introduction: fit for a purpose

meg marie fitness round black logo

Meg Marie Fitness : “Fit For A Purpose”

It’s here!!! It’s finally here!!!! Life has taken some crazy turns these past few months but I’ve finally got this all set up and ready to go! I want to apologize to those of you who wanted this sooner, thank those of you who have been so patient, celebrate with those of you who have been so supportive, and welcome those of you who are just joining in!

I’m so excited to get this started!

meg marie fitness | 12 week guide | introduction

a bit of my personal story:

From the time I was a little girl, exercise and outdoor activities have always been a part of my life. I can remember being only 5-6 years old going on long bike rides as a family while my dad would run. Our family would often hike (which I hated), take swim lessons, and tennis lessons. We had weights and fitness equipment in our garage that I had access to whenever I wanted. My mom often served healthy meals, I ran cross country and track in high school and I never had to worry about keeping weight off. Building muscle?! pffftttt…what’s the point?!

Fast forward…the stress of the college years took their toll, as did the plethora of pizza parties we had when my husband served as a youth pastor. Fitness and health had become a side item.

Fast forward again, Matt and I were told we would never have children of our own. Fitness was then not a priority at all, having a baby was. After enduring 3 years of fertility treatments, including a miscarriage, we had five babies in under 6 1/2 years time.

At that point my body was a hot mess. I not only looked bad, I felt bad too.

I knew I needed a plan to make some serious changes. My family needed me. And I knew I couldn’t keep up with the demands of those in my care without being strong and healthy.

But where do I start??? How do I fit it in my schedule?

The temptation at that point was to either become frozen with discouragement or overactive in attempts to achieve some standard of perfection. Sorting through my motivations and my insecurities helped me to see that leaning either way would have led me down some very self-centered, self-focused, and self-motivating paths.

meg marie fitness | 12 week guide | introductionmy motivation:

The fitness world seems to be heavily bent on the outward physical appearance of motivating women to achieve a certain shape for the applause of others. Heck, let’s be real…it’s not just the fitness world, it’s everywhere! But I can say from a lot of experience that no amount of me trying to please others has brought about any sort of genuine fulfillment. It’s a mirage of a goal…always moving, always changing and completely out of my control. Being motivated by the opinions of others (even those dear to us) is a rabbit hole of destruction that leads to a lot of grief, guilt and shame. Being motivated by self-promotion puts the focus on the wrong thing and robs all joy from the process.

Although at times it’s been a difficult thing to battle, my motivation is not what I look like. Fitness and healthy eating are important because they help to create a lifestyle that allows me to give more to others. I have to continually keep that in the front of my mind and constantly keep it in check…and repent when I allow wrong motives to creep in.

Those little people that call me mom depend on me. That husband I love so much needs a healthy wife to come alongside him in life. My friends, those close to me, and the dear people I love in our little church deserve my care, effort, love and affection…and without strength and good health I am confident I would have very little, if anything, left to offer.

I pursue my goals in fitness because I am able to serve others best when I am at my best. At the end of the day I want to use all I have to pour out my life for those around me, and ultimately make Jesus’ name great. Fitness is not about simply caring well for myself…its about caring well for myself in order that I am able to care well for those I love most and to honor the Lord with what He has given me. That last clause changes everything…

meg marie fitness | 12 week guide | introductionmy credentials:

I want to be really honest that I’ve hesitated to even write this plan. My own self doubt and temptation to believe that I have nothing to offer can often paralyze me in fear. Posting pictures, plans and advice feels like I’m putting myself out there as some expert…which I am most certainly not. I’m still very much on my own journey and also have goals that I have yet to reach. Life gets busy, I don’t fit in all of my workouts that I planned, I love cookies too and the struggles I face are the same ones anybody else out there faces. The daily grind is real and even with the most perfect plan in place the unexpected still happens. So, don’t misunderstand this plan….I have not arrived, I’m simply sharing all I can to encourage and spur on others while I continue on in my own journey.

I also want to be totally open and let you know that I have no official certifications or any legit nutrition credentials of any kind. I have never taken an official health/wellness class and I have never hired a personal trainer. Someone who is an expert in the fitness field could likely shoot holes in my plan all day long as I’m sure I’ve missed a thing or two, or twelve, that could/should have been added.

However, I am eager to admit this because my hope is to encourage you that if I can do this anyone can. I struggle with staying motivated, I struggle with managing time, I struggle with sticking to a plan, I struggle with finding what “works” and I struggle with my massive sweet tooth. It’s tempting to think that if we don’t have all the knowledge and all of the “proper training” we are missing some special secret-sauce-knowledge that will be the key to instant success. But that’s just a lie. Don’t believe it. It’s not true so don’t buy into that mindset. Living healthy, increasing energy, burning fat, and growing muscle takes a plan and a lot of effort, but none of this is rocket science.

meg marie fitness | 12 week guide | introductionmy goal:

My hope is that this 12 week plan encourages you that you can do this too. I want to help you to set your mind on your “why” and give some direction for you to get started.  My hope is for this guide to be a springboard for you to take control of your health and to use your success in fitness for your own joy, the service of those around you, and to the glory of God who loves you. It’s not about a hot bikini bod, it’s “fit for a purpose” and that purpose is loving others.

My ultimate mission is to ignite a community of women who desire to live active, healthy, strong, purposeful, beautiful lives.

the plan:

I’m trying to sort out all of the kinks, but it’s a work in progress for sure. I don’t have a team of people behind me setting this all up, it’s just plain ‘ole me behind a keyboard hacking away in the wee hours of the night. It’s not just creating it, but it’s also designing it here online and the technical backend of presenting it that creates a challenge for me…well, that and the five kids that beckon my attention around the clock! 🙂

I want this to make sense to you all so if you come across something that is confusing please reach out so that I can change or clarify. Most likely if you’re confused, others are too, so don’t be afraid to email or comment to share whatever you need.

I’ll post each new set of workouts every Friday for the next 12 weeks. “Fitness Fridays!” Yay! Each new guide will be for the following week’s workouts. You’ll receive 3 strength training workouts and you’ll also need to fit in one long low intensity cardio and one short high intensity (HIIT) workout. The guide overview explains everything you need to know about what I’ll be posting and what to do each day of the week.

meg marie fitness | 12 week guide | introduction

I have a few first steps for you to get started on right now:

  1. Take a “before” picture-get a swimsuit or some shorts/tank and stand in front of a wall and snap a few pics. Front, sides, back. Don’t suck it in or stuff it up…just take a pic of you standing normal. Why? Because sometimes the changes are so subtle we don’t see them right away. Taking photos is for you to be able to be encouraged along the way that your efforts are making a difference. Continue taking them each week and put them side by side to show yourself that what you’re doing matters. I promise, small changes over time result in big changes!
  2. Clean out the kitchen-I am so guilty of not doing this but storing those bags of chips, the baked goods, the sweets (ohhh how I love chocolate chip cookies) won’t help you stay on track. Look around with fresh eyes and get rid of the things that you know you’ll run to in moments of weakness. There’s an insane amount of info out there (Pinterest, LeanBodyForHer, etc.) for what isn’t good for you…stop grabbing junk food, stop drinking those sodas, stop the fast food runs, late night binging…and go through those cupboards!!! Get rid of all the junk!meg marie fitness | 12 week fitness plan | introduction
  3. Pick a date-having a specific start date creates a sense of solidarity. I typically recommend to start on a Monday and then plan out your workouts from there. Look at your week in advance, place your workouts around your schedule. Treat those scheduled workouts like appointments that cannot be changed. Obviously things will come up, so have an idea of how you’ll shift things around whenever something disrupts, but without a plan, you’ll certianly plan to fail. (catchy right??? i stole that from pinterest…)

Whew! That was a lot! I hope you all are as excited as I am! Please pass this along to a friend or two that you’d like to go through the plan with you. Having a friend, even if long distance, to encourage you and help keep you accountable is so huge!!!! Please, please reach out if I can help in any way! And please send feedback if you have any. I cannot wait to see your before/after photos and to cheer you on in your journey! We start next week so get ready!!!

