The Benefits of Eating Breakfast

“Why would anyone ever eat anything other than breakfast food? Because, Leslie, they’re idiots.”

I have a confession to make. For the past two weeks, I’ve done something several times that I never do, that I never thought I’d do. Anyone who knows me will be shocked to hear me admit this…lately I, Lindsay Paulson, have been skipping breakfast.

BreakfastBenefits

It doesn’t have to be this fancy to be good

Gah!

Breakfast food is my favorite food. I often eat breakfast food for lunch or dinner. At my wedding reception, our dinner was – you guessed it – breakfast food. For real, I love breakfast food.

Additionally, I love to eat. I’ve often said that sleep is my time machine to get to my next meal, whether that’s a nap or a full night.

Combine these facts and it’s pretty clear that I’m not one to voluntarily skip a meal, let alone my favorite one of the day.

It all started two weeks ago when I was working early to get a couple things done before heading into the office. I worked out, got myself and Abel ready, then jumped right into work and got on a roll and, I can’t believe I’m saying this, forgot to eat.

I wish I could say that was an isolated incident but, sadly, it was not.

The next week, after my son so lovingly shared with me his stomach flu bug, I didn’t eat much of anything for a couple days. Combined with another morning or two of accidentally not eating it, and I’ve come to a conclusion: I really should eat breakfast.

EatBreakfast

When I eat breakfast, I’m my best even before lunch

As someone who’s proud of being able to maintain laser-sharp focus at work, I noticed I wasn’t as dialed-in as I normally am. As someone who keeps calm and collected, I noticed my moods were, shall we say, stronger than they normally are (um, #hangry anyone?). And, quite frankly, I got to the point of some fairly serious jitters and shakes by 11 a.m. each day. Basically, I wasn’t my best.

This doesn’t even factor in workouts. Eating breakfast is often imperative to fuel a good run or other workout. For a few ideas of what to eat before a long run, check out my previous blog on the topic.

On a related note, I’ve heard a lot about intermittent fasting and the benefits it can have, but I’d always been skeptical to try it because of fear of these (and other) reasons. I even had two of my smart fit pals, @JoeFitness and @DaleHaines, weigh in on that topic, but that’s for another blog.

In a nutshell, this impromptu experiment reminded me why I’m a big supporter of eating breakfast. And, let’s not forget, it really is the best kind of food there is. Ron Swanson and Leslie Knope will never be wrong on that – so much that Leslie Knope can teach us all a thing or two about living well (opening quote credit for all you non-Parks and Rec fans).

Is breakfast something you need to function at your best or are you one of those people who never eats breakfast and it’s not a problem? Comment or tweet me @LindsayIRL.

Individual Effort – Not Just Teamwork – Makes the Dream Work

“There’s no ‘I’ in Team – but there’s an ‘I’ in Win.”

Striving for individual achievement gets a bad rap. Whether work, home, or sports, it seems like everyone is always preaching teamwork.

Don’t get me wrong, teamwork is important and certainly applies to plenty of situations across our lives. I’ve loved running as a team for Ainsley’s Angels and I’ve also enjoyed advantages of having a running training partner for events.

This week’s entry inspired by THE Danica Patrick

However, I feel like the message of individual responsibility and hard work gets lost with all the focus on teamwork. I’m concerned it creates a dangerous mentality of, if you’re part of a strong team, you can slack off but still reap the rewards of everyone else’s hard work.

My belief is that a team functions at its best only when every individual on the team is committed to his or her best. In order to do this, we need to shift focus on the importance, not of relying on a team, but of each individual pulling his or her own weight, contributing at their highest level, and striving to be their best.

I was thinking about this recently and then thought about how it applies to some key areas in life.

At home, a marriage is a team. But if both spouses aren’t committed to putting in 100% of themselves, the marriage is going to be in trouble. It still might be okay but it won’t be its best.

At work, a group project is a team. But if every person isn’t committed to putting in their share of the work, the end result isn’t going to be great. It still might be decent but it won’t be its best.

