How to Take Your Fitness Goals to the Next Level

Okay so I want to climb more. But what does that mean?

While I was climbing this week, I realized that I needed to make my goal of climbing more even more specific in order to make that goal attainable. I realized, once I specified my goal, that I needed a little planning in order to make it happen.

Chapter One

Here is how to meet your 2018 fitness goals:

  1. Get specific!
    “I want to get more into running,” leaves a lot of room to… not actually get into running. Try making your goal measurable, like “I want to run 3 times a week,” or “I want to run a marathon in August,” instead. My climbing goal: I want to learn to lead climb (and then do it outside with my sister!)
  2. Break it down.
    I can’t learn to lead climb until I am can climb harder levels. In order to learn to lead, I need to climb 5.10s without needing to rest every 2 seconds. If you want to run a marathon, maybe you need smaller time goals. “By March I will run a 5k,” or “I will run 3 hours a week.”
  3. Set Goals
    Setting small goals along the way allows you to feed off of the positive energy that comes from reaching a new milestone. This is also a crucial step in maintaining and continuing your practice. If you want to continue your exercise longterm, set yourself small forward-reaching goals every few months. My current climbing goals include completing a set of full pull-ups (I met my goal of doing one whole pull-up!!!) and climbing my first V3.
  4. Get Creative
    It is easy to stagnate in any practice. In order to develop alternative muscles and keep it interesting, alternate your training. If you are doing something that is primarily cardio, add strength training. If you are doing something strength based, through in running days, or a dance cardio class to keep it interesting!
  5. Gear Up
    Sometimes you can’t take it to the next level until you get proper equipment. These leggings and this pair of shoes changed the game and took my training to the next level by increasing my flexibility and stability. Not having to adjust my clothing all the time allows me to focus on my workout without interruption or excuse.
  6. Commit time
    I feel like one of the most important steps for me to accomplish my fitness goals is for me to block out every day of the week that I need to exercise, and what I need to do on those days. It is equally important to find a rhythm that works for you. If you need consistency above all in order to meet your goal, then go all out and don’t make compromises. If you are worried about burnout, plan for 3 days a week with a fun alternative workout thrown in there. Commit that time and don’t cancel plans with yourself.
  7. Plan out every second!
    Once you have committed to the days you will workout, plan out every tiny detail of those sessions. Have an overarching plan, and a step-by-step or goal-based process for the actual sessions. Recently, I had a session planned that started with a strength based warm-up and was followed by a strict endurance builder. If something didn’t work right one day, sit down and adjust your plan for next time. Thoughtful planning and reflection will keep you committed to your goals, and help keep your goals attainable.
  8. Leave room for fun
    Enjoy your workouts! Invite friends on your run or to your class, add party music one day, and have some fun day instead of zero days- go to the gym anyway, but try new things. All of these little celebrations will prevent burnout.
  9. Be accountable
    SET THE DATE. Your running a marathon? Finally doing 10 pull-ups! You are going to try competitive figure skating??! Invite your friends! “Hello everybody. On August 22nd, I will complete 10 pull-ups at the gym. You are all invited to view the pull-ups and celebrate with drinks after!” Make it into a silly/fun/cool event. A group of women I climb with recently got together to make posters and cheer on a friend running the marathon. What a cool way to support each other and spend time together.
  10. Keep setting goals
    After you meet your BIG goal, it is hard to keep going. As you approach your big goal, plan your next moves. The week before the marathon, maybe you know you need a full 2 weeks of rest. Fine, plan that, but plan your first day back. What will you do to get back into it and continue to enjoy it? Be ready to keep the momentum! And plan your NEXT goal. If the marathon felt like a lot, scale it back and do a fun run somewhere. If you’re hooked, try to best your time and qualify for a different city. Maybe you like the variety of a triathlon! Keep pushing yourself to get out and get moving.
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Reflections and Intentions

Reflections
-I’m really tired.
-Spent precious time with my family.
-Spent a lovely Sunday afternoon watching my boyfriend play with the Elgin Symphony.
-Trained hard at the rock wall and had healthy meals planned in advance (food diary coming soon!) and watched the number on the scale go down.

