Murph 2022

This marks the 8th year (I think? I’ve lost count to be honest) that I’ve completed the Memorial Day Murph Workout.

For those not in the know “Murph” is a workout done in memory of Lt. Michael Murphy in Crossfit, gym facilities, and military bases around the world usually on Memorial Day (though it’s also done as a stand alone workout anytime someone feels particularly sadistic.)

If you are unfamiliar with the event, the men involved, and why the workout is held annually click here to read more.

I show up each year, and some years I crush it while others I slog through it. This year fell into the latter category and my goal was simply to show up. Lately I have found that to be the case with my training, and it is incredibly frustrating. I share this to say even though I work in the fitness industry motivation is often not there, so I cannot rely on it alone to show up.

I had friends and clients join me for the workout today, I was the host so I couldn’t back out. I told myself to do what I could, that showing up was more important than beating my body to oblivion. Just show up. I did, and I finished all the reps required in under my hour time cap. I also helped my 8 year old son get through his reps. His goal was to finish it this year, and while it took him over 2 hours he can check the box and say it’s done. We weren’t out to win any awards or set any records, but we crossed the finish line and to me that’s one reason why we participate each Memorial Day.

Murph is done each year in remembrance. Remembering the men and women that have paid the ultimate sacrifice for the rest of us. It’s one hour, that’s it. Even if you do a modified version (and to be clear that is exactly what I do) it’s that opportunity to think about something that is so much bigger than yourself.

I hope if you are reading this that you enjoy time outside with your family today. Cookouts, beach time, maybe a nap in the shade. Whatever the case may be, don’t forget why you usually get today off and say a little prayer for those that are on watch while we enjoy the holiday. Land of the Free, Because of the Brave.

SG

A lesson in patience

I am not a patient person. I do not pretend to be.

I am raising two independant and also not very patient children. To my own demise there are moments in which that is a recipe for disaster.

This morning felt like one of those moments.

My son informed me last night before bed that he was going to be making breakfast sandwiches for himself and his sister in the morning. He needed to be woken up early so he could do that for her before she needed to leave (she goes to school 90 minutes before he does).

So I made sure he was up and began putting away the clean dishes from last night trying to stay out of the way. Watching the mess and general slowness that comes with still learning how to cook had me counting to ten and taking as many deep breaths as I could without being audible. While he was tossing eggs around she was preparing her lunch in the most unconventional way I think I’ve ever seen and there was peanut butter EVERYWHERE.

Still trying not to say a word, scream, or otherwise take over because I want them to be able to do these things on their own (even at the expense of my kitchen) I stayed out of the way and only offered assistance when it was implicitly asked for.

Two breakfast sandwiches were consumed, lunches were packed, and after 10 minutes all peanut butter, crumbs, and egg remnants had been removed from the counters. I know it sounds like such a dumb, small thing. It is, and I know this. But its another one of those times in parenthood that you don’t think about until you’re living it.

I’ve worked with teens that didn’t know how to cook even scrambled eggs or a grilled cheese. Didn’t know how to do their own laundry, or had never cleaned the bathroom. I want to be sure that my kids are not those kids. At this point they can cook small things with minimal supervision, they know how to start the washer and dryer (even though that is one thing I am not ready to pass the torch on), and they alternate who cleans the bathroom every other week. The bathroom has been a fantastic lesson in aim for my son so I count it as a win.

While they are both picking up skills that I hope they take with them when they no longer live under our roof, it comes at the expense of my patience and sanity. I do have some OCD tendencies that seem to be more prevalent as I get older, and there are moments where it is so much faster if I just do it myself. But then they don’t learn. Then they expect me to always do it for them.

I love to cook for my kids, I enjoy doing thing for them (can you guess my love language?) but there is a fine line between love and enabling behavior. So here we are. A lesson in patience before the coffee is ready on a Monday morning. We live dangerously around here, but I know in the long run it will be worth it.

Is there anything that you are doing while raising your kids that sometimes makes you crazy?? I’d love to hear about it if you’re willing to share.