A sports team is, well, a team (it’s right there in the name). But if every person, whether the pitcher, an offensive lineman, the relay anchor, or the goalie isn’t working his or her ass off and putting in every bit of effort, the team won’t hit its potential. It still might be good but it won’t be its best.

Are there situations where one person can slack off and ride the success of the team? Of course. But that’s the problem. It teaches people they don’t have to work hard to take the glory. It teaches people they can claim credit for something they didn’t earn. It teaches people that, rather than rely on others, they can mooch off others.

That’s not a message I want for my coworkers, my husband, or, especially, my son.

Now, being quick to take solo credit for something that’s a team effort or shine a spotlight on oneself for the sake of being a glory hog isn’t what I’m talking about. That’s selfish and arrogant, plain and simple.

What I’m saying is there’s nothing wrong with setting big goals and challenging yourself to be great – then celebrating and feeling good about those achievements. We’re so often taught that being humble is a good thing and pride is a bad thing, and I think that’s a big part of where the concepts of “teamwork” and “team effort” comes.

There’s a term called, “humble brag” and it exists for a reason. You don’t have to be humble all the time. You can absolutely be proud and brag. Just strike a balance between the two.

p.s. the quote that kicked off this blog comes courtesy of the cool and badass @DanicaPatrick. I had the opportunity to hear her speak at an event last month and, while a lot of what she said resonated with me, that one line was something I knew would someday be a perfect blog tie-in. I feel like she and I would get along swell IRL. Thanks, Danica!

Where do you stand on my push for encouraging individual effort instead of always focusing on teamwork? Comment or tweet me, @LindsayIRL.

Once and For All Let’s Stop Saying Busy

“Being busy is a form of laziness – lazy thinking”

Remember when Sheryl Sandberg made it her mission to ban the use of the word bossy? Don’t worry, eye-rollers, this isn’t a girl power blog post about #banbossy. Rather, I like Sheryl’s concept of eliminating a word from our vocabulary that’s, essentially, bullshit. In that spirit, I’d like to start the #banbusy movement and remove use of the word busy.

At work: Did you get that task done?
Sorry, I’m just so busy.
In life: Did you work out?
I don’t have time, I’m too busy.
All the time: How are you?
(overwhelmed sigh) BUSY.

Seriously, can we stop it with the busy? Do we all have things going on? Of course. But when “busy” is the go-to first response to anything, especially a simple question asking how our life is going, that’s a problem. Either we’re truly too overcommitted, or busy has become nothing but a way out, an excuse, or worse, some sort of goal or contest, like you should feel bad if you’re not busy. And I get it, I’ve done it. But it’s time to stop.

New priority

Now that I’m a parent, it would be easier than ever to use the word busy. Do I get to the gym after work anymore? No, I get up super early to work out…or I sleep in and don’t. It’s not that I’m too busy, I’d just rather spend more time with my son.

It’s new responsibilities and different priorities, and fitting in what I truly want the most. Remember my blog about not being too busy to dress up my baby in a Halloween costume? It’s not that I’m busy, it’s that I just don’t care.

When Sheryl sought to ban the word bossy, it wasn’t necessarily that the word never applies. It was meant to stop use of the word when referring to a girl stepping up, taking charge, or delegating to others. Instead of being quick to assign girls the label of “bossy” replace it with a word that accurately described them like tenacious, responsible, a leader. The idea that the word is only used when referring to strong girls was the problem, not as much the word itself.

This is the same with the word busy. Is it sometimes accurate? Of course. But too often it’s not used appropriately. It’s not an excuse and it’s not a bragging right, so it needs to stop being used in those situations.

We all have the same 24 hours in a day. While some of us have different priorities and responsibilities than others, that’s exactly what they are. So let’s stop making busyness an excuse, a badge of honor, and a contest. Not being busy is okay – and it’s good for us.

Let’s #banbusy. Who’s with me? Comment or tweet me @LindsayIRL.

Include Food and Fitness in the Wellness Cornucopia

“I’m an includer”

Thanksgiving is one of the best holidays. Spending time with family or friends, eating, watching football, and relaxing – a great day indeed.