Intentions
-Climb a V2 at the rock wall
-I’m climbing outside and camping this weekend!
-Get more sleep. (Tuesday night maybe?)
-Do more things that aren’t Netflix. Bike. Play piano. Play a long game of chess.

Intended
-Get my car fixed for significantly less than the car is worth (goodbye, Midas. It’s over.)
-Adjust work/life balance. The first week of school had me there two hours early and two hours late most days. I am paid for a 40 hour week, not 60. Figure out how to get it all done efficiently. Lists. Lots of lists.
-Visit my family.
-Keep working on that side hustle. Finally hang advertisement for private lessons.
-Do all of my food prep at the beginning of the week!
-Don’t purchase anything except groceries and maybe one more pair of leggings for my climbing training
-Get consistent with the blog!

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Game Changing Workout Gear

In the spirit of resiliency, I am trying many new hobbies and trying to stay extremely active. Here are some workout accessories for an active lifestyle.

Biking

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Wall Mount
Easy access, wall art, and home security for your bicycle.

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Phone Bracket
From here you can operate maps and track your speed and distance.

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Stationary Adaptor
So that you can bike and watch tv at the same time!!! Very good for winter exercise.

Running/ Walking/ Hiking

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I love my Allbirds and I love their versatility. They make me feel lighter and bouncier!

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The Gokey is a really convenient way to hold your key while running. I have lost my keys out of my shorts key pocket or off my shoelace before. This would have been very handy!
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Everest Fanny Pack
Affordable and in like 20 different colors! I am sold on the classic Everest fanny pack, and I order one in a new color whenever the need arises. (I actually wear one while I teach, to keep my emergency radio and student rewards accessible!)

 

Accessories

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Foam Roller
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Resistance Band Rainbow Set
Life Hack!!!! If you can’t do a full pull-up, you can attach a resistance band to the bar, place one foot inside of the resistance band, and go! It is amazing. I am using this trick to try and achieve one pull-up by the end of my four week rock climbing training session!

Workout Leggings

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Stirrup Leggings
Perfect for protecting ankles from the cold while biking, running, or keeping pants in place during yoga.

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Oxblood Mesh Leggings
Now that I am doing all sorts of new exercises like biking and rock climbing, I feel I need some variety in my workout clothes. I also feel like quality and durability is increasingly important, as these activities involve more friction.

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Hunter Leggings
A perfect shade of green. I could live in these on a camping/ hiking trip, for sure.

Reflections and Intentions

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Image and listpiration from Shutterbean

Reflections
-Survived the first week of school!
-Not only survived, but arrived hours early each day, was consistent with my students, and supported them at their football game over the weekend
-Went climbing… twice!… as pre-training for my training for my upcoming outdoor climb
-Walked and biked and ate kale every day and lost weight

Intentions
-Get my car fixed for significantly less than the car is worth (goodbye, Midas. It’s over.)
-Adjust work/life balance. The first week of school had me there two hours early and two hours late most days. I am paid for a 40 hour week, not 60. Figure out how to get it all done efficiently. Lists. Lots of lists.
-Visit my family.
-Keep working on that side hustle. Finally hang advertisement for private lessons.
-Do all of my food prep at the beginning of the week!
-Don’t purchase anything except groceries and maybe one more pair of leggings for my climbing training
-Get consistent with the blog!

Intended
-Join Brooklyn Boulder’s “Climb Like a Girl” program and enroll in REI’s outdoor climb!
-Figure out my morning exercise. Yoga? Long walks? Biking?
-pick up some side work like coaching, teaching lessons, leading choir… thins I enjoy (peel Lyft stickers off car and switch to cheaper insurance 🙂  )
-stay busy and happy and engaged every day

Weekend Getaway

I am a teacher dreading the beginning of the school year, and am devising strategies to get me through it. The first that I am actively working on is changing my mindset. The second very important strategy is full of bribery and rewards. I am planning local getaways (camping nearby, kayaking through the city) but am also looking at sneaking in weekend trips like this one to Joshua Tree National Park.