SG

Happy Mother’s Day

I’ve felt very loved today by my kids and husband. I’ve also felt the love from friends and family as text messages have been sent back and forth wishing each other the best.

Being a mom is rad.

I’ve known since I was a kid that I wanted to be a mom. It isn’t something I ever questioned, and I am ever grateful that I met my husband and I shared a vision of having a family.

Motherhood makes me laugh daily, cry frequently, scream occasionally, and always end my day thanking God for the two humans he assigned to my care.

Summiting our annual 14er last summer.. Next up this year- Quandry Peak

I am also grateful for the relationship I have with my own mother. It is not perfect, and we are different humans, but I know without a shadow of a doubt my mom is my number one supporter and fan. She always has been, and I know she always will be. From sports practices to sleepovers, moving me into my dorm at Northwood to helping plan my wedding, welcoming grandbabies and helping me drive across the country with a toddler and 6 month old, even if she might not love an idea at first she’s usually the first one in the front row. She’s also Grammie-extraordinaire to all five of her grandkids. There is nothing she loves more then having us all together, which is rare but an event to be sure. We’re going to have a good time when we all invade their house this summer.

I’d be remiss not to also give a shout-out to my mother-in-law. I know many women that married into families that come with a Monster-In-Law. I was NOT one of those people. I’ve been married to my husband for almost 15 years and known his family for 20. They are some of the kindest, most genuine, often loud, always supportive humans I’ve ever met. I was welcomed by the Galsters from day one and as we’ve all grown together from across the country to in the same house, to in the same metro area, I am so happy to be a part of the Galster Clan. My mother in law is also one proud and crazy Nana. If there’s an event, she is there, and the smile that overtakes my children’s faces makes my heart full.

I know that not everyone celebrates Mother’s Day, like any other holiday we all have our reasons for doing what we do. Today is just another day for some people, maybe a day to be skipped all together for some, and for others it’s a day to celebrate. Whatever you choose to do today I hope your day is filled with love and to my fellow Mama’s out there- Happy Mother’s Day!

SG

Hips Don’t Lie

And they get incredibly bitchy if you don’t pay them the attention they feel they deserve.

The number of injuries, tightness and general discomfort that come from having tight hips is more then I’m willing to bet you even realize.

As women we carry stress and trauma in our hips. How interesting between our hips is where we carry babies, where our reproductive organs live, and is also where we as women are most grounded/ rooted. That isn’t coincidence friends, that is how the creator intended us to be.

Low back pain, knee pain, guess what often (not always, but often) plays a roll? You guessed it, all the muscles around your hips.

Ok, fine, so what am I supposed to do about it?

Ahh, I’m so glad you asked! (Yes, I have these types of conversations with myself often.)

There are TONS of exercises that you can do, but today I’m going to show you just one that I try to spend time in every day. I notice when I don’t take the time, so I have to assume that it’s working even if it feels only marginal.

The z-sit or 90/90 sit is Queen in my book. You sit with your legs in a “Z” or both at 90 degrees. Rocking and moving around in circles will help the hips loosen up. Not going to lie, the position can be a bit uncomfortable at first. If it is, that’s a subtle (or not so subtle) indication that more time in that position will be beneficial.

Starting with a couple minutes while scrolling your phone or watching Netflix is perfect. Increasing the time and eventually the range of movement will come as you get more comfortable in the z-sit.

Give the z-sit a try, and let me know how it goes.

SG

Motion Lotion

Man if you have even a little bit of a sense of humor that title has endless possibilities for ridicule. It’s a good thing I’m aware I do these things to myself.

I love movement, I don’t think I could do what I do if I didn’t. I like to lift heavy things off the floor, and sometimes over my head. I want to still be doing my thing when I’m in my 80’s, and I know movement plays a roll in the goal.

I also know that quality of movement begets quantity in the long run. Hear me out.

Exercise and movement are good for all the parts- muscles, bones, joints, heart, lungs and brain. When we move we almost always feel better. But one could argue that some movements are better then others. On top of that, it’s not the shiny objects that tend to give you the most bang for your buck.

