New Goals, New Focus, New Happiness

Now that the half marathon is over, I've kind of re-centered myself: my goals, my schedule, my fitness focus, etc. And I truly believe there's nothing like new goals to get you more motivated and excited than ever. I'm still running (obviously, it's one of my biggest passions in life), but I've just toned down the mileage and I no longer worry about my pace. Yes, I know I "didn't worry about my pace" for this last half marathon either, but just having that big goal associated with my runs made me run harder and get down on myself if I didn't run as fast as expected each day. Now, I let myself truly listen to my body. Some days I'm faster than I was during training, some days I'm slower. Maybe I'm tired, maybe it's a little colder than usual, maybe it's my body's way of telling me I pushed it too far the day before or maybe I'm just not really feeling it (Yup. Some days I don't even feel my runs 100%) and I've come to be completely at peace with that. I want to stop to take a picture? No biggie. I need to stop to reply to a text? No stress.

I also have new goals in the weight room. I've always loved lifting, but I never reallyyyy pushed myself as hard as I could. Now I'm following a stricter lifting schedule, lifting (and squating, ayyyy bootayyy gains) heavier and trying to make my muscles truly GROW. I've been absolutely loving it and have already started feeling stronger and started seeing some results. Seeing my hard work pay off is such an amazing feeling. :)

And with this new fitness schedule of more intense lifting (and still running) to reach my goals comes a shift in focus on rest as well. If you know me, you know I used to HATE resting. I had the cough from he** freshman year of college and refused to rest and ended up being sick for 2 months until my friends had to almost tie me to my bed and not let me run with them. Even this past year of college I hated resting. Sunday rest day made me antsy and anxious. I wanted to be running, lifting, being active, ANYTHING. I've come to finally love rest and (wait for it guys) added in another rest day each week. Two rest days a week may not seem big for most people, but it's a big step for me. I finally realized my muscles physically cannot grow and develop if I'm beating them to the pulp 6 days a week. I now fully embrace Wednesday and Sunday rest days and even look forward to them (a full blog post on the importance of rest will be up in the next few weeks! I'll also talk about how my rest days differ from each other slightly).

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The other major shift that has come with these new goals is a shift in my food and nutritional intake. Before now I always just thought "I'm sure I'm fueling my body fine. I feel good and I still have energy to workout so I'm totally doing this food thing right!" WRONG. I went to see a sports nutritionist and come to find out I was definitely not fueling my body in the right way. YES I ate (and still eat) extremely healthy in the sense of micronutrients and eating unprocessed, wholesome foods, but I wasn't eating healthy in the sense of eating enough for how much my body truly burns on a daily basis. Not on purpose, but because I wasn't truly knowledgeable about how much my body was burning and how much it required to recover and grow. I worked with the nutritionist to figure out the macros (carbs, protein, fats) that I should be hitting, differing on whether it's a workout or rest day and I've been tracking them for the last few weeks. It has helped an unmeasurable amount and I feel stronger and more energetic than ever before (and I swear I can see my muscles growing and defining as we speak ;) But maybe that's just wishful thinking lol)

I don't think it's important to share my macros like some people do, because everyone is different, everyone's bodies require different things, and there's no use in comparing ourselves to others. BUT I will say it was a struggle at first to reach such higher macros, but my body has adjusted and is LOVINGGGGG this extra fuel. I definitely have had to find ways to fit in more protein and carbs (when you love peanut butter as much as me, fats are easy to hit), like eating more seafood/turkey/eggs than I used to and reincorporating a lot more rice and gluten free bread than before, but I'm slowly figuring it all out. :)

Knowing the numbers I need to hit to fuel my body correctly, along with my new Polar A360 fitness watch (literally IN LOVE with it) telling me how much I actually burn each day (you'd be shocked how much you burn just by doing daily activities), has helped me finally respect my body in the best way I can and that's something I'm very excited about. I feel so centered and at peace with these new lifestyle changes and goals and I feel so clearly focused when it comes to fitness and my health. Some people may think having a strict fitness schedule like I do and counting macros is confining, but for me it's been so freeing, because I finally know that I'm truly respecting my body. I can finally say I've found a new sense of body acceptance and I can't wait to see how much stronger I get, both physically and mentally, as I reach these new goals. :)

XO nat