An Ode To Men in The Gym

Dear Brolic (and not-so-brolic) Men in The Gym,

Let me begin by, first painting a picture for you: It is Saturday afternoon. Approximately 3pm. It's a rare sighting that I'd be in the gym at this particular time on a Saturday. To my delight & surprise I discover that the gym is bare. Most equipment is free of bodies & fresh sweat. Replacing the stinging stench of sweat is the sweet scent of GAINS pervading my nostrils.

My body gravitates towards one of the three squat racks which I actually have the liberty of choosing. As I alternate between my squats and jumping rope, a short man waltzes over and thoughtlessly interjects. As he slowly begins to replace the weights I have on, it occurs to him to ask if I'm using the squat rack. "No sir. My towel is simply adorning it for decoration and my water bottle is only a focal point as I jump." In actuality my lips spew, "I am," as my eyes beg to question why he'd even...

 

This man among others is the reason I saw a need for this letter; the letter that has been brewing throughout the crevices of my mind for quite some time. So here is an ode to you; a list of "dont's" I've taken the liberty of compiling as a result of dealing with you. Take heed.

  1. Do not assume that I am done or not using something because I am two feet away. You don't do it to other men and I'm not the one.
  2. Do not hover over me as I get my sets in on the squat rack. There are other (male) occupied racks that you can go to and  inquire about.
  3. Do not low-key, yet high-key bore a hole in my back as I'm doing squats. Shockingly, I can feel your lusty lingering eyeballs. I can also see you through that magical device that happens to display reflections. 😉(Message: Its quite creepy.)
  4. The gym isn't yours! When I come in, I'm looking to workout just as you are. I like lifting weights too. If you are doing a circuit workout which consists of the usage of various machines, you gone have to give one up bruh.
  5. Although, I am open to assistance, I don't always want your help. I, generally am doing it right and I can show you better than I can tell you.
  6.   Men and women have different body make-ups. This means your tips on nutrition may not always work for me. Why? Well, you can eat whatever you want, come into the gym, kill two hours & magically obtain a six pack. I, on the other hand, am required to eat a consistently clean diet (one cheat meal a week) and work out for similar results. (Salty much? Maybe a tad.)

 

My final request is that you would recount  all of the thoughtfully crafted points outlined here the next time you're in the gym and happen to consider how you will interact with a woman you encounter. Thank me later.

 

Signed,

Yet Another Chick Who Lifts

Summer Snatch

Here we are ... Summer '17 and my body isn't anywhere close to what it has been these past two summers. By this point, during the summers of 2015 and 2016, I've had the "Summer Snatch" that I didn't even realize I was seeking until I, now; look back on pictures of myself from those summers. So what makes this summer different?

Well if you've listened to our latest episode, you'd remember me declaring this past year (of 27) my year of failure. Every time those words seep from my lips or even cross my mind a strong feeling of discomfort comes over and me propels me to act. Action is just what this post and the next few weeks will be about for me. I'm declaring these next few weeks to be the weeks of the "Summer Snatch." I will, first, share my “Summer Snatch” Wish List with you all.

Cadacia’s Summer Snatch Wish List

·      Flat Stomach (as close to exposed abs as possible)

·      “Healthy” Glutes

·      Re-Defined Muscles in Arms

·      Defined Quads

Now if you notice, on my list I’ve elected to use the words “exposed,” and “defined.” Why? Well, because all of the items I’ve listed on my wish list are already there. My ability to actually see them is really dependent upon the work that I put in to ensure that they are visible …and by work I mean exercise.

What I know to be true about health and wellness is that exercise and nutrition are the ultimate recipe for creating the body one desires. I will let you guys in on my secrets; my recipes for the summer snatch and in doing so, I am challenging you to come along for ride with me.

Cadacia’s Summer Snatch Recipe Guide

·      Flat Stomach (as close to exposed abs as possible)

1-2 green smoothies per day

2 Green apples per day

2 Cups of my “flat tummy tea”

Asparagus

Broccoli

Salmon

Cardio (shockingly)

Hanging leg raises

V-Ups

Planks

Plank Jacks

*The biggest key for a flat stomach is diet.*

 

·      “Healthy” Glutes

Potatoes! (Sweet Potatoes are ideal)

Brown Rice

Oatmeal

(Weighted) Squats

Leg Presses

Weighted Lunges

 

 

·      Re-Defined Muscles in Arms

Curls

Rows

Dips

 

·      Defined Quads

**Same foods & exercises required for glutes**

Please keep in mind that all of the things I have listed here are things that have worked for me specifically. All body types are different and require different regimens. You can take some or all of my tips. Make sure that whatever you elect to do, it works for you. Trial and error are significant in this health and wellness process. Please also remember that the ultimate idea is a healthy lifestyle, in spite of what it may look like on the outside. (I’m speaking to myself as I’m speaking to you.) If you do participate in my Summer Snatch, let me know! At me & use the hashtag #CCSummerSnatch

