Limits, Goals, and Expectations

There are a few things in life that can be as crushing as expectations, either by yourself or others (big or small).  There is an immense fear of failure in this country, and probably throughout the world.  This point of view is an immense scarcity in perspective.  I have learned far more from my failures than my successes.  Is it easy to acknowledge failure?  No.  However, there is not much accomplished when you pretend it didn’t happen, or worse, fail to take responsibility for the reason.  In my opinion, it’s only a failure if you didn’t learn from it.  Those eye-rolling, I used to be you.

I made a personal vow to myself in my business that regardless of if I was close to, achieved, or if I  wasn’t even close, I would go for it with everything I had.  I have had experience with doing the opposite because I thought not even trying to achieve it was better than failing miserably.  You know what the result of that little experiment is?  It makes you feel kind of shitty about yourself.  Because there’s doubt on top of doubt.  There’s doubt about your goal/ability to begin with, and then there’s doubt because you may have been able to accomplished the impossible if you gave it your best, die-trying effort.  And sometimes trying hurts, and sometimes it hurts a lot.  Failing hurts, too.

decisions regret

Regret also hurts and lasts far longer than any failure you have.  I have had many experiences in both.  Regret lingers because it haunts your subconscious.  There are a  couple of things crippling about regret.  The unknown of doubt, positive or negative, is a plague on many souls.  What ifs, because what if it worked?  How would my life be different?  The scale doesn’t really matter, either.  Been there, done that.  Big or small, lifetime or daily, the same thinking applies.  However, dwelling on the past and beating yourself up about it does not serve anyone.  Move on and learn how to do it better.

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Weekend and Beyond

I spent the weekend paddling, hiking, and with family.  It was the quintessential perfect weekend, the only thing missing was live music.  I paddled approximately 12 miles, hiked about three miles on Sunday, and then spent the majority of Easter playing with my three year old cousin.

On Tuesday though, I was looking for a kick-your-ass workout.  Paddling and hiking are workouts, but they are different. They are generally short bursts of energy followed by lackadaisical energy depending on the conditions of the trail and/or water body.

Enter Sphericality.  I have made the determination that I will attend the 9:40 AM Pilates360 class on Tuesday because it stops me from goofing around all morning.   I love the instructor Tammy.  She is full of get your ass in gear, but in  a tough love kind of way.  She is all about form (which I am super happy about) and taking it one step further.  In anything, if you don’t push yourself past your limit that you thought possible, than you are playing small.  If you are playing small because of some fear of failure, the only person that hinders is you.  As they say, get your big girl panties on and deal with it.

dorian and I

Dorian, the owner of  Sphericality, and I after a Barre Class

After the class, I realize there’s a TRX class after that also with Tammy.  So, I also stayed for that.  It was my first doubleheader, and now I realize I have official become exercise-crazed.  As my friend says, that’s a high-class problem.  I was surprisingly not too sore the next day, just a touch in the arms.

One of my main focuses lately has been improving my balance, coordination, and getting my ankles stronger.  I have little tiny feet, high arches in my feet, and I’m not small.  All of those things lead to a need to improve the above.  My ankles have always been a weak spot.  I basically look at them wrong, and they go out.  Since I’ve been taking these classes, I’ve noticed them getting a little stronger.  I’m not sure how much my balance has improved yet, but I know that my coordination is.  It’s really satisfying to know that what I am doing in these classes not only improves my overall health, but also is having some positive unanticipated affects in the above categories.

Exercise, Music, and Pushing limits

I will admit that I am totally, 100% addicted to exercise in a way I never thought possible.  If I go a two days without it, I’m like Jonesing for a fix.  It’s weird, but it’s a good weird.  Every time I go to Sphericality, I reminded that I made a good choice.  I finally had the chance to take a class with the owner of said gym, Dorian, and she did not disappoint.  Like most of the other classes I have taken there, there was a focus on form.  Dorian seemed to take it a step further, and went around the class and tweaked our movements if need be.  Kelly also did this.  This is one of the reasons I am coming to love this gym.  It’s almost perfect for me.