This time of year, you won’t have a hard time finding blogs, stories, and quotes about gratitude. And that’s great, it’s important to step back and realize that there’s plenty of things we all have to be thankful for. But because Thanksgiving is a great example of inclusion, something in which I’m a big believer, I’d like to instead take this time to talk about that.

Out to eat with my guys – very thankful for moments like this

While most holidays are all about family, Thanksgiving is one that includes friends. I remember in college when I didn’t have family to spend the holiday with, a friend invited me to his family’s celebration and they welcomed me like one of their own. There were years several of us had to work on Thanksgiving so, rather than try to get to a family Thanksgiving a few or hundreds of miles away, we’d get together after and enjoy a meal together. Now, Friendsgivings are nearly as popular as traditional Thanksgivings. Even the first Thanksgiving was an event where all were invited to attend.

My personality, or a strong trait of it, is an Includer. While most obvious in work and social settings, this effort of inclusion spills over into my wellness life.

I’ve run several races with others, primarily with Ainsley’s Angels inclusive running group. I blogged last year why inclusive diets are better than restrictive eating plans. And I’m all for including any type of exercise into a fitness regime, whether that’s Crossfit, running, Bodypump, or cycling.

So let’s celebrate the underlying theme of Thanksgiving by remembering life is good when we include, not leave out. Some of those things I include in life to keep my wellness bucket full are the obvious: running, lifting weights, and regularly eating lots of foods that I love.

p.s. how fun was it that I got to include the word, cornucopia, in a blog?

And it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without also noting those things that I’m thankful for, that I get to include in my life – the ability to be fit and the opportunity to have access to eat a variety of foods, and of course my friends, family, and special shoutouts to Burton, Blitz, Chris, and Abel.

What are some of the good things you make sure to include in your life? Do you feel happy and well when you include vs. exclude? Comment or tweet me @LindsayIRL.

Thoughts on Proposing During a Marathon

“I would’ve stiff-armed his ass and kept going”

I don’t know about y’all, but I giddily watched last weekend’s TCS New York City Marathon and proudly cheered on our American women to several top finishes. I got goosebumps watching Shalane Flanagan make her move into third place and nearly teared up when she mouthed, “I love you,” to the crowd near the finish line (I love you too, Shalane!).

While the American women were one of the most talked-about parts of the event, there was one other moment that received quite a bit of attention. Those of you who follow a running-focused page on social media likely saw the guy who proposed to his girlfriend, a participating runner, around mile 16.

The reactions I saw on social surprised me – it was a mix of congratulatory and snide remarks. I, of course, had my own reaction to the news, which I planned on keeping to myself. But after my friend, @kyods tweeted me that she was dying to know what I thought of it, I decided it was a great reason to blog about it.

Me, finishing a marathon, not being proposed to

Most of us who are wellness enthusiasts, especially runners, have seen one too many finish line marriage proposals. To each their own but I’m personally not a fan of a proposal at the finish line of a race. That’s not to say I’m not happy for people when it happens; my friend Emily received a finish line proposal and I was thrilled for her. But it wouldn’t be for me and here’s why.

Finishing a marathon is a huge deal. I worked so hard for that moment. Please don’t steal it with your marriage proposal.
Finishing a marathon is exhausting, physically and mentally. I’m drained. Please don’t add to the overwhelming emotion by throwing the biggest decision of my life at me.
Finishing a marathon is hard work. To be blunt, I’m sweaty, salty, and I smell awful. Please don’t put me in a position where I’m going to feel even a tiny bit bad about myself if I don’t want to hug you.
Finishing a marathon is depleting. A proposal adds that much more time between me and the water and food tables. Please don’t keep me from the hydration and nourishment I need (ahem, #hangry).
Finishing a marathon earns me a medal. That’s the bling I want to take home that day. Please don’t give me more.

Now, the marriage proposal at last weekend’s NYC marathon wasn’t at the finish line. So, one might wonder, “Lindsay, are you okay with this one?”

