothing and wish that they were successful. As I’ve highlighted in previous posts, many coworkers took my lead and started implementing healthy habits. I’ve become the exercise and nutrition expert, and they feel accountable to me. I didn’t necessarily ask for this role, but I feel that by improving the wellbeing of the people I work with, the happier my life will be at work. What I don’t like is feeling like I’m punishing people when they eat a doughnut or drink a soda. I feel like “The Enforcer” and that they feel like they have to hide from me. It’s a strange place to be in when your boss hides his Taco Bell behind his back when walking past you, hoping you don’t call him out. My motivation was simply to get people to think about their decisions and weigh the costs and benefits and do the simple math of whether their actions will get them closer to their goals. I didn’t want to inspire people just for them to hide their struggles. If anything I wanted them to work on their transformation with me, and share in the triumphs and struggles.

So what is one to do with these “Groupies”? The people who want to glean a little bit of your hard work and dedication? How do you keep from being taken advantage of, and sucked dry of your own precious inspiration? I’ve set up a set of rules to keep everything in perspective, and keep it positive.

Rule #1 of Fitness Club: Don’t talk about Fitness Club…Just kidding, actually talk about it, a lot! Talk about goals, talk about strategy, talk about diet, talk about workouts and cheat days. Open dialogue is a great way to keep everyone motivated, accountable, and inspired.

Rule #2: Keep the competition healthy, but don’t feel like you should alienate or be alienated because someone is doing better or worse than you. You are there first and foremost to take care of yourself and to achieve YOUR goals.

Rule #3: Just because someone thinks you’re an expert, doesn’t make you one. I LOVE being the authority on a subject, but I know when I am not. This is the case when it comes to this topic. I’m not a nutritionist, and certainly not a personal trainer. What I do know is that I am learning lots by trial and error, and what may work for me may not work for others. So bottom line, guide people conservatively, the last thing you want is for someone to get hurt doing something you advised them to do.

Rule #4: Be encouraging, and require the groupe to encourage you! This is not the place of endless atta-boys. I need my inspiration cup filled up too! Protect yourself and your source of inspiration, those who are deserving of it will replenish you, so give it out very carefully.

Rule #5: Don’t be afraid to rid yourself of the leeches. Time and time again I drive home the point of ridding yourself of people and things that no longer serve you. Having to carry the weight of someone who’s purpose is to drag you down is not doing you any favors. If you see someone who says one thing and acts the opposite enough times, but requires you to provide their “motivational spark”, to get them back on track is at least a distraction and at worst a derailer. Just because you are a leader, does not mean that you are required to be depleted of your resources.

So there you have it, a way to spread your success through others in a mutually beneficial way. It feels good to have others look up to you and want what you have. It means it’s WORKING! So be mindful of the roles each person plays, and set up some guidelines and boundaries so that everyone can feel strong and successful. Do you have “leeches” in your life? If so, take a look at why you allow them to continue to play that role in your life. Can you change their role by having a simple conversation, or is it deeper than that and you just haven’t had to courage to kick them to the curb? Get rid of a leech, and see how much of your vital energy you regain.

Stress Sucks

As the first semester of my Master’s degree comes to an end, it can be assumed that I have a certain level of stress that I am dealing with. Final projects, exams, choosing what to tackle next, plus my own stress not related to school such as work audits and trying to find a balance between it all. How I choose to deal with this stress is the real measure of my strength during this time. I’m not going to lie, this last week has been super tough on me, like I ate 4 chocolate truffles yesterday, tough. I told myself at the beginning of my transformation challenge that I would focus on changing bad habits, not just abiding to a “diet”. One of these bad habits being emotional eating. I choose food as a coping mechanism, and when I’m done coping I feel guilty which creates a vicious cycle. I felt myself slipping this week in order to deal with stress, and I had no problem justifying my actions. I would say things like, “you deserve it, you’ve been working so hard!”, or, “don’t worry you’ll get back on track next week” or my favorite, “f*ck it, I’m eating french fries!”. So before I downward spiraled any further I did a few things to get myself back on track and manage my stress.

  • First and foremost, forgive myself, or forget the “cheats”, what’s done is done, and there is no changing the past
  • Next, regroup. I read my goals that I wrote down at the beginning of my challenge to remind myself of the bigger picture
  • Make a new goal! Goals need to be constantly evaluated for their effectiveness, and desired outcome. It’s okay to adjust your goals
  • Ask for help. Have your support group help alleviate some of the stress so you’re not tempted to stray away from your goals
  • Remind yourself of your progress thus far, you’ve come a long way to fall back so easily on bad habits
  • Also tell yourself that those bad habits are part of the “old you” and that the “new you” doesn’t have a need for anything less than awesome
  • Take some time to relax, even if it’s half an hour. Trust me, it will make you feel better and be more productive
  • Take yourself out for a non-food treat, maybe you just need to show yourself a little self love to help ease some stress
  • Make sure you’re eating healthy food and drinking plenty of water

Stress is hard on your body, and can literally make you sick, which would be counter-productive to resolving issues of stress. My suggestions are only a few for ways to relieve stress, what do you do when you’re stressed?