I love music.  I don’t play it, or sing it, I just thoroughly enjoy it.  It is apart of my soul.  Yesterday, my friend Jenny had her first open mic at her place in Bath, PA.  There were a couple of firsts for me.  I read poetry (okay, I had done it once before), and I played music for a genuine first.  I played the cymbals.  Yes, I know that’s not much.  For me though?  It was HUGE.  I have always thought I didn’t know how to keep a beat, at all.  Yesterday I proved myself wrong, because I was according to Jenny able to keep a beat.  I also felt like I could before I asked her.  It was a night of firsts, bonding, and just celebration of a new, eclectic space.

I pushed through a few boundaries, reading my poetry in public and playing music.  For me, there are very few things more vulnerable than those two things.  Reading my inner-most thoughts out loud to the public is something that I am working on overcoming this year.  This was a first step.  Was it uncomfortable?  Hell to the Yes.  Was it worth that feeling?  Hell to the yes.  Happiness and freedom lay outside your comfort zone, and that is where I am pushing this year.

I am a different person than I was last year, and I’m pushing myself to be even more different next year.  When I say different, I don’t mean a caricature  of yourself.  I mean that you are becoming the best version of yourself, and finding your true calling in life.  Which may be so different than you ever thought it could be (like mine).  Be in love with who you are, or at the least be working on loving yourself.  I know it sounds weird (guilty) and new-agey, but trust me when I tell you when you feel peace with yourself and your mission, there is a peace inside of you that rivals no other.

Bonding Via Tohickon Creek

This weekend is Tohickon Creek release.  It usually happens the third weekend in March, and the first weekend in November.  It is widely considered to be the unofficial start and end of the whitewater season, respectively.

shredder fave

It is also my favorite creek of all-time.  It is fun, challenging, but not panic-inducing, and relatively short (the run itself is 4 miles, but you can make that four miles take all day because it’s a complex river with lots to dissect).   I paddled today in a Shredder, which is like a small raft.  These things are so FUN.  You can blast through just about anything as long as you keep the it straight.  Unfortunately, I did not get to take my canoe out this time.  By the time we were done with our run, it was somewhat late in the day, getting colder, so there weren’t too many takers for a second run.  It’s okay, it was just so nice to be out on the river.

We in the paddling community call this Tohfest, because most of the time it becomes a gigantic party where everyone camps.  This year was a bit subdued, mostly because of the ill forecast of 3-5 inches of snow made for Sunday (which has been downgraded to nothing).    People come from all over, as far as Virginia, to inundate this little town in Pennsylvania.  So, I wouldn’t travel several hours for one day to boat either.  Either way, there were plenty of people there to reconnect to, catch up, and revel in the amazing community that we paddlers have created.  It’s a special bond, because things happen on the water and we are all there to help each other in those instances.  I am grateful to be a part of this community that has given me so much.

Barre Boot Camp

This is my second boot camp class, which I enjoyed significantly more than the first.  It was less militant, more intense actually, and left me sweating.  I usually am not much of a sweater.

This is also the first class where I got progressively more sore as the day went on.  Is this supposed to happen?  My friend Jenny, who has been into health and fitness all of her life, said that sometimes it take up to two to three days for full soreness to set in.  I have proven her correct.  I was actually pretty excited when I woke up today because I wasn’t nearly as sore as I thought I’d be.  I had some soreness in my glutes and hip flexors, but very little in my quadriceps.  This has been evolving, especially as I reached 7 PM tonight.  This thought has actually been a relatively common occurrence throughout this journey, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised each time by how not sore I have been.

This has not been one of those times.  When I say this class thoroughly kicked my ass, I am not exaggerating.  I may not have drank enough water beforehand, but still.  The soreness I feel right now is both reassuring (for some reason) and a reminder of how far I still have to go.  It’s reassuring because it means I’m pushing myself past the limits that I thought I could go.

I think it’s like personal development.  One doesn’t simply reach the pinnacle in fitness nor in personal development.  There’s always another milestone, another goal, and another obstacle.  I am loving what all this has brought to my life.

I am truly craving it now.  I went three days without going to a gym, and my friend Maria and I both said on Sunday we were going to do 6 flights of stairs.  Yes, six flights.  Both of us willingly did them because we were craving exercise.  This is a high-class problem that I am loving.