No. No, I am not. And again, this is based on me putting myself in those running shoes, here’s why I wouldn’t want that.

Me, running a marathon, not being proposed to

Mile 16 of a marathon is a point where I still feel good and strong, and the tough miles haven’t yet started to get me. Don’t stop me and put me at risk to stiffen up or break my stride.
Mile 16 of a marathon is a great time to give me a wave and a high-five, and encourage me to keep going. Don’t stop me and kill my momentum.
Mile 16 of a marathon is where I’m dialed in and focused. Don’t stop me, break that focus, and leave me with the emotional rollercoaster and million thoughts that follow a proposal – for another 10 miles (what kind of food for the reception, I need to call my best friends, what kind of food for the reception, we need to choose a date, what kind of food for the reception – damn now I just want food).
And most of all, I’m a goal-oriented person and a Type-A planner. When it comes to racing, I have a goal and I have a plan to achieve it. If you stop me, at any point during a marathon, you’re messing with that. Don’t mess with that. DO NOT get in the way of me achieving my goal.

I’m all for support during a marathon. Chris has been there for me, both at the finish line and during a marathon. He has cheered me on, threw a gel my way, taken pics, held my water bottle, and picked up clothes as I shed layers a few miles into the race. He has been my pit crew – he has added to the quality of my race experience, not taken away from it.

My final thought in all this then went to how would I have reacted if Chris had proposed to me in the middle of a marathon. I had a hard time coming up with an honest answer to that, so I’ll leave it to the wise words of my friend, Kelsey, who said, “I would’ve stiff-armed his ass and kept going.” Well said, friend. Well said. And now the quote I kicked off this blog with makes sense.

What do you think about a mile-16 marriage proposal? How about race-day finish line proposals? Comment or tweet me @LindsayIRL.

5 Things Successful Days and Successful Running Have in Common

“Make good habits so they’re hard to break”

As a Type A person, I thrive on routine, schedules, and organization. Throughout the past few years, really my 30s, I’ve gotten my life together (sorry, 20s you were a shitshow). Much of this large success is due to small things, habits I’ve developed that I feel set me up for good days.

I was thinking about it recently on a run, and realized a lot of these daily success habits are also applicable to successful running.

Here are five things I’ve learned that are true to both a successful day and a successful run.

1. Make the Bed

If you remember 90s TGIF TV, or you’re a fan of reruns, you’ve seen Full House. Danny Tanner once said to his daughter, Stephanie, “You’re going to have a much better day knowing your room is neat and tidy.” And, I hate to call any words spoken by Danny Tanner wise, but he was right on this. There’s something about a made up bed that makes me feel like the day is going to be great. Plus, it’s oddly more relaxing at night to climb into a nicely-made bed versus one that’s still disheveled from the night before.

The same goes for running. Knowing you have a comfy bed at home ready to crawl into for your post-run nap or later night slumber can only make logging those miles better.

*I just realized this is the second time I’ve referenced Full House in my blogging career…and that seems like one time too many. For those interested, the first was when I included the wisdom of Steve, DJ’s food obsessed-boyfriend, in a food blog about how to stay on track during the holidays.

A good day starts with a neat & tidy bed

2. Create Lists
Got stuff to accomplish? Write it down, check it off. Is there a better feeling in life? Lists, whether a short to-do list or a long grocery list keep tasks organized and, I swear, make us more productive.

The same goes for running. Got a goal to run a 5k? Figure out how you need to get there, then work backwards with a list of tasks that will make it happen. Got a big race in the morning? Make a list of everything you need to bring with you so nothing gets left behind. My friend, JoEllen, a seasoned racer and pacer, once forgot her running shoes for an out-of-town event. So, yeah, it can happen.

3. Look for Positives
There are a ton of things that can cause a bad day. Traffic, long meetings, traffic, a fight with a coworker, traffic, a crabby baby, traffic…can you sense that I loathe traffic? But no matter the negatives in a day, there are always, I repeat, ALWAYS, positives. Some days, they can be hard to find. And, to be honest, some days, you just may not even want to find them. That’s okay. But always try to look for the positives.