   HOME || RECIPES || WORKOUTS || BEGINNERS || SUPPLEMENTS || MOTIVATION || DISCLAIMER

meg marie signature w/XO

P.S. Be sure to sign up for the FREE PDF download of all of the exercises!!! I’ll be sending you the workouts each Friday in your inbox, insider info of some of my favorite recipes, quick tips and encouragement along the way!

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_cta h2=”subscribe to meg marie fitness!” h4=”Yes! I want in!” txt_align=”center” el_width=”lg” add_button=”bottom” btn_title=”sign me up!” btn_style=”classic” btn_align=”center” btn_button_block=”true” btn_link=”url:http%3A%2F%2Fmegmariewallace.us11.list-manage1.com%2Fsubscribe%3Fu%3D5254be8aaba3ecc840d4d533a%26id%3D55baffe613|||” css=”.vc_custom_1496812686435{background-color: #ede1e4 !important;border-radius: 4px !important;}”]I want to receive weekly updates, tips, recipes and workouts sent straight to my inbox![/vc_cta][/vc_column][/vc_row]

why water is better than mascara

Mascara can do wonders for an exhausted, overworked momma…..but water…water can do more than brighten the eyes…

a word about dehydration

Friends. Moms. Women….here’s a question for you: do you find yourself often struggling with confusion, headaches, loss of strength, fatigue, and loss of ability to focus?!

If yes, then please keep reading…especially if you’re a mom!

You’re probably often saying that you would do anything for a nap…no doubt raising kids is exhausting. And sleep is most certainly a huge factor in our overall wellness, but we can’t overlook the importance of water. Water is absolutely critical to our well-being and our functionality throughout the day.

I know from experience that drinking (*what I would call a ridiculous amount of) water truly does do wonders for exhaustion. It’s the first thing I go for to get some help after those all nighters with my kids. Sure, I still want a nap, and some coffee, but dehydration has some pretty steep consequences…making normal daily tasks, exercising, and caring well for others extremely difficult to do.

What we look like truly is not the end goal in drinking more water…and although I include so many benefits in this post for the outward, that just isn’t the most important thing…at all. Our intentality as moms to drink more water could quite possibly have huge impacts in our homes, giving us more energy and more endurance to continue to serve those we love most.

water: why it should be your new bff | meg marie wallacewater: why it should be your new bff | meg marie wallace

If you were to ask me if there was one key to unlock a healthy lifestyle, adequate hydration would be it. Drinking water not only affects our inward organs in some pretty amazing ways, but that results in huge impacts on our outward beauty too. I could literally write pages upon pages about the benefits of water, but for the sake of brevity I’m choosing to focus most specifically on the beauty aspect…because what mom wouldn’t mind not looking like a zombie? (um, me!)

I can guess what you’re already thinking….I know that not everyone enjoys drinking water…but maybe getting used to the idea of water helping us to slim down, give us mental clarity, and keep our faces looking less tired can be pretty useful in helping to keep us motivated to stay hydrated.

erasing fatigue and tiredness

When you lack energy and look tired all the time it will give you a very lethargic and indolent look. Dullness creeps all over you and makes you feel fatigued and down when you are dehydrated. Water will energize your body and will lubricate the joints and muscles. This will improve the skin around the eyes and stop them from drooping.

If you don’t like water, try green tea! It will help melt fatigue from your body and add form and texture to your muscles. You’ll be able to exercise longer and look healthier and more beautiful.

controlling weight gain

Don’t misunderstand me here…drinking more water will not necessarily make you lose weight. However, it can be helpful when it comes to controlling our appetites. Drinking lots of water, substituting water for other beverages with more calories, and the intake of water just before meals go a long way in taking unwanted pounds off.

Eating foods that contain a higher amount of water is another healthy way to lower caloric intake. Vegetables and fruits that contain water tend to be larger and take longer to chew…which means the rate of absorption is slower which helps make you feel full.

water: why it should be your new bff | meg marie wallace

skin rejuvenation

I don’t know about you but I can tell an immediate difference in my skin when I am dehydrated. My lips become chapped and my skin is itchy. Drinking water is the my absolute best advice to healthy glowing skin. Our skin will become clearer as toxins are expelled from the body.

There are some incredible skin moisturizing creams out there, but only the intake of more water that will give a lasting glow. It is a super cheap and highly accessible solution…start drinking ladies!!!!

water: why it should be your new bff | meg marie wallace

clearing under-eye dark circles

Dark under-eye circles can be due to aging, inadequate nutrition, lack of sleep or dehydration. Well balanced meals that include lots of vegetables, fruit and water is the best way to keep those circles away. If you are suffering from lack of sleep drinking more water will not only hydrate you but will also boost your energy levels and erase fatigue away from your eyes.

prevents acne from affecting your skin

I’m no expert here, but I can tell you from experience that people who battle with acne will definitely feel (and see) the difference in drinking adequate water on a regular basis. Often acne comes from drinking less and less water over long periods of time. Try adding either herbs or lemon for best results. Water helps to cleanse the body by ridding it of toxins. When those inward toxins are released outward skin eruptions lessen visibly.

If you know me at all you already know that water is my absolute favorite thing to drink. I really dislike strong flavored beverages of any kind so maybe it’s the simplicity of it or…maybe it’s because of all the research I’ve done through the years that help me to see it as a miracle worker..I’m not quite sure….but to me, there is nothing more satisfying to drink than water.

As I shared in my recent oils post, I LOVE to add 2 drops of Young Living lemon oil to my water each morning.

But I know for a fact that not everyone would say the same thing…I want to encourage you, though, to try to find new ways of making it more appealing to you. Drinking water shouldn’t be boring, painful or something you dread so try to come up with some creative ways to drink as much as you are able.

water: why it should be your new bff | meg marie wallace

8 ways to infuse water:

-lemon & herbal tea

-orange & blueberry

cucumber & mint

-strawberry & lime

-pineapple & orange

-strawberry & grape

-lime and lemon

-cranberry and lime

water bottles

My best advice is to keep a water bottle with you. Mine is constantly within reach no matter where I am. I typically have it on my kitchen counter, in my car or in my diaper bag. I have to say, though, that I’m picky about my water bottles. Very picky. It needs to be something that is durable but useful too. I researched for days and days to find my perfect water bottle and finally found ReHydrate.

I had a fairly long list of criteria that took me longer than I’d thought it would to track down. I was looking for something that was BPA free, that didn’t sweat at all (I hate that), was 25 oz or more ( so I didn’t have to refill it as often), was stainless steel (because I wanted to use my YL oils in it), had the option of colors that I desired (because, well, I’m love things like that), was in a decent price range, and had a straw (I tend to drink far more water with straws because I don’t waste time taking lids on and off and because it’s far easier to drink when I’m on a treadmill).

water: why it should be your new bff | meg marie wallace

I ordered mine here, but after I purchased mine I reached out to the company that made them as I couldn’t believe I’d never heard of their brand before. I told them that as far as I’m concerned they were creating the perfect water bottles and I wanted to do all I could to get their name out as much as I am able.

So, they sent me some free ones to give away to my readers!!!! How exciting is that?!?!

giveaway!!!

I have 3 bottles that will go to 3 individuals who are also willing to help get their name out there too. This will be a three step process:

  1. Share this post on Facebook
  2. “Like” and comment on my Instagram post featuring these water bottles
  3. And then come back to this blog post and comment “finished” to let me know you’ve entered and you’ve completed with step #1 and #2!

water: why it should be your new bff | meg marie wallace

 

water: why it should be your new bff | meg marie wallace

how much to drink?

On average it’s recommended that we drink at least 8 glasses (of 8 oz) of water per day…but that’s the baseline! If you’re nursing, or pregnant, or running after toddlers, or playing soccer with your big kids you need to drink even more! Especially on days you are working out! Physical heat, physical activity, and humidity can also really take a toll on us too. Usually I recommend that you add on another glass of water for every 30 minutes you spend exercising. And if you’re nursing AND exercising?! Well, you should probably just get one of those water backpacks and have a constant drip going! 😉 Okay, fine I’m kidding..but really….

Drink water people!!! And lots of it!!! Love it like your new BFF!


 Some of my favorite colors: 

  PINK | LIME

Also, check out the INFUSER! You can add fruit right into the middle!


***GIVEAWAY CLOSED! 4/10/2017

WINNERS ARE:

Noelle Wallace, Erin Pope, Jamie Coey!