The Power Of Protein

Protein is an essential nutrient for sustaining life. The Paleo diet focuses a lot of emphasis on protein consumption and the benefits of eating a protein rich diet. I will discuss lots of ways to get your healthy daily serving of protein, a few no-no’s where paleo and protein don’t mix and the ways that you can get enough protein if you are a vegetarian on a paleo diet.

The staples of protein and paleo. This is pretty self explanatory, eat some meat!!! Lean meat is the building block of the paleo lifestyle. Red meat, white meat, the other white meat (pork) is ok as long as it’s not curred with nasty chemicals. Seafood is one of the healthiest forms of protein, and least fatty making some fish “superfoods”. The other sources of protein come from animal products, eggs specifically, nuts, and vegetables. Eggs are almost a requirement when eating paleo, I eat about 18 a week. I also snack on nuts and eat lots of protein rich veggies like spinach, kale, mushrooms, sprouts, yams etc. You have to be careful when eating paleo since it doesn’t allow things like legumes, beans, lentils. Which brings us to our next topic, the no-no’s of paleo and protein.

Paleo is designed to mimic the caveman diet. So when thinking about what is allowed and not allowed, just think to yourself, “was this available during the caveman era?” So a short list of protein rich foods that are not allowed due to unavailability, processed nature etc.

  • Soybeans and soy products like tofu. They are actually poisonous when not cooked and lots of cavemen ate their food raw, so after watching “Bubba” the caveman keel over after eating some soybeans, the other little cavemen steered clear of this plant.
  • Legumes/Beans/Lentils: These high protein beauties also need to be cooked before consumption, and lets face it “ain’t nobody got time for that”
  • Potatoes, they are made up of resistant starch, or starch that cannot be broken down by your digestive system.

  • Processed meats. This is pretty self explanatory. If it’s been processed with a bunch of salt or chemicals, you probably shouldn’t eat it. There weren’t hot dogs available in the caveman days, and for a good reason. Is that even meat? Here’s a pretty good blog post on the questionable nature of hot dogs.

Finally, what on earth do the vegetarian cave-people eat? Well, I think that back in the paleolithic era they would have starved, but since we are trying to include all people (except for those damn vegans J/K) there are ways to eat paleo while respecting your fellow earthlings (if you ever want to be forced to become a vegetarian I suggest you watch the documentary, Earthlings, linked above). Anywho, back to our vegetarian friends. Essentially vegetarians can eat all of the things above, minus the meat. Pretty simple, right? They may consider supplementing their diet with protein shakes like Muscle Egg, but the need to be conscious to stay away from soy, and whey protein (made with milk).

Protein is your friend, it helps nourish your body and gives you energy to work out and work hard since it is a slow release calorie. You stay fuller, longer and don’t experience a glucose crash after eating a big meal.

So go out there and eat a steak, and feel good knowing that you are eating something healthy!

When The Going Gets Tough, Too Tough

This post is about truly knowing yourself and your limits. I believe that in order to be the healthiest version of yourself you need to be constantly monitoring signs and symptoms of your body and mind telling you that enough is enough. It’s probably not the greatest idea to go to a 6 AM boot camp class after throwing up until 4 AM the same day. I think we would all see this as a pretty extreme situation, but we would all probably agree on what needed to happen. Most of us would just shrug it off as no big deal, but I found myself feeling let down by my body. I felt like my level of dedication to my goal and myself could overpower any obstacle. Once I stopped feeling guilty and distraught, I was able to evaluate the situation under a new perspective. What if I wasn’t listening to what my body really needed? What if I was doing more harm than good?

There are tons of articles and blog posts claiming the “No Pain, No Gain” theory. When in reality, pain is a way for our bodies to communicate that they’ve had enough, and we should back off. I’ve heard people say that you have a weak mind if you stop working out, that your body can handle the rest, but there are limits! There is a difference between finding motivation to push through soreness, but I think there is an unhealthy trend of people pushing themselves and others past the point of pain and in the direction of serious injury.

There is a condition called rhabdomyolysis that has been linked to the CrossFit craze. In a nutshell this condition is caused by the breakdown of muscle fibers which can occur during strenuous exercise, specifically skeletal muscle, that are then released into the bloodstream and then filtered out, like anything else, through your kidneys. The issue with this is that your kidneys are not equipped for this type of cleanup, so they cease to do their main job of filtering toxins and waste from the bloodstream. This is a pretty serious condition that could lead to renal (kidney) failure, liver failure, seizures, cardiac arrest due to high potassium concentration etc. Let’s be clear, this is a rare occurring disorder, and can be caused by a multitude of things, not just CrossFit (I don’t want to spread any rumors here).

So here is my list for deciding when enough is enough and being okay with it

  • Sharp pain, or injury
  • Massive amounts of blood
  • Projectile vomiting, or any vomiting for that matter
  • Passing out
  • Sickness (no need to spread germs and make healing time longer)
  • Complete exhaustion
  • Migraines

On the other hand, here is my list of obstacles I need to push through

  • Soreness
  • Tiredness (who isn’t tired at 5:30 AM)
  • Laziness
  • Procrastination
  • Depression (trust me, going and getting all sweaty during a good workout is almost always a cure for the blues)

I encourage you to be receptive to your body’s cues and don’t be discouraged when you have to take it easy for a few days because you pulled a hammy. It will thank you for giving it time to heal, and you will be back on track to becoming stronger.