Progress Is Perfection

A blog to inspire, motivate, and unleash the awesome in everyone


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Not Measuring Up

Well, it’s been far to long since I’ve written anything. I haven’t been able to get my thoughts down in a coherent way, so I’ve been putting this off. Tonight though, I needed to write something. It’s just my thoughts tonight, with no real direction, but I’ll get there…

How do you measure yourself? How do you know if you’re achieving your life purpose?

Parenting? Reaching health and fitness goals? Progress?

Well, whatever it is, I’m not there. I’ve been going backwards for the past year and a half, especially in the last 6 months since my car accident.

My parenting is less than perfect, I’m not always present emotionally and we don’t do all the fun things I wish we could. I have an amazing kid though, I boast about him constantly. He’s intelligent, caring and is always making us laugh. I love him and want to be great for him. I want to smile and laugh and enjoy every single day with him, I need to be strong for him.

Reaching my health and fitness goals, this is the killer for me. My fitness goals have come to a halt since May of this year, all thanks to a car accident. I thought I would be better by now, it’s been 6 months. I thought I was strong. This healing process has made me question my strength, mentally and physically. I was in the process of training for my second Tough Mudder before the accident; that included kickboxing 5-6 days and running 2-3 days a week with some extra strength training added in. I was ready to kick ass at TM and bring home another headband. Well, that didn’t happen, and for the last 6 months I’ve been struggling to get back to where I was. It’s beyond frustrating to look back and see what little progress I’ve made; sure, my injury is slowly healing and I’ve improved that, but physically I’m not even close to where I was.

The daily pain is what gets to me; between the headaches, shoulder, neck and jaw pain, I have zero energy for anything extra after work. I’m trying, hard, to break through this. Push past some of the pain to test my limits and see how far I really can go, but it’s a slow process.

I’m not sure how to pull myself out of this slump. I’ve been trying to take it day by day, write my short and long term goals down, and push myself to succeed in those goals.

This last week and a half I’ve seen a considerable improvement in my physical abilities, which gives me some hope, but I’m still not there mentally. I’m stuck in this funk of feeling sorry for myself, pathetic and weak to let a car accident hinder my abilities.

I’ve been through so much shit in my life, that I’ve fought and overcome, so why is this getting to me? I’m honestly just exhausted from life, and this was my last straw. I’ll get through it, I always do, I’ll just have to fight a bit harder this time.

Nicole

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Tough Mudder Training Guide – Weeks 1 to 4

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This is a 12 week training schedule to get you Tough Mudder ready! We will be setting it up in three 4-week sections, gradually increasing in difficulty. To truly be Tough Mudder ready, our training plan is best used in addition to regular workouts such as high intensity circuit training. The additional exercises will help with strength and stamina (as always, to those women taking part we highly recommend 30 Minute Hit; it’s what we did to train for our first TM!).

This Tough Mudder training program is designed to be done outside, because that’s what Tough Mudder is all about! With that said, any of the exercises can be done at home, at your local park, or at the gym (it’s entirely up to you).

Let’s start with weeks 1-4! Monday through Friday are your training days with the weekends left for rest and stretching.

Weeks

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

1

Strength

2 upper body

1 lower body

2 whole body

20-30 minutes running

*interval running- run for 1 minute, walk for 1 minute*

Strength

1 upper body

2 lower body

2 whole body

20-30 minutes running

*interval running- run for 1 minute, walk for 1 minute*

Combined

10 minute running warm up

2 upper

2 lower

2 whole

5 minute cool-down

Stretch/ Rest

Stretch/ Rest

2

Strength

1 upper body

2 lower body

2 whole body

20-30 minutes running

Strength

2 upper body

1 lower

body

2 whole body

20-30 minutes running

Combined

15 minute running warm up

2 upper

2 lower

2 whole

5 minute cool-down

Stretch/ Rest

Stretch/ Rest

3

Strength

3 upper body

1 lower body

1 whole body

20-30 minutes running

Strength

1 upper body

1 lower body

3 whole body

20-30 minutes running

Combined

15 minute running warm up

2 upper

2 lower

2 whole

5 minute cool-down

Stretch/ Rest

Stretch/ Rest

4

Strength

1 upper body

3 lower body

1 whole body

20-30 minutes running

Strength

2 upper body

1 lower body

2 whole body

20-30 minutes running

Combined

15 minute running warm up

2 upper

2 lower

2 whole

5 minute cool-down

Stretch/ Rest

Stretch/ Rest

Strength training days should be 35-40 minutes in length. Pick 5 exercises for these days, not including a 5 minute warm-up.

Try and get outside (rain or shine) for your Combined days. Run to your local park, do your training, and run home!