Strength Training vs. Cardio

A few weeks ago I submitted an article to Labrada Lean Body for Her that was published over the Christmas break! I was really excited about it so I wanted to share it here as well in case you missed it!

It’s always fun to get to choose what I want to write about. I chose the topic of comparing strength training to cardio workouts because it’s something that has literally transformed not only the way I work out, but my body as well.

I used to be completely afraid of the weight floor. I used to be intimidated by the people who were there. I used to not have a clue what to do or how to do it. But one of the main problems along with those fears is that I just was honestly not convinced lifting weights had any more of an impact on my body than my long runs and cardio routines. (Or maybe that’s just what I told myself so that I didn’t have to step onto that weight floor!!!!) I totally thought that if I just pushed it hard enough with cardio then the results I was hoping for with my body would eventually come.

So, I would spend a ton of time running and often felt like it took forever to get anywhere…but then once I did get “somewhere” it was so tough to maintain it.

stroller

OH I could not have been more off base! Cardio is important. Don’t get me wrong! There’s definitely a place for cardio. But cardio WITHOUT strength training would never have given me the results I have now. Yes, I’m still a work in progress, but I have already seen some major changes.

For example: here’s what the difference looks like between a runner’s body and a lifter’s body. The pic on the left is the amazing Jamie Eason. The pic on the right is me…about a 8-9 months ago. Jamie has obviously been at this far longer than me so you can tell how she is much more well proportioned than me. There’s much more definition and much more muscle tone. And this pic of me is WITH weights included in my regimen for about a year! Girls, do NOT be afraid to bulk up! It’s so so so tough to get muscle!

pic comparison

That’s where supplements really do help as well. If you’re new to those, then read this article to help guide you through what I feel are the essentials. Or you can click HERE to send you directly to the website of all the products I use on a daily basis.

Real and sustainable changes with my body (post my five kids) began with allowing my thinking to be changed from what I had always known/done with my running career.

I know I can’t be the only one who gets stuck in a certain way of thinking when it comes to cardio!

I have had 4 conversations in the past week alone with girls who say they want to get started with a workout regimen and then tell me their entire plan is get on an elliptical machine every day for the next year. The article I wrote is just a small glimpse into the reasons why I now lift weights instead of relying on cardio alone. And I could not possibly encourage someone enough to start down this path as well. Hey moms, you have to hear this…I know that you’re already short on time. Don’t waste any more of it doing cardio alone. Make your efforts work FOR you by changing up how you view your workouts and adding resistance training.

Let me show you the difference. Here’s a pic that was taken about 3-4 months ago…can you see the difference in my arms from the photo up above?!?!  My shoulders are improving little by little and my triceps and biceps are finally starting to show up too.

beach running

The changes are slow but there ARE changes. And that’s the fun part. Don’t watch the scale. Sometimes the scale goes up or stays the same. Muscle weighs more than fat, so don’t let that throw you. Watch your shape instead. I totally regret not taking pictures weekly to encourage myself in my own process. I’ve started doing that this year though and I’m excited to see the progress continue to happen in my own journey.

There is no better time to begin a new program than now. There are usually large incentives and great deals on gym memberships at this time of the year. Everyone in the world seems to be on board with setting new goals and making new changes and the gyms are no different.

But don’t join a gym without a plan for what to do once you get there. Without a plan it is much easier to fizzle out. You don’t necessarily have to have a trainer either. I personally have never had one. I learned everything I know from the plethora of information online. Check out www.bodybuilding.com or www.labrada.com for hoards of info readily available. I also learned from my free consultation when I signed up at the gym, from asking tons of questions, and from watching other people who seem to know what they are doing at the gym. Seriously, try it. Observing what others are doing can be one of the most helpful tutorials!

If you’re BRAND NEW to strength training and are looking for a spelled out plan of EXACTLY what to do then here is my recommendation in 11 simple steps:

  1. Find a good gym and join it -this is half the battle. Just pick one and get it done.
  2. Get some good shoes on and drive yourself to that gym you’ve just joined.
  3. Warm up on cardio equipment for 5-10 minutes.
  4. While on said-cardio-equipment get your phone out and pull up this program.
    ***TIP: Save that link in your phone’s “bookmarks” so that you can come back to it during tomorrow’s warm up as easily as possible.
  5. While you warm up, look through the days exercises and figure out where exercise number one will be. If you aren’t sure then watch the handy little video tutorial that shows you exactly what to do.
  6. Get OFF of cardio equipment and go to exercise one.
    ***TIP: The majority of exercises you see in this plan can be done with free weights OR with a machine. You have options here. Some gyms have a lot of machines and some don’t. This is where the one free consultation that most gyms offer will come in useful. Have them simply give you a tour of the weight floor to show you how they’ve organized the equipment. My gym, for example, has placed all of the equipment in order of body part. All of the chest machines are together. All of the leg machines are together. Knowing the floor plan and where things are at help you better grasp what they each do and help you move more quickly through your workout.
  7. Complete set #1 and #2. While resting and waiting to do set #3 get your phone back out and look up the next exercise. Look around to see where you are to go next. Knowing where to get up and move to after the first exercise is complete will help you feel like you know what you’re doing.
    ***TIP: The gym employees are available to help. If you have no idea where a particular exercise can be done then just go up to an employee, show them what it is on your phone that your’e trying to find, and ask them where you should go. Don’t be afraid to ask for the help you need.
  8. Complete all exercises.
  9. Go find the mats and stretch out.
  10. Go home knowing you’ve just completed Day #1 toward a brand new you.
  11. Do it again the next day.

Oh and number 12 would be to enjoy the process! Fitness is NOT a drain! 🙂 Let yourself have fun learning to do something new. You’ve got this girl!

Note: I’m assuming that everyone would know that there are most definitely other ways to work out besides joining a gym, but if not then let me say it again now. You can most definitely get workouts in many other ways. The main idea is to just find a plan that involves lifting weights or body weight in order to get some resistance in your training.

How a Mom of Five Makes Time For Fitness

Labrada stroller pic

I’ve got 5 kids ages 9, 7, 6, 4, 3. People ask me constantly how I manage to do it all. Caring for them requires a great deal of time, effort and energy, but I’ll be honest, the magic to making it all work is planning ahead.

Now, you might be thinking, “I’m busy, Christmas is just around the corner! I don’t have time to think about exercise, nor do I care to because I want to enjoy all of the good food for now! There’s gifts to buy, shopping to be done, meals to make and plans to finalize. Who has time to think about a gym right now?….”

christmas decor

 Trust me! I know! I’ve been there! And I think you SHOULD enjoy it for now! But if you are serious about getting in shape and you are tired of just floating by and seeing nothing happen, then I cannot encourage you enough to make a plan.

You’ve got approximately 5 weeks until the New Year. Most gyms offer big incentives to get you to sign up in January. Now is the time to start scoping them out. Now is the time to start looking ahead at next year’s budget to see if there is a way to rearrange some things if need be.

Now is the time to put your plan in place. 

In recent posts I’ve written about my motives and motivations in staying fit and working out. I’ve also openly shared about the fears, hesitations and distractions that sometimes hold me back. I’ve been honest about what supplements I use to aid and speed up my progress. Now I begin the conversation about the practical method of how I make the time to stay consistent as a busy mom of five little people.

****Let me throw out this disclaimer: I am not a nutrition specialist or certified fitness instructor. I have no credentials and all I know has been self-taught. But I’ll humbly offer you what I have. I’ll share with you what does, and doesn’t, work for me, and I’ll attempt to help you along in your own  journey in any way that I am able.

1. THE VENUE: I used to workout at home. I purchased a few dumbbells and a few video programs that I could do during my babies’ nap times, or whenever there was down time during the day. But for me this method is a slower one by way of results. With how many children I now have, four of whom no longer nap, as well as the goals I have regarding fitness, I now need to go to an actual gym.

Gone are the days when I can accomplish much of anything on my own at home! The constant interruptions and lack of consistency on my part made the progress slow and my motivation drop off fast. Rather than keep spinning my wheels while feeling like I’m going nowhere, I knew I needed to find a different plan.