Discouraged

Friday evening. I silently applaud myself for making it into the gym on an evening where sleep seems like more of an appealing option. It’s arm day! It’s been a while since I’ve worked on them and they could sure stand to be refined. 45 lbs for skull crushers. Seems like a bit of a challenge, but not much. I struggle to lift the weight up over my head. Strike one. T-bar rows are next up. Only 35 pounds. Not too bad. Single arm rows. Too bad. Strike two. It’s now my partner’s turn. As she effortlessly gets through her set, I gawk at the woman staring at me on the other side of the glass. She is slim, slight curves (the biggest one fighting to come down in an attempt to be masked underneath a waist trimmer), small butt. The more I stared at this woman, the more annoyed I became with her. The more I observed her frame, the more I just wanted to tell her to forget it. “Quit. It isn’t worth it.” I slung my body onto a bench as I waited for my partner to be done. “I feel discouraged” seeped from between my lips before I had even granted it permission. My partner inquired further and I shared my observations with her. “How could I not see a difference? How is it that I am not getting traction? I’m doing routines that have worked well for me in the past.” These were the thoughts that clouded my brain. Instead of bombarding her with it all, I simply said “nothing is changing.” She quickly came to my rescue and assured me that I was doing my best. She also reminded me that I am the encourager & can’t stand to be defeated.

Defeat. . . self defeat. It is a very real thing. I find myself in this place again. I weigh all of the factors that have brought me to this familiar place: My body is not conforming. My schedule is not consistent enough. I need a change—a change in my body, a change in my routine. This change can only really come with a change in my busy schedule. This I can be certain of in a couple of months. In the meantime, what shall I do? 

What, then, is the remedy for defeat? There is no "one-quick-fix." I will share what picked me up in that moment, however: my accountability partner. I have blogged about her once before and, in that post, did not realize how she could be valuable to me in this way. She reminded me of how much I tend to encourage her regularly and in doing so, she immediately returned the favor. I allowed her words of encouragement to resonate and forced my mind to receive and believe every last ounce of positivity being spewed my way.  By her encouraging me, I was able to muster up the ability to encourage myself. What I have realized through this moment is that one of the hardest things to do when you are down is to pick your own self up. Sure, others can give you some encouragement, however, it is ultimately up to, you, the individual to make the decision of whether or not you'd actually like to receive it. This was the case with me.

So this post is an ode to anyone who gets knocked down and feels as if it isn't worth it anymore. Giving up is so much easier to commit to than staying the course. Surround yourself with people who can encourage you just as much as you can do for them. Also, recognize your power. You possess all that you need to overcome whatever obstacle it is that you face. They key is believing that you already have it.

 

Cutting Coffee

Tim Horton’s is where it all started. The year is 2008 and I am in my second semester as a freshman at SUNY Plattsburgh. A friend boasted about and recommended that I try their "Iced Capp." When met with my taste buds, I automatically knew this would be a new convenient snack and beverage that I could ensure I’d drink more frequently. I mean, the shop was conveniently located on my study route after all. I didn’t’ t think much of it beyond it simply being a sweet and satisfying snack.

By the time senior year crept around, however, the desire for this snack and evolved into a need for daily cup of Joe.  Student teaching and observational hours warranted the commencement of each day with a cup of coffee. A sense of imbalance came over me when my day started any other way. Once college was over, I knew I would no longer need coffee. This quickly changed, as I had a new excuse –I was, now, a full time teacher and part-time grad school student. Busy schedules warrant coffee right? As long as coffee could get me through this Masters, I could commit to leaving it alone. That was evidently a lie I told myself because once September of 2015 commenced, my intake increased to (at least) 2 cups per day. I had reached a point where a day without coffee equated a day of misery. It was a drug and I began to recognize that.

I consciously made efforts to tell myself I needed to give it up. I would wake up in the morning and speak out loud "I will not purchase coffee today," only to find myself pulling out of the McDonald's drive thru or walking back to my car from Dunkin Donuts with a latte in hand. So often, I'd wonder "how did this happen?" No matter the amount of attempts to give up coffee, I was met with failure time and time again. Failure had become so common that I was almost willing to accept the fact that it could not be done. I could not give up coffee.

On March 1, 2017, I tip-toed into church a little bit beyond the 7:30 start of service. Upon locating a seat, I threw my hands in the air as a sign of surrender to God. During this immersion of worship, I also set my thoughts on what it was that I wanted to give up. "What could I commit to God for the next 40 days?" Without hesitation, he impressed upon my heart that I needed to rid myself of coffee. As difficult as I knew it would be, I did not fight it. Coffee it was. 40 days. . . and hopefully forever.

Day 1: I felt as though I could not survive beyond lunch. A throbbing headache clouded my thoughts. I was not teaching at optimal levels. I needed something; something to drink; something to get me through the day. I bought two cups of vanilla chai. Maybe I could trick my brain into thinking it was coffee. Yet, another lie had told myself. Day two was even harder and I felt like having a heart to heart with God where I would just apologize and tell him it was too hard. In preparing for this heart to heart, He quickly reminded me of my "why." I was giving up coffee because it would be difficult. I was mimicking the sacrifice of God. He suffered in the wilderness for 40 days. If Jesus could do it, then, I, too, should have been able to suffer in remembrance of Him. In refocusing, I realized I could do it, as long as I kept Him at the center.

Today, 45 days after making the decision to quit, I am so happy I did it. I am happy, I allowed myself to suffer through it. I am happy God reminded me that I can, indeed do all things through Christ. This is just confirmation, that there is nothing too hard for me to accomplish as long as I commit it to Him and remain focused.