Where: Joshua Tree National Park
When: Mid Fall
How: Cheap flights, camping as lodging
Why: To get away!
What: Camping, hiking, sightseeing, stargazing

Step 1: Cheap flights to California
Generally, flights to San Diego are cheaper than Lost Angeles or Palm Springs. If flying into one of the first two, we will also need to rent a car and drive 2-3 hours to Joshua Tree National Park, so the earlier flight the better. (These flights were under $100 yesterday !!!)

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Step 2: Rent a car, enjoy the drive
A good drive is full of good music, intelligent podcasts, planned stops in at the coast and in Palm Springs, surprise stops anywhere interesting, and great snacks.

Step 3: Make the most of the park
Say I arrive early afternoon. I will set up camp and take a short day hike before dinner dinner. Then I’ll take an evening walk, and star gaze. I’ll stay up reading in the tent, listen to music, and playing cards.

Step 4: Get outside!
The next day entails a long, strenuous day hike. After dinner, I’ll take an easy evening walk. More lounging at the tent and stargazing (glad I bought a star map in the Grand Canyon! Or are they different star hemispheres…?)

Step 5: Go home, don’t be too sad about it.
I want to wake up in the dark and take a sunrise hike. After, I’ll have some coffee, pack up camp, head out and fly back. I will likely get in late, which means before I left, I better have done laundry and washed all of the dishes and planned the rest of my week.

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Tripstagram: Glacier National Park

My family has developed a great love for Glacier National Park. This year, we ventured further north, but I thought I would share some favorite photos from the years past. The colors are so bright and vivid, it is hard to believe that is what these mountains and valleys looked like in real life!

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Nature Week!

Welcome to Nature Week on The Wonder Of. This week you will learn how to glamp properly (even if you have NEVER been camping!), learn 3 perspectives on backcountry camping and hiking in National Parks, discover the best books for outdoorsman, and how to pack for a backpacking trip.

The bonus to all of this is that while these posts are going up, my family and I will be on vacation in Banff and Jasper Canadian National Parks! So, throughout the next two weeks, I will interrupt scheduled posts (about nature) with photos… of nature!

I am really excited to share these posts with you. To be sure not to miss anything, please sign up for an email subscription or follow the blog on Facebook or Instagram!

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3 Things

 

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Photo by Entre Prises

Now that it is warm outside, I can’t wait to try out the Maggie Daley Climbing Wall in downtown Chicago! Now that I am a badass climber, I am psyched to spend my summer on the wall, and in the open air. I imagine people peeking out the windows of their apartment and seeing me at their level!

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Sometimes I feel like all of the food posts I write are about cake or salad. This represents the greater dichotomy between my health and my happiness, perhaps. I’ve learned that when it comes to the mint-chocolate combination, people love it or hate it. If you love it… how amazing does this look!

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I really, really wanted to attend Camp Man Repeller, and I was prepared to pay for the camp events and stay, but I could’t afford a plane ticket and since Chicago is still in school, I couldn’t drive to New York! I didn’t have enough personal days, and my car can’t really handle it. Next year. Next year. Anyway, it looks like their first year of Camp MR was a mad success. Check it out!

 

 

Force of Nature

REI has launched this great “Force of Nature” campaign, and as a company they have taken specific action to increase equality in experience and opportunity for women to be active outdoors. A direct quote about the quality of women’s gear: “We don’t just “shrink and pink” our clothing.” One of the important elements of this company policy is that they will have as many options for women as they do men- be it unisex options, or gear designed for women’s bodies, women will have the same variety and quality available to them as do men.

These things may seem small, but having access to resources is a major step towards equality in any context, and it is a move I stand behind. I feel a little better about all the money I spent at REI for my recent trip knowing that they are promoting equality outdoors. Read more about their “Force of Nature” project here.