Now, at home workouts are still VERY do-able!!! Don’t get me wrong! But the same is true for home workouts as gym workouts: Both require a solid plan and a strong effort at staying consistent.

As a couple, Matt and I made some major cuts in our budget in some other ares to be able to afford a gym membership. In our minds, staying consistent and motivated and putting our health as a top priority was worth missing out on a few other “extras.”

2. FINDING/PICKING A GYM: As I was in the process of looking for a gym, I had certain criteria in my mind that would suit the whole family, rather than just me. I ended up choosing one that was my second choice but had a great childcare room, with a huge play structure, large open windows (so I can check on them any time I desire), and workers that were friendly and attentive (yes, I went to meet them before I committed to a contract).

The kids love going. They make new friends each time they are there, and by the time I come back to pick them up they, too, are sweaty from having played the entire time!

gym childcare room

3. HOW TO PLAN: Before having kids it never donned on me that planning a time to workout was needed. But now there is no way for me to stay consistent without a plan! I have created rhythms in my week to allow for the time, literally scheduling them on my calendar the same as a dentist or hair appointment (and you KNOW I’d never miss a hair appointment!!!). When people ask me if I’m busy during those scheduled times I say yes, and I pick another time with that person. I treat the gym as if it’s an appointment that cannot be moved except for something major. Every day is different. Every month is different. I map out the specific workouts on specific days as I work around the needs of my family. Sometimes I have to wake up early, other days it is mid-morning, and other times it is late in the evening after all five kids are in bed.

picking kids up from gym

4. WORKOUT BUDDY: For many, having a workout buddy, friend, or partner is a wonderful idea. Having someone to meet up with to help motivate you and keep you accountable is something I would highly recommend should you desire that. But for me in this season of my life, I cannot consider that an option.

Not only is my schedule so unpredictable, but when I am at the gym I am really not very social or up for chit chat anymore.

The way I see it is if I’ve gone through all of the work to plan that time, to get everyone dressed, fed, happy, out the door, buckled into their carseats, from the car into the gym, and checked in to childcare, then I’m for sure going to use that one hour to the absolute max that I am able.

I want to leave there knowing without a doubt that I gave it my all.

Because of the pace and demands in the other areas of my life, I now see gym time as a ‘no joke, no mess around, no play time, no fluff, all business’ kind of appointment.

At gym

5. WHEN THE PLAN FAILS (BECAUSE IT OFTEN DOES!):  There are times when the plan works and there are many, many times when it doesn’t. What might take one woman 6 weeks to accomplish in the gym might take me double. My family will always come first. The minute one child has even the slightest runny nose I am unable to keep my plans the way I would want. When one of my kids has any need whatsoever in the childcare room, you can surely bet I am being called out on the intercom to come get them.
That’s where plan B, C, and so on…come in. When something comes up I don’t look at it as not getting “MY” time in, for that would create frustration or resentment toward those I love most. My family comes before my fitness schedule. But instead of giving up, I reset, rearrange, and look for other ways to make things work.

6. BACK UP PLANS:  My backup options include the stash of old workout videos (ex: TaeBo, Slim-in-6, P90X, The Firm) that I’ve collected over the years. I also highly recommend an app that I have on my phone called Sworkit. It’s super cheap (I think it’s only $1.99), very easy to use and highly customizable. It’s especially awesome when you have no equipment or if you travel. I also use the free YouTube videos I’ve pinned on my fitness Pinterest board. And if all of that fails, I use the park across the street from my house where I can take the kids out to run with me. Bottom line is, I cannot and WILL NOT bend my priorities of Jesus, husband, and kiddos in order to get or stay fit, but I will try every means possible to get those workouts in!

7. PROGRESS: Having a plan and sticking to it will bring results! Maybe you won’t see them all at once, but after some time you’ll be surprised at how far you’ve actually come!

Shortly after my last child was born my #3 kiddo began kindergarten. Every single day as he exited his classroom his eyes would find mine and he would run as fast as he could toward me, jump into my arms, and give me the biggest hug he could muster up! And every day I would plant my feet and pray that he wouldn’t knock me over! Although my heart’s desire was to hold him and embrace every bit of those insanely special moments, my arms and core were too weak to do so. I would quickly have to put him back down and finish our hug on the ground. Granted, he’s heavy, but to me that wasn’t enough of an excuse. I wanted to hold him and not have to put him down until he asked!
Little by little, bit by bit, gains and progress were made. Although I’m still a work in progress, I can now say that I am able to see a big difference in my abilities and strength!

hugging pic
When my two littlest both want to be held at the same time they yell “mama, two ‘behbehs'”!

I know what it’s like to feel like a total newbie, so I’ll share more soon about the actual plan I used to grow my knowledge and comfort level in the gym. And I’ll also share the workout schedule I maintain now on a day to day basis…

Are you ready to put a plan together? What’s holding you back? Are there specific questions you have concerning more of the “how”? Do you have your own fitness goals? How can I help you reach them? What ways have you been able to make time for fitness while juggling a busy schedule?

Comment below, I’d love to hear from you!

Supplements


beach labrada supplements
As my workouts have shifted from more of a cardio driven routine to a more weight training routine, I’ve realized more than ever that cardio alone is NOT the best use of my time for the fitness goals that I have.

Note: If you want to maximize your efforts at the gym, see results faster and keep those results longer load bearing exercises with short burst (HIIT) cardio is the way to go.

The best way to support that kind of activity is to make sure I am giving my body the fuel it needs.

Put simply, I’m a busy wife and mom and I don’t have the time to waste on exercising in a way that doesn’t give me the absolute best return on my investment. 

I used to think that supplements were a waste of time and money. That is no longer the case.

I do not find ALL of these to be completely necessary, and mind you, my knowledge in each of these products is limited. I am no expert. I am not a certified nutritionist. I’m self taught and I use what works for me. But, I know that everyone is different, so take it all with a grain of salt.
I’ll share why I use each one and what the benefit it serves. I’ve ranked them from my most preferred to my least important, yet every thing on this list is my “must-have’s” list.

  1. Multi-Vitamin-meg marie fitness |supplements |lean body for her | multivitamin
    I love food based vitamins and that’s what these are. I typically eat well, but taking a multi-vitamin every day helps me with peace of mind concerning anything I might be missing. With the stress that exercise can put on my body and the pressure of my everyday life, it’s the best way to make sure my diet is balanced and healthy. It has iron, which many women do not consume enough of, calcium and Vitamin D for bone health, and folic acid (folate) which helps make healthy new cells and helps maintain blood health. Lean Body® for Her Food-Based Multi-Vitamin not only contains all of the aforementioned, but it also has in a Veggie Juice Complex and Complete Digestive Support, which means it’s derived from natural ingredients and gentle on the stomach.
    I’ve never ever had a stomach ache from taking these.
  2. Protein- meg marie fitness |supplements |lean body for her | protein
    Protein helps my muscles repair and grow and get the nourishment they need more quickly than from other slowly digested proteins. In this particular one there is no gluten, lactose (**I personally cannot have much lactose. I’m super sensitive to it. Unlike other proteins I’ve tried I have NEVER had trouble with this protein), artificial flavors, artificial colors, preservatives or artificial sweeteners. Some protein powders contain one or all of those things so be careful what you choose to buy.But don’t get confused with proteins. There’s lots of flavors (chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, cinnamon bun, peanut butter, salted caramel). And there’s basically three options for how you can purchase it: powder, ready to drink (RTD’s), and individual packets (for on the go).
    **When I drink my normal protein shake just before I work out I almost always use the chocolate. Mixed with ice, water, and a bit of coffee it’s my personal favorite. I also drink it right after a super tough workout when my muscles are starved for more sustenance. 
    **I typically use the other flavors for baking and cooking.
    Ex: I use the vanilla flavor in cookies and breads (there are SO many amazing recipes online), I use the peanut butter mixed into my greek yogurt, as a topping on my oatmeal, or as a spread when mixed with water, and the cinnamon is perfect to make protein pancakes for breakfast!
  3. BCAA’s-BCAA
    I never knew what these were until I began weight training so if you’re in the same boat I’ll help explain. Branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) consist of three amino acids – leucine, valine, and isoleucine. BCAAs play a significant role in building and repairing muscle after a workout, and also act as a “signal” to your muscles that nutrients are available for increasing muscle mass.
    **Put simply, my muscles are destroyed when I lift heavy. BCAA’s help repair them and they also work like a train carrying the protein into my muscles.
    This particular BCAA also provides, jumpstarts recovery, supports immune function, and replenishes your electrolytes lost while training. And that’s why I love it so much!
  4. Pre-Workout- Pre-workout
    These are to optimize and enhance your strength, endurance, mental focus, and recovery. Pre-workouts have seriously changed my world when it comes to staying consistent with my workouts!!!! And I’m totally not joking! There are many days when it is tough to get motivated and my head in nowhere near the game, much less in it. But taking this every day has completely changed that.

