My FitWit Journey

Renovating the Temple

Month: January, 2012

The Tyranny of the Scale

Girl, don't even do it.

I can’t believe that this is week 4 of FitWit! Being at FitWit has impacted me in ways that I never imagined. I have more energy. I sleep better. I  am more productive throughout my workday. My clothes fit better. I have been more conscious of my eating habits, focusing on eating whole, unprocessed, nutrient dense foods.  All of these positive changes, led me to make one very poor decision this week. I decided to pull out the scale.

I knew it was not a good idea, as I have long known that the scale is not the best indicator of overall health improvement. My nutritionist told me this. The FitWit Information book told me this. My spouse told me this. But I decided I needed just one more affirmation of all my good work.

And the scale did not give me that. I had not lost an ounce. I was devastated. And swiftly decided that the most reasonable course of action would be to eat a cupcake.

Thankfully, I better judgement prevailed and I decided to go for a walk.

As I walked, I thought about all the things that the scale doesn’t measure. The scale does not measure the fact that I can now jump rope. Jumping rope looks easy enough, but before I could never get the rhythm and jump consistently. I would trip up after every few jumps. But now I feel like Rocky (or Michelle Obama)! And when I am able to do a double under, I am throwing a big party!

The scale does not measure the bursts of physical activity that I am compelled to do throughout the day now. I skipped into the farmer’s market yesterday. I jog a little while walking my pooch, Bella. I did a set of squats and push ups while watching Modern Family last night. I have impromptu dance parties at my desk. I am becoming more and more impressed with the things that my body can do, if I push it a little.

The scale cannot measure how great I feel about myself. I love that I am doing this! I love that there is a little less jiggle when I run and burpee. I love that I have not missed a FitWit workout and that I actually look forward to them.  Take that, scale!


A Beautiful Mile

My favorite professor played India Arie’s song, Beautiful Day, in class yesterday. I have heard the song before, but yesterday I heard it anew. I think it may be my new theme song.

I thought of the song this morning as I was running the dreaded timed mile at FitWit camp this morning.

I hate running.  I always have.  I knew this day was coming and I seriously considered skipping camp today when I read the blog last night and saw that today was the day.  I almost did a happy dance when I saw that is was drizzling this morning.  I assumed that there would be no way we could run outside in the rain. I was wrong.

But there is another part of me that wants to be runner.  I often see people jogging throughout the neighborhood and I imagine that one day it will be me.  In the past, I have signed up for 5Ks with great intentions to train to run them, but I always talk myself out if it. I always tell myself that running is not for me.  I am not svelte enough nor coordinated enough nor fast enough to run.  The cool kids run and I am not cool.

This morning, when I saw that we were running, I actually began to feel okay about it.  Stacy started calling out the past mile times of some of the FitWitters: 8:46, 10:12, 9:2.  I told myself that even if I doubled the times of the other runners, I would be done in less than 20 minutes.  I also knew that none of the campers or the trainers would make me feel bad about my slow mile time. But there was still a part of me that was ashamed that running provoked such anxiety in me. People run marathons, 26.2 miles, and here I was freaking out over one.

But it started.  Actually, I started. I ran slowly, but I ran, nonetheless.  I was way behind the other runners, and that familiar pang of shame began to creep up: I was too slow and too out of shape to keep up.

But then I realized I could smell the grass and trees, made especially fragrant by the morning rain. And I remembered the lyric from “Beautiful Day”:

Life is a challenge not a competition
You can still smell the roses and be on a mission
Just take a moment to get in touch with your heart
Sometimes you feel like you’ve got something to prove
Remind yourself that there’s only one you

I kept running knowing that this is my challenge,  not a competition.  As I hit the half way mark, one of the trainers joined me and helped me keep pace.  And then as I hit the last stretch the other campers, rallied around me and ran the last way with me. And I didn’t feel ashamed at all.  I felt excited and like part of the cool kids.

Turkish Torture

Last year, I had the amazing honor and pleasure of participating in a travel seminar in the Middle East. We journeyed, ate, and studied our way through seven spectacular countries. The trip was truly a life changing event. If I have any small complaint about the experience, it is that I did not get to visit the country of Turkey. I have long heard of the wonders and the hospitality of Turkey. It is at the top of my bucket list, or at least it was… until Monday.

On Monday, I was introduced to an evil exercise called the Turkish Get Up at FitWit camp.  Behold the Turkish Get Up.

Please take a moment to watch the exercise in the link. I found it extremely difficult to accomplish this with no weight, let alone with a kettle bell. I just don’t know if my body is built for that.


If I find out that the Turkish actually had anything to do with this madness, I am instituting a full boycott. With all the dazzling things that Turkey has to offer, this is what folks choose to export. I am not amused.