I’ve had to learn the hard way (IE by beating up my own body) that going hard and fast all the time is going to wear you out sooner. At 38 I deal with a couple of chronic issues that I may have been able to prevent if I’d allowed myself to slow down more often and listen instead of drown out what my body was trying to tell me. I am grateful that I did finally listen before something as serious as surgery was thrown out there, and I will do EVERYTHING I can do avoid having any kind of procedure done.

So what does that look like? This puzzle has MANY pieces, so today the one I’m going to share is walking and tomorrow it’s hip mobility exercises.

Walking- Yes, you read that correctly. Get outside and go for a walk. 10, 15, 20 minutes. Use your arms, turn your face towards the sun. Listen to your favorite song or a podcast. Listen to nature. Breathe through just your nose (inhale and exhale). Can you do it? Give it a try, it’s harder then you might think.

Walking is a form of “cardio”. It’s not high impact or high intensity, and that’s the point. Running, biking, jumping, and rowing all have their place. All of them can be hard on your joints when done for an extended period of time at a moderate to high-intensity. So instead of doing one of those 5-7 days a week, add in some extended periods of just walking.

We have been conditioned to think that if we aren’t working HARD, breathing heavy and breaking a sweat that we aren’t doing enough to make a difference. That my friends is where we’ve got it all wrong. Our bodies spend an exorbitant amount of time in fight or flight. That is our natural stress response, and unless you’ve been living off the grid for the past few years, there’s a high likelihood that you’re running at a high frequency more often then you should.

Exercise is a stressor, walking is a way to utilize movement while not tipping the scale too far in the stressed-out direction. So if today isn’t snowing, raining buckets, or so windy you’re questioning whether or not you’re in Kansas anymore, get outside and take a walk. With the dog, with your kid, by yourself. Whatever it takes. And if that’s all the movement you get in today because life has other plans for you then congratulations. You can check the box and keep on moving right along.

SG

It’s Gonna Be May…

Actually, it is May. I’d love to know where the first four months of this year went because WOW.

My kids are officially out of school in 24 calendar days (I can’t math as to what that means in school days right now) and it doesn’t feel possible that summer is knocking on our door. Our weather has also not helped that but I digress.

Through 2022 I’ve been better about showing up here (because when I do it makes me really happy) but still the presence hasn’t been consistent. To be honest that feels like the story of my life. I’m great at showing up for others but showing up for myself has long been a practice of consistency and discipline. There’s always work to be done.

So I’m challenging myself by showing up here in some capacity five times per week. That is a massive jump from occasionally/ once per month, but sometimes you just need to rip the band-aid off.

I don’t have an excuse. I have once again deleted all social media apps off my phone. While a friend of mine went viral a week ago with a tweet about a story his daughter wrote (laugh here). I’ve enjoyed the dramatics of Elon buying Twitter and people losing their shit, but I need a break. I don’t even tweet to be honest, I’m just on the ‘Gram but it is SO easy to let it be all-consuming and I can’t figure out how to manage it and so I delete the app and walk away.

Also, my kids are not allowed on social media and my husband ISN’T on social media so what kind of example am I setting? Not one I’m a fan of and here we are.

What am I going to show up here about?

To be honest it’s going to depend. I’ve long wanted to just blog about life because I know for a fact there are many fellow moms out there trying to raise the kids, keep the house, be a good partner while also take care of ourselves and show up as the Lionesses we know we are. I am a trainer by trade, but that part plays just one role in the many hats I and many other Moms wear every day.

So yes, there will be strength training based posts because I can’t help myself. But there are several posts that have been sitting in the compose box for months that I might post in the coming weeks. We shall see. This also forces me to work on my email list, if you find you enjoy the random musings and would like to hear from me on a bit more personal level. That too will be up and running soon.

For now I’m going to sign off. Turn on “Call Me Little Sunshine” by Ghost so that the stupid NSYNC song I’ve had in my head goes away, and I’ll see you back here tomorrow. Happy Monday ok Byeeeeeeeee

SG

What kind of exercise is the best kind of exercise?

A frequently asked question and one that has a varied and nuanced answer. One might assume my answer is going to be strength training, and they’d be partially correct.