    **Funny Story: I bought my first pre-workout and honestly didn’t expect much. I followed the instructions and took the recommended dose. I drank it all up during my drive to the gym and was totally shocked that I actually enjoyed the flavor. For me, that is saying a LOT! (You can ask Matt, I’m crazy picky.)
    By the time I had checked in and gotten my kids settled in the child care room and made it upstairs to the treadmill for my warm up it had begun to kick in. Honestly, though, I had forgotten that I’d taken it. Most supplements that I take do their “thing” but I don’t feel any different, but this was not the case! I normally do a light jog for my warm up, but on this particular day I felt like running! And fast! I had the treadmill cranked up as high as I could go and was basically sprinting the entire warm up! At a 3% incline!
    Once I got to the weight floor I was adding more weight, and bouncing around like a puppy eager to get to the next exercise. I felt focused, happy, and “on” the whole time. For the life of me I could NOT figure out what had made the difference…until I got back in my car and saw my shaker bottle! Then it hit me! “OHHHHHHHH!!!! SO, THAT’S WHAT THE FUSS WITH PRE-WORKOUTS ARE ALL ABOUT!!!!”
    Duh to me.
    Well, I learned that day that I needed to tone it down juuuust a little bit and that don’t actually need a full scoop every day. I take about 3/4 of a recommended serving because it works almost TOO well on me. But everybody is different, so if you get this my advice is to start small and work your way up! 🙂
    Oh, and moms, sometimes I take a half scoop of this before I have to take all five to the store. Costco is much more manageable with a pre-workout giving me some extra energy! 🙂
  5. Green Superfood-superfoodThis is basically one more way to get some extra vitamins and is safe for everyone in the family! It’s USDA Organic, vegan friendly, contains probiotics and enzymes to aid in digestion and support immune health. It is also rich in chlorophyll, which helps support detoxification.
    **I put it in my shaker with my pre-workout so it’s less to have to think about. This one I LOVE because I sneak it into as many different foods and drinks for the family as I possibly can! The kids are getting their veggies and have NO idea!
  6. Anti-Bloat-meg marie fitness |supplements |lean body for her | antibloat
    This one isn’t on my “must have” list, it’s more like an extra perk.
    This one: Helps reduce excess water weight, is a natural detox formula, supports natural weight loss, and helps me feel more energized
    **The directions say to take this at night and then in the morning you’ll wake up with far less bloating and water retention. Personally, it keeps me awake at night so I’ve switched to take this in the morning instead. It’s perfect for those times when I have eaten more salt than I should have or during my cycle when water retention is higher.
  7. Sorenzyme- sorenzyme
    Naturally Reduces Exercise Induced Muscle Soreness (D.O.M.S.), Accelerates Workout Recovery, Improves Muscle Gains and Performance
    **Okay, so that can get really wordy, I know…so put simply, this one is UHMAZING and helps me not be so stinkin’ sore!!!!! I don’t understand all of the ins and outs of D.O.M.S. but I do know that if I lift really heavy I sometimes can’t walk the next day, or the following three days. When I take this it drastically improves the speed of recovery. This means I can heal fast and get back to wrestling with my kiddos! 🙂

I hope this list helps! If you want to purchase anything this is the code to my affiliate link to receive 10% off your total order.
www.labrada.com/aff/meg/

If you have ANY questions, please ask. I’ll try to help as best as I am able, and if I don’t know an answer I will most definitely find an answer from someone who does! 🙂

Lean Body 10% off | meg marie | sponsored athlete

"Gym Types"

beach photos-Labrada

Are you a New Year’s Resolution gym goer? Do you fizzle out after a few weeks of training?Are you afraid of working out? Are you intimidated to walk into that big bad gym all by yourself? Are you not seeing any progress from your time in the gym?

I will readily admit my experience and knowledge is not exhaustive. I haven’t spent my whole life in a gym and most certainly have not conducted any fancy studies on this matter. But, from what I can tell, there are typically four types of groups that people fall into when it comes to fitness and the gym. Identifying the most common fitness groups, and which one you might be in, could possibly motivate you to move toward the results you truly desire.

Now, I realize not everyone has the ability or desire to work out in an actual gym. Although my generalizations are about gym folks, these mindsets can be just as applicable for “home worker-outters” as well! (I think I just made that phrase up!)

I’ve given them names and my own personal descriptions and my hope is that you chuckle at least once while reading this! 🙂

beach labrada pics

  1. “The Firecrackers” – The first group represents those that typically come out of hiding around the New Year. Fresh off of the holiday feasts, they make new resolutions and commit themselves all over again for a brand new season of healthy eating and gym workouts. They are quick to buy a gym membership, new running shoes, leggings, tops, sports bras, socks, phone holders, ear phones, water bottles, gym bags…and the list goes on and on and on and on. They are all over Pinterest getting new fitness plans, fitness quotes, fitness advice, and fitness fashion ideas. They are typically overly excited and talk up quite a game as they list off their lofty goals and intended progress on every social media venue possible. Come January the otherwise normally free flowing weight floor is jam packed with squeaky new-shoed, doe-eyed, soon-to-fizzle people we’ve never seen there before, who don’t understand the unwritten “code” of gym conduct, which is simply to spend more time lifting weight than taking pictures. These people sit looking at their phones for inordinate amounts of time on all of the machines, will hog all of the cardio equipment, and think that it’s okay to grab some weights and sit on the floor with them by their side while using their phone to catch up on the latest Hollywood trends and social gossip. They Facebook and Instagram their daily (yes, daily) progress because they think that because they ate a few salads, put some kale into one of their smoothies, and went running for 20 minutes on the treadmill it is sufficient to have made photo worthy changes to brag about.
    But these people don’t last long. This group will fade out faster than a low end spray tan. They see fitness as a quick fix and the minute their schedules get busy or there’s a few days they miss they don’t come back. It is sometime around August or September they realize they’ve been paying for a gym membership they haven’t used since the first week of February, so they cancel it and wait until the following January until it’s time to recommit and clog up the gym floors again.
  2. “The Cats” – The next group of people are the ones who have mentioned month after month or year after year about wanting to get fit and healthy, yet are either too scared or too lazy and have done absolutely nothing about it yet. They watch others from the sidelines, try to listen in on fitness conversations, and try to learn more in their spare time but haven’t made any legitimate moves toward doing it themselves. There is a genuine interest for a lifestyle change, but they don’t want to attempt to commit because they think they will fail before they even begin. They fear they just don’t know enough and might be found out. They “curl up” to the idea that maybe, just maybe, one day they could start a plan but the mere thought of walking into a gym all by themselves brings on a nervous breakdown. “What would I do once I got there?” they wonder.
    These people are afraid of being obvious, like the Firecrackers are, and wish they could just be little invisible flies on the wall to observe everything inside the gym before actually having to be seen there alone and clueless about what to do. These people don’t know where to get started so they tip toe around this unobtainable dream and inwardly get frustrated knowing they need to start somewhere, but don’t know the first step. These people are looking for someone to hold their hand and literally drive them to the gym and be their lifetime gym buddy because they honestly have trouble envisioning ever doing it alone.
  3. “The Scuttlebutters” (fun name right?! seriously, look it up!) – These people are the ones that have the gym membership, and even use it year round, but have not seen changes in their bodies in Lord only knows how long. These people are the ones that use gym time as a social hour and chit chat the entire time. Although not a single drop of sweat was released, they call it a “good workout” because they stayed in the building for over an hour. These are the women (or men!) that personally know every one of the employees, can list off by name the majority of the other members and love, love, love catching up on everyone else’s business…but then they sarcastically wonder why nothing is happening with their body.
    These people are not at all afraid of being seen at the gym, in fact, it is the opposite. Being seen at the gym somehow equates to working out at the gym. Being able to publicly “check in” gives off the impression that they know what they are doing and are healthy and fit. Yet these people are usually the farthest thing from it. They haphazardly move the weights around pretending as if it’s challenging, so that they can appear as if they are working hard, all the while saying they don’t want to lift too much because they fear they might bulk up. They linger on their favorite machines or come up with thousands of stretches to do on the cool down mats to fill in the remainder of the time they think deserves “good workout status” spent at the gym. They’ll set the treadmill at an incredibly slow pace, so they are able to simultaneously walk and talk, to make certain the movement with their feet won’t interfere too much with the movement of their mouths.
  4. And lastly there’s “The Lifers” – These are the people who understand that fitness and health is a lifestyle that doesn’t work like a quick fix ATM. These people understand that a great body, increased energy, increased muscle growth, and increased strength comes not with fancy motivational Instagram quotes, not with some “magical” pixie dust, but with hard work, dedication, a serious plan, and a whole lotta effort. These people wear out their key-ring-gym-tags, as well as their running shoes from consistent usage day after day, month after month, and year after year.
    But, I’m going to let you in on a little secret…here’s something you may not know…the majority of the people that are now called “Lifers” USED to be Firecrackers and can relate to those feelings of being overly hyped up and have fizzled out a time or two…or twelve…in their lifetime. Yet, they now understand the soberness of what is required to remain wholehearted for the long haul, rather than a mere 5 weeks. “Lifers” USED to be Cats and can remember what it was like to have been afraid and not know where to begin and have at one point or another felt clueless and childish. Yet, they’ve put in the effort to grow in knowledge and humbled themselves to ask for help. Now they feel a lightheartedness and inner confidence as they can walk up to any machine in ANY part of the gym and know exactly how to use it. “Lifer’s” USED to be Scuttlebutters and can remember all too well what it was like to not take fitness seriously and look at gym time as social hour. And although they still love to know everyone’s name and everyone’s business, they now choose to see the gym as the place to truly work hard to put the effort forth to get those long awaited results.