The same goes for running. It’s so easy to have one bad run and let it take away from all the good ones. Plus, the bad runs, or workouts in general, teach us things and make us stronger. So the next time you have a crappy run, look for the silver lining. There’s always one, I promise.

4. Breathe
Busy. Everyone is busy. It’s almost annoying, everyone is just so damn busy. Whether you truly are busy or you’re just bad at prioritizing and making a plan to fit in everything you really want to do, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by life at times. It sounds silly, but it helps to slow down and breathe. Even for just a few seconds, stop and breathe. It clears your mind, helps to put things in perspective, and gives you a chance to just be for a moment.

The same goes for running. Proper breathing technique is key to a good run; preventing side stitches, keeping a good pace, pushing through the tough strides. Not only that, running is a great opportunity to let go and relax. Concentrate on breathing and how each breath feels, and it will make running better.

5. Don’t Over-commit
At work, with friends, around the house, it seems there’s no shortage of things to get involved in or do these days. It’s tempting to want to say yes to everything, to put a million things on that list and set the goal of doing it all. But it’s good to say no sometimes. It’s good to keep some time in a schedule that’s unscheduled, with no commitments at all.

The same goes for running. Especially at the start of a new running effort or training program, it’s easy to overcommit. Yes, I will run 5 miles every day – well, maybe that’s not such a good plan. Over-committing in running sets you up for burnout, injury, or failing your own wild expectations. So don’t do it. Commit, but don’t over-commit.

Have you found any correlations to success in life and success in wellness? Comment or tweet me @LindsayIRL.

It’s Okay Not to Be Busy and Just Not Care

“It’s not that I’m lazy…it’s that I just don’t care”

Fellow fans of the movie Office Space will recognize this blog’s kickoff quote as the wise words of the main character, Peter Gibbons. Without even realizing it, this quote became my inspiration for honesty in a recent situation.

I was chatting with coworkers about Halloween and the subject of kids’ costumes came up. For those who were expecting one of my typical Halloween blogs about eating all the candy, please enjoy it here. Mmmm, candy…anyway, one mom was talking about her daughter’s costume, while we all agreed how cute it sounded. I was then asked if I was dressing up Abel in a costume, to which I shook my head and mentioned a cute Halloween onesie I planned to have him wear to daycare.

I think this is just as cute as a costume

One of my coworkers said I must be too busy and just didn’t have time to plan a costume. The easy answer would have been to say yes, chalk it up to the busyness that goes with having a baby. But I paused for a minute and, in typical Lindsay fashion, gave an honest answer.

“It’s not that I’m busy, it’s that I just don’t care.”

Abel’s seven months old. He can’t walk or go trick-or-treating so there’s really no point to him wearing a costume. Don’t get me wrong, they can be cute, and I’m not knocking parents who dresses up their babies. But it doesn’t excite me enough to make the effort. And if Abel’s anything like Burton, he values the freedom of onesies and comfy pants, and would probably hate spending even a minute in anything resembling a Halloween costume.

I will for sure dress him in a Halloween costume some day, when he’s old enough to choose one and enjoy it. But, for now, it’s nothing I’m interested in doing. It’s not that I’m busy, it really is that I just don’t care.

I thought about this more and how it applies to wellness. I’ve always believed that those who choose to work out, eat healthy, meditate, or whatever wellness activity of their choosing do it because it’s important and it’s a priority. Skipping a workout isn’t something people do because they’re too busy; I think it’s because they just don’t care…maybe not to the full don’t-give-AF-level of Peter Gibbons, but not enough to really make the effort. And, just like I don’t care about a Halloween costume for my baby, it’s okay.

Thoughts? Do you agree with my new Office Space-inspired theory? Or am I being too black-and-white? Comment or tweet me, @LindsayIRL.

Discovering Another Reason to Run

“If you need a reason”

I think, as a general statement, people like to feel as though they have their lives in order. Along those same lines, I believe everyone has those moments they feel as though they don’t have it all together and, in those times, we search for ways to find that sense of control.