Warm Up – each exercise for 1 minute each

  • jumping jacks
  • jogging
  • butt kicks
  • mummy kicks
  • high plank, pulling alternating knees to elbows

Then for each strength training day choose from the following. 1 minute per exercise, 10 sec break, 5 sets. 5 minute cool down

Upper Body:

  • traditional push ups
  • diamond push ups
  • pull ups
  • triceps dips
  • plank up/downs
  • arm circles with weights

Lower Body:

  • squats
  • lunges
  • high knees
  • quick feet
  • leap frog
  • wall sit

Whole Body:

  • burpees
  • mountain climbers
  • jump rope
  • plank/side plank
  • Turkish get ups

 *TRY TO CHOOSE A DIFFERENT COMBINATION OF EXERCISES EACH TIME*

**Always do the hardest version of an exercise when you can. For example, do push-ups up on your toes, switching to knees when needed. If squats are too easy, add a jump at the top**

Exercise Quick Reference Guide:

If you are unfamiliar with any of the exercises, www.bodybuilding.com has a search function for exercises that will give you detailed explanations for each movement and show you proper form. Here is a quick visual reference guide for some of the lesser known exercises we have listed.

Mummy Kicks

Diamond Push-Up (aka Tricep Push-Up)

 DiamondPushUp

 Tricep Dips

 triceps-dip-400x400

Plank Up/Downs

 Top-3-Abs-ExercisesArm Circles (can use weights or rocks outside, be resourceful!)

 SMArmCircles

Turkish Get-Ups (can use a weight, or rock outside)

TurkishGetUp1Cool Down Stretches

stretch

**For any questions, concerns, feedback, etc. don’t hesitate to contact us through our Facebook page! Now get out there and get trainin ;)**

Nicole & Veronica


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The strength of Myself

After this weekend I finally had a chance to sit back and look at all I have accomplished.

I was terrified for Tough Mudder; I didn’t know what to expect, I didn’t feel I had trained hard enough, and I honestly didn’t believe in myself as much as I should have. That made me think- how often do I believe in myself? I believe that other people can do great things, but myself? Not as often as I should.

It took me 2 years of depression, anger, and self doubt to finally realize that I could be a great parent alone. Daily, I would tell myself that I couldn’t do it alone, that I couldn’t be the person my son needed me to be without his father. I kept trying to force everyone else to be the best that they can be, when really I should have been realizing my best. The moment that I made the realization that I could do anything I needed to, even if I’m alone or with someone, my life changed. I finally started to believe in myself, and I saw just how strong I actually am. I have never had to defend myself or my decisions so fiercely, but I am glad I did. I have an amazing little boy and boyfriend who give me so much joy and love everyday; they are daily proof that I can accomplish anything by believing in myself.

Tough Mudder was a similar feeling- except I realized my accomplishment instantly instead of months later. I haven’t been this proud of myself in a long time, and it’s such an amazing feeling. I proved so many people wrong, including myself. I can do anything, and I will do anything. I don’t wait for people anymore, I’m living my life the way I see fit, and I’m proud of that. I can’t wait to do it again next year and not only attempt each obstacle, but KILL them.

I hope everyone can experience the amazing feeling of accomplishment. Be proud of your achievements. Love your life and love yourself. You are awesome and can do anything you want, even if it seems impossible. Jump headfirst into the unknown, push your limits and find an inner strength you might not have known you possessed. I would recommend to anyone, and everyone, to do something that scares you. Do something you have never done before, and challenge yourself to be better. It’s honestly one of the best feelings in the world, the sense of accomplishment. Do it for you and only you, because this is your life, and you are amazing.

dontfail

~Nicole ❤


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Tough Mudder Whistler – We Came, We Saw, We Conquered!

Well folks, we did it. It was definitely the most challenging thing we have ever done and we’re SO proud of ourselves. We stuck together even though our team all but abandoned us (I don’t think they read the Tough Mudder pledge), didn’t skip a single obstacle, and crossed the finish line hand in hand.

Tough Mudder Whistler 2013

Funnest Obstacle: Kiss of Mud, or Mud Mile

Kiss of Mud

Kiss of Mud

Mud Mile

Mud Mile

Hardest Obstacle : Ladder to Hell, Arctic Enema, or Fire Walker (all more mentally challenging than physically!)

Ladder to Hell

Ladder to Hell

Arctic Enema

Arctic Enema

toughfire

Fire Walker

Our advice now that we have conquered Tough Mudder:

Definitely buy fingerless gloves! They protect your hands throughout the course so they don’t get shredded on the various obstacles. When crawling through the dirt on your belly in Kiss of Mud, when climbing up and under logs during Log Jammin, when climbing up and over walls during the Berlin Walls and Blades of Glory. In short, you use your hands a lot and the terrain can be unforgiving. Fingerless gloves were amazing, and unlike full gloves, will let all the mud and water drain out rather then collect too badly inside.