Personally, I feel quite skilled at being able to write about each of these groups for it’s me that I’m actually writing about. And if I’m even more honest, I bounce in and out of these various groups often! Sometimes depending on the day…or even the hour!

Sure, there may be others out there who can relate to the stereotypes, but I wasn’t writing about anyone else…not at all. I was writing about me. Stereotypes like these are often times what I feel others are thinking of me and are not only far from reality, but are a total distraction.

I am that girl who is every one of those categories. I am the girl that was scared to death to ask questions. I am the girl that thought if my shoes weren’t dirty enough I would be “found out.” I am the girl that bought all of the new things thinking it would change my health. I am the girl that only went for a few weeks and the fizzled out, not just once but probably a thousand times. I am the girl who literally wants someone to hold my hand and take me there every single day. I am the girl that questions whether or not I belong there and wonders if I am using each machine correctly. I am the one who catches myself spending more time on my phone than I do working out. I am the one who lingers on the stretch mats and check out other girls’ fantastic bodies and wonder what they have that I don’t. I am the one who desperately desires to have someone just tell me what to do and how to do it and when to do it.

It’s me.

And the journey isn’t over. The struggles are real for me every single day. So often I find my mind wandering as I compare myself to those other women. At the gym in particular, I catch myself gazing at those who I feel look like they might have been born there. I’ll watch what they do and how they do it and I think in my mind, “what’s their secret?” When I allow my mind to wander, when I allow my thoughts to become filled with self-doubt I quickly move to despair.  It is at that point that I want to give up. It is at that point I think “why bother.” It is at that point that I think there’s just no reason to keep trying because I’ll never ever “get there.”

But where is “there” anyway???

If I allow my mind to become distracted with fear or with what I feel others might be thinking of me the discouragement that follows is paralyzing.

But the truth is I do need to stop. I do need to quit. I do need to give up…

on comparing myself to others.

My job as a mom, as a wife and a woman is to take care of what I’ve been given. My past fitness posts have beat this same drum again and again, but I’ll continue to say it in as many ways as I possibly can. Fitness is a matter of stewardship. It is about taking care of what I’ve been given.  It is not about what someone else says I am, or what someone else says that I am not. It is not about what I look like, it is not about what that other girl over there looks like. It’s not about some standard that’s “out there” that I need to measure up to. And there certainly isn’t anything “magical” that those other girls have that the rest of us don’t.

Keep pushing sweet friends. But please, oh please, don’t waste your time comparing.

So, which gym type are you? Do you feel like you’re in one of those categories more often than another? Or do you flip flop in and out of them all like I do? Which group do you relate to the most? Do you catch yourself comparing? What fears do you have about being a woman and being at the gym?

beach running

xoxo-Meg

page break

Practical Fitness Perspective: From the Emergency Room

When I began the journey to enter the 2015 Labrada Spokesmodel competition, I had to create a new plan to get my body to the next “level.” I mapped it all out on a calendar. I knew what foods I would eat and when I would eat them. I planned what time of the day I would get everyone to the gym and how long those workouts would be.

I had also planned two workouts a day to really push myself more than I had before, especially since I was short on time. I planned out my rest to make sure I went to bed on time, did my weekly food prep, and studied up on all of the refreshers that I needed to get my head in the game. I needed new running shoes, but didn’t have the money to get them quite yet, so I put together a plan to be able to afford those within a few weeks time as well. I was trying think of everything I would need to make sure I finished strong.

All was going well. The “plan” was working. I was following through with what I had intended to do and was beginning to see the early stages of the results.

taking a walk

Until one evening…

It was a normal weekday evening. The weather was beautiful, the sun going down.

We had just finished family dinner.

The kids were playing outside at the park in front of our house and I was baking some cookies.cooking together


Kai

And all of a sudden I heard the most awful, piercing, blood-curdling screams I have ever heard in my entire life. I paused for just a moment because, like any mom, I can tell within a couple of seconds whose child it is.

Sure enough, it was mine.

And it was my oldest son. My Bubba, my Kai.

A second later I heard my husband yelling, “Get mom!” “Get mom!”

I knew, whatever it was, was bad. I ran outside, knocking over one of the dining chairs and just barely avoiding trampling over my daughter, whose eyes were as huge as saucers as she was as terrified as I was. I saw my husband holding my son in both of his arms running toward the house. My son, still screaming, and my husband yelling “get the insurance cards and some ice NOW!!! AND DON’T LOOK AT HIS ARMS!!!!”

All five kids were hysterical at this point. The 2 year old, who had been playing in the back of a parked pick up truck, was now standing over the edge screaming, and my husband was asking me to get him out of there! My other two middle sons were screaming out of fear and sheer panic. My daughter, who had raced outside with me, was crying and whimpering frantically.

I ignored my husbands advice and I ran to my son to look at his arms. My heart was panicking and my head spinning as I scanned his body and tried to assess what in the world had just happened and how bad the damage was.

And then I saw it.

His right arm looked like an S. What used to be a normal shaped wrist and arm now looked like a snake. His hand was hanging limp and his wrist already swollen. His head was bloody, his arm clearly broken and his forehead was already the size of a softball.

My heart was pounding. Tears were welling up. A knot immediately formed in my throat and another in my stomach. I frantically attempted to get the insurance cards, yet nothing in me wanted to leave his side.

As my husband peeled out of the driveway, I caught a glimpse of my son’s face. No one was in the car to comfort and encourage him because I had four other kids to put to bed and my husband had to drive. My son had tears streaming down his face and the most terrified look in his eyes.

I honestly think my heart could have ripped in half.

Tears now were streaming down my own face.

I called as quickly as I could in search of anyone that could come help me, and finally a young gal from our church answered and came over to the house as fast as she could. While I waited for her to arrive, I managed to put the other kids to bed and packed a bag to be ready to catch up to my husband and son at the children’s hospital.

The ER room was packed, and though my son was no longer screaming his face showed every bit of the pain he was in. By that time they had put him in a wheelchair and my husband was doing all he could to console him. My son was trying as best as he could to doze off and would even start to, but the wheelchair wasn’t stable and every time he would loosen the tightness in his core the padding underneath him would slip, jolt him, and send him back into screams of pain.