Now for confession time. I love feeling like I have control of my life. I’m very Type A so when I don’t feel this way, I struggle. I’d say in my 30s is when I really got a hold on this. And, while I’d have my share of weeks where things would get away from me, I typically felt like I had my shit together. Then I became a mom.

Sharing my love of running with Abel every chance I get

In the weeks after I had my son, I realized I was no longer in control. I no longer had my schedule or my time. And while, deep down I knew it wasn’t always going to be that way, especially to the extreme that a newborn brings, they were tough weeks.

Around week 8 or 9 of his life, we started to get into a rhythm and I started feeling back in control. A lot of this had to do with him finally learning to sleep and getting over a lengthy growth spurt. But also around this time, I began running regularly again.

I’m not exactly sure why but running makes me feel like I have my life in control. I thought about it today, a few miles into my 10k. Maybe it’s because I feel like, if I’m taking the time to run, it means work, the house, and my guys are well taken care of. Maybe it’s the famous “runner’s high” that I get more often than not. Maybe it’s the simple fact that I feel good about what I’m doing and that makes me feel like I have it together.

I think I’m probably the last person who needs another reason to love running; I already love running for several reasons, including the weight and stress management aspects. Now I’ve found another perk.

What makes you feel like you have your life in control? Exercise or perhaps something else? Comment or tweet me, @LindsayIRL.

5 Winter Running Must-Haves

“Well, that happened quickly”

I thought that as I found myself layering up for a recent outdoor run. Like, full-on layering. Yes, in what feels like the blink of an eye, it’s already winter – well, technically it’s not, it’s only a few weeks into the fall. But with temps in the mid-30s and morning frost, it sure feels like we skipped right over fall and dove headfirst into winter a little earlier than even I’d like.

Burton and I dig winter running

No matter how soon or unexpectedly quick it comes, we always know winter will show up. And, for those of us who still love our outdoor runs, it means a new wardrobe strategy.

In my years of running in the, shall we say “brisk” North Dakota winters, here are the must-haves I’ve found for enjoyable winter running. And if you need help getting excited about the season, here are my tips for winter running.

1. Base Layer
I can’t overstate the importance of a good base layer to stay warm and dry – both on top and bottom. Obviously, the rest of your clothing is important but the base layer is key.

Make sure your base layer is clothing that is intended to be a base layer, particularly, moisture-wicking. Yes, it’s cold, but you’re still going to sweat. Choose tights or pants that allow the legs good movement and keep them toasty. Same goes for the top, make sure it’s snug so layering over it is easy, yet allows movement.

2. Beanie
We all know we lose some obnoxious amount of heat through your head, at least that’s what our parents told us throughout childhood to make we wore a hat. But it’s good advice.

A good, warm hat is essential for an outdoor winter run. Ideally, choose a beanie that’s long enough to fully cover the ears, too.

3. Glove Mittens
Obviously the hands need to stay warm on a run. It’s also nice to give your fingers the option to still work.

Prob my fave piece of winter running gear

Gloves (with fingers) are an option and leave your fingers still able to function. Mittens (fingerless) are an option and usually a warmer one. Both come with drawbacks so a better option is combining the two. I’ve found the best solution is the gloves with flip-up mitten style covers.

4. SmartWool Socks
Not only is winter cold, it often comes with snow. And, chances are, some is going to make its way into your shoes.

Getting your feet wet during a run is unpleasant, especially when it’s cold. SmartWool socks make those moments suck less.

5. Fleece Neck Gaiter
In Fargo, it gets windy. When it’s cold, that can make the great outdoors downright brutal. Even if you don’t live in a city where wind is the norm, the slightest breeze feels biting when the temps are chilly.

A fleece neck gaiter is a good wind barrier, and keeps sweat and moisture from freezing to it and becoming uncomfortable. A fleece scarf does the trick as well but I’ve found scarves come loose and slip out of position easier than a neck gaiter so the latter is my top choice.

With these basics, you’re ready to get out there and enjoy running outside this winter.