Make sure you buy energy gel to take before and during the course. We used Gu Energy Gel and Vega Sport Endurance Gel. Both tasted pretty terrible, but were great for making sure we had the electrolytes and vitamins our body needed to keep going. The Gu Energy Gel also contains a small amount of caffeine for that extra boost when you are losing steam. The gels prevented our calves from seizing up, which is a problem that many participants face as the challenge goes on; 20km of running and obstacles are a lot for our bodies to handle! The water stations at the event also give out bananas for the potassium and energy boost, but if you carry some gels you can take them as you feel you need them, and you don’t feel them bouncing around in your stomach like food does once you continue running.

Tough Mudder was definitely physically and mentally challenging. There were obstacles where we had to help one another overcome fears and phobias, and convince each other to just man-up and do it. There was always the option to skip an obstacle if we really felt uncomfortable, but once you are there, you want to be able to push yourself to your limits and just do it all. On the same token, none of it ever felt impossible. We never thought, “Oh crap, we are never going to complete this”. There were always people at each obstacle willing to lend a hand and make sure that every single person got through successfully. Volunteers were at various checkpoints cheering us on and keeping our spirits high. Spectators watched from the sidelines supporting their friends and loved ones. It was one of the most positive atmospheres we have experienced, and helped us push through when we started to physically or mentally lose strength.

One of the toughest aspects was the cold temperatures throughout the run. We thought we would have a sunny day with some clouds, but ended up with pure overcast skies, some chilly winds, and a bit of rain. Near the end when we were soaked with water and mud, it started to become difficult to keep our bodies warm. Next time we would wear a long sleeve Underarmour shirt underneath our short sleeved tops to conserve a bit of body heat. Had we done that we probably would have been much less affected by the cold, and a little less grumpy near the end.

IMG_2837

As you can see, Nicole is pretty grumpy

Neither of us expected to be running so much, or on such rough terrain. We would definitely recommend running on rocky, muddy and hilly surfaces. The obstacles were challenging but running between them for a good couple km was just as challenging.

Get a team and STICK TOGETHER. It was awesome doing this together, but it would be an even better experience with a group of good friends (with some strong guys). More people to help and more people to motivate!

Right after we crossed that finish line, our legs literally about to give out, freezing cold, and completely exhausted, we thought, “Maybe this was just a once in a lifetime thing, we don’t have to do it again…”. After all, it’s quite an accomplishment just doing it once! But as the bruises on our legs darken and we start to recover, we remember just how kick ass it was and maybe, just maybe, it would be worth doing again 🙂

TOUGHMUDDER

Done! Goal Accomplished


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Tough Mudder Count Down

Well, it’s officially a week away. 7 days, 168 hours.

The toughest thing I will probably ever do (besides childbirth of course).

Everyone has been asking “are you ready??”, and honestly, I don’t know. I won’t know until I get there and face my first obstacle. Oh, for any of you that don’t know what Tough Mudder is; it’s a 10-12mile obstacle course designed by the British Special Forces. So basically it’s running through mud, fire, and electrically charged wires with obstacles such as jumping into freezing water, crossing greased up monkey bars, and crawling through pitch black tunnels that are half filled with water. Sounds fun, doesn’t it?

I must say, I’m pretty excited. I’m excited to be doing this with an awesome friend (the one and only Veronica), as well as some awesome guys from my previous job. We’ve all been comparing notes, training hard, and generally trying to keep our nervousness to a minimum.

I’ve had a lot of people show some serious doubt towards me actually going through with this. A couple guys at my previous job (who, when asked if they were going to do it said “hell no”) give me the crazy look and say “no, really, you’re not actually going to do it”. WELL YOU BETCHA I AM NOW BUDDY. I had never noticed before that moment, but I really enjoy proving people wrong. So here goes nothing.

It is incrediably scary going into something like this knowing nothing. Tough Mudder has so many different obstacles to choose from, that every location will be slightly different. I believe there are a couple that will be at every event, like Everest (a giant quarter pipe that you have to run and launch yourself up), and the electric wires that you have to run through to cross the finish line. But basically you can get a feel for what it will be like, pick the scariest, and psych yourself out. Needless to say, I’ve stopped looking for information (I also had to tell Veronica to stop because she was freaking both of us out), because I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.

My plan for the next week is to keep training, but not go overboard (don’t want to injure myself before even crossing the start line!), drink A LOT of water, and get lots of sleep. I also have to sign my death waiver before going up there (did I mention that there is a death waiver, yeah).

So here goes nothing; I’m excited, I’m scared, and I’m ready to get on the course and kick some serious ass.

We’ll let you know how it goes next week, wish us luck!!

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~Nicole

**If anyone is interested in challenging themselves, here is the Tough Mudder website: http://toughmudder.com !!

PS – Stay tuned for pictures of our tired muddy selves next week! And as Nicole said, wish us luck!!! 🙂 – Veronica