The answer that I often give and will continue to stand by regarding this question is- The best kind of exercise is the one you can show up and do consistently.

Yes, I would be lying if I didn’t say that using weights in your training is beneficial for pretty much everyone when done correctly. It’s what my clients do, and it is 100% what I do personally. It also comes with some caveats.

I don’t want to work out for hours. I can, I DON’T WANT TO. If my programming takes me longer then 30m to complete I will lose interest and not finish it. I learned a lot about how I view my training in the past year and half and efficiency plays a big role. That being said my big lifts aren’t going to increase by leaps and bounds, and my mobility is not going to improve if I don’t give it at least 5 minutes (more like 10-15) each day. I know that, and I’m ok with it.

But enough about me, what about the women that trust me with their journey? My new clients don’t have sessions longer then 40 minutes. That includes their warm up and their cool down. We focus and we are efficient with our time and movement. We utilize big full-body exercises that focus on several systems/ parts at once. We start where we need to start and we increase load as needed. Some days we stretch and spend time on the floor, other days we swing kettlebells and push the sled. My goal for every sessions is that you leave our time together feeling better then you did when you arrived.

So yes, weights are MY favorite. I have kettlebells and a couple badass strong women to thank for that. But at the end of the day the best exercise is something you can show up and do consistently. Lifting, Zumba, Pilates, Yoga, taking a walk with the dog, or a group fitness class at your local Rec center. Whatever it takes, movement is movement and that’s how you begin. From there you get to dive deeper and cherry-pick a bit more but that’s a post for another day.

I’ll end with saying- If you want to make changes to your routine but feel like you don’t know where to start I do consultation calls to see if we would be a good fit. Leave me a note here or at sara@activelylivingawesome.com and lets chat. We all start somewhere.

Why is healthy so HARD???

A question I have not only asked but that I get asked by clients on almost a weekly basis. Why is living a “healthy” life or making healthy choices so hard?

As with everything in this space, that is a very broad question with a rather nuanced answer but here are three reasons that stand out to me being the biggest reasons why.

  1. It’s easier to be unhealthy. Sound like BS? Depends on the person but really, our life of quick accessibility and immediate gratification have made anything that takes even a small amount of effort an inconvenience. Health is a life-long journey. It ebbs and flows, and it requires constant tweaking. Discipline is necessary in order to maintain any progress that has been made, and if we’re being honest discipline isn’t sexy. It isn’t fun. Modern life has made it EASIER to be unhealthy.
  2. Being healthy/ making health a priority is EXPENSIVE. Take a look at any menu- what is the most expensive vs. the least? When you’re in the store, is organic produce and pasture raised meat more expensive then the normal produce and pre-packaged stuff? Then look at what comes out of the freezer, canned and boxed areas. That stuff is pennies on the dollar by comparison. How about medical care? I have MANY strong feelings as it pertains to our healthcare system (95% them are not fantastic) but follow the dollar signs. Even the way fitness is marketed- what does a Peloton cost? How about a boutique gym membership? All of the things that point to making healthier choices usually come with a price tag. Are there free options out there? Of course there are! But they aren’t nearly as sparkly.
  3. Change. Is. Hard. Period. The way we are hardwired (as humans) we don’t like change. It’s uncomfortable, it’s challenging, and in order to see results we have to put effort in for an extended period of time. That doesn’t not correlate with the current world we live in, but this isn’t a new phenomenon. Making New Years Resolutions has been a joke forever, and yet people set themselves up for the same failure every year. We’re going to start on Monday, or after we do this, or after that happens, and then we don’t do anything at all because #hard.

So am I here to defend the above reasons and tell you that your health is not your problem and that it should be made easier so you can make the changes you need to make.

If you think that you don’t know me very well.

I’ll say it again (I’ve been saying this for months) YOUR HEALTH IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY. Nobody elses.