I gently slid myself underneath him and sat down in the wheelchair underneath him.

Exam room 22; children's hospital

I held him there, I sang to him, prayed for him, and told him repeatedly that everything would be okay—all the while not knowing anything about when or how the doctors would help him.

ER

Finally he fell asleep in my arms. I did not move even a single muscle.

It was this moment, and many more so very much like them, that were in the back of my mind as I later wrote the script for my entry video for the Labrada contest.

“Fitness in and of itself is NOT my biggest priority. Pursuing a life of strength and health allows me to do the best job possible as a wife and mom. I need to be ready…for anything and everything.”Kai in the Hospital

We spent 7 hours in that hospital. After Xrays, an IV,morphene, sedation, and casts we were sent home with two broken arms, a slight concussion and a young boy vomiting every twenty minutes as the morphene wore off.

11173354_10153268108389106_2903968109208882363_n

 

I was awake all night long as I held his head and cleaned him up each time he got sick, and it was my absolute and total joy to be the one to care for him.

In the days and weeks that followed we were overwhelmed with support, love and kindness from friends and family

kai's cards from school

He was not able to return to school for 6 weeks, which meant I was his main caretaker for every single thing he needed around the clock. With two broken arms he was unable to even wipe his nose or scratch his foot, much less eat or use the restroom on his own. He slept right by me during the night, and then in the day I got him a bell so that he could ring it every time he needed something.11182111_10153269978059106_4979657080895113524_n

I still had the other kids to care for, which meant there was absolutely no down time for me. From the second my feet hit the floor until the few moments I was able to sleep before Kai needed my help through the night, it was a constant and all-out sprint in service to my family.

It was those days, and so many similar to them, that I remembered in my mind when I wrote…

 “I know what it’s like to still pursue a fitness goal with little or no sleep, and little or no food and off the chart stress levels.”

Kai being spoiled

At this point I was already “behind” from beginning the fitness plan 7 weeks away from the deadline. And life was already busy with five little ones…and now a son with two broken arms and a concussion.kids helping kai

What was I to do?

Quit trying and forget about it all? Or keep trying, keep pushing, keep going, keep pressing on?

I chose to keep working.

I changed up EVERYTHING. I re-planned and re-organized and I managed the home to revolve around the needs of those around me, like I always did, only the needs were FAR greater than I had originally planned on.

The pace was even faster and the demands on me even higher. I kept up with my personal meal planning, and the family meal planning, sometimes doing food prep and cooking into the wee hours of the morning.

kai feeling better

I fit in workouts whenever I possibly could, but was unable to use the gym as I originally intended. I couldn’t bring myself to leave my son’s side for very long at all and there was NO way I was about to put him at risk going to the gym childcare room.

I had to think outside of the box, using videos from YouTube, using fitness DVD’s I purchased a decade ago, using fitness apps on my phone, or just making up workouts as I went along.

As my son began to feel better he would sit on a blanket outside at the park across the street from our house and clock me as I ran sprints and laps. I would let him pretend to be my coach and give me my exercises on demand! He would come up with the most goofy and silly things for me to do and we still laugh at how fun those workouts were!

No doubt it was a bonding experience!

So, how’d I do?! Well, I wasn’t as prepared as I wanted to be for the Spokesmodel contest…but that was not my number one priority. Life happens…and sometimes accidents happen. I know, with all confidence, that I wouldn’t change a single thing as I put my son first. He still speaks fondly about how much fun it was to be waited on hand and foot during those days. And my other kids joke that they want to break their arms too to get that kind of attention like he did! (Seriously, they’d better not!)

The script for my entry video came from my genuine convictions that nothing will come before caring for my family. I do what I do TO care for my family.

Fitness, for me, has so little to do with what I look like in a swim suit. To have the strength to carry my son, to hold him for intensely long amounts of time, to have the endurance to meet his needs, as well as care for the remainder of my home without the rest and food I needed…there is no way I could have done that without being healthy and strong.

Fitness is NOT my biggest priority, rather it is a means to another end, caring for those I love most.

hugging pic

In case you missed it, the link to my Labrada entry video is here. My brother and I filmed this to enter the 2015 Labrada Spokesmodel Competition. He did such a wonderful job capturing a day in the life of the Wallace Family. And most certainly, check out my son’s rockin’ casts! 🙂

He chose red!

 

page break

motivation for fitness

 

meg_wallace_20150719_017

My family is full of runners. My dad ran numerous marathons. My brother and sister and I ran cross country and track in high school. My sister was a rock-star runner and even still holds a state record at our old high school.

Exercise and outdoor activities have always been a part of my life. I can remember going on long bike rides as a family while my dad would run. I remember hiking together on vacations, taking swim lessons, tennis lessons, going for family runs every Thanksgiving, and having weights and fitness equipment in our garage.

I never intended to be a runner. In high school I actually tried to be a softball player to be something different than my siblings, but my coach finally pulled me aside and told me I was a terrible softball player and that I belonged on the track. I am so thankful for his blunt honesty!

Finally, I gave in and decided to run.

I was “okay” at running. Not bad, but most certainly was not the fastest.

But the teammates…oh, how I loved the teammates. And I loved the coaches. And I loved the workouts every afternoon, and how we got popsicles from the team parents after practice. I loved the deliriously funny conversations we girls would have while running mile after mile together. I loved the way we’d practically collapse after the workouts were finished and we’d chit chat while we stretched. I love how we would laugh at how bad our blisters were, and vote on whose shoes were the dirtiest, and make fun of the person who had the bright, new, clean, unbroken in, running shoes. I loved the camaraderie of cheering one another on and Saturdays filled with races. I actually hated the competing part…I would get so nervous I would literally throw up before every race…but aside from that, I’ll treasure forever the memories of being on a team.

When it came time to pick a college, I chose to pass up a full ride scholarship running at a smaller school because I wanted to go to a bigger university at a place that felt like home. My parents both went to the University of Oklahoma. My sister, a year older than me, was already there. I could have walked-on to the team at OU…instead, I joined a sorority. 🙂

I worked at a couple of gyms throughout college, and I would casually run here and there, but relationships, and classes, and the fun of the college years overshadowed what fitness goals I had…errrrr…I should say what fitness goals I didn’t have. It honestly just wasn’t much of a priority to me then.

Fast forward 5 years…shortly after I was married, I decided to run a marathon. It was on my “bucket list,” so I gave it a shot. I trained for 3 months and pushed through a bum knee and some hip trouble…but I did it! All 26.2 miles of it! My brother ran with me too. And it was right at mile #20 when I decided that I no longer enjoyed running. At all. In my mind, and out loud to my brother for the last 6 miles, I swore that after I finished that race I would never run again!

marathon

Soon after the marathon my husband and I began trying to get pregnant, which eventually led to working with a fertility clinic. Limiting exercise was one thing the doctors requested of me, and I was far more concerned about having a baby than I was about fitness goals.

Fast forward again…I endured a combined total of 3 years of fertility treatments, followed by 6 pregnancies, including a miscarriage, and five live births in 6 1/2 years time…

Kate birth

To say my body has been “through it” is an understatement. After the birth of our fifth child, I remember thinking that I have this amazing family, yet I look and feel horrible.

I knew I needed a plan. I knew I needed to do something serious.

Now, let me pause the story here….

I know that there are people who would wish for me to now tell about the “how.” “How did I lose the baby weight?” “How” do I do what I do. “How” do I make time for the gym, “how” do I do my workouts, “how” do I eat, or “how” do I keep going when the needs at home are so demanding. If I’m honest that is THE one question I am most frequently (for sure daily and sometimes dozens of times in a day depending on what errands I have to run) asked. “How do you do it all?”

Meg Wallace: Why I Work Out

And hang on!!! I promise, I’ll get there, and I’ll be as practical and simple in explaining it all as I can in the near future!!!

I need to first address the “why” before the “how.”
It’s important.

WHY?

Why do I do what I do? What is my motivation?