What are your winter running must-haves? Or do you forgo outdoor runs and stick to the treadmill until spring? Comment or tweet me @LindsayIRL.

When Bad Workouts Are Good

“Celebrate the good, yet embrace the bad”

No one wants to have a bad workout, am I right? There are plenty of reasons you might have a bad workout & there’s the possible way to avoid a bad workout by making sure you take a rest day, both of which I’ve blogged about before.

But as I was thinking about it recently, I realized I failed to recognize one of the reasons we might have bad workouts – a good reason, a productive reason. Especially in the case of training for an event, like a race or triathlon, a bad workout is actually a good part of training.

Celebrating – and hydrating – after a hot, humid run done

Event days are rarely perfect. From unexpected weather to crowds to the obvious fact you’re probably doing the longest version of said event for which you’ve been training, there are plenty of surprises that can be thrown at you on the day.

If every long run, bike ride, or other workout was always picture-perfect, you lose out on that element of overcoming an unexpected challenge. I recently had to do this twice when I was preparing for my first half marathon since having my son. There was one long run that was bad, simple fact was it was hot and I don’t do well in hot weather. Then there was one that was so, so bad, I told my husband I probably shouldn’t have finished it. I was honestly worried that it was so bad, my form probably went to shit a few miles in and I may have done some damage by continuing (I was fine, just feeling a little dramatic at the moment).

Luckily, I survived both and going into race day, knowing it would be hot and humid, I reflected on those runs and told myself I was prepared for this, I could do it. And I did.

So next time you have one of those tough workouts where something – or everything – goes wrong, embrace it and remind yourself it made you stronger.

I tend to anticipate at least one, if not a few, really bad workouts when training for an event – how about you? Do you try to take the benefit from a bad workout or does it just get you down? Comment or tweet me, @LindsayIRL.

The Power of the Post-Workday Workout

“Relax, chill out, and unwind”

Last week, I had the rare opportunity to run outside after work. Nowadays my post-work activities include picking up Abel from daycare, hanging out with him, feeding him, and catching up with my husband. With this new family routine, my once-cherished evening run routine is a distant memory.

My favorite accessories

To be fair, I absolutely could go running after work most days. Chris is super-flexible to forgo the gym, and pick up and hang out with Abel after work if I want to run. But I don’t necessarily want to run after work anymore…I mean, I do, but not as much as I want to enjoy time with my son and husband.

So anyway, last week after a particularly frustrating and stressful day, I ducked out of work a little early – not so I could go home and zone out on the couch, but because I needed the cure, the stress relief, and the unwinding that comes with a good run.

I swapped my earrings and necklace for my Garmin, kicked off my dress flats and laced up my Asics, then hit the pavement for a nice 5k, my fastest one in awhile – apparently burning off a tough day has a way of making me run fast. It felt great! Cleared my head, put things into perspective, and helped me feel better about my day. And, bonus, I still got to pick up Abel and enjoy our evening together so it was a pretty perfect end to an otherwise not-so-great day.

True, life has changed and I don’t often get to unwind with exercise after a long day anymore. And I do miss it, no doubt. But I wouldn’t trade my new normal for going back to the old life. Now, what’s most important is that I make time to work out, both for myself, and for everyone around me, including my son. So I’m still committed to working out and I do enjoy it…it usually means getting up at 4:30, which can be tough, but it’s also worth it.

What’s your favorite time to work out and why? Comment or tweet me, @LindsayIRL.

5 Things Wellness and Parenting Have in Common

“There’s no such thing as perfect so just be real”

Last time on the blog, I admitted that things have changed in the way I didn’t anticipate. While this still isn’t a parenting blog, the topic has snuck its way into several posts throughout the past few months, because I write my best when it’s what I know.

Now that I’ve made it clear I can’t help but write about this new thing in my life called parenting, while remaining true to my love of writing about all-things wellness, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to really combine the two.

Throughout the past ten-plus years of my wellness journey, I’ve learned a lot. Throughout the last five-plus months of my parenting journey, I’ve learned a…little bit.