In rebuttal to the excuses commonly used above I will encourage you to consider instead-

  1. Instead of focusing on how hard it is, look for easy wins. You’ve heard this before but instead of taking the elevator (if you actually go anywhere these days) take the stairs. Or park in a further parking space instead of right up front. Go outside and take a walk if you have a break instead of scrolling social media for 10 minutes. Pack your lunch instead of eating out. Read a book instead of zoning out to Netflix. You don’t have to make huge choices all the time to see progress, the little things become the dial movers with consistent practice.
  2. Yes, health is expensive. But being SICK is more expensive. Buying better quality anything will cost you more up front. Better food, better supplements, better beauty products, yes it adds up. But if you want sticker shock- google how much a heart bypass surgery costs ($20,000-$30,000). Cancer treatment ($5000-$70,000 depending on treatment). Insulin for the rest of your life ($200-$500 per month depending on insurance coverage). Sure Medicare will cover some of it, but even the best insurance plans leave people broke from paying for treatments to illnesses that can often be prevented by taking care of your health. That doesn’t mean you have to overhaul everything about your shopping list and life all at once. You might go broke if you try to do it that way (especially right now). But when you run out of something, replace it with a healthy alternative (things like personal beauty care products, home cleaning products and laundry soap). Don’t buy things that you know trigger you to over-indulge. Invest your money in the dial movers one at a time. Something is almost always better then nothing.
  3. Instead of focusing on the Hard, focus on the Wins. As I mentioned before, we aren’t wired to like making big changes in our life. We get set in our ways, and once that happens See Ya Later Alligator. Instead of looking at how far you need to go, sit back and acknowledge how far you’ve already come. I’m a big fan of rewarding yourself for progress (the trick is finding a reward that isn’t going to set you back and trigger other negative habits or feelings) so find something that will bring you joy to reward your progress. Also, when you mess up or don’t perfectly execute something shake it off and keep going. The number of times I’ve seen people (and at times done this myself) throw in towel after one small mistake is enough to make me pull out the small amount of hair I have. As I said before, the small things add up to become the big things. Celebrate the victories no matter how small they seem and keep moving forward.

So let’s wrap this up… Why is “Healthy” hard? Because it benefits way more people for it to be hard, not easy.

It’s up to you grab the bull by the horns and decide for YOU what being healthy means and what YOU are willing to do to get there. Start small, be intentional & gradual, and celebrate the wins regardless of how unremarkable they may seem. “Healthy” is a challenge, but it only has to be as hard as you make it.

You’ve got this, I have the utmost faith in you!

~Sara

Let’s get intentional

If you have followed me for any amount of time then you know how I feel about New Years Resolutions. The whole “New Year, New You” thing is overblown and quite frankly it sets you up to fail before the new year even begins.

It is also an excuse.

Instead of making changes NOW, people wait until the New Year and then when it goes to hell in a handbag (as is usually the case) people throw in the towel and wait until next year. It’s such a waste.

When it comes to celebrating the new year I personally use reflection to measure where I’ve been and how close I got to whatever my goals were last year. Then as I’m looking towards what I want to accomplish this year I set a theme or word of the year.

My word of the year is my guide. I have it placed prominently in places I’m going to see/read it everyday. It is a reminder of my goals and what I want to achieve in the days, weeks and months to come. Sometimes it changes, but most of the time whatever word I begin the year with is also the one that will close the year out.

In 2020 I chose the word Connection and Lord how necessary was that when lockdowns started? I wanted and needed to feel apart of something even when we were told not to physically interact. That word became a lifeline I didn’t know I would need when setting it.

In 2021 my word was Intention. To go through my year doing all things with intention. More then once I found myself asking why I chose that word and those were the moments that I knew I had chosen well. It’s hard to do things with intention if your way of life doesn’t always align with what the majority believe. I married a contrarian and I don’t like to do what everyone else is doing, so acting/thinking/living with intention is a must.

Even with Intention, as 2021 wrapped up I found myself feeling trapped and small. I felt like I was too comfortable and I felt lazy. I was content to just coast, and that seemed fun until it wasn’t anymore. I wanted to be pushed. I wanted to be forced out of my comfort zone. I wanted to be sure that I was not in the same place in December of 2022 as I was in 2021.

So my word for the new year is Growth.