Do I simply want a hot bikini body? Do I want others to notice me? Do I want to stand on a stage for a contest? Do I want to win an award? Do I want to be able to fit into my pre-children clothes? Do I not want to have to stand in front of a mirror for inordinate amounts of time trying on every bit of my wardrobe over and over again because nothing fits right anymore? Do I simply want to look and feel better? Do I think that others will like me more if I just looked better? Do I feel that I would be accepted or wanted or loved more if I had a different shape?

My fitness goals have sometimes had some hidden reasons that took me awhile to admit, sort through, and throw away. I once dated someone in college that broke up with me numerous times because of what I looked like. He clearly wanted a “trophy wife,” and I just didn’t fit his standard. He once ended our relationship because he had the fear that I might one day have kids and not be “in shape” anymore.

And here I was…I’d had a lot of kids. I was not in shape anymore.

(Thankfully, I did not marry him!)

At the time my ex-boyfriend’s comments marked me and left wounds in my heart. What he said was hurtful and the fact that our relationship changed so dramatically because of his negative opinion of my appearance was painful.

The temptation was to become frozen with discouragement or overactive and attempt perfection.

Either response is wrong, though. Either way would be unhealthy, and will most certainly lead down some very self-centered, self-focused, and self-deluded paths. I’ve had to learn to openly talk about these things and intentionally, consistently reset my thinking with truth.

If my identity is wrapped up in what I look like, if I am striving toward fitness so that I can show off to others, or if I have fears about not being accepted because I’m not at my best, then it is time to stop looking in my mirror and start looking to Jesus.

I no longer have a team or friends cheering me on. There is no coach, there is no one checking on me to make sure I went to practice, there’s no one at the gym waiting for me to sign in, and there is certainly no team mom buying me popsicles after I workout every day!

So, where does my motivation come from?! How do I stay consistent? How do I create fitness goals that do not define me? How can I remain steadfast in my determination?

And WHY? WHY do I do it all?

Fitness is a matter of stewardship.

Stewardship: [stoo-erd-ship, styoo-] noun
-the responsible overseeing and protection of something considered worth 
caring for and preserving
I’ve been given the gift of a body, one that the Bible refers to as a tent that will one day fold up, yet, in the meantime I am to care for it, preserve it, and tend to it, just like someone would care for, preserve, and tend to a garden.

I believe I have been entrusted to use not only my body, but whatever gifts, talents and strengths that I may possess to care for myself, my home, as well as the people who reside in it. The role of a wife and mom is not to be taken lightly and I truly believe marriage, motherhood and fitness, go hand in hand. If I could be so bold…I do not understand how I could possibly separate them.

meg fitness (1 of 21)

“How do you find time to get your workouts in?” is the wrong question.

My reply is always the same, “how could I not?”

I make time because it is worth my time.

The time I spend at the gym is an investment in something far more important. Yes, I will happily admit, it is my one single hour each day that is all to myself (well, so long as I don’t get a call from the childcare room asking me to come help with one or more of my kids…which happens uhhhhlot!). At the gym, I can listen to whatever music I desire (in mom world that is a BIG deal!), I can go at whatever pace I want (with no one tugging on my leg or asking for goldfish), or I can even listen to a sermon or maybe a webinar (two birds with one stone, right?).

The gym is my kind of safe-haven, short-release, small-retreat, getaway each day.

meg fitness (13 of 21)

But…what I value, even more than it being some “me” time, is that exercise and strength training are crucial for me to do what I do every day as a wife and mom, to do it WELL, to do it to the absolute best of my ability.

When I am strong and healthy, I am far more alert, far more disciplined in how I spend my time, much more focused, have significantly increased energy (without any added caffeine), and I have more strength and endurance to be able to handle the pace and stress of my day to day obligations.

Fitness is a whole lot less about what I look like and a whole lot more about what I can offer others.

meg fitness (17 of 21)

At times, I confess, I begin to notice my thinking or my mindset beginning to shift back toward the reasons listed above. I will notice that I become frustrated when I can’t make my workouts happen or I get bothered at how much time and effort my family requires of me. I will begin to over critique myself or over manage the things I eat. Those are HUGE red flags that my heart is not right and that I need to not delay in resetting once more. It is at that point that I must choose to admit it, speak openly about it, repent of it, and come back to “home base.”

If I boil it down very simply…I am responsible for myself and for my family. I must steward well what I’ve been given. I make fitness and health a priority, refusing to “let it slide,” because it is my job to care well for those who depend on me.

lake flex pic

If you are conscious about health, fitness and exercise, have you considered the reasons as to why you do what you do?
If you are not concerned about health, fitness, and exercise, have you considered the reasons as to why you’ve chosen not to?

Comment below, I’d love to hear your stories.

 

Labrada Spokesmodel Contest 2015

Screen Shot 2015-08-30 at 11.36.31 PM

 

 

 

IMG_1423x2I have followed Jamie Eason for quite awhile now. Jamie is one of the top female fitness models in the world and is currently Labrada’s poster child for the company (as far as the women’s side of things). Personally, I think so highly of her. She is a cancer survivor, married to a worship pastor, is a mom, looks amazing and loves Jesus. I originally found her on Pinterest and began her 12 week training program after delivering my 5th baby. I loved the simplicity of the program. It spells out in great detail what to eat, how to workout, and what exercises to do. I didn’t and couldn’t hire a personal trainer so this was the closest I could find to someone guiding me through the weight room. I had dabbled with weights in the past but mostly in group exercise classes and spent the majority of my workouts doing cardio. The results of her program were evident, and after that I began following her on social media. One day she posted the ad for the Labrada competition and mentioned that it was an amazing opportunity for women desiring to enter into the fitness-modeling world. Never, ever, did I think that I could make top 7, much less win, but I decided to shoot for the moon anyhow!

11885075_10153561135589106_8304173119276417650_n

I found out about the competition 8 weeks prior to the entry deadline…3 days before we were heading out of town for our week long family vacation. Knowing I wasn’t starting from scratch was encouraging, but I knew once we got back I would be really short on time to get the results I knew I would need.  Nevertheless, I had the thought that it was at least worth a shot. The day we got home from our family vacation I put together a plan. My husband was unbelievably supportive and was the backbone to my efforts to strictly change up my diet and find time to get into the gym. He pushed me, encouraged me and challenged me…especially on the days when I wanted to give up.

I made a deal with my brother that I would paint his new son’s baby furniture if he’d help with my entry video for the competition. I wrote the script and mapped out a filming itinerary (we were short on time that day) and he filmed and edited the whole thing. He is incredibly talented, did an amazing job and I am unbelievably proud to be his sister. You can read more about my brother HERE. And here’s the video he made too!

A few weeks later they announced the finalists, and I had actually been picked as one! I was so thankful, surprised and so appreciative of being chosen!

After Labrada picked the top 7 female finalists, the contest was then opened up for a popular vote. The videos were posted online and there was a button that people could click next to the name of their favorite contestant. The vote was never to decide or choose the winner, rather, it was simply a fun way to include friends, family, and the public. As the days and weeks went on, the numbers next to my video grew high! It was crazy to receive so many texts, calls, and emails from people from all over the country that were following my progress!

11698755_10153429871894106_5478218626410755829_n

On the day the winners were to be announced, Matt, in anticipation of me possibly being chosen as the winner, had taken the day off to hang out with me while we waited on the phone call. But the phone call never came. Late in the afternoon, one of my dear friends saw the results on Instagram and texted me the news. I have to admit that I was sad to have not been chosen as the winner, but at the same time was still so very appreciative and honored to have even been chosen as a finalist. I genuinely and sincerely congratulate the Labrada 2015 Spokesmodel winners! The team that decided the outcome said that it was a tough decision for them to choose a winner, and for those two to be the ones picked out of that deliberation is a great honor for them!

Thank you again to everyone who voted, passed along my link, encouraged me, prayed for me, and rooted me on in this contest for the role of Labrada Spokesmodel.

Shortly after they chose the winner, I received an invitation from Labrada Nutrition giving the remaining 6 women and 6 men the opportunity to become Labrada Ambassadors. It involves taking a few pics each week of my normal life using the Labrada products that I already use every single day, but I now receive those for free as a sponsored athlete!!!! I love Labrada’s company, love their products, and especially love their current team. Even though I didn’t win first place, I have accepted the role of a Labrada Ambassador Athlete and am so excited to get to be a part of the Labrada team/family.

Labrada stroller pic