“Don’t rock your baby to sleep or let him sleep on you,”…I don’t give AF.

Here are five things I’ve learned that are true to both wellness and new parenting.

Do What’s Best for You
The Keto diet. Meditation. Crossfit. There are a ton of wellness activities out there. At least one person swears by each one and raves that it’s the best or only solution. That’s simply untrue. What works for one person might not work for another – or, quite frankly, might not be of interest at all. You have to do what’s best for you; what makes you happiest and helps you achieve goals.

The same is true in parenting. Just because sleep training worked wonders for your friend and her baby doesn’t mean it’s the right strategy for you and yours. Someone might tell you to wait three hours in between feedings but, some days (or weeks), your baby might be hungry every hour. You have to do what’s best for you; what makes your baby happiest and thriving.

Trust Your Gut
There have been times I’ve wanted to skip a workout, not due to laziness or lack of interest, but because something just didn’t feel right. I’ve learned that it’s best to trust this feeling – forgo the workout and move on to the next day.

The same is true in parenting. Every child is different and none come with an instruction manual. While there’s no shortage of articles out there on every parenting question imaginable, sometimes you simply have to trust your gut. As a first-time parent, I didn’t do this nearly enough in the earlier weeks of my son’s life and, looking back, I should have. I may not know what I’m doing but I know him. Now, I trust my gut on most things.

Embrace the Suck
Some days, trying to eat your best just sucks and, worse, indulging and having a day that makes you feel badly about yourself can suck just as bad. But neither one is the worst because tomorrow’s a new day to get back at it. Some days, a workout is going to suck (um, hello long training run that is so awful it makes me cry), or even just one part of a workout (yep, I’m looking at you, lunges). But they’re worth powering through because they teach us something and make us stronger. Embrace that suck!

The same is true in parenting. I think most parents would agree, as wonderful as it is having a child, there are some moments that honestly suck. As badly as I wanted my son and grateful I am for him, there were moments I thought he was broken, or he effing peed all over both of us again, or I was just too exhausted to properly function through any of it. Looking back on it, I learned from every one of the low moments, the things that just sucked. And I think the experiences make me a better mother. Embrace that suck – because, at their simplest, getting peed on is actually kind of funny. Parents of boys, you feel me.

Celebrate the Good
Maybe you didn’t PR at your last race but you just made it through 20 minutes on the Stairmaster (or whatever cardio you loathe most).
Maybe you didn’t meal prep for the whole week but you hardboiled eggs and cut up veggies for easy snacking.
It’s easy to forget these small things really matter. It’s easy to brush them aside, only concentrating on where you fell short. Acknowledge and applaud yourself for those small victories because the small things really matter.

We love sleep – baby Abel is still learning.

The same is true in parenting. My son wasn’t sleeping through the night at seven weeks like some babies but I remember a day it took less than 10 minutes to get him down for a nap. I gave myself a mental high-five and it encouraged me to keep working on his sleep. Celebrate those little golden moments.

The Power of Sleep
Gwen Jorgensen, the Olympic gold medalist, newly-turned marathoner, and mom of one-year-old Stanley, is one of my idols. In addition to sharing life as a working mom and mother runner, she often shares one of the biggest parts of her training: sleep. Whether it’s a long afternoon nap after a tough workout or getting enough zzzs at night, sleep is an important part of wellness, both mentally and physically.

The same is true in parenting – though, I know how ironic I’m being, as sleep is basically nonexistent the first few weeks, even months of parenting (and likely, years). What I’m talking about is the importance of sleep for babies. My son was not a good sleeper in his early weeks. He was often cranky and overtired because he wasn’t one of those babies who would just sleep when he needed to, I had to work really hard to teach him to fall asleep and get a schedule established so he would learn when it was time to sleep. While he sleeps like a champ at night now, getting him there, and naptime in general, is often still a struggle for us. But I know how important it is so it’s worth it. And good sleep for him means good sleep for us parents!

In what areas of your life does wellness seem to coincide? Comment below or tweet me @LindsayIRL.

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