2022 Word of the Year

Growing is my focus. Personally, professionally, and though the path is still unclear spiritually as well. Embracing discomfort is a significant step in growing, so taking the time to wrap my head around being uncomfortable on purpose. It scares me a bit. I know there are things I’m not going to enjoy, but in the end how much better off will I (and those closest to me) be because I embraced the “suck” that most people are not willing to face.

Might sound a tad arrogant, but if it pushes me out of that space of “meh” that I was feeling at the end of 2021 it’s worth it. Regardless of the things around me that are out of my control (of which it seems there are many) I’m going to make the best of 2022.

I hope you’ll join me!

SG

The Mom Health Crisis

I think that title is a bit dramatic, and maybe misleading BUT, I want to talk about it so let’s go.

The maternal health crisis is not the one to which I am currently referring (though that is a BIG problem that we as a nation need to address) what I want to talk about here is being a mom and putting our health last because we are managing all the other humans and all the other things ALL DAY LONG.

Somewhere along the way, it was narrated that as a mother we must do ALL the things, be self-sufficient, never get sick, be happy, be nurturing, and love the hell out of our kids, ALL THE TIME. Oh, and at the same time just be ok with being exhausted, burned out, and maybe just sad/angry/miserable because that is what motherhood is all about.

Sister-Mama-Friend, I’m not about this life. If any of what I just wrote above resonates with you it’s time for you to not be about it either.

I read somewhere (probably on Pinterest) something like “Mom’s don’t get sick, we don’t have time for that shit” and it’s true but it’s also wrong. There are jokes galore about the “man cold” but seriously, why is it that when we hit our wall it’s just expected that we’ll suck it up and keep at it because it’s just what we are supposed to do?

I’m going to raise my hand right now and say that I have been guilty, on numerous occasions. I have to be knocked down so hard I cannot physically leave my home in order to stop. Or, rather, that was me. Now (in this moment) I can tell you that when I need to stop, I stop.

Taking care of ourselves is NOT a selfish act. I’d argue choosing martyrdom over not taking care is a greater slight.

Before I go any further, I’ll be transparent and say I come from what would be considered a space of “priviledge” to say these things. I have a husband/partner that takes responsibility for the role he plays in our children’s lives and is an active participant in our daily routine. I have my own business and I make my own schedule. I am usually in command of how I spend my time (that isn’t an accident) so my ability to make my health and wellness a priority has been a non-negotiable as well as being part of my job.

But back to my point, Mom’s bust their butts all day and take care of everyone else before they take care of themselves. I’m not just talking about flowery “self-care” like bubble bath’s with scented candles, getting your nails done, or getting a massage (Personally I find that those hurt like a SOB and so while they are self-care and necessary they are NOT what I call relaxing). I’m referring to the act of consciously choosing to make our health (of which self-care is a part) a priority.

Raise your hand if any of the following sound like you:

  • Hit a wall by 3pm
  • Need coffee to get it together in the morning, or anytime during the day
  • Bloated and uncomfortable even when you aren’t pregnant, PMSing or just ate Chipotle
  • All the Brainfog
  • Tired as hell but can’t fall asleep at night
  • Little to zero sex drive

All of these things are common, and I’m willing to bet you’ve assumed most of them just come with being a mom. Common and normal are not the same thing, and everything on that list is a signal from your body that it wants you to pay attention. But we don’t because #momlife.

Well Mamacita, if you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired I’m here for you. None of the symptoms mentioned above just disappear and go away. There is a reason your body is communicating with you through these symptoms (inflammation, auto-immune disease, food allergy or intolerance, hormone imbalance, adrenal fatigue, etc) even if your primary care physician has told you everything is “normal”.

The road is often long, and sometimes it isn’t pleasant, but after the shitstorm that was 2020 I learned that if I don’t have a vested interest in my own health, then only those that profit from me being unwell will.

You keep fifty balls in the air at all times Mama, sometimes those balls crash down, and sometimes you need to put a few to the side so that you can take care of you and get them back in the mix. Taking your health and wellness seriously isn’t selfish, it isn’t out of your reach, and you and everyone around you will benefit if you decide it’s worth your focus. Take care, and we’ll navigate together.

Your fellow Mama in Wellness

~S