Fitness, welcome to a permanent part of my life.  Love, Lex.

20 Gyms in 30 days-summary

It turns out the 20 gyms in 20 days was a bit unrealistic, but you never know unless you try.  It’s better to aim high and fall slightly short, then aim low and miss completely.  This challenge did as I intended it to do, which was develop discipline, get toned, and in shape to go along with the weight loss through the Arbonne nutrition and clean eating program.  Now part one of my mission is complete.  I have picked out a gym, it’s Sphericality in Flemington, NJ.  In the end it came between Cornerstone Fitness and Sphericality.  Here are my synopses of the two.

 Cornerstone Health and Fitness in New Hope, Doylestown, and Warrington, PA.

cornerstone

This was my first gym I went to, and if the location was more convenient to where I am moving to shortly, I would join this gym in a heartbeat.  It’s about 30 minutes from where I currently live, but will be almost an hour from where I am moving to.  I can’t travel an hour to a gym, no matter how good it is.

Here are my reasons why it would be my first choice.  It has both kickass classes, and your traditional style gym.  The gym I joined in Flemington seems to be class based, and not open at anytime with equipment I can just use whenever the gym is open.  This could be a misunderstanding on my part for Sphericality.  It is also locally owned, very affordable for everything you get with your membership, and it has a definite community feel to it.  This is amazing since I only attended one class.  I truly do like the place, and if things were different would be joining there instead.  The atmosphere, camaraderie, the people, and energy of the place is perfect.  The locations are just not convenient for my life right now.

Sphericality

There are a few things that pushed Sphericality ahead of Cornerstone.  The convenience of the location, 5 minutes from where I work, the schedule of classes was convenient, and the overall vibe of the place.  I’ve taken two classes there now, and when I came back tonight the instructor, Kelly, said, “I’m soo glad you are back!”  It made me have a huge smile.  I had told her what I was doing, the 20 gyms in 20 days things.  She said, “you will come back here because we are the best.”  She didn’t mean it in a bragging, superior way.  She said it from a place of knowing her worth and the gym’s worth.  It played a role in my decision.

I will keep you guys apprised of my progress with the gym, results, and affects in my life.  I am truly hooked now.  I went like 2.5 days without going to a gym, and I was practically tweaking for a gym fix.  It’s one of the reasons I started to do this, to develop discipline and commitment to something outside of paddling and Arbonne.  I have found another niche to love and develop.  I can safely say, I don’t think I’ve loved my life more than I do right now.  It feels damn good.

Day 18, Gym 17

My friend Krissy is an instructor kickboxing at Freedom Xtreme Fitness in Branchburg, NJ.  I had done a one kickboxing class at Sweat Like a Girl which incorporated other things, but this would be a strict kickboxing.  I was both a little nervous and excited at the prospect of it. 

post workout

A much needed Arbonne After Workout drink to prevent soreness.

The class did not disappoint, and it kicked my ass.  I’m not just saying that because she’s my friend.  If the class was less than stellar, I’d still be writing this and saying so.  One of the best workout classes in terms of whole body workouts, cardio, abs, and oh my fizz legs.  There was an abundance of leg work.  Favorite quotes of the class:  you can do anything for 30 seconds; no one brags about a small butt, and when it hurts that’s when growth happens.  We did everything, squats, lunges, burpees, pushups, laps, and of course bag work.  The class pushed me to my limits, and past them at times.  It is dead true that it is when growth happens, and not just in terms of the physical..  She was great mix of motivator and encouragement without being military style about it.  She was full of tough love, encouragement, and “hate me now, love me later” attitude.

If you are in the area, and enjoy something that is both fun and sweat-inducing, this is for you.  The drop-in fee is usually a very reasonable $12 for an hour class.  You will not regret dropping in for this.

Never Left

There are
days
where I
don’t
feel you
at All.

Then there
are
Days
where You
are
Fully
a Part
of my
Being

Almost like
an
Alien
has Taken
over my
Soul.

Like you
Never
Left

Us.

Then the
Pain

Resumes.

I
Remember
sitting by
your
Side
during

Hospice

I
Read
your
Diary
to
You
as you

Sleep

of your
Travels.

with your
Sister.