Beyond the Turkish Get Up, I am having a great second week at camp. I find that even after just a week and a half, I am able to do the opening jog without feeling as winded.  In the first few days, the warmup jog and exercises felt like a full on workout for me.  Who am I kidding? It still feels like a workout in itself, but I do feel like I am getting better at it everyday.  There must be something to this consistency thing.







An excerpt of a conversation that took place on Monday, January 2, 2012: Me: I am starting FitWit Camp tomorrow! Mom: That is wonderful. But please, Zeena, promise me you will not try to keep up with the seasoned athletes during camp. It is okay to be last. Me: Huh? Mom: You do remember those […]

Why can’t we be friends?

I was getting a bit smug. After two days (and defying repeated warnings), I was lulled into thinking “FitWit is not that bad. I can do this!”  Then something came to smack that smug little grin off my face.

Meet my nemesis:

Why don't you love me?


The kettle bell hates me. Or to be more precise, I think I may hate it. If you want me to write you a 10 page single spaced paper on how to correctly execute a kettle bell swing, I can do that. But if you want me to actually execute one properly… ummm… not so much. Stacy, the trainer, worked so patiently with me today as I fumbled each swing. Intellectually, I understood her instructions, but physically, my form would not cooperate. I couldn’t get her coaching to translate into my movements. My knees wouldn’t bend enough and my hip hinge was all off.

Let’s not even mention the soreness I felt when I woke up this morning. I know it is all part of the journey. But I imagine a Jeju Sauna visit is somewhere in my future.

I will keep working on that kettle bell swing and all the other exercises that elude me. I fantasize that one day I will swing that it like some of the veteran campers I saw today. In six months, perhaps I will be swinging like this


And proudly proclaim that KB and I are besties!

Goals for the New Year

The 6:00 AM Crew! Still smiling after our workout today.

Inspired by a post on the FitWit Decatur Blog, I have been thinking about setting fitness goals for my first session of FitWit. While I have sucessfully set and met goals in other aspects of my life, I have  had a much harder time creating and executing smart goals for my physical health and wellness.  I have also regularly fallen into the trap of setting my fitness goals solely in terms of weight and clothing size.  This time, I am trying a new approach.

I picked up The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin in the airport recently and have really enjoyed her approach to setting  resolutions and translating them into trackable action items. She created a self-scoring chart and awarded herself gold stars each day for the resolutions she kept.   I love this very concrete and measurable way of tracking progress daily.  And I love gold stars! I also saw this adorable gold star tracking sheet on the fitness blog, Yum Yucky.  Daily positive reinforcement of making healthy choices seems like a great way to go. 

So I am working on turning my larger goals into actions that I can track everyday.  I have goals like “Have more energy” and “Be able to jog a complete  mile without stopping to walk.” But I want to break these things down into something I can track each day.   Stay tuned for my goal tracking sheet. I plan to have it up this week.

I have completed two FitWit sessions and I am enjoying them so much! We have been focusing on correct technique and bracing  for our exercises. Many veteran campers have warned me that they are taking it easy on us, in an effort to get folks back on track after the holidays. But I am certainly feeling the so called “easy days”  in my muscles. Today, while working with Michelle on squats, she commented “See, you are already getting stronger.” It made me feel great! Now that is wonderful daily positive reinforcement. With trainers like that and gold stars, how can I not meet my goals.

Please let me know in the comments what goal setting and tracking techniques work for you.

Twas the night before FitWit…

And my sneakers are placed by the door with care, with the knowledge that 6:00 AM will soon be here. Pretty soon, I will be nestled all snug in my bed, where visions of squats, sprints and push ups will dance in ( and maybe torment) my head.

It is almost here! I am so honored and excited to be the Free FitWit Grand Prize winner for 2012.  The prize is six months of free fitness training with FitWit.  I have long been impressed by the work and mission of FitWit. I  cannot imagine a better partner in my quest to get fit.

But I am also quite nervous, as it starts tomorrow.  I am hitting the starting line of something brand new for me.

This is more than my nebulous new year’s resolution where I promise to get fit in the new year.  This is serious business that demands my commitment and hard work. This means being up at  5:30 AM  each morning, when I would love to hit the snooze button. This means pushing myself harder than I have before. This means lots of sweat and sore muscles. But more than anything, as a wonderful teacher reminded me this week, it means showing up. I can’t reach the finish line, if I don’t even show up for the race.

Please join me as I document this journey of showing up. It may not be pretty or graceful or fast, but I pledge to show up.  And I pledge to let you know how my first day goes tomorrow. Cross your fingers and say a prayer for me.

And I’m off…