I
Remember
how much you
Liked I
When I used
to
Read to
You.

All while

Me
thinking

This is
NOT
My
Nana.

You
went out
on your
Terms.

In
true
Megill-Hubbs
Tradition.

Day 17, Gym 16

I attended pickup volleyball at Central Jersey Volleyball Academy (CJVA) in Flemington, NJ.  It reminded me of everything I loved about sports, and everything I did not like about sports.  I did not like the cliqueness or the pressure when I didn’t feel good enough.  I have always loved the camaraderie, friendship, and community when you met the right people who were laid back and liked to help you get better.

I found both at CJVA.  I got there and was quite excited since I haven’t played volleyball since college, and then it was recreational.  There were mostly young people there, a couple older, and then some kids (aged 13ish).  I started off with the young people, where they were rotating on and off, but then I noticed that there was a court where there was no one waiting.  So, I went over there.  There I found my laid back happy group.  There was a couch, Lynette, Jerry her husband (I think), then me, and on the other side of the court were the three girls she coached there.  I had a blast with them.  I never really felt like an outsider, at the beginning I felt a little sheepish because clearly they were better than me.  I got over that pretty quickly, and was actually improving in my skills by the time we were done.  It’s a great workout, you are running, bumping, diving, and twisting your body in all sorts of ways.

 

kit n kaboodle

my ritual after working out.  Yay to no soreness

We broke up into larger groups again, and the cliqueness returned.  I was over it by that point, and have spent too much time on myself to feel like an outcast.  I saw one of the thirteen year olds I was playing with practicing her skills, so I went to go practice with her.  I saw a lot of myself in her, the shyness, awkwardness of youth, and a slight self-confidence issue.  But she’s tough, and quite good.

I found another purpose for my journey though.  It is to provide a place where kids can play sports without cliques, pressure, or anything like that.  I loved sports growing up, was never very good at them.  As I got older, all those things above infiltrated the sports field.  I felt intimidated, alone, and an outcast.  If I can prevent that for any other kid who loves sports as much as I did, but got pushed out due to their own insecurities, that’s what I’m going to do.

Day 16, Gym 10

I was looking to get into a kickboxing class, and found one in Flemington, NJ at MMA 10 at 6 PM.  I was really excited to try it at a real martial arts school.  Their website was fully functional when I signed up for the class that afternoon, and thought it was slightly odd I didn’t receive an email.  I got to the address a little before 6, and found that the school had closed.  At that same address, however, I did find a volleyball center with open courts on Fridays 8-10 PM.  I am excited for that because I played on a recreational (more like pick-up) in college, and thoroughly enjoyed it.  The universe conspires.

So, I thought it’s now a little after six and most classes start at 6 and run for an hour.  I had a business appointment at 8, so even if there was a 6:30 class available, it wouldn’t work.  I checked out the schedule I had for Health Quest, and saw there was a class called CXWORK that ran from 6:30 to 7.  Perfect!  I had no idea what the class was, but I thought I’d try it and give Health Quest a more rounded perspective.  The class was focused on core toning, while using your legs and some arms, too.  I got there a little early, and had the previous class instructor get me set up with the equipment needed.  She wasn’t teaching this class, but usually did.  She said, “focus on your form.  You could end up hurting yourself if you don’t.”  I agreed, and said thank you.

12771768_10102879493878036_5358956735854708359_o

The class itself was a honed, efficient workout that really did what it said it would do. The instructor was decent, but I wish she would have focused a little bit more on the newbies (myself and another woman) form.  My coordination is getting better, but it’s not my strong suit at this point.  I will say towards the end of the class, she was watching my form and giving some instruction as to how to improve it.  There was another student who about halfway helped me with my form, and I was thought why is she helping me and not the instructor?  At the end of the class, I find out that she also teaches the class.  So, that made me feel a bit better.

At the end, the instructor said, you did really well, especially since it was your first class.  This class is one of the most awkward you will take, and it takes some getting used to.  This made me feel a bit better.

Overall, still not super impressed by Health Quest.  I did enjoy the class, and it really is a tremendous workout, especially for 30 minutes.  The gym may not be my preference, but it’s hugely popular in the area.  I may take another class or two since I have a